Elizabeth Bennet Dress and Coat



Abigail Zedwick

(click images to to enlarge)

Outline the story …

For my entry, I chose Elizabeth Bennet from the book, Pride and Prejudice. I loved reading through the descriptions of dresses and the glimpses at the practicality in her dress choices. The differences in high-born society's choice of dress and the middle-class's as well as the disdain the upper class showed was interesting as well since it highlighted the focus of practicality over high fashion, which was determined by one's social status. I really love Elizabeth's down-to-earth character and felt an instant connection, which made me feel the fashion attributed to her would be a great match for my wardrobe, so I wanted to take some of the book descriptions as well as pictures from the 2005 movie rendition to create a costume inspired by her character. I did choose to go with colors that would've been a little more common at the time (such as white for the regency style gowns which were popular in the time Austen set the book within), and I combined the descriptions in the book with research on extant garments from the period and photos from the movie for loose inspiration. Through combining the research, the book, and the movie, I was able to make design choices that I felt would suit the character and also would be something I'd want to wear time and again. I feel that combining the three, I ended up with a final costume that I really loved and would wear time and again.

Outline the construction…

I used modern fabrics for the dress and the coat. I'm not entirely sure what the dress's fabric is, but I chose it because I loved the softness of the fabric, the sheer quality of it, and the nice stripe design on it. For the closures on the dress, I used cotton cord I have around for corsets. For the coat, I used a synthetic silk for the lining and a cotton blend for the outer side. The dress was entirely hand sewn, and aside from the stretch of the fabric, I found it easy to work with. The coat was a different matter. The pattern was confusing and left out a lot of details on construction, which made me wish I had simply gone with my initial plan to draft a pattern to my size based on vintage pattern layouts on one of the archives I use. I did eventually pull it together, but there were no instructions on finishing the raw edges of the pleats in the back of the coat's lining, so I had to improvise, which is where the placate of silk in one of my images came in. It worked nicely to cover up the raw edges that the pattern hadn't mentioned or dealt with. For the coat, I hand stitched everything visible and machined any inner seams. Then I felled all of the inner seams down by hand and hemmed it by hand as well. All of the finishing details were handsewn as well.




  1. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 9:27 am

    I adore the up-close pictures of you needlework- it looks amazing. well done!

    • Avatar Abigail Z on March 15, 2021 at 1:21 am

      Thanks! I had a lot of fun with the handsewn portions, especially the buttonholes and embroidery.

  2. Avatar Laura Wemyss on March 12, 2021 at 8:34 pm

    Having read this book numerous times, and nearly always noticing some new aspect of the clothing descriptions, it is nice to see someone else’s vision of it brought to life. Nicely done!

    • Avatar Abigail Z on March 15, 2021 at 1:20 am

      Thank you! I’m getting to experience the same with others’ entries for the competition. Everyone has done an amazing job on their pieces!

  3. Avatar Mandy Pursley on March 14, 2021 at 2:36 am

    I love all the little hand sewn details you put in! They really make it feel authentic. Well done!

  4. Avatar Catherine Sutton on March 14, 2021 at 6:12 am

    What a feat of hand sewing! Beautiful work!

    • Avatar Abigail Z on March 15, 2021 at 1:19 am

      Thank you! It was certainly a lot of hand sewing. 🙂

  5. Avatar Mary on March 17, 2021 at 11:30 am

    This is amazing – I would quite like a coat like this myself 🙂 The collar is stunning and I’m inspired by the way you perserved with the coat pattern – the hard work certainly paid off!

    • Avatar Abigail Z on March 19, 2021 at 7:02 pm

      Thank you! In the end, I was pleased with how it came out, even if I was unsure if it would look right while I was working on putting it all together.

  6. Avatar Carly Van Groeningen on March 19, 2021 at 10:56 am

    Beautiful work, and I have so much admiration for all the hand sewing!

    • Avatar Abigail Z on March 19, 2021 at 7:01 pm

      Thanks! I really enjoyed doing the hand sewing.

  7. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 19, 2021 at 10:21 pm

    Well done!

  8. Avatar Stephanie Murison on March 24, 2021 at 2:10 am

    You really embodied the character in this outfit, I can 100% see Elizabeth Bennet wearing this! The coat is lovely, definitely worth the effort, and just the perfect shade of brown!

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