Info on the Ageless Patterns™ Dress Mentioned in the Previous Post

Harper's Bazar, 1877

Harper’s Bazar, 1877

I neglected to give any information about my Ageless Patterns purchase, made whilst in the grip of quasi-delusional determination to give it a try. The front is a bit odd – what’s up with those pleated pocket-looking things over the boobs? – but I fell for the back with its draping, ruffles and pleats. It may well be the most complicated gown I tackle, but abject fear (and lack of common sense) has never stopped me before. No good reason to change that now.

The pattern, copyrighted and sold as Ageless Patterns™ # 1614, is described thusly: This dress or polonaise was made of plain pale pink zephyr wool, pink and dark gray striped zephyr wool and trimmed with side pleated ruffles. I love how those six little words “and trimmed with side pleated ruffles” skim over the hours and hours of work behind them.

Note: Zephyr cloth, also referred to as zephyr wool, is a thin kind of cashmere made in Belgium. Cashmere was historically known as “cassimere” and “kerseymere.” There are a number of definitions for this fabric – here are a few:

  1. a thin, lightweight, twilled woolen fabric,
  2. a heavily fulled, twill-weave woolen cloth finished with a fine nap,
  3. a fine soft woollen cloth of twill weave,
  4. an inexpensive version of this fabric, made with a cotton warp and a wool weft.

As is the case with most Ageless Patterns, it comes in only one size: 34-inch bust and 20-inch waist. Needless to say, there will be a considerable amount of re-sizing and many, many muslins until I get the fit right.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the brand, Ageless Patterns come with a reproduction of the original pattern and a copy of the original sewing instructions. These instructions were written for experienced dressmakers of the time who already knew the basics of Natural Form construction and didn’t need step-by-step instructions. (Fortunately, the pattern pieces have 5/8-inch seam allowances added, avoiding at least one potential error from the start.)

There is no hand-holding and the patterns are not for the beginner or the faint of heart. Yet there is sits in my pattern box, awaiting its chance for fame and glory unenviable notoriety. Optimism or insanity? We’ll find out eventually.

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