Embroidery Ideas from 1927: Sports Motifs and More

Butterick embroidery transfer 153, from Delineator, May 1927.

The oriental motifs on the scarf look a bit bigger than 5 3/4 inches…. Artistic license, presumably.

Vaguely Middle-Eastern (“Oriental”) embroidery motifs for hat and scarf, Delineator, May 1927.

The vaguely “oriental” embroidery on this dress from May 1927 is the top right design from Butterick 153, rotated to the left. Butterick 1390. Delineator.

But for me, the delight of this particular set of transfers is the women playing sports : tennis, golf, and polo.

Sportswomen depicted on Butterick embroidery transfer 153, from 1927.

You could use this design to make your own 1920’s “Polo shirt.”

[Note: This post is dedicated to sportswear collector, mentor, historian, and always interesting blogger The Vintage Traveler. ]

Tennis players in an ad for Lucky Strike cigarettes, Nov. 1927. “You, too, will find that Lucky Strikes are mild and mellow,” said Ed Wagner to Margery Bailey.

Monogram Mania

https://witness2fashion.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/lenglen-tennis-1919-ewing811.jpg?w=500

Tennis champion Suzanne Lenglen wore many outfits designed by couturier Jean Patou in the 1920’s, which helped to popularize his sporty sweaters and skirts.  Lenglen first appeared at Wimbledon in Patou’s short white silk pleated skirt and a sleeveless cardigan in 1921. According to Brenda Polan & Roger Tredre, her outfit created a sensation and introduced the sporty, boyish look known as the “garçonne.”

“As with so much sportswear, many of [his] clothes were in reality bought by women who did not participate in sport and were more interested in showing off their Patou monogrammed cardigan sweaters to their envious friends.” — Polan and Tredre, in The Great Fashion Designers

Patou took credit for shortening skirts to the knee in 1925; he was one of the first designers to put his monogram very visibly on his designs — monogrammed cardigans, scarves, etc. This was a clever move, since without the stylized  JP monogram his relatively simple sportswear — sweater, skirt, and matching scarf — would not have proclaimed its price. [Sometimes I’d like to go back in a time machine and strangle Patou, but then I realize that somebody else —  probably his arch-rival, Chanel — would have invented the merchandising of monogrammed “Designer” everything if he hadn’t done it.] For a concise history of Patou, see The Great Fashion Designers, by Polan and Tredre.

A  monogrammed tennis dress (or just a sporty dress) from May 1929. Butterick 2621;  Delineator.

After Patou popularized monogrammed sportswear in the 1920’s, Butterick’s Delineator magazine showed monograms or other embroidered motifs on many of the patterns illustrated.

Monograms on Butterick patterns from October 1924. On the left, GAB; on the right, JK.

Monograms in vaguely “Chinese” lettering were popular, as was stylized lettering that created a spot of interest on an otherwise simple garment.

Monograms in April 1927 and 1925. The dress at left uses the monogram letters below; three letters (R S K) create a diamond shape.

Butterick lettering transfer 10309 could be used to make a diamond-shaped monogram: one large letter between two smaller ones. January 1925.

Letters in the shape of Chinese brushstrokes were also chic:

Pseudo-Chinese letters for monograms; Butterick 10245, May 1924. Two letters — one from the set at left, one from the set at right — form a (roughly) diamond shape.

The monogram on this Butterick blouse says “AG.” September 1924.

Although completely unlike the other designs from Butterick transfer 153, this idea of embroidering a posey of poppies as if the flowers are emerging from a pocket is still charming:

A bunch of embroidered poppies seems to grow from the pocket of a dress or blouse. 1927. This design could be an applique, too.

Note: I quoted the passage about Patou and monograms from a previous post about tennis and fashion. Click here to read more.

It was customary, in three-letter monograms, to put the initial of the last name in the center, in a larger size, with first and middle name initials on either side. The monogram of Betty Louise Smith would be B S L.

 

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, 1920s, Accessory Patterns, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Sportswear

Sleeveless (and Almost Sleeveless) in 1924

“New in New York:” Sleeveless dresses, May 1924. Delineator, p. 23.

“The sleeveless styles are to be much worn for country dresses and frocks for restaurant use…. For out of town these dresses are made of the fine cotton materials in white and delicate colors.”

Caption for “New in New York” article by Evelyn Dodge, Delineator, May 1924.

What makes this worth notice is that most contemporary fashion advice until 1924 emphasized that evening dresses were sleeveless; day dresses for city wear were not.

