My daughter expressed a desire to go to Book Week as Anne of Green Gables this year, so after raiding my fabric stash I launched into making her a costume.
Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery, was set in the early 1900’s, in the Edwardian era. There was great variety in what girls would wear during this time, in terms of the embellishments and cut of the clothes.
Throughout the first movie of Anne of Green Gables, girls tended to wear dresses with long sleeves, reaching to mid-calf. Over the top of this they would wear a type of pinafore apron, which was commonly worn in the era to protect their dresses from the everyday rigours of children’s play.
This whole ensemble was made in a weekend, so I didn’t take any progress pictures.
For the dress, I worked mainly with paper draping for the bodice.
The bodice has a front bodice panel (cut on the fold) and two back panels, with a centre back button placket and 5 buttons to do it up. For the skirts, there is a front skirt panel (cut on the fold) and one back skirt panel with a continuous placket in the centre back, plus two long sleeves with puffy sleeve heads. The collar I drafted with scrap material to get the shape right. It is made of two crescent-moon-shaped pieces, lined with plain material. The neckline is neatened with a bias binding strip, which was all turned to the inside and handsewn down.
The only uncertainty I have with this dress is whether the waistline should be a bit lower – that is, at the natural waistline – as many dresses are from the Edwardian era. However, once it is covered with the apron it is not really noticeable.
The apron consists of a yoke, with a front panel (cut on the centre front fold) and two back panels, with a centre back button placket and 2 buttons to do it up. The skirts are made up of a front panel and two back panels, which are just rectangles of material gathered to fit the yoke.
For the apron, I actually just laid the fabric on my daughter and cut! I was a little terrified, but the shapes are fairly basic and there is no complicated fitting in these aprons, so I thought it was worth the risk.
The only thing that I had to ensure was that the neckline of the apron sat below the neckline of the dress, so that the collar would lay down neatly over the top.
I was really pleased with the ease in which this costume was created, and how effective it looks. It is one of the great things about historical children’s clothing, that they tend to be so simple in construction! All up this costume only cost me the 5 buttons for the dress, as everything else I found in my stash.
I have never thoroughly researched children’s wear in the Edwardian period, so this piece is not really historically accurate in the sense that it is firmly based on what children wore in this era. However, it looks similar to the costumes in the Anne of Green Gables movie, which is what I was going for!
Sources and Relevant Links
How to sew a Continuous Placket – by Sewaholic
Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery – read online
“Good Taste and Bad Taste in Dressing Edwardian Children” – at Victoriana Magazine
Children’s Costume 1900-1910 – at Fashion Era .com
Anne’s Wardrobe: What’s your favourite outfit? – at Sullivan Entertainment