Textile dyeing // A dress inspired by meeting mr Darcy

Jurk inspiratie 19de eeuwse mode

Every lady should have an enchanting ‘meeting mr Darcy dress’.


Every lady should own an enchanting ‘meeting mr Darcy dress’.

That is what I thought while making a pretty dress for a special 6 year old girl. The dress was meant to make you twirl, with its long, wide skirts. In sweet colours: pink, light blue, soft purple… I enjoyed making the dress. But why did I only make these dresses for girls under 10?


Textile dyeing // I dream of 19th century dresses.

I have a soft spot for historical period dramas that take place in the 19th century, and for Jane Austen’s books. The BBC miniseries Pride & Prejudice released in 1995 starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle is my absolute favourite. I will probably rewatch the series many more times, just to enjoy the costumes the actors are wearing.


Fortunately, I’m not the only one. My friend Mireille shares my passion. When she saw my long skirt with a short sweater, she told me she wanted to have something similar. This was my opportunity to create an enchanting ‘meeting mr Darcy dress’ for someone older than 10! ;)


When I put pen to paper I quickly created a sketch of the enchanting ‘meeting mr Darcy dress’. The making of the actual dress took me a bit longer. My design consisted out of a jacket and a dress. Inspired by the costumes in Pride & Prejudice: with a high waist and prints of stripes, plaids, roses, and dots in bright colours. I couldn’t find the fabrics that I had envisioned. So I decided to use 100% natural (unbleached) cotton and to dye these fabrics. I’m finally able to present the end-result after 9 months, 3 prototypes, several dyes and stamping experiments and 123 hours of work.This was amazing to do!


design sketch 19th century fashion

Sketches of the dress inspired by fashion from 1810.


overlocked finish the edges

Before dyeing the fabric, I first overlocked the fabric to
trim off the raw edges, and finish the edges.


poster paint, textile medium

After soaking the unbleached cotton in water and salt, I dyed the fabric in a mixture of poster paint, textile medium, and water.


dress prototypes

First, I created a few prototypes to make sure that the dress would fit.


dyed the fabric

I created the stripes using a paintbrush, one stripe at a time.
I iron the fabric after the paint has dried to set the paint.


rose paint fabric

I stamped the roses on the fabric, but they weren’t visible enough.
I re-painted each rose using a paintbrush.


ornamental stitching

After washing and ironing, I decorate the fabric with ornamental stitching in different colours to accentuate the stripes and plaids.


stripe print

Dyeing the fabric for the skirt was a lot of work: 150cm in width and 120cm in height, with a stripe every 1,5cm.


Sewing the dress

Sewing the dress took several attempts.
I had to take out the seams a few times and re-stitch.


decorated with ornamental stitching

The seam of the skirt is decorated with ornamental stitching – one of the stitching options on my Pfaff sewing machine.


thread the band trick

To easily thread the band, I taped a safety pin shut; so it would not open while threading.


decorative stitching

The decorative stitching of the seam is similar to that of the waistband.


plaid print

The plaid print on the collar of the dress is the same as on the jacket.


Jurk inspiratie 19de eeuwse mode

The result after 9 months, 3 prototypes, several dyes and stamping experiments, and 123 hours of work.


Dress meeting Mr Darcy Pride & Prejudice

An enchanting dress inspired by meeting Mr Darcy ~ Pride & Prejudice (1813).