This dress is definitely “sleeveless,” and the parasol tells us that it is not being worn as an evening dress, but an afternoon dress. May 1924.

Although the dress in this illustration does not look short to me, editorial advice in April declared: “Dresses remain decidedly short except for evening. For day dresses sleeves can be long or short [;] evening dresses are sleeveless.” Nevertheless, the rules were obviously changing in 1924, as this drawing of a casino shows:

From an advertisement for Butterick in Delineator, January, 1924. “On the Riviera, in Paris, wherever fashionable society meets….” Dresses with long and short sleeves, as well as sleeveless dresses, are worn at this gaming table, blurring the distinction between day and evening clothes.

Often, nineteen-twenties’ lace, silk, or chiffon afternoon dresses used the same pattern as an evening dress — but the evening version was sleeveless and usually had much lower-cut armholes:

This evening dress for Misses has deep armholes. Butterick 5255, Delineator, June 1924.

Paris showed some very deep armholes in 1924 …

Soulie’s sketch of a Paris evening gown by Doucet, Delineator, June 1924.

Paris couture by Georgette, left, and Lenief, right; March 1924. Delineator.

Description of evening gown by Lenief, March, 1924. Delineator. “For more formal evening use the decolletage is deeper and the bodice is entirely sleeveless.”

Butterick evening gowns from April 1924: No. 5126, in yellow, has armholes that reach the waist. It is a robe de style in the mode of Jeanne Lanvin. No.  5110, in pink, is more conservatively sleeveless.

Sometimes the underarm opening was very revealing; it could be charming when a lace or chiffon under-dress was revealed, as in this advertisement:

Very low-cut armholes reveal the under-garment in this 1924 ad for Vivaudou talcum powder.

Not all evening gowns had extremely deep arm openings:

Not all evening armholes were cut extremely low. Sleeveless Butterick 5064 from April 1924.

However, the “sleeveless” look that caught my attention as distinctly a fashion of 1924 is this one:

A closer look at the “New in New York;” the dress on the right of the illustration of “sleeveless” dresses has an unusual armhole, cut very deep and finished with a band of fabric. Delineator, May 1924.

Several versions were offered as Butterick patterns.

Right, a different illustration of the dress in the editorial illustration: Butterick 5199, shown here in yellow, is a deep-armholed dress is made of sheer chiffon.  May 1924. Notice how far below the top of the slip is the bottom of the armhole.

Butterick 5259 appeared in April, 1924. Anyone looking at her side with the arm raised would have seen inside the dress. It could also be made with long sleeves.

For vintage dealers and historians, here’s an interesting fact: Butterick 5259 used elastic in a casing at the sides of the low waist.

In June, a similar style was illustrated as a dress for Misses:

Butterick 5253 was similar to 5259, but the dress is not printed with stripes; those are graduated tucks which get bigger near the hem.

This blurry photo of a dress by Paul Poiret shows a similar deep armhole with a wide, straight binding:

Photo of a dress by Paul Poiret, from Delineator, July 1924.

“Sleeveless Styles;” detail of Butterick dresses 5350 and 5360, July 1924, Delineator. No. 5360 was available up to size 52.

These are not “sleeveless” by today’s standards; other, more typical 1920’s styles might have a sort of cap sleeve, often cut in one with the shoulder of the dress:

Typical twenties’ dresses with short sleeves, sometimes cut-in-one with the body of the dress. These are not described as sleeveless. All from 1924, Delineator. Butterick 5375, 5368, and 5221

However, I haven’t yet found a specific word for the low, bound arm openings like this one, simply described as “bindings” or “sleeve bands” :

Butterick 5267, from June 1924.

Pattern information an alternate view for Butterick 5267, June 1924. This view (far right) has long sleeves.

These wide, band-bound armholes were also seen a blouse:

Butterick blouse pattern 5575, as shown in November (left) and October, 1924. (Yes, Butterick also sold patterns for cloche hats. See more hat patterns from 1924 here.)

Of course, sleeveless fashions helped to sell certain grooming aids in 1924:

Ads for Zip hair remover, both from Delineator, 1924.  “Those embarrassing moments… those critical looks….” Superfluous hair is “off because it’s out.”

Removal of underarm hair was not a new idea — evening gowns of the 1910’s were also revealing.

