HSF 6: Fairytale Princess and the Pea Edwardian Dressing Gown

April 1, 2014 at 6:12 PM 8 comments

So the next challenge is due today and I am on time! Hurrah, because I thought it was due yesterday and that I was late 🙂

Challenge 6 is Fairytale and we have been asked to make something inspired by our favourite fairytale set in a historic period. I used to love reading fairytales as a child, but I never find it easy to pick a favourite. I always related to Princess and the Pea though, because I don’t sleep well if I’m at all uncomfortable and my family used to call me the Pea Princess, so that one seemed appropriate.

I found a pattern on ebay for an Edwardian dressing gown, which was perfect:

What the Edwardian Robe de Chambre is supposed to look like.

What the Edwardian Robe de Chambre is supposed to look like.

I love using original patterns 🙂 and this one was from my favourite seller, who has a very interesting blog about these old patterns, including advice how to use them and how to use the mad jigsaw ones as well.

Although I had several stash fabrics which would have worked nicely, I didn’t have enough of any of them, so I had to buy some (such a hardship 😉 ) but it had to look regal and be something I could enjoy wearing as an actual dressing gown. I had an old orange cotton flannelette sheet which has made a lovely usable toile, but it was not even a little bit regal.

I was glad I made a toile, as although it was plenty voluminous enough, it did have rather snug armholes and I like my dressing gowns to have loose arm holes, so I adjusted that. It was also useful to practice the gathers on a nice easy fabric.

What I wanted most was purple velvet and the third place I went had some. In fact I had the choice between cotton velvet at £7/m or artificial stuff at £3/m and I regretted being a cheapskate as soon as I tried cutting it out. The fabric behaved very well and I had no issues with creep or other things which are supposed to be difficult with velvet, but it made so much static I am concerned I will be in a permanent state of shock when I wear it! Apart from that it has been easy to work with, despite also being a knitted stretchy fabric, which is also supposed to present challenges.

My cat, Pebble, helped me cut it out by sitting on the fabric and nuzzling my face whenever I bent down to adjust the pattern pieces. They were rather large so I had to use the floor. She was so helpful I had to pick her up and go take a cuddle break, sorry I didn’t take any pictures.

It went together very easily and I enjoyed making it (both of them) except the very last step. The lace was easy enough to sew onto the sleeves as I put it on flat and added a cord to make an adjustable gather, so I can choose to wear them loose if it is warm. But the lace around the collar gave me a lot of trouble. I think it must be at least partly because it was the last step and I have a bit of a mental block about finishing things (which is one reason the HSF is so useful for me, it has made me finish stuff way better than last year’s feeble attempt at a Year of Finishing Stuff!)

But partly it is because I got a cold and also got tired going out for a lovely Mothers’ Day outing where we took Mum to a historical gardens (and tea room of course) followed by a big dinner, which we all enjoyed but did wear me out as I have such poor energy levels with my arthritis. So I had to rest all day Sunday and did nothing all day, hoping I would be better by Monday, but I wasn’t. I did try to hand sew the lace on, but made such a horrible job of the first few inches I ripped it out and went back to bed, giving up on getting the challenge done in time. So I was very pleased to discover today that I am not late after all 😀

Today I am back to what passes as normal for me, and was able to easily machine sew the lace onto the collar. No problem. It just goes to show that it really is counterproductive to try and sew when tired and ill. And here it is!

Me as the Pea Princess. I was trying to look sleepy (that's my excuse!)

Me as the Pea Princess. I was trying to look sleepy (that’s my excuse!)

Tim helped with the photos. He had to be very patient as I hate having my photo taken and had to be very fussy about showing the garment off as well as looking my best. I ran up the little matching slippers on Friday, using a Victorian bathing shoe pattern from 1877 (I’m getting a bit ahead now as the next challenge is tops and toes!) I’m also wearing an original petticoat I got from an antique shop.

I’m not tall, so I don’t know why the drawing shows it going down to the floor. It is longer at the back, but it doesn’t trail, which I am glad of for practical reasons. Not least because the friction on the carpets would build up that static charge…

The Challenge: 6 Fairytale

Fabric: artificial velvet

Pattern: Petit Echo de la Mode

Year: 1906

Notions: modern machine lace

How historically accurate is it? Pattern totally, fabrics not at all, techniques modern.

Hours to complete: didn’t count, about a week.

First worn: today for photos

Total cost: about £17

Entry filed under: Hobbies. Tags: .

HSF 5 Bodice HSF 9: Black and White

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. timthepoet  |  April 1, 2014 at 8:22 PM

    It’s a lovely photo.

    • 2. knotrune  |  April 1, 2014 at 10:11 PM

      You would say that, since you took it 🙂

  • 3. marywillia  |  April 1, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    Fantastic-a lovely garment-I love the colour and the lace as well. Its great to see these lovely old patterns used!

    • 4. knotrune  |  April 1, 2014 at 11:27 PM

      I’m glad you like what I’ve done with it, I enjoyed making it. It’s very satisfying to give some life back to an old pattern, I love using antiques, not just looking at them, so long as it doesn’t hurt them of course.

  • 5. Deborah Makarios  |  April 1, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    What a clever idea with gathering the sleeves! I must remember that.
    It looks lovely, and very comfortable – just don’t electrocute yourself, or Pebble!

    • 6. knotrune  |  April 1, 2014 at 11:32 PM

      Thanks 🙂 maybe I should do a post on the adjustable gather idea. I was vacillating between following the pattern which calls for gathers and leaving them loose like on my current dressing gowns, then I decided in this case I could have my cake and eat it! Fortunately static shocks are harmless, but I dislike them. Not sure what caused it, but I used to sometimes get a static shock off my old cat’s nose, which neither of us liked 😮

  • 7. kurajane  |  April 7, 2014 at 12:08 AM

    The Pea Princess – such a fun fairytale. I love using original patterns too, will def. check out the seller you recommended 🙂

  • 8. jannatwrites  |  April 23, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    This is beautiful – the rich purple looks so royal! I think it looks good the length you made it… long garments are cumbersome to get around in (oh, how did they do it in previous centuries? haha)


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