Edwardian Lingerie Dress

Edwardian Lingerie Dress

‘Time to think of the cool, sweet mornings and their gowns of crisp figured lawn; time to think of the drowsy afternoons with their hammock dresses of voile taffeta, mull and batiste; time to think of the summer evenings and their veilings, their silvered chiffons, their wonderful tissues and their transparencies. Time to think of summer dress!’ (San Francisco Call, 1903)

I started my Edwardian lingerie dress about 10 years ago and I’m so glad that it’s finally finished! 😀 Despite the name, an Edwardian lingerie dress is a proper dress for summer wear: it was usually made of thin cotton or silk fabrics and was embellished with lots of lace inserts, pintucks and ruffles. In the 1900s, it was called “lingerie dress” because it was inspired by Edwardian lingerie with its lace, frills and sheer fabrics. A lingerie dress is the typical dress that you would wear to an afternoon garden party in the Edwardian era!

‘For afternoons […] White always has been and always will be used; and it always will be sweet and dainty. […] No matter how it is made to be pretty and sweet, it should be very, very fluffy, and there should be billows and billows of lace and insertion there.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902)

My Edwardian lingerie has lots of cotton Valenciennes lace inserts. And it required a lot of hand sewing: to make the lace yoke, insert the lace, finish the edges, gather the ruffles, attach the ruffles etc. 😉

Related: 6 Ways How To Insert Lace – Historical Sewing

I used sheer cotton fabric left over from my Victorian muslin summer dress. And as usual, my Edwardian lingerie dress is self-drafted. And I also made all the necessary underwear: chemise, straight-front corset, petticoats and a mint green princess slip with lace inserts.

Related: Victorian Muslin Summer Dress

‘The summer social function is always less formal than the winter affair by the same name, and the woman who receives an invitation for some really smart event should guard against overdressing. The safest rule to follow in every case is to aim at simplicity, at cool wash effects, and at sheerness of material and delicacy of handwork rather than at startling or rich combinations.’ (Evening Star, 1904)


The Edwardian All-White Summer Gown

White Summer Dresses

‘White, since it is the color of summer, is the one to be advised to all who would dress well.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902)

White was a popular color for summer dresses in the Edwardian era. Edwardian white summer dresses were usually made of washable materials like cotton and linen. That’s why these dresses were also called “wash dresses” in the 1900s. Cotton and linen are breathable natural fabrics so they’re cool to wear on hot summer days.

These white summer dresses could be strictly tailored dresses made of sturdy cotton or linen fabrics, like twill or duck, or they could be lingerie dresses made of soft sheer fabrics, such as batiste, muslin and nainsook, embellished with lace insertions, pintucks and ruffles.

‘The all-white gown is indispensable to the summer wardrobe. Let it be simple, or let it be elaborate, it is always charming.’ (The All-White Gown, 1901)

Edwardian Lingerie Dress

A Wash Dress And Not Washable?

Despite the name, not all Edwardian wash dresses were washable. While most Edwardian wash dresses – even lingerie dresses with lace inserts – were actually washable, there were also wash dresses that could not be cleaned with water and soap. Wash dresses made of crisp starched fabrics like organdy or embellished with old lace and delicate hand embroidery could only be dry cleaned.

‘If the truth were told the majority of these gowns never see a tub, and would be sorry subjects when they were taken from the water. They are cleaned by a dry French process’ (Evening Star, 1904).

But I made an Edwardian lingerie dress that I can machine wash: So it’s a true wash dress. 😉 I chose soft, unstarched, sheer cotton fabric for my dress. And the cotton Maline and Valenciennes lace trims I used for the lace inserts are also perfectly machine-washable.

Difference Between Lingerie Dresses & Other White Dresses

‘The white gowned woman is much in evidence. Sometimes she is tailor made, serge or linen built on the most severe of lines, or again she is all soft fluffy draperies, the most exquisite of embroidery, or the finest of lace, but whichever it is she certainly looks her best in these spotless costumes that are so vastly becoming.’ (Chicago Tribune, 1909)

Not all white gowns were lingerie dresses: The difference between ordinary Edwardian all-white summer dresses and Edwardian lingerie dresses is that lingerie dresses are made out of sheer cotton fabrics – batiste, sheer muslin, lawn, net & bobbinet tulle – and trimmed with countless rows of lace insertions, ruffles and hand embroidery. And even though cotton fabric is rather cheap, lingerie dresses were expensive because of all the lace and hand embroidery. So only wealthy women could afford lingerie dresses.

Sometimes ‘it is difficult to distinguish between lawn-trimmed lace and lace-trimmed lawn.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1904)

Not A Tea Gown!

Today, Edwardian lingerie dresses are often wrongly called tea gowns. But the Edwardian tea gown is something entirely different: Tea gowns were the fancy loungewear of the Edwardian era – worn in the afternoon in one’s own home before changing into the evening gown. Tea gowns were never seen, except by very intimate friends.


The Edwardian Lingerie Dress

When To Wear Lingerie Dresses

Lingerie dresses were worn to afternoon garden parties, important horse races – such as these Edwardian ladies at Longchamp – graduations and by guests at summer weddings.