This Neet depilatory ad from 1924 suggests that “Perhaps because of an old-fashioned scruple you have hesitated to rid yourself of the disfigurement of underarm hair….Are your arms constantly pinned to your sides? …The swing of convention … is carrying America back to the old Greek ideal of womanly beauty — the unhampered, active, supple body.” It was also a body with underarms as hairless as a marble statue.

Ad for Neet hair remover/depilatory. Delineator, Oct. 1924, p. 25. “…Rid yourself from the disfigurement of underarm hair.”

Ad for Neet dipilatory, Nov. 1924. Delineator, p. 99. (That’s some party!)

In 1925, the peculiar “sleeveless sleeve” I’ve been showing was still around — this time, on a nightgown. I love the striped pajamas, too.

Nightgown 5936 and pajamas 5948; Butterick patterns in  Delineator, April 1925.

 

 

 

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Filed under 1920s, Accessory Patterns, Nightclothes and Robes, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Sportswear, vintage photographs

Twenties’ Fashions for Larger Women, September 1928

One of these dresses was available in size 52. Butterick patterns in Delineator, September 1928, p. 36.

The fashion editors at Delineator magazine often grouped patterns for larger or more “mature” women together in a one-page article, but in the September 1928 issue, large-sized dresses were shown beside patterns for college girls and women of standard sizes. I’ve long been surprised than in the mid-twenties, when the “Boyish” figure was extolled, the standard Butterick pattern sizes — based on bust measurement — were 33 to 44 inches. But some patterns were issued up to “bust measure 52 inches.”

Left, pattern 2226 for college and career girls; right, pattern 2211, for women with bust sizes up to 52 inches. From 1928.

Details of Butterick 2226, for 15 to 20 years and bust 32 to 40;  and Butterick 2211,  an “all day frock” for sizes 34 to 52. Delineator, Sept. 1928, pg. 35. Are those herringbone stripes in this wool dress?

Top of page 35, which featured wool frocks and coats in sizes from 15 years (bust 32″) to size 52.

Butterick frock 2233 and coat 2230. The coat was sized from bust 32″ to 48″. Delineator, Sept. 1928, p. 35. Note the coat’s triangular pockets, which “merge” into a belt. And what was going on with that dress front? Over? Under?

Butterick 2209 and 2217. To me, the dress on the right, with its little “lingerie finish” ruffles and conservatively feminine qualities, looks like something aimed at mature women, but it is only offered in smaller sizes: age 15 to 20 years and 38, 40 [bust].

The unusual front tabs and sleeves on Butterick 2209 are worth a closer look:

Detail of Butterick 2209 and 2217, Sept. 1928. No. 2209 (left) was available for bust sizes 32 to 44.

“Sport Clothes” to wear to the “big games.” Delineator, Sept. 1928, top of pg. 34.

The second dress from the left looks rather fancy for watching football; the dress on the top left was suggested for larger-than-average women.

Butterick 2231 and 2221, from 1928. No. 2231 was available up to bust size 52 inches.

A vestee is a kind of dickey — a partial blouse.

Some of these dresses have skirts that are plain in the back, with all the fullness, pleats, etc., in the front. This was common in early twenties’ dresses, and still seen here, on some dresses, in 1928. (Patterns 2226 and 2211 show pleats in back, too.)

The back views of Nos. 2226 and 2211 show pleats in the skirt back, too.

Nos. 2193 and 2180 (plaid) have plain skirts in back, with pleats only in the front.

Butterick wool sports frock 2193 and coat pattern 2151. September 1928. Only the front of 2193 is pleated. Both dress and coat are in the average pattern size range. For a dressier version of the same coat, click here. 

This jaunty plaid coat and dress were not limited to slender women:

Butterick two-piece dress 2180 coordinated with coat 2222. September 1928. This “youthful and becoming dress was for bust 32 to [a bigger than average] 46. The coat pattern came in a standard range of sizes, 32 to 44 (with a 47.5″ hip.) I love the diamond shaped “belt encrustation.”

As for evening gowns, the pattern on the left was available up to size 52.

Butterick evening dresses from 1928. Left, no. 2131, with a long side drape, for sizes from 34 to 52; right, Butterick 2125 in sizes from 32 to 44 bust.

Here are some advertisements from the same issue of the magazine. For “the larger woman,” hosiery manufacturers offered slenderizing styles like this one:

From an ad for Allen-A hosiery, Delineator, Sept. 1928. “Note the slenderizing effect this new, longer point Allen-A Heel gives to the ankle.”

