As I browse through images from Delineator magazine, I notice odd trends, like these cross-over button plackets from 1930 to 1933. They seem rather complicated, and I’m glad I don’t have to figure out their construction.
The tricky bit on some, like the two pictured above, is that the part of the dress with the buttonholes on top is different on the bodice and the skirt. If the bodice buttons left over right, the skirt buttons right over left, and vice versa.
The dress with a sort of zig-zag front closing is also seen with the bodice and skirt overlaps going in the same direction:
The idea seems to be inspired by a couture dress from Patou, which was sketched for Delineator in May of 1930.
This approach, with one side of the dress clearly overlapping the other on both bodice and skirt, is easy to understand.
It was recommended for older and larger women:
The dress below really has a lot happening — the multi-closing, overlapping front pushed to extremes: **
But Butterick had not given up on the really difficult “right over left/ left over right” look. In 1933 two versions of this blouse were featured:
Below, center, is another 1933 cross-over dress, with the top and skirt appearing to button in different directions:
** One possibility is that many 1930s’ garments had a side seam closing, which was almost never shown on the pattern illustrations. That would allow some of these button closings to be purely decorative. Till I actually see one of these “left over right, right over left” garments, I can only speculate.
9 responses to “Cross-Over Dresses, 1930s”
Love these designs, but agree with you about having to figure out how to do it with fabric. 🙄
Hope you had a lovely holiday and Happy New Year❣️
Fascinating…and a lot of work! The design for older women made me think of the basic surplice style, a staple for older women. I think the idea is that the diagonal line made the figure look slimmer. This is a surplice times two! Maybe it was supposed to make both the bust and the hips slimmer.
You read my mind again. I was going to mention surplice style. (How weird are we? My autocorrect did not know the word surplice but now it does!)
Love this post…and these styles. Thank you for bringing these to my attention.I’d like to think I’ll play with styles like this but I’m not sure if my skills are there yet
The more I look at them and think about it, the more convinced I am that many of the “reverse” button plackets were purely decorative. On 3417, the skirt fastens in the same direction as the bodice, but there is no reason for the skirt to have an opening that low. Stage costumes almost always zip up the back, for speed in changing costumes, even when they look perfectly authentic from the front. So, if I were still sewing, I’d talk myself into an invisible zipper in back and make a false closing from the underbust down! Of course, I’m not a historic re-creator!
I’ll say there’s a lot going on!
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen this type of closure on real clothes, but I’ve seen and tried on 30s clothing with complicated button closures before; as far as I can remember always to one side at the top of the bodice, and none but maybe the farthest buttons ever opened. The dresses always closed with a side zipper or press buttons. It is frustrating because I have a very big bust/waist difference and am always on the look out for buttoned bodices for easier dressing and better fit.
Thanks for sharing your practical experience!
Not hugely useful, but it’s what seems likely to me.