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I could not wait to post this…..I’m sooooo flipping excited! I regularly go to antique shops with either my mom or my mother-in-law. When you go to enough shops, you kind of see the same things over and over. I try to limit my goals to just a few things so I don’t go hog wild. Well, I’m always on the look out for really excellent antique/historic clothing. A few years ago I found a shirt waist circa 1900, but today I hit the jackpot. As anyone who watches Downton Abby knows, every girl needs a Downton Abby dress. I found mine. I’m in love.

It’s a lovely, super soft hunter green wool with black details and accents.

Here it is!

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The dress is actually two separate pieces. The inside (under) bodice is white muslin that has very clearly been worn because it is stained and has some holes and someone who was a little larger than me split it to half way down the back. The sleeves and skirt are wool and sewn to the bodice. Then the separate over dress has a beautiful curved shawl collar and a black satin (?) insert with tiny fabric covered buttons. The buttons are all decoration though because everything snaps shut and the snaps are new so someone updated it recently. Also, the under skirt is quite narrow. There is some “swoosh” to it, but not a lot. The over dress skirt is a bit fuller with the pleats. Also, I do not have proper shoes on and my socks are awesomely 21st century so I cropped the picture, but the skirt hem falls mid calf. Because of these details, I think the dress is around 1918. I looked at various pictures online and 1910 dresses are long, almost to the floor with narrow skirts. But by 1918, the hems had risen, they were not full, and the waist was at the natural height before it dropped in the 20s.

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Over dress open to reveal the under bodice made of muslin

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Beautiful simple pleating

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I love how the waist sits at my natural waist too. It’s a graceful, elegant style. The waist band closes just under the left breast. It’s a near perfect closure and you can barely see it.

I’m amazed that this dress fits me perfectly. Absolutely amazed. Now my new conundrum: do I replace the muslin inner bodice? do I try to replicate the dress completely (because I have nothing better to do with my time – clearly).

Here are some pictures that are similar in shape, but these examples are quite dressy where my dress is more simple in its overall design.

http://dressmakingresearch.com/1918.htm

This is the closest picture I’ve been able to find. I think the pattern says “Aug 13, 1915” which is not far off. The only difference between this dress and the one I purchased is that mine is not “flowy” fabric where as the one in the picture in the link looks like the fabric is more drapey/flowy. The other difference is that mine very clearly has pleats and the one in the link is gathered.

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