Shoe advertisements show that even brands which promised comfort to mature women offered some very high, narrow heels.

Top of Dorothy Dodd shoe ad, Delineator, Sept. 1928.  “Dorothy Dodd shoes are designed to make the foot look youthful.”

Ad for Dorothy Dodd shoes (this image is slightly skewed at the bottom.) Delineator, Sept. 1928.

Queen Quality shoe ad, Delineator, September 1928. The “Sherwood” and “Tiffany” models look like somewhat practical walking shoes, but the “Trickie” (lower left) seems aptly named.

“And Queen Quality keeps the cost of all four pairs less than the cost of a single frock.” They total $37.00 — not an inexpensive frock! (They are not cheap shoes.)

This jersey dress could be ordered for $8:

Ad for a Hubrite wool jersey dress, Delineator, September 1928, p. 101.

Hubrite dress in sizes 16-20 — 36-46. Ad in Delineator, Sept. 1928.

 

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Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, Hosiery, Hosiery, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Shoes, Sportswear, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes

Paper Dolls from Silent Movies, 1917

“Who Are They?” paper dolls of movie stars with costumes from their roles. Illustrated by Corwin Knapp-Linson for Delineator magazine, April 1917.

I’m sorry I didn’t photograph the first in this series, which combines paper dolls (in color) with a “Name the Actors” contest. Of course, the silent films of 1916 and 1917 would have been black and white [although sometimes the whole image was tinted:  yellow for day, or blue for night, etc.] so the colors of the doll costumes are sometimes just the illustrator’s “colorization.”

Patten Beard Presents Peter Pan’s Movie Contest, Delineator, April 1917. “The dolls on this page represent two of the most popular moving-picture actors. Who Are They and in What Plays Are They Shown Here?” Note that the films are called “plays.” And the prizes are quite generous, for a children’s contest.

If you are interested in silent films, as I am, trying to name the actors in these monthly contests is quite a challenge. The majority of silent films have been lost, some leaving not even still photos behind. A knowledge of costume history does supply some hints to the period represented in the film — Renaissance, modern dress, fantasy, 18th century, etc., which suggests (or at least eliminates) some movie titles from 1915-1917.  If you want to play — no prizes, I’m afraid — please contribute your comments! You can find lists of film titles, by year, in several places, including wikipedia: 1917  1916  and  1915 MoviesSilently is currently running many centenary articles about 1917 films.

Delineator, which ran this contest, was a large format magazine, so showing a whole page on this blog doesn’t provide enough detail; I’ve isolated some images for improved visibility.

One actor, three costumes. Can you identify the man and his movies?

Who is this “popular moving picture actor?” Delineator, April 1917.

Around 1917, he played an academic, a man of the Renaissance, and a 20th century soldier.

He wore both renaissance costumes and modern dress.

The very petite young lady beside him (who sometimes seems to be dressed as a boy) may or may not have shared a wedding scene with him:

Center bottom of page, Delineator, 1917. Wedding dress or Confirmation dress?

She also seems to have worn a sort of Titania/Queen of the Fairies costume, a wild child of the woods costume, and to have filled the boots of a Renaissance boy.

Who is this changeling?

I was half-way successful with the paper dolls from May, 1917.

The Patten Beard Peter Pan Paper Doll movie contest from Delineator, May 1917. The lady at right is Geraldine Farrar.

The costumes clearly representing Joan of Arc led me to Joan the Woman, a Cecil B. DeMille silent released in 1915. Geraldine Farrar was a very successful opera singer who made several silent (!) movies between 1915 and 1920.

Geraldine Farrar’s costumes for Joan the Woman include a suit of armor, with helmet, and a short, crudely cropped wig for her execution. What modern dress movie did she make between 1915 and 1917?

Perhaps her skirt and blouse outfit is from The Devil-Stone (1917.) Farrar played a “fishermaid” who finds a cursed emerald….

Her paper-doll costume for Carmen includes a fan (but no cigarette…. Do click to see this image!)

Left, a costume for Carmen (1915); right, St. Joan as a peasant girl.

The movie poster shows Joan’s dress as scarlet, but blue worked better for this illustration, since Carmen wears red.

Delineator explained that “these pictures are based upon photographs supplied by courtesy of the motion-picture producers….”

Movie contest actors for May 1917, Delineator. He looks sooooo familiar…

I have not identified this actor:

Can you name this actor? He played a 16th c. soldier and also worked in modern dress by May, 1917.

