Obsessed With Downton

Mary can handle herself.

I am absolutely LOVING Downton Abbey.  It’s not the plot line so much (which is interesting, sometimes predictable and sometimes just silly.)

No, it’s the CLOTHES.  Susannah BuxtonRosalind Ebbutt have done a remarkable job recreating the Edwardian / WWII era in styles that resonate with a modern audience.

Ethel Knits!

It’s exceptional knitting TV.  I’m always looking for something to ‘knit along to’ that I can watch over and over again – always hearing or seeing something I missed before.

The richness of the details is very much appreciated by this half-attentive knitter.

Amazing hats, every one!


It’s obvious that the undergarments are quite good & correct for the period, the hair is – for the most part – exceptional, and the hats are filling my dreams.

I love millinery, and this is my hands-down favorite period.

The Simplest Hats are the Hardest

There are many great shapes and techniques from close fitting pre-cloches to wide, deep steam-boaters, to squarish toques.

The floral and feature trim is perfect, often times more simple than expected.  It’s the hardest thing in the world to get the simplicity of trim matching the hats, but this millinery is astoundingly good at it.

Lady Edith's silhouette is quite daring.

One of my favorite aspects of the DA costumes are how they foreshadow the changes in fashion.  Lady Sybill’s split skirt outfit was very daring (and the color was a little glaring) but it wouldn’t have been worn in public.

More interesting to me are the clothes that Lady Edith wears.  She’ll be the real clothing rebel, notice how her jodhpurs and long coat carry an echo of the post WWI fashions of a working segment of the ‘superfluous woman’

A woman comfortable in her own skin

And, as always, Maggie Smith is pure treasure.  Her asides, small comments and the physicality of her character (watch how she gravitates toward and away from other characters) is flawless.  It’s a joy to see her used and dressed so magnificently in her role!

I love the interplay (& love) between these two.

This whole series should inspire me to get History On Two Needles finished toot-sweet, but I’m afraid it just sets off new ideas in my head…

Some new ideas have to do with patterns, but I’m afraid most of them have to do with afternoon tea and gluten free biscuits.


12 thoughts on “Obsessed With Downton

  1. Agree completely on the superb costuming for D Abbey! I like to watch it with the sound off and the pause button ready for close scrutiny. Too bad the writing is such corny soap opera crap – the actors, set designers and costumers deserve so much better.

  2. You know, I keep hearing about Downtown Abbey, and it’s been in my Netflix queue for ages, but this post has convinced me to hit “Play”. For some reason, I’d never realized Maggie Smith had a role! I love Maggie Smith! 🙂

  3. I’ve been watching DA via the PBS app on my iPad and LOVE it! It is inspirational to everyone no matter what your medium is. I’d love to recreate the star motif on Mary’s gown (top pic) in a shawl somehow, but my filet isn’t up to par.

    Fav line: (from the Grande Dame herself) “Why does every day involve a fight with an American?”

  4. My mum really likes Downton but I never really got into it (I was usually watching Spooks on the other channel as I think they clashed). I’m waiting for Mum to get it on DVD so I can watch it that way and see what happens.

    I do like the outfits too – then again I’ve always been a fan of older clothes – I like the dresses that Lizzie Bennett and her Sisters wear in Pride and Prejudice.

  5. Thanks for the costume review. There is an interesting article in Time magazine this week about the estate and the owners where its filmed. I’ve added it to my Netflix queue – I really want to watch it now.

  6. Love Downton Abbey after giving it a shot on Netflix. Agree with your opinion totally. I read Maggie Smith is only actor who gets all her costumes custom made…other actors wear a mix of new and used.

  7. Hi. I wrote a post on my blog that includes a discussion of a viewing of Downton Abbey that hit close to home for me. I Googled “knitting” and “Downton Abbey” and came up with your site. I love the show, too.

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