1914 Afternoon Dress Pattern Instructions

Notes:

This dress pattern was inspired by a design found in a 1914 home economics textbook, Shelter and Clothing. You can see the original line artwork for the dress at right. The caption reads, "Suggestion for a simple lingerie dress," and the accompanying instructions give the steps to create a "shirtwaist dress." Essentially, what you get is a shirtwaist (blouse) joined to a simple skirt. Iíve taken the basic design and given you three different sleeve options. The first two sleeve styles gather into a fitted cuff just above the elbow. One is slightly puffed at the shoulder, and the other is fitted at the shoulder. Iíve also given a pattern piece for a straight cap sleeve that can be cut to hit at the elbow or the wrist. This will allow for a variety of dress styles that will work in all seasons. Iíve also made the pattern workable for nursing mothers, and my instructions give you all the steps you need to create a gown for discreet nursing. But the possibilities do not end there! You can take this very straightforward dress and "go to town" with it by changing the neckline (perhaps adding the ruffle shown in the illustration); embroidering motifs on the bodice, sleeves and skirt; adding skirt layers (as shown at right); making tucks in the skirt; inserting lace and more!

At the end of these instructions, Iíve included some original catalogue illustrations from 1914 to give you an idea of what was popular at the time. You will easily be able to adapt this pattern to create everything you see with a bit of time and effort. You can even take this pattern back ten years in time (for an early Edwardian look) by adding width to the skirt pieces and raising the neckline! Youíll find period embroidery designs in the Appendix.

Before you cut into your fashion material, please read all of the instructions. You may discover by the end that you have a completely different idea of how you want your dress to turn out! Donít feel intimidated by the length of the instructions Ė this really is an easy dress to make; Iíve just given you lots of options so you get more bang for your buck! When you are ready to start, trace all of your pattern pieces onto interfacing or pattern paper. This keeps your original pattern intact, and gives you a sturdy master pattern you can use over and over again. I do strongly recommend that you make a bodice toile first in order to check the fitting of the dress. This step is crucial for creating a gown that fits perfectly. The sizes have been carefully drawn, but each womanís body has its own unique shape, and fitting a muslin bodice at the beginning will save a lot of trouble in the long run. What is nice about this pattern is that you can cut out a bodice according to your bust size and a skirt according to your hip size. You will follow my instructions to cut out a waistband that is exactly right for your waistline measurement. You can mix and match the top and bottom and still have the dress fit nicely in the waist!

There are a lot of fabrics that will work for this pattern. Your choice will depend upon what type of dress you want. This pattern was a fairly typical one in the early 19-teens for "lingerie" dresses, graduation dresses, afternoon visiting dresses and (depending on the fabric used) for housedresses. A "lingerie" dress is one made out of a fine, sheer material like voile or organdy. The dress is unlined, and the wearerís elaborately embroidered underthings show through. This may sound a bit shocking, until you consider that the underwear of the day offered very full coverage! For starters, a lady would don a chemise and drawers (or a combination of the two). Over this went her corset, then a corset cover and at least one petticoat. By 1914, the number of layers had gone down considerably, since dress skirts were narrower and petticoats less full. You can use this pattern (sans sleeves) to create an underdress to wear if you choose to make a sheer lingerie dress. Iíve included instructions for that option. Of course, you can also line the dress if you choose. If you want to make a basic housedress, youíll be using linen, cotton, lightweight shirting, or other natural materials. The textbook calls housedresses "wash" dresses, because you can just toss them in the wash without worrying about fine fabrics. If you plan to make something a bit more fancy, silk taffeta and silk charmeuse work beautifully. Cotton, silk and velvet all work nicely for the waistline sash. If you decide to line the dress, I recommend pima cotton, which is lightweight, breathable and comfy. Bleached muslin also works. Nursing moms will be lining their bodices regardless (this is where the nursing access slits go), but you might want to interline your bodice if youíve chosen a lightweight fashion material that wonít hide the slits in the lining very well. Once you have your fabric pre-washed, you are ready to go!

