High Tea Couture

Inspired by the vintage ettiquette of dressing for high tea.

I love drinking tea and indulging in high tea, especially if it’s held in a vintage setting. The history of high tea is fascinating. It was invented by the Duchess of Bedford in England in the year 1840 when she would become hungry in the long afternoons between lunch and dinner.

The pause for high tea became a fashionable social event so much so that during the 1880’s upper-class and society women would change into long gowns, gloves and hats for their afternoon high tea which was usually served in the drawing room between four and five o’clock.

I was inspired to make a hand smocked tea dress after I purchased the most beautiful vintage English cotton voile dating back to the 1940’s. It was a remnant bolt of fabric that was sufficient for making a tea dress with a full circle skirt.

Designed for the most decadent high tea, this tea dress is lined with tea dyed silk cotton voile and interlined with powder puff silk chiffon and bridal silk organza. The sleeves are hand smocked and beaded with tiny pearl beads. The neckline is trimmed with a muted cream lace and features a hand rolled tea dyed silk organza rose corsage.

Strawberry and Cream Scones High Tea by The Vintage Couturiere
The Vintage Couturiere


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