I went to write a post about how fabulous Theresa looked in the Little Miss Muffet 1910-11 inspired dress at our photoshoot at Otari Wilton’s Bush, and realised that I’ve never done a post about the dresses construction details.
So here is a dual-purpose, word-and-image heavy, post of Miss Muffet dress awesomeness!
The dress pattern is based on a number of sources: a couple of pattern diagrams published in NZ newspapers in the early 1910s, as well as one in Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion.
It has a back fastening, the cut-on sleeves that had just become popular in Western fashion, and a two layers skirt. The cut and construction are fairly straightforward**: typical of simpler styles of 1910s lingerie dresses
For the back fastening, I used lingerie buttons that face inwards, so no buttons are seen on the outside. A lighter fastening finish, with little hooks and domes/snaps, would have been a more accurate choice of finish.
The under-layer of the skirt does fasten with domes/snaps:
There is no fastening to the over-layer, though it hooks at the top with a skirt hook to close the waist:
The lack of fastenings to the over-layer doesn’t show when the dress is worn:
The lace is attached with machine zig-zag stitching:
There are lines of zig-zag stitching both along the outer edge of the lace, and then along the inner edge of each motif. After sewing both lines of zig-zagging I trimmed away the fabric to leave the lace free:
This lets the lace reveal the skin or skirt layers beneath it:
I’ve left the fabric underneath the lace along the bottom lace border, and under the lace yoke of the bodice:
This means that in those places I just had to sew one line of zig-zagging:
The first few times the dress was worn I left the blue underskirt attached with a straight line of stitching:
I decided I really didn’t love that effect, because it showed through the white linen over-skirt, and looked a little clumsy. So I carefully drew the zig-zags of the overskirt through to the blue underskirt, and sewed then in, and then trimmed away the extra fabric:
Now the blue just seems to float under the overskirt:
The zig-zags aren’t always perfectly aligned when the dress is worn, because of movement, but they certainly look better than the straight line did!
I cheated a bit with hemming, and left the original tablecloth hem of the blue overskirt intact:
And did a bias finished hem with machine invisible hem-stitching (shhhhh!) on the
All the seams are french seams, and the waist is finished with an interior waistband, so there is no raw fabric anywhere on the dress:
The dress is much heavier and bulkier in construction than any lingerie dress I’ve worked with, simply because its so hard to find linen that is as light and fine as original Edwardian linen. But I’m still happy with it as a costume, if not a strictly accurate reproduction.
* I love this title because it really annoys an app on WordPress that tells me how ‘readable’ my post is. The app is constantly telling me that my posts don’t contain enough outbound links, or active sentences, or are too hard too read because I use too many words with over six letters, and too many sentences with over 25 words. The app stresses me. (it would like that sentence though. Nice and short). It particularly doesn’t like long titles. My titles are always too long.
The app’s definition of a ‘good’ post does not include a single one of my top 50 most popular posts, so…
I’m trying to ignore it. And when I can’t ignore it, I annoy it. I aim to construct titles which would make the most verbose of Victorian authors gratified, and write substantial paragraphs, abounding with the most excessively long sentences, replete with seven-letter + words (and parentheses, which it is convinced are indisputably heinous), and which, above all else, use oxford commas. (I just know the app hates oxford commas. It’s that kind of app.)
** Well, straightforward for the Edwardian era!