Category Archives: 1920s-1930s

Sport Clothes for Travel: January, 1929

What to wear on your Florida vacation; Delineator, January 1929, p. 24. Coat lengths varied, but wearing a coat shorter than your skirt was chic.

When magazines wanted to show summer fashions in winter, they ran a “travel”or “resort” article. The following outfits aren’t especially summery, but they are very attractive, sporty casual looks from 1929.

Right, a matching 3/4 (or 7/8) length coat and striped dress. From an ad for the Butterick pattern catalog. Delineator, Jan. 1929.

“The Seasoned Traveler Wears Sports Clothes.” From Delineator, January 1929, page 28.

People used to travel dressed more formally than they do now, that’s for sure! Even today, a lot depends upon your destination — city or country. These outfits from 1929 are sporty — but they are suitable for dining out, shopping, attending theatre matinees, etc. (In modern times, they would be dressy enough for just about any urban activity, since “sporty” now means “for active sports.”)

“The travel ensemble:” A coat lined to match the trim on the dress. Butterick coat 2385 with dress 2377. Delineator, Jan. 1929, pg. 28.

“The seasoned traveler wears an uncrushable ensemble of straight, three quarter length coat with scarf collar and patch pockets, and a simple, tailored frock with selvedge bow-knots at neck, wrist and waistline, pleated skirt attached across the front, and a one-piece back.”

[I took these photos years ago, before I developed a system for taking photos from bound magazines at the library, so their quality is not what it should be!]

“The selvedge border costume.” Butterick three quarter length coat 2386 with pattern 2423, a blouse and wrap skirt. Jan. 1929, p. 28.

That outfit and the one above use “selvedge borders” as trim. I do wish this was explained in detail.

Butterick jacket/coat 2419 coupled with skirt 1760 creates a classic suit. Jan, 1929, pg 28.

The coat (2419) is double-breasted and has three patch pockets trimmed with one button each. The skirt is box-pleated across the front but plain in the back — pattern 1760 first appeared in 1927.

“The coat frock of wool.” The coat dress, Butterick 2345, has separate white pique collar and cuffs (easy to remove and wash). “The fabric should be tweed, checks, etc.” The  wide belt is leather; there are bust darts at the shoulders to “perfect the fit.” In sizes from 15 years to 48 inch bust. From January 1929.

“The runabout frock.” Butterick 2410 from January 1929, Delineator, pg. 28. “The simplest of the little tailored woolen frocks are button trimmed.” This one-piece dress “has buttons on its new, longer blouse…. A third group of buttons is on the wrap-around skirt that has a wide box plait in front and is one piece and set on a yoke.”

The following page showed more dresses; these were for lighter fabrics than wool.

“The button frock,” Butterick 2421, attributes the use of sets of buttons to Chanel. The frock has a one-piece front that wraps around and is laid in plaits at the last turn of the zig-zag closing.” A matching point trims the sleeve. In sizes 32 to 44 inches. Delineator, January 1929, pg. 29.

Butterick’s “tailored frock” 2382 was shown on page 29 with silk or cotton dresses, but tweed or linen were also options. The collar matches the turn-back cuffs. The cord laced through the center front is very sporty, and the belt carriers are clever. Delineator, January 1929, p. 29.

The groups of four tucks at the shoulders of 2382 remind us that breasts were no longer being flattened.

The following three “Palm Beach” outfits include light coats or jackets; this was January.

“Summer Fashions for Winter” are resort clothes. Delineator, January 1929, pg. 24.

From left:

Butterick 2398 (the sheer coat) and dress 2076. Delineator, January 1929.

The sheer coat is 7/8 length, with a long scarf built into the collar. It’s worn over a printed frock with long sleeves.

A cardigan is worn over a simple top and pleated skirt. Butterick pattern 2392 included all three pieces; the cardigan jacket is not knitted, but made of a woven fabric. Delineator, January 1929.

