Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Ladies' Tipsy Tea

The Ladies' Tipsy Tea came about when a group of us girls held our first formal tea, which included a nip of spirits here and there (hehe). Since my sister-in-law is an infamous lush (not really), it was no surprise when she dumped her wine all over the place (lol! - are you reading this, Tonia?)...  Actually, Tonia is very agile, and so we were all devilishly amused when she was stricken with a sudden case of butter fingers and her glass went flying. From that day forward, The Ladies' Annual Tea became The Ladies' Tipsy Tea (complete with era beverages). This year's theme is late Victorian-early Edwardian...

My initial choice for the tea was to create a walking or traveling suit - I adore the very polished military look prominent in the women's clothing of this era. I have some beautiful, medium weight, light brown and black striped satin I was going to use; from there I wanted to accent the jacket with black cotton velvet lapels and covered buttons, and the skirt with a black cotton velvet knife pleating at the hem. And then, I remembered that the tea will be held in late May. Granted, May in Ohio averages in the mid to upper-70s, however, a heavy satin suit, fully lined and partly boned, and fastened snuggly over a corset, chemise, stockings, and etc., would certainly reach the "uncomfortable" mark on the temperature scale...

...I have now settled on the other very prominent look of the era - cotton and lace, similar to the gown pictured to the right (photo taken from Kristine Harris' 59 Authentic Turn-of-the-Century Fashion Patterns ). Sure, I can construct a walking suit out of a friendlier and more breathable fabric, such as cotton or linen, but with the more feminine-style lace day dress, there is a greater freedom of movement because the gown is not so fitted - this means a more comfortable wear. I'll save my dream striped satin walking suit for a good stroll in the autumn - :)

For this day dress, I will be using a gorgeous cut-work black velvet with a flower and vine motif. The neck and yoke of the bodice will be constructed of a fine black cotton lace, which I will also use to accent the sleeves. The gown will be lined in a delicious shrimp color voile, and I imagine, somewhere on the gown, there will be black satin ribbon - just haven't figured out where, yet - lol! I'm still not sure how I plan to accent my waist - with a belt, or a tie? I have most of the details worked out, mainly the structure of the gown itself, and this is what counts (details will come as I drape and gown speaks to me). I am a little nervous about putting this project together, though - it's my first Edwardian day dress, and with this era comes detail after detail (after detail after detail). I do not want to overdo the embellishments, yet, I want to be true to the decorative aspects of the era. I do not want my gown to look like a lace-and-mutton-sleeve-monstrosity from the 1980s (save me Jesus - or Tim Gunn) - LOL!


  1. Yes, I'm reading this! lol. At least I caught the glass before it hit the table, *and* I had half a glass of wine left. ;) Can't wait to see your gown at the tea. Won't we cause a stir when we go out to lunch?

  2. Hehe - it will be a stir at the very least - let's hope no one gets her bustle stuck in a booth - lol! :)