Just this week I was digging in my basement sewing room for some perlé thread for tying the string quilt I'm working on, and at the bottom of that box I found a treasure. Many many years ago my mother gave me a bunch of old pattern sheets and folders from 1895 to 1921. They are not all in very good condition:
The sewing instructions are very short compared to modern day sewing magazines. I noticed this, when I actually used one of these patterns. Why on earth? The schools have a big ball for the "new oldest class" when the graduating class leaves school to make their final exams. The students learn old ballroom dances and dress accordingly. My daughter Kaija was invited to this ball one year early as a dancing partner because the older yearclass had exeptionally a minority of girls. Kaija naturally asked me if I could make her that dress in only six weeks - usually the girls start planning what to wear months if not years before, rent the finest dresses or spend hundreds of euros to have a dress tailor made. Some girls make their own dresses, and some mothers sew dresses too. This is a picture of their dance. It is more like a performance for the other students, for the parents in the evening and for smaller pupils in other schools the next day.
I believe this was the pattern we mainly used, but ended up making many alterations.
Aren't these "the puffiest sleeves ever" in the picture below? (I'm watching Anne of Green Gables when I'm ironing.)
Here are some of our patterns, the sleeve in two parts:
We had to leave out the puffy part because the fabric was so heavy and this was difficult enough!
The skirts were usually very very wide, but I think our (we really did it together) pattern was in eight segments.