“The [bias plaid] blouse has a scarf collar, the straight skirt is on a yoke and the open cardigan is belted. The jacket and blouse are in the new slightly longer length.”

“Runabout frock” 2410 also has this longer bodice — a slight change that happened just before the waist returned to its natural position in the 1930’s. As charming as this cardigan outfit is, I doubt that the “bias plaid” fabric would have looked like that when knife pleated!

“The printed ensemble.” Butterick 2390 uses matching fabric for the coat and dress. “The plaited skirt is sewed to the sleeveless body to give a two-piece effect.” January, 1929.

Here’s another 1929 outfit with chevrons and bows down the front:

Center: Butterick blouse 2565 from Delineator, April 1929.

Styling tricks: The chevrons on blouse 2565 point down, and the four bows line up to draw our eyes to the center of the torso, which creates a slenderizing optical illusion. But the two chevrons on 2390 draw our eyes to the sides of the dress, making the figure look broader, and two bows are not enough to create a line. The bows and the chevrons fight for our attention.

Left: Chevrons and bows, 1929. I think blouse 2565 is a better design.

The outfit on the right, Butterick 2359, has a series of horizontal bars which get wider as they approach the hip.  When the jacket is almost closed in front, they would create a long, narrow, vertical center of interest. Without the jacket, they would create a triangle with its base at the widest part of a woman’s body. In an era that valued slim hips, that’s not a good design 🙂

 

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Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, Sportswear, Tricks of the Costumer's Trade, Vintage Accessories

Dresses for Girls; June 1928

The little girls at left wear short, loose dresses (with matching panties under them). The older girl at right wears a dress with dropped waist and other fashion features seen in dresses for adult women. Butterick 1482,  Delineator, June 1928, pg. 40.

Butterick 1903 is for a very young girl; Butterick 2075 is for a school-age child.

Dresses for young girls: left, No. 1903 for girls 2 to 6; right, No. 2075 for girls 6 to 10 years old. Delineator, June 1928.

Dresses for very little girls don’t have the twenties’ silhouette, but dresses for school-age girls and pre-teens often do echo adult fashions.

The girl at right in this illustration has a grown-up shingle haircut:

Butterick 1482 has many style details also found on adult dresses, including a dropped waist, shirring, & bound armholes and neckline. The dress for girls 8 to 14 is very short, exposing the entire knee.

Butterick 2079 for girls aged 8 to 15 has an asymmetrical neckline option and a double band at the dropped waist. Delineator, June 1928. It’s shown in a border print.

A much more formal dress for a woman, left, has the same double band:

Women’s patterns from Butterick, July 1927. Delineator.

This dress for a girl age 8 to 15 is quite like women’s fashions, although a grown woman probably wouldn’t have that sweet double fish applique below the pocket. Butterick 2007, Delineator, June 1928, pg. 41.

Butterick 2089 for girls age 8 to 15;  Delineator, June 1928, pg. 41. The balloon print — or are those lollypops?– is childish, but the two-piece look is grown-up.

An adult dress with the two-piece look is very similar, although the proportions of the adult version — including skirt length — are different :

Butterick 2052 from Delineator, May 1928.

Striped fabric used in two directions on Butterick 2019, at right, was also a feature of adult fashions. Delineator, June 1928, pg. 41.

The play of stripes — used vertically and horizontally — enlivens this dress for larger women. Delineator, June 1928, pg. 38.

The party dress with a bertha collar was often recommended for teens rather than adults, so the girl in the following dress might not have enjoyed the “grown-up” feeling of the other dresses in this post:

Butterick 1850 is a style similar to those suggested for teenagers to age 20. Delineator, June 1928.

Here’s another party dress with a bertha collar, (right) also for girls 8 to 15.

Two Butterick patterns for girls up to 15 years. Left, No. 1259, is sporty and chic as any adult dress; right, dress 1271 has a bertha collar and soft scallops. Delineator, February 1927.

https://witness2fashion.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/1926-sept-p-27-7065-7024-7059-7047-7063-7057-7003-7053-top1.jpg?w=290&h=500

The dress on the left is much more conservative than the one on the right. From September, 1926; Delineator.