 

Pattern layout:

Here is the suggested layout for the bodice and sleeve pieces up to size 14 on 45"-wide material. Note that the edge of the bodice back is placed on the selvedge. The remaining fabric will be used for the skirt pieces. The long sleeve can be placed where the straight sleeve is shown in the drawing. (Extra yardage is required for long sleeves. See the yardage chart.) For sizes over 14, the bodice pieces wonít fit next to each other and will have to be cut out as shown in figure 2. The puffed sleeve must be cut out on doubled material as shown in figure 3, and the size 26 cap cuffed sleeve must be cut out in the same manner.

Assembly Instructions:

Note: There are many ways to put this dress together, so I am going to give the most basic way first (unlined), then give you additional instructions for a lined dress and for the nursing dress. Iíll also provide instructions for making an underdress below. If you do plan to make an unlined dress and do not have correct underthings, youíll need to make your underdress first!

  1. Bodice (Note: French seams are a must for a sheer, unlined dress!)
  1. Pin the bodice back pieces to the front at the shoulders wrong sides together. Put the presser foot close to the edge of the seam allowance and stitch (making a quarter-inch seam). Turn the bodice so that right sides are now together. Press your first seam. Now stitch again, taking up a 3/8" seam. This is a French seam, which completely encloses the raw edge of your material. As they say in Paris, "Voilá!"

  2. Illustration of a French seam


    Photo of second step of French seaming.
    (Click for larger image.)

  3. Pin the bodice back to the bodice front at the side seams, wrong sides together once again. Stitch a 1/4" seam, turn and press, stitch a 3/8" seam and press. Piece of cake!
  4. Time to finish off the raw edge of your neckline and turn under the back overlap. When using sheer material, you do not want to have facing at the neckline. Instead, you will bind the neckline edge with bias binding made from your dress material. Before you cut that out, turn under 1/4" of the back edges and press (this turns the selvedge to the inside):


    This photo shows the selvedge turned under and pressed.
    (Click for larger image.)

    Now turn the edges of the back opening on the fold line toward the outside of the dress and pin them, as shown below.

  5. Measure around the neckline from one folded edge to the other. Add 3/4" to this measurement. (The extra 3/4" is to give you 3/8" on either end to turn under.) Cut a thin strip of material this length and 1 1/2" wide on a 45-degree angle as shown below. This is your bias binding.

  6. Blue piece is the "pattern" so you can see the angle and the width.
    (Click for larger image.)

  7. Starting at one folded back edge, pin the binding around the neckline, turning under 3/8" of the binding at each end so there are no raw edges. You will find that bias binding stretches if you pull it, so you may have a bit more than 3/8" left at the end when you reach the other side of the back opening. Just cut off any excess and turn under at least 3/8".

    Stitch in place around the neckline, taking up a 3/8" seam. Grade seam allowance and clip corners.

    Now turn the back edge of the dress right side out at the fold, and press the back opening along the fold line. Youíve now created the back overlap of your gown.


  8. Ironing the back edge under.
    (Click for larger image.)

     

     

  9. Turn the bias binding under until none of it shows on the outside of your dress. Iron to make a crisp neckline edge with no puckers. Turn under the raw edge of your binding once, then once again to completely enclose the neckline seam. Pin in place. Whipstitch or straight-stitch by hand, taking up the smallest stitch possible on the outside of the gown and keeping stitches even.
  10. Period Illustration of bias binding being hand-stitched in place after being sewn around the neckline.


    You can clearly see the bound neckline in this photo. When the binding is turned to the inside and neatly stitched, all you have is a thin white line around the neckline, which is very neat and pretty!

  11. Run two lines of gathering stitches along the bottom of the bodice front (the first set should be 3/8" away from the bottom edge, and the second set should be about a presser foot width below the first set). You may now try on your bodice if you like. Time to add the sleeves!
  1. Sleeves (Note: Cuffed sleeves are shown. Instructions for straight sleeves are given below.)
  1. Whether you are making the puffed cuffed sleeve or the cap cuffed sleeve, run gathering (or "ease") stitches on tops and bottoms of sleeves. Gathering stitches should be no more than 3/8" away from the edge of the material. (The lines indicated on the bottom of the pattern piece are a guide and are not drawn exactly where you will stitch them, since I had to fit two sets of lines for two different sleeves in one place!).
  2.  

