After stitching together the bodice, I experimented with several skirt variations. I’d love to get your feedback on these, as there are a lot of ways to put together a 1912 skirt. The Art Nouveau look was all the rage, and that meant artistic drapery of diaphanous, exquisite fabrics ruled the day:
A 1912 dinner gown with the “V” inset style. This one has a solid overskirt decorated with embroidery or openwork, then a trained underskirt in a lighter blue.
Here’s an interesting 1912 French dinner gown with a split, trained overskirt featuring a “knot” in the center. Underskirt has decorative fringe across the hemline.
This is a 1912 illustration of an evening gown by House of Worth. Note the filmy kimono sleeves and the split, trained overskirt revealing a heavily decorated underskirt beneath.
Another 1912 worth evening gown. This one features a brocade underskirt with train. The overbodice and skirt are of black chiffon or georgette. Note the “V” inset on this gown as well–a popular look in 1912, it seems. Good choice, ladies!
So, given these ideas, let’s see what I can create of my coppery spun silk and yards of saree material!
This is obviously the most straightforward option: a split-front overskirt that echoes the “V” of the inset. Here’s a close-up:
I’ve pinned the skirt with minimal gathers for a slimmer look. Fuller skirts came in around 1914-5, emphasizing the hipline. The look of 1912 is still mostly columnar, emphasizing the regal posture and collarbones. In a way, this period is a throwback to 1812, as it has a brief “fling” with the empire waist again.
Okay, let’s mix things up a bit by moving the front split over to the left side for an asymmetrical look:
And here’s a close-up:
I think this work looks, because the split serves as a visual continuation of the “V” sweep of the right side of the bodice inset (left in the photo). It’s not as slimming as option 1, but it’s pretty. Now let’s try sweeping the material to one side to create a more dramatic front opening:
I think this has more “wow” factor than the plainer side-front split. Thoughts? Here’s the same basic idea but with a less dramatic sweep:
Okay, now let’s try “hemming” the saree material to create a shorter overskirt:
Hmmm…. I know it’s straight out of 1912, but I just don’t like the “chopped” look of a shorter overskirt. I think it visually shortens the wearer, making for a dumpier silhouette.
Now let’s take a look at some skirt back options:
This is the most basic option: a solid overskirt with the copper train coming from the underskirt.
Close-up of the rectangular train.
Here’s a more dramatic skirt back option–a second split opening:
I like this idea much better. It really revs up the drama of the train and makes it look like a “waterfall” rather than something just sticking out from under the overskirt. What do you think?
Now let’s try a “swept” overskirt back:
This is very Paul Poiret with the “hip panniers” created by the overskirt. It’s definitely dramatic, but I think it draws the eye to the wrong places. What’s your opinion? Here’s a dress from this period with a similar look (stolen from Suzi Clarke’s Pinterest–thanks, Suzi!):
Now, there is one last option that I do have enough fabric to attempt. Here is a Worth gown with a tiered overskirt made of what looks like saree material:
Because I have so many yards of my saree fabric, I could attempt this look. The quick draping below gives an idea of how it would turn out, though it looks a little “bunchy” simply because I had to fold the saree to shorten up the layers:
The idea has merit, but I’ll confess up front it’s the one I’m least inclined to try due to my time constraints. I hope to finish all the machine sewing on this gown tonight (Friday), since we’ll be enjoying our guests all Easter weekend. I plan to do the hand trimming and hemming on Tuesday. The dinner is Thursday, so this is it! I’d really appreciate your feedback on the various skirt options. I truly can’t make up my mind without a lot of input!