P.S.  Many of these photos from 1928 were taken several years ago, before I figured out how to optimize my use of bound volumes in the library (which includes taking pictures by daylight between 12 and 3:30 p.m. to get the best natural light — before the library’s artificial lighting comes on and introduces new color temperatures to confuse my digital camera!)

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Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, Children's Vintage styles, Hairstyles, Sportswear, Vintage patterns

Dresses for Large or Slim Figures, June 1928

A page of Butterick patterns for “Large Sizes,” Delineator, June 1928, p. 38. They were available in the normal range of sizes, plus larger sizes than usual.

On two facing pages were Butterick patterns for “Large Sizes” and “Slim Figures.” The normal range of sizes usually ended with size 44 bust, 47.5″ hip. Many of the “slim figure” patterns were available in larger-than-normal sizes, too.

Butterick patterns for Slim Figures, Delineator, June 1928; page 39. “Smart frocks that wash, designed for slim figures.”

Large figures were sometimes expected to be older figures; notice the hems. Larger, older women had skirts which covered the knee completely (below, left), while younger, smaller women’s dresses grazed and sometimes exposed the bottom of the kneecap (right). [All these dresses will be shown below in larger images.]

Hem lengths for “large” and “slim” figures, Delineator, June 1928. The striped dresses (1 and 4) are fairly similar.

Dresses for larger figures apply some styling tricks to make the body seem longer and narrower, but the hip band is never a friend to wide hips. The illustrations at left have wider-than-usual shoulders and upper bodies, too. Slenderizing vertical lines are introduced into the fashions for “slim figures,” also.

A Closer Look at Frocks for Large Sizes (Page 38)

Butterick 1970 for large figures has a “slenderizing” vertical contrast panel and a decorative button placket down the front. June, 1928. For sizes 34 to 52 inch bust. Those cuffs attract attention to the width of the body at the waist and hip.  Either the short or long sleeve option would be more flattering to a large woman. [I’m not saying “thin is good,” just pointing out that the sleeves illustrated will exaggerate the width of the wearer.]

Vertical stripes (and playful side panels with the stripes turned horizontally) on this washable day dress recommended for large figures. Butterick 2092, from June 1928. “For sizes 32 to 35 [inch bust] (15 to 18 years) and 36 to 50 [inch bust.]

Butterick 2100 has an asymmetrical collar that becomes a scarf. [I’m not sure that white scallop insert at the hip is a flattering idea for large women… or any women.]

The front of dress 2100 is complex, but the one-piece back is very plain. This dress came in sizes for teens and small women (bust 32 to 35″) plus normal sizes up to 46″ bust — only one size larger than the standard pattern run of 32 to 44″.

Butterick 2102 is a formal afternoon dress for “larger women,” but it comes in sizes 32 to 46. Delineator, June 1928.

“There is dignity as well as chic in this one-piece dress with its smart caught-up drapery released in a front flare and its cape back dividing at the shoulders in a scarf…. The hemline is smartly uneven.” There’s a real effort to introduce vertical lines in the long, scarf-tied collar and the front drape. Notice the lorgnette in her hand– nothing youthful about that!

Butterick 2080 is suggested for “large women; it came in sizes 32 to 46” bust.

Butterick 2105 has chic, pointed inserted panels and an uneven hem. Why does it look so top-heavy? For large sizes up to 52 inch bust.

Butterick 1948 from June 1928. Like many twenties’ dresses, the front has pleats, but the back is plain. Notice the bust darts partially hidden by the collar. In sizes 34 to 52.

There is nothing old-fashioned about the very short haircuts on these illustrations of mature women.

Frocks Designed for Slim Figures

Question: Are these frocks especially suited to slim figures, or are they supposed to make any figure look slim?

