1914 Afternoon Dress

By Jennie Chancey

This is my 1914 Afternoon Dress, which was inspired by an original design in a 1914 home economics textbook. It is a wonderful pattern for everything from everyday linen dresses to ethereal, filmy teagowns!

  • Sizes 6-26 “DD” all included in one envelope.
  • Several sleeve styles included (set-in or puffed; wrist- or elbow-length; cuffs or plain).
  • Pattern includes instructions for lace insertion, and appendix includes traceable embroidery designs.
  • You can also use the pattern to create a simple shift-style underdress. All instructions included!
  • Special bodice option just for nursing moms with a secret front nursing panel.
  • Photo Instructions online (coming soon in PDF format).
  • Click to download the 1914 Afternoon Dress Pattern yardage chart.
  • Available for instant download as an ePattern in PDF format!
  • I also offer an online class if you’d like step-by-step instructions and help for creating your own gown!

Important Note: Because this pattern was drafted from an original 1914 design, it is created to be worn over a corseted form. If you do not wear a corset with the dress, I recommend cutting your bodice two sizes larger than what your bustline measurement calls for; that will give you the needed modern “ease” to wear the dress comfortably without a corset!

Note: If you purchased a copy of this pattern prior to 2003, click HERE for corrections/revisions.
 

Paper Pattern $15.95

 
 

ePattern $9.95

 

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59 Comments on 1914 Afternoon Dress

  1. annie
    November 29, 2010 at 8:40 pm (3 years ago)

    I love how this can be easily modified to enable nursing. Would it be possible to modify it to meet maternity needs? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      November 29, 2010 at 11:04 pm (3 years ago)

      Hi, Annie! You can modify this for maternity by raising the waistline about two inches. If you want to wear it all nine months, I’d also widen the skirt to accommodate more gathers. That’s it!

      Reply
  2. Kella
    June 21, 2011 at 5:40 pm (3 years ago)

    Is there a corset pattern you would recommend to wear with this dress? I really love it! Thanks.

    Reply
  3. Kella
    June 27, 2011 at 7:03 pm (3 years ago)

    Hi, just another question! :) If I didn’t wear a corset and and cut the bodice two sizes larger instead, like you suggested, when I wear the dress it will look fine, right? Not baggy or anything? :)

    Thank you!

    Reply
  4. Kella
    June 27, 2011 at 7:06 pm (3 years ago)

    I’d rather not wear a corset, because I want to wear the dress to a dance (would it be suitable for that?, and it might get uncomfortable with corset.

    Anyway,
    Kella

    Reply
  5. Kella
    June 27, 2011 at 7:07 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow, there are a lot of typos in my last comment. :)

    Ha.

    Reply
  6. Jennie Chancey
    June 28, 2011 at 1:41 pm (3 years ago)

    Hi again, Kella! You won’t look “baggy” without a corset; the front of the dress has that famous “pouff” look above the waistline, which is normal. What you’re doing is just adding enough room for the bustline sans corset (a period corset pushes in the bustline a bit for a slimmer look up top). :)

    Reply
  7. Gertrude95
    August 16, 2011 at 11:47 pm (3 years ago)

    I just made this dress for my daughter’s thirteenth birthday. I made a mock version of the bodice first, out of muslin, to make sure it would fit properly. I didn’t know about adjusting for lack of a corset, but it turned out great. She loves the dress and she looks beautiful in it! I plan to make the childrens’ version for my other daughters in the near future! Thanks Jenny for fabulous patterns!

    Reply
  8. Gertrude95
    August 18, 2011 at 10:26 am (3 years ago)

    Jennie, not Jenny. So sorry!

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      August 18, 2011 at 2:01 pm (3 years ago)

      LOL! I’m very used to it, Gertrude! Thanks for the sweet comments!

      Reply
  9. Taylor
    October 15, 2011 at 5:49 am (3 years ago)

    Hi Jennie,
    im only 14 so the corset would probably ruin my growth (as much as i would love to wear a corset i cant)would i have to double the size or could i leave it at my size without the corset?

