Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Past Patterns #211 1894 Victorian Tea Gown and the unfortunate fabric choice

M'kay... In truth I wanted a bright tea gown, and I got it. PP #211 is a very fabric hungry pattern. And when you have 10 yards of cotton sitting around, well you use it! Other than the 1928 slip on evening dress this is the only PP pattern I have sewn.

This pattern has the instructions printed on one large sheet. Not my favorite. Also there were no sizing measurements located anywhere on the pattern or in the instructions. Size 18 is the biggest this thing goes. I figured that is what I would choose since I am always on the larger end of the size charts. Also I found no reference to seam allowances. I dug out my 1928 PP dress patten and saw they were 1/2.

General information and alterations:

The instructions say the gown is designed for a woman who stands 5 feet tall (yes, really, 5 feet no inches). So I knew right away I would have to lengthen it. I added 1.5 inches and added a 3 inch hem allowance. You have to add the hem allowance because the pattern doesn't include it. For reference I am not quite 5ft 4 inches tall. If you are a tall gal you will want to add extra fabric to the yardage amounts. The large gigot sleeves are a somewhat long. I shortened them 1.5 inches in length. I still feel they are a bit too long. The gown has a fairly loose fit in front, but there is a dart. If your chest is larger than 42 inches I would highly recommend a muslin. I am wearing a corset with this. Some say no corsets under a tea gown but I don't care. You can find old ads for "leisure" or "morning" corsets. I figure most women would have worn some kind of support for comfort. Especially if you are large chested.


Pretty clear and concise. On the fly front the directions say sew wrong sides together. Nope. It's right sides together. There is a missing dot/mark on the yoke for matching up yoke and gown top. Just use the center front as your dot/mark guide. There were no other issues with the directions. They really don't give very clear directions on where you are tacking the sash to the back pleats. I had to kind of wing it. The directions are wordy and limited in drawn diagrams.

What I love:

This is a very elegant 1890s tea gown. I think the style lines would be best in a solid silk, cotton or something with a very sparse pattern. The lovely Watteau pleats get lost in overly patterned fabric like mine. If you are planning on using a cotton fabric it is best to use a lace as your yoke ruffle. I tried it with my fashion fabric and it was too thick and frumpy looking. The lace looks better. I also love the fly front closure. The buttons are hidden under the fly and it gives a nice clean finish. Also if you suck at making button holes, well no one will see them. I would like to remake this at some point in a solid silk. I think it would look very rich and elegant. However, I don't have much occasion to wear a tea gown so......

The end:

I don't recommend this for a beginner due to the sparse instructions. I am glad I made it since I have had the pattern for so long.

 Sorry for the slightly fuzzy picture. My camera was being an utter wanker.


  1. This is so cute! The lace was a great choice. Such a shame the pattern was a little problematic.

  2. I agree, the lace was a good choice. I've seen it made up all fabric and it did look frumpy. We don't need that. It looks very Summery.
    You'll find this is great to have if you do fashion shows in the future. I was able to drive in mine with underpinnings on, and then drive home much more comfortable than changing in & out of modern clothes.

    1. I never thought of that! I will keep tea gown travel in mind for my next event.

  3. I'm 4'11" and I'm super intrigued by the idea of a gown I don't have to shorten! Did it really take 10 yards of fabric?