17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Friday, June 7, 1912: I’m trying to make a skirt, but the end thereof is rather dubious.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
On June 3 Grandma mentioned that she was trying to remodel skirt that had been her sister’s. I assume that she was still working on it—and that it wasn’t going well.
I wonder if she had any books or other resources to help her figure out how to alter the skirt.
A hundred-year-old book called The Dressmaker had lots of suggestions for making skirts. Here are a few tips:
- Tucks and plaits must be evenly arranged and the space between them must be the same.
- In skirts where few gores are employed, particular attention must be paid to the correct position of the lines, in order to keep the plaits perfectly even.
- The skirt must be joined to the waistband and the material between the plaits properly disposed, so that the plaits themselves will have a uniform appearance.
- Before stitching the waistband, the skirt should be tried on, and, if necessary, alterations made. It is then folded over the edge and hemmed down.
- The hooks and eyes are sewed on securely; the hooks on the right-hand end of the waistband and the upper fold of the placket, and the eyes on the corresponding position on the opposite side. The hooks should be one-eighth of an inch back from the edge, and the eye on the top touching the seam of the skirt. [Comment–Until I read this, I hadn’t thought about the fact that zippers were not used a hundred years ago.]
- A hem, two or three inches deep is the usual finish of the lower edge of skirts.
The Dressmaker (1911) by the Butterick Publishing Company