Related: How To Dress In The Edwardian Era

‘White gowns of all sorts are preeminently the “thing” at the present moment. No matter where one goes, to the races at Longchamps, to any of the many smart tea places in the Bois […] or at the resorts of the strictly fashionable in the Champs Elysées, the white gowned woman is much in evidence.’ (Chicago Tribune, 1909)

But lingerie dresses were never worn in the mornings, to go shopping or in the evening. For morning wear and shopping a lingerie dress was too dressy, and for evening wear it was not dressy enough.

‘The custom of wearing old afternoon dresses in the morning should be banned by every well-dressed woman.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2)

Edwardian Sheer Cotton Muslin Lace Dress

Lingerie Dress = The Typical Garden Party Dress

A lingerie dress was the typical dress worn at social events in the afternoon, such as summer garden parties.

‘The most popular afternoon function is a garden or porch party, and for this wash frocks only are permissible. To attend a garden party in a silk gown loaded with trimming of various sorts is distinctly bad form. […] Here the summer girl may wear her most picturesque, most be-flowered, most lacy millinery possession, and her gown should be as diaphaneous as her purse will permit. Dimities, batistes, French lawns and mulls, organdies, dotted and figured nets and delicate lace gowns with many filmy flounces may be worn for the garden party.’ (Evening Star, 1904)

Homemade Lingerie Dresses

‘The smart frocks turned out for women of unlimited means who go in for society […] are of wash materials […] and are far more expensive than many frocks in silk, velvet and other high-priced fabrics.’ (Evening Star, 1904)

Because store-bought lingerie dresses were so expensive, Edwardian women often chose to make them at home with heirloom lace, hand embroidery and heirloom sewing techniques, such as lace insert by hand, hand-run pintucks, decorative fagoting stitches and handmade broderie anglaise lace.

‘The long hot days of summer afford an opportunity for a girl to wear pretty lingerie dresses made of the exquisite organdies, Swisses, mulls, dimities, voiles, and lawns which are so universally becoming. If a girl is able to make her own dresses and has the time to do it, she can have a variety, for very pretty ones can be made with small cost if there are no dressmaker’s bills to pay.’ (School Sewing Based On Home Problems, 1916)

While Edwardian dresses were usually sewn on a sewing machine, Edwardian lingerie dresses usually feature a lot of hand-sewing.

Related: How To Make Broderie Anglaise Lace By Hand

‘Handwork is always to be recommended for lingerie dresses, hand-run seams, tucks and hems. Individual workers are, however, subject to time limits, therefore one must choose the very best treatment to which one can devote the time’ (Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction, 1916).

‘In making this [lingerie] dress you should be very careful to keep the table and machine carefully dusted so you will not have to launder the dress as soon as it is finished. Wear a white apron and keep your hands scrupulously clean.’ (School Sewing Based On Home Problems, 1916)


My Edwardian Lingerie Dress

Edwardian Lingerie Dress Inspirations

The first inspiration for my Edwardian lingerie dress was this dreamy Edwardian batiste dress with embroidered roses, fluffy ruffles and countless rows of Valenciennes lace insertions. I was also inspired by this white lingerie dress with scalloped ruffles on this rare antique Edwardian color photograph.

I was also inspired by this beautiful 1902-4 white lingerie dress with Valenciennes lace inserts, decorative fagoting stitches and pintucks at the MET museum, this Edwardian ecru lace dress (the dress in the middle) at Augusta Auctions, this 1904 lingerie dress with a round lace yoke and sleeve ruffles also at the MET museum, and this white batiste lace dress with a lace yoke and lace inserts at the sleeves and a teal slip underneath (the dress is antique, the belt and slip is modern). The lace yoke, the shape of the sleeves with the ruffles and the lace inserts with the Maline lace ruffles underneath on my dress are inspired by these four antique Edwardian dresses.

And you’ll find more of my inspirations for my Edwardian lingerie dress on my pinterest board ‘1900s Fashion & Accessories’.

-> My Pinterest-Board: ‘1900s Fashion & Accessories’

And here‘s a cute short film from 1903 of women jumping over a tennis net in their lingerie dresses.

Edwardian Lingerie Dress Afternoon Tea

Edwardian Lingerie Dress – Free Antique Pattern

‘Simplicity and daintiness should be the keynote of the design and construction of a lingerie dress.’ (Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction, 1916)

I used the skirt Astarté pattern again, the same that I used for the petticoats that I wear under the Edwardian lingerie dress. It’s a free, antique Edwardian sewing pattern from 1901: you can find the pattern here. It’s a simple three-piece skirt pattern consisting of the front, the side & back and the flounce piece.

Related: 2 Edwardian Petticoat Makeover

I had already adapted the pattern to my figure but I lengthened the pattern at the back for my Edwardian lingerie dress to make a short train. And I also made a straight ruffle instead of the circular flounce of the antique 1900s skirt pattern. Because Edwardian wash dresses usually had a straight ruffle that doesn’t become distorted in the wash.

‘Skirts may have the lower parts trimmed with flounces, cut circular if of silk, or straight and gathered if of washable stuffs.’ (Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction, 1916)

For the bodice or blouse of my Edwardian lingerie dress I used my self-drafted Edwardian shirtwaist pattern which is based on a free antique corset cover pattern from 1911: you can find the pattern here. I had already adapted the pattern, reshaped the waistline, removed the peplum and drafted sleeves based on my men’s shirt to Edwardian blouse refashion.

