Wells Fargo Wagon from Canada

1912 Dress #4016 Summary! 11

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This dress was fun and I recommend making it! I made it so Kate Brown,  our Secretary of State (VoteOregon!) would have a costume to wear ( my earlier 1912 one) in the Portland Grand Floral Parade, to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Oregon Women Voting! Go Suffragettes! I finished the dress and hat in time and walked with pals. Our group included the League of Women Voters, Oregon Women’s Commission, and some others. See the 1911 car carrying Oregon Suffragette Abigail Scott Duniway’s great grand daughters. They told me that she wasn’t really the first Oregon woman to vote, that was Sacagawea, sorry I don’t really know.

Go Portland Mayer Sam Adams! Yes, that is the real Mayor in the picture, though he does play the Mayor’s Aide in Portlandia. The Rodeo horse shook it’s head and snorted at my costume- no pockets, no apples or carrots! No wonder people watched for the Wells Fargo coaches1 Amazingly pretty!

The pattern came without instructions and here is a review of my posts, with a summary of the 1912 Project notes at the end.

  1. Getting bearings on the dress and pattern!
  2. Pattern measurements
  3. Making the Very Pretty Collar :-)
  4. Pattern fitting (continued! :-) )
  5. Bodice fitting
  6. Fitting and shaping the skirt seams
  7. Inserting sleeve/bodice gussets
  8. The cuffs
  9. Sewing the bias bands
  10. Sewing the front panel
  11. Making a neck facing
  12. Finishing- odds & ends

VPLL Check List:

Blog points, so I can ask for more patterns!  A possible  total 25 per pattern, here’s my check list:

  • blog – a dozen posts!
  • pattern without instructions. Right, none on this one.
  • photos- max 5, plenty of photos, 20? on this summary alone.
  • fit description. This dress is high & narrow waisted, with a fitted, long skirt and inset front panel. Sleeves are elbow length with faced cuffs. The bodice is pigeon-chested.
  • alteration descriptions. I widened the bust, hips, and waist. I shortened the sleeves a bit, moved the shoulder seam for my dropped shoulders.
  • pattern change descriptions. The front panel sections differed by including/not including a 3/8″ seam allowance and they needed to be matched. I only had room for two bodice bias bands. I drafted a neck facing. If I were to make this again, I would move the bodice gathering section closer to the center chest. Offsetting it by the width of the facing fold pushed it too far off to the sides. There was no provision included for the contrast band at the hem.
  • instruction change list. There was no instruction list. I described my sewing order in the blog posts.
  • finished garment description. This long, fitted dress is completed in Pendleton wools, both light weight gabardines, a cream solid and a cream/beige mini-hounds-tooth. A solid cream fabric is used for a center front inset panel and to line the cuffs. There is a wide hem band, underarm gussets and a self-fabric belt. Bias bands on the cuffs and front are accented with covered buttons. The embroidered collar was made with a cotton gabardine over a piped undercollar. Front closure is under the left side of the panel, with snaps, hooks and eyes sewn onto cotton twill tape. A self-belt was made to match.
  • description of technique (lace, cut work etc.). Detailed descriptions are included for making the underarm gussets, the Broderie Anglaise collar work, cuff facing, bodice panel lining etc.
  • sewing skill used/needed, why. Very good skills are needed for fitting the the one-piece (no longer usual) bodice, drafting pattern pieces, fitting the components of the dress closely, to be flattering. There are plenty of tricky bits, the gussets, sewing the bias bands with appropriate ease, stabilizing bias edges.

