For challenge 11 ‘Silver Screen’ of the Historical Sew Monthly, I’ve sewn a 1900s lace bed jacket or combing jacket. My inspiration was the combing jacket in the film ‘A Room with a View’. Here‘s the ‘A Room with a View’ combing jacket. And another picture of the lace jacket.
‘A combing jacket, as its name indicates, is a small, loose garment which can be slipped on and off easily during the preparation of the toilet; many girls and women prefer it to the kimono. It should be loose and comfortable, as it is worn only in the privacy of the girl’s room.’ (School Sewing Based On Home Problems, 1916)
‘In these days of ready-made clothing, some people consider it waste of time to make a negligee ; but a home-made article has these advantages over a bought one – better material will be obtained, better work, and a more distinctive note in the design. […]
Some women always prefer a light washing material for dressing-gowns, whatever the season is ; with such materials a bodice part of broderie anglaise would be pretty, with frills of lace […]
The making of a dressing-jacket is a still more simple affair than the making of a dressing-gown. As it is generally worn only for a short time while dressing the hair and finishing the toilette, it should be simple in construction and perfectly easy, allowing full play to the movement of the arms.
The kimono shape is exceedingly convenient, but it has become very common, and a change in design will doubtless be preferred.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2)
Instead of the zig-zag lace pattern of the ‘A Room with a View’ bed jacket, I decided to make the lace insertion in ‘waves’. I used ecru, slightly sheer cotton batiste, off-white cotton Mechlin lace and pink silk ribbon. I used about 15 yards of Mechlin lace for the bed jacket!
In the 1910s ‘the art of making exquisite materials from cotton has reached a stage where we no longer have to use expensive silk to get beautiful effects. Sheer cotton material may be used [for the combing jacket] and trimmed with lace, or, if a more serviceable jacket is desired, heavier cotton materials may be used.’ (School Sewing Based On Home Problems, 1916)
‘About 18 yards of lace will be required to trim the collar and sleeves and for the frill down the front […] [for] the dressing-gown’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2).
The bed jacket is tied in front with pink silk ribbons like this Edwardian Valenciennes lace bed jacket. All the seams are finished with flat felled seams. Flat felled seams are the typical seam finish for Edwardian lingerie. And I inserted the lace with straight stitches on my sewing machine leaving the edges raw like it was often done in the Edwardian era.
At first I wanted to embroider the combing jacket with tucks and feather stitching – inspired by these Edwardian lace drawers with feather stitching and this 1900s tucked lace petticoat – but the tucks made the fabric too stiff. So I decided not to use the panel. Now I didn’t have enough batiste fabric left for a new back piece. So I cut out the bottom part of the already finished back piece again and joined the pieces at the wave-like lace insertion.
My inspirations for the combing jacket were: 1906 lace peignoir, 1896 French lace dressing gown, this pretty Edwardian lace peignoir, Edwardian bed jacket with lace, and this ca. 1905 lacy negligee which is so beautiful! The sleeve shape is based on the sleeves of this lovely Edwardian nightgown. And the fan-like lace insertions at the sleeves are inspired by this 1900s lace dressing gown.
I wear the combing jacket with my mint green artificial silk skirt. The mint green skirt is part of my muslin and lace lingerie dress which I’m sewing at the moment. The skirt looks similar to the ‘A Room with a View’ mint green silk skirt.
Challenge: 11 – silver screen
Fabric: 1m ecru cotton batiste
Pattern: my own
Year: early Edwardian era
Notions: 14,5m off-white cotton Mechlin lace and 1,5m pink pure silk ribbon
How historically accurate is it? Very accurate
Hours to complete: about 15 hours (sewing time)
First worn: some days ago for the photos
Total cost: 39,97$ / 36,74€