I learned a new thing this morning. While looking on Pinterest for a picture from 1908, I came across a fashion plate showing a sleeveless bodice that a blouse is worn under. This was not new to me, because I had others I’d saved in my Make Me file. Some had a slight sleeve as in the photo above, and some had slightly ruffled short sleeves. Others had NO SLEEVE at all, like this one in my file.
I’d already made something similar a few years ago in 2016. I’d found this line drawing in a fashion plate that I liked. I didn’t have enough fabric for sleeves, so decided to make it more like a vest. I liked it because it was cooler, although my dress fabric. a mid-weight polyester drapery fabric, was not. But I loved the fabric, so you do what you have to do.
I had a few other fashion plates saved too, that showed a transition from the appearance of a “vest”, and they were wearing a guimpe, or under-blouse, to actually separating the blouse from the bodice. It seemed a natural transition, and used less fabric. Way back in 2011 I had tried making a pattern from the Edwardian Modiste book for this 1907 bodice, and it was very similar to this lady’s dress cropped from a 1906 wedding party. Due to some miscalculations, I had to re-do it, but it never was finished. It still sits in a ziplock bag somewhere, including my fabric, which is a cheap polyester but was perfect for this.
These are some others I’d saved. Note the changing sleeves on them.
A couple dresses caught my eye today while I was doing a totally different search, all from 1908 fashion plates. But this one from McCalls (April 1908) had a description jumped out at me: New Ideas in Jumper Costumes. I’d never heard that term before. So, I began a further search.
I found these articles from Delineator Magazine from their May 1908 issue. They were a thing! In the article, the loosely draped sleeves were called Grecian style. Some of the jumpers were simply called Bretelles, if they basically just had straps.
The sleeveless, or near sleeveless, style also created this tunic to go over dresses too. The pattern is from Past Patterns #3973. It looks simple but has extremely minimal directions.
In the years since I first tried the Edwardian Modiste book to try and drape one, now there is a pattern for the same bodice by Black Snail Patterns, #0117 available on etsy. I haven’t tried mine yet but was told it made up very well, but required fitting.
All the ones I’m seeing are matching jumper and skirt, so no contrasting fabrics in those. But reading the article, this would be a game changer for the dressmaker, using less fabric, simpler to make, and easy to change her look with different blouses/guimpes. Granted, some of these are still some pretty fancy designs.