A dress of many patterns

Hi, everyone!

Today on the blog it’s all about a dress recreation project: a dress of many patterns.

I’ve spoken about the idea of recreating a vintage, Edwardian-styled dress from the collection of the Huron County Museum & Historic Gaol. The plan is to recreate the basic pattern of a tea dress using swatches of recreated needlework items. So, it’s a reproduction on two levels: design & construction.

wedding dress dated from 1911
Heirloom 1912 wedding dress and shawl worn by Francis Mason Watson of Blyth in 1912. (Photo used courtesy of the Huron County Museum.)

The dress design will be based on an Edwardian Tea Dress-style wedding dress originally worn by Francis Mason Watson (1890 – 1918) a former resident of Blyth, Ontario. The shawl and dress will be made up of vintage pattern samplers (swatches) based on textile items in the Huron County Museum. Stitchers of all levels and techniques are welcome, beginner to advanced.

The needlework techniques used in the swatches will depend on the skills of the volunteers that take part. If there are tatting experts, for example, tatting reproduction swatches could be worked up and incorporated into the dress.

A visit with 1911 vintage

IA while ago, I enjoyed a visit to the museum and getting a look at the 1911 wedding dress in person. The simply lovely cream-coloured wedding dress dates from 1911. It’s even more beautiful in person – the images give just a hint of its charm. And so you can get a look too, here’s a collection of images of the dress…

wedding dress dated from 1911

The dress’s construction is simple, consisting of basic shapes (rectangles, triangles, and squares) and so would lend itself to a swatch contruction. Portions of the dress have a lovely silky sheen; I can imagine those portions would be lovely knitted or crocheted using a fibre with a sheen to it. Other portions of the dress are matte and would lend themselves to recreation using another fibre, perhaps a fine wool blend.

Let’s stitch some history

Would you be interested in joining in this creative reconstruction project? Needle workers & stitchers of all technique and skill level are welcome to join.  The museum has a wealth of vintage textile items (such as knitting, quilting, crochet, embroidery) and you are sure to see a stitched item that would inspire you.

I’ve put together a number of the images of needlework textiles items from their collection. I’ve tried to include examples of crochet, knit, tatting, lace, and embroidery. There are many more textiles in the museum. Have a look at these examples…

heirloom counterpane dresser scarfa portion of the counterpane baby blanketTidy Chair Back Pattern

Next steps

What do you think? Want to join us and stitch a sampler? The pattern you recreate or create (if you are inspired to make your own version) would then be published as part of a collection, Stitching Our History – a Collection of Needlework Patterns from the Huron County Museum.

Contact me by email or sign-up for my newsletter if you’d like to get involved or get regular updates on this project.

Please note all photos are courtesy of the Huron County Museum & Historic Gaol and are used with permission. Thank you to Huron County Museum & Historic Gaol for their support.