  3. To create the cuff, first measure around your flexed bicep right above your elbow. To this measurement, add one inch for ease (comfort) and 1 1/4" inches for a 5/8" seam allowance. For instance, if your flexed bicep measures 10 inches, youíll add two and a quarter inches, giving you room for the 5/8" seam allowance and an inch of "breathing room." If you want a tight cuff (fitted to the bicep), I still recommend leaving at least 3/8" of room for movement. You can make your cuff from the dress material, but I prefer the method shown in the home ec. textbook from which this pattern came. The cuff shown in the book is made of eyelet or embroidered netting/lace (and therefore doesnít need a hem). To make a cuff like that, simply lay your cuff width guide on the edge of the doubled eyelet or lace and cut the cuff to the proper length (12 1/4" in this example). If you prefer a plain cuff out of regular material, you will double the width of the cuff, since you are going to turn it to the inside of the sleeve to cover your seam inside (and also eliminate the need for a cuff hem).
  4.  


     

  5. Pin the cuff to the sleeve, pulling gathering stitches to fit.

    Stitch. If youíre using an eyelet or lace cuff, finish off the raw edge of the cuff seam by binding with bias tape or self fabric bias binding (this is optional, but it keeps the seam from unraveling and makes a much nicer finish).

  6.  

     

  7. Sew sleeve seams together, using the French seam method (wrong sides together, then right sides together).


    Sleeve pinned.

    Sewing first seam for French seam.

    (Click for larger images.)

    Turn sleeve right side out and press. If youíre using a regular fabric cuff (doubled in width), turn under 1/4" of the raw edge and press. Turn cuff to the inside of the sleeve until the folded under edge completely covers the cuff/sleeve seam allowance. Whipstitch in place, sewing the cuff to the seam allowance so no stitches show on the outside of the sleeve.

  8.  

     

    And just so you can see it, here is a photo of a finished eyelet cuff sewn to a sleeve:

  9. The design of the cuffed sleeves is quite different from a modern sleeve, as you can plainly see. You will not be matching the sleeve seam to the bodice underarm seam. Rather, you will match sleeve seam to the dot on the bodice back pattern piece. Pin sleeves into armholes, right sides together. Pull up gathering stitches for puffed sleeve or use ease stitches to fit cap sleeve into armhole. Stitch. To finish the raw edge of the seam allowance, use self bias binding (zigzag or Serger stitches will show through your sheer material).

    Left: Sleeve pinned into armhole; Right: Sewing binding on the sleeve seam.

    Straight Sleeves: You can cut these off at the elbow or make them wrist-length. Here is a picture of an elbow-length straight sleeve:

    If you are making long sleeves, youíll follow the cutting lines up from the bottom of the sleeve, following the angle into the top portion of the sleeve. (I didnít draw entire long sleeve lines, since they would have intersected with the elbow-length lines and made a confusing mess.) Sew your sleeve seams together, using the French seam method. Turn sleeves right side out and press. (You will press under the cuff edge only when you have determined the hem width after trying on your dress.) Run ease stitches along the top of the sleeve as indicated in the pattern. Pin sleeve into armhole, matching front edge to front edge of the bodice and sleeve seam to underarm seam. Ease curve into armhole. Stitch, then finish raw edge as shown in step "E" above.

  1. Skirt
  1. Sew skirt back seam up to dot marked on pattern (making a French seam). Sew skirt back to skirt front at side seams (French seaming once again). Turn skirt right side out and press.
  2. To make a placket for the center back skirt opening, cut a piece of fabric on the bias twice as long as the back opening and 2 3/8" inches wide. (See photo above for how to cut out bias strip.)
  3. Pin placket to right side of skirt back opening.
  4. Stitch placket to skirt (and lining, if you have one), starting at the top edge of the left side of the skirt opening (left as you are looking at it) and taking up a 5/8" seam. When you reach the center, leave your needle in the fabric (right in the middle of the center back seam), lift the presser foot and pivot the fabric to head back up the other side of the back opening.

