According to Titanic Style by Grace Evans the fashionable first class passenger would have changed her outfit at least six to seven times a day. With apologies to the period I’ve decided to limit my wardrobe to two outfits a day!
As I previously mentioned I will be traveling by train to Southampton so I thought perhaps I should start off my dress diary with the outfit for Friday.
When researching my costume for this day I came across my most helpful source “The cyclopaedia of social usage ; manners and customs of the twentieth century” by Helen L. Roberts (1913). The author describes the Traveler’s dress as “Simple and suitable and extremely tidy should the costume be for those who voyage by land or water. For a long railway journey, a woman should not wear a large hat garnished with fragile or showy trimming. Ostrich plumes, white lace, and pink rose, do not stand the sea air or coal smoke well. Nor do delicate pale silks, airy muslins, or superb velvet appear to advantage on trains or boats. A woman’s traveling-suit by land or sea should be compact, comfortable in appearance, and preferably dark in color: that fabric is best for a steamer or railway suit that stands the test of dust and moister well. Neat shoes, well-fitting gloves that are not shabby, a fresh stock or ruche, or ribbon, or frill at the throat and hair that is in immaculate order mark the capable woman traveller whose appearance is always agreeable” (Roberts, 457).
At first I was looking at some sort of outfit based on this line drawing.
But then I came across this fashion plate on page 25 from Evan’s Titanic Style and I fell in love.
The first thing I try to do when I plan an outfit is to look and see what I have in my closet and fabric bin first. Here are the results!
From my Eowyn Refugee dress I had about three metres of brown linen leftover, a black and brown Edwardian parasol, a lace collar, and a cream blouse which I could possibly dye if I don’t run out of time.
One of my favorite finds from the antique markets in London was made in Spitalfields last year. I purchased this beautiful fox stole lovingly dubbed Sir Charles Brandon. When I ran across the photo of a dress worn by Queen Maud of Norway I knew that Sir Charles would be accompanying me on this journey!
For the skirt I drafted my own pattern loosely based on the one below.. For the skirts on Saturday and Sunday I altered the pattern to have a more hobbled shape but due to the need to be able to walk to the train, walk down the steps at Vauxhall and Victoria, walk through the tube station, and finally arrive at K’sC I shaped the pattern for a small sweep.
I added 4″ to the waist so my skirt would settle just under the bust. It is made of 2 metres (and a bit) of dark brown linen
I’m worried about having enough fabric left to make the diagonal overdress. Currently I have the blouse and the skirt on my mannequin with an antique lace jabot at the neck finished off with a small bow of brown velvet and an antique wide collar draped as a peplum.
And finally here is a photo of my suitcase that I will be traveling with. Sadly it’s only from the 30s but if you won’t tell, I won’t tell!
As promised, the update on the costume!
In the background you can see the current decorations I am playing with. 1 outfit down, 4 to go!
I was so pleased with how my hat turned out!
Looking back I am completely gutted about this costume. I ended up rushing off and leaving Sir Charles Brandon in my flatmates car. Unfortunately this is my least favorite costume.