I recently attended a “Spooky Victorian Tea Party” hosted by the GBACG, and wore an outfit inspired by Edith Cushing’s picnic outfit in the Crimson Peak movie. When I saw the movie in theaters I immediately fell in love with that creepy hand belt!
The belt buckle is meant to mimic carved ivory and the belt is meant to be hair, inspired by mourning jewelry.
I didn’t have time to blog the research and progress, so this post is going to do double-duty. Here is Edith with a beautiful pleated blouse, silk taffeta skirt, a fancy belt, a fugly hat, and a handsome man (Sir Thomas Sharpe).
My outfit was inspired by, but not a cosplay, for a few reasons. First, I’m using my own hair instead of a blond wig. For reasons of time and cost, I wanted to be able to reuse my ensemble with different accessories for a historical costume like a suffragette outfit. For practical reasons, I could not get the exact same kind of lace on the blouse, and didn’t plan to drive myself crazy looking for it. Finally, I hate the taco hat.
Seriously, it looks like the tostada they give you at Chevy’s on your birthday. Edith even looks embarrassed to be wearing it in this photo.
In another part of the movie, Edith wears the same skirt with a jacket and a boater. Isn’t that hat so much cuter?
I made my own with a bit of hat surgery, and decorated it with butterflies since those are a theme in the movie.
The costume was on display at FIDM, and a friend went to take photos and report back to me whether the silk taffeta in the skirt was bronze, copper, or pink because the promo photos were inconsistent.
By the way, if you have eagle eyes, or you’re just obsessive like me, you’ll notice a flaw or heavy crease in the silk running between the second-to-last two buttons. This did not happen during transport to the museum. Look again at the pictures I posted above; they are in the movie!
The verdict was bronze. Luckily, another friend was having a garage sale and I got the perfect shade! (In progress photo below).
I apologize for the poor quality of my photos from the day of the party. The lighting in the tea venue was not the best, and I had just my phone to take pictures, so the colors are darker than they are in real life.
Both my patterns for the skirt (“Fan-Skirt about 1890”) and blouse (“Edwardian blouse”) came from Black Snail Patterns on Etsy. It was my first time using them and I recommend this company highly! I made some small modifications, but not many. I love how the back of the skirt falls.
I did not have time to make a new organdy petticoat and had to make do with some petticoats suitable for other silhouettes, so next time the skirt should be fuller.
I used a pleated silk chiffon over a base of cotton gauze for the blouse. I overlaid this with lace, and dyed all three materials with tea.
And surprise, my creepy sister-in-law Lucille was at the party! I do hope she was not the one who prepared the tea.
The food (at Tyme for Tea in Niles, CA) was delicious, and the champagne generous!
This costume is still a work in progress. I have the following things planned:
- Make the belt. The belt in the movie is made of braided hair. I tried to make my own with a big French braid but it came out very lumpy and thick. It was so unflattering that the morning of the party I decided to just use a plain black belt instead. I will try again with tiny braids sewn to a backing.
- Replace the skirt buttons. I used some very thick molded vintage Czech glass buttons. They were lovely, but very heavy and pulled on the front of the skirt and made it collapse. I will have to find some lighter buttons.
- Fix the blouse back. Because I have narrow shoulders and a small bust I took in the shoulder seams. I accidentally took too much without accounting for what it would do to the upper closures, so I have a little pulling and gapping between the upper buttons. I’m not sure yet whether to fix this with a modesty panel, more buttons, a little boning along the closures, or a few hooks and eyes.
- Replace the lace on the cuffs. I used some black lace appliqués, but I think they are too heavy-looking, and would like to find some delicate black flowers similar to what I have at the collar.
Normally I would do a tally of the costs, but since this outfit is not really done, I will save that for when I truly finish! For now, here is a resource list.
- Skirt: silk from friend’s garage sale
- Patterns: Black Snail Patterns on Etsy
- Belt buckle: Anneliese van Overbeek (Etsy)
- Glass buttons: eBay
- Silk chiffon: Halo Silk Shop (Aliexpress)
- Cotton gauze: Amazon (affiliate link)
- Hat: Amazon (affiliate link)
- Butterflies: Amazon (affiliate link) Mine are assorted colors and sold out, but these are similar.
- Beige lace: Britex Fabrics in SF
- Black lace: Etsy
- Boots: Tavistocks from American Duchess. I purchased the Colette boots but alas, they did not fit my chicken legs, so I resorted to my trusty Victorian boots.
- Stockings: Silk stockings from American Duchess (affiliate link).
I’m looking forward to wearing this at Costume College with the fixes!
UPDATE: You can see the improved version here!