Update: 1912 Dress Final Sketches!

It’s still been a little while since my last post, I know. End of year activities and graduation and such have kept me quite busy! I’ve had a little free time lately so there are some updates.

First of all…. I ordered the 1913 corset pattern! YAY! I went with this one from Old Petticoat Shop. Too bad that and one other pattern are the only Edwardian corset patterns they have! They have a 1905-ish one and the 1913 one. So, only one with the 1910s silhouette. Once I get it, I will be buying some cheap canvas and experimenting with a mock-up. I won’t get boning right away, because it would be expensive to buy double the boning just to make a mock-up! I was doing some research today about how to work with spiral steel and spring steel boning, and I’ll elaborate on that next post, after I’ve done some experimenting with the corset.

Ordering the pattern got me all excited and motivated to get some more progress done, so I decided to work on my sketches. After a long time sitting at the computer and going through my Pinterest board, I made some sketches.

1912 silhouettes

These are not original work. I went through my Pinterest board (which you should check out- link above) and looked for all the 1912 photos and fashion illustrations, and I sketched the shape of the figures shown. All those figures I drew are based on a real 1912 model or fashion illustration. None are from 1911 or 1913 or whatever. As you can see, the figures vary but there is also some commonality. All the figures have a low bust- meaning, the breasts are not pushed up very high like in a modern push-up bra. The bust is also very full. Also, the waist is high, going just below the bust. And the skirts are long and slim. Some have slight trains, some are tiered or layered, and the layers are all in different shapes.

After those were done, I went through my 250 pictures again and picked out my favorite skirt designs.

1912 skirts

1912 skirts

Most of them are confirmed to be from 1912. Some, I was a little sloppy and accidentally added ones from 1910, but the style is basically the same. Again, they are all very long, but some of them have gathers and others have sheer layers and others have trim. These are all taken directly from either photos, period fashion magazines, or dresses kept in a museum like the Met.

And then, I picked out my favorite bodices from the various 1912 dresses. As it turns out, most of them are pretty similar, so I only added three. And then there was enough room on the bottom of the page to make the final sketches!

1912 final sketch

I just picked my favorite bodice and my favorite skirt from the previous illustrations and combined them, and they looked great! The skirt is slim, not gathered, slightly trained, and not tiered. But it does have a sheer layer. The sheer layer has those dark horizontal-ish lines, and I’ll probably add beading and/or embroidery. The idea for the skirt was taken from the pink dress in this illustration from the fashion magazine Delineator:


And the bodice has a solid layer, the part underneath with the straight neckline. I’ll probably embroider/bead that part heavily. There is a sheer layer on top, and this part has a V-neck with trim, and the loose, flowy kimono sleeves. It will probably be gathered a bit at the shoulders to add more solidity and hide straps from the chemise and corset cover. But otherwise it will be sheer around the shoulders and upper back. Now, in the Edwardian era they were very modest, so having a dress with sheer shoulders would only be okay if you’re a young, single woman who’s looking to flirt. Which I am. So yay! Anyway, I got the bodice idea from this dress, which is from the Metropolitan Museum and definitely made in 1912:


Now you may be thinking, “You copycat! You didn’t design the dress, you stole a skirt idea and a bodice idea from two existing dresses.” Which is very true, but there’s a reason why I did that. This is a period costume. I want it to be as period accurate as possible without actually copying a real dress from the period. I don’t want any of my modern ideas about fashion design to get into the design for this dress!

Well, now I have a sketch, and now I have (or will have) the corset pattern! Which is a lot more than I had yesterday! The next steps for the dress design are to decide what color(s) it will be, and come up with a formal embroidery pattern. Which will probably end up with me looking up Edwardian embroidery patterns and “borrowing” an idea from that. XD And as soon as the corset pattern gets here, I’ll pick up some canvas and lining material to experiment with a mock-up! And that’s what the next post will hopefully be about. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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