1910 Afternoon Dress, Part II: Lace and Fabric


This is the lace that started it all. Really, I had a totally different idea for my next afternoon-tea outfit– it was going to be a tiered white cotton Edwardian dress with embroidered navy trim– and then I saw this lace on Etsy and immediately knew I wanted to go in another direction.

Anyway, the Etsy seller also had a coordinating narrower lace, plus an even narrower one that looked like it was somewhat similar, so I bought some of all three. I’ll use the widest stuff sparingly, since it’s the most expensive– mostly for the lace collar and the decoration across the front of the bodice. The medium width will be used on the dress cuffs and also on the collar, and I’ll use the narrowest stuff to trim the cuffs of the undersleeves.


I had to find a wider lace fabric to use for the underskirt– at first I considered getting some ivory dotted net and sewing more of the original lace to the hem, but then I calculated out how many yards of net and lace I would need and decided it would be too expensive. Instead I bought two yards of embroidered mesh fabric– it doesn’t match the original pattern of the lace, but it does have a similar feel. Plus, it has embroidery on both selvedges, so I’m getting more bang for my buck. Annoyingly, I accidentally bought only one yard when I needed two, and by the time I realized my mistake my first yard had already shipped, so I had to order my second yard to ship separately. End result is that I have two pieces of fabric instead of one, which means that there will be an extra seam in the skirt that could’ve been avoided. Sad.


As for the main fabric, I was trying to find a lightweight woven fabric in dusty rose– probably cotton-based, since I wanted it to be casual enough for daytime, or possibly a very lightweight wool if I could afford it. Sadly, my trip to NYC’s Garment District did not yield many options– wool was clearly out of my price range, none of the cotton fabrics were the right color or texture, and no one had anything cotton-y other than plain broadcloth, which just didn’t look substantial enough. Finally, though, in one of the last stores I visited, I came across a bolt of polyester (bleh) satin that was the right color, and it draped nicely enough that I thought it just might work. At $5 per yard it was pretty inexpensive as well, so I felt safe buying 5 yards of it in the hopes that it would work out.


I’m not 100% convinced that the satin isn’t too costume-y for what I’m going for, but I don’t have any better options at this point. I’m going to flatline it in cotton voile to give it a more expensive-looking drape and hopefully make it easier to sew with.



3 thoughts on “1910 Afternoon Dress, Part II: Lace and Fabric

    • Sadly, I just realized that the embroidery is not the same on both edges! It’s not hugely different, but the motifs are about 3/4″ shorter on one side. That’s going to be kind of a pain to deal with…


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