Creative Design: Professional

Eacles Imperialis 1909 Evening Gown

  • Charity Calvin Armstead (Iowa State University)


A best-selling author of the early 20th Century, Gene Stratton-Porter (1863-1924) was known for entwining nature studies into popular fiction. In creating this design, I analyzed Stratton-Porter’s novels using ecocriticism as a theoretical framework. Stratton-Porter engaged public interest in nature through her writing, describing in her books numerous designs inspired by local plants and insects. This project interprets the Eacles Imperalis dress as described in Stratton-Porter’s 1909 novel, A Girl of the Limberlost. Fabrics, trims, and construction techniques were chosen based on materials and techniques used for evening dresses in the 1900s (except for digital printing) and on the moth’s coloration. I embroidered a hand-beaded moth for the front of the gown using glass beads. To link the design clearly to the inspiration, a photograph of an Imperalis moth was printed onto silk chiffon to form the wings of the dress, and the image was also used to design an engineered print for skirt’s train.

Keywords: Edwardian dress, Digital printing, moth, moths, ecocriticism, Gene Stratton Porter

How to Cite:

Armstead, C. C., (2019) “Eacles Imperialis 1909 Evening Gown”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 76(1). doi:

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Published on
15 Dec 2019