Butterick 1952 “for slim figures.” Delineator, June 1928, page 39. “For smart country communities….” In sizes 32 to 35 bust (15 to 18 years) and women’s sizes 36 to 44 — Butterick’s normal range.

Butterick 2050: A washable dress for sizes 32 to 46. “For tennis or mornings is a one-piece frock whose kimono sleeves are smartly abbreviated. A side cluster of pleats, inserted in a slanting line, offers freedom for sports activity.” The back is plain.

Butterick sport frock 2062 has short kimono sleeves and a skirt that is gathered in front. Delineator, June 1928, p. 39. Available in sizes 32 to 35 (for teens and small women) and 36 to 48 inch bust. [Sizes 46 and 48 were larger than the usual pattern.]

Butterick 2084; Delineator, June 1928. “It has the Vionnet V-neckline and the side plaits permit ample freedom of movement. The belt is a new width….” For sizes 32 to 44.

Butterick did not necessarily consider this a dress for larger women. The sleeveless armholes are modern compared to the kimono armholes in Nos. 2050 and 2052 — and they do provide more freedom of movement.

Butterick 1904 “for any age and almost any figure” has the same scalloped hip yoke as No. 2100, (above) which was recommended for larger sizes.

This style (1904) with a narrow edging at the bodice bottom is more flattering, and was also available in large sizes: 32 to 35 and 36 to 48 inch bust — a size larger than No. 2100.

A similar scalloped hip treatment on Butterick 2100 and 1904. The thickness of the contrast band makes quite a difference. From June 1928.

Butterick 2090 came in the normal size range, 32 to 44 inch bust. The collar that turns into a scarf is “new and chic” and also seen on Butterick 2100.

Butterick 2104 evokes a schoolgirl’s middy uniform, but this is a one-piece dress, not a skirt and separate top. The pleats are top-stitched horizontally in rows, echoing the belt, cuffs, and sailor collar and tie. There are four bust tucks at each side of the collar, because the flattened bust was no longer in style.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, Sportswear, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes

Butterick Dresses for Summer, June 1928

Three “afternoon frocks” from Butterick patterns; Delineator, June 1928, p. 34. From left, 2066, 2070, and 2072.

Sometimes the difference between an afternoon dress and an evening dress was that afternoon dresses had sleeves. In the pattern descriptions below, if sleeves are mentioned as an option, that probably means that a sleeveless evening version, with deeper armholes (and sometimes, deeper necklines) was included in the pattern.

Butterick 2066, from Delineator, June 1928.

Alternate view and description, Butterick 2066. There is a short-sleeved version, but not an evening option.

Butterick 2072, with long sleeves for afternoon — and a very different back/alternate view.

Alternate view and description for Butterick 2072, page 34. The version with a short pleated skirt is only described as “an even [i.e., not uneven] lower edge.” Illustrations by the versatile L. Ferrier.

In this illustration of the same pattern, Butterick 2072 — made without sleeves for evening — has a pointed hemline and a scarf/shawl.

Butterick 2072, like 2070, has a collar/shawl that appears to tie at the neckline. Delineator, June 1928, page 34.

A different description of of Butterick 2072, from page 35 of Delineator, June 1928. This one mentions a “finely pleated” skirt option, but doesn’t illustrate it.

Butterick 2070 is illustrated with a bertha collar that reaches to the waist in back. The edges of the dress and flounces are picot hemmed.

Detail of illustration, Butterick 2070.

https://witness2fashion.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/murray-suit-bodice-front1.jpg?w=450&h=500

The ochre yellow collar (top) on this dress is picot edged. The grayish, beaded chiffon is decorated with beads spaced less than 1/4 inch apart. Sew Historically wrote about how picot hems were done in the 1920’s and also provides a tutorial on faking them with a modern sewing machine.

Alternate view and description of Butterick 2070, Delineator, June 1928, pg. 34.

A similar flounced, tiered dress, Butterick 2085, appeared in the same issue. It had both day and evening versions:

Butterick 2085, evening version; Delineator, June 1928, pg. 35.

