I did in fact finish my dress for Costume College!
Thank you to Rebecca for taking all the photos here!
And for some details:
What the item is: An Edwardian afternoon dress.
Fabric/Materials: ~4 yards of this bizarre silk. It looks like linen, but is very drapey and frays like whoa. Plus 2ish yards of ivory silk taffeta for trim, and the entire back of a lacey shrug for the lace cutouts.
Pattern: Edwardian Rose, 1912 Lady’s Fancy Afternoon Gown. The patterns sell under the name The Fashion Archaeologist, which is how you can find them on etsy or ebay.
Notions: 24 ivory buttons. The waist tape inside is supposed to be twill tape or petersham, but I used the one yard I had left over of corset boning tape from the corset I wore underneath (I really need to get some photos of that…)
How historically accurate is it? The pattern is from an original fashion plate (and possibly original pattern?) so that note is very accurate. I’m not so sure about the bizarre drapey silk, although drapey and silk were both correct. The biggest issue here is a fitting issue, which I believe is more due to my height than any issues with the pattern. You’ll notice there is quite a bit of blousing/overhang at the waist. While this was very fashionable in pigeon-bust dresses of the earlier 1900s, from my research this look is not correct by 1912 (compare to these dresses in the 1913 Eatons catalogue). Gathers and looseness are fine in front, but not the amount of overhang that I had. The bodice pattern is kimono-style and is actually a single piece for the front/back/sleeves (except for the lace gussets on the shoulders). I couldn’t figure out how to alter it to get rid of the overhang (plus I was on a deadline for costume college), so I just left it in. We’ll have to call me old-fashioned.
First worn: Saturday at Costume College 2016!
Total cost: For me free, since everything here was stash fabric, and I got the buttons with an etsy gift card! However, if you were purchasing this today, it would be something like $40 for silk (it was $8/yard and I bought 5 yards), $44 for 2 yards of silk taffeta from Renaissance fabrics (you do end up with about half of it leftover, cut in oddly shaped pieces, since all the trim is long and cut on the bias), $10 for lace, and $24 for buttons.
I also ended up posting an absurdly long review of the pattern on the Historical Pattern Review Facebook group, some of which copied here for your convenience:
This is a solid intermediate pattern. Nothing about the pattern is overly difficult, but you need to be precise and meticulous to get the trim to lay correctly, to press a placket on a bias cut, etc. I found I needed to baste all my seams and lace by hand. The trim should also be sewn by hand if you don’t want seams to show.
Here are the good things about this pattern:
The instructions are good. They don’t include any pictures (except for pattern layout), but I was mostly able to understand all the text clearly (exceptions below). Even things like the ingenious placket which finishes all the raw ends, yet has a hidden under-placket for hooks and eyes was totally doable.
The pattern maker Patricia is very responsive. In the mockup stage I wasn’t really sure what things were supposed to look like, and she responded to my questions posted on the facebook page within a day or two!
It’s a fun and unique pattern. You don’t see too many patterns that include all the pattern pieces for all the trim.
Here are some problems I encountered:
Not all the instructions were clear or correct. There was a pattern piece which said to cut two, when you only needed one (note, Patricia has already said she will correct this). It was extremely unclear whether the neck was a bias facing or a bias binding. I had to look at photos on the pattern facebook page to figure out it was a facing.
BUY MORE BUTTONS. The pattern called for 24 3/8″ buttons. I had 24 5/8″ buttons, and I had to leave off the very bottom button and the one that would be hidden under the waistband because I didn’t have enough. And note that I am only 4’11”, so a taller person would absolutely need more, especially if your buttons are smaller or you want to space them closer together the way they are in the original fashion plate.
Another issue that I really think comes down to my height. You’ll notice there is quite a bit of blousing/overhang at the waist. While this was very fashionable in pigeon-bust dresses of the earlier 1900s, from my research this look is not correct by 1912. Gathers and looseness are fine in front, but not the amount of overhang that I had. However, I don’t think a taller person would have this problem. The bodice pattern is kimono-style and is therefore a single piece for the front/back/sleeves (except for the lace gussets on the shoulders) so I really couldn’t figure out how to alter it to get rid of the overhang (plus I was on a deadline for costume college). But, even being a few inches taller than me would avoid this problem, so it’s not really the fault of the pattern.
There are no pictures at all in the instructions. Given that this is a digital pattern, and the fact that the pattern maker has pictures of the finished dress on her website, it seems like a no-brainer to take full sized color photos of the construction process and include them in either the pattern instructions or on her website. I really think this will be the future of digital patterns.
Baste everything, especially if your fabric is loose and drapey like mine, or you will get puckers.
Most of the sleeve lace ends up being covered by the trim. If you wanted to save on lace, you could use a single piece of insertion lace between the two bands (and it would not have the extra lace triangle by the wrist), instead of a large piece underneath the whole thing
The pattern had an additional piece of fabric beneath the lace/trim of the sleeves, but since I wanted the pink to show through anyways, I left this off and attached the trim to the sleeves directly.
I found it very effective to thread-trace where I would be pressing the front placket over, especially on the top where the placket is on the bias, and it would be very difficult to press a straight line otherwise.
I really did like this pattern and definitely plan to try more Edwardian Rose patterns in the future.