Materials Quest: Edwardian Gown

I’m in quest mode. I’m looking for all the materials so I can price the cost of this Edwardian Gown. Let’s take a look at it again. It’s gorgeous but an ill used lace will make it look horrible. I’d like to call my pink lace dress to the stand. While I think the fit was good, the lace, oh dear. Let’s look back at the Edwardian beauty.

click the image to see more photos of the gown

There are several layers going on here. The original listing for this gown, as told by the folks at Antique Dress, said, c. 1910 Black Cotton Velvet and Silk Chantilly Lace Edwardian Gown “With slightly raised waist emphasized with wide band, short net sleeves, square neckline, A-line skirt with small train, the bodice sides and part of the skirt overlaid with fine black lace, the center bodice, waist and lower part of skirt further decorated with floral embroidered tulle worked in gold metallic, black and white silks and beads, the lower edge of skirt band trimmed with black fur. Excellent condition, minor beginning splits to silk lining.”

Based on that description, and depending how wide each fabric is, here’s roughly what I’d need to buy (I’m estimating based on a narrow fabric). I’ve also included some sourced choices that I think would work for this gown, and they’re in my price bracket.

  • 4 yds of black velvet for A-line skirt plus small train and my substitute
  • 1 yd netting for sleeves with extra (need to source this out0
  • 4-5 yds silk lining my not silk substitute
  • 2 yds black lace overlay and my substitute
  • 1-2 yds cream backing for lace to pop my substitute
  • 1 yd floral embroidered tulle with gold metallic —this is pretty cool
  • black and white silks (is this for the linings and underlays?)
  • beads- Oh, beads. I have no idea. (source?)
  • fur for lining bottom of skirt – I might omit this part.

Now, the reality is that this will be a costume piece for me and as much as I’d love to spend all the money on all the pretty fabrics, I won’t. I might not even get the silk organza but substitute with something else, but I’d really only need a yard or so, so who knows.

Besides the cost of immediate materials for the gown, I’d need shoes. I do have a pair that would do, so I can call that piece done.

Hair. I always forget about hair. And it’s going to be mid-winter and I’ll need something to stay warm getting to and from the ball. I have a coat that could pass for a Titanic era coat and while I’m trying to hit the Edwardian notes of Steampunk, I will let the coat pass for now and focus only on the gown, keeping my costs to a minimum.

While I was doing some searches for netting, I found this millinery shop on etsy. I could totally get some materials there to make a hair piece.

What else am I missing? What accessories should I budget for? Lace gloves? What am I forgetting?

Happy Holidays everyone!

16 thoughts on “Materials Quest: Edwardian Gown

  1. Brooke says:

    I would go with solid gloves (instead of lace) simply so the gloves aren’t competing for attention with the lace on the dress. Think Downton Abbey styling – they often wear nude opera gloves or even a color different than the dress worn with them.

    Projects like this make me wish I knew how to make my own lace!

    As for other accessories, I’m thinking a fancy comb or a couple feathers pinned in your hair is all you would need.

    • Leila says:

      Good one on the gloves. Brooke, you’re awesome. I hear ya on the lace. I thought, during the 1912 project, that I could crochet some lace and use it for one of the garments. I often think way too big.

      • Brooke says:

        That’s why it takes an army of people months to build a couture dress or something like the Royal wedding gown! (You there, do this little tiny thing that takes 3 months, and you in the blue, you do this this tiny little detail….) I often wish I had the money to open a sewing space just for costumers to come play and help each other out with detailed projects, because it would be so much fun and so satisfying to find the manpower to do all the details like we always wish we had time to do.

  2. Theresa in Mérida says:

    Have you looked in the home dec depatment for lace? Some of the curtain laces are incredible, plus they are wide. You can cut motifs from them to applique to net.

    Fire mountain gems is a good resource. Another fascinating place is called Ornamental Resources, but you need a resale number.


      • Brooke says:

        Use dissolving stabilizer and then use a small, tight zig-zag stitch to “embroider” a pattern on your net. Of you can use organdy or another sheer but stiff fabric under the net and cut the excess off around your stitching.

        I love fire mountain gems too.

      • Theresa in Mérida says:

        When I used to make more costumes, home dec was always my first stop. You just have to avoid looking like someone’s sofa, LOL. There are often nice interesting velvet looking fabrics and jacquard prints.
        Brooke already answered your lace question. I can’t wait to see your gown!

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