This is a photo diary of my costuming "travels"; where I've learned and struggled to make historical costumes for myself. They're not always pretty, but always fun, most of the time. And I want to share with others what I learn along the way. **You can find me on Facebook, or have my posts delivered to your email by signing up at the lower part of the right column.**

About Me

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HI, my name is Val. I'm a member of Costumer's Guild West in Los Angeles, Dean Emeritus of 2018 Costume College; Past President of the San Diego Costume Guild, member of Orange County Costume Guild, and a representative of the San Diego History Center. I make my own historical costumes but don't sell any unless I get tired of one.The eras I've made so far are 1770 up to 1918. My favorite is the 1880s bustle.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

1914 Purple Plaid -Butterick 6093

A brand new pattern put out by Butterick has everyone all ‘atwitter on my Costume Pattern Review group on Facebook. It’s a Retro Butterick 6093 that follows the lines of 1912-1914. The red version with the big white collar they have on the website is kind of throwing people off.  “In my own opinion”, I think it’s ugly. 

But if you look at the other photo, you can actually see the pattern line, without that ugly contrast white collar, and it starts looking really good.

I spent a lot of time looking through my computer folders of collected pictures and on Pinterest for dresses of this style or ones that could be made using this pattern. And I came up with enough that my Pattern Group really got inspired.



So the race was on to make one. I was in the middle of another project, my 1770s short jacket, but decided to drop it and go forward with this. I had the fabric, a cotton purple plaid that only cost me $3 yard, and perfect for testing it on. I kept trying to buy the pattern at JoAnn’s during their sales but every time I went there were none in the cabinet, which everyone else complained about too. Surprisingly if you went on a non-sale day, they suddenly appeared, but only about 3 of them. I also tried the $3.99 sale that Butterick had online but all they ever had was the small size group. So I caved in and bought one on ebay, paying $7 for it. Right after I bought it I saw another for $4. So I let the ladies know there were some out there if they were desperate like me.

Ok, so, my fabric. It’s cotton, kind of dense, with the feel of a linen blend, so it has a nice body for this.
This was my idea of the dress I would make. It looks very fresh and Summery. With the weather the last two weeks of temperatures ranging from 100-110, it was nice to look at. 
I saw some binding on another dress and may try that along with some lace on the cuffs too. I’m going to use solid white windowpane cotton for the cuffs, collar, and bib insert but I can always adapt some lace to them.
When I got my pattern in the mail and pulled it out to begin, I noticed it has a side opening that called for a zipper. I don’t do zippers. Period. And they didn’t have zippers back then on ladies dresses. During our discussion on the Pattern group, different ideas were posted of doing hooks & eyes, and snaps, or buttons, or being very daring by changing the opening to the period correct version of closing in the front. This would require changing the way the skirt operated. It’s similar to another pattern I’ve done, Hint of History 1914 pattern #101, although it had a similar problem where the giant shawl collars were throwing me off.
The two patterns are similar but H of H has a waistband, and a faux front, a rather simplified version. Butterick has a belt that goes over the dress, and the skirt is in three panels.
I decided to make the Butterick as it was originally designed, minus the zipper. Since so many of the ladies want to make their pattern too, I’m going to share how I’m making mine, although it will be in two parts because I’m only halfway done with it. But this will be more of the construction part to help them with theirs.
The bodice was pretty easy to sew, and you have to remember to keep the left side unstitched to about 3 inches down from the armhole where the top half of the closure will be. The other half will be on the skirt where they line up. I had to add 1 ½” to the waist on the pattern and I use 1/2 “ seam allowances. This makes the bust area a little blousy and there are no darts but this isn’t a fitted bodice, rather a gathered loose one.
I don’t normally do a bag lining (sewing the lining right sides together with the bodice & turning it right side out) but I wanted to do this faster. Once it’s sewn together the bottom edges are basted together then you cross it over to the front to match the dots on the pattern. Then you do a gathering stitch all around. It will be blousy, and I think I may be taking mine in a bit under the armhole, because I never quite fill out the bust area where it crosses over. The bib insert will help with the gappiness I have. *More on that later as I finish it*
 I sewed a placket on one side so when both edges of the opening meet up, it will cover that portion. This is where the hooks & eyes / snaps will go and be covered up. Another idea is to do buttons and buttonholes there. But your buttons will show. 

Once this portion was done, I sewed the sleeves together but will attach those later. Sewing the skirt panels again was easy, and the left side is open 10” down from the waist (to the dot on the pattern). The one panel that has the pleats is sewn on top of the front skirt.
On the left side opening I sewed another placket to the one side too. On the opposite side I just turned up a narrow edge. Since this will just have the hooks I think that will work, but can always add a placket on that side too if it’s too flimsy.
Another question came up on the Pattern group about this being a tight, almost hobble skirt. At least with mine having the larger hips, that’s not going to be a problem for me. We discussed putting a kick pleat in the skirt if needed. I see on the pattern and directions it has you leave an 18” opening at the bottom of the seam (where the second dot is) which I assume is for a kick pleat opening. But nowhere does it say what to do with it. I’ve reread the instructions to the last page 5 which is only the French translation of the directions. So I’m making that assumption and going for it. I’ll just finish off those edges with a facing.
 So that’s where I am with this so far. I hope it helps others attempting to sew this pattern.

*EDITED TO ADD*- After sewing it all together, the front panel wasn't wide enough for it to cross over and line up where it was supposed to. I tried stretching it out a bit but because of the way its sewn on there wasn't much I could move over or add. I also don't like the pleats and how they're laying. So I'm going to be taking that out and have decided to put decorative buttons down it and the bodice closure. 


  1. Looking forward to seeing this one all made up! I had the same feeling as others about the Butterick pattern - good lines on the sketch, *heeeedeeous!* sample dress! Show 'em how it's done!

    1. Have patience. I'm working on the rest of this rather slowly. *Real life* has a tendency to slow things down sometimes. :)

  2. Oh, I didn't know about this pattern! I don't keep up with the commercial patterns that well. Thanks for posting this--I'm looking forward to seeing the results, too! I love that antique plaid dress.

    1. You won't see this pattern in the "Costume" section. Its in the Retro section, a recreation of one of their earlier patterns.

  3. I'm loving this era more and more. Still elegant, but so comfortable. Love your plaid, as you say so fresh and summery

    1. Hopefully it will get done before the "summery" weather is over. But I still have two months more of it, so I have hopes.

  4. Thanks for this post! I'm using the shorter-sleeved version of the pattern for a dress this Halloween, and while I'm going in a slightly different direction, just going in knowing that the pattern's not accurate has been very helpful.

  5. This is going to be so fabulous when you are done with it!! I can't wait to see it completed!


I would love to hear if this was any help to you. Pretty please!