It’s possible that the 16th century costumes are from the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre (1572) scenes in Intolerance: Love’s Struggle Through the Ages  (1916). I did see it once, but I’m not willing to sit through it again this week….

The same actor can be found under that beard; he seems to be an explorer dressed in a dustcoat & solar topee (and spats,) and wearing a holster for the pistol at his left. On the far left, a swashbuckling 16th c. costume with round hose and wide-brimmed hat. From Intolerance?

From the July issue, I was able to identify William Farnum (Dustin Farnum was his brother) in A Tale of Two Cities (1917) and in one of his many westerns. The actress pictured with him does not have a matching 18th century wardrobe, so she’s probably not his frequent leading lady, Jewel Carmen.

Paper Doll “name these actors” contest, Delineator, July 1917. Top of page 18.

Paper Dolls from bottom of page 18, Delineator, July 1917.

Actor William Farnum and an actress who is still a mystery to me. Does anyone recognize her?

The 18th century costumes for this actor led me to A Tale of Two Cities. Here he is wearing the dark costume, with the buckle-banded hat, although the doll instructions say it goes with the yellow coat.

William Farnum made many westerns; he seems to be wearing this suit in at least two of them. It’s tan in the movie poster.

Here is a color poster for The Man from Bitter Roots (1916). He seems to have worn the same costume in True Blue (1918.)

The actress drawn in a green evening gown also wore these costumes:

A Civil War era costume and a sort of female Uncle Sam outfit.

Any costume with a Civil War flavor suggests Birth of A Nation (1915), but that was not the only pre-1918 film set in that era. (And she doesn’t resemble its female star, Lillian Gish.) She also wears a green brocade evening gown and a “peasant-ish” red ensemble.

Evening dress and peasant attire. Paper Doll costumes from the movies, 1917.

In August, there were three actors to identify: child actors.

Paper dolls based on three child stars of 1917. Delineator, August 1917, p. 18.

“The paper dolls on this page represent three of the most popular moving-picture actors. The costumes are those they wore while being filmed in their latest plays. Who are they?”

Three silent film stars from 1917.

Children were often the stars of shorter films, which makes finding their titles less likely. The boy seems to have played both princes and peasants — but were they in the same movie?

A child star in an elaborate uniform, plus two less exalted costumes. August 1917.

This character stands next to a sword:

Does the sword go with this gray costume, or the white uniform? If we saw the movies, we’d know.

Sometimes child stars were filmed in parodies of well-known films, in which they mimicked adult actors. That may explain the pink evening gown worn by this young actress:

One costume for this child actor is a lavish, pink, adult evening gown. August  1917. She has a rather impish look in the image at right.

A simple, possibly 19th-century dress for the young star with bobbed hair. Delineator, August 1917.

Baby Marie Osborne had this hairstyle; famous for playing Little Mary Sunshine (1916), she was earning $1000 a week and made about 28 films before retiring at age 8. Unfortunately, her parents mis-spent her earnings; she made a second career for herself as a movie costumer, including The Godfather, Part II. I can’ t confirm her identification using these costume illustrations — can you?

The curly-haired child star at the upper left of the page carries a doll that evokes another of her costumes:

Left, the young star, barefoot, in a simple, shift-like dress; center, a more prosperous look, probably intended for the mid-1800s; right, an up-to-date dress, trimmed with lace and accompanied by a matching hair bow. Delineator, August 1917.

A visit to the Young Hollywood Hall of Fame shows how many young actors there were; some even grew up to be adult actors, like Dolores Costello,  Bebe Daniels, and Mary Miles Minter.

Please comment if you recognize any of these actors & costumes from a film you’ve seen!

 

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, Costumes for the 16th century, Costumes for the 18th Century, Costumes for the 19th century, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, World War I

Paris Fashions, September 1917

“Fashions as Usual” from wartime Paris — from World War I, that is. Delineator, September 1917.

During World War I, Butterick’s Delineator magazine, which had an office in Paris, continued to publish sketches of French designer fashions. Some of the ten design houses featured in this article, such as Worth, Paquin, Doeuillet, Doucet and Poiret are still fairly well-known today; others (like Jenny, Beer, Margaine-LaCroix and Buzenet)  are not so well remembered.

A glittering black satin evening dress by Doeuillet, 1917. Doeuillet opened his fashion house in 1900.