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      October 17, 2011 at 7:53 am (3 years ago)

      Hi, Taylor! A properly fitted corset does not ruin growth or harm the wearer in any way, I can assure you! There are a lot of very silly corset myths out there that you can ignore. In fact, we have a dedicated thread on my message forum that explodes the myths about corsets. ;) But you don’t need a corset for this dress anyway. You do not need to double the size–just go up one size to give the needed room in the bust. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  10. Kelly
    October 24, 2011 at 8:20 pm (2 years ago)

    Hello! Sorry to bother you in Kenya but I was wondering what the difference between the cap cuffed sleeves and the puffed cuffed sleeves was. Thank you! I just can’t wait to make this dress!

    Reply
  11. Jennie Chancey
    October 25, 2011 at 2:48 am (2 years ago)

    Hi, Kelly! The puffed sleeves have gathers at the top and are bigger than the cap sleeves, which fall straight. Hope this helps!

    Reply
  12. Sarah
    November 2, 2011 at 6:46 am (2 years ago)

    (Tries to put it delicately) In normal cup sizes I’m a EE-F, but if I wore a corset with this dress would that make me fit the DD size? (As I’ve figured out that reason I always have to make so many alterations to commercial patterns is because of the cup size.)

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      November 3, 2011 at 2:01 am (2 years ago)

      Hi, Sarah! It depends on the corset type. If you wear a longline corset with a high mid-bust fit, that will reduce the cup size a bit. Best thing to do is to get or make the corset first, then retake your measurements. If you don’t want to go that route, all you need to do is add more length to the bodice front to accommodate your cup size. :) I show how to do this in the online instructions for my Romantic Era Dress. The instructions are for DD but apply to any cup size — just plug in the right measurements. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  13. Calypso
    November 23, 2011 at 9:04 pm (2 years ago)

    If I was to make a white dress for modern wear, would I need to wear something underneath it? Is there a way to line it? I’m a bit hesitant about buying the pattern just yet :P

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      November 24, 2011 at 4:15 am (2 years ago)

      Hi there! Yes, you can certainly line the dress instead of binding the neckline. Just cut a second bodice of lining material and a second skirt, then line the dress with those. Skip the instructions for binding the neckline, as you will not need to do that if you fully line the bodice. Have fun!

      Reply
  14. Taylor
    November 26, 2011 at 6:21 am (2 years ago)

    Hi Jennie,
    out of “Two Victorian Corsets” pattern from Laughing Moon is the best for this pattern?
    Kind Regards, Taylor.

    Reply
  15. Taylor
    November 26, 2011 at 6:21 am (2 years ago)

    sorry which is the best out of those two for this pattern?

    Reply
  16. Jennie Chancey
    November 27, 2011 at 3:11 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi, Taylor! Use the longer corset that goes down over the top of the hips. It works nicely!

    Reply
  17. Taylor
    December 13, 2011 at 12:47 am (2 years ago)

    Thank you :)

    Reply
  18. rachel day
    January 15, 2012 at 5:54 pm (2 years ago)

    hi i was wondering if it were possible to take a bit of length out of the skirt?

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      January 16, 2012 at 3:48 am (2 years ago)

      Hi, Rachel! You can cut and hem the skirt to any length you want. :)

      Reply
  19. rachel day
    January 16, 2012 at 9:04 pm (2 years ago)

    thank you.
    one more thing is there a particular material to use?
    i love the dress its beautiful.
    Rachel :)

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      January 17, 2012 at 1:21 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi, Rachel! Fabric choice depends on what look you’re aiming for. Dresses of this period were made from batiste, voile, organdy, and other “heirloom” materials, or you could make what was called a “wash” dress for everyday wear from washable materials like cotton and linen. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  20. rachel day
    January 18, 2012 at 7:16 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi Jennie.
    that is lodes of help.
    looking foreword to making the dress.
    thank you for all the help.
    -rach

    :)

    Reply
  21. Calypso
    February 14, 2012 at 8:15 pm (2 years ago)

    Do you know the finished garment measurements? That would be VERY helpful (:
    Thank You!

