“Women think of all colors except the absence of color. I have said that black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony.” ― Coco Chanel

I was invited by Dr. Butler to Southampton to give a talk on fashion from 1912 and to explain what type of costume the ladies would have worn onboard.

When I first started planning this event I knew I wanted a suit but I was unsure what type I wanted.

The first style I was looking at was something like this:

and then I found this image:

And from my inspiration a costume was born.

I was lured in by the double lapel and the curve at the bottom of the jacket!

The first thing I did was knock out the skirt. I ended up making it one layer and basted the entire thing before stitching it with the machine. I used the same skirt pattern from the previous post but I altered the pattern for a more hobbled silhouette.

Now that the skirt is complete I moved on to the jacket.

While searching through my Edwardian fashion file I stumbled across inspiration:

Armed with photos I cut the jacket on the stand.

The first thing I did was print out all the images and highlight the seams on the photos.

After I cut my toile I had a quick fitting which is not very easy to do on oneself especially cinched in a corset.

Once I was happy with the toile, I cut it out in my lining fabric and top fabric. For this jacket I chose white linen with black soutache. I have an antique collar trim that I am sacrificing to decorate the longer lapel.

Last year Jenny Tiramani challenged me to take a pattern from the 18th century and try to fit all the pieces onto a small piece of fabric. This lesson changed the way I look at pattern pieces on fabric. Cutting fabric is like putting a puzzle together, you have to make sure everything fits and you can’t force the pieces. Everything has a place (even if sometimes it takes about 40 minutes to find that place!).

I bought two metres of white linen and completely forgot that I had sleeves planned for my jacket. . I cut everything correctly except for the under arm sleeves which are cut on the bias.

Last term Kerry Goodrich taught my class tailoring, she was a fantastic teacher and you’ll find her work in Pirates of the Caribbean. When I was sitting at my table surrounded by grumbling classmates unpicking our lapels she said that unpicking is how a seamstress learns. Once (or four times if you are tailoring and the lapel is particularly fiddly and hates you) you unpick something you remember not to make that mistake again.

I then took the lining with the wrong sides down and put it on top of the lining.

Starting at the center back I first completed the left side, pining the top fabric and then pinning the lining to make sure everything matches up.

I pinned the trim on to see if I was happy with the length of the lapel.

I did take photos to show you a trick I picked up form my tutu teacher, Amanda Hall (I highly recommend her courses!).

Sew down one side but instead of lifting the needle start on the next piece. Keep stitching!

Once all the pieces are stitched together they will look something like this:

Cut the small strings that keep the pieces attached and voila! An easy method of sewing!!

The next step was to hem the lining to the jacket which took 43 minutes. I know this because I was on ebay waiting to snipe some unfortunate soul (which I did).

I put the jacket on the stand, turned, pinned, and slip stitched the lining in place.


I did a last fitting before inserting the sleeves: 

After this photo I ended up loosing the sleeves and making it into a vest.

For the hat I purchased a very wide black hat.

Last year I purchased a very large box of Victorian ostrich feathers. At the very bottom of the box was a large group of feathers sewn together that are very similar to the ones Ethel Roosevelt has on her hat.

I’m trying to decide which pair of gloves I will be wearing:

My purse for this outfit is a small Victorian bag with a celluloid handle and a black velvet ribbon handle.

and to complete this ensemble I will be wearing my brand new Astorias from the American Duchess.

The final touch on the back of the vest was to stitch the tassels and death head buttons.

This was the costume I wore during my lecture on fashion in 1912  I am so pleased with how this costume turned out!


2 thoughts on ““Women think of all colors except the absence of color. I have said that black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony.” ― Coco Chanel

  1. Marvelous! I am jealous that you have time to make yourself clothes. I can’t wait to see it finished.

    • The Ornamented Being says:

      Thank you so much Kelly! I consider myself quite lucky because we are currently on break so I can devote all my time to getting these knocked out in time for the event!

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