“For day the round neck is particularly nice…  and there are long close sleeves with frills.”

Butterick 2085, afternoon dress version. Delineator, June 1928, pg. 36. It has sleeves and a higher neckline than the evening version. The flounces are picot edged.

Butterick 2085 as described on page 36. “Tiers used across the back as well as front are very new and smart.” Many 1920’s dresses had very plain backs, with all the interest (and pleats or flares in the skirt) on the front only.

Butterick two-piece dress 2088 has a scalloped “lingerie” collar, a surplice closing, and a skirt [probably suspended from a camisole bodice] that is pleated only in front. Delineator, June 1928, pg. 37. Notice the stitched-down pleats with rows of stitching running horizontally instead of down the pleats.

All the fullness on the pleated skirt of Butterick 2088 is on the front of the dress. This pattern was available up to size 48 bust measurement, with a hip around 52.”

Surplice styles were often recommended as slenderizing for older women:

Butterick pattern No. 1187 from Dec. 1926 had "reducing properties" and came in sizes 36 to 48.

Butterick pattern No. 1187 from Dec. 1926, with a surplice bodice, had “reducing properties” and came in sizes 36 to 48.

This dress, with bertha collar and fitted bodice, was for younger or smaller women.

Another dress with a “bertha” collar: Butterick 2077 from June 1928. It also has a dipped hem in back, like No. 2072.

Alternate view and description of Butterick 2077. “Frocks with the down in back movement have become a very important type for formal wear.” The bodice [basque] closes under the left arm. Dresses with a basque bodice fit rather tightly at the natural waist — and this pattern is not available in large sizes.

More dresses for June coming up:  Dresses for girls 8 to 14.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, evening and afternoon clothes, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes

Ollie

Can a dress change a life? Probably not, unless you’re Cinderella. But a dress can mark a turning point in your life…. I inherited many photos of a young woman named Ollie Cornelius. Often, there is an air of sadness about her.

Studio portrait of Ollie Cornelius, taken in Colusa, CA.

I’ve been trying to find out more about her from an ancestry site, with limited success. Ollie Cornelius and my mother became friends as young teenagers, and they were still writing to each other in 1950.

Ollie, left, and my mother, right (with ukelele) in a school playground, Redwood City, CA, circa 1918.

Ollie posing in a schoolyard. She is wearing a corduroy jacket over her school uniform. Circa 1918.

Young Ollie on a bench in Redwood City, CA. Although posing for a friend, she doesn’t look happy.

Ollie looks sad in the next photo because, having made friends in a new city — Redwood City, California — she was uprooted when her family moved again, to Colusa, 148 miles away.

Ollie in Colusa, CA, about 1919.

On the back she wrote, “When I had this picture taken I was thinking of Redwood City [That’s] why I look so sad.”

Today friends exchange photos instantly; then, people also kept in touch by mailing photographs back and forth. Luckily for us, these pictures often have writing on the back.

Ollie posing on a bridge, about 1919. This is not a period for flattering fashions…. but she knew how to wear an enormous black tam-o-shanter.

In her later teens, Ollie’s sadness had a more serious cause: she was diagnosed with tuberculosis — the “consumption” that killed so many in Victorian times.

On the back of the bridge photo, Ollie wrote, “This was taken before I was sick.”

Ollie is wearing the same dress in this photo taken at Weimar TB Sanatorium.

Ollie on the steps of her ward at Weimar Joint Sanatorium.

In 1919 there were no antibiotics; the usual treatment for TB was a move to a place with “better air” and complete rest for several months. Obviously, for working class people, quitting work and spending months in a private sanatorium was not an affordable option. Often, they continued working, incidentally spreading infection, until they literally dropped in their tracks.

Another tam-o-shanter. Ollie did not come from a wealthy family.

For a young office clerk like Ollie, TB could be a death sentence. Among men receiving treatment, the mortality rate was 50%.

