Three out of five dresses pictured are “Tunic Blouses” with matching slips. Butterick patterns in Delineator, January 1922. Page 30.
The outfit on the right in this illustration is a “Tunic Blouse” with matching slip. Butterick 3509 with slip 3489. February 1922.
Another simply cut but attractive tunic blouse appeared in this color illustration:
Right, Butterick Tunic Blouse 3530 with slip 2930. Delineator, February 1922, page 27.
We’ll take a closer look at that one in a minute….. You may have guessed that “tunic” means an over layer that is shorter than the rest of the outfit. But the one below is not called a tunic blouse — it’s just a “dress.”
Butterick dress pattern 3456. Delineator, January, 1922, page 28.
It took me a while to realize that Delineator was selling patterns, so the patterns which included all the layers were described as “dress” patterns, and those that only contained the top layer were “tunic blouse” patterns. That way, the buyer knew she would have to buy a separate pattern (or use one she already had) for the longest layer, which was usually made as a slip — but with fashion fabric rather than lingerie fabric.
In spite of their overskirts, these are not tunics but “dresses.” Delineator, May 1921.
The Tunic look had been very important in the 1910s:
Tunic outfits in 1914. Delineator.
Then, the longer layer of the outfit might be part of the skirt pattern or part of a blouse (called a “waist”) pattern. Or it could be sold as a complete tunic dress pattern:
Alternative and back views of Butterick tunic dress 6779; 1914.
This version of the tunic look appeared in 1921:
Butterick sold this pattern as a tunic blouse; the skirt/slip pattern was sold separately. Google scan from Delineator, found at Hathitrust.org.
Another tunic blouse pattern from late 1921.
“A blouse of the sort with a suitable slip makes a complete costume. The Florentine neck and wide sleeves are particularly smart.”
In 1922, a variety of tunic blouses were on offer.
Butterick 3509 illustrated in January 1922.
Right, Butterick 3509 — again — as shown in February 1922. Delineator.
Butterick tunic blouse 3497 illustrated in February 1922, Delineator.
Detail of Butterick 3530 from February 1922.
I especially like the surprise of bright yellow lining on this black velvet tunic. The bands on the sleeves seem to be embroidered with birds.
Matching embroidered fabric shows through the slit at the neck.
That dress almost makes me forget that most women would look like a sack of potatoes in it — a beautiful, black velvet, embroidered sack ….
Some of these tunics have very deep slits at the sides. Butterick tunic blouses 3497 and 3507.
Those very wide sleeves were also typical of 1922 — they deserve (and will get) a post of their own.
Black chiffon over a black slip. Strips of coral red trim keep it from looking too bedroom-y.
Butterick tunic blouse 3462 over slip 3428. January 1922.
The simple tunic blouse pattern lent itself to different ornamentation.
“An elastic can be run through a casing at the low waistline. If transparent, the blouse is worn over a slip; otherwise a skirt will do.”
Teens and young women wore tunic blouses, too. Butterick 3462 from 1922.
I’ve written before on the tunic as a transition to shorter styles. These tunics are from January, 1925.
Tunics from Delineator, January 1925. The slit side was still seen.
A whole page of tunics in different lengths, from Delineator, March 1925.
As skirts rose to knee length in the later 1920s, the knee-length tunic became irrelevant.
This tunic blouse appeared in 1930, another time of hemline transition:
This tunic blouse with long skirt is from December, 193o. The tunic is the same length as dresses from 1929. Butterick 3560. December 1930; Delineator, p. 27.