Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Task completed: copy typing 1913 dress' sewing instructions

Last night's contribution to Mrs Whitlow was looking at the minimal original instructions, which are a reproduction of the slightly damaged pattern envelope and going wha????

They're a small pitch font, very abbreviated and densly packed. I've used similar ones from vintage mail order patterns, but the difference is I know how the 40s or 50s garment does up and goes onto the body. These are even more abbreviated, assuming that you already know how to assemble the style of garment, and only cover the design features, such as to crease & stitch the bodice front pleats before stitching the shoulder seam. If you're using the regulation waist use these pattern piece markings, if using raised waistline use the other pattern markings.

I thought that typing them out might help me better understand them - and it worked to help me focus. Larger pitch, not so crowded made my eyes less likely to flicker madly around at all the other densly packed information.

The envelope is damaged so you can see that there's an item 12, but not what that is. Part of my brain knows that once I'm handling the pieces that I'll understand how it works. I had a quick look in Nancy Bradfield's Costume in Detail - to see other teens garments and sketches of their openings. I'll also look in my Janet Arnold Patterns of Fashion to see if there's a similar dress. I think not but worth a squizz.

I do have a couple of sewing books from that era, not sure if one of them is general or specific. One's definitely outerwear.

From the directions, it seems that both the bodice and skirt get attached to a waist belt (or stay), so I think I'll be buying some grossgrain ribbon for that. Time to check my oldest garment sewing books.


  1. Oh my gosh! I tried to make this pattern about a year ago and wanted to tear my hair out. And also without knowing the construction of the time period, it befuddled me. Someday I'll go back to it and try again. But I've gone to other things now.

    1. I may need to self medicate with chocolate as I put it together. Plus I need to do a bust alteration - nothing is patterned for my frontage.