Category Archives: evening and afternoon clothes

More Ads for Woman’s Institute from 1920’s and 1930’s

1933 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course. Big, ruffled “Letty Lynton” sleeves became a huge fashion influence after the release of the movie in 1932.

In a previous post I wrote that Woman’s Institute ads were different every month, and that lining them up gives a mini-tour of fashions for each year. I have no photos from some years and some months, so there are big gaps in this little fashion show. I’ll just put the ones I have in chronological order. I love the captions, which repeat a few Woman’s Institute themes, like “It’s the prettiest dress I’ve ever had” and “I love to wear this dress.”

Woman’s Institute Fashions from the Twenties

February 1924 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course. This dress is basically a simple tube with neck and arm openings and a belt.

December 1924 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course. Except for the collar, this is a dress based on rectangles.

August 1925 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course. 1920’s fashions are getting more complex.

August 1926 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course. “Nothing will ever appear ‘home-made.’ “

By December 1926, Twenties’ styles are no longer simple tubes or rectangles.

December 1926 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course.

January 1927 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course. Notice how short skirts have become in just 25 months.

Styles had changed a great deal between December 1924 and January 1927 — just two years:

A Woman’s Institute “One Hour Dress” from 1924; two years later, the Woman’s Institute ads showed much more complicated styles.

However, the possibility of making a dress in one hour, thanks to early 1920’s styles, probably inspired many women to try making their own clothing for the first time.

February 1927 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course. This dress requires piecing curves; it’s not a project for beginners.

March 1927 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course, “used by over 230,000 women and girls.”

August 1927 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course. Now there are 250,000 users.

October 1927 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course.

February 1928 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course.

June 1928 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course. This is the most matronly outfit I’ve run across in these ads.

The reason many women sew for themselves is that they have non-standard-sized bodies or hard to fit figures. (Having an exceptionally small waist, broad shoulders, or tall body makes it hard to find store-bought clothes that fit, just as having a smaller or larger than average body does.) Oddly, the Woman’s Institute ads I’ve seen don’t seem to be aimed at hard-to-fit women.

October 1928 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course. This dress has a chic, asymmetrical collar and side drape.

Sending in the coupon from October 1928 would get you a 32 page booklet and a 60 page dressmaking lesson “which tells how to take correct measurements, select the right pattern, alter to your own measurements, cut and fit for all types of figures, etc.” Perhaps hard-to-fit women let their dressmakers alter patterns for them.

March 1929 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course.

Woman’s Institute Fashions from the Thirties

I have not collected many ads from 1929 or 1930, so my parade of fashions from Woman’s Institute ads has some big gaps.

February 1931 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course. This shows that not all hems dropped precipitately after 1929.

I have no photos from 1932, but the very long hemline on this dress was well established by 1933.

January 1933 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course. “The new feminine fashions have created a big demand for dressmakers.”

February 1933 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course. 1930’s ads often showed evening gowns.

This marks a change to more evening gowns in the Institute’s advertising; 1933 was one of the worst years of the Great Depression. Ads that said “Earn $20 to $40 a week at home” in 1924 said “Earn $10 to $35” in March of 1933:

March 1933 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course. Scottie Dog (and fox fur stole) optional.

The number of women wearing furs during the Depression used to surprise me, but “In 1917, there were only four fur farms in the entire United States; by 1930, there were more than forty-five hundred.” This drove down the price of furs — and millions of animals were raised for slaughter. [See A Perfect Fit by Jenna Weissman Joselit.] Also, cheap furs from domestic animals like rabbits and dogs were sold as coney “seal” and “Manchurian wolf.”

March 1934 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course. In 1934, “Letty Lynton” sleeves were still in style, and a dressmaker might earn a more optimistic “$20 to $50 a week.”

September 1934 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course.

Woman’s Institute ads seem to feature more evening dresses in the 1930’s, perhaps because the emphasis is changing to copying fashions, designing your own, and owning your own business or dress shop.

March 1935 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course. “You can earn a splendid income in a dressmaking business of your own.”

February 1936 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course. “Earn Money in Dressmaking and Designing.”

March 1936 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course. [What a lovely train!]

In addition to lessons in making dresses and hats, Woman’s Institute courses on Cookery and, now, Tea Room Management were available.

Traditionally, most 20th century women who had their clothes made by dressmakers started with a commercial pattern or a photograph from a fashion magazine, although they might ask for changes to suit their taste.

September 1936 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course. This ad is unusual because it shows a commercial pattern, Vogue 7403.

These 1930’s ads now introduce the idea of copying high fashion, designing dresses, and opening your own dress shop.

October 1936 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course.

February 1937 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course. “Earn a fine income at home.”

The ability to work from home has always been important to women with children and other domestic responsibilities. And, of course, the overhead of a home business is lower than that of a shop.

October 1937 ad for Woman’s Institute dressmaking course. You can earn money at home . . . or have a good income in a smart dressmaking shop of your own.”

In 1938, Woman’s Institute placed this ad in a Butterick Fashion News Flyer, encouraging women who use commercial patterns to design and make their own clothes with the dressmaking skills learned from Woman’s Institute.

Woman’s Institute advertisement that appeared in the Butterick Fashion News Flyer for March, 1938.

“Be the smartest dressed woman in your town!” That’s almost what the ads said in 1917!

Testimonials from Woman’s Institute customers. There are now 300,000 of them. March 1938.

Coupon for Woman’s Institute, March 1938.

Mary Brooks Picken also published a quarterly magazine, Fashion Service. If you are researching Woman’s Institute ads, I found 1114 citations with a search on the Cornell University Home Archive.

