‘Belts […] are made in girdle from, pointed in the front and as deep as the figure will permit’. (San Francisco Call, 1903)
I made the Edwardian dip waist belt for my Edwardian lingerie dress which I’m currently sewing. The dress will be a white muslin and Valenciennes lace dress worn over a mint green camisole and petticoat. Last year I started making the muslin and lace blouse – the bodice of the dress: however, some lace inserts and the sleeve ruffles are still missing. My Edwardian belt will later be worn over the white muslin and lace dress.
‘A girdle is a belt which may be made separately or attached to the waist; it is intended as a decoration or finish to a waist.’ (The Complete Dressmaker, 1907)
The pattern for my belt is based on antique Edwardian belts. Here’s an antique Edwardian boned black silk satin belt – my main inspiration. And here’s an interesting 1905/9 picture about how to sew an Edwardian boned belt.
I used mint green artificial silk (a rayon and cellulose acetate blend) – a fabric which was already used in the Edwardian era – white cotton canvas, cotton binding, and flexible, thin plastic boning which might be similar to featherbone (made from feather quills) which was often used for 1900s belts and is no longer manufactured.
For a foundation belt ‘ribbed belting or a cambric belting stiffened with stays of featherbone should be used.’ (A Manual Of Home-Making, 1919)
One bone is at the center front, and four bones are at the back. I thought the sides would also need boning. But the Edwardian belt is smooth at the sides when worn over a corset. I covered the boning with cream-colored cotton binding which I stitched down with overhand stitches. I sewed my Edwardian belt with overhand stitches by hand so that no stitches are visible on the right side.
‘The ends of the belting are then turned in and a sufficient number of hooks and eyes sewed on to hold the belt in good position.’ (A Manual Of Home-Making, 1919)