At the very end of my first post about the Ragtime evening event at Glen Manor, I had just shared with you our series of pictures of the “young set” spelling out our most recent acronym: TNG. You’ll have to read the captions in the pictures of the that post to see what it stands for, because this post is moving on to pictures of the Ragtime ball. Before I start on pictures, I just have to share that this ball had the most fantastic food catered for our dinner. I don’t know what company catered it, unfortunately, but it was spectacular and delicious! We all ate generous first and second helpings and were super full… but it was SO good!
Final tally: 72 pictures between 2 posts out of a total of 1,266 pictures total for this event. Not bad, I say.
The next formal event at Newport was a Ragtime Dinner Reception and Formal Ball held at Glen Manor House in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Glen Manor was designed by renowned architect John Russell Pope to resemble the Petit Trianon at Versailles. Construction began in 1921 and the house was completed in 1923.
It is truly lovely inside and out, as you will soon see in the photos! I have 1,266 pictures from that evening… and even though I’ve slimmed down the number I’m going to share with you I’m going to have to break the evening up into two posts. The first part will be before the ball and the second part during and after the ball.
I leave you for now, in a magical twilight world with TNG.
This fabulous vintage Edwardian dress was recently brought to my attention by one of you fabulous readers. It is for sale on eBay for $2,250! I certainly won’t be purchasing this original, but I absolutely think it is something to add to my body of inspirational images of clothing for future projects… The seller has included many pictures of the dress as well as background information on the dressmaker and a detailed description of the garment. I have included some of that information in addition to pictures for you to view here in this post.
The lace is exquisite! The rhinestones add even more sparkle! I love that there are pictures which show the closures and construction details. I classify this gown as “drool-worthy.” What do you think? Do you like it? Or not? Why?
“This was created by Mrs. Catherine Donovan who was originally from Ireland (b.1826) and studied fashion in Paris. She owned the couture shop “MRS. C. DONOVAN & CO” which was located at 29 East 55th St.in New York. Her dresses in 1910 were billed at $100 and up which was extravagant as a gown from her would cost over $4,000 today!
Many of her garments are found in Museums throughout the world. There are 4 dresses at the Metropolitan Museum of Art alone. But the detailing and workmanship of these garments are worth every penny in my opinion.
This is made of peach satin (formerly peach silk) and covered in exquisite ivory lace with re-embroidered patterns done with silk thread. The lace gives hints of Orientalism (which was made popular by Paul Poiret ) with its Royal Pavillion shapes on the back panels. The rosette and belt details are done in peach silk.
This enchanting garment features a fitted satin strapless bodice covered with a blouson bodice of lace. The bodice features a low square neckline and the dolman sleeves are short. Both the neckline and arms are decorated with cream glass and gold painted cut steel beads. There is an inner netted bodice which helps with the weight of the dress.
The empire waist is decorated with a ruched sash which is adorned with rhinestones, each individually sewn on a gold lame’ backing in the shape of a buckle.
The straight satin skirt is covered in two tiers of lace at the front. Each tier is decorated with cream glass beads and gold steel cut beads in a chevron shape. The tier is separated with a silk band featuring a large silk rosette. The top tier is adorned with crystal cut glass beads around the hemline.
The back has a surplice detail on the bodice with the silk band closing at the back decorated with more rhinestones.
The lace skirt is made of 3 tiers with one extra panel which attaches to the finger as a drape or can be left hanging as a short train. The top tier and second tier are both decorated with crystal cut glass beads.
This closes with several snaps, hook & eyes and tiny crochet buttons at the back.”
Thank you, Kimberly, for bringing this dress to my attention!
Here we are, a third and final installment of posts related to my recent Titanic-themed weekend. You can read more about my tea gown and matching hat as well as my evening gown in previous posts. I think I’ll limit my commentary to captions. Here we go!
All in all, a lovely weekend full of fabulous clothing, beautiful music, and wonderful dancing. What a recipe for amazing memories!
We took a rather in-depth look at my new 1912 evening gown. Now, on to the second 1912 ensemble that I also wore during the weekend: day gown and hat!