    Reply
  22. Jennie Chancey
    February 15, 2012 at 5:37 am (2 years ago)

    Hi, Calypso! The waistband is cut according to your exact measurements with room for the overlap (and half an inch of wiggle room). The skirt is gathered and fuller than the hip measurement by approximately six inches. The bustline depends on whether or not you wear a period corset. Without the corset (and cutting one size up as indicated), there is an inch of ease from armpit to armpit across the bust. As with all my patterns, I encourage customers to make a bodice toile and try it on to check the fit before cutting into fashion material, as no two bodies are identical. See “Why Doesn’t This Look Like the Pattern Cover?” in my Tips section for further assistance. Hope this helps!

    Reply
  23. Calypso
    February 15, 2012 at 1:33 pm (2 years ago)

    Thank you!
    I was also curious if it is nescesary to cut out the bodice one size up if you have a small waist. In your pattern sizes I am a 14, but my waist measures 26 inches. Would I still need a corset? Or should I cut the bodice one size up?

    Reply
  24. Jennie Chancey
    February 15, 2012 at 1:35 pm (2 years ago)

    The corset actually smashes the bustline in rather than making the waist smaller. This was the era of “columnar” corsets for a straight posture (no more “S”-bends!). If you are narrow through the ribcage, you will not need to go up a size, but most ladies “B” cup and above need the extra room without a corset. Hope this helps!

    Reply
  25. Calypso
    February 15, 2012 at 1:45 pm (2 years ago)

    Thank you! I’m eager to get started on the project, because my history class is covering this era. You’ve been a great help! (:

    Reply
  26. Lyric
    February 17, 2012 at 1:22 pm (2 years ago)

    I am excited to have fond this versatile, modest dress. I’m a big girl [mod. size 16] but have decided to sport it anyway.

    Thank you moderator for being a force on the WWW. Keep ‘em coming.

    Reply
  27. Lyric
    February 22, 2012 at 3:48 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi Jennie:

    Is this dress made with “voile” too like the romantic blouse? I am oh so ISO some affordable voile NOW! As soon as tax funds come in I will be here to order the two patterns.

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      February 23, 2012 at 10:27 am (2 years ago)

      Hi, Lyric! Yes, that is voile. I’ve found it inexpensively online, but it’s harder to find in shops, because usually only heirloom sewing ships carry it. Hope you’re able to find it!

      Reply
  28. Sharon
    April 4, 2012 at 4:44 pm (2 years ago)

    We are making the lined bodice. Is the back fold line supposed to be the seam line? This would make the seam allowance 1 1/4″. HELP!

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      April 4, 2012 at 5:33 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi, Sharon! No, the seam allowance is 5/8″. The fold line is there for an UNLINED bodice. You can ignore it for the line bodice and just sew the regular seam allowance. Have fun! Warmly, Jennie

      Reply
  29. whitney
    May 9, 2012 at 11:32 am (2 years ago)

    beautiful!!

    Reply
  30. common crafter
    June 12, 2012 at 9:08 pm (2 years ago)

    Can this pattern be adapted to use a zipper, and if so, what size would I need?

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      June 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm (2 years ago)

      Hello! Yes, you can put a 22″ zipper up the back without changing the cutting line. :-) Hope this helps!

      Reply
  31. Lyri
    June 19, 2012 at 4:47 pm (2 years ago)

    I’ stitching mine up now and have a question about the instructions on pages 13-14 under “Tips for Embellishing Your Gown”. I do not know how to do the “eyelets and scallops” shown there. I have Googled, consulted the S & S Forum. Still I’m stumped. I suppose I’d start with an awl?????

    Any further guidance about those eyelet/scallop suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks Ms. Jenniee.

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      June 20, 2012 at 3:08 am (2 years ago)

      Hi again! Yes, you make the holes for the eyelets with an awl, then you use a buttonhole stitch with embroidery floss to finish off the eyelet. For scallops, you use a satin stitch. There are a lot of embroidery instructions online that will take you through all the stitches step by step. :)

      Reply
  32. Lyric
    June 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm (2 years ago)

    Thanks, Ms. Jennie. I am going to Google “satin stitch by hand” you see, I am using a Sears 1925 Hand Crank sewing machine. No “frilly” stitches going on over my house with the machine, LOL.

