Everyday School Dress


Arianell needed a new dress for school…




fortunately Constance was in the mood to try a pattern from the 1908 book: How to Dress a Doll by Mary H. Morgan…




…and she found the perfect handkerchief!




Arianell’s dress is based on the “Everyday Dress”…




…it has a pleated bodice like the illustration, but instead of set-in sleeves, Arianell’s sleeves are cut in one piece with the rest of the dress.




…and the belt buttons in the back instead of the front.

The human has a few adjustments to make, but is pleased with this version of the Everyday Dress.





18 thoughts on “Everyday School Dress

  1. This reminds me of my copy of the Mary Frances Sewing Book, which I have had since I was a child. The thimble people teach you how to sew by sewing for your doll; very old-fashioned garments (1913 – just before The Great War)! Thanks are due – to Constance for having her 1908 book on hand, to bring back my memories, and send me off on a hunt for my copy, which I do still have, somewhere in this house of mine!

  2. My memory is correct! (amazing) Constance’s adjustments reminded me of the Mary Frances Afternoon Dress – a wider central pleat in the front, sleeves a simple continuation of the body (although short not long), and the wonderful belt button-holed at both ends – except that it wrapped around the back, and buttoned above the hip on each side. I remembered this, because I made one for myself, when about 7 years old, and still remember the physical motion of getting it around to the back (I stepped over it! like a skipping rope) and then pulling each end toward the front, where I could attach its buttonholes to the buttons I sewed onto my dress (made by my mother) which bore no resemblance to anything from the early 20th century. But I thought it PERFECT, a perfect feeling. Which I remember, at 71 years of age – so interesting! Thank you for that.

    The Mary Frances Morning Dress had an optional additional contrasting added collar, added cuffs to the short sleeves, and added skirt hem. Can one attach a pic to the comments?

    I do very much like Arianell’s dress as it is, however. I suspect my 7-year-old self would have sewn buttons to the back of her dresses, for a very short belt with buttonholes at each end, to draw the fulsome fabric in just so – and keep the back flattened just there. Yes, she is enthused by that idea, and can’t wait to apply it to a doll’s dress, right now!

    • What a great story! Thanks for sharing your memories and reflections…I have heard of the Mary Frances book, but I don’t have it. Sewing for a six-inch doll means using very delicate fabrics when possible, and eliminating as many seams as possible to reduce lumpy bulky seam allowances.

    • It was the strangest thing to find this checked handkerchief on the beach. I later found a stack of similar ones at a charity shop. The book is great! Many useful tips for measuring dolls and cutting patterns to fit.

  3. I have this same book in a paperback reprint! How lovely to see Arianell in her new school dress …and a most perfect school dress!! I like that you made the sleeves one with the bodice and am trying to figure out how to do this….ahhhh sewing is such a challenge for me at times!

    • I learned to pleat the fabric first and then cut out the pattern from this book! I wish you lived nearby – we could cut and sew together! Maybe I’ll try and write out the pattern and get Constance to help me do a proper tutorial. I think if you have been making pleated pinafores, then you cou1d make this dress too!

  4. Oh my Constance you have out done yourself, that dress is so lovely, almost too good to be an ‘Everyday’ dress, or even a school dress, it is so delightful. What a great book that is, never seen it before!

    • It is a treasure – a friend gave it to me! Full of useful tips for a child who wants to sew clothes for her dollies – of course it does assume a certain level of competence in little girl’s handwork skills that most grown-ups don’t even have these days…which is just one of the interesting things about it!

  5. This dress brought up wonderful memories for many of us. My grandmother was a seamstress for a Department store call Bullocks Wilshire in California. My mother told me that she made me all of my clothes until her death when I was in the sixth grade…( I am now 71 ) my favorite was a blue checked dress that I wore and wore…luckily the style of length in dresses kept getting shorter and shorter, so I was able to wear it for many years…this dress you made looks so much like my favorite blue check dress. I can see this story has stuck a special note with many of your viewers. So precious…Thank You.

    • How fun to be reminded of your favourite dress – Quimper Hittys has opened a flood of memories today! we are glad they seem to be fond ones, and we just love the serendipity of it all!

  6. It was such a treat seeing a photo of this book. I have read it at openlibrary.org, but they don’t show the cover. Your interpretation of the everyday dress is adorable. I love your attention to detail. The dolls look every bit as sweet from the back as they do the front.

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