Related: Men’s Shirt To Edwardian Blouse Refashion

Cotton Muslin Fabric

‘Muslin, a kind of fine cloth, loosely woven of the finest cotton yarn.’ (The Domestic Encyclopaedia Vol3, 1802) ‘Some muslins are made so fine you can hardly feel them with your hand’ (A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods, 1892).

For my Edwardian lingerie dress, I used white British or India cotton muslin fabric. UK muslin is different from US muslin: UK muslin is a very sheer, soft draping cotton fabric. This fabric was already used in the Edwardian era for lingerie dresses, so it’s historically accurate. It’s one of the most beautiful fabrics I’ve used so far: It’s loosely woven and very sheer. But unlike other loosely woven cotton fabrics, like mull or cheese-cloth, muslin still looks good after a machine wash.

‘The ‘”beau-catching gown” […] fashioned of very white lawn muslin. The skirt was made with three insertions […] The sleeves are also made with three insertions of lace […] falling in a large puff below the elbow, with a narrow band of lace’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1903).

As always, I pre-washed the muslin fabric and lace for the dress. So I can clean my Edwardian lingerie dress in the washing machine later.

‘It has been generally conceded that it is best to shrink all cotton or linen materials for lingerie dresses before making them up. This process entails extra work in the beginning’ (Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction, 1916). ‘If you do not shrink it, you should make allowance for lengthening the skirt and waist after the dress is laundered.’ (School Sewing Based On Home Problems, 1916)

Cotton Maline & Valenciennes Lace

‘How beautiful the lingerie frocks are […] ruffled with delicate Valenciennes lace’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2). ‘A dainty gown of white mousseline has an elaborate trimming of fine white lace insertions’ (Chicago Tribune, 1903).

I used vintage cotton Valenciennes lace for the lace insertions. Valenciennes lace was the most popular lace in the Edwardian era.

‘Val lace […] really, there is no lace more popular for all fabrics.’ (San Francisco Call, 1904)

By the way, Maline lace seems to be a modern term. Maline lace is a type of very delicate Valenciennes lace. And in the Edwardian era, Maline lace seems to have been called French Valenciennes lace. There’s a difference between German and French Valenciennes lace: the lace ground is different and German Valenciennes lace is sturdier.

‘Valenciennes, or ” Val,” a fine cotton lace […] made with a round mesh, German Val; [or] a diamond mesh, French Val’ (A Manual Of Home-Making, 1919). ‘French Valenciennes […] is a light-weight, delicate kind of lace […] and looks best when combined with thin materials. German Val […] is a heavier and more durable lace.’ (A Girl’s Problems In Home Economics, 1926)

‘For trimming [lingerie dresses] there is nothing prettier of more serviceable than a good quality of German valenciennes lace; the French valenciennes is perhaps daintier, but it has only a single thread where the German has two, and it will not wear as well.’ (San Francisco Call, 1909)

Edwardian Sheer Cotton Muslin Blouse With Lace Inserts
Edwardian Lingerie Blouse – The Before

Change Of Plans

Since there was almost 10 years between starting and finishing my Edwardian lingerie dress, I did a few things differently than I had originally planned.

For example, I originally planned to insert the lace at the bodice in scallops with a lace medallion in the center and also make matching scalloped lace insertions on the skirt. And I also wanted to add ruffles in scallops at the hem of the skirt. But I ran out of fabric and I also ran out of lace! So I had to change my plans: read more about it below.

At first, I’d also made a corset cover and petticoat and a matching separate belt out of historically accurate green viscose taffeta fabric for my Edwardian lingerie dress. But there were some things I didn’t like – also more about it below – and so I made a different Edwardian slip out of mint green cotton batiste fabric. And I also made a Valenciennes lace belt instead of the green faux silk belt.

Details I’d Do Differently Now

There are also some details on the dress that I would do entirely differently now: because I’ve learned so much about Edwardian sewing techniques in these 10 years. I’m glad that the dress is finally, finally finished but there are a few details I’m not totally happy about.

For example, how I finished the ends of the lace trim at the center back of the lace yoke with more lace trim. It was the first Edwardian lace yoke I made and I didn’t know any better at the time. Since then I’ve made countless Edwardian lace yokes by hand. And now I know how the edges of lace yokes were finished in the Edwardian era: either with a hand-rolled hem like on my Edwardian camisole with turquoise silk ribbons, or with a hem like on my Edwardian lace slip or with a self-fabric strip like on my first Edwardian lace camisole.

And I’d also have liked to have used more lace in the dress. I found the vintage cotton Valenciennes lace for my Edwardian dress on ebay. It’s a vintage pure cotton Valenciennes lace that isn’t manufactured anymore. And over several years, I bought more remnants of the same lace as soon as the ebay seller found more. But even though I bought all remnants the seller could find, I only had a limited amount of the vintage Valenciennes lace for my dress.

