Friday, 1 January 2016

1890s Gold on White - Butterick 3417 & 3418

Patterns: Skirt - Butterick #3418, view A without trims.
                 Blouse - Butterick #3417, view C, with trim alterations.
                 Sash - Good old math =)
Fabrics: Skirt is 100% cotton, medium weight, standard weave, with gold print.
               Blouse is 100% cotton batiste, light weight, with white embroidery and appliques.
               Lining is white China silk, flat lining, for both.
Available on Etsy HERE
Available on Ebay HERE
Measurements: *I made the pattern size 16 for the skirt and 18 for the blouse
Chest; 38" (variable, due to gathered nature of blouse. I would say 40" max)
Waist: 30"
Hip: <45"
Hem: 42" at front, about 44" at back (extra petticoats fluff the skirt outward, so true standing height from waist is probably around 40")

~The Blouse~
Butterick #3417, view C.

This is a great pattern, in my humble opinion. I have always felt that of the Big Three pattern companies, Butterick does historical pieces the best (although Simplicity has really been impressing me recently, especially with their 18th century underpinnings and new corsets). This would make sense, since Butterick HAS been printing patterns since the 19th century. I wonder if these new "costume" patterns are really just their 1890s backlist? LOL

Anyway, the pattern itself is quite simple. No fitted linings or side closures, as were commonly seen in many of the deceptively simple blouses of the Belle Epoque era. This one is gathered at the front neckline, has the closure at center back, and is loose down to the hem; no gathering or belting at the waist.

I made few alterations to the pattern itself, only added some "extras" to increase the workmanship. I flat lined the blouse is white china silk.

One of the back pieces, preparing to pin for flat lining. I altered the length and shape at the hem, so what you see here is not exactly the shape of the original pattern at the bottom.
The elbow length sleeve, view C, being pinned with the flat lining. 
I also decided to do french seams, as the China silk is delicate and would be best kept from unraveling if entirely enclosed.

Alteration Time!
The only alterations I made the pattern itself was to the gathering at the front neckline. For me, the gathering points are too close to the center front. You end up gathering a lot of material into a tight space at the center throat. Not only does it not look good, It pulls fabric toward the center, affecting the hang near the shoulders and over the bust. All I did was push the gathering start points a tad further back toward the shoulder seam, just an inch and a half on each side.

Now, to those gorgeous shoulder ruffles...

I love them,but they are a pain in the butt to make. The pattern gives them a simple 5/8" seam that you are to turn in basically a narrow hem. This is already hard enough to do on something that is curved almost in a half circle, but made even harder with delicate fabric. I have done it before and the result was a hem that kept wanting to curl upward. Ugh!

Instead, I overlocked the hem, then added a narrow cotton lace with a mere 1/4" allowance just inside the stitching of the overlock. Turned it all, ironed flat, then top stitched down through the overlocked hem. It makes the ruffles about 1/2" longer,but the final result is, to me, better looking and less hassle that trying to get a narrow hem to turn that curve smoothly.

Finally, I added interfacing to the collar, which you really do need, the stiffer the better (though try to keep the interfacing centered and out of the seam allowance, to keep the seam from getting too bulky). I did the buttons at the center back with handmade Dorset buttons using cotton crochet thread and brass rings.

~The Skirt~
Butterick #3818, view A with no trims. It's a 7 gore skirt with no waist darts (with so many seams, you shouldn't need them. Just make waist alterations at the seams)

First, the warnings.
The pattern calls for a zipper at the back, but you can easily replace that with an overlapping placket (see further down). Also, the hip to waist ratio is far too small. I highly recommend choosing a larger size, then making waist alterations at all the seam points. The dramatic outward jut of the hips that comes with tight lacing is definitely not accommodated by this pattern without alterations.

Next, this skirt is LONG. Without alterations and following the 1.5" seam allowance, you end up with a front hem length of almost 43". Now, this gets eaten up a bit by the "fluffed out" effect of wearing a lot of petticoats, but you will have quite a long skirt anyway. Be sure to measure before you cut so you don't end up wasting fabric on a hem you might have to chop off by 4". The back of the skirt hangs about 2.5" longer than the front too, so keep that into account when hemming and choosing your options for rump pads, etc.

The Placket.
If you're familiar with Truly Victorian patterns, I used the same placket design that is in many of her over-skirt patterns. It a facing on one side, and a folded piece on the other that will lay behind the other side during wear. Her patterns do a much better job explaining the process, so I'll just let pictures do the talking:

~The Sash~

Nothing really special going on here. Just a tube of the matching cotton, 80" long, and pointed at both ends. I covered the points with double sided lace appliques which I blanket stitched around the edges by hand. I like the effect. I think they kind of match the flowers that are in the skirt print already =)

*As always, there are so many pictures it borders on ridiculous, lol. But, as we 21st century people say, digital film is cheap.=) 


  1. It is so pretty Lydia. :)

    And I have nominated you blog for an award here:

  2. Oh, Thanks, Nessa! That's awesome! =)