Ollie and Claude (another TB victim) on the steps at Weimar Sanatorium.

Given America’s current attitude toward healthcare, it’s disconcerting to read that one hundred years ago, public health officials realized that an epidemic of this frequently fatal, contagious disease could only be prevented by treating the poor as well as the wealthy.

The Weimar Joint Sanatorium was created by the State of California and subsidized to give working class people the same chance of recovery as people who could afford private care.

Ollie at Weimar Sanatorium. The back of this photo says, “Where I used to live.” Dated 1919.

Fresh air was considered necessary for TB patients; Ollie is standing by a screened-in sleeping porch — unheated.

Three patients at Weimar; Ollie is on the right. The photo was dated 1919 by my aunt, who received it in the mail.

Ollie made friends with other women in her ward; in spite of their grim situation, they were still young and tried to cheer each other up.

Fellow patient Mrs. Alice Smith with Ollie Cornelius, about 1919.

On early photos, Ollie respectfully called her “Mrs. Smith.” “She was just married above a month,” [when she was diagnosed with TB] Ollie wrote. Apparently, Mr. Smith came to visit, still in his First World War military uniform.

Ollie with Mrs. Smith, who is clowning in her husband’s tunic and hat. “It is her husband’s uniform; her name is Mrs. Alice Smith.” I wonder if he took the photo.

Nevertheless….

Ollie and other young women at Weimar Sanatorium knew they might be facing death.

“…Patients frequently became depressed due to the severity of their infection and the hopelessness of a cure or because of separation from their families. In many cases it was difficult for families to visit either due to the cost of travel or because of the fear of becoming infected themselves. Seeing other patients die was another cause of despair.” — read more.

But a change came for Ollie. Was she really feeling well again? Had her doctors given her hope that she might be able to go home? These pictures of Ollie in a pretty new dress seem to mark a turning point:

Ollie next to her bed on the sleeping porch at Weimar Sanatorium.

Ollie modeling her new dress. Did it come from a catalog? Was it a gift?

Ollie reading in a common dining area. She still has dark circles under her eyes, but this is a different Ollie. She’s happy.

Ollie did recover, at least for many years. Trivial as it sounds, taking an interest in fashion may signal the end of her physical illness and resulting depression.

Ollie in Colusa, CA, about 1920.

Also, her friends had not forgotten her.

Ollie in a chic, sheer-brimmed hat, with my mother. About 1920.

My mother and her friend Ollie, 1920s.

Ollie fell in love:

Ollie and Lloyd Jennings, about 1920.

She got married:

Ollie and her husband. Note her Marcelle-waved hair. 1920s.

Ollie and my mother on a vacation, late 1920s.

Thanks to low-cost care during a public health crisis, Ollie survived TB and returned to active life:

Ollie, second from front, in the snow, circa 1931.

Ollie fashionably dressed (including necktie) for the snow; this photo was printed in February 1931.

Ollie with my Uncle Holt, 1930’s.

How wonderful that she had a future!

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, 1920s, 1920s-1930s, Hats, Musings, Sportswear, vintage photographs, Women in Trousers, World War I

Replacing Your Sleeves to Update Your Dress (and Sometimes Widen Your Shoulders)

This post started with sleeve patterns as its subject, but it grew into one about the widening of shoulders in the 1930’s…. If that’s your interest, just scroll down to 1930’s Sleeve Patterns.

Sleeve pattern 5113 from Delineator, Butterick, March 1924.

Butterick periodically offered sleeve patterns as a way to give your dress a new look without much expense.

Renew your old coat with new sleeves or collars; Butterick patterns from Delineator, October 1933.

Changing the sleeves on an old garment doesn’t make any sense to me, because you would rarely have enough of the original dress material left over to make a pair of long sleeves…. Nevertheless, here is an assortment of sleeve patterns from 1917 to 1933:

1910’s Sleeve Patterns

Butterick sleeve pattern 9220, June 1917; Delineator.

