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. 🙂

4016 Finishing Odds & Ends 1

My dress is all but finished! Here are some final steps:

  • The under collar needed adjustment to complement the embroidery (not exactly the same shape) and I piped the edge.

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  • Buttons– I chose covered buttons again and they needed to be made: 6 for the skirt, 6 for the bodice and 4 for sleeves. Okay, only 4 for the bodice (couldn’t fit in 3 bias bands) and 8 for the sleeves, backs overlooked!
  • The bottom band! I still think this piece needs to be lined or something, since the fabric is thin and pale. It hung nicely, especially with the horsehair hem. I continued the curve from the skirt pieces, might opt to pipe this seam another time.
  • Hem– I owe my daughter another ’50’s kitty skirt for helping to pin, this time the hem, which I sewed with horse hair so it would hang nicely.
  • Closure– I decided against a hidden button placket and went with snaps, hooks & eyes. The left dress and front panel edges were reinforced with a cotton twill tape, pinned in place to help mark closure placement, then snaps were sewn onto the tape before the tape went onto the dress. They were secure and didn’t show after being sewn on. I turned the dress facing after sewing on the tape. Well, full disclosure? 🙂 Some of the snaps popped on the skirt at the hips when I sat down, so I sewed up the skirt (like the pattern called for!)  at the last moment, by hand.
  • Belt- I found some old belt tape in my elastic basket and used a double fitting buckle from Mindy’s Needlepoint Shop. The dress fabric covered the tape. I pressed the edges of a strip down, used a bit of fabric glue, sewed the strip and one buckle side in place,  checked for fit over the dress, then sewed down the second buckle piece.
  • For the final fit check, I moved a snap and replaced the neck hook and eye with a strong snap. A good press, hanging overnight and off to the Parade! 🙂 Actually, I started the hat here. You can see it in the pictures. The ribbons matched the collar ties.

Oh, btw, I noticed that the book I mentioned, The Mary Frances Sewing Book [1913!], had a note after the title page that some notions are available from the printer, Lacis. This included the Sewing Bird, $14.00 for the basic one. I was pleased to see that they carry tatting and bobbin lace things!

Dress 4016 Collar 5

The collar embroidery was very intimidating and lots of fun. I’ve never done this, so I looked for tutorials!
I decided I’d treat this as Broderie Anglaise  (shadow work another time- what a great idea!).  I could see that there were two sizes of eyelets, so here’s the eyelet tutorial I used, because it had the prettiest stitching. 🙂

I also went to the Library, my favorite needlepoint shop, then the sewing machine store for advice, everyone agreeing that I didn’t have time to embroider before the June 9th Parade- nooo! I don’t have an embroidery machine so I dragged out my old 9mm sewing machine and the frayed edges splaying out from test curves looked Awful. Back to “By Hand, thank you!”

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I started with the edge stitching, then the small eyelets around the rim, just the right size for my old awl.

Next came the triangle shapes, satin stitch beside them, tiny outlines, needle placement with a pinch for snipping guidance, trimming, then buttonhole stitch around.

The eyelets in the middle circles were bigger, maybe too big for my awl and I was afraid to trim them! I used the needle to judge center, then stretched with a tapestry needle, then the blunt awl. I trimmed an X, leaving several edge threads.  So, here’s the eyelet sequence:

  • place tiny outline  stitches
  • snip out the stabilizer ( I was afraid the stitches would be loose after it dissolved).
  • pierce to find center and snip an X
  • buttonhole stitch around
  • bury the last stitch button hole loop
  • pull until it is an even edge
  • bury the tread under several  stitches and trim it- done!
About when Cassie, another 1912 sewer, showed blue marks that wouldn’t come out, I thought about the printer ink on the soluble paper. I tore off the excess stabilizer, then soaked the piece in hot water so it would completely dissolve. What a Mistake!!
Hot water will melt the toner and set it. I SO wish I’d read about this in advance. I tried a series of removal steps, can’t recommend any as much as printing with a thinner line, a light color, then dissolving in COLD WATER. You can see the black marks and the trepidation with trimming the edge. When it is completely dry, I’ll test the fraycheck and lightly dab the edges…

completed collar embroidery

VPLL Dress #4016, First Post 2

The race is ON! Done for the June 9th Portland Rose Festival Parade or BUST!

