1916 Wearing History Suit Wrap-up: Winterthur 2014 and Costume College 2015

Around this time last year I chronicled some of my construction of the 1916 suit from Wearing History. My main plan in making up this pattern was to wear it first to Costume College and then to the Downton Abbey exhibition at Winterthur. I got the skirt to go together pretty well but I had a lot of problems with the jacket. The grading of the pattern and my large bust did not play well with each other. These jackets are very unconstructed and somewhat sack like. There was the problem. Mine looked it – frumpy, unflattering, devoid of shaping. Having narrow shoulders and a large bust was a huge problem for this pattern. I ended up fixing it by cutting two sizes smaller than my measurements and mockup. This action seemed to get the proportions under better control. I made the same suit for my mom. My mom is broader shouldered than I am so the fit worked more easily for her. Needless to say, all of this fussing made me miss my deadline for Costume College. I wore just the skirt with a modified goodwill blouse, vintage hat, scarf and gloves to Downtown-Sur-Mer, a Edwardian weekender on the French Coast. It was a really awesome event hosted by La Compagnie de l’Histoire et des Arts. It was kind of tricky for me because my french is minimal, and hence, not very good. People were very nice and welcoming though and it was really cool to see how they do it up.

Ladies Tug of War on the beach during Downton-Sur-Mer, Touville-Sur-Mer, France

Post Costume College, DragonCon and France, I finally got both suits done and my mom and I were off to Winterthur. We had a great time wandering and did a fair amount of posing as well. One gentleman asked me if my purple hair was historic. I told him that I am an enthusiast, not a re-enactor. My mom got her cute hat at a costume sale held at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

For Winterthur, I did not have the appropriate historical undergarments. I wore modern shapewear that went over the bust. I was less than thrilled with the final silhouette. But we had fun anyway!

I finally got the correct corset right before Costume College this year. I commissioned a teens era corset and bralette from Anthony of House of Canney. It is so pretty and functional. He drafted both garments based existing models at the V & A. Once I have a proper petticoat, and I suppose drawers (!), the silhouette will be complete. But just the addition of the bralette  and corset, pretty much got me there.

At Costume College 2015 

Saucy and silly in corset and bralette by House of Canney

If you’re curious about this pattern, it does turn out well. Also, with all the pockets and collar options you can make variations quite easily. Because the directions are the original pattern directions, they can be very obtuse but not hard, exactly. If you have fit issues with the unconstructed 1920s, I would guess that you would have them here also. It seems that the key to the fit is finding a good balance between the looseness of the style and not letting the garment overtake you. Also, don’t make this with fabric that is too stiff as that won’t give you a ton of help either.

If you decide to give this pattern a try or you have a specific question, pop it in the comments!



  1. I loved seeing you in this in person!! i must say the undies are just as pretty as the outfit itself. i myself gave up on it. nothing about it fit right & i dont have your skills.. maybe someday in the future i will think about trying it again. you made it look so ‘doable’

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s