Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on May 5, 2013
A few weeks ago I shared some initial pictures of the Edwardian gowns I viewed at the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum, so now here’s Part 2 of the gorgeous dresses from their “New Woman” exhibit! This “New Woman Exhibit” focuses on the fashions from the 1890s through the early 19-teens, and portrays how changing society and activities affected the clothing which women wore for both day and evening wear throughout this time in history. This exhibit was exceptionally curated, and I am so thankful that the musem allowed photographs to be taken. (Please note that there are pictures here taken from two separate cameras, so the lighting and coloring may look slightly different from each other. Also, for obvious reasons, the museum asked that no flash be used in pictures.)
The Green Silk Evening Gown
This dress has so much character to it! Originally an 1890s evening gown, the museum explains that this dress would have been “remodeled” in the early 1900s to fit the styles of the time. Between the rich cotton lace and embroidered brocade at the neckline and skirt, this is an absolutely elegant ensemble! Circa 1900
The Pink Ruffled Day Dress
This is my idea of the perfect Edwardian tea gown! Trimmed with yards of tiny ruffles at the skirt hem and featuring the signature “pouter pigeon” silhouette at the bodice, this dress calls to mind an afternoon picnic or tea party that you would see in Anne of Avonlea. The collar and cuffs were made from pink velvet, which is a really lovely addition to the cotton voile! Circa 1900.
Beaded Waist Evening Gown
I was amazed at the tiny rows of beading embroidered onto the bodice waist! This lovely cream silk chiffon gown is lined with silk satin and has amazing cutout details in the skirt that allows the underskirt color to come through. There are lovely lace motifs on the gown and intricate beading at the neckline. Made by Doucet, a renowned Paris couturier. Circa 1900-1905
The Blue Silk and Netting Dress
This stunning cornflower blue silk dress features a square neckline which is filled in with netting lace. The assymetrical details show a definite departure from the more centered and predictable trimming patterns I’ve seen on many dresses from a decade earlier. Notice the curled blue cording which is hand-stitched over the upper bodice, waistband, and skirt. Circa 1910
A Whitework and Insertion Lace “Washdress”
The Edwardian women sure had a different way of looking at laundry! When their gowns changed from the stiff silk bustle gowns of the 1880s to these soft, white gowns with rows of tucks and lace insertion, they were elated that at last they had clothing which could be put in the wash! However, these garments were so incredibly delicate that in comparison with our modern clothing they would be considered “hand wash delicate cycle, do not bleach, lay flat to dry”.
Whatever the case, this “washdress” is absolutely stunning with rows of diagonal pintucks and yards of French valencienne insertion laces. The collar in particular is so breathtaking – rows and rows of dainty lace are joined together and somehow have remained in perfect condition for the last one hundred years. Circa 1909
The 1890s Graduation & Wedding Dress
The DAR Museum’s label of this dress reads, “White, long associated with youth and innocence, and with rites of passage like baptism and marriage, became standard for girls’ graduations from grade schools, high schools, and eventually colleges. This dress was worn by Eva Brawley Dickson in 1894 for her graduation from coeducational Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Later that year she wore it as a wedding dress.” Somehow I imagined that most wedding dresses from that decade would have been dripping with lace, but this dress has an elegant simplicity all its own. Circa 1894
An 1890s Style Turtleneck
Oh my! This dark red turtleneck with the fitted bodice and leg-o-mutton sleeves was just amazing to view in person! It makes our modern day turtleneck sweaters look downright dumpy in comparison. I realize, of course, that this sort of sweater would no longer be considered practical for cold weather attire (how much tissue paper would it take to stuff those sleeves?) ,but nevertheless it’s a very beautiful example of the femininity and care that went into even practical garments such as this one. This reminds me very strongly of a gorgeous cream rib-knit sweater in the Metropolitan Museum’s collection which you can see here.
I do wish that every single costume enthusiast had the opportunity to see this marvelous exhibit at the DAR Museum and study the garments up close! But since that may not be possible, I think the rest of us can content ourselves with popping Anne of Green Gables into the DVD player and taking in a refreshing whiff of lacy frilliness from one hundred years ago.
May you all have a wonderful week, and happy sewing!