Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on November 18, 2011
After years of admiring the “1910s Tea Gown“ pattern from Sense & Sensibility Patterns, I have finally found the time to create my own version of this lovely Edwardian dress! With the empire waistline, detailed bodice, layered skirt, and ruched sash, the tea gown pattern evokes a sense of femininity from the early 1900s. You could almost imagine this dress in the “Anne of Avonlea” movie - and while that production was set in 1902, Mrs. Pringle wore a similarly styled gown as her first costume in the film.
For this dress I chose a lovely iridescent silk shantung which was left over from a wedding dress project, along with a delicate embroidered tulle for the overlay. Of all the types of lacy fabrics I’ve worked with, embroidered tulles are by far my favorite material, even more than French laces or embroidered organzas. There’s just something so dainty and elegant about trailing roses embroidered over English netting or tulle, especially when finished with a scalloped edge.
I modified the bodice pattern slightly by hand sewing curved pieces of this tulle as an overlay for part of the bodice front. The pieces were carefully cut to use the scalloped edge as a decorative detail at the top of the overlay pieces, which end at the above bust measurement.
One of my favorite elements of the tea gown pattern is the inset panel which is often a contrasting color. But I have always thought it begged to be overlaid with lacy trimming, and that’s exactly what I did for my rendition of this gown!
I took 2″ wide lace and treated it as you would if you were making heirloom “puffing” (gather it on the top and bottom of the lace or fabric strip about 1/2″ away from the edge, and pull up the threads until the gathers are evenly distributed.) Then I applied the rows of puffed lace to the bodice inset, overlapping the top of the row underneath over the bottom of the row above. Once the panel was completely covered with lace puffing, I stitched a tiny ivory ribbon right over the center of the gathering threads.
For the kimono sleeves, I wanted something that would be a bit daintier than an undecorated sleeve – something still simple in style like the original pattern piece but embellished for an even more feminine look. Thankfully I have amassed quite a stash of lace appliques, so I pulled out some teardrop shaped lace pieces which remind me very much of a “Sew Beautiful“ magazine project.
After some careful hand sewing, I was able to accomplish a modified version of lace insertion, cutting away the fabric underneath to make the lace like a “window” that you can see through. I will hopefully be posting a tutorial shortly on how to do lace insertion with an oddly-shaped lace piece such as this one. Finally, I trimmed a good three inches off the sleeve length and finished the edges with matching scalloped lace edging.
I haven’t quite finished the gown yet, but it is coming along nicely and I can’t wait to post more pictures once it’s completed.