Wool Dress


Serge (Chap. I, Par. 62) or Panama (Chap. I, Par. 61).

Amount of material called for in commercial pattern.

Trimmings appropriate for design selected.

Belting, 2" longer than waist measure.

Hooks and eyes, and snaps. Silk thread to match material for stitching.

Cotton thread for basting.

Braid (mercerized) for skirt binding.

Introductory Statement

While many women and girls prefer to wear a separate blouse with a tailored skirt in the winter time, most of them feel the need of at least one wool dress. Most of the principles that apply to the making of a cotton dress can be used in making a wool dress, but as there are some things that must be emphasized in making up wool materials which do not require consideration with cotton materials, it is well worth while to study this lesson on the making of a wool dress in order to bring out some of these points. The kind of material used in making the dress, as well as the style in which it is to be made, will depend on the kind of service it is to give. Care should be taken to see that the color selected is becoming and that the style planned is suitable for the figure of the one who is to wear it. If thoughtful consideration is given on these points, much greater satisfaction will be found in the completed garment.

The woolen materials for winter are usually dark in color and for that reason are less likely to be becoming to the average complexion; this makes it necessary to exercise some care in the selection. The above dress is made of dark blue wool serge trimmed with white silk braid and a white collar. The white against the face with the blue background makes it exceedingly becoming to a girl with dark eyes and black hair.


Color Harmony in Dress, George Ashdown. McBride, Nast Co., N. Y. Wool, Journal of Education, Vol. XLV.


Working Directions For Wool Dress

Preparing Material

Many of the better grades of wool material are sponged and pressed so they will not spot when wet. This is usually indicated on the selvage. It is advisable to look on the selvage to see that this has been done; if it has not, sponge and press the material yourself, as directed in Chap. III; or you may have it done at a dry goods store or a tailor shop. Unless this is done, shiny finished materials like broadcloth are very likely to spot when pressing the seams in making, and afterwards if a drop of water falls on them.

Cutting Out The Garment

A commercial pattern should be used unless the dress is made in a very simple style, when the drafted pattern may be used. If a commercial pattern is used, carefully study the guide chart and directions which accompany it.

Fitting The Garment

After the garment has been cut out, baste it together and fit it according to suggestions in Chap. IV.

Joining And Finishing The Seams

The kind of seams used in joining a wool dress will depend considerably on the style of the garment. If a tailored effect is desired, lapped or stitched felled seams should be used. In a garment where the seams should be inconspicuous, as in a circular or gathered skirt, use the overcast seams or finish them with binding ribbon or bias tape on the wrong side.

To finish a seam with binding ribbon, press it open by dampening it on the wrong side with a wet cloth and pressing it with a warm iron. Fold the binding ribbon together, allowing one edge to extend beyond the other about 1/8". Press it with an iron. Place the binding ribbon over the edge of the seam with the wider part on the under side of the seam. Sew both edges of the ribbon in place at the same time with running stitches.

To finish a seam with commercial tape, press open the seam of the skirt as directed above. Crease the tape in the center with the iron. Baste one edge of the tape to the under side of the seam with small stitches, so the center crease will lie over the edge of the seam. Baste the opposite edge of the bias tape to the upper side of the seam and stitch it on the machine. (With practice the second basting will be unnecessary).

Seams that are not pressed open should be overcast together.

Seams of felted materials like broadcloth which do not ravel, may be notched with the scissors.

Joining Waist And Skirt

After the waist is completed, except at the waist line, and the skirt is finished, except making it even at the bottom, the two may be joined.

If the dress is long waisted, like the one shown in the illustration, the bottom of the waist may be turned under, basted over the top of the skirt and stitched flat.

If there is to be a girdle on the dress, join the waist and skirt in this manner: Fit the belting to the waist, turn back and stitch the ends and sew on as many strong hooks and eyes as are necessary to keep it from gaping (use the round eyes and let the eyes extend over the edge of the belt, as directed in Chap. II, Par. 133). Hook the belt around the waist, put on the waist, adjust the gathers at the waist line and pin the bottom of the waist to the top of the belting. Put on the skirt and pin the top of it to the lower edge of the belting. Remove the dress, baste and stitch the waist and skirt to the belting; cover the raw edges by hemming a strip of material over them.

NOTE: When the skirt and the waist do not open at the same place, have the belting open with the one where it seems most convenient. If part of the waist, or part of the skirt cannot be fastened to the belting, it should be faced or finished with a band, and held in its proper place with hooks and eyes, or snaps.

The girdle may be made separate or it may be fastened to the dress. If it is fastened to the dress, it is not necessary to cover the raw edges of the waist and skirt on the belting with the strip of material suggested above. If the dress is to be finished without a girdle, hook the belting around the waist, adjust the fullness at the waist line of the waist and pin it to the top of the belting; cut off the extra material. Pin the skirt to the bottom of the belting in a few places, turn in the top edge, place it over the gathers in the waist and pin it in place with the edge a trifle above the top edge of the belting. Remove the dress, baste and stitch the top of the skirt to the waist and belting.

The Fastenings

The wool dress is usually fastened with hooks and eyes, or snaps. (Remember snaps should never be placed where there is much strain on them as they will pull apart).


Silk braid is a trimming which is often used on wool dresses. It may be basted in place and stitched on the edges with the sewing machine. Soutache braid may be sewed on in the same way with one row of stitching in the center.

Finishing The Bottom Of The Skirt

After the skirt is evened at the bottom, baste the bottom of the hem as marked; trim the hem off even and sew bias tape on the top of it, as in binding seams. The fullness in the top of the hem may be removed by holding the tape tight as you sew. Press the top of the hem using a damp cloth (press it until it is dry); baste and stitch in place.

Broadcloth and similar felted material may be notched at the top of the hem, then the hem may be stitched in place. The hems of light weight materials that ravel easily may be finished by turning in the raw edges, pleating in the extra fullness, basting, and stitching them in place.

Finishing The Bottom Of The Skirt 160