Thursday, March 15, 2012

Dressing Downton Modern

Downton Abbey is full to the brim with lovely costume inspiration! I've been focusing on more reproduction type projects but what if you're looking more for everyday type looks? Let's look at some ways you can bring that inspiration into a more modern wardrobe.

Downton Skirts

Long skirts were very in during this period, though the length came up towards the end of season 2. Love a great skirt from the show? Shorten the hem to more modern length for an instantly wearable look. Keep the interesting details like the buttons on the back of Mary's skirt or the matching belt on Isobel's. For a more flowy skirt, try a half circle skirt. For a slimmer look, go with an a-line.

Flower Show

Sometimes you'll get lucky and find a modern pattern with similar lines.

Vogue 8648 would be a great starting point for Mary's garden party dress! I'd start with the yellow version and add details. Cut the pieces so the stripes line up with Mary's (or somehow interesting), cut the waist pieces in a darker solid for a belt look and add cuffs to the sleeves. Lace trim around the neck for that finishing touch.

Snap Shot

Fallen in love with a great jacket? There are a couple of options here. A lot of jackets from the show would look great with jeans! For a more modern look focus in one one detail-pockets, a unique closure, or a great color and apply it to a modern cut jacket.

Vogue 8333 is a great place to start. It has classic lines but the little side detail makes it special. Change the collar, closures or color.

Vouge 8621 is a much more modern pattern but still captures that spirit of specialness all of the Edwardian jackets from this show have. This is a great option to capture a color that's been calling your name.

Don't forget to think outside of the box. Wouldn't Mary's riding jacket make a great coat dress?
McCall's 6279 would fit the bill.

I feel like a lot of the blouses would be very wearable with jeans or a modern skirt.

I've got many more ideas, but this is getting long so I'm thinking of doing a series of posts on this topic. So please post questions, requests and ideas!


  1. I really like the blouses, I think they would work really well with most bottoms. I wonder who is making all these outfits for the show. It would be nice if they would start selling patterns from Hollywood. Honestly, how many women do you know that want a dress from this or that show or movie? They could make some money for sure.

  2. OH MY GOD, I am so impressed with your ability to sleuth out the pattern to match the piece. Very impressed. Keep showing us the patterns and the outfit. I have had my eye on the striped garden dress that Mary wears and our discount fabric store has the stripe in linen for practically nothing. Waaaaa hoooo! I love the blouses too.

    Diana from San Francisco

  3. Great scavenging! I think that modern pattern for Mary's Garden dress is perfect. I can't wait to see how it looks.

  4. I love this idea! I've been guilty in the past of taking elements from some favorite fantasy/sci-fi movies and shows and making them everyday wearable, and since I'm one who doesn't really do a vintage aesthetic in my everyday life, I love the idea of taking elements of that for something more modern and functional. I do hope you continue this series!

  5. Thank you! That one Vogue jacket would be perfect for a similar jacket like Mary's brown one.