Admire, Sewing

A 1918-1919 Day Dress: or ‘The Dreamstress Makes Yet Another Blue Dress’

A dress made from a 1919 pattern,

Colour-wise, I may be most famous for my love of yellow, but if you actually look at my sewing, blue is by far the most common colour in my historical and modern sewing wardrobe (unless you count historical undergarments, in which case white is winning!).

One of my historical wardrobe sewing goals is to make more things that are not in blue, white, & black. I’ve got the most stunning persimmon orange silk taffeta calling my name, and a deep purple, and a vivid golden yellow PHd, and I’d really, really like to find an excuse to make something green, because it’s a colour I adore, and yet somehow I never end up sewing with it!

So far I am totally failing at diversifying my colour palette, because my first make of 2019 is…darkest blue, so dark it reads black in photos. (faceplosh)

A dress made from a 1919 pattern

In my semi-defence, this dress was intended as a wearable toile, because I really wasn’t sure the pattern would work, and I was specifically looking for a fabric in my stash that I didn’t love – and that I had a LOT of.

A dress made from an original 1919 pattern

The pattern may look slim, but it’s a massive fabric hog: far wider than the line drawing, with huge tucks and a huge hem, and really interestingly constructed sleeves that take a LOT of fabric.

This is one half of a front or back piece:

A dress made from an original 1919 pattern

Note: Felicity is a very long cat!

So, knowing I needed a ton of fabric, I chose a very lightweight darkest blue wool twill that I found for a steal at an op-shop – though not quite as much of a steal as I’d thought, when it turned out to be full of moth holes.

A dress made from a 1919 pattern

By careful cutting, and a bit of pattern fudging (my dress is not quite as full as the pattern, because one front or back wouldn’t fit on a folded width of fabric) I managed to avoid all the moth holes, and get the dress out.

A dress made from a 1919 pattern

When I first got the dress to a wearable stage, I put it on and thought: “Oh My. If I ever get invited to a fancy dress event with the theme ‘Amish Toga Party’ I’m all set, but otherwise…”

So I didn’t finish the dress in time for the Victorian Picnic at the Botanical Gardens, because well, it wasn’t an Amish Toga Party…

But with Theresa coming to visit, I decided I’d finish the dress, and if it looked terrible, well, at least we would have had fun, because we always do!

A dress made from a 1919 pattern

I made a hat to go with the dress, but didn’t quite get it finished – and when I tried on the unfinished hat, and compared it to my Tricorne Revival hat, Theresa and I both agreed the Tricorne Revival was the one to wear.

I’m now absolutely in love with this dress. It’s really comfortable, it’s super fun to wear, and I adore how I look in it, and that it goes so beautifully with my hat.

One of my favourite things about it is the silhouette it gives me. It’s really helping me achieve that ideal mid-late 1910s look. Slim-hipped (but not so much so as in the early 1910s) with a full, low-bust.

A dress made from a 1919 pattern

The bust pleats are so awkwardly placed to the modern eye, but they visually lower the bust, creating that oh-so-fashionable droop.

Harrod’s La Vida Corset advertisement, 1918

Despite the easy, loose style, the proper underpinnings is still really important. I’m wearing this over a Rilla Corset, and the dress does NOT look good without a corset underneath.

I’ve also got a petticoat, and a Wearing History corset cover, for a bit of added bust fullness.

All in all, a dress success!

A dress made from a 1919 pattern

So, now the big question is: would you like this to be a Scroop Pattern?


  1. Umm, yes, it needs to be a Scroop Pattern! It really has a fabulous shape. I fully intend to venture into 1910’s this year – just gotta finish my Rilla Corset first!
    Also, I love your tricorn hat, it makes me happy every time I see it!

  2. Theresa in Tucson says

    I was thinking this might be nice to try until you said it needs a corset underneath. Here in the desert that would make it a winter only dress as dress, plus petticoat plus corset and cover would be far too warm. The dress is beautiful on you and very stylish.

  3. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    Interesting dress.

    And it would work in many fabrics.

  4. It’s a lovely outfit! The dress is just perfect for that hat, and the scale pattern fabric around the neck is so nice. The scenery is lovely too. That’s some impressively tall grass.

