Tuesday, January 23, 2018

title pic Diana Barry’s Bodice Underway

Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on January 16, 2012

One of my favorite film costumes of all times is Diana Barry’s going away dress from Anne of Avonlea.   And I am so excited to finally sew a replica of this lovely Edwardian traveling gown!


“Diana, you look positively radiant!” Anne Shirley exclaimed as Diana prepared to ride off to her honeymoon.  And this was one time when Anne was not exaggerating with her superfluous language!  Diana’s going away dress was absolutely elegant with the bouffant leg-o-mutton sleeves, tight “v” belted waist, high lace collar, and pintucked bodice.

If you read last week’s post, you’ll know that I am attempting to blog about the progress of this dress while I sew it.  I prefer to only post pictures once I can actually see the finished project, but for this dress I am making an exception since I know so many other ladies have admired the costumes from this classic Edwardian film.


So for “week one” of this dress, you can see how I’ve made it at least half way through the bodice below.

After studying Diana’s on-screen outfit for a long time, I decided that I could take a standard Edwardian shirtwaist pattern and slice it up a bit to suit the needs of this project.  (I used the “Beatrix” shirtwaist pattern from www.sensibility.com)


My first step for the bodice was to draw a line down the front of the bodice front to mirror the front princess seam shown in Anne of Avonlea.  Next, I slashed the pattern piece along this line and added 5/8″ to either side of the line so the bodice wouldn’t “shrink” after I sewed the two pieces together.  With these two bodice front pieces ready, I then widened the center panel by a significant amount to accomodate the necessary pintucks.  Below you can see what this panel looks like after it was sewn.


This center panel is a cotton voile over Bemberg rayon lining.

Notice how the panel widens at the bottom.  This is so that the costume will look just how it did in the film, where all the gathers which were so typical for the “pouter pigeon” look were only distributed through the center panel, leaving the side front panels straight.

With the center panel pintucked and pleated, I sewed the two front side panels to the center front panel and pressed it well.  (And of course, I always finish all my inside seams!)  Next, the bodice back was attached to the bodice front at the shoulder seams, at which point I sewed the bodice side seams.

With the most basic part of the bodice now completed, I now turned my attention to the sleeves.  I knew that the lower portion of the sleeves would be a “piece of cake” to sew, but the upper sleeves looked a little tricky – that is, until I thought of using the sleeve pattern from the “Liesl’s Dancing Dress” pattern!


The billowy sleeves from the "Liesl" dress pattern turned out to be perfect for the top portion of Diana's leg-o-mutton sleeves.

All I had to do was add a little more in the cap area for gathers and narrow the sleeve width a couple of inches, and I arrived at a sleeve very close to the film costume version!  (It will look almost identical once I have the lower sleeve attached to support the upper sleeve and keep it in place, but for now the sleeves just hang there.)

As you can see, I have only draped on the lace up till this point so you can get an idea of how the bodice is coming along.  I still need to add the shell buttons down the front of the mock placket, finish the sleeves, and attach the lace… but all in all I’d say I have at least a good start on the dress!

Stay tuned for more pictures soon!

Happy sewing,