“Among the jet sequins on the bodice and hem, Doeuillet uses a few of silver, making the motives of the embroidery shadowy, phantom-like, lovely. The dress is of black satin with argent [silver] roses at the waist. The train is black satin like the dress.”

A dress by Margaine-LaCroix with a criss-cross sash that is typical of 1917.

“Silk jersey in a faint shade of reddish pink which Margaine-LaCroix calls rust color, with sash and collar of sand-colored silk. The skirt is cut wider at the top and the cascades end in heavy tassels.”

Both of the dresses below use navy colored fabric, and one also uses “flag blue.” The colors of the French flag are bleu, blanc, et rouge, which patriotically appear in several of these fashions.

Left, an ensemble by Jenny: “navy serge with a rose-red collar and dog-leash belt;” right, a navy, black and “flag blue” pleated dress with tunic by Premet. 1917.

Delineator, a “woman’s magazine,” was jingoistic and used many military terms in its fashion writing in 1917-1918. Jenny’s “not strictly submersible” dress is a reference to submarines  (submersibles.)

This “pale prune-colored” Paris suit by Beer has a cream satin vest (“gilet”) embroidered to match. 1917.

This was the era of the “Tonneau” or barrel skirt, and the width of women’s hips is deliberately exaggerated, as in the skirt below, which is “narrower at the hem than at the hip,” like the dress by Margaine La-Croix.

This dress from Paris, by Buzenet, in blue serge and satin has an organdy collar embroidered in gold. 1917.

Paul Poiret showed a loose-fitting red jersey dress, embroidered in blue and ochre yellow, with big pockets. 1917.

Famous for his exotic designs in the 1910’s, Poiret was still very active in the 1920’s. His 1924 “Brique” dress at the V & A Museum is still charming.

French designer Jenny showed this pale gray dress with a sleeveless coat embroidered in fine lines of green stitching. 1917.

Jenny was also a very well known designer in the 1920’s.

An afternoon dress by Paquin, 1917, “has all the hallmarks of its era.” The “tablier” [apron] hangs from the shoulders

The House of Worth showed a gray redingote [overdress open down the front] with a peculiar, stiff collar, worn here with a very wide, bird-winged hat. 1917.

Doucet‘s “Russian Blouse” is trimmed with rows of stitching and features a cuff-like pocket, matching the actual sleeve cuffs, that goes all the way around its front hem. 1917. The “double” criss-crossing belt is very characteristic of this period.

Jacques Doucet was included in “Ten Influential Fashion Designers You’ve Probably Never Heard Of”  and Gustave Beer was included in its sequel, “Ten (More) ….” 

Jenny (born Jeanne-Adele Bernard, married name Jenny Sacerdote) was profiled here. (The designer Augusta Bernard, who called her fashion house Augustabernard to avoid confusion with other designers named Bernard, was apparently no relation.) The Costume Gallery  does an excellent job of profiling designers in brief histories, with lots of thumbnail illustrations. You can find Beer, Doeuillet, Doucet, Jenny, Paquin, Poiret, Premet, Worth and many more famous designers at The Costume Gallery. To make full use of its extensive research library and photo collections, a small subscription is required, but even using the public access part of The Costume Gallery site is wonderful. I’ve added it to my “Sites with Great Information” sidebar.

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, 1920s, Hairstyles, Hats, Vintage Couture Designs, World War I

The Bows of Summer, 1928

Big bows accent these evening dresses from July 1928. Left, Butterick 2087; right, Butterick 2109. Delineator magazine illustrations.

As much as I admire the Art Deco geometry of many 1920’s dresses, I can’t ignore the huge number of softly draped dresses accented with big bows, like this couture dress by Lucien Lelong from 1928.

A day dress from Paris designer Lucien Lelong; sketched for Delineator, August 1928. “Deep blue is very new for fall. It is the color of this crepe satin frock with its drooping skirt and bow-tied bolero.”

Title of page 37, Delineator, August 1928. “The Bow Continues to Play its Part.”

A solitary bow at the shoulder could be used to balance asymmetrical skirt drapery, as in this evening pattern:

Butterick evening gown pattern 2176, Delineator, August 1928.

Bows could be placed symmetrically in the center of the body or and/or neckline:

Illustration for “Are Fashions French?” article. Delineator, August 1928. [Symmetrical, but slightly dull…]

A single bow in the center of the hip girdle is the focus of Butterick 2125, left. The single bow is shifted to the left side of Butterick 2135. August 1938.

