Let’s Try This Again: A (Better Fitting But Still Imperfect) Edwardian Dress from Butterick 6093

Cotton Candy Colored Edwardian Barbie!

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Butterick 9063 is based off of general fashion trends from 1912 (some possible period inspirations can be seen here). The construction is pretty straight forward and modernized, so Butterick calls this an “Easy” pattern. It’s simple exterior hides a slightly more complex garment, and after phutzing with it for a while now, I would call it more “advanced beginner.” My first version was very enlightening (and very blue):

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I made a lot of mistakes with my first version— chief among them being choosing the wrong size! However, it turned out pretty cute for a first try. My sister liked it and was bummed that it wouldn’t fit either of us. We share similar measurements even though our body types are quite different, so I decided to make another mockup attempt which, if it fit better, Amelia could have. I had a few more inexpensive cotton sheets lying around, so I let her pick one she liked. Laura, the queen of Shear Madness, had sent me a lovely embroidered dupatta which I though would make a good accent for collars and cuffs. A thrifted cotton shirt donated some UFO-shaped fabric buttons for a final touch:

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Amelia decided she liked the contrasting pop coral pink against the teal and while the single-sided collar is snazzy and all, maybe a symmetrical collar setup would suit her better…?

So I plotted:

Amelia Pink Dress Design

And together, we settled on a triangular collar similar to my first dress attempt, but this time on both sides of the neckline (the design on the left).

Previously, my dress had been much to small, especially in the hips. I could barely sit! If you ever tackle B6093 for yourself, pay close attention to your hip measurement and how much ease you’ll need to sit down otherwise:

With thoughts of wardrobe disasters floating in my head, I thought it might behoove me to cut the pattern according to the size chart on the back of the envelope. According to the chart, the best option for Amelia and I would be a size 16. However, the finished waist size would have been 34.5″– a whopping 4.5 inches of ease in what should be the most fitted part of the dress! Remembering how the size 12 waist was too small and knowing that the size 16 waist would be much too huge, I cut the hips a size 16 and tapered the waist down to a size 14. The fullness of the bodice in my first version seemed like enough to me, so I cut the bodice pieces out in the same size as before: 12.

That’s a lot of numbers. Unfortunately, they don’t all come in one envelope, either. However, I had raided Hancock fabrics during a pattern sale, so I had both size selections. After working with this pattern now for a second time, I have learned that mixing and matching pattern numbers in key areas is the way to go for a better fit. The way the dress is constructed means that most size adjustments need to be made on the sides of the pattern pieces rather than in the middle (like, say, slicing something for a FBA). Making post-construction alterations are also very tricky because of the side zipper and because the loose-fitting bodice is gathered to a tight, darted skirt, meaning you can’t let it out or take it in without taking the entire dress apart.

Thus, I prayed that 12b+14w+16h=excellent!

I didn’t take many progress shots, except this shot of me testing the fit on DumDum since Amelia is in far-off Colorado and thus unavailable for fittings:

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This is also right before I put the sleeves on. Seriously, the sleeves in this pattern confound me! As you may recall (and if you don’t, it’ll be fairly obvious in the picture below), my previous dress suffered from a case of muffin top sleeve caps:

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It’s like rabbit ears or plate armor…..or GAGA!

If you happen to be an extraterrestrial/pop star with shoulder protrusions, this is the pattern for you! However, if you are an average human attempting to mimic Edwardian fashion, the shoulders poofs are maddening. No one else who has made this pattern ended up with lumpy shoulders, but I ran into the exact same problem again with Amelia’s dress. Even with TWO rows of ease stitching, the sleeve cap was well over an inch too tall. I ended up just sewing further down the sleeve cap to achieve a smooth shoulder line. I can only conclude that I am either an idiot or cursed by some vengeful pattern witch.

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It always seems I must turn to sleeve voodoo to get things to work. Perhaps it is coming back to haunt me now?

In between tackling the sleevils and adding the collar buttons, I took on a temporary second job (just for this month). Lack of freetime notwithstanding, I finally got Amelia’s cotton candy Edwardian Barbie dress done!

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If the skirt looks a bit long, you’d be right. Amelia is much taller than I am. She wasn’t available for fittings, so I was pretty liberal with the addition just in case she wants to wear heels. I’m actually wearing my tallest pair of platforms (5″) underneath and it still puddles! I also took advantage of the sheet’s already finished hem, so hopefully she won’t need to hem it up (if you do, I’m sorry, Minnie!).

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The color of the cotton sheet really varies in photographs depending on the light. Sometimes it photographs as  as blush rose, other times, orange shrimp. It’s kinda funky.

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The pretty lace dickey is an antique, and unfortunately, not quite strong enough/big enough for wearing. It does make a nice dummy cover, though!

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I pleated the back instead of gathering it in this version to help combat the awkward back-poof I got with the first dress.

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I decided the skirt looked to plain and, well, bedsheet-like without some sort of accent, so I fudged an applique made from the dupatta scraps.

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The waistline of this dress really benefits from a belt or corsage to cover the awkward join where the faux wrap front meets. The pattern includes a belt, but I opted to add a little bow at the corner. It’s made from an antique stamped steel buckle that is handily dated on the back!

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I added a pin back so it can be moved if Amelia wants to wear a belt or wear it on her shoulder or something of that sort. I paired it with a cheap gauze scarf from Walmart as an impromptu sash with moderate success.

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Despite my (in my opinion) clever patterning, the dress still ended up larger than expected! It’s not horribly baggy, but I’m afraid that on my slim sister, it might look like she’s wallowing in a duvet. Ah, well! I have to send it off to see. If nothing else, it will make a passable Halloween frock!

