10 Edwardian Sewing Details + Why They Were Used

How To Keep Shirt Tucked In And Keep Skirt In Place Edwardian Sewing Hack
Inverted box pleat and separate bodice & skirt on my Short Edwardian Cotton Dress

The Edwardian era is my favorite historical era at the moment 😀 and also the era I know the most about. I try to make all my Edwardian clothes as historically accurate as possible using Edwardian sewing techniques. So I thought I’d write a list about popular Edwardian sewing details and why they were used. I’ll update the post from time to time when I find new Edwardian sewing techniques – so stay tuned!

10 Edwardian Sewing Details + Why They Were Used

Inverted Box Pleat

Almost all Edwardian skirts had an inverted box pleat at the center back. If a skirt didn’t have an inverted box, it was usually a petticoat (underskirt). The inverted box pleat could be left free or could be stitched down – then it was called a habit back.

The inverted box pleat was used to add volume to the bottom of the skirt while still keeping the skirt fitted at the hip for a fashionable Edwardian silhouette.

Deep Hem & Hem Stiffening

Edwardian cotton skirt usually had deep hems and wool skirts had some sort of hem stiffening like hair cloth: This added weight so the skirt hangs better. And it also stiffened the hem of the wide flaring Edwardian skirts.

Edwardian Skirt Details Inside Boned Dip Waist Belt Hem Stiffening Mohair Wool Brush Braid
Brush braid & hem stiffening on my Edwardian Tailored Wool Skirt

Brush Braid & Velvet Hem Facing

Because Edwardian skirt were long and usually trailed on the ground, it was necessary to protect the hem from fraying. The hems of 1900s wool skirts either had mohair brush braid or a cotton or silk velvet facing at the inside hem.

Back Closure

Bodices of expensive Edwardian dresses – like lace lingerie dresses and silk evening dresses – usually closed at the back. This was used to show that you could afford a maid to dress you!

1900s Blue Dotted Dress Pompadour Hairstyle
Front closure on my Edwardian Cotton Wash Dress

Front Closure

On the other hand, everyday dresses and dresses for housework – like cotton wash dresses, house dresses or wrappers – mostly had front closures. This made it easier dress yourself.

Edwardian Princess Slip Valenciennes Lace Yoke, Silk Ribbon Bow, Bias Facing, Back Center Closure With Inverted Box Pleat
Flat felled seams on my Edwardian Princess Slip

Flat Felled Seams

The flat felled seam seems to have been one of the most popular seams in the Edwardian era. It was used on underwear and tailored cotton and wool dresses. The flat felled seam is a tidy flat seam with no raw edges on the wrong side. The seam doesn’t become distorted in the wash and is also is easy to iron.

Separate Bodice & Skirt

Early Edwardian dresses usually had a separate skirt and bodice (both were made of the same fabric). This probably made the dress is easier to wash and iron.

Edwardian Silk Petticoat
Pintucks on my Edwardian Petticoat


Underwear in the Edwardian era often featured pintucks. Pintucks were non only used to embellish but also to stiffen the undergarment. That’s why pintucks were usually used on the hem of petticoats and on the back of camisoles and slips. On the petticoats, pintucked hems helped support the wide flaring Edwardian skirts. And pintucks at the back of camisoles and slips kept the back flat and wrinkle-free.

Edwardian Unboned Sports Corset
Corset hook on my Edwardian Sports Corset

Corset Hook

Edwardian corsets often had a hook or dagger in the front. This was used to keep the dip waist of Edwardian skirts in place (the waistband of the skirt was slipped under the hook): down in the front and up in the back.

Hook & Eye Connection

To keep the blouse or bodice tucked in and the dip waist skirt up in the back, Edwardian skirts and bodices were usually connected at the center back: either with hooks & eyes or with buttons & buttonholes.

‘Sew buttonholed rings at the back of the waist belt […] If two are used, each ring should be an inch and one-eighth from the center back. Or, one can be placed at the center of the back, with the others two inches apart. Hooks are sewed with the same spacing to the inside of the skirt belt. Do not use hooks any larger than neccessary to fit into the rings. If rings are not procurable, ordinary eyes may be substituted.’ (The Dressmaker, 1916)

2 thoughts on “10 Edwardian Sewing Details + Why They Were Used

  1. Thank yoh so much for sharing with us!
    No wonder you needed a Ladies Maid to get you in and out of everything!

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