Saturday, March 15, 2014

Using The Edwardian Modiste pattern book

Many of us have the beautiful Edwardian Modiste book by Frances Grimble.  It's filled with dozens and dozens of lovely patterns...that I had no idea how to enlarge.

Thankfully, when you Google it, a wonderful tutorial by Festive Attyre pops up!  She posted a two-part video series explaining how the rulers work and how to draw the patterns.

Here it is:

The Glorious Tutorial by Festive Attyre

So I got out a big roll of brown paper, a clear ruler, a French curve, my carefully chosen rulers (I needed three of them) and set to work.

Ahh, look!  I did it!!  I made the front piece!


I moved on to the side front piece and noticed something I didn't understand.  One seam allowance said "1/2 space" and another said "E-space".  I assumed 1/2 space meant half an inch (it didn't...more on that later), but what the heck does "E-space" mean??

I knew the author was a regular over on a FB Edwardian costume community, so I posted my query there.  Turns out I wasn't the only one who didn't know, and that made me feel better.  But finally someone DID know: Heather McNaughton of the most wonderful patterns I've ever used, Truly Victorian (if you like Victorian costume and haven't used her patterns, buy them all now.  You'll save buying in bulk LOL).  She explained that "1/2 space" didn't mean 1/2", it meant the first "1/2" marked space on the ruler you are using from the book, not a regular ruler.  E-space meant to use the first "E" marked on that same ruler.  OOOOOOOOH!!!  Now, which ruler??  I needed three for this garment.  She said to use the horizontal ruler (bust measure) because my garment uses that for ALL horizontal measurements even though it continues to the floor.

Eventually all the information pertaining to how to use these patterns will be in one place.

So wish me luck!


  1. Oh Kat! I am so impressed that you took this project on! Doing this sort of thing totally psychs me out even thinking about it!! That's why I have never done it! Are you kidding me? Numbers? Rulers! I applaud you my friend!!! And I can't wait to see the lovely creation you make!!

  2. I have two of Frances' books from the bustle era. I'll have to keep this in mind when I dig into them!

  3. I am not a member of any Edwardian Facebook groups, so I didn't see your inquiry. Pages 1 through 2 of The Edwardian Modiste explain what apportioning scales are and how they are different from imperial (and metric) measurements. The step-by-step instructions for enlarging the patterns are on pages 7 through 9 of the book. Although the same information on apportioning scales is in the book, you might also want to look at the FAQ of my web page,

    Hope this helps,

    Frances Grimble
    Books of historic clothing patterns