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


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.


*Please subscribe to this blog, check out my Pretty Bones Jefferson Boutique on Etsy, and follow on Facebook and Twitter for more vintage and original fashion!


Books from the Temple Bar Book Market: Picnic at Hanging Rock

I ought to be putting up new listings on my Etsy shop (there are a few dresses that I can’t wait to edit the photos for; big polka dots, more floral, Edwardian dress, and a Middle-Eastern style robe), but I’m a hopeless reader. We stopped by at the Temple Bar Book Market on Sunday, and got these books and more for a little money. These are mine:

Four book covers, Richard Hollis, The House of Mirth, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Oscar Wilde Richard Ellman

[The House of Mirth (1905) by Edith Wharton, Penguin Classics Red edition (2010); Graphic Design, a Concise History by Richard Hollis (2001 edition); Picnic at the Hanging Rock (1967) by Joan Lindsay, Penguin Books (1986); Oscar Wilde (1987) by Richard Ellmann, Penguin Books (1988).]

I was absolutely deliriously delighted with these finds. I’ve always wanted to read more of Edith Wharton’s works since Summer, and the cover of this edition was good-humoured enough to entice me to buy the hard copy rather than go and read  the text online (the usual covers of The House of Mirth seemed to have always turned me off at the last minute); Monsieur spotted the Hollis’s Graphic Design and I liked it instantly (who hasn’t?); and I never, never expected to see Ellmann’s definitive biography of Oscar Wilde there at the market, I’ve been holding the college library copy for needing to check it up constantly yet not quite being able to bring myself to buy a full-price hardcover new copy at the bookshop, now it’s going to be some good news for the library!

But it’s Picnic at Hanging Rock that I meant to talk about. I finished The House of Mirth yesterday afternoon so I started on Picnic at Hanging Rock this morning. I think I’ll like it but I’m still feeling a tentative going into it. I never thought I would read the book before seeing the film. Monsieur is a big fan of the 1975 film; I had only caught glimpses of it on Youtube a few years ago when I was watching Louis Malle’s Pretty Baby (Brooke Shields) and checking for its soundtrack on Youtube, I think, I’m not sure. If it was so it must have been because both of the film were set in Edwardian times (Pretty Baby is later in 1917 and Picnic at Hanging Rock is 1900).

That is, white muslin dresses.

Picnic at Hanging Rock, Joan Lindsay 1967

The back of my book cover says: “On St Valentine’s Day in 1900 a party of schoolgirls [in Macedon Australia] went on a picnic to Hanging Rock. Some were never to return…”

(A friend of mine in Australia said last year, “How incomprehensible it is, that you guys know of an Australian cult film that I hadn’t heard of, and in Victoria too?”)

Nowadays for some reason whenever I think of Picnic at Hanging Rock I think of Liebemarlene saying that there are now great vintage inspired independent fashion labels in Australia (like Lover, Secret Squirrel?), which makes my head go all misty because it just opens up another picture of Australia for me and I sometimes feel as if I could be there, this misty Australia with a summer afternoon and a dry hot horizon, I could know that.

The first page in my book:

Joan Lindsay was born in Melbourne, where she went to school as a day-girl for a few years at Clyde Girls Grammar, then situated in East St Kilda. She knew and loved the Macedon district from early childhood.

In 1922 in London she married Sir Daryl Lindsay. The Lindsays travelled together in Europe and the U.S.A, Daryl with his paints and Joan with her typewriter. Sir Daryl died in 1976. Joan lived at their country home on the Mornington Peninsula, Mulberry Hill, Victoria, Australia. She died in December 1984.

I still define my feelings about the film by this tribute with the original soundtrack on Youtube that I was posting on Facebook last year, where in the end one of the girls quotes:

“Miranda used to say, that everything begins, and ends, exactly the right time and place.”

Miranda is the girl on the book cover, and, If you knew me from before, she used to be a namesake of mine.

Monsieur says, it’s a brilliant soundtrack.

But now back to more dress listings. If I have time to fix my 70s Edwardian style white tea gown, I think it would be appropriate for Picnic at Hanging Rock…

“Are we all present, Mademoiselle? Good. Well, young ladies, we are indeed fortunate in the weather for our picnic to Hanging Rock. I have instructed Mademoiselle that as the day is likely to be warm, you may remove your gloves after the drag has passed through Woodend. You will partake of luncheon at the Picnic Grounds near the Rock. Once again let me remind you that the Rock itself is extremely dangerous and you are therefore forbidden to engage in any tomboy foolishness in the matter of exploration, even on the lower slopes. It is, however, a geological marvel on which you will be required to write a brief essay on Monday morning. I also wish to remind you that the vicinity is renowned for its venomous snakes and poisonous ants of various species. I think that is all. Have a pleasant day and try to behave yourselves in a matter to bring credit to the College. I shall expect you back, Miss McCraw and Mademoiselle, at about eight o’clock for a light supper.”


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