As usual, I’ll show individual pattern illustrations, then give full descriptions at the end of the post. I’ll give details of the coats in a later post.
And, before I forget, these illustrations are always interesting for their hats and hairstyles:
By 1917, many women were cutting their hair shorter in front, leaving the back long; bangs and poufs of short curls over the ears softened their look and framed the face under closely fitting hats, which foreshadow the cloche hats of the 1920’s.
No. 9422 is described as a serge frock with a surplice closing, a slightly raised waist, and chamois colored satin shawl collar and trim. The belt is separate, and a sash could be used instead. Other recommended dress colors were navy blue, tobacco brown, mustard, sand, dark red, plum, etc.
Butterick No. 9435 is a pleated tunic style trimmed with “self-colored beading at the throat, sleeves and sash.” It is shown in “cadet blue” with self-covered ball button trim. Various silk fabrics are suggested, and “black is very smart for the silk dress and makes a very useful dress for many different occasions.”
Here are two views of the blouse:
No. 9470 has dozens of satin-bound buttonholes and covered buttons. It is shown with a brown velvet collar and brown braid (applied at hem and neckline.)
Novelty silk voile was used for the sleeves and collar; the dress was made of brown velvet, or velveteen. Wool serge was also recommended for this dress; “made in satin or velvet it is suitable for any afternoon occasion.” “For the woolen materials like chiffon broadcloth, serge, gabardine, checks, stripes and plaids could have the sleeves of satin, taffeta, charmeuse, silk crepe or chiffon.”
“Sand color-gabardine for the smart little jumper and new tunic skirt makes a delightful combination with blue satin for the side body and full-length sleeves. (Designs 9479 and 9509.)” Although called a jumper, the bodice (including the sleeves and collar) is separate from the skirt. [In American usage, a “jumper” is usually a sleeveless bodice attached to a skirt and worn over a separate blouse.]
Frock 9480 was illustrated in gold colored velvet, but could also be made in serge or silk for an autumn wardrobe. A higher necked “chemisette” was recommended for wear under a winter coat. “The draped front extends down to form a wide panel, and there are sash ends that tie loosely in the back.” “The dress could be trimmed with beading or embroidery.” However, “This Autumn the embroidery is smartest worked in soft colors that harmonize with the dress itself; the sharper contrasting and striking effects of the past season are not being used for the new dresses.”
This “blouse-waist,” No. 9477, was also described as a jumper, with a tunic skirt.
Skirt No. 9444, shown with several different tops, has an optional belt with pockets attached:
The corsets of this period created a very high waist in the back, as shown in this skirt illustration.
Other views and details of patterns shown at the top of the post:
5 responses to “Fashions for November, 1917”
These are such beautiful and relatively comfortable looking dresses, made with fabulous fabrics. What I can’t imagine is me, buying one of these patterns, taking it home and sewing up one of those dresses. I know basically how to sew, and have made many articles of clothing (on a treadle sewing machine) but these styles look very complicated and destined not to look like they do in the illustrations!
There was a time when almost every town had one or two women who were known for their sewing skills — “dressmakers.” Women with no access to large clothing stores ( or sewing skills) could buy fabrics and a pattern and have their clothes made to fit. In the late 1960’s, in San Francisco, I would see women accompanied by their dressmakers in the major fabric stores. In fact, several of my nicest dresses were made by a friend of my aunt, who paid her to make them for me. A war widow, the friend had many clients and supported herself and her daughter by sewing. It took me a while to understand that this was my aunt’s way of helping her friend financially, without injuring their standing of equality.
Well, the explanation makes very good sense. I supposed that you were supposed to make these things yourselves at home, in your copious free time! I’m of the generation who learned to sew in school, and we bought Simplicity patters and made the clothes ourselves. They often looked like we had.
As a lover of pockets, I really like the belt with pockets idea. It also explains why some pockets of the era seem to stick out from the side of the skirt.
It does look like a comfortable, balanced way to carry stuff when I go for a walk!