I promised to loan my Skirt #0162 outfit to a friend to wear in the parade with us, so I want to dig into this and complete this one with enough time left to *not Panic*.  Here’s the image:

The description is helpful since there are no instructions:
“This dress features welt trim and a cutwork collar. It is without instructions, so 25 points.” 

Today I assembled the pattern printer pages and traced. Pattern pieces:

  • Collar, center back fold and a curved seam. The photo looks like the front  edges meet at the center, marked with a number 56. I’d guess it will meet a number 65, the center Vee point of the Bodice panel. There is a 3/8″ line that looks like a seam allowance, so I will cut two and use my best heirloom skills. 😉
  • Collar overlay, another collar layer that includes the cutwork, very pretty. In order to finish this on time for the parade, I may try to incorporate some shortcuts here.  Here’s an image of these two pieces. Sorry it is warm now in my attic, the ball point ink smeared, so I used other markers after this.

Collar patterns, embroidery over collar

  • Bodice Panel, the narrow strip that shows as light fabric in the image. It is deeply Vee’d, not so obvious in the photo, and it is cut with a center fold.
  • Skirt Front,  another very narrow panel, continuation of the bodice panel. There is a note to lap the skirt sides to an inset line, forming the pleat I can imagine seeing, looks like an inch.
  • Skirt Sides, a couple of flaring panels, with trim placement markings and a note to leave the left front open above a marked point. Now, the think in advance about facing, reinforcement, interfacing?
  • Skirt Back, similar to the skirt sides, cut on the fold, fold line up the center back. The trim placement lines are continued from the side panels. I’m thinking I’ll sew the trim on after those side and back panel seams are in place.
  • Cuff, trim placement marked.
  • Welt Trim, guessing pretty much entirely on this. I think I’ll start musing on bias strips of the fabric, which has a weave. It is 3/4″, so folded, with 1/4″ seam allowance, would give me several yards of 2″ lengths. Hmm, maybe slash the skirt along those placement lines? Sew on top, fold and press?
  • Now, the surprise piece…Front, back and sleeves, all in one!

    Dress #4016, bodice and sleeve pattern

This piece is cut with a fold up the center back, so the front will be biased. Figuring sleeve length and shoulder placement, bust fitting, etc., makes this a strong candidate for *not skipping* the muslin step.

Fabric– I want to use some of the Pendleton mini-houndstooth light weight tropical wool, with the solid cream wool for the inset panel.

Buttons– I have plenty of covered buttons already, unfortunately, all 3/8″, when it looks like I need 3/4, around the bodice, half a dozen, another half dozen around the skirt trim, and four smaller ones on the cuffs.

The *Deep Breath* parts so far are- that Collar embroidery, the trim (WELT?!), and fitting.  I should do some research into what the welt implies about construction. I bet someone in our group has strong opinions on this. 🙂 I hope so!

Next, measuring for alterations, etc.

A new pattern- Blouse (Shirtwaist) #4925 1

to go with skirt #0162, a 

I’ll make the big blue one, over-blouse, “French lining” and sash.

The overblouse is cut in one piece, 2 sides, left & right, with 3 tucks, up & down, front & back, over the shoulders.  The piece is pretty spectacular! How to paper fit this? I folded for sleeve length and diameter, distance from front waist, up over to back waist. It seems okay (fingers crossed!).

I didn’t think it would fit on the fabric! This Pendleton wool is pretty spectacular, very wide and wonderful. I even had to piece the tracing paper!

The big arc across the bottom gets gathered around the waist front. There will be some gathering in the back (top of the photo) and the straight bit on the right will be 3/4 sleeves, cuff yet to be cut.

I sewed and pressed the tucks. Okay, maybe this will be a
problem. This tucks are falling off the shoulders. My dressform has spiffier shoulders than I do…

We’ll get back to this, bigger fish to fry. This has to be done and wearable in a couple of days (Yikes!).


The “French Lining”
I looked at the pattern for a while over this, especially after I’d cut out the lining in my wool (ouch!).
There are 2 side back pieces, #’s 9 & 10. Clearly the second from Left is a  side front, no sweat. But this needs to be in the “lining fabric”, back 3 steps.

