Monday, February 27, 2012

Giving Enid a crack

Predictably, I had to have a go at one of the designs from the Enid Gilchrist book in my last post. I decided to have a go at the basic dress, altered to princess line, to see how it compares to my current A-line draft. Extremely easy to draw up from her diagrams, by the way.

Here's Enid's size3-4 princess line dress.

And here's my own size 4 A-line dress draft. (From Aldrich)

Now obviously this isn't an apples for apples comparison - I would expect a size 3-4 to be smaller than a straight 4 (although not by much) and my A-line draft is slashed and spread right from the shoulder and so adds width through the torso as well as the skirt, whereas the princess draft actually nips in at the waist (this is optional). What I noticed particularly is that the armholes and neckline are pretty small - noticeable even on Nicholas (yes, he insisted on trying it on but lost interest before I got out the camera) . Her shoulder angle is very good on Isabella (it's being distorted a bit by the tight armholes), better than mine.

Next task is to compare her bodice draft to my three and four and see how similar they are, particularly in the neck and armhole. I wonder how much of the snug fit is due to the prevailing styles of 1951, and how much is due to the smaller size, which I would expect to be no more than half a size. I haven't yet found any size charts for Enid Gilchrist's patterns so it's hard to tell exactly what the intended fit was. Is it odd that this sort of thing fascinates me?


  1. I suppose something else that might affect it is that people grow bigger now than Enid's day? (although I would be surprised if neck measurements were too much different). Aldrich is modern isn't it?

  2. Everything I've made from 50's/60's patterns has a considerably greater shoulder slope than modern stuff. Interesting that it extends to children's wear as well. For me it is a pain because my shoulders are quite square - the 40's or 80's fit me better!

  3. I'm guessing it's the fit of the 50's more than anything.

  4. Judy, I have a number of Enid Gilchrist books (children, toddlers, pre-teens, etc.) looking for a home. Would you like them? I am happy to post them to some one who will appreciate them. They have been well-used so are not in any condition to be sold but I do not want to send them to an Op-Shop where they may just be thrown out. Please let me know if you think you can use them.

    bjdk at westnet dot com dot au

    1. If Judy didn't take you up on the Gilchrist books, I would absolutely love to have them. I want to be like her when I grow up, but I'm already 60. Go figure!