    Also, I should have made my question more plain. I am not sure how to go about getting neat, symmetrical scallops on the edges of said fabric. I am a pattern baby for sure (no design skills here). If I attempt to freehand cut scallops on the edge of some fabric, girl pulleaaaaze . . . disaster in the making. ;-)

    Reply
  33. Jennie Chancey
    June 23, 2012 at 3:47 pm (2 years ago)

    LOL! Now I get you. Actually, there are scallop-cutting “crank” machines available, believe it or not. They had them back in the day, and they are still available now. You might try Googling to see what you can find — or check eBay!

    Reply
  34. Lyric
    June 26, 2012 at 1:01 pm (2 years ago)

    Good day:

    Almost finished my first gown. Happy, happy, joy,joy. The armhole is a tad snugger than I prefer and am wondering for the next one (which will be on the table in the next two weeks) should I go up a size or do I have to get all into drafting (which scares the heck outta me)?

    Thanks.

    Reply
  35. Lyric
    June 27, 2012 at 10:31 am (2 years ago)

    Thanks, Chica! I’m on it! Oh, my Elegant Ladies Closet pattern arrived yesterday. WWoooooooooooooooo whoooooooooooo. BUT, I have to make my stays first, :( so I am on the lookout for all necessary equipment.

    Stay tuned for a photo of my dress (in all it’s ahem, glory).

    Reply
  36. Virginia
    July 10, 2012 at 9:32 am (2 years ago)

    How hard is this pattern to put together? I put together the Regency Dress pattern with little difficulty some time ago. I have always like this pattern and I was wondering if I could get it together or not. I would say I fall in the range of advanced beginner or early intermediate sewer. I understand how patterns go together, I just don’t feel comfortable making a lot of alterations. Do you think I have the skill to get this together

    Reply
  37. Jennie Chancey
    July 10, 2012 at 9:40 am (2 years ago)

    Hi, Virginia! Yes, you could definitely handle this dress if you put together the Regency Gown. This one only falls into the advanced category if you do all the lace-insertion and embroidery. Otherwise, it’s a pretty straightforward bodice with waistband and skirt. Have fun!

    Reply
  38. Catherine
    September 3, 2012 at 3:43 pm (2 years ago)

    I’m a novice seamstress, but have fallen in love with the Downton Abbey era, and I’m really taken with this and the 1910 tea gown. Do you have any suggestions about how I might get enough up to speed to make these? Something (preferably with the same aesthetic) that I should try first?

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      September 4, 2012 at 11:54 am (2 years ago)

      Hi, Catherine! Definitely start with this one (1914), as it’s the easiest. Then try your hand at the underslip from the same pattern before moving on to the 1910s Tea Gown. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  39. Calypso
    October 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi! It’s me again. FINALLY started on the dress, but I’m wondering how to remove the “pouf” at the front of the gown to make it a bit more modern and flattering….

    Reply
  40. Jennie Chancey
    October 10, 2012 at 8:04 am (2 years ago)

    Hello, Calypso! Just trim away the curve at the lower edge of the bodice front to get rid of the “pouf.” Have fun sewing!

    Reply
  41. Emilie
    October 20, 2012 at 5:12 pm (2 years ago)

    Oh, my word! This is gorgeous! I’m not much of a sewer, though. Is there anywhere that you are selling them already made? Please email me.

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      October 21, 2012 at 10:30 am (2 years ago)

      Hi, Emilie! I have a seamstress-in-residence who can make you one to measure. You can reach her through the form on her page. :)

      Reply
  42. Ingrid
    February 15, 2014 at 9:40 am (2 months ago)

