It’s less than a month until Costume College 2018, and my instagram and facebook feeds are full of people panic-sewing for the event. I’m not going this year, but all the excitement has reminded me of the talks I did last year, and how I’ve never put most of that information online.
In a timely coincidence, a number of people have asked me recently what my favourite Edwardian & WWI era patterns are, and how I built my wardrobe for my Fortnight in 1916 living-history project.
One of my talks at Costume College last year was ‘The Great War Wardrobe‘: an in-depth exploration of WWI era home-front fashion, along with a guide on how to build a complete wardrobe from the period. I’m still working out how to turn the fashion history side of the class into workable blog posts, but will (hopefully) get those sorted and polished soon.
For now, here is a quick series on where to get patterns to make a 1910s (with a focus on 1914-19) era wardrobe.
The patterns I’ve included here are from pattern companies I’ve made items from, or have helped students or friends make items from, and can recommend on that basis.
I have not included pattern companies that I do not recommend, or pattern companies I have seen or tested in any way. I did not include patterns that are essentially modern blocks updated with a period aesthetic: I find that they rarely give the correct look.
Today’s post is all about your 1910s unders – because every good impression starts with your foundations. My Fortnight in 1916 really demonstrated how much your undergarments change how you stand, and move in your garments, and think about your personal space, and movements, so I really, really recommend making the proper underthings to achieve an accurate impression.
For your WWI wardrobe, first of all, of course you need a corset:
- Scroop Patterns: Rilla Corset (1913-1921):
- Truly Victorian TVE13: 1913 Corset Pattern
For more on what you’re looking to achieve with your corset, check out my series on Body Ideals & Corsetry 1913-1921
Under your corset, you’ll need some form of undergarments to protect the corset from you, and you from the corset:
Under the Corset:
- Truly Victorian: TVE02 1900s underwear: Slightly early for the period, and best if you are doing an impression of an older woman, whose style might not be so up-to-date.
- Wearing History: Circa 1917 Combination Underwear & Chemise This is the pattern I used for all of my Fortnight in 1916 undergarments
Over the Corset:
- Folkwear: Edwardian Underthings. Slightly early for the period, and best if you are doing an impression of an older woman, whose style might not be so up-to-date. Shortened, the petticoat is suitable for 1915-17 as well. I’m not sure the camisole is entirely accurate in cut.
- Truly Victorian: Late Edwardian Petticoat Pattern Suitable for the long, slim skirts of 1909-14
- Wearing History: 1910s corset cover or camisole This is the pattern I used for all of my Fortnight in 1916 camisoles
Because every well-dressed WWI era lady needs an elegant robe or negligée to swan about the house in!
There are also lots of books that include scaled patterns for corsets and other undergarments from this era (well, primarily corsets). I recommend:
- McNealy, Marion. Corset Cutting & Making (this book is amazing)
- Salen, Jill. Corsetmaking: Historical Patterns & Techniques
- Waugh, Nora. Corsets & Crinolines
I’ll be putting up the rest of my guide over the next two weeks!