So I cut out new “lining” for the underblouse and put it onto the dressform, nice Pricess seams and I was tired, so I did them backwards and upside down.  Where did I put that nice seam ripper?!
N.B.- see how nicely the fronts overlap?  More on that soon…


I placed the seam allowances on the outside (inside for a lining). The sleeve seams will be on the inside, facing in. Rats, when I got the skirt fabric, I thought it was a very dark Navy. Now it looks more like a very dark grey, not such a good match with this underblouse.

The collar and neck facing:
Facing directions say to sew the right shoulder, then finish outer edges. Back and front facings fold at centers.
Collar instructions say to finish or face, seam up the center back, to be closed with hooks.

Now, remember that generous front allowance? I matched backs and side seams onto the dressform–looks for all the world like that should be a front button placket… we’re now up to three closure options, deep breath!

I went back to the collar and moved the seam to the left shoulder. I walked a tape measure around the facing, measured my neck, and added 2 1/2″ to the neck diameter, didn’t change the facings. Man, was that one strait-laced time!! No, thank you!
Here’s the original size collar on top of the facing. This is when I decided I must do a muslin of these two pieces, at least… I’ve never seen a seam  that took so much clipping. I’ll use tiny stitches
when I use good fabric.

Anyway, it looked nice on the dressform and was impossible to wear. The collar was entirely too small for my old neck. I cut it down more than an inch, 2″ around, curving down another 1/2″ in
the front. I  just looked for the wrinkles when I tried it on, marked it, and serged off the excess.








Here’s the tall one, reminds me of my great-great grandmother Simpson.


And here’s the serged one, more wearable:








Just one more thing for today. I finished the collar, edge-stitched, pressed and ready to use. The 3/8″ covered buttons are ready for it. 

Now, to figure out where I want this to OPEN!!

I’m thinking, open  in the front, where the extra fabric already is ready for facing.

But that collar should at least overlap around to the shoulder seam, or do a Mandarin dip, or somethin!!

And I don’t really want to make another dozen tiny buttons. Hmm. Maybe sleep on it…Ideas?




Finding Fabric… 1

Fabric Shopping in Florence

Now that 1912  patterns are arriving,
fabric comes to mind!

We lost our beloved
home town
“27th St. Fabrics” recently, so travel or mail order for me! Here’s my list,
some because I want to go someday :

I want good sources for Linen & Heirloom supplies. Capitol Imports is wholesale only, sigh. Ideas?

More soon! —Becky

Choosing Skirt fabric… 3

Pendleton Flannel

Now, about the fabric…Pendleton Woolen Mills is celebrating a centennial, too! Pendleton Wool milled in Washougal, WAAlong with L.L.Bean, they pointed out. 😉 Their Washougal Outlet store had beautiful seconds on fabric, plaids, tropical weight solids, coatings.


So, Road Trip!!

They don’t swatch. They will mail though.
I got 3 pieces of tropical weight wool, perfect for a suit, this skirt, a pattern we haven’t seen yet?

They ran $3.99 a yard, 58″ width, two with a teensy bit of Lycra. I splurged and got plenty since I didn’t have any patterns yet. Flaws I could see looked like a minor pucker -no, really more like a whimper- in the selvedge, which I wouldn’t be using anyway. Another had a tiny crease a couple of inches up from one edge, running the length of the piece. I’ll cut around it.

What I got in Washougal...

  These three pieces are all light-weight. You can see the pucker the clerk mentioned by their tape on the selvedge on the left. It looks like a sharkskin, begs for some
Mad Men styling. The middle piece has a sophisticated gabardine weave, looks more Navy. The red to the right actually looks more maroon and is calmer than it seems here.

There was a plaid on the shelf that looked like it needs to be made into the suit that Toby, a pattern wizard is transcribing from the photo I posted earlier. This cost more. I’ll cross my fingers that something like it will be on the shelf if I need it.


Was this a double irregular plaid? maybe...

Okay, fellow sewers, anybody still doing Heirloom sewing? I am counting on getting a pretty shirtwaist pattern with insertions. Where do you get lace? I want some nice insertion lace. One of my 1912 Group recommended Pacific Fabrics in Bellevue, WA. Not what I wanted, but very helpful, suggested I look for…

Capitol Imports at the 2012 Sewing Expo in Puyallup, WA, March 1-4.
I may have to- Capitol is Wholesale Only. rats.

Next, on to the pattern!