Edwardian evening gown.
Events,  My projects,  Sewing

A Belle Époque evening gown in a day and a manor house weekend

I got asked to join a turn-of-the-century manor weekend party suddenly last week when one of the original partygoers got sick. I had everything I needed for daywear but I had never had had a need for a period evening gown. Still, even before deciding, I was pulling bolts of fabric from my cupboard. One can make an Edwardian evening gown in a day, right? Luckily Venla and Heini-Maria, that asked me, had some time to spare and they volunteered to help me a bit. So, I accepted the challenge!

I didn’t have much time to look for the fabric, so I stuck to what I had in my stash. Luckily, I had found two very cheap silk curtains a while ago and they were just perfect. I also had some lovely black lace that offered a nice contrast to the gold-coloured silk. The only thing I bought was a bit of black silk chiffon to the front of the bodice.

My fabric and lace.

The bodice

The bodice was the challenging part of the evening gown, so I started with it. I used the Laughing Moon 1890s bodices pattern that I had used before to make this shirtwaist. I already knew that it fitted pretty well.

As I didn’t have any extra fabric, I had to cut the silk bodice together with the skirt. While I was struggling with the pattern layout, my friend Venla used the cotton lining of the curtains to make the lining for the bodice. She was quick and so we could fit the bodice by using the lining before cutting the silk.

That evening and the next day was frantic sewing for me. You can bet that no seam-allowances were finished here!

The bodice back under construction.
The back bodice.
Boning the bodice,

I boned the bodice using fake whalebone. I made the boning cases out of cotton tape, so it was a pretty quick thing to do. To make it easy to put on the bodice, I made it front-fastening. Luckily, I had already made two similar Edwardian bodices this year, so the technique was familiar to me. Soon I had the basic bodice done! Now it was time to add embellishments!

The base of the evening gown bodice.

I tried different ways of draping lace and black silk chiffon over the bodice. Finally, I decided to hide the front closure with a placket that was a combination of draped silk chiffon and pleated gold silk.

I went through my sleeve patterns and finally decided on modifying the 1905 sleeve pattern from the Finnish Käsitöitä Magazine. I combined the upper and lower sleeve patterns as the short sleeve didn’t benefit from the extra seam.

Planning for the embellishments.

Suddenly, I remembered picking up a floral appliqué patch a while ago at the Recycling centre. I pinned it on and it was perfect for the back of the dress! Even better: it took only a few seconds to iron it on!

The appliqué for the back.

The evening gown skirt

For the skirt, I used the skirt pattern from the book Kukin oma ompelijansa (or Ich kann Schneidern). The original German book was published in 1909. To get a look that was a bit earlier, I decided to add a flounce to the hem. I had just enough lace to add a strip on the top of the flounce.

Heini-Maria came and helped me by sewing together the flounce and adding the hooks and eyes for the closure while I was finishing the bodice.

The skirt under construction.

These are the only good pictures of the skirt-making process and the skirt is almost finished here. The flounce could have been a bit bigger but honestly: I wouldn’t had had enough fabric for it. Here the sleeves are still unfinished and the bodice is too long. I ended up turning up the bodice hem slightly to fix this.

The skirt back.

At the Töyrylä manor

I actually finished the evening gown well ahead of my schedule and had even time to decorate my hat for the autumn. Here, me and Heini-Maria are starting out our journey to the manor.

Ready to go!
I and Heini-Maria are ready to travel!

Here is the manor house from the outside. It is pink and cute but you really need to step in to see the gorgeousness of the place! The owners collect antique items and the whole place looks like a museum but you can sit on the furniture, play the piano and place your things on the tables.

The Töyrylä manor house.
Töyrylä manor.

We got settled in and emptied our luggage into the antique wardrobe.

Our wardrobe.
Wardrobe aesthetics!

Then it was time to dress up for the tea that was held in a cute baroque pavilion. It was actually the newest building that had just been finished but it has been decorated with antique furniture.

The baroque pavilion.
The tea is ready!

The tea was delicious. There were savoury pies, cakes, cookies and everything was good. I wore my Black Snail Patterns Edwardian blouse for this event. I also lent another Edwardian blouse for Pia, who had forgotten to bring hers. It was good that I had brought almost my whole Edwardian wardrobe with me!

The delicious tea.
The gorgeous tea. People in this picture: Hannu, me, Ilona (my roommate), and Pia. If you follow me, you may have noticed that Pia’s blouse looks familiar. She had forgotten to bring a blouse, so I lent one of mine. Photo with the courtesy of Heini-Maria

Here is the whole company in front of the pavillion.

Our merry company.
The whole merry company. Photo with the courtesy of Elina @bygone_wardrobes.

After a short tour of the house, we started to get ready for dinner. Now it was time to finally wear that gown that I had finished just in time.

Fooling around!
Dressing for the evening! This photo just had to be taken. My friend Venla showed a good amount of enthusiasm to get me properly laced up! (No, this is not the way it is done. This photo is a joke!) Photo: Ilona Lehto @domesticduchess.

The finished evening look

Here is the back of the evening gown. I’m just trying to finish my makeup here in our room.

The finished evening gown from the back.
Maybe a little rouge to the cheeks? Photo: Ilona Lehto @domesticduchess.

I and Ilona were early so we had some time for the pictures. Ilona had brought a stand so we got to take a photo of both of us. Isn’t her gown gorgeous! She had spent a month or so making it and it shows!

I and Ilona ready for the dinner.
I and Ilona waiting for dinner. The Photo with the courtesy of Ilona Lehto @domesticduchess. She also took the cover photo, so thank you, Ilona!
Deep in conversation.
Riikka and me deep in conversation. “Italian beadwork? Gorgeous!” Photo: Heini-Maria.

The dinner was amazing. I don’t think anyone had time to take pictures of the actual food as we were too busy eating it! I didn’t know that pumpkin and salmon can be so good. The mushrooms for the soup were picked from the forest next door. And the lingonberry parfait dessert was mouthwatering.

Thank you for reading and I hope you liked this post. I know I have been neglecting this blog a bit while I have concentrated on sewing new (and old!) things. However, there are so many interesting things that are now ready that I cannot wait to show you. See you soon and happy sewing!


I am a mother of two. I sew, knit and create and blog about it.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.