Irish crochet/embroidered tulle tea dress, c.1912
Tea dresses from the early 20th century are perennial favorites. This one delights the jaded modern eye with neckline ruffles of handmade irish crochet lace. Wearing this graceful dress, you can imagine yourself in that pleasant, unhurried world so beloved by the Edwardian gentry.
The deeply cut armholes and full sleeves are comfortable on a hot day. The dress closes in front with small snaps. It can easily be made larger in the bust and waist by adding an insert of lace to the center front opening. The insert, which would be hidden under the lace collar, would not show.
Made from embroidered white cotton tulle, the dress is sheer and will need a slip. The pattern on the skirt features high relief, padded satin stitch embroidery. The semi-abstract floral pattern (3rd picture from bottom) confers on the dress the winsome beauty it had when first worn to a garden party 90 years ago.
I can see a gracious hostess in this tea dress: nothing could be more perfect than the costume; pure ivory, but the fashion consummate; a single rose her only ornament.
The condition is almost excellent. Clean and ready to wear, the dress has a few small mends. They are difficult to detect and do not spoil the appearance of the dress.
It measures: 35" bust, 27" waist, 56" hip, 17" from the shoulder to the top of the waistband, and 58" from shoulder to hem.