Friday, 9 May 2014

Edwardian vintage wedding dresses - a guide.

Dear Reader

The Edwardian period was just ten years from 1901 to 1910. But it is still popular today: just look at the international success of Downton Abbey. (The period after the death of Edward until the First World War is often included, too.)
Original Edwardian vintage wedding dress (with 1930s satin slip), £1250
Fashionable Edwardian brides aspired to the 'S' shape, which was created by whalebone corsetry. The corset design (called The Health Corset) although restrictive, was at least not as damaging to their health as corsets of the Victorian era. The waist circumference was gradually reduced by tighter lacing, until they reached their smallest size which - shockingly - could be as small as 16 inches.
I look for dresses with a reasonable waist size (not 16ins!) then I have a few clever techniques for increasing the size further. For example, adding lace from the same era. This can bring the waist to about 26 or 27ins - which of course is still very small fitting and not for everyone, but hopefully doesn’t require a corset!
Original Edwardian vintage wedding dress (with 1930s satin slip), £1250
And there are other features which may need modification: first, the front of the bodice is often loose-fitting, or 'pigeon chested’. Secondly, Edwardian wedding dresses often have high necks usually supported by tiny ‘bones'. These can be removed or adapted to give a softer neck shape.
I am not at all against changing vintage dress to make them work in a modern context,  as long as it's done sympathetically and the dress looks better for it! 
I am also a fan of Edwardian style headdresses. The fashion was for delicate circlets made from wax flowers, see my post here. I've definitely seen a trend amongst my clients for fresh flowers instead of diamante - which I think is a lovely change. I will always love a well made side-tiara but it’s nice that girls are rediscovering real flowers. And circlets are definitely a trend right now.
Original Edwardian vintage wedding dress (with 1930s satin slip), £1350
I'd also like to show you a Heavenly Vintage Bride from a few years ago. Her name is Millie, and she wore a beautiful late-Edwardian dress for her Beatrix Potter themed wedding. 
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Millie’s dress is wonderful fine lace called ‘Tambour’ lace, which is embroidered cotton net. This was usually worked by hand using a frame and hook.
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There's lots more lovely images from Millie's wedding on the LoveMyDress wedding blog (a great blog, if you haven't seen it before.) Check out Millie's feature, here.
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I'm a huge fan of this style of lace - or any cotton lace, actually! And it’s so good for vintage collectors and wearers as it stays strong for many years. 
Many veils were also made of Tambour lace such as those shown here. I am in the process of having some lovely veils made to complement my dresses, using a special sewing machine which replicates this style of lace.
As soon as my new veils are perfect, I'll let you know: you'll see them here first! I've included some pictures of two wonderful original Edwardian dresses which are both available now. If, like me, you love the dresses from this period, then do check out these vintage Edwardian dresses here

Hope you've enjoyed this post - and see you soon!

Love 
Helena
Heavenly Vintage Brides