And the only other shop I knew of 10 years ago that sold antique and new cotton Valenciennes lace trims was very expensive! So I couldn’t afford to buy much from this shop. The small cotton Maline lace trims at the sleeves and yoke and the wide cotton Valenciennes lace at the hem of the skirt are from this shop. But now I know another shop from which I now buy all my cotton Valenciennes lace trims.

I’d also have liked to add a wider ruffle at the skirt and small fabric ruffles on top of the ruffle. But I run out of muslin fabric. The shop I bought the muslin from still sold this type of fabric. But I feared that the color or weave might be slightly different now over 10 years later than when I first bought the muslin fabric. It’s normal for the color, weave and transparency of the same fabric to change more than once a year!

And now I would make the lace cuffs with a placket and snap closure. The sleeves of my Edwardian lingerie dress changed over the years. At first, I made them without ruffles at the end. Click the link below to see how the Edwardian lingerie blouse looked before.

Related: Edwardian Lingerie Blouse

But when I added the ruffles later, the sleeves that were supposed to be elbow lengths were now too long. So I had to make the lace cuffs more fitted so they stay above the elbows. But the sleeves ruffles were all hand sewn: I gathered the ruffles with rolled whipped gathers by hand and I also attached the ruffles to the lace cuffs by hand. And by the way, I had already attached the ruffle the wrong way around the first time! And I didn’t want to take the sleeves ruffles off a second time! 😉

‘The seam of the sleeve may be left open for about two inches and finished as you would a placket on a lingerie skirt, using very small snaps for fastening.’ (Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction, 1916)

So I just threaded thin elastic through the lace cuffs to make them more fitted. Elastic was used in the Edwardian era to gather sleeves. But I still would’ve preferred lace cuffs with plackets and a snap closure. So these are some details I would do differently if I were sewing the Edwardian lingerie dress now.

‘An elastic run through a narrow hem makes an excellent finish.’ (Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction, 1916)

And I also would make videos of how I made the dress and all the hand sewing details. But I didn’t have a good video camera back then. But you can watch a short video of my finished Edwardian lingerie dress on my youtube channel:

-> Short Video Of My Edwardian Lingerie Dress


The Blouse

Separate Bodice & Skirt

Like most early Edwardian dresses, the bodice or blouse and skirt of my lingerie dress are separate. It was only later in the Edwardian era and the 1910s that dresses were sewn together at the waist. To keep the blouse and skirt in place, early Edwardian two-piece dresses were usually joined at the waist: either with a peplum or with hooks and eyes.

‘Both skirt and waist may be gathered into the band or each finished separately’ (Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction, 1916).

Edwardian Lingerie Dress Historical Sewing Details

Unlined Blouse

Edwardian lingerie blouses were made either over a boned lining of thin silk, cotton bobbinet tulle or muslin, or without a lining. I made my Edwardian lingerie waist without lining.

Related: 10 Types Of Corset Boning For Historical Corsetry

‘Quite the most satisfactory white gown is the one which is made up without lining […] the mulls and nainsooks, combined with laces and embroideries, make most attractive summer gowns.’ (The All-White Gown, 1901)

Lace Yoke

Because Edwardian lingerie blouses usually had a lace yoke, I made an Edwardian lace yoke with standing collar for my Edwardian lingerie dress. I used cotton Maline and Valenciennes lace for the lace yoke. And I made the lace yoke like it would’ve been made in the 1900s: I basted the lace trims to paper and then sewed the lace trims together with overhand stitches by hand. Click on the link below, to see how lace yokes were made in the Edwardian era:

Related: How To Make An Edwardian Lace Yoke

In the 1900s, lace yokes usually had a snap or a hook & eye closure instead of a button closure because they are less noticeable than buttons. My lace yoke closes with tiny snaps at the center back.

How To Attach Lace Yoke To Blouse

In the Edwardian era, lace yokes were usually attached by hand. I finished the raw edge of my lingerie blouse with a hand-rolled hem at the back, and with whipped gathering at the front. The rolled whip gathers at the front help create the puffy pouter pigeon shape that was so fashionable in the early Edwardian era!

‘Finish the collar […] If of lace, hem to the right side of the waist and whip the raw edge of the inside of the waist.’ (Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction, 1916)

Related: Overhand, Overcast, Hem & Whip Stitch – What’s The Difference

Valenciennes Lace Inserts At The Front

‘Running down the front, a very elaborate pattern was carried out in real Valenciennes lace insertion.’ (San Francisco Call, 1905)

At first I wanted to insert the lace in scallops at the front, similar to this beautiful ca. 1905 Edwardian Valenciennes lace lingerie dress. But then I ran out of lace and couldn’t make the matching scalloped lace insertions I had planned on the skirt – read more about this below. So I had to change my plans because in the Edwardian era the lace inserts on the bodice and skirt should match. I drew different lace insertion designs and asked my followers on instagram which they liked best.

I finally decided to insert the lace inspired by these Edwardian lingerie dresses: 1900s fashion plate, antique 1900s lingerie dress and lace lingerie dress in a newspaper from 1901.

It would’ve been easier to insert the lace before attaching the lace yoke and sleeves. But since I had already made the first version of the blouse, it was too late now. So it was more fiddly to insert the lace. I pinned the lace to the front of the blouse and played with the design until I liked it. Then I inserted the lace with tiny hems for a secure finish.

