Last Sunday I took the chance to both see my sister, and to do a little photoshoot of my new striped Lady Mary/”Downton Abby” Dress (read about it here (Part 1) and here (Part 2)) The weather was warm but a bit cloudy, so unfortunately we didn’t get any sunny pictures. I wore my dress with my long line 1910s corset, Autumn garden hat, American Duchess Gibson shoes, stockings, a thin petticoat, and a few bits and pieces like crocheted gloves, antique velvet bag and long pearl necklace.
The Start of a war – Downton Mary’s Striped Dress (part 2)
I’ve been working on my entry for the HSM15 nr 4 – War & peace for the past week (Part 1), and here are the rest of my viral dress diary:
Lady Mary in one of her signature dresses from the Tv-series “Downton Abby”.
Once the bodice was finished and lined I attached it to the skirt, set the sleeves I once more tried it on to determent the exact placement of the hook and bars for the skirt closure.
I also pinned on the collar to get a better visual of the completed look.
The fit looks good even though it’s more figure hugging and shaped then the one on Lady Mary.
(I’m pretty sure the actress have a completely different body then mine…)
Then I needed to pause the sewing for a few days over the May 1st celebration, so I put it on the dress form to keep me inspired (and to show of to our long distance friends coming over – don’t tell me you never done that…).
Once back at sewing, I pinned some narrow lace ribbons to the buttonhole stand and top front piece.Then I spent a few hours (at my in-laws) hand stitching the narrow lace, the collar, the lining, the black velvet ribbon and the hooks and bars to the bodice.
Just the Facts:
Challenge: HSM15 nr 4 – War and Peace
What: A 1914s striped summer dress
How it fit the challenge: WWI started in summer 2014.
My dress is also a re-creation of the dress Lady Mary Crawley wears in the TV-series “Downton Abby”, in the episodes (and at the garden party) it’s announced that England will join the war.
Pattern: None, I drafted my own with influences from a small sketch in Janet Arnolds “Pattern of Fashion 2”
Fabric: 2,5 m of striped cotton, and 0,5 m white cotton for lining – both leftovers from previous projects.
Notions: Thread, buttonhole tread, 6 buttons, 2 pairs of hooks and eyes, 6 snaps, 0,5 m of narrow lace, 1 m black velvet ribbon, one extra long lace/crocheted collar.
How historical accurate: Not sure. I used modern techniques with lots of hand finishing. The fabric wold have existed in the period, but I think the slim silhouette are a bit to modern. Perhaps 5/10.
Time: About 15-20 hours. Lots of fiddling with both the fit and matching the stripes made this project a bit more time consuming then I expected.
Cost: About 250 Sek (40Usd) all fabric from stash – Bought on sale a few years ago.
First Worn: May 3 for photos.
Final Thoughts: I really like this dress. It came out exactly like I envisioned and I felt really pretty (and posh) in it.
I’m really happy with the decision to make the dress slim and figure hugging (contrary to the original which have a more straight shape) even though it diverts a bit from the fashion of the day.
But there are as always a few thing I would like to fix before wearing it again: The back bodice are still to long (what’s that about?) and the button holes need to be stitched shut about 2 mm each (those buttons needs to remain closed next time around).
Accessorized and ready for a photoshoot.
The Start of a war – Downton Mary’s Striped Dress (Part 1)
When going over the many ways on which I could go for the HSM15 nr 4 – War & Peace, I remembered a project I’ve been dying to make for quite some time.
The striped dress The character Lady Mary wears in “Downton Abby”. The time period (1914s) was perfect for this challenge, and when I remember the striped cotton in my stash the decision was made.Thin, structured, white and green cotton fabric – leftovers from my 18th century “Artsy Robe a la Anglaise/Turque“.
I started by doing a dress studie – sketching down the basic look, special details for the pattern and all the materials.
looking through my costuming book for a way to tackle the pattern drafting I found a sketch of a 1910s, high waisted slim skirt that would be perfect for this dress.Sketch from Janet Arnolds “Pattern of Fashion nr 2”.
I used the basic principle from Arnolds book and drafted the pattern to fit my measurements.
Then I made a mock-up and tried it on over my long line corset.
And it was huge.
I’m still amazed of how much ease it must be in my modern pattern temples since I almost always end up with mock-ups about 10 cm to big.
I took it in everywhere about that much.
But still in need for some extra alterations, like smoothing out the darts and taking out a few cm from the length at the bodice back.Here you can see the way I took out the width at the seams and darts.
Once the pattern was adjusted it was time to cut the fabric.
The back bodice being cut on bias and with the stripes carefully matched to he shoulders, sleeves and center back.
Before I started sewing I needed to be sure the collar was long enough to fit the neckline.Perfect match.
I sewed most of the dress on my sewing machine. Sewing the bodice, skirt, sleeves and lining together but away from each other at this pont.
Making the placket for the skirts closure.
Once all the separate pieces was ready, I basted the front bodice to the sides, the bodice to the skirt and one sleeve to the sleeve-cap. And then I tried it on.
Pretty good fit. The back is still to long (just to take some more out), and the bodice front was a bit to big.
I decided to take the width out at the bust seam.
Pins to show where to make the new seam line.
When the fit was once more good, I un-picked the basting and marked the button holes.
Then I hand stitched the buttonholes, and sewed the front pieces to the rest of the bodice (using the new seam-lines).
Once I had the bodice ready, I attached the lining to the neckline,cut he seam allowance, flipped it over and carefully pressed the edge.
Then I made the cuffs for the sleeves, and attached them to the bodice.
Now it is starting to look like something
To be continued…
(Because otherwise this would be an extremely long post)