Long ago, I read Elswyth Thane’s novels of England in the Edwardian age. The descriptions of the house parties in the country manor houses, the gala dances in London, and being presented to the royal family stuck in my mind.
Today, my Toni doll has her presentation to the Queen. For the occasion, her silk dress is heavily embroidered with exquisite details of flowers and leaves in the palest of pinks.
There’s a hint of bare shoulder but the bodice is modestly high so certainly no cleavage revealed.
Her hair is arranged Gibson girl style with an impressive plume curving gracefully to frame her face.
She carries a fan to cool herself while waiting a long time in line for her turn to be presented. None of the young ladies can sit down and risk wrinkling their perfect outfits.
Find Fashion Inspiration in Books and Graphics
Books like these can inspire your doll outfits. They are available from Amazon. Also, most public libraries have reference books showing clothing from different eras.
Assembling the Costume for the Doll
How did I make this outfit for Toni? The dress is a silk handkerchief that is draped around her body and pinned in back. I’m lucky to have the smallest Toni, as some of the larger ones wouldn’t be able to get a whole evening dress out of a single handkerchief.
The feather and miniature roses are from my stash of accessories. The plastic fan is a pin. I didn’t want to use the doll stand which would clamp in an unsightly way around her waist, so I covered it to serve as a pedestal that Toni could balance herself for her portrait.
Try an Elswyth Thane Historical Novel
If you want to sample some Elswyth Thane vintage fiction, Tryst is my very favorite one, but they are all keepers.