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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Costume painting class-edwardian dress restoration project

The costume class next term must have an Edwardian dress. This tattered dress bodice from that era is begging for a restoration. I have never done a restoration project, and this is certainly an intimidating subject. I hate to see this lying in a box turning into a larger pile of shreds. Unfortunately all those swish-y weighted silks are suffering age disintegration. Fortunately, the black silk portions were embroidered to non-weighted silk, and are in very good condition. I purchased this bodice from Etsy a couple of years ago. I used some of the loose embroidered flower pieces for a Regency bonnet.

Not knowing what to do with the blouse parts, it was put away. A year or so later, a front sash piece matching the blouse appeared on Etsy. The seller had found the matching piece to the blouse while organizing. It is in very good condition.

I thought about cutting it into smaller pieces for doll clothing, but could not bear to do it. So much work went into this dress, and in its day must have been a real beauty. All the flowers are hand embroidered in multi shades of red and green silk.

Hand beading and metallic thread accents embellish the bodice. Soft drapey black silk lace finishes the look. The inside of the bodice has a layer of silk satin with hook and eye closures as well as a stiff belt- a very typical closure for this time, requiring several layers of fastening to get in and out of the bodice.

The back of the blouse has this sheer silk chiffon gauze with embroidery, and the weight of the silk thread has shredded the fine silk.

The sleeves are worse, one dangling by a thread, the other is in a plastic bag.

It does seem a bit hopeless, but I love a good challenge. To think of the many hours of work in the original creation of this ensemble makes one want to at least do some justice to it.
New silk chiffon is on order in two shades of red to make a skirt, as well as chiffon for the upper bodice work. Perhaps a sash of some red silk velvet for a final touch?


  1. Hello Meadow,
    Your dress is going to be stunning. I will be anxious to see your finished creation.
    Kathy- Whimsical Whites

  2. Thank you, lets hope so, no one will want to paint it if it is still a mess!