Short Edwardian Cotton Dress – History Bounding

Short Edwardian Cotton Dress

Inspired by Edwardian girls’ dresses I made a short Edwardian cotton dress.  But instead of using new fabric I used one vintage apricot-colored cotton bedsheet which I dyed with blue fabric dye. And the placement of the tucks and pintucks is an almost extact copy of an antique Edwardian cotton dress.

Short Edwardian Cotton Wash Dress History Bounding

Short Edwardian Wash Dress

My mint green Edwardian wash dress is mainly inspired by Edwardian girls’ dresses like these, these or these. Edwardian girls’ dresses were shorter – between knee-length and calf-length – so it’s perfect for a modern Edwardian dress that doesn’t look too costume-y.

In the Edwardian era this style of dress was called wash dress because it was an everyday dress and it was washable: it was either made of cotton or washable silk.

Modern Edwardian Summer Dress
I chose this beautiful colonnade which was built in 1899 as backdrop for my Edwardian dress.


For my short Edwardian dress I used an old apricot-colored cotton bedsheet that I overdyed with turquoise fabric dye which produced this beautiful mint green color. When I dyed the bedsheet I hadn’t planned to turn it into a dress. But I liked the mint green color so much that I just had to make something with it! 😉

Related: Update Old Clothes With Fabric Dye

Edwardian Cotton Dress Bodice Close Up Knife Pleats Button Closure Pintucks
Bodice with knife pleats & button closure.

However, because I had only one bedsheet I almost didn’t have enough fabric for my modern Edwardian cotton summer dress so I had to piece the fabric together. On top of that the fabric has some stains from the dyeing process but I tried to use the fabric pieces where the stains were less noticeable. But because I didn’t have enough fabric, the pouter pigeon front is less blouse-y and the sleeves are shorter than I would’ve liked.

Modern Edwardian Cotton Dress
High pompadour & thunderstorm clouds

Mint Green & White

Because mint green and white looks so summery together like mint chocolate chip ice cream – my favorite ice cream by the way – 😀 I added some white details similar to this antique Edwardian mint green cotton dress with white details. I used white buttons and I made a white cotton dip waist belt. I also used white cotton fabric for the facings at the collar, placket and hem.

Short Edwardian Cotton Dress Bodice Back Edwardian Girls Hairstyle With Braids And Hair Bows
Sloping shoulder seams, pintucks at the bodice back & inverted box pleat at the center back of the skirt. My hairstyle is a variation of an Edwardian girls’ hairstyle: known as cadogan braids in the 1900s.

Related: 50 Edwardian Pompadour Gibson Girl Hairstyles

Short Edwardian Cotton Dress Inspiration

The main inspiration for my short Edwardian cotton dress was this beautiful blue cotton dress with arrow-shaped pintucks and tucks from about 1905. My skirt is almost like the skirt of the 1905 dress except that my skirt is only knee-length. The front and sleeves are also similar except that I omitted the pintucks at the sleeves. I gathered the elbow-length sleeves into a cuff similar to this beautiful Edwardian girl’s dress. I also added pintucks at the back of the bodice because pintucks help to keep the bodice back flat and wrinkle-free.

Mint Green Edwardian Cotton Dress

Historically Correct Sewing Details

As always I used Edwardian sewing techniques and made the dress as historically correct as possible.

Like most dresses in the early Edwardian era my short Edwardian cotton dress has a separate bodice and skirt. The skirt is closed with hooks & eyes and snaps under the inverted box pleat at the center back. And the bodice is closed at the center front with buttons and hooks & eyes at the belt.

Related: 1900-1909 Edwardian Fashion Timeline

All seams are finished with flat felled seams and French seams. And I used white cotton fabric to face the collar, placket and hem.

Short Edwardian Cotton Dress Godet Ruffle Petticoat
White cotton facings at the collar, placket & hem. Dress worn over my short Edwardian petticoat.