Related: 6 Ways How To Insert Lace – Heirloom Sewing Tutorial

‘When lace is to be used for ornamentation, if set into the waist in a pattern, stitch and finish the shoulder seam, put the waist on a form or open up the underarm seam, lay waist flat on table, and apply the lace, baste and try the waist on to see if the design is pleasing. If so, hem or stitch the lace to place before closing the underarm seam. Apply lace to sleeve in the same way.’ (Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction, 1916)

Pintucks At The Back

There was usually no embroidery or insertions at the back of Edwardian blouses. The back was simply embellished with tucks or pintucks. I embellished the back of my Edwardian lingerie blouse with pintucks grouped in four sets of three.

‘The back of the waist is plain, except that it is tucked straight up and down.’ (San Francisco Call, 1905)

‘The tucks used on a dress of this character should be very dainty; they are usually called pin tucks; the finer they are made the prettier the appearance. They may be made with the tucker on the sewing machine. […] Tucks are sometimes made by hand with fine running stitches. They look attractive, but it requires a long time to make them.’ (School Sewing Based On Home Problems, 1916)

How To Attach Lace To Gathered Edge Roll Whip Historical Heirloom Sewing Edwardian Step By Step Tutorial
How To Attach Lace To Gathered Edge – Tutorial

Sleeves With Lace Inserts & Ruffles

‘The short sleeve, coming just to and a trifle below the elbow, is a favorite for the summer’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1904). ‘Elbow sleeves […] are more worn than ever, being appropriate for all hours of the day.’ (San Francisco Call, 1903)

The sleeves of my Edwardian lingerie blouse are elbow-length. I embellished the sleeves with Valenciennes lace inserts and small Maline – aka French Valenciennes – lace ruffles below the lace inserts. Edwardian blouses often had lace ruffles under the lace insertions, especially at the sleeves, like this 1900s lace blouse.

‘Little Val ruffles are almost a necessity with the thin gown.’ (San Francisco Call, 1904)

Then I gathered the puff sleeves below the elbow into Valenciennes lace cuffs and attached ruffles at the bottom. There are two ruffles on each sleeve that overlap each other. I gathered the sleeves and the ruffles with whip stitches by hand. Then I hand stitched the lace to the gathered edges. You can see how I did this in the tutorial below:

Related: How To Attach Lace To Gathered Edge – Historical Sewing

‘Sleeves are cut off below the elbow and finished with ruffles’ (San Francisco Call, 1906). ‘The sleeve […] may be finished […] by rolling and whipping the edge, by setting on dainty ruffles of material or lace, or both. These may be […] rolled and whipped to place.’ (Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction, 1916)

‘The ruffled sleeves are new and stylish.’ (Chicago Tribune, 1903) ‘Some of the prettiest sleeves […] are completed by three narrow overlapping ruffles of lace’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1904).

I trimmed the hems of the ruffles with more Valenciennes lace. And, as I mentioned before, I threaded thin elastic sewing thread through the Valenciennes lace cuffs to keep the cuffs above the elbows.

Button Closure At The Back

‘Blouses will be worn buttoned down the back. The waist that opens in front is the tailor-made waist or the business woman’s waist. All society blouses button in the back.’ (San Francisco Call, 1906)

Expensive Edwardian dresses usually had the closure at the center back because this showed that you could afford a maid to dress you! 😉

‘The waist that buttons down the back is certainly in, and more’s the pity, for it is difficult to fasten and to the woman who lives in a hotel, it means a tip every time, quite a noticeable amount when reckoned up at the close of the season.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902)

My Edwardian lingerie dress closes at the center back with small buttons.

‘Cut buttonholes lengthwise of the material if the waist closes in the front, with box plait; crosswise if it closes in the back. Use small pearl, crochet or linen buttons.’ (Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction, 1916)

How To Keep Blouse & Skirt In Place

If the bodice or blouse and skirt are separate, I usually add a peplum at the waist – like on my Edwardian blue polka dot cotton dress – to keep the bodice tucked into the skirt.

Related: Edwardian Blue Polka Dot Cotton Dress

However, because the skirt is sheer this was not an option for my Edwardian lingerie dress. The other option to keep blouse and skirt in place was to connect the bodice and skirt with hooks & eyes. You can see a short video of both options on my youtube channel:

-> Edwardian Fashion Hack Video: 2 Ways To Keep Your Blouse & Skirt In Place

Usually, two hooks & eyes at the back are enough to keep blouse and skirt in place all day. I needed only two hooks & eyes on my Edwardian shirtwaist costume and my short Edwardian cotton dress.

Related: Edwardian Shirtwaist Costume & Short Edwardian Cotton Dress

But two hooks & eyes were not enough for this dress: my Edwardian lingerie dress needed more to keep everything in place. My Edwardian lingerie dress is joined with 5 hooks and eyes at the waist under the Valenciennes lace belt: two at the back, two at the sides and one at the front. This beautiful Edwardian lingerie dress with countless rows of pintucks and Valenciennes lace at the MET museum is joined at the waist with hooks and eyes.