Candy Colored Edwardian Dress Stats:

Queen-sized cotton sateen flat sheet – $3.99, Thrift Town
1 yard cotton fabric (to line collar and applique) – FREE! (Thanks, Nana!)
Embroidered teal georgette dupatta – FREE! (Thanks, Laura!)
22″ invisible zipper – $2.49, Hancock Fabrics
Thrifted white shirt (for buttons) – $4.59, Goodwill
Antique stamped steel buckle – $6.18, eBay
Invisible zipper foot – $11, Joann Fabrics
(Okay, so not part of the dress, per say, but very much needed!)

Total: $28.25
$17.25 if you don’t count the zipper foot. :P

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UPDATE!

Some of Butterick’s possible inspirations directly from the Delineator, Butterick’s ladies’ magazine!

Butterick 6093 Inspirations

From left to right:
Oct. 1912: Cross-over bodice with squared collar (from view A of B6093) and the lacy, squared cuffs with long button closure (View B)
August 1912 and September 1912: Brief fashion for single-sided curved revers/lapels/collars. The Aug. 1912 dress on the right has the lace overlay and single-sided wrap of View B.
Oct. 1912 again: Illustration of sleeves fashions including the lacy, squared cuffs with long button closure (this seems to have been a brief trend in fall/winter ’12)
Nov. 1912: THE SKIRT! This is the exact skirt design of View A in B6093 consisting of a tri-pleated/tucked wrapped overskirt and bow-bedecked belt!
April 1912: Another curved, single-sided lapel like View B (also paired with a square collar as in View A) and the possible inspiration for the lace overlay used in the promotional pictures. It is from a Bedell’s Fashion Book ad for Easter and Spring dress styles.
Sept. 1911: Shows an older dress (left) transformed into the newer fashion (right) with a single-sided lapel and wrapped overskirt (and lovely contrasting underskirt!)

Here’s the amazing link to scanned issues of the Delineator (Thanks again, Terri!) where you can find these images and so much more: http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000545715

Lifting Skirts and Loosening Ties: What goes under an Edwardian Dress?

It takes lots of work (and layers) to look this fabulous!

Lovely Lady wearing the latest French fashions, circa 1905-1906

I am undeniably addicted to eBay, especially when it comes to antique garment shopping! Well, recently, due to temperatures in southern New Mexico hovering around 85°F, I’ve been admiring the lighter side of fashion: Edwardian summer dresses. We’ve all seen those lovely white Edwardian gowns covered in tiny pin-tucks or frilled with lace. Many of them are quite sheer and would be quite scandalous without something underneath! Of course, all the young ladies weren’t running around in see-through gowns. No matter how sheer an extant dress may seem, showing this much skin in public was out of the question:

(image originally from Vintage Textile, but the listing has since been removed)

So, if Edwardian didn’t “flaunt what their mamas gave ’em”  in these unlined sheer dresses, what did they wear?

Layers.

Lots of pretty, frilly, fluffy, fabulous layers!

H&W Co. Wedding Ensemble Corset, Chemise, and Drawers, circa 1903

Firstly, an Edwardian lady would have donned a camisole or chemise to line her corset (ladies didn’t wear their corsets against bare skin) and a pair of drawers. Edwardians adored lace and pin-tucks and already you can see that obsession begins the moment a lady puts on her underthings! Along with her camisole and drawers (or equally gorgeous slip) comes the classic, long-line Edwardian corset. Since this corset is earlier in the period, it is not tubular like later designs. Instead of trying to mold the body into a stream-lined column, this type of corset–an S-bend or straight front–emphasizes the curve of the back and the bosom, though not as wildly as fashion illustrations may have you believe. Here’s another S-bend corset, an excellent example of how it shapes the body differently than older corsets:

Bon Marché S-Bend Corset, circa 1904

The bend in the back pushes out the rump, which is why Edwardian ladies have little “bustle bottoms” without having to wear an actual bustle. Many Edwardian dresses have extra gathers in the back for this reason. However, if a lady stopped at her corset, it would still show through her dress in a rather unflattering manner. Over the first layers of camisole, drawers, and corset, a well-dressed lady needs even more layers!

H&W Co. Wedding Ensemble Camisole and Petticoat, circa 1903

 Look at all that sumptuous lace! If you ever need an excuse to be frilly, dressing up in a sheer Edwardian gown is the perfect ploy.

To get the right look, another camisole, corset cover, or even a bust improver if she was a little “less than plush” up top added to the popular full, loose-front look, called a pouter pigeon. To fill out the bottom and flare out the skirt, at least one frilly petticoat is necessary, but two or more add extra “rustle.” Yet even with all these pretty pieces, we’re still not done getting dressed!

What’s missing? Why the sheer overdress, of course!

(and all the accessories, but seriously, that’s a whole other post!)

H&W Company Wedding Ensemble, circa 1903

“Large ensembles of bridal attire rarely survive intact, a fact that makes this group of eighteen pieces unusual and special. This set shows what a bride of 1903 considered to be essential garments for her wedding day and night. The set was made and worn by donor’s mother, Iza Bernice Shelton. Miss Shelton married Dr. Abel Wilson Atwood on July 7, 1903 at the home of her parents in Brooklyn.” – The Metropolitan Museum of Art

This is the epitome of the sheer white dress. In this case, it is a wedding dress, but many turn-of-the-century white gowns you see probably weren’t wedding dresses. White was an exceptionally fashionable choice for daywear in the 1900s, especially in summer. All those layers might seem rather excessive in the heat, but bear in mind that many of these fabrics are very light, especially compared to the very heavy fashions of twenty years before in the 1880s. However, to top off your warm-weather Edwardian look, I highly recommend a stylish fan!

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