Edwardian and Steampunk Sewing Patterns

The Voice of Fashion.   Edwardian Sewing Patterns

79 Turn-of-the-Century Patterns with Instructions and Fashion Plates


Voice of Fashion--1900-1906 sewing patterns
The Voice of Fashion contains a comprehensive selection of women’s styles from rare originals of 14 magazines published from 1900 through 1906. During this period the feminine S-curved silhouette was translated into luxurious formal gowns, beautifully tailored suits, and practical home and sports wear. Whether elaborate or simple, many garments were custom made and distinctively trimmed.
The 79 patterns in this book include afternoon, evening, ball, and wedding gowns; home and maternity wear; suits and blouses for day and business; lingerie; outer coats; and outfits for riding, golf, and other sports. Each pattern has a fashion plate, plus instructions for drafting and assembly. Additional fashion columns and plates supplement the information on fabrics, trims, and construction. A substantial glossary explains period fabric names and dressmaking terms.
The patterns can be enlarged either by projection, or by drafting with the Diamond Cutting System used with the original magazines. The Diamond Cutting System is a patent drafting system requiring special rulers that eliminate arithmetic. It enables sewers with no drafting or design training to enlarge the patterns to an individual’s unique measurements. Because the system is as accurate and easy to use as ever, a full set of rulers is provided in this book. Clear, step-by-step instructions are given for both drafting and projection.
The Voice of Fashion is a rich pattern source for readers who recreate period costumes for the theater, living history, bridal wear, or heirloom sewing. It’s a valuable identification and dating tool for vintage clothing collectors, antique dealers, and costume historians. And it will spark ideas for fashion designers.


The Voice of Fashion provides 79 turn-of-the-century patterns with instructions and a black-and-white fashion illustration of the finished toilette. What makes this pattern book different from others such as Patterns of Fashion or a Dover reprint of a pattern catalog is that this book reprints the original patterns and the tools and method for scaling and fitting.
The author has recreated the Diamond Cutting System these patterns utilized. This system involves special rulers that are reprinted in the back of the book so that readers can Xerox them. The author also explains in detail the method you use to scale these patterns for an individualized fit. . . .
The book details the basics of making up these fashions with specifics for ‘sponging’ wool, finishing seams, making jackets, and the like. I have read many basic sections like this in other books, but this had good information that applies more specifically to Edwardian tailoring. There is also an appendix of Edwardian dressmaking terms that is very instructive. . . .
The choice of available patterns from this volume is impressive. They include promenade costumes, evening dresses, riding habits, at-home tea gowns, capes and outerwear, and lingerie. There is a one- or two-page description of ‘what is currently fashionable’ at the head of each section of patterns. Each fashion plate is accompanied by a text description with notes on trims, fabrics, and colors. I think the fabric and other descriptions are extremely helpful. . . .
This book would be a worthwhile library addition for those interested in the fashions of the Edwardian era.”
—— Costumer’s Scribe
“[This book] contains a wide selection of original patterns for women’s clothing taken from contemporary magazines. . . . It utilizes one of the many patented cutting systems available to the Edwardian dressmaker. . . .
The alternative period pattern books which include the Edwardian era and which have been successfully used for the last thirty years are The Cut of Women’s Clothes by Norah Waugh and Patterns of Fashion, Vol. 2 by Janet Arnold. Both are excellent. But, as they each cover a broad time span, inevitably only a few items can be selected for any specific era. Between them they only include six female outfits for the period 1900–1906. Also, a major drawback in using these books is that the patterns are taken from surviving costumes and, in most cases, after scaling up to full size, the patterns must then be graded to fit. The Voice of Fashion contains 79 patterns for this particular period. The comprehensive selection of clothing includes underwear, outerwear, and gowns for all manner of occasions from sport to bridal. . . .
This book should be a welcome addition to anyone involved in costume design, costume making, or the history of turn-of-the-century clothing of the middle-class lady.”
—— Costume (Journal of the Costume Society, United Kingdom)
“To be a ‘fashion plate’ originally compared certain well-dressed people to the high-quality photographic reproductions seen in women’s magazines at the turn of the century. Frances Grimble’s The Voice of Fashion shows not only these fashion plates, but also presents 79 patterns for afternoon, evening, ball, and wedding gowns; home and maternity wear; suits and blouses for day and business; lingerie; outer coats; and outfits for riding, golf and other sports; plus instructions for drafting and assembly. Grimble also provides a helpful glossary of fabric names and dressmaking terms of the period between 1900 and 1906. Patterns may be enlarged by using a projector, or through use of the Diamond Cutting System, which Grimble explains in step-by-step instructions.”

—— Stage Directions

“We have copies of all [your books]. . . . They’ve been a constant source of inspiration and have actually helped our business quite a bit. Clients take a look at some of the construction details, grin, and tell us to ‘make it happen.’ My wife is the sewing ‘arm’ of the business (I get to do all the bookwork, rough cutting, rough stitching, and the buttonholes) and we’ve picked up quite a few techniques. The drawings are clear and explain what’s going on.”
—— An “entertainment” costuming business
“This tome is a must have for any costumer/steampunk enthusiast.” “Between this book and Grimble’s Edwardian Modiste, I’ll never have to buy another antique ‘Gibson Girl’ pattern again.”
—— Reader comments

Table of Contents (readable with Adobe Acrobat)

Author Biography

Frances Grimble is the author of After a Fashion: How to Reproduce, Restore, and Wear Vintage Styles, The Lady’s Stratagem: A Repository of 1820s Directions for the Toilet, Mantua-Making, Stay-Making, Millinery & Etiquette, Reconstruction Era Fashions: 350 Sewing, Needlework, and Millinery Patterns 1867–1868, Fashions of the Gilded Age, Volume 1: Undergarments, Bodices, Skirts, Overskirts, Polonaises, and Day Dresses 1877–1882, Fashions of the Gilded Age, Volume 2: Evening, Bridal, Sports, Outerwear, Accessories, and Dressmaking 1877–1882, Bustle Fashions 1885–1887: 41 Patterns with Fashion Plates and Suggestions for Adaptation, Directoire Revival Fashions 1888–1889: 57 Patterns with Fashion Plates and Suggestions for Adaptation, and The Edwardian Modiste: 85 Authentic Patterns with Instructions, Fashion Plates, and Period Sewing Techniques. Over 60 of her articles on sewing and vintage clothes have appeared in national magazines, such as Threads, Sew News, and Antique Trader Weekly. Frances Grimble has been a how-to writer and editor since 1983. She has worked for book publishers, magazine publishers, and software companies; she has written a number of user manuals and coauthored a computer book.
Frances Grimble has substantial formal education in researching social history and in clothing design. In 1974 she began making historical reproductions for periods from the Renaissance into the 1920s; she tries to schedule regular sewing time in addition to that required by her writing projects. Since 1972, she has collected vintage clothing and accessories from the late 18th century into the mid 20th.

Publication Data

8 1/2” x 11” quality paperback
463 pages
79 patterns, 86 fashion plates, 8 drafting illustrations
Drafting rulers, metric conversion table, glossary, bibliography, index
ISBN: 978-0-9636517-2-3
LCCN: 97-72141

Cover price: $42
Only 53 cents per pattern!

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Web page text (except for reviews by other authors) and book cover copyright © 1998–2023 by Frances Grimble