When two bows were used, they could balance each other by being offset, one high on the right side and one near the waist on the left, but this was not always the case.

Left, a day dress with a bow centered on the neck and another bow, far to the side, on the hip. Far right, a more formal dress with bows that balance each other, one on the right shoulder and one on the left hip. Butterick 2129 and 2178. August 1928. On No. 2178, the eye is led from the shoulder to the hip diagonally across and down the body, for a dynamic and slenderizing effect.

Sometimes bows were both placed on one side of the body:

In this dress, all the interest is on the frock’s left side, at the asymmetrical neck and the skirt — not an easy look to do successfully.  Butterick coat 2149 and dress 2187. August 1928. The side panel on the dress hangs below the coat hem; this was acceptable in the twenties.

Butterick afternoon dress 2174 has a bow centered at the neck line and another off to the side hip. Butterick dress 2174 and coat 2151. Delineator, July 1928. (In this case, the illustrator does not show the side panel of the dress hanging out below the hem of the coat, as it does in the previous coat and dress illustration.)

Even schoolgirls had bows on their “good” dresses:

Left, Butterick 2137 — with four bows — shown on a teen-aged girl. Right, a “bolero” outfit, Butterick 2167. August 1928. After idealizing the “boyish” look, now the magazine extols the “new feminine feeling.” The book Uplift says teens were buying brassieres, not flatteners, in the late twenties.

Dress 2137 — with four bows — was not just for teens; the pattern was also available for women sizes 36 to 44 bust. There’s a different illustration of the same dress later in this post. The dress on the right, below (No. 2066) was similarly available for teens or adults.

All three of thee dresses from July 1928 focus on large bows. from left, Butterick 2038, 2129, and 2066. Delineator.

The dress on the left has a “bridge coat” worn over a sleeveless chiffon evening dress. “Without the coat it is a chic evening frock….” Day dresses were usually not so completely sleeveless that the shoulder bone was visible; evening dresses were sleeveless and had lower-cut armholes than tennis dresses.

The print dress in the center has “a blouse with crushed waistline, square neck, and bows at hip, neck, and wrists;” for sizes up to 44 inch bust. For the dress at the right with shirred front, a color scheme of red, white and blue was suggested.

Even dresses with a modern geometric quality might be made with an accent bow:

Butterick 2137 and 2127 have a style moderne quality — and big bows. Delineator, July 1928. This illustration of 2137 is much more stylized than its version for a teen, shown earlier.

Number 2127 could be made without the bow:

Butterick 2127 in two versions, August and July of 1928.

As you might expect, bows reached their full glory in evening wear. The bow could be at the back, suggesting a bustle…

Butterick 2087, an evening dress with enormous back bow, June and July illustrations, 1928. For young or small women.

Like the dresses of the thirties and forties, its bodice has an underarm opening in the left side seam.

… or the bow could be at the side:

Butterick evening gowns, No. 2148 and 2140. August 1928, Delineator. 2148 has both bows on its left side.

Butterick evening dresses 2112 and 2123 have bows at the side hip. July 1928, Delineator. Showing bare shoulders with narrow straps, seen on No. 2112, was a very new fashion. They were called “lingerie straps.”  Chanel showed one in 1926.

Paris designer louiseboulanger (the house of Louise Boulanger) even put one enormouse bow on the front of a dress, an idea which Butterick seems to have copied…. [Butterick’s bow could be on the left side of the front — the illustration is hard to read — but the dress itself is symmetrical, so I would guess the bow’s in the center.]

Left, couture gown by louiseboulanger, sketched for the May issue; right, Butterick pattern 2108. Delineator, May and July 1928.

This complex satin dress was featured in an ad for Kotex:

Draped satin dress from an ad for Kotex sanitary napkins, Delineator, August 1928. The effect of a bow seems to be created by the tucked satin, but it is probably a separate piece of fabric.

I didn’t find a credit for the dress designer. Is the model a living woman or a store mannequin? What a lovely face….

Detail of Kotex ad, Aug. 1928.

I think she resembles Lee Miller, photographer and model. Mannequins were sometimes based on recognizable people.

 

 

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Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, Vintage Couture Designs, Vintage patterns

Smocking for Girls and Boys, Forties’ and Fifties’ Patterns, Part 1

McCall 692, a smocked dresses for toddlers, dates to 1939, but this image is from a 1946 catalog. It was in the needlework catalog for November 1950, too, eleven years after it was issued.