“Design 9220 is a splendid set which will quite transform a dress that is slightly worn.” Unfortunately, I didn’t photograph the whole paragraph.

Butterick sleeve pattern 8954 from February 1917. There is a little visible gathering at the sleeve head — probably to be sure it would fit an existing armhole.

Here are some fashions from 1917 and 1918; would changing the sleeves have made much of a difference?

Summer fashions from Butterick, Delineator, February 1917.

Butterick patterns, July 1918. The sleeves are varied, including some that are wide at the cuffs, and one version (top right) is slit.

Butterick patterns from July 1918. The green blouse has sleeves that partly cover the hand, like those in the “update your sleeves” pattern 9220 from 1917.

1920’s Sleeve Patterns

Sleeves in the 1920’s were usually simple, fitted without fullness at the shoulder and close to the arm. However, some sleeves were sheer from the wrist to below the elbow, some widened, and some were split.

These dresses from 1926 have attention-getting sleeves. Delineator, July 1926.

Butterick sleeve pattern 5113, April 1924. Adding these to a dress from the early Twenties would update it — but by 1926, shortening the dress would update it more effectively!

Sleeve pattern 6544 from Butterick; Delineator, January 1926.

1930’s Sleeve Patterns: The Silhouette Begins to Change

Sleeves from the early 1930’s were often long but simple:

These dresses from February of 1931 have narrow, fitted sleeves. Delineator.

This 1931 pattern included some fluttery “capelet” sleeves, which really were a coming fashion. Delineator, April 1931. However, these sleeves start high on the natural shoulder, and don’t exaggerate its width.

A sheer evening jacket, Delineator, April 1933.

Ruffles created a wider shoulder on many evening dresses after 1932. This ad for Lux laundry soap appeared in Delineator, June 1934. (Blame the fad for ruffles on the 1932 movie Letty Lynton.)

This writer saw a connection between smaller hats and bigger sleeves:

Article from Delineator, November, 1931. This pre-dates Adrian’s designs for Letty Lynton.

However, back in 1931, this article noted that as hat styles changed, they looked better with “period clothes, clothes such as were worn with them originally. Period styles have appeared, but they are mostly evening dresses. Something else happened, however, to make the new clothes look right with the new hats… wide sleeves and puffed sleeves.”

Sleeve variations, reported by Marian Corey in Delineator, Nov. 1931. “The puffs may occur anywhere on your arm — at the shoulder, at the elbow, at the wrist….But … There are still more frocks with straight sleeves than frocks with puffed sleeves.” [A ratio of 12:1.]

We can trace a slow increase in shoulder width from the 1930’s to 1940, but from my small sample it appears that wide shoulders and gathered sleeves (except for the frilly ones on formal dresses) were a gradual style change between 1931 and 1937, starting with evening and outerwear.

Delineator reported the return of the Gibson Girl sleeve as early as April 1933, pg. 73.

Also in 1933, coats and jackets with fur accents or extensions at the shoulders were being featured, and not necessarily to accomodate fuller sleeves on dresses:

Winter coats with extended shoulders or sleeve heads. Delineator, September 1933.

Winter coats with wider sleeves, Delineator, September 1933. “Pillowcase” sleeves at bottom.

1933 coat pattern 5347 has wide shoulders and a modified, droopy leg-o-mutton sleeve.

Butterick coat pattern 5347 from Oct. 1933. If you didn’t want to make an entire coat, you could make new sleeves (right) or a new collar (left) from pattern 5351.

Butterick 5351 included sleeves and collars. Delineator, Oct. 1933.

These 1933 jackets also show the “Gibson girl” influence:

Big sleeves on short coats from Butterick, Delineator, Oct. 1933.

By 1935, even dresses appear to have wider shoulders — it would be hard to get this silhouette without using shoulder pads:

Two Butterick dress patterns from February, 1935.

A selection of Butterick dress patterns from February, 1936; Delineator. Shoulders are definitely broader, at least as illustrated.