Edwardian Sheer Cotton Summer Dress Lace Inserts

The Belt

Green Silk Belt

Edwardian white summer dresses often had a separate belt matching the color of the silk lining, like this 1900s white net dress with a purple lining and a matching purple belt and this 1905 white tulle dress with a pink slip and matching pink belt.

‘A sash or girdle of silk or ribbon may be worn to cover the plain waist band.’ (Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction, 1916) ‘The color note [of the slip] […] may be emphasized by […] the silk girdle if the gown be in two pieces’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1908).

So I used scraps of the green viscose taffeta fabric left over from my corset cover and petticoat and made a matching faux silk belt, inspired by this fashion plate from 1902 of a white voile dress with a green taffeta belt. The belt has a dip at the front like most early Edwardian belts had.

‘The deep girdle is a feature of the summer gown. It is made of silk, of satin, of ribbon, of taffeta or of chiffon velvet. […] Its shape is pointed at the bottom, though the dip is very slight.’ (San Francisco Call, 1904)

I sewed the Edwardian belt completely by hand so that no stitches are visible on the right side. I also boned the belt so it lays smoothly. Here’s an antique 1900s boned silk belt. Click the link below to see my Edwardian belt:

Related: DIY Edwardian Belt

Lace Belt

Because I didn’t use the green viscose taffeta corset cover and petticoat for the final version of my Edwardian lingerie dress – more about this below – I also couldn’t use the matching green belt. So I had to change my plans again. And I finally decided to refashion the lace blouse, cut off the peplum and gather the bottom of the blouse into a cotton Valenciennes belt like here or here or here. My lace belt closes at the center back with two hooks and eyes.

‘A lingerie dress may be fastened together […] with hooks and eyes at the belt.’ (School Sewing Based On Home Problems, 1916)

Edwardian belts were often stiffened with featherbone. So I thought I’d also have to stiffen my lace belt like here.

Girdles are ‘mounted on featherboned foundations; or slips of the bone are run into flat casings on the back’ (Chico Record, 1905)

But the belt doesn’t wrinkle even though it’s made of delicate lace. So I didn’t have to add boning.


The Skirt

‘The Trail Of The Skirt’ – Edwardian Trained Skirts

‘A lovely skirt is one that trails well upon the ground’ (San Francisco Call, 1904).

Early Edwardian skirts usually had a train trailing on the ground. Trains could be long or short – even most Edwardian wool walking dresses had trains. Trains certainly look elegant but they’re impractical and even unhygienic like this 1900 cartoon against trailing skirts illustrates.

‘A skirt may as well trail on the ground four inches as one; no benefit accrues by limiting the graces of fashion, and there is no doubt that the skirt on the ground is more elegant than the skirt off the ground […]

The more fortunate, who spend their days in driving, lounging, visiting, may wisely follow the dictates of fashion […] You cannot stop women if they get fads into their heads. Non-trailing dresses might come in to-morrow, though I should hardly think it likely.’ (Wanganui Chronicle, 1901)

Some Edwardian women even tried to form an anti-trailing skirt league. But this didn’t change much: Skirts and dresses still had trains, especially expensive afternoon lingerie dresses and evening gowns.

‘Lingerie gowns of the more elaborate description, such as those intended for garden parties and midsummer weddings, have exceedingly long trains.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1908)

Here’s a photograph of Edwardian lingerie dresses that drag on the ground. However, I didn’t add a very long train on my Edwardian lingerie dress because a skirt with a short train is more practical. But the main reason was that I ran out of fabric! 😉 I based the length of my skirt on this Edwardian photograph of a lace lingerie dress and this 1903 photograph.

‘There seems to be a growing inclination in favor of the short skirt, even for evening and general dress wear. Some attractive models recently seen, although full almost to a point of extremes, had quite round, short skirts. In every case these cleared the ground, the length of line being further shortened by quantities of ruffles and ruching.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1904)

To keep the train clean, trained skirts were worn over a separate, washable slip with a dust ruffle at the hem.

Edwardian White Summer Lace Dress

Lace Inserts & Pintucks

I debated for a long time about how to trim the skirt – for years, to be precise! 😉 At first I wanted to trim the skirt with lace insertions and muslin & lace ruffles in scallops. I found many extant garments as inspiration – ruffles and lace inserts in scallops were obviously very popular in the early Edwardian era.

‘There is no skirt so girlishly dressy as the one that is decorated with lace ruffles or with muslin flounces.’ (San Francisco Call, 1904)

My main inspirations were the following antique Edwardian lingerie dresses: this beautiful 1900s lingerie dress with lace inserts and ruffles in scallops, this Edwardian white cotton & lace dress with ruffles in scallops at the hem, this antique Edwardian photograph of a similar dress and this early Edwardian fashion plate of a pale blue gown with scalloped lace ruffles.

And even though the following three skirts with scalloped Valenciennes lace insertions are petticoats, they were also inspirations for my Edwardian lingerie dress: Lingerie dresses were inspired by lingerie after all! 😀 1903 muslin petticoat with scalloped Valenciennes lace insertions at the MFA museum, antique 1900s lace petticoat & another Edwardian petticoat with lace insertions.

