If you were looking for summer dress ideas in May, 1926, you might have found inspiration in these Butterick patterns from the Delineator. As often happens, the dresses for “Misses 15 to 20 and small women” show the hemlines that older women would adopt a couple of years later. The full-page colored illustrations were done by Marie L. Britton.
I’ll be showing the tops and bottoms of four color pages, but here are a few trends to look for:
Border prints, fashionable in 1925, continue to add charm to 1926 dresses. I especially like the yellow one on the left. Both use the border print at the bottom of their sleeves.
Both of those patterns also have a sleeve that continues into the yoke, called a saddle shoulder.
Ruching (several parallel lines of gathering) guarantees a snug fit at the hips of these dresses:
Sewing tip: if you don’t want the ruching threads to break, sew a flat panel of sheer fabric matching the slip, and cut to hip size, under the ruching. (In the 1970s or 1980s, dresses used elastic thread for a similar effect.) To control the blousing, the hip band can be attached to the under slip.
Embroidery, popular in the 1910’s and twenties, adds a custom touch to some of these dresses, although the embroidery was optional. Just a touch of embroidery on the sleeve is a surprise on a rather severe pleated dress (center.)
The dress in the middle also has a saddle sleeve — plus another mid-twenties feature so common I almost forgot to mention it: long ties or streamers in front, often part of the collar.
The 1920’s fashion ideal was youthful and slender, but the 1920’s feature we all notice — a horizontal line across the hip, which is the widest part of a woman’s body — was the opposite of slenderizing. You can find many strategies for creating a vertical line in the twenties — including those long 1920’s necklaces — but the most common styling trick is long ribbons or ties down the center front. Often a band which enclosed the back of the neckline became long ties falling down the front of the dress. Even the coat (below left) has them.
Here are the full images of these — and other — outfits for summer, 1926.
Number 6759 (at right) has a half cape in back. So does Number 6765 (page 28 top left,) the red and black dress with a pleated skirt — and a pleated back-cape.