This gown is constructed from silk charmeuse. The skirt is a single layer in addition to the overskirt panel in front. The bodice has a foundation of the same white cotton as my new evening gown. Mounted on to that cotton are (from the neck down) layers of ivory silk charmeuse, ivory silk flat lined with fabulous ivory colored diamond lace, black silk velvet, and black silk charmeuse. The overskirt panel is trimmed with matching silk velvet and the belt is constructed of the same. There are small buttons on the overskirt velvet trim (because, really, the Edwardians just loved adding buttons everywhere!). Because the back bodice mirrors the front in its style (which unfortunately I don’t have a picture of right now…), I had to be crafty with my closures. The dress has two places that open with hooks and bars: the left side from just under the arm to a few inches down the hip and the left shoulder seam around the neck to the center back of the collar. The effect is a form fitting dress that looks like it was magically donned. The side closure is straight forward, with the foundation layer hooking first, to take the tension of holding the dress tight, and the outer charmeuse layer hooking over that simply to stay closed. Again, the foundation is essential to achieving the elegant, effortless exterior. The neck closure is a series of hook and bars that turn different directions to accommodate the seams: front to back at the shoulder, hooks that hook up on the collar to attach it to the back neck, and hooks going sideways on the center back of the collar.
In addition to the gown, I also constructed what I call the “mushroom” hat, which you can read more about in this previous post. I created the pattern for the hat, which is basically just a shaped brim with circular side band. The side band support the crown, which is a circle that is pleated to create that “mushroom” shape. I love the hat! It lends such an air of Edwardian drama and elegance to the look! And I am so pleased the the “mushroom” shape worked out!
Hm… Patterning this dress… Well, the general skirt shape is from Janet Arnold, but it is adapted to have two symmetrical box pleats that terminate at the top in delightfully detailed seams (which I really, really need pictures of!). The bodice pattern was draped with many references to my inspiration image. I created a basic shape for the bodice and then cut in into the different pieces (ivory silk, ivory silk and lace, black velvet, and black charmeuse) so that each piece would fit together perfectly. The belt is slightly shaped but doesn’t actually have a pattern.
The dress is inspired by this image from a 1910 issue of the magazine Bon Ton.
In the end I made a few changes: I added a train, discarded the white under sleeves (I made them, I tried them, and they just didn’t work! They pulled the bodice in all sorts of weird ways… Maybe if the were not so tight they wouldn’t pull so much? I am fine with having gloves cover my lower arms, anyway.), and drastically scaled back the beading. Perhaps you’ll remember my plan to bead this dress? Well, the beading was drastically scaled back because I didn’t like the beads I bought as much as I thought I would (they are rectangular and larger than I thought… not seed bead-y at all), I realized I didn’t want to devote as much time as it would take to do the amount of beading I originally intended, I didn’t have enough beads to bead all four panels as much as the one panel I completed and I didn’t want to buy more beads, and I didn’t like the beading motif I had created, nor was I inspired to change it. You can see that I did leave one outline shape of beading on the bodice in the velvet section, but the rest was scrapped. That one line is repeated front and back (symmetry, you know). I did actually complete the overskirt top panel, but decided not to use it after my scaling back plan was complete (you can see it, below). I’m going to keep the beaded panel and see if it finds its way onto another project one day… I would still love to do intense beading on a garment, but I’ll have to pick a different one, because it wasn’t measuring up to my expectations for this dress.
I recently returned from a successful Titanic-themed weekend of events, including multiple vintage dance opportunities. I’ve been working on some new clothing for these events since January, which you can read more about in my past posts relating to the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic. I’ve been rather remiss in posting updates about the progress of the new dresses I constructed for these events… So my first task is to share pictures of my attire and explain the inspiration and construction of the garments.
I created two new 1912 ensembles: an evening gown and a day gown with accompanying hat. Let’s start with the evening gown!
This gown is burgundy silk charmeuse with a gold silk charmeuse underskirt. The bodice is gold silk layered under gold sequined net. The sleeves are the same gold sequined net flat lined with nude colored tulle: the tulle provides unnoticeable stability for the net layer. The burgundy layers are pleated up and held in place in two places by gold silk and sequined net covered buttons. The bodice and skirt are lined with brown cotton and the entire dress is mounted on a foundation of some extra white cotton which I have an excess of in my fabric stash. The foundation layer is essential to the drape of the dress, because it provides stability as well as a layer to attach all of the pleats and drapery points to. The foundation allows the burgundy silk to effortlessly hang and artfully fold without looking heavy or as though it serves to hold an weight. The foundation layer also supports the underskirt which is attached at about knee height (thus not extending all the way up to the waist and saving fabric). If you plan to create a draped Edwardian gown I strongly suggest that you include a foundation layer: the practice is historically accurate and will help your dress look effortless rather than heavy. This gown closes center back with hooks and eyes along the gold sequin area and a complicated series of further hooks and eyes at the top of the burgundy back drape. The hooks and eyes help create the tension that is required to keep the waist carefully draped in elegant folds across the waist.