    When youíve finished inserting the placket, turn under 1/4" of the free edge of the placket and press. Trim the placket seam allowance to about 1/4".

  5.  

     

  6. Press the placket as illustrated below so the left side is completely turned under along the seam line. You will turn the right side of the placket in only enough to cover the placket seam on the inside of the dress. Now the left side of the back opening will overlap the right and make an even closure, as seen below.

  7. Placket seen from the inside of the skirt.

  8. Run gathering stitches in top of skirt, breaking at side seams.

  1. Making the Waistband
  1. While wearing the underthings you plan to wear with this dress (including the underdress and any petticoats or what-have-you), measure around your waistline, keeping one finger between the tape and your body for ease. Write down this measurement. Now add 2" to this measurement to allow for the back overlap and 5/8" to turn under. For example, letís say your waist measures 30" (with a finger between the tape and your body). Youíll add 3/4" for the back overlap (the left laps over the right 3/4"), plus 1 1/4" to give you 5/8" on each end of the waistband to turn under.
  2. Using the waistband width guide, cut your waistband out (it would be 32" in this example). Also cut out a waistband lining out of your lining material and set it aside. (If you are using sheer or opaque material for your dress, I recommend interlining the waistband so your seams do not show through.)
  1. Attaching the Bodice and Skirt to the Waistband
  1. Pin bodice to waistband, beginning at the back opening and turning under 5/8" at each end of the waistband. Pin all the way around to the side seams, then match center front of waistband to center front of bodice and pin. Pull up gathering stitches to fit and spread them evenly. Stitch bodice to waistband.
  2.  

  3. Pin skirt to waistband, matching placket edges to back edges of waistband exactly as shown. Match side seams and center front. Pull up gathering stitches and spread evenly. Stitch skirt to waistband.


Skirt pinned to waistband.
(Click for larger image.)

  1. Finishing the Dress
  1. Press under the top and bottom of the waistband lining 5/8", then press under 5/8" at each end.

    Pin waistband lining over skirt and bodice seam allowances inside the dress and whipstitch or slipstitch in place. (This completely encloses the raw seams and prevents unraveling.)

    Left: Whipstitching waistband lining in place; Right: Waistband lining sewn in.

  2.  

  3. Mark buttonholes horizontally on the overlapping back flap of the bodice. You can space the buttons up to 1.5" apart, but larger gaps between buttons will result in puckering of the overlap between buttons. Twelve to eighteen 3/8" buttons will fill the space, depending upon how far apart you space the buttonholes. You can also put a button in the center of the waistband, although a skirt hook and eye will work nicely (and is period correct). If you are using a particularly delicate material (like voile), I recommend backing each buttonhole with interfacing (you can sandwich a thin "slice" of interfacing inside the fold of the back overlap, then stitch each buttonhole through the three layers). Clip buttonholes open, then pin the bodice closed and mark where the buttons should be sewn. Sew buttons in place. If desired, also sew a snap or hook and eye closure in the placket.


    Back of the dress buttoned up with 3/8" mother-of-pearl buttons
    (Click for larger image.)
  4. To hem the dress, try it on and have someone mark the hem for you. Turn up and hand stitch the hem in place. Press. If youíve lined your dress, the skirt lining should be hemmed to almost the exact same length, save 1/4" inch (to keep the lining hidden). Or, if you prefer, you can embellish the hemline of your lining with eyelet or embroidery and leave it peeking out.

7. Instructions for Making a Lined Bodice:

  1. Cut out your bodice and lining pieces, using the special cutting line on the bodice back pattern piece.
  2. Follow the steps given above for sewing the shoulder and side seams together on your bodice and bodice lining with one exception: you do not have to make French seams, since your seam allowances will be completely enclosed in the lining. [Note: If you are still using sheer fashion material, you will need to interline your bodice. This means you will pin backing pieces to your bodice front and back pieces before you sew the front and backs to the lining. This interlining keeps the sheer fashion material from being "see-through" and therefore hides your seam allowances.]
  3. Pin the bodice lining to the bodice, right sides together. Stitch.
  4. Left: Back edge and neckline pinned; Center: Front neckline pinned; Right: Sewing around neckline.
    (Click for larger images.)

