Interesting Dress Trim from the Early 1920s

I can’t look at a photo like this without wondering, “How is that made?” In this case, the question is,

“What is the trim on that dress?”

Photo dated 1922

Photo dated 1922.

At first I thought those square protuberances along the sides  (I don’t know what else to call them) were buttons, as seen on these dresses from 1925:

Button-trimmed dresses, Butterick patterns from March 1925, Delineator.

Button-trimmed dresses, Butterick patterns from March 1925, Delineator.

But a closer look (the original photo is less than three inches wide) shows that the ridges are actually bands of thicker trim:Riesse Constance 1922 bigger 500

I’m pretty sure they have a velvety texture. I thought about fur, but they are not rounded at all. My current best guess is that they are strips of velvet ribbon with a loop stitched in every inch or so (maybe closer):velvet trim possibility850I tried lightening the photo in hopes that more detail would show:

Photo lightened to show detail

Photo lightened to show detail

The dress seems to be a semi-sheer tunic dress with a longer “costume slip” under it. I think I can see straps faintly through the top. It has a velvet belt tied tightly over the hips and decorated with sparkly beads and tassels at the ends. The sleeves also have two bands of the velvet trim — if that’s what it is. It’s certainly an intriguing look.  Has anyone ever seen such a trim on a vintage twenties dress?

[Incidentally, I don’t completely trust the date on the photo; I think the name and date were added from memory when the picture was put into an album, because I recognize the handwriting.]

5 Comments

Filed under 1920s, Musings, vintage photographs

5 responses to “Interesting Dress Trim from the Early 1920s

  1. I’ve never seen that trim before, but I love it. There are such innovative details on twenties dresses!

  2. I’ve seen & made many period costumes for theatre that have velvet trim used in similar ways. I agree that it looks very much like loops of the velvet trim stitched in bands around the dress – very interesting detail!

  3. How fascinating. And is that a big fabric flower at the bust?

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