There is not a hat associated with this gown because hats were not worn for formal evening events. I did create a wonderful Edwardian coiffure with loops and puffs of hair on the crown of my head surmounting the two front sweeps from the front as they swooped around the base of the back of my head. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any closeups of the style. I feel it is necessary to encourage you by saying that the more often I practice my Edwardian hair styling the faster I am and the better the styles look. You, too, can have fabulous Edwardian hair! Practice! Practice! Practice!
I draped the pattern for the foundation, bodice, and sleeves. The underskirt is a mix of information from the usual pattern book culprits (Janet Arnold and Norah Waugh) that I took in and then kept in mind while flat patterning a knee high underskirt pattern. The outer draped layer is just that: draped. It was a good challenge–I would have a hard time creating a flat pattern of that layer. All I can say is that it is just one rectangular piece of fabric that was sometimes frustrating and draped with many references to my inspirational images.
It turns out that the evening gown is a mash-up of two gowns (pictured below) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I think I started by aiming for the pink dress but wound up moseying my way along to the pale blue dress. Do you see the influence of both the pink and pale blue dresses? I do…
The specifics: wired buckram brim and sideband, ivory silk charmeuse flatlined with ivory cotton to cover the brim and crown, bias cut ivory silk shantung brim binding, trimmed with ivory tulle and black ostrich feathers, lined with the same ivory cotton as the flat lining. (Did you know that craft stores sell tulle in 6″ wide rolls 25′ long in all sorts of colors in the bridal section??? This is great for hats!)
All in all, I’d say the hat turned out beautifully! I didn’t take the time to smooth out every bubble in the silk charmeuse along the brim, so there are a few bubbles… but I think I’m the only person who will ever notice them. It’s rather a tall hat… But I like it! I think it achieved the mushroom-y look I mentioned in Part I of the Ivory Mushroom Hat adventure and it has space in the head size opening as I intended. It even resembles a mob-cap, as I mentioned in Part I. Yay! I think it lends some serious Edwardian grandeur to my look. Full length pictures of the tea gown are coming soon so you can decide what you think about the hat.
It turns out that hair makes a great bandeau! I added some fake hair to my coiffure for tea to help support the hat in the back and it worked wonderfully. Without the extra hair the hat slips down over my face to a point somewhere around my nose… luckily, my poofy hair plus some extra hair works wonders!
I decided to trim the hat with black feathers and an ivory tulle bow because all ivory was overwhelming… the tulle trim is lost, whereas when black feathers are added the tulle trim suddenly stands out as well. Judge for yourself, below! Here are some other trim ideas I sampled on the hat before making my decision.
The plan: to create an ivory and black hat to accompany my (almost) completed Titantic-era tea gown. I started with some ideas in mind, but was also open to inspiration from challenges of construction or materials. I raided my millinery trim stash for ivory and black millinery flowers and leaves, black and white ostrich feathers, pleated and plain ivory ribbons and trims, and other practical necessities like millinery wire, buckram, and organza…
I’m calling this hat a “mushroom” hat because it is my goal to make the crown roomy about the head and puffy in the crown, like a mushroom top! You can see this mushroom-y detail in the images below: look at how the head size opening is often bigger than the head! Given that the head size opening needs to be big, one challenge I will face is figuring out how to make the thing stay up on my head and not fall down over my face. I’m not sure big hair will be enough… That’s something I’ll have to determine once the hat is complete. I might have to use some sort of bandeau inside of the hat to support it. Bandeaus are often used to perch hats on the head, especially in periods like the 1870s and last quarter of the 18th century, but it seems like a practical solution to this 1912 hat perching problem, also! I’ll have to let you know how the bandeau situation turns out.
These last two images show the direction this hat is going. I love the mushroom-y shapes (which also resemble mob-caps), large scale trim, and head size openings.
It is time to share my classification of the dresses from my recent 1910 Dress Inspiration and Classification post. It turns out that not very many of you commented with your classification of the Edwardian dresses up for review. I’m sure you had opinions and you simply chose not to share them… but maybe next time you’ll want to join in! Without further ado, here’s what I think.
1: Favorite! (I love the gold trim on this dress! It is just SO exquisite!)
2: Almost favorite (I had a hard time choosing between this and the one above.)
3: Beautiful, but not my style (I just don’t like the beading on this very much…)