  5. Clip curves and corners and grade seam allowance.
  6. (Click for larger images.)

     

  7. Turn bodice right side out and understitch up the inside of the back edge, around the neckline and down the opposite back edge. You are stitching through the seam allowance. This prevents your lining from "rolling" to the outside of your gown. [Click HERE to see a video clip demonstrating understitching!] Press.
  8.  

    Understitching.
    (Click for larger image.)

     

  9. Proceed through the rest of the steps given above to complete your dress (if you are not using sheer material, you do not have to make French seams on the skirt, although I highly recommend this method, since it makes such a nice finish and keeps your seam allowances from unraveling).

8. Instructions for Making the Nursing Bodice:

  1. Follow the instructions for cutting out a lined bodice (above). Mark the nursing access slits in the lining, using the line indicated on the pattern as your guide. Cut the slits open (it helps if you fold the bodice in half horizontally with the fold through the middle of the slits).
  2.  

    (Click for larger images.)

     

  3. Take double-fold bias binding and bind the slits to cover the raw edges. You can also use self-fabric binding if you prefer. [Note: It is, of course, possible to finish the edges of the slits by serging them. This isn't a period-correct method, but it will work fine!]
  4.  

    (Click for larger images.)

  5. Take note that if your fashion material is thin, you will need to interline your bodice so that the nursing slits are not apparent.
  6. Follow steps B through E in the Lined Bodice instructions (above) with one exception: you will not sew the bodice together at the side seams. Instead, you will sew the bodice back and bodice back lining to the front lining. This means you leave the front of the bodice "free" at the side seams (see #1 below). Turn under a tiny amount of the side seams, then turn under again and hem stitch, taking up about 1/4" total of your material (#2). Now turn the seam allowance under so that it meets the underarm seam. You can pin the top of the bodice front side seams to the armholes at that spot (#3), then go ahead and sew your sleeves in.
  7. This photo shows you the left side seam turned under properly and the front nursing flap hanging free.
    [Note: this photo shows the front flap waistband already sewn in place -- you'll get to that below!]

    (Click for larger image.)

  8. Before proceeding through the rest of the steps, youíre going to take a little detour. Instead of sewing the entire bodice and lining to the waistband at this point, youíre going to sew the waistband to the bodice back/lining and bodice front lining. Basically, youíll just ignore the bodice front (which youíve left hanging free) and pin the waistband to the bodice as shown in step 5A above. Just make sure you keep the bodice front free! This is your nursing flap to access those handy nursing slits in the lining.
  9. Here is the front nursing flap turned up out of the way (this is what you do when you sew the waistband to the nursing bodice lining and back).
    (Click for larger image.)

  10. Now follow the steps above for making the skirt and sewing it to the waistband. Go ahead and sew the waistband lining to the inside of the dress as well.
  11. Time now to finish off that "free" bodice front. Youíre going to make a separate waistband piece, so grab your measuring tape and measure across the waistband from one underarm seam to the other. Add 1 1/4" to that measurement to allow for 5/8" on either end to turn under. Cut out two of these small waistbands (one for lining).
  12. Pin the small waistband to the free bodice front, matching center fronts and turning under 5/8" on either end and matching that to the folded under ends of the bodice front side seams. Pull up gathering stitches and spread evenly. Stitch.
  13. Here is the front nursing flap turned up so you can see the small waistband sewn across its front.
    (Click for larger image.)

  14. Press under 5/8" of the bottom edge of the small waistband. Press under 5/8" of the top and bottom of the small waistband lining, along with 5/8" at each end. Pin this lining over the inside of the small waistband, enclosing the raw seam allowance. Slipstitch in place. Now you see that you have a "flap" to lift when you are ready to nurse baby!
  15.  