    Dear Jennie,
    Lovely patterns! I’ve tried reading many comments and following them for maternity and nursing options. I am currently halfway through #9 pregnancy and my maternity days are quickly fading away. I am hoping to make this last half a romantic and pretty and memorable pregnancy. I have not found any other sites for pretty and romantic and truly feminine (with modesty that is) sites for patterns or ready made…. Affordable… Clothing. I am enjoying your site, but I am getting a bit confused as to what patterns you offer that could be used for both maternity and nursing and what I could use for underpinnings for both. I’m trying to be as thrifty as I can by looking for patterns I can use for the rest of the pregnancy and while I’m nursing.. Until I can return to a …uh em, more normal size. I think there is a blouse that you mentioned for nursing, and there were two patterns I believe you mentioned were good for maternity and nursing… The 1914 tea dress and the Regency dress. Do you have any other suggestions? Our daughters and I have done some sewing and quilting. Our oldest daughter probably has more experience that I do and doesn’t seem to have the fear I sometimes have about trying things…whew! I’m certainly no expert, but we have sewn several quilts, dresses, skirts, jackets, and even “upcycled” some creations…. But when it comes to fitting some things… Eeeeks! I get a little scared. Your dresses are soooooo pretty, I don’t want to goof them up.
    Oh, I think I remember that you have on line classes and tutorials and I believe you also had a “romantic” dress pattern that could be used for maternity and nursing? My bust size right now is a 44 and my empire waist size is 39, perhaps that helps some to steer me in the right direction. I would like to keep the …ahem, regency look! and not have to increase the size of the bust like I noticed you mentioned if you don’t wear the underpinnings. I guess what I’m trying to ask is if I can wear underpinnings while pregnant and then on to nursing, and keep the intended look of the dresses? While thinking of that, should I make allowance for mmmmm… Expansion of my bust size somewhat for nursing after birth, or is that already built in to the type of dress? I was trying to study the dresses to see if I could tell that, but I am just not sure.

    Thank you for reading this exhaustive note, but I think those are all my questions for now. I greatly appreciate your beautiful work and all the options you employ on your patterns. I have done some smocking and embroidery also and I am familiar with some heirloom sewing techniques… Love Martha Pullen Sew Beautiful! Look forward to trying out some of those ideas on a few of these items!

    Blessings!

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      February 17, 2014 at 10:16 pm (2 months ago)

      Hi, Ingrid! I have quite a few patterns that work for pregnancy and/or nursing. Here’s the list:

      • Original Regency Gown Pattern ~ Fits about up to the sixth month, but you can widen the skirt front to add gathers and make it fit all the way through. I have instructions for nursing alterations up at http://sensibility.com/blog/tips/easy-alterations-to-the-regency-gown-pattern/. You can also make a drop-front version of the bodice, which is even easier to nurse in!
      • Elegant Lady’s Closet ~ The drawstring dress option in this is my go-to favorite for maternity, and I even nursed twins in it! If you tend to carry all out front, you’ll want to add about four inches total to the bodice and skirt front (at the fold) to fit comfortably through to month nine. Nursing access is simply loosening the neckline drawstring and pulling down to nurse. If you make short stays, you can quilt them and cord them instead of using boning. Then they are soft enough to fold down for nursing access. The crossover gown in this pattern also works for nursing, and both options can be made into hip-length tunics that look great for pregnancy and nursing. :-)
      • Romantic Era Dress ~ This has nursing access instructions included (a discreet front flap that buttons into the waistband and is quite correct for the time period). To make the dress work for maternity, simply shorten the bodice. The skirt has plenty of fullness as-is. The button-front version also works for nursing, as does the Romantic Blouse pattern.
      • 1909 “Beatrix” Shirtwaist ~ The button-front version is great for nursing.
      • 1910s Tea Gown ~ One of my customers modified this dress for nursing and shows how in her Show & Tell photos.
      • 1912 Kimono Dress ~ This one has nursing flap options included in the instructions for discreet nursing.
      • 1914 Afternoon Dress ~ Again, instructions for a discreet lift-to-nurse flap are included in this pattern. You can also use it for maternity if you shorten the bodice a wee bit (about an inch).
      • 1940s Swing Dress ~ One of my customers created a tutorial showing how to modify this bodice for nursing — beautiful!

      Just a quick note for the Regency and Romantic eras: You can “get away” with wearing a modern nursing bra, but the look really is nicer with proper stays. And, as I mentioned before, making soft stays that are quilted and corded instead of boned means you get a comfy fit that works nicely for nursing, too! But if you prefer to go with a regular nursing bra, just be sure the bodices are long enough to accommodate your cup size (particularly on the Regency dresses), as you don’t want the empire waist cutting across the bust.

      Whatever you choose, make sure you fit a toile over whatever underpinnings you plan to wear so you can work out any kinks before cutting into fashion material. :-)

      I hope this helps, and enjoy sewing!

      Warmly,
      Jennie

      Reply

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