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This is my 1914 Afternoon Dress pattern, 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 tea gowns!

  • Sizes 6-26 “DD” all included in one ePattern.
  • 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.
  • Click to download the 1914 Afternoon Dress Pattern yardage chart.
  • Available for instant download!
  • This pattern is rated intermediate to advanced, depending on whether or not you opt for lace insertion and embroidery.
  • 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.

(Looking for the paper version rather than the ePattern? Purchase from one of our many retailers worldwide!)

67 comments on “1914 Afternoon Dress”

    • 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!

  1. 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!

  2. 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.


  3. 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). 🙂

  4. 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!

  5. 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?

    • 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!

  6. 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!

  7. (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.)

    • 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!

  8. 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 😛

    • 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!

    • 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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?

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

    • 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

  14. 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.

    • 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. 🙂

  15. 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. 😉

  16. 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!

  17. 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)?


  18. 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).

  19. 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

  20. 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!

  21. 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?

    • 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!

  22. 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….

  23. 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!


    • 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 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!


  24. Hi Jennie,
    In some comments near the top, you wrote:

    “Hi, Kella! There used to be a proper columnar corset available, but I believe it has gone out of print. However, the “Two Victorian Corsets” pattern from Laughing Moon is excellent. It is long enough to go through the hips and gives the proper shape to the bust. Hope this helps!
    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).”

    The link for the Laughing Moon corsets doesn’t work any longer. Do you have a link that does? I am looking for a corset that works for that time period of this dress pattern, and also, like you said above in the last sentence of your comment- a period corset that pushes in the bustline a bit for a slimmer look up top. Could you recommend something or a link to a corset that would achieve that? Also, the link to your message forum on the topic of corset myths doesn’t work either- I would love to read the corset myth forum page! 🙂

    Thank you sooo much!

    • Hi, Zoe! The Laughing Moon site is still at, but they’ve rearranged their pattern pages. The Victorian corset can be found (as of November 2014!) at As you’ll see, the corset goes up over the bust instead of stopping beneath it, so it helps smooth the line of the bust for that columnar look. The only thing that needs to be changed for 1914 is the length, which should extend down over the hips. Careful fitting in the toile stage will enable you to add the needed length. I do wish someone would come out with a proper mid-teens corset in all sizes!

      The Corset History and Myths thread is on my old (read-only) forum at You can still sign up for the forum to read the post, but you won’t be able to add any replies. If you’d like to continue the discussion on my new forum, pop over to and start a new thread after you introduce yourself. It would actually be a good idea to move the Corset Myths discussion over to the new forum, but the old software doesn’t allow me to “lift” an entire thread with all its replies. Sigh. So starting it up again would be super, and my resident experts on the topic can post their two cents!

      Happy sewing!

  25. Hello Jennie…

    I am looking for a dress from around the 1912 time frame. This is when our town was established. We have a heritage day at which I will be spinning. I am wondering if this dress with the Edwardian Apron over the top would be comfortable for sitting long periods at a spinning wheel. It looks like it would be. I would be wearing it without the corset.

    Thanks for you help. The patterns are lovely!

  26. Hi Jennie!

    This wonderful pattern just arrived and I am excited to start working on it. I have never done a historical project before, but it looks like a good introduction.

    I just had a question regarding sizing. In the instructions, it says that if you don’t plan on wearing historical undergarments (I don’t) that you should size up 2 sizes from what your measurements indicate. In modern clothing I usually wear a size 6, but according to the size chart included with the pattern I would be about between a 12 and a 14 (my measurements are Bust: 85 cm, Waist: 70cm, Hip: 94 cm). Am I then supposed to size up 2 sizes from THAT? So I should use the pattern for a size 16?

    Thanks in advance for any sizing advice!
    – Chelsea

    • Hi, Chelsea!

      Thanks for the note, and I’m happy to help with any questions you have. First off, it’s important to keep in mind that pattern measurements are nothing like off-the-rack measurements. I wear a 10 off-the-rack but have to cut a 16 when I sew for myself. That’s just the way it is — “vanity sizing” means that off-the-rack sizes have gradually gone down, but pattern sizes have stayed the same for years. So, yes, I’d say a 12 is probably your correct size from your measurements. Because this pattern has a waistband, you can use the size 14 for that, as it’s closest to your waistline measurement. But cut the bodice on the 16 to give you more room in the bust, since you won’t be wearing a corset.

      Remember to make the bodice in muslin first to try on. If you feel it is a bit too big, it’s fine to take in the side seams and take up more of a seam at the shoulder. But when you gather the lower edge of the bodice into the fitted waistband, it’s going to look perfectly fitted. I’d still recommend using the size 12 sleeves so you don’t “swim” in the bigger ones. You’ll have room for easing into the armhole and can tweak as needed. I have a tutorial online that can help you navigate through fitting issues (we all have them!).

      Happy sewing, and don’t hesitate to drop a line if you have further questions!

  27. Hi Jennie,
    I’ve loved the look of this pattern for years, and I’ve finally plumped for it! It’s now sat on my desk next to me, and I have a beautiful light cotton lawn with more opaque threads woven into it in a self-coloured check pattern (difficult to describe, but very lovely to look at!) that I’m planning to use to make it up.
    I just had one question before I started. I’m a very active person and was hoping to use this dress for English country dancing sessions, which involve quite a lot of running and jumping! Is the hem circumference of the skirt wide enough that I will be able to do so, and could also climb up deep steps or even rocky surfaces, without straining the hem?
    If not, what would you recommend to widen it so that I can skip etc freely?
    Thanks very much for all your beautiful work!



    • Hi, Anna! Thanks for the lovely comments. I hope you enjoy using the pattern. 🙂 I have danced in my 1914 dress with the skirt as-is, but I think for climbing or other more active pursuits, I’d widen the skirt by making it more A-line instead of rectangular. If you don’t have enough width in your material to do that, then see if you can add two slim side-back panels to give more width. I’d taper them to avoid adding bulk at the waistline, though. In other words, slim at the top and widening at the bottom. Hope this helps, and Happy Sewing!

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