In April 2014, in Pebble Beach, California, Asilomar, celebrated and the YWCA celebrated their relationship. The costume era was 1900-1920. I saw the image from the Metropolitan Museum of the WWI YWCA uniform and was intrigued! During the Great War, women joined the YWCA to support their troops in the war effort. I had no idea the impact of the YWCA and its great efforts towards equality and integration until I did this research. How inspiring! Women had no defined uniforms; they worked with dressmakers or created their own uniforms. Museum pieces include uniforms from the House of Worth to self made suits. The official YWCA ‘look’ was a typical style for the era with a long jacket with an empire waist over a teens era skirt. A white shirt, blue tie, and hat completed the outfit. The YWCA created a logo badge that was worn on the hat. I had the logo recreated for this uniform.
For the jacket, I used Folkwear’s #508 Traveling Suit jacket as the base for the suit. I changed the neckline to a more typical suit front with lapels. This was challenging for me, I learned how roll lines, padding, and necklines change the fit. I found tutorials on the web for the cargo pockets, and created an empire belt. The skirt was a self drafted boned high waisted four panel skirt with a slight flair at the bottom. The entire suit is lined in satin and made from a sage green wool.The large buttons were in the theme of the decorative touches of the era observed on other women’s suits and uniforms. The hat was self drafted. To complete the logo, I enlarged images of the teens logo and had it recreated by an embroidery shop, then I added the logo to the cap. White blouse and blue tie were purchased. Shoes were spool heeled black day wear style with ribbed stockings.
On site photographs at Asilomar by Michelle Robertson
Photograph by Andrew Schmidt