Smocking was a part of traditional dress long before it became associated with clothes for children. However, as a way of expressing devotion through hand sewing, smocking patterns like these remained popular: most of these patterns were featured in the McCall Needlework catalogs year after year.

McCall 692 is one of the few patterns that mentions the pleasure to be had from smocking: “Fascinating to do and very attractive….”

Very loose, full dresses with smocked yokes were made for young children in the 1920’s, too:

Butterick smocked dresses 1963 and 1955, Delineator, April 1928. “Handwork is the only trimming in good taste for very small frocks even when they will be worn to dancing school.”

This pattern is from 1936 –and was still for sale in  1950.

McCall smocked dress pattern 442, for very young children. It appeared in 1936 and was still in catalogs for 1946 and 1950 — perhaps longer.

Smocks for toddlers were often loose, but smocked dresses for older girls followed the lines of adult fashion in the nineteen twenties and in the nineteen forties:

At top left, a young girl is in a pale blue dress smocked with blue thread; right, an older girl’s smocked dress has a 1920’s hip band in red and black. Delineator, July 1925.

Butterick smocking pattern 16046 is used at the yoke, wrists, and low waistline of a girl’s dress from 1929. “This is the first time a  modernistic design has appeared in smocking.” — Delineator, June 1929.

McCall 786, a smocked dress for toddlers, dates to 1940, but was in the catalogs for at least ten years after that.

Honeycomb is one of the oldest smocking techniques, with many variations.

McCall 705, originally from 1940, shows a more fitted smocked dress — a style I remember from the 1950s.

McCall 705 was suitable for a “sub-teen” — up to age 10 — in the 1940s.

Also suitable for schoolgirls was this dress using honeycomb smocking — I believe this is one of the stitches that has some horizontal stretch. It gives interesting effects when worked on stripes or checks.

McCall 857, early 1940s. “For little girls, omit the waistline smocking, if desired….”

Detail of McCall 857. “Schoolgirl simplicity.”  For sizes 4, 6, 8, 10, 12.

McCall 878 for toddlers, from 1941. In the catalog for May, 1950.

McCall 1125 smocked dress for girls, 1944. Image from May, 1946. For ages 2, 4, 6.

McCall 1164, a smocked dress for toddlers, circa 1945. The sunbonnet was still a common feature of girls’ clothing.

Another toddler dress with smocked yoke and loose fit: McCall 1189, from 1945, still in the needlework catalog for Nov. 1950. “Smocking and small clothes just naturally ‘belong.’ “

McCall 1175 for school-age girls. 1945. “Send her off to school with a shining face and a smocked two-piecer…. The button-on skirt is pleated back and front.” Sizes 4, 6, 8, 10.

Detail of McCall 1175.

Boys — very young boys — could wear smocked outfits, too.

McCall 1195, a smocked suit for young boys from 1945 (Image from Dec. 1946.) Buttoning shorts or a skirt to a young child’s blouse (at ages when the tummy is about the same size as the hips) was seen in the 1920’s, too. For sizes 6 months to 3 years.

Mid-forties’ dresses for girls old enough to attend school were fitted at the waist. This horizontal yoke echoes the wartime wide shouldered-look for women.

McCall 1234 for girls, image from 1946. A “school-ager’s classic” for ages/sizes 6 through 12.

McCall’s 1270, image from 1946 catalog. Note the shoulder-widening yokes and puffed sleeves.

A similar style was offered for younger girls:

McCall 1308 for toddlers and “nursery-school age” girls, 1946.

McCall 1350, a smocked dress for girls, with a fitted bodice, a yoke, and puffy sleeves. Ages/sizes 2 through 8.

Detail of elaborate smocking on McCall 1350. Image from May, 1950.

A doting parent or grandmother could even smock a coat for her toddler — or a blouse, or a combination sunsuit/pinafore.

McCall 1311 is smocked coat for a toddler, 1946-1950.

McCall 1259 is a smocked blouse for toddlers, from the catalog for December 1946, also in Nov. 1950.

This “sunsuit” could also be made as a pinafore to wear over a dress. McCall 1245, from 1946. It includes patterns for panties and a sunbonnet.

I confess that I am charmed by the illustrations, as well as the smocking. More about smocked dresses for girls, and smocking patterns, in Part 2.

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Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, 1930s, 1930s-1940s, 1940s-1950s, Children's Vintage styles, Vintage patterns