    I do hope you succeed in making more things in gold, purple, orange, and green!
    Perhaps you could do a pair of 18th century mitts in one of those fabrics and accomplish two goals in one go?

  5. I’m not surprised that blue is the commonest color in your “historical and modern” wardrobe. In my opinion, that may be not just because it’s easy to find blue fabric, but because most blues are attractive. On the other hand, there’s a lot of difference in greens, for example, and most have so much blue or brown in them that they look drab.

  6. Rozy says

    “but they visually lower the bust, creating that oh-so-fashionable droop.” I was born in the wrong era! This has got to be my time period because my droopy, low bust would need no help to look fashionable! Love your dress, it looks wonderful.

  7. I tend to gravitate toward blues myself. And it dominates both my modern and historical wardrobe. It is such a beautiful color and it looks great on pretty much everyone.
    But I am also trying to diversify my color choices in my costume closet. I set out the other day on an internet fabric shopping expedition, firmly determined not to purchase anything with even a thread of blue in it.
    A half hour later, I clicked the order button to buy 7 yards of brown and, yep, you guessed it blue plaid.
    I think your new blue dress is lovely. You should definitely make it into the next Scroop pattern

  8. Well, there needs to be a Scroop pattern to go over the Rilla, doesn’t it? 😉
    (Although I shouldn’t be one to talk because… because… 1915-17, not 1919…)
    Moths are the bane of a wool-lover’s existence. And goodness yes on the blue. I’ve been looking for fabric to cover a hat in, and keep landing on blue. And I tell myself “but I already have a blue dress and matchy-matchy wasn’t that much of a thing!” But nope. Blue.


    Seriously, this dress looks soooo good on you. The droopy, wide bust is super flattering. *toothy grin*

    And how amazing are all the trees/grasses/shrubs. Such a perfect photoshoot locale. Can’t wait to go back.

  10. Nannynorfolk says

    What a lovely outfit you look wonderful in it, you could almost wear it now except for the corset problem!
    Blue is the worlds favourite colour, but have a look at information about why we wear and need certain colours and what colours suit you.
    Before you embark on making something and all the time it takes have a good look in the mirror with the fabric around you especially under your face as the reflection of the colour on your face can actually make you look ill or older if it’s not your colour. We are all drawn to our favourite colour and blue is obviously yours.

  11. Sarah Gabbey says

    I would love to see this as a Scroop pattern! Your instructions are always wonderful, and the idea of further exploring this delightfully weird era fills me with glee.

  12. It’s great and it does indeed have just the right silhouette. I think the bust level tucks really help! The belt probably does, too. 😉 Green sounds like a lovely color to work with. And persimmon! YUM! And yay! I’m always trying to expand my color palette, too.


  13. Janine says

    Yes, I hope this is no April yoke
    Best regards Janine

  14. Nicole B. says

    What an attractive dress, and you look lovely in it! It looks so wearable, too!
    (I see your kitty takes her job of “helping” seriously.)

  15. Palo Verde says

    Hmm… A Scroop pattern?? I can’t see this dress as very appealing to those of us who are quite busty (and shortwaisted). I think the style–even with proper underpinnings–would not work on many body types, simply would not be flattering. If you intended to release it as merely the historical version, then perhaps… But as a modern version, hmmmm?? The other thing I worry about is the cost of pattern development for a limited appeal design.

    This is not to say that I don’t love the dress on you. It is quite, quite lovely and I love the deep blue of it.

  16. Carolyn Davis says

    I have been searching for a pattern and information to make a dress for the 100 th anniversary of our state fair. It was first held in July 1920. I have researched some photos of the fair and find your lovely dress that looks fabulous on you is quite similar to those. I was so excited to see postings of so many kindred spirits. I always find myself gravitating back to my favorite blue and speaking of gravity, at age late 60s the low bust is definitely my style. Lol As I look at the black and white photos I envision beautiful light airy colors of green and yellow. I would appreciate any suggestions to historically correct fabrics and colors to use to reproduce a dress for display.

  17. Misha says

    Yes! It would be amazing if it was available as a scroop pattern

  18. Lauren says

    Sigh, yes make this a Scroop pattern!! That is, if you happen to have a couple of extra minutes, and you’ll already up. . .

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