Thursday, February 2, 2012

An Edwardian Lawn Dress

Circa 1910's lawn dress.

I don't know much about this white dress. I have seen this style called both a lawn dress and lingerie dress, but I am not 100% sure which is correct. What I do know is that this particular piece dates from upwards of 1910 and that these white Edwardian dresses are very easy to find today. Go on ebay, etsy, most online vintage stores and you will not have to look long to find one. Either there were just so many of them made that so many have survived, or they were not worn much. If someone who knows more about Edwardian fashion wants to share, please do.

This dress is quite short on me, coming above the ankle. I'm five foot four, so either this particular dress was made for someone very short or the style shows the foot. The short sleeves are intriguing to me, as I haven't seen too many of these dresses showing so much arm. It is probably made of cotton lawn, which I think is where the name comes from: lawn dress. The dress also appears to be mostly machine made (except maybe attaching the buttons), with what looks like machine made lace, machine made seams and machine embroidery on the front bust.

But on to the pictures...

Front view.

How cute these little flower buttons are!

The embroidery looks to be
done by machine.

Detail of the waistband.

The hem is edged in headside lace
(i.e. lace with a wavy edge vs. the inset
lace which is finished on both edges
as a footside).

Inside the dress. Note the lace is inset and the fabric
selvedge is left raw.

The lace looks to be machine made bobbin lace in the
english style.

Back view.

The next two pictures show this area in detail (back of skirt),
where a couple repairs have been made,

A different lace has been set in as a repair.
It is also machine lace.

The neckline closes with lace covered buttons,
with the button hole being the scalloped
edge of the lace.

Detail of the covered buttons.

The rest of the buttons look to be mother of
pearl or a faux equivalent.

The button holes below the waist
are thread bars.

The button holes from the waist up are hidden
in a double layer of fabric.

Detail of the bobbin lace at the neckline.

American graduation photo from 1912. Dushor, Pennsylvania.
The photo shows young girls in similar white dresses.
Look at those huge hair bows!

Photo courtesy Ye Olde Fashion.


  1. What a gorgeous piece! I am so jealous - I'm about to go look for one myself. :-) The later 19teens dresses were indeed meant to show the foot, and this might even be a girl's/teenager's dress. That is my guess based on the short sleeves.

    1. That makes sense. It looks a little too girly to be a woman's dress. It makes me want to go out on the grass and play badminton lol!

  2. Again, another equisite dress from your collection, and photographed beautifully. Thanks!

  3. I just found your blog - directed from a facebook group on 1912 clothing. Your pictures are wonderful as are the descriptions. I think your blog is going to be a great help to me with my projects. Thank you so much for posting!!!

    1. So happy to help! I have another daytime dress I hope to post pictures of very soon. What Facebook group is this? I'm interested!

  4. "Lawn" might refer to the type of fabric (a type of cotton or linen weave) whereas "lingerie" may refer to the style of the dress.

  5. Lawn is the type of fabric.Actually,a lot of boho style tops and dresses today are made like that,complete with crocheted lace and eyelet details.Very pretty dress.