Saturday, March 4, 2017

A Yoked 1860's Girls Dress

Anne's dress for this year is done! She may get a few more wears out of last years pink frock, and she may get another new dress later this year for fancier occasions, but I am really liking this plain, sturdy little dress that we made in a blue-grey print that exactly matches her eyes.

Like she was last year, Anne was very involved in every detail of this dress. She looked at original images and at last settled on a yoked style with short puffy sleeves and a wide, shallow neckline. She kept me company while I sewed, sewed pins into my skirt, cut up scraps of ribbon and argued with me about putting polyester ribbon on her dress ("Mommy, they DID have ribbon back then!") and watched Beatrix Potter movies on YouTube while I stitched away.

Some of the images that inspired Anne
In passing, those movies rather horrified me. While I loved them as a child, as an adult they seem absolutely morbid. Most of the plots involve some sinister, conniving character plotting to eat the silly, naive, innocent character! But Anne seemed to love them as much as I once did. 

The construction of the dress is quite simple with the yoke being an easy variation of the smooth fitted bodice. I drafted a new basic bodice pattern according to Anne's measurements, made a mock up, and drew on a line where I thought the yoke should be. The mock up was then cut apart to create the pattern for the yoke, while the lower bodice was slashed and spread to create a wider lower bodice piece to be gathered to the yoke. 

It went together pretty smoothly. I found that I was completely out of the cotton cord I usually  use for piping so I had to substitute with slightly thicker butchers string. The piping came out clunky and awkward but I guess it is better than no piping. Or maybe not. Childrens clothing does not strictly need to piped in this period. Oh well, it's done! And I have a new ball of cotton cord now so next time I won't be unprepared!

It's made a little large so as to fit all this year. The back has a big overlap and the buttons can be moved if Anne eventually needs extra room. The skirt has three 1" tucks than can be let out, but as we made the skirt pretty long I don't think we will need to let the tucks out.
I love how these came out in black and white!

No lining, except in the yoke and the waistband and hem is faced. The dress took about 3 yards of 45" fabric.

Anne's shoes are modern WalMart finds, and the straps aren't in a correct position for the 1860's, but I may be able to move the straps before the season starts and they will look a little better. 


  1. A darling dress for a darling child! You sew so beautifully.

    1. She is a delight to sew for! So thankful to have daughters. :)

  2. Her frock is a lovely as she is! I can't help but think how much she reminds me of a very, very young Elizabeth Taylor. Papa and the big brothers are sure going to have their hands full watching out for these two beautiful girls!

    1. They will for sure, although it seems at this point that both girls are just as much strong willed spitfires as their brothers and do pretty good at looking out for themselves. They aren't afraid of anything or anyone and know how to get what they want! Haha. I hope they always are like that.


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!