Ladies in the early twentieth century wore very high fashion clothing. They dressed in long flowing gowns designed in soft pastel colors. These fashionable women carried parasols and wore very large hats that were decorated heavily. This era is one of my costume fascinations.
I have always dreamed of wearing early twentieth century clothing. I have created dolls wearing the fancy hats decked in flowers and lace. The parasols were a challenge for me to create using lace, ribbon, craft glue, and fancy beads. They were my biggest seller at the flea market that I used to frequent on the weekends. I always had orders to make more.
Some of my dolls took on fancy French names like Antoinette or Josiane. I thought the high fashion Edwardian era dolls wearing their high society best were just too good for ordinary names. The orders rolled in. I have to tell you that I spent many long hours sewing and crocheting these beauties. It was a sheer joy for me though.
If you are wondering where I found all the ideas for my dolls and their costumes, I thumbed through all the old catalogs that I could find. I collected old postcards. They were easy to find at flea markets. Before too long, I had collected stacks of both which I learned to treasure.
If you want to browse some of the old magazines, some titles are The Designer circa 1903, The Haberdasher circa 1902, and La Nouvelle Mode, 1898. These magazines may not be so easy to find so I suggest looking on historical websites. Or visit an old book store that deals in antique books. Some library stacks can be helpful if you don’t mind dusty rooms filled with shelves of books that have not been touched in years. For me, that is heaven.
For those of you who have no idea what a gown from the early nineteen hundreds looks like, let me describe one of my favorite styles.
My dream gown is long and flowing with excess material that reaches about one foot beyond my high top button boots. The fabric shines like silk or velvet sheen and it’s accented with lots of lace. I embroidered delicate roses on the dress liberally. The lace and flowers are a delicate soft pastel about three shades lighter than the dress. This particular gown that I’m wearing is dark crimson. My skirt has many folds, a huge bustle in the back with a giant bow that trails to my feet. My dress train flows elegantly behind me as I walk. Can you picture it?
I finished this graceful ensemble with a long pair of lace gloves that reaches to the elbows. My fan has several roses at the central fold and an elongated tassel of silk rose colored threads. This is my dream gown. I almost forgot the hankie, hand embroidered with the same beautiful roses that don my gown. The hankie bears my initials. I love this personal touch.
I wouldn’t want to perform my household chores in this dress. Nor would I want to take a long walk in the summer’s heat. My corset is a little tight to rein in my midriff which quite honestly, is in matronly condition. I will be content to sit in my comfortable chair in the parlor where I am entertaining my guests. I will smile and look pretty with my upswept hair styled in perfect French curls made to fit underneath my hat.
My posture is so perfect; do you want to take my picture? I have the perfect magazine for this photo.