House of Worth gowns from the turn of the century are so exquisite, most are irreplicable today. I decided that for this competition I wanted to make an Edwardian gown using my favorite elements from existing Worth gowns in museums. There are several extant House of Worth gowns made of white silk with black velvet designs and I decided to base my gown on these. Perhaps the most famous of these black and white gowns is the swirling iron patterned gown in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and that gown served as my main inspiration.
Firstly, I had to make the foundation garments for the gown including a shift, corset, and petticoat. I used Truly Victorian's Edwardian Corset pattern to construct my very first Edwardian corset out of strong twill and peach cotton sateen. I found constructing the corset rather stressful as I didn't have time to make a mistake! In the end I love how the under garments came out for this costume. All in pastel colors, they capture my vision for Edwardian frothy lingerie!
The gown was then made in two parts, the skirt and the bodice. I made the skirt first, which is basically a half circle skirt only cut in such a way that the majority of the fullness falls to the back. The back was also cut much longer than the front for a lovely train. I hemmed the skirt with a bias facing and the waist has a placket with snaps for closure. The bodice is built over a foundation layer of structure serving as a lining and base onto which the outer layers are sewn. The outer bodice is made up of layers of fabrics, lace and trims. I learned as I went and was so happy I ended up with a bodice that looked like the sketch I'd made before I started!
This costume seemed an impossible task when I started, especially because I had never done any Edwardian costuming before. I am really happy with the finished gown and only wish I had somewhere to wear it!