By 1937, exaggerated shoulders with sleeves that are full at the top are standard features, as these patterns from a Butterick store flyer illustrate.

Dress patterns from Butterick News Flyer, December 1937. These sleeves are not droopy, but probably supported from the inside with a pad or ruffle.

Shoulders, 1940:

Very wide shoulders, achieved with shoulder pads rather than “Gibson girl” puffed sleeves. Butterick Fashion News, Feb. 1940.

The natural shoulder of the 1920’s and early 1930’s is completely out of style.

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Filed under 1870s to 1900s fashions, 1900s to 1920s, 1920s, 1920s-1930s, 1930s, 1930s-1940s, Accessory Patterns, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Tricks of the Costumer's Trade, Vintage patterns

Great Twenties’ Styles for Girls 8 to 15: April 1929

Three Butterick patterns for girls 8 to 15 years old, Delineator, April 1921, page 38.

Three Butterick patterns for girls 8 to 15 years old, Delineator, April 1929, page 39. The legs look coltish, (as they did in 1960’s illustrations…) but the bodies have credible proportions.

The daytime styles we think of as quintessentially “nineteen twenties” have kneecap length skirts, dropped waists, a sporty air, and proportions that look pleasant on an actual female body. The elongated fashion illustrations of the Twenties are hard to imagine on a normal young woman — but these illustrations of teens look “just right” to me.

These charming and sophisticated Butterick patterns for girls 8 to 15 years old are easy to imagine on a real (and adult) person. If you’re seeking inspiration, scroll down for the details:

A suit (dress plus matching coat), a dress, and a suit made up of suspender skirt with attached blouse, and jacket. Delineator, April 1929. Only the suspender skirt (right) is a style not worn by older women.

The dress in the center looks girlish in comparison to its neighbors. On the other hand, that’s a lot of eye makeup! Delineator, April 1929, page 39.

Here are the details:

Butterick 2572 has pleasant proportions, and those bias cut chevrons at the neckline of the sleeveless dress would look just as good without the 3/4 length coat. (Nice detail: the chevrons are repeated on the coat pockets and sleeves.)

Butterick 2427 has nothing childish about it. A long tie in back is purely decorative, but flatters the figure.

The sleeve/armhole treatment is very 1920s, and the swooping curve of the yoke, balanced by a curve on the skirt yoke, is elegant and sophisticated. If you were copying these designs for an adult, a small bust dart — or two — in each side seam would be a good idea — and common in women’s patterns from the later 1920s.

Butterick 2574 has a suspender skirt. They were worn by young adults, but not by matronly types.

Butterick 2485 owes a lot to Chanel; her jersey suits and cardigan sweaters were a major influence on the acceptance of casual chic.

You could make two blouses to go with this skirt, which hangs from an underbodice rather than the waist: one dark blouse and one in a lighter color. Bingo! Two suits instead of one. (Two neckline variations are illlustrated, too.)

Butterick 2507 uses fagoting — a nod to Vionnet — in a simple shift. I think it would look better without the embroidery.

In spite of those tucks over the breast, I’m not sure this one would be flattering to a grown woman.

Crisp and made dynamic by plaid on the bias in the top of the dress and pocket. Butterick 2558, for girls 8 to 15, Delineator, April 1921, page 39.

A long-sleeved version was also possible; and of course, the plaid is zingy, but not required. This dress could be monochromatic, or made with a white or cream top and a dark skirt and trim, or in two shades — or two textures — of the same color, for a dressy look.

I can’t imagine many pre-teens getting away with the amount of mascara illustrated, but….

Actress Phyllis Haver in an ad for Maybelline Mascara, Delineator, April 1929, pg 107.

Blame it on the movies. Advertisers didn’t have photo doctoring programs in the Twenties, but they still managed to doctor photos….

A little exaggeration in an ad for Maybelline Mascara, 1929.

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Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, Children's Vintage styles, Cosmetics, Beauty Products, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Sportswear