Print Dresses for Spring, 1934

Print dresses for Spring, 1934. Butterick patterns  5494, 5527, 5507 from The Delineator, Feb. 1934.

Print dresses for Spring, 1934. Butterick patterns 5494, 5527, 5507 from The Delineator, Feb. 1934.

Eighty-one years ago, these print dresses were illustrated in The Delineator magazine, a Butterick Company publication. Print fabrics were suggested for both day and evening wear. I’ll show some close-ups of each dress, because the details are so lovely.

Butterick 5494

Butterick pattern 5494, Feb. 1934.

Butterick pattern 5494, Feb. 1934.

“The fruit prints are very charming, especially the berry, apple and pear ones.  A raspberry print is used for dress 5494, a frock distinguished also for its new type of high cowl neckline, buttoned to one shoulder and its sleeves that go just beyond the crook of the elbow.” — The Delineator, February 1934, p. 72.

What I really like about this dress is the unusual cut of the bodice and sleeves, and the way the diagonal seam is carried down into the skirt.

1934 feb p 72 dresses top 5494 500Butterick patterns 5527 and 5507

Butterick patterns 5527 and 5507, February 1934, The Delineator.

Butterick patterns 5527 and 5507, February 1934, The Delineator.

The large, swirling, abstract print on number 5527 is quite a contrast to “fruit prints.”

Dress details, Butterick 5527 and 5507, Feb. 1934.

Dress details, Butterick 5527 and 5507, Feb. 1934.

Butterick 5527:  “Light rust is the newest color for prints, and best-looking when the design is in white, as in the hood frock 5527. In front the dress has a high neck, but it is its back that is the important thing.” [That’s right: A hood!]

Butterick 5507:  “Neat little unimportant designs, spaced apart, make the smartest looking dresses after all, as 5507 with its entrancing laced and buttoned scarf, proves. This is the kind of print that is definitely high fashion for spring.”

Top details of Butterick 5527 and 5507, Feb. 1934.

Top details of Butterick 5527 and 5507, Feb. 1934.

Big bow/collars like No. 5507 were also popular in white. Notice the way the sleeves echo the curve of the bodice.

This print dress with a contrast collar/bow is Butterick 5609, from April 1934:

Butterick dress pattern 5609, April 1934, The Delineator.

Butterick dress pattern 5609, April 1934, The Delineator.

It also has fullness gathered into curves on the sleeves, like No. 5507.

A print fabric was also featured in this dress from a Lane Bryant  catalog advertisement in February:

Lane Bryant catalog for stout women ad from The Delineator, Feb. 1934.

Lane Bryant catalog for stout women ad from The Delineator, Feb. 1934.

Print for a Spring Evening Dress

Butterick evening gown patterns 5534 and 5526, Feb. 1934. The Delineator.

Butterick evening gown patterns 5534 and 5526, Feb. 1934. The Delineator.

 Butterick 5534:  This jacket dress would be hard to beat — for being terribly good-looking and practical, too. It’s suitable for Mama and Daughter alike.  Wear it informally with the jacket.  Take the jacket off and you have a covered-shoulder, low-backed frock …. Designed for sizes 12 to 20; 30 to 40.”

Butterick 5526:  The skirt of this dress is all one unbroken sweep of the satin, with a single seam down the back — no side seams! For this, you have to use 54 inch satin. There’s a built-in brassiere, so all one needs to wear underneath is a girdle and step-ins …. Designed for sizes 12 to 20; 30 to 40.”

Details of Butterick patterns 5534 and 5526, from Feb. 1934, The Delineator.

Details of Butterick patterns 5534 and 5526, from Feb. 1934, The Delineator.

Number 5526 doesn’t use print fabric, but that description — a single seam bias skirt and a built-in bra — is pretty interesting!

A Vintage Print Evening Dress, circa 1929

While reading about these prints for spring — one of them in  rust, which is not a “springtime” color anymore — I remembered this vintage dress which I photographed — badly — several years ago:

Vintage print chiffon evening dress, circa 1929.

Vintage print evening dress, circa 1929.

It is several years earlier than the patterns from 1934; it has a handkerchief hem which is much shorter in front than in back. V139 dress  front 500

These transitional gowns were popular around 1929 — this example is from Paris, by Lucien Lelong.

Navy Taffeta Gown by Lucien Lelong, pictured in The Delineator, August 1929.

Navy Taffeta Gown by Lucien Lelong, pictured in The Delineator, August 1929.

A closer view of the front of the vintage dress shows a dropped waistline, too. It is made of print chiffon over a silk lining. Like many gowns of the 1930s, it depends on a bias cut for its effectiveness.

V139 detail 500

The use of bold, printed fabrics spanned several decades.

 

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4 Comments

Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, 1930s, Dresses, Girdles, Underthings, Hosiery, Corsets, etc, Vintage Couture Designs, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing

4 responses to “Print Dresses for Spring, 1934

  1. I love the cowl dress a lot. It’s interesting that these patterns are not trying to save fabric, even though it was the Depression. On.another theme, I just read that rust was a big color in the thirties.

    • You’re right — it looked extravagant to me, too. I ought to start typing out the yardage info on these 30’s dresses (even though it’s usually for 39 inch fabric.) The Delineator usually gave a token yardage estimate — but not on that buttoned cowl dress (drat!) The print full-length gown-with-jacket’s information said “For 36 (size 18) 7 1/2 yards 39 inch print.” And thanks for the reminder: I just found a couple of photos of other vintage dresses in that rust/olive/ochre palette from the thirties.

  2. Nancy N

    Thant up curving seam line at the waist is pretty unforgiving unless you have a very athletic flat stomach! But I love the two jacket dresses. So practical & flattering. Thanks for this post!
    Nancy N

  3. I just wish they made patterns with such lovely cutting and detailing these days. thank sfor your detailed comments.

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