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. 🙂

Dress 4016 Gussets 2

Last (only) time I inserted a gusset, I told a dancer playing the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz, 😉 to leap as hard as he could, then I inserted a square of fabric into the spot where the seams had failed. Easy and effective. 😉 I was innocent and am now learning the sophisticated details of gussets. Hah! I feel like a graduate! Okay, still room for improvement…

Gussets have a reputation, deservedly. I read the Threads issue #153 article, pp. 38-43. It was very helpful and I mostly followed it precisely. Somehow I missed the part about *on the bias*.  Not enough coffee?

So I went back to The New Vogue Sewing Book, 1980. “Because the area under the arm receives a maximum amount of strain and needs ease for movement, the gusset should always be cut on the bias.” I did use the staytape idea, not organza. A Moment of Silence for our independent fabric store, 27th St. Fabrics, RIP. No organza in the stash.

So, a sequence:

  • Beautiful gussets, cut on straight of grain. sheesh. I measured like the Threads article, extended the pattern slash to 3″. The gusset was not quite 4×8″, with a 3/8″ curved tuck in the middle.
  • Ribbon basket raid for bias binding and found the “stay tape” I’d never used. “use it up…”
  • You can see the tape sewn inside & outside the sleeve sash, tiny stitches nearer the point, sewn around, not to a vee. BTW, the ribbon is sewn to the outside. I used a bead of fabric glue to keep it in place, had to gently pry it off to put it on the outside. I Love Pendleton Wool- took it without a whimper and didn’t fray. [nope, not on commission. ;-)]
  • The ribbon gets pressed to the inside and acts a bit like a seam allowance. Pressing is entertaining with gussets, which side is up?
  • The gussets are supposed to be sewn then top stitched. Okay, no extra credit for me. I just pinned in place and top stitched. One down!

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Next, the other gusset, other cuff, waist seam, front panel, buttons, collar. Hi-Ho!



4016 Cuffs 4

These have to be the most complicated cuffs I’ve ever made (never did make those men’s shirt cuffs from David Page Coffin’s class).

Every mistake I could make I think I did! The cuff needs to be sewn counter-intuitively, right side to inside of the sleeve, cuff seam away from the sleeve seam. I’d inserted a shoulder seam and those two needed to be aligned. Usually I’d match the sleeve and cuff seams, did that and needed to rip and fix it. There’s a series of steps, petty tricky for somebody watching the clock:

  • First I hauled the dress fabric back out for those bias strips, decided on 2″: 3/4’s folds and 1/4″ seam allowance. I ran a quick measure of the skirt panels, bodice and sleeve strips, think I’ve cut enough for all of them.
  • Strip placement is tricky at best. I decided to wait on the skirt strips until I’ve sewn the waist seam. I remember wishing I’d thought of adjusting the back pleat height to break at the knee on dress #0162. When you look at this dress image, her legs are longer than I am tall (and those feet are teensy!). More on that later.
  • I finished the cuff facing edge and pressed it.
  • Bias piping for the cuff edge, nice, better when pressed.
  • The cuff looks inside out, then finished, but easy to mess up the seams here. the finished cuff side gets sewn to the inside sleeve. Rats- That stabilizing tape will have to be hidden. I’ll press the cuff to hang a bit low to cover.
  • Finished edges align, with considerable trimming of bulk, probably smarter to use thin lining fabric for the cuff.
  • Sewing the bias strips on with a walking foot is So Much Smoother!
  • Use an edging foot to sew down the piping, really helps.

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    All that’s left for this step is buttons. I counted 16, but actually there are 4 needed for the sleeves, will need to make more. On to Gussets!

4016 Bell skirt seams 1

Past the muslin and into the actual fabric now, really dreamy Pendleton wool. First the skirt.

Remember I thought that skirt side seam looked straight down, so I took the flare out? What looked like a straight seam on paper turned into a bell-shape, so in a series of adaptations, I straightened it back out again, into a flare, in steps. 🙂 Gradually this is turning into my idea of a pretty dress. I hope I’m not just making it friendlier to current fashion! More like correcting a series of mistakes and learning in the process…

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On to the next steps, the cuffs and gussets…

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.