Mermaid Skirt

The mermaid or godet shape of my skirt is inspired by antique Edwardian showgirl dresses like these three and this one. My short Edwardian cotton dress has a circular flounce at the bottom similar to this 1900s cotton dress. I attached the circular flounce with a flat felled seam and stiffened it with two tucks and a cotton hem facing. But to create an extreme godet shape I also made a separate rayon taffeta petticoat which I stiffened with cording and ruching at the hem.

Related: Short Edwardian Faux Silk Petticoat

I’m so pleased with the skirt shape! Even though the petticoat is so full at the hem that it’s uncomfortable to sit in! 😆

Historical Costuming 1900s Edwardian Summer Dress

Edwardian Dip Waist Belt

In the Edwardian era, particularly the early Edwardian era, dip waists were very popular. My mint green wash dress also has a dip waist belt. To create the dip waist effect, I finished the waistband of the skirt with white cotton twill tape – the waistband sits in the waist (without dip). The dip waist belt is sewn to the bodice of the dress like here or here.

1900s Edwardian Cotton Wash Dress History Bounding

I made the dip waist belt of two fabric layers: aida cloth which was leftover from my Edwardian summer corset as strength layer and white cotton fabric as outer fabric. While the bodice has a button closure, the dip waist belt is closed invisibly with two hooks & eyes.

Related: How To Make An Edwardian Dip Waist Belt

By the way, because the bodice and skirt of my Edwardian dress are separate I could also wear the skirt with a white shirtwaist like the girl in this 1900 fashion plate.

How To Keep Shirt Tucked In And Keep Skirt In Place Edwardian Sewing Hack
Edwardian trick to keep bodice & skirt in place

How To Create The Dip Waist Effect – Or: How To Keep Bodice & Skirt In Place

To prevent an unsightly gap between the skirt and bodice when you move about, Edwardian two-piece dresses were usually connected at the waist either with buttons like here or with hooks & eyes like here. My dip waist belt hooks onto the skirt with two hooks & eyes in the center back. There’s also a cotton twill waisttape inside the bodice (closed with two hooks & eyes at the center front) that sits in the waist and prevents the bodice from slipping around. This is how the dip waist illusion was created in the Edwardian era. Even if you move, the dip waist belt stays in place and there’s no gap between the bodice and skirt.

Modern Edwardian History Bounding Dress Refashion

On the day of the photoshoot I wore my short Edwardian cotton dress for a whole day: I braided the Edwardian cadogan hairstyle, walked, drove in a car, hiked and even exercised! And in the evening there still was no gap between the bodice and skirt – yay! 😀 Edwardians certainly knew how to keep the bodice and skirt in place! I’m so happy that this Edwardian trick works and that I no longer have to use safety pins to keep the shirt tucked in or to keep the dip waist belt and skirt in place.

Edwardian Pompadour Hairstyles

You may have noticed that I wear two different Edwardian pompadour hairstyles in these photos. On the first photoshoot I wore a high pompadour. But a thunderstorm ended the photoshoot too soon! 😉 On the second photoshoot I wore an Edwardian girl hairstyle: a low pompadour with cadogan braids and silk hair bows.

DIY Refashioned Bedsheet Dress
Low pompadour with cadogan braids & silk hair bows

If you want to make a simple (historically accurate) Edwardian pompadour hairstyle, click on the link below:

Related: Edwardian Pompadour Hairstyle Tutorial

And if you want to learn more about Edwardian pompadour hairstyles, I wrote a very long blog post about all the different Edwardian pompadour hairstyles (including the cadogan braid hairstyle):

Related: 50 Edwardian Pompadour Gibson Girl Hairstyles

DIY Bedsheet Cotton Summer Dress Refashion

8 thoughts on “Short Edwardian Cotton Dress – History Bounding

  1. I love it! Just found your blog, and I am most impressed. I really like those boots you are wearing as well. Did you make them? I need a pair of boots like that. They look great with your beautiful dress.

  2. Per usual, you skill is incredible! I can’t believe you made this from a sheet you dyed. The result is absolutely stunning! I love how you did your hair and accessorized the outfit. It’s so fun to follow your work.

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