‘Ruffles, flounces, puffings or bands may be used to finish the bottom of a skirt. […] These may be set in under insertion, on bands, or at the lower edge of the skirt.’ (Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction, 1916)

But after trimming the blouse I didn’t have much of the vintage cotton Valenciennes lace left. And I also didn’t have enough fabric left for the ruffles at the hem of the skirt. So I finally decided to trim my lingerie dress differently and to omit the fabric ruffles at the hem.

The lace inserts at the front of the skirt are inspired by this 1900s fashion plate, this drawing from 1900 and this photograph in a 1901 newspaper. Also this extant Edwardian lingerie dress with similar lace inserts and pintucks, this simple 1900s lingerie dress with pintucks and this ca. 1903 muslin and lace lingerie dress at the KCI museum were my inspirations. The panel front or apron design on skirts was also very popular in the Edwardian era.

‘The apron, or Louis Quinze panel front, outlined with little ruchings, or bands of lace or embroidery, are becoming rapidly popular. Sometimes this apron is an inserted panel of lace, but just as often it is merely an effect obtained by a clever arrangement of trimming.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1904)

I finished the bottom of my Edwardian lingerie skirt with a straight gathered ruffle.

‘When the bottom of the skirt is to be finished with a ruffle, even the skirt around the bottom the distance from the floor necessary to make it the right length when the ruffle is sewed on.’ (School Sewing Based On Home Problems, 1916)

And I finished the hem of the ruffle with a wide cotton Valenciennes lace trim.

‘The lace on the edge of the ruffles should be sewed on by hand, but it may be stitched flat on the edge with the machine.’ (School Sewing Based On Home Problems, 1916) ‘If limited in time or working on very inexpensive material, instead of hemming the lace by hand on the right side, it may be stitched by machine […] It is better to use this method only in skirts where the finish is less likely to show from the right side than in waists.’ (Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction, 1916)

I also trimmed the ruffle with cotton Valenciennes lace inserts and pintucks because lace inserts and pintucks were often used together on Edwardian lingerie dresses.

The flounce of the skirt ‘may be made of the same material as the rest of the skirt and headed with insertion, embroidery or rows of ribbon or braid.’ (Designer, 1904)

Pintucks take long to sew but they add such a decorative detail. Besides, pintucks are a much cheaper embellishment than lace inserts!

Edwardian Lingerie Dress Details

Pintucks To Fit The Waist

There are also short pintucks at the top of the skirt. Edwardian sheer skirts often had this decorative detail. And the pintucks at the waist also have a practical reason: Edwardian skirt were usually fitted with darts. But you cannot use darts on a sheer skirt because it wouldn’t look good. So Edwardian sheer skirts were usually fitted with shirring or with pintucks. I chose pintucks to fit the waist like on my short Edwardian cotton dress.

Related: Short Edwardian Cotton Dress

‘Lingerie dresses may be finished [at the waist] in various ways: The skirt if of sheer soft material may be rolled and whipped […] The skirt may be shirred […] or the skirt may be drawn on a cord or a succession of cords forming a yoke […] [or the] fulness […] taken out in tiny tucks at the top.’ (Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction, 1916)

But the pintucks on my muslin skirt were so difficult and annoying to sew! These are radiating pintucks which means that most of the pintucks are on the bias! And sewing tiny pintucks on loosely woven muslin fabric on the bias is no fun! 😆

‘Voluminous at the bottom a skirt must be this spring, if it is to be modish, but exaggerated fullness at the band and over the hips is not essential, is not even desirable save for the slender figure. Skirts are often six or seven yards around the bottom […] nine out of ten of the new skirts are more of the old time bell shape, very wide at bottom, cut or gored to comparatively little fullness at top, and that fullness laid softly in gathers or plaits.’ (Marysville Daily Appeal, 1904)

I had also calculated how much width the pintucks would take away from the waist. But after I finished sewing all those pintucks, the waist was too small. So I had to carefully unpick some of the pintucks again. This took ages! And the fabric is so delicate that the pintucks on the bias still left some pin marks. But the waist of the skirt finally had the right size. Then I finished the waist with a small self-fabric strip because this would be the least noticeable finish under the sheer lace belt of the blouse.

‘A narrow tape, either linen or twilled cotton, may be used for a belt.’ (Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction, 1916)

Placket Closed With Snaps And Hooks & Eyes

My Edwardian lingerie closes at the center back. Like most Edwardian skirts, the waistband closes with hooks & eyes, and the placket closes with snaps. Click the link below to see how I made the placket on my Edwardian lingerie skirt in a flat felled seam.

Related: 6 Ways How To Sew A Placket – Historical Sewing

‘Like all other plackets, that on a lingerie dress should be as inconspicuous as possible. If the skirt is of sheer material and very full, a continuous (bound) placket facing may be used. […] Use hooks and eyes for fastening the waist band, and snap fasteners […] for the placket’ (Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction, 1916).


Edwardian Underwear & Accessories

Edwardian Colored Slips

In the Edwardian era, lingerie dresses were often worn over colored slips. These slips were made either of thin silk or cotton fabric and in various colors like pink, green, blue and yellow.