    Here is a picture of the small waistband lining in place (and with buttonholes -- see below).
    (Click for larger image.)

  16. To keep the flap securely in place when you are not nursing, you will make buttonholes in it (two at each end and two or three evenly spaced across the front. Youíll sew buttons to the regular waistband beneath. Your waistline sash will completely hide the buttons, disguising your nursing access completely! To keep the underarm seam areas from gaping, sew a couple of snaps to the hemmed under portion of the bodice front and to the lining beneath. Ta-da!
  17. Left to Right:My nursing dress with the front flap buttoned and the sash covering the buttons; dress with the front waistband flap unbuttoned; dress with the flap lifted to show the nursing slit on one side; close-up of the button at the side seam edge of the front flap.
    (Click for larger images.)

  18. Follow the rest of the steps for completing your gown (hemming skirt, etc.).

And just so you can see the dress "in action," here I am nursing my daughter in it!

9. Making the Waistline Sash

  1. To make the sash, measure around your waist while you are wearing the gown. You may make the sash as wide or as narrow as you please. 1914 styles were all over the map when it came to sashes, as you can see in the illustrations at the end. A "medium" sized sash that has enough fabric to bunch up nicely will be 18" wide. You will cut the sash the width you desire and 1 1/4" longer than the waistline measurement you just took. You will be cutting the sash across the material from selvedge to selvedge rather than up and down with the grain. (If you prefer a sash that ties and has ends that hang down, you can cut a long one down the grain.)
  2.  

  3. Fold sash in half, right sides together, and stitch down the long seam.

    Then stitch one end closed with the long seam in the middle, rather than at the top or bottom edge. (This makes for a nicer-looking sash, since the long seam will be hidden beneath.)

  4. Turn sash right side out, then turn under the open end and slipstitch closed, leaving no stitches on the outside of the sash. Try on the sash over your dress, scrunching it up into nice folds. The sash ends should just meet, but if they overlap a bit, thatís okay. Just mark how much of an overlap there is (or if there isnít an overlap). Sew hooks and eyes to the underside of the sash so that you can fasten them and keep them hidden from view. If youíve made a long sash, you can tie it and leave the ends hanging down behind or in front (as shown in the original illustration). You can make many different sashes and change the look of your gown any time!

 

10. Making the Underdress:

[Note: My photographs of these steps did not make it from the digital camera to the computer! As soon as possible, I will make another underdress and photograph the process for you.]

You will use the same pattern pieces to make your underdress, only youíll be leaving the sleeves off and changing the neckline and the waistband. These instructions will help you make a very simple, flattering underdress that can be worn under a lingerie dress or even by itself as a nightgown!

  1. Lay out the bodice back piece as usual (using the correct cutting line if you plan to line the bodice), but cut the neckline down one inch away from your regular size line (leaving the shoulder area the same). Lay out the bodice front piece on the fold as usual, but cut the neckline down two inches from your regular size line (leaving the shoulder area the same).
  2.  

     

     

     

  3. Use these pieces to cut out lining if you wish to line your underdress. If you do not wish to line it, youíll need to cut self bias binding for the armholes and neckline.
  4. If you are making a lined bodice, stitch bodice front and back together at shoulders only. Repeat for the lining. If you are making an unlined bodice, stitch front and back together at shoulders and side seams, then skip to step F below.
  5. Take the bodice lining and pin it to the bodice, right sides together. Stitch around the neckline and at the armholes, as shown below, then clip corners and curves.
  6. Turn bodice right side out by "feeding" the bodice back pieces through the shoulders at each side and pulling them out the front of the bodice. Press. Set aside.
  7. If youíre making an unlined bodice, bind the armholes and neckline with bias binding as explained in steps 1E & F above. Set aside.
  8. Sew skirt pieces together and add placket, as explained in section 3.
  9. Instead of making a waistband out of fabric, you are going to cut one out of entredeaux. This is a bit of insertion that has holes through which you can run a ribbon. You will cut the waistband exactly as explained above and sew it to the bodice and skirt pieces. Then you can run a pretty ribbon through the holes and have it tie in the back.


