Belle Epoqué negligée
Extant garments,  Research

A Belle Epoqué Negligée or Victorian comfy clothes

I’ll take a short break from posting about my folk costume as I wanted to share this beautiful item with you! I have shown you several nice gowns that are pretty but not necessarily something you want to lounge in when you are at home and just want to relax with a good book. What did the women wear, when they wanted to leave their corset behind and just relax. This is a lovely cotton negligée from the collection of Espoo city museum.

The negligée is made out of cotton and cotton lace. It has been lined and decorated with shirring, pintucks, and ruffles. The garment has a yoke and the back has a princess cut. The waist has ties that connect to the back and this way the back of the garment can be pulled close. The front is looser and there is a centre-front button closure and a vertical lace ruffle at the front edge. The outer fabric has been gathered to the yoke and the yoke is then covered with a large collar. The hem has a horizontal stripe of lace and a large ruffle that has been decorated with shirring. The sleeves are loose and unlined and have been decorated with more lace.

This time I did a video that doesn’t have any voice-over. Just listen to the music and enjoy me studying this beautiful piece!

I’d like to replicate this or at least make something similar. However, I started estimating the amount of lace needed and the price of buying that much lace and I had to give up. This negligée must have cost a lot since it has at least 20 metres of lace ruffle, not even counting the insertion lace!

Here is a picture of the front:

And here is the back:

It is not easy to date this exactly but it is from the period from 1890 to 1919. It is again one of the garments worn in Villa Elfvik and I believe it thus belonged to Elvira Standertskjöld.

I thank Espoo City Museum and the curator Suvi Kettula for letting me study this piece!

I hope you liked this and comment on the video or here, how do you feel about a video with no voice-over. You can subscribe to my YouTube channel here and to my blog by typing your email address down below! See you soon!


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


    • kk

      Perhaps. But Elvira always had an expensive taste and she was known to have used the best fashion ateliers in Helsinki.

  • mlm247Louise

    You could adapt the design and draft yourself a very similar blouse to go with your walking skirt. Or create a tunic to wear with jeans. Use one voile fabric rather than two for the outer layer. Simplify the lining. The collar is stunning so keep that but raise the neckline in the front so the garment is more useful. The sleeves could be shortened a bit. Choose narrower laces. Floaty, lacy gowns look wonderful but are really annoying to launder. Surely, you can adapt some of the features and create something that displays your skills and taste.

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