This summer I had the opportunity to join my first event with the Swedish 19th Century Society. We were meant to show clothes that could have been worn by the people who did not have to emigrate from Sweden during the famines of the 19th and early 20th century. I wanted to bring a friend, so my beloved Edwardian Sunday look was reserved for her. My budget and time was extremely limited, so my bigger projects were discarded. Instead, I decided to take the opportunity to just have fun, making something I would never wear otherwise – a look for a wealthy lady of 1903.
For me, the first years of the Edwardian era represent an unloved fashion, as its over-the-top garments, with pigeon breasts and flowery decorations, contrast so much with the later, more refined fashions. Because I had to make the whole look in between exams and work, most of the sewing was done either in the company of my family, in front of the TV, or out in the sun with my relaxing friends. My small budget only allowed me to use plastic table tablets and IKEA-roses for the hat, an old curtain for the skirt and a cotton fabric for the shirtwaist. The most expensive and time consuming part was buying and making the whitework machine embroidery, before I left my own sewing machine for the summer.
I basically followed patterns found in Janet Arnold’s “Patterns of Fashion 2” and was inspired by pictures found at Pinterest. I had great fun making the overly decorated hat, and my little niece enthusiastically gasped: “This is the biggest and most beautiful hat I have ever seen!" Alas, I had neither time nor material for putting the finishing ribbons onto the skirt. At the event I felt like a cheap, walking flower garden, but to my great surprise I received many compliments for this look. Maybe it is not such an unloved fashion after all?