Skirt #0162 Blog Review 2

My Skirt is done! Now the point review, links to skirt posts…

Skirt #0162, ensemble with Blouse #4925

Blog post points, 1 point each? I started this site to learn how to blog, set up the site, looked forward to getting a pattern, visited fabric stores while waiting to see what kind of patterns I’d get. I posted several entries getting ready for the first pattern. These posts are about the skirt:

Instructions & Changes– this pattern had them and I would change some of them:
–I was surprised that the layout included pieces with opposing up & down directions, back & front up, those wide side panel pieces down. I’m all in favor of efficiency but didn’t do this, afraid the nap would scream.
–I went back and marked the seam-matching point numbers on my  layout page, found that very helpful.
–I got the pleat direction wrong on my muslin for the back pleats, saw that they should open under the back piece, not flaring out under the side panels, made a note to myself. Pleats fold under the front and back panels.
–I am so spoiled by modern layouts that I wanted to copy the instructions into a program where I could add the Section Headings, as they were in an early page, for Alterations, Cutting, Pressing. I’d list the seams by name, the waist, hem, and  a special section with recommendations for buttons, waist finishing. Advanced options like lining, boning, interfacing should be highlighted, too.
–I serged fabric edges and pressed everything, as the instructions suggested, including the serged edges, so they wouldn’t add bulk.

Photos, a point each, up to 5. I worked on these, with an image editor called GIMP, since many images of paper pieces and otherwise low-contrast had to be optimized. I worked on composition, too. I hope you like them. Look at the links above. 🙂

Fit, Pattern & Garment Description- this long “day-length” walking skirt sits 3″ above the waist, at the ankle in front, slightly lower in back, but not to drag. It has a graceful fit over hips, flaring for a fuller swing in the back. I found the 25″ Waist description to be overly flattering in underestimation of the actual size. 😉 It is embellished with soutache braid (or use the scrollwork pattern included for couching). The two wide skirt side gores pleat under the narrow front and back panels. No facings or waist pieces are included.
–This pattern fit would probably be a modern pattern size 12? I have ready-to-wear sizes in my closet that range from 2-12, so who knows? Patterns from the ’50’s, I’d wear a 14. Now I alter for petite height. The waist and hips should be altered to fit each time this is made up.
–I thought it did not look like the photo because I don’t stand with my waist facing forward, emphasizing the “Virtual Bustle”!
–I like this skirt! It is comfortable to wear and the walking ease is lovely. I did catch the hem in my heel at one point when I had to reach down, was afraid I’d torn out some hand stitches, will have to be careful.
–Fabric used was a Pendleton Wool, tropical weight summer gabardine, see a blog post above.

Alterations– This skirt was too long for me. I shortened it. I was worried that I’d make a mistake with the overlap allowances for the  front opening, so cut the seam allowances wide, ending up taking them back off, after leaving a generous turned edge for a nice supportive “facing” edge.

Pattern Changes
–I checked the pieces, yet the front panel still seemed off in length. I will be very careful with my next patterns. I caught this at the Patternmaker step, before copying onto tissue paper.
–I considered ways to reinforce the front button panel, facing it entirely, opening both sides, either with button holes or snaps.
–I faced the waist with elastic instead of grosgrain ribbon, then took it off and reduced the waist size, reapplying the elastic, so it didn’t pull the waist and pucker.
–I narrowed the front panel lines above the pleat, following the hip lines, so they didn’t look wider at the top, a very unflattering image, I thought.
–I considered facing the hem, before I saw how big the circumference was! It still needed help, so I sewed in a line of horsehair, then whip-stitched a dark thin ribbon over it, since I could only find white horsehair.
–The soutache braid called for would have been very hard for me to find, estimate yardage (trusted my ability to goof and need more! 😉 ). I used a crochet thread, couching it on by hand, detailed instructions in a post listed above.
–Buttons- I used covered buttons, including adding a few small ones at the base of the back panel, at the top of those pleats.
–Next time, I would alter the pleat height to start just below the knee in back, more flattering. It was probably placed there for the original length of the skirt, and I didn’t think to alter that position when I shortened it.

Techniques, Skills- There is a post for the scrollwork embroidery used in place of the soutache. Easing the hip curves was important, may need a note for beginning sewers. This pattern was not difficult, could be made by beginning sewers, but having a good foundation will make a big difference in the final garment, reinforcement stitching, pressing at every opportunity, understitching, experience with fitting. Proceeding from stitching lines instead of outside edges of seam allowances is not basic, was very helpful.

Conclusions– I would recommend this pattern for others, really like this skirt. I would compare it to the Folkwear Walking Skirt Pattern, the advantage here being that the waist and hip silhouette may be more graceful without the back gathers seen on the Folkwear pattern. The narrow front and fuller sides and back of both are similar.