‘The lingerie dress is more worn than ever this season, and those of elaborate make, over a colored silk lining, outnumber any other style of dress for afternoon or evening.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1907) ‘This graceful skirt is charmingly developed in ecru silk-dotted batiste over a foundation of light-blue taffeta.’ (Designer, 1904)

Here’s a pretty 1905 white lace dress over a pink slip, a 1908 white lace & net gown over a pink slip, another ca. 1905 white linen and lace gown over a pink slip and a ca. 1903 dress over a yellow slip. And even though the green slip of this antique Edwardian dress isn’t original, it was also one of the main inspirations for my Edwardian lingerie dress.

Edwardian colored foundations were either all-in-one – called princess slip or combination garment – like this 1900s pink silk princess petticoat with boning, or separate – corset cover and petticoat.

‘Linings in one piece, cut from princess pattern, or waist and skirt joined on belt, are frequently used for wear under sheer summer dresses.’ (Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction, 1916)

‘One need not line [lingerie gowns] […] but one can trust to the nice taffeta underskirt and the nice taffeta corset cover to supply the lining.’ (San Francisco Call, 1903)

Edwardian Princess Slip
Edwardian Princess Slip

White & Green – A Popular Color Combination For Summer

The ‘gown is of white nun’s veiling made up over pale green silk’ (The Jennings Daily Record, 1902). ‘This is a green season almost as pronouncedly as it is a white season. All shades of the clear color are worn.’ (The Billings Gazette, 1903)

White and green was a popular color combination for Edwardian summer gowns. Here’s a beautiful Edwardian lingerie dress worn over a green slip and with a green taffeta belt, a 1904 linen dress with a green belt and cuffs and an Edwardian painting of a white and green gown.

‘White and Green. Crisp as fresh lettuce look the lingerie gowns of sheerest batiste, embroidery trimmed, worn over pale green slips. These have a delightful summery appearance suggestive of fields and brooks and cosy nooks where pretty girls are sheltered by big white umbrellas. But the real reason for the undertone of color is that it so perfectly defines the beauty of the embroidery bands, motifs and flounces.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1908).

Edwardian summer dresses often had more than one lining: a simple way to change the look of the dress. On one day, the sheer dress was worn over a blue slip, the next over a yellow slip!

‘For wear with any sort of one-piece muslin frocks a slip of India silk or fine lawn, perfect in fit and of the same skirt length, is absolutely necessary. If a woman possesses an unlimited bank account, it is an excellent plan to have a separate slip for each lingerie dress, but if this is too expensive there should be several of different tints which may be used interchangeably to diversify the wardrobe.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1908).

My First & My Second Mint Green Edwardian Slip

‘When the [lingerie] dress is to be worn over a separate slip, first fit the slip’ (Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction, 1916).

At first, I had made a separate corset cover and petticoat out of historically accurate green viscose taffeta fabric for my Edwardian lingerie dress.

Related: Edwardian Green Artificial Silk Lingerie – Petticoat & Corset Cover

But then I noticed that the green color didn’t look good under the muslin dress. It didn’t look fresh: it looked more gray than green. Also, the peplum of the slippery corset cover kept slipping out of the petticoat. And the waistband of the skirt over the waistband of the petticoat over the waistband of the corset cover created too much bulk at the waist. So I decided to make another Edwardian slip.

This time I chose mint green cotton batiste. The color of this fabric looked so much better under my Edwardian lingerie dress: fresh and a beautiful pale shade of mint green. I also used the same fabric as lining for my 1950s-style refashioned crochet tablecloth dress.

Related: Refashioned Crochet Tablecloth Dress

And I used the leftover fabric scraps to make one of the four lace camisoles:

Related: 4 Edwardian Camisoles Made With Lace & Fabric Scraps

And this time I decided to make an Edwardian princess slip instead of a separate camisole and petticoat to reduce the bulk at the waist. Click the link below to see the mint green slip I wear under my Edwardian lingerie dress.

Related: Edwardian Princess Slip

I embellished my Edwardian princess slip with lace inserts and the same wide cotton Valenciennes lace at the hem that I used for the hem of my lingerie dress. I also made a lace yoke in the same shape as the yoke of my dress. And like most Edwardian petticoats, my princess petticoat has a top ruffle and a dust ruffle to support the wide hem of the Edwardian dress.

1900s Lingerie Dress

Edwardian Lingerie Under My Lingerie Dress

Under my Edwardian lingerie dress I wear:

DIY Painted Shoes

‘The hand painted summer girl […] wears a hand-painted gown and hand-painted shoes’ (San Francisco Call, 1904).

I wear similar shoes with pointed toes and Louis heels like these antique Edwardian shoes at Abiti Antichi. I used beige suede shoes and painted them mint green with leather paint to match the mint green color of my Edwardian princess slip. You can find my tutorial on how I painted these shoes by clicking the link below:

Related: How To Paint Shoes

‘For the street there are shoes to match the gown and it is particularly swell to have […] shoes […] in every color of which the dress is made. […] This seems to give the little touch of elegance which every costume should have.’ (San Francisco Call, 1906)

Edwardian Pompadour Hairstyle

And I put my hair up into an Edwardian high pompadour hairstyle.

Related: How To Make An Authentic Edwardian Pompadour Hairstyle

Edwardian Lingerie Dress

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