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Sewing 1912 Fashions - The 1912 Project

HMS TitanicIn the early morning hours of April 15, 1912, the RMS Titanic, the largest passenger steamship of the day, sank in the north Atlantic after hitting an iceberg which opened a gash in her side causing a number of water-tight compartments to flood. More than 1,500 of the 2.223 passengers lost their lives on that dark and cold night.

Many people have been intrigued by the history of the Titanic, especially following the discovery of its wreckage in 1985 and since the wildly popular movie, Titanic, was released in 1997. In April, 2012, it will have been 100 years since the sinking. A number of events are planned to commemorate this auspicious anniversary including memorial cruises leaving from both Southampton and New York City that will meet at the site of the sinking.

The creative mind behind the Vintage Pattern Lending Library, Janyce Hill, has set out to transcribe the patterns and other pertinent information from the 1912 editions of La Mode Illustree, a popular French fashion magazine that was published weekly between 1859 and 1937. The Vintage Pattern Lending Library (VPLL) archives and replicates historic garment patterns between 1840 and 1950 and offers them for sale. The VPLL offers patterns on loan for free to members and members also receive a discount on purchases.

If you are interested in recreating Edwardian fashion or are fascinated by the history of the Titanic, then this is the project for you to either follow or participate in! The Library not only wants to generate working patterns from the entire year's collection of patterns, they are looking for test sewers that are willing to make up the patterns and share the process on their personal blog or on the VPLL 1912 Project blog. So far, over 400 test sewers have volunteered to sew the patterns as they are released.

Is is expected that approximately 150 patterns from the 1912 issues will be reproduced by the end of 2012. Interestingly, La Mode Illustree, was not just a fashion magazine for women, but had a family slant so the patterns provided in the publication went beyond women's garments and lingerie and included patterns for men's clothing as well as for infants and children. The dress to the right is a 1912 evening gown shown as an example of the style of the era. This particular dress is not one of the patterns that will be offered.
1912 Evening Dress

I have signed up to be a test sewer for this project and will share my progress here as I go along. I will also be writing in more detail about the fashion trends in 1912 in later articles. If you are are interested in learning more about the project, you can send an email to: vpll.librarian@gmail.com or visit the blog linked above. There is also The 1912 Titanic Sewing Project group on Facebook that anyone can join.

For more information about Edwardian fashion, check out these books:

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