Illustration from a 1912 dressmaking book, showing the entredeux and ribbon waistband.
If you are ambitious enough, you can even make eyelets and scallops as shown, finishing the edges and holes by hand with a buttonhole stitch!

Finish the rest of the underdress just as you would finish the dress. You can trim the hem with lace or embroidery if you like. It is also possible to make the underdress to button down the front. All you have to do is cut out the bodice back on the fold (subtracting 3/4" from the dotted "fold" line), then cut the bodice front 1 1/4" away from the selvedge to allow enough to turn under and overlap. Youíll also cut the skirt back out on the fold and cut a slit in the skirt front for a placket.

11. Tips for Embellishing Your Gown:

There are so many beautiful possibilities for decorating your dress! Lingerie dresses were often embroidered around the neckline, down the bodice, above the hem of the skirt and on the sleeves. Iíve included some basic embroidery designs in the appendix so you can try them out. Youíll just need to lay your cut out pieces on top of the designs to trace them (using a dressmakerís marker or pencil). I recommend practicing on a scrap of fabric first if youíre new to embroidery.

Hereís an example of an embroidered corset cover to give you an idea of how embroidered motifs were carried out.
You can use the same idea for the underdress or the front of your gown!

You can also add lace insertion to your dress in the bodice, sleeves and skirt. Inserting lace is much easier than it looks! Should you decide to do it, you need to add all of the lace before you sew your gown pieces together. Below are some basic instructions for lace insertion (taken from a vintage dressmaking book). Try it out on scrap fabric first, and youíll soon get the hang of it.

To insert lace insertion in a garment, pin the lace in the position desired [on the right side of the material], and baste down both edges of the insertion. If the insertion is narrow, the [backing] material is cut through the center (Fig. 1); but if the insertion is wide, the material is cut away from underneath, simply allowing a seam on each side. The edge is turned in a narrow hem covering the line of the basting. Stitch the insertion close to the edges from the right side, and at the same time catching through the material hemmed down. [Fig. 2 gives an example of lace insertion above a hem with lace trimming the hem.] (from The Dressmaker, Butterick Co., 1911)


Figure 1

Figure 2


(Click for larger images.)

You can invent your own patterns for lace insertion (circles, ovals, straight lines, scallops, bows, etc.), but Iíve included a couple of vintage insertion motifs in the appendix [of the printed instructions] to give you some ideas. The main thing is to be creative and enjoy yourself!

Enjoy your new creation!



Samples of Gown Styles from 1914:


(Click for larger images.)

The three styles illustrated here are from the Home Pattern Companyís 1914 fashion catalogue. You can recreate all three of them, using the Afternoon Dress pattern as your base. The outfit on the far left is a basic gown with elbow-length straight sleeves. The skirt is straight rather than gathered at the waist (all you have to do is cut down your skirt pieces accordingly). The overdress on this outfit is a simple sleeveless bodice with a ruffled overskirt attached. The bodice crosses over in front, and the sash covers the waistline seam. The gown in the middle takes the basic Afternoon Dress and adds seven lace ruffles to the skirt (you can just sew them directly to the skirt). The sleeves are the straight, elbow-length sleeves with a lace ruffle at the bottom. The ruffled crossover neckline is just a gathered "shawl" of lace sewn onto the neckline and tucks into the waistline sash in front. You can recreate this sash by making yours extra wide (approximately 24 inches). Finally, the dress on the far right is the basic Afternoon Dress with a bodice inset and a straight underskirt. You can still make the gown fasten up the back, and youíll just cut the neckline straight down in front (leaving enough to turn under for the inset. The inset is made out of a rectangle of material with lace or embroidered netting on top (you could omit the lace and just make a rectangular inset if you wish). The sleeves are the cap sleeves gathered into a plain fabric cuff at the elbow. The possibilities are endless once you start experimenting with the basic pattern!


Back to Pattern Information | Home | Send Feedback

1914 Afternoon Dress Pattern copyright Mrs. Jennie Chancey, 2002-2003.