[this is a separate checklist, including just in case :-) ] review checklist included at end.

description- see pattern & finished garment description above.
pattern sizing- this was a small dress, hoo-boy, those hips were TINY! The skirt 0162 I made last was billed as a 25″ waist but seemed bigger, so I assumed it accommodated numerous undergarments. This dress doesn’t. Someone guessed it was designed for young women. Since pattern numbers have jumped all over the place since 1912 and have been inconsistent from one source to another, I’d say this was designed for a women ~5’2″, weighing not much more than 110 pounds.
look like photo? Yes, aside from the fact that the sketch is considerably stretched for fashion interpretation. :-)
instructions easy? No instructions and some would have been helpful. I researched for making gussets and learning Broderie Anglaise, cited in posts.
what to like/dislike? I don’t really like the front closure, don’t feel confident with snaps, hooks and eyes. I would change the neck fitting for a re-make. The gussets were a very positive feature and I really liked the collar, so pretty! It looks like one in a current Vogue ad for Louis Vuitton spring suits. I wore a slip reaching mid-shin and really needed one as long as the dress for walking in a stiff breeze with knitting stockings.
fabric used- Pendleton gabardine wools, light weight, and a cotton gabardine for the embroidered collar. I loved working with the wool, it drapes spectacularly.
alterations/design changes? see above.
recommend to others? If you don’t need historic accuracy, consider using a zipper closure. Practice making a gusset with waste fabric beforehand. Think carefully about the cuff seams- I got them backwards. They are counter intuitive.  Place the bodice gatherscloser to the middle. Fit carefully- I was struck by how frumpy my initial muslin version looked.
conclusion? This dress has charm and great style details. I love it!
Pattern Name: E4016_DRESS. 
sewer’s skill:Advanced.
rating & why, 1-5, 1-Not a Fan, 2 – So-So, 3 – Good/Average, 4-Better than Average, 5-I LOVED IT! and why?
skill needed & why. I loved this dress. It was fun to wear, got scads of compliments. It was a challenge for me, a sewer who is likely to make errors. :-) I learned lots!
instructions easy? Change? [no instructions]
Fit/sizing? As expected? The pattern size wasn’t listed, so I was prepared to alter and check all areas. It was actually smaller than I expected though.
Alterations? For fit or design? I flared the skirt, all three pattern sections, back, side and front panel. I inserted darts in the skirt front and tucks in the bodice back.
volunteer for more… sorry, very little spare time, not really any with this added to the plate. :-)

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11 comments

  1. I’m 5’2″ but haven’t weighed 110 in about twenty years.I have about 25 pounds worth of expansion since then. Now that you’ve done all the heavy lifting, I feel that I can make this dress. It came out so lovely. The collar is perfect too.
    regards,
    Theresa

    • Theresa,

      This dress covered my curves and I think it takes to altering graciously. Note that I did put darts in the front skirt and tucks in the bodice back, widened just about everything. :-) Thank you for the comments and I’d love to see how differently this performs with new interpretations.
      Becky

  2. A genuinely impressive job on BOTH outfits. Your write ups are awesome. And I have to say, I also found it interesting that nearly every one of the pictures for these patterns is ‘aspirational’; longer, leaner and leggier than the actual pattern. It seems that media has been feeding us an idealized body image for a very long time.

    Robin and I are starting this dress (Robin sewing, me on ‘assist’) in a couple of weeks. I can’t wait. It look like a fun challenge.

  3. Hi Lisa, you are right on the “body image” reflection in the graphic, but also in our reproduction of it. I noticed most felt “frumpy” with original muslin mockups. I just joined this project and have a healthy respect for the historical value of these patterns. I’ll let you know how mine comes out, without adding “alteration darts” for better fit. It was the time when the “box” fit was the style. Ladies had just released themselves from the bindings of corsets and needed to ensure modesty of shape, by letting the dress fall, no bust, dropped waist, knees covered, etc. I have made several of this period for “The Color Purple” on stage and find that contrasting fabrics and textures are the highlight of this time. I’ll let you know how it goes. Your designs are lovely, I hope there are more.

  4. I want to make this now! Thanks for paving the way for the rest of us. I’m glad to hear it takes to alterations easily. I wonder if that was a part of patternmaking back then- to have it easy to alter.

    • Leila,- it is hard for me to think pattern making was easy back then, when they used gussets! :-) I really don’t like the bunching on the 4016 sleeves and would make the cuffs less weighty somehow, if I were to do it over. You’ve got me thinking though–did you see Catherine Hopkins skirt update? I wonder how this one could be updated?

      • Interesting idea. I did see Catherine’s skirt. It’s beautiful. You’ve got me thinking now about updating the dress.

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