VPLL Checklist:
1. Ladies Skirt May 5, 1912, La Mode Illustree #0162
2.  Sewing skill, beginner to advanced, benefiting from added care taken.
3.  Rating 5 out of 5 (top). I loved this skirt, simple yet fun to embroider, fit, execute and wear!
4. Skill needed- This skirt would benefit from advanced sewing skills, experience with well-designed garments, so that techniques not described in the instructions could be added, like horsehair for the hem. Optional boning, heavy interfacing or lining are suggested but not described. Understanding these steps is assumed.
5.   Instructions- see above.
6. Fit/Sizing- see above.
7.  Alterations- see above

Portland Rose Festival Open House 5

Here’s that dress I made in action!

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  • Me & Karyl Carlson, another 1912 Titanic Sewing Project member, Group 1!
  • One of this year’s Rose Festival Princesses.
  • the LWVOR Secretary and the Royal Rosarian Scribe.
  • The Suffragette, the Scribe, and the Aviator.
  • The Royal Rosarian Robe and Sceptor.
  • Detail of the robe embellishment, velvet roses.
  • A bigger shot of the Royal Robe.
  • Another Rose costume.
  • The 1938 Ford that will carry the Rose Queen.
  • LWV display!
  • The Terwiliger Park display.
  • The Rose Festival President.
  • My next project!! Beautiful Pendleton wool for a Madeleine Vionnet gown!

Finishing the dress, wrapping up! 5

The dress is done and I wore it!

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The finishing touches:

  • The collar pattern was re-drafted to include an overlap, then cut into two pieces to accommodate more straight-of-grain. Fussy cutting was still a little off, oh well.
  • The outer blouse collar facing was whipped into place.
  • The front edges were rolled, amazingly easier than with silk!!
  • One last look at the lining, seems such a waste to cover up that spectacular Liberty lawn!
  • Wrapping the bodice was an exercise in faith. I turned the lining and sort-of sewed it to the outer blouse, which ended below it. I serged the outer layer edge. They didn’t match and looked pretty crummy. I sewed a large snap to the middle back, wrapped the rest and tucked it in. This would need some work for a repeat version. The outer blouse would need to be longer to sew it to the lining at the lower edge, but then the gathering lines would show–tear them out? hmm…the belt covered it.

The Hat (okay, first hat) 1

You saw the supplies, now here’s the sequence:

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  • The Pendleton wool Melton outer and black heavy satin liner get a try on.
  • The wire and closure get cut and inserted, whipped onto the seam allowances.
  • The milliner’s tape gets measured, reduced by an inch and sewn onto the hat, not easy around the narrow curve.
  • The facing gets whipped in.
  • The tape is sewn down.
  • The embellishments are placed, done!

And I wore it in time for Kim’s hat challenge! April 7th, at the Portland Rose Festival Open House.

[All done but the whining…]
The wire was hard to cut! I dented it and then was able to snap it. That should have been a sign…when I tried to ease the hat into a drooping shape, the wire snapped at the back. Or maybe it slipped out of the cover. It was all sewn in place, time to go, so I didn’t tear it apart to see. This wire was too heavy and brittle for this hat. The plastic cord I got was too light. There must be a middle weight one. Back to hatsupply.com, just up the road from me.

The pattern said the hats should have an inner drawstring to fit them, except for this view (what?!). This one needed it, too! In the pix, it was all over the place, falling off to one side or the other, jaunty cap! Not staying put! I tried a hat pin but my hair was not helping. oh well.

Next, a summery hat! 🙂
















Maundy Thursday blouse progress 1

After whining yesterday about blouse closure decisions, today I tackled a few easy steps and started putting pieces together.

Sleeves & Cuffs
The over blouse will be dark red. I want the top to coordinate with the skirt I just finished, so the collar and cuffs will be that dark fabric, faced with the red. I turned the facing for a clean finish, and pressed allowances to turn the facing under a bit. You can see the red rolling a little in the bottom here.

I got ready to sew cuffs onto sleeves and got the pattern pieces out to check placement when directions said to match notches. They were printed on the cuffs but not on the sleeves, so I looked at the photo and decided the cuff should flare up opposite the inner sleeve seam, midway round the arm.


There was a considerable amount of pressing here, seamed flat, then seams opened, seams turned. I haven’t pressed the cuff flat up onto the sleeve, some care with that when I’m fresher. 🙂






A little review- lining, front & back, is ready. I sewed the sleeves in and gathered the  over blouse.

Lining Front


Lining Back










So, what’s left for tomorrow, last day before I want to wear this:

  • Sew the over blouse collar on and face that front V-neck.
  • Re configure the French lining closure- fronts, facings and collar, to open in the front.
  • Sew the lining to the over blouse.
  • Hem the waist and sleeves.
  • Sew the buttons on the collar, matching the  the cuffs.
  • Finish my Hat!

    Maundy Thursday