Coming up in the boutique: a 1970s lilac Edwardian style dress

*Dress is now listed! 34 USD at my shop http://www.etsy.com/listing/96226662/vintage-1970s-dress-lilac-edwardian.

I’ve been spending some time editing the photos of a very special dress. Thought I would list it in my Etsy boutique shop yesterday but the editing took a bit longer. There were so many photos and details to choose from for this dress, and the colour correction was somewhat tricky. The dress is a lovely pure lilac (the waist corsage on the dress is true lilac flower!) with more lavendar in it than blue, but the photos showed too much of a blue tint, which, as I’ve heard fellow Etsians in Ireland exclaim, the strange Irish sunlight is prone to do; now all corrected to actual dress colour.

Where do I start? Well all right a photo. This one is exclusive to the blog (and maybe Facebook).

Vintage 1970s lilac Edwardian dress

And to show the front…

front of dress

This one is perhaps my favourite collage, and you can see the lace as clear as in real life. I’m liking it so much that I’m taking a risk to use it for the front picture on the Etsy listing. It doesn’t show the front of the dress but you do see the bustle trim so nicely. If in a week everybody complains I’ll change it to the above photo or another more conventional collage.

Vintage 1970s lilac Edwardian dress

And some collages to show the various details of the dress – front close-up, back, waist corsage (again, look it’s lilacs!), sleeves (press studs closure), skirt hem.

dress details collage

dress details collage

The flowing skirt.

dress skirt

(I should have done a better ironing job though; I’m always so impatient when it comes to photoshoots).

And finally here are the extra photos that won’t fit onto the Etsy listing.

front of dress

dress

vintage 1970s Edwardian style dress

back of dressfabric

back of dress

back of dress

I’ve been so fascinated by this dress (and would have loved to wear it myself if lilac were my colour; I can’t wear anything purple). This dress was apparently custom-made, and every time I look at it I keep thinking how much work it must have been to put this dress together perfectly. The high neck collar and cuff sleeves alone would have greatly confounded me. There is also much of hand-sewn finishing touches at the hem which must have taken much, much time and care.

In addition to everything else, I especially like the bustle trim at the waist which is so handsomely cut, and the trimming white lace is something to take note of – I mean, there’s discreetly so much of it! The pattern is unusual and so elegantly lovely, with a leaf and flower motif that gives an overall impression of sea waves. I was motivated by it today to read up on types of lace though alas, haven’t been able to identify its origins yet. But I’ll keep reading – here seems to be a good place to start – http://gwydir.demon.co.uk/jo/lace/types.htm (she’s got photos of examples which is really helpful).

The dress looks as if it could have been a theatre costume piece or one commissioned for a special occasion. I think it would be great for an Edwardian re-enactment (though for a very serious re-enactment the back zipper will have to be replaced with hooks and eyes), a day dress for something special like Easter, general good wear with a historical flare (I would wear something like this on any sunny day), or even a wedding dress for a lady who loves lilac.

And a good opportunity to refresh my education on Edwardian fashion (before fashion went adolescently boyish in the 20s with the flapper style), which I’ve always thought somewhat more slimly teenagerish in style compared to the Victorian. I loved this that I read today on tudorlinks.com’s article on Edwardian fashion:

The 1890s merge seamlessly with the early 1900s in an age of extravagance and style, appropriately called la Belle Epoque and lasting from approximately 1890 to 1914. This world began to decline by 1914, but the Great War ended it forever. Until then, throughout the early 1900s, fashion enjoyed its last true age of elegance, in what has been described as one long Edwardian summer.

One long Edwardian summer.

And fashion-era.com, as usual, has an enchanting section on “La Belle Époque Edwardian Fashion History”, with lots of notes and enchanting illustrations. Vintagefashionguild.org’s fashion timeline is also a good place to look at and they have photos. I think I’d like to read up more on Edwardian dresses and maybe either make or modify something relevant, especially the eternal slim long white tea gown that films like Picnic at Hanging Rock has made so famous (I’ve finally finished reading the book, by the way; my post earlier this month about some thoughts and impressions of the book and film is here).

I was happy to find a tiny section with photo on the Edwardian ladies’ high neck collar in the Wikipedia article on collars (Just look for “high neck collar” on the page). Also came across this reproduction product of zigzag wires for Edwardian collars on this website called Farthingales Corset Making Supplies, maybe something to remember for if ever I make or mend a dress with an Edwardian high collar…

I found this out-of-print 8375 Simplicity pattern for Victorian and Edwardian bustle dress online and I thought the outfits in the picutre reminded me somewhat of our lilac dress here.

Simplicity 8375 Victorian Edwardian Bustle Dress pattern

There, that’s good. I’ll go and put up the actual shop listing for the dress shortly today, where you can read the measurements and other construction details (and to buy, if you like!). And I promise that it’ll be a good affordable price like all the other dresses in the boutique.

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One thought on “Coming up in the boutique: a 1970s lilac Edwardian style dress

  1. Pingback: The perfect polka dot skirt (really), and talking about Lisa Hannigan and Liebemarlene « Pretty Bones Jefferson

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