 

 

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Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, 1930s, evening and afternoon clothes, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Resources for Costumers, Woman's Institute

Hosiery Ads with a Bit of Wit

My favorite series of ads for stockings came from the McCullum Company in 1927.

A wonderfully stylized illustration of short skirts and stockings under the bridge table. Ad for McCallum silk stockings, Delineator, March 1927. (Shades of John Held, Jr….)

Illustration for McCullum silk stockings for everyday wear, Delineator, April 1927.

Text of McCullum Hosiery ad, April 1927.

Extra-long silk stockings to wear with a bathing suit, August 1927. Ad for McCullum’s hosiery, Delineator magazine. Note her bathing shoes and the seams up the back of the stockings.

About stockings with bathing suits:

Text of McCullum ad for hosiery to wear while swimming. August 1927.

“In the water, or just out, silk hose have the smooth gloss of a wet seal.” Stockings were usually worn with bathing suits in the nineteen teens and early twenties.

This 1917 ad for Luxite soap shows long stockings worn with a bathing suit.

A bathing suit illustration from 1924 shows both swimmers wearing rolled stockings. Delineator, July 1917, p. 34.

However, in this photo from the late twenties, you can clearly see the marks left by my mother’s rolled stockings.

Late 1920’s swim suit; you can see the marks left on her legs by rolled stockings, which she had removed.

She took them off when she put on her bathing suit. That McCullum “opera length” ad from 1927 seems to be trying to revive a disappearing custom.

Back to more wonderful McCallum illustrations:

Playing footsie? A couple dressed for a big date plays footsie in this McCallum hosiery ad. Notice how tense the man is, balancing a corsage box on his knees, and how relaxed the woman is as she stretches out her long legs to brush his ankle. December 1927.

Each ad had a border to match — waves for swimming, music for dancing….

“Sheer audacit” describes the short-skirted woman blowing smoke rings in this ad for McCallum hosiery, Dec. 1927. “The beauty of silken sheerness on slender, shapely legs . . is it this that gives the owner such assurance, such audacity . . is it this that fills even the timid man with admiration . .”

I do not know the illustrator — only that these eye-catching drawings are signed H on their left side and M on the right side.

The Onyx Hosiery company also used humor to sell stockings, but the illustrations in this series which referred to classical statues lacked the Art Deco dash of the McCallum ads.

The stature of the goddess Diana is implied to have thick ankles in this ad for Onyx Hosiery.  Onyx ad, November 1926, Delineator.

Onyx Pointex stockings had a pointed heel which, their ads claimed, made ankles look slender.

Venus had thick ankles compared to women who wore Onyx stockings. Onyx ad, March 1927. That dark triangle at the heel was advertised as slenderizing.

Onyx stockings, with their pointed heel, were supposed to make wearers’ ankles look thinner. (The darker heel area showed above the shoe.) Onyx ad, December 1926.

Other stocking ads illustrated the product itself — with elegance, but not many laughs.

The heels of Gordon stockings came in many shapes; left, a V-shape; right, a rectangle. Gordon Hosiery ad, Dec. 1928. Delineator.

As skirts got shorter, stockings got sheerer and more elaborate.

Ad for Gordon Hosiery to wear to the racetrack, September 1928. Delineator. The stockings at left have clocks (a vertical design,) which remained a feature of dressy men’s hose for decades.

Gordon Hosiery ad, May, 1928. Delineator. A different clock pattern.

Gordon hosiery with V-shaped or rectangular heels. Gordon ad, Delineator, October 1928. In the background, a stylized airplane takes off.

Anther stocking company just used celebrity endorsements. The extraordinary dress in this ad is worn by Mary Astor, best known nowadays for her role in The Maltese Falcon. In the 1920’s, she made five or six films a year.

Actress Mary Astor in an ad for Allen-A hosiery. April 1928, Delineator.

For me, none of those ads has the 1920’s zest of this one:

A wonderfully stylized illustration of short skirts and stockings under the bridge table. Ad for McCallum silk stockings, Delineator, March 1927.

“A length of flawless silk stockings to above the knee . . meets the brevity in skirts.” McCallum hosiery ad, March 1927.

“Full-fashioned” means the stockings were shaped like a leg, instead of like a tube. Full-fashioned stockings cost more, but before stretch knit fabrics, stockings that were not full-fashioned tended to wrinkle at the ankles. Like McCallum stockings, the other silk stockings in these ads cost two dollars a pair, more or less, a luxury item for the twenties’  working woman.

Prices from an ad for Onyx Pointex stockings, Dec. 1926.

Cotton lisle was longer wearing than silk, so it was often used at toes and heels and the band where the garter attached to the stocking. Less practical and more fragile, all-silk stockings cost more.

Prices from ad for Allen-A hosiery, April 1928.

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Filed under 1920s, evening and afternoon clothes, Hosiery, Hosiery, Hosiery & Stockings, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Underthings, Hosiery, Corsets, etc

More Princess Line Dresses (and Styling Tricks) from the Nineteen Twenties

These princess line dresses from the 1920’s do not have the characteristic horizontal hip band of most twenties’ fashions.

In my post about Butterick styles for October 1927, I wrote,

Not all 1920’s dresses had a strong horizontal line across the hip. Princess-seamed dress patterns were available for several years and didn’t change much — except for their length.

Left, Butterick 1683, a princess line dress; Delineator, October 1927, page 31. These 1927 hemlines are just below the knee.

The rear view of the princess dress (1683) shows the characteristic princess seams, which can be shaped to follow the lines of  the body without any waist seam. The front and back are each divided into three panels. A princess line dress usually skims the body — at least, they did before the use of stretch fabrics and elasticated knits.

More Princess Line Dresses from the Nineteen Twenties

Here are some other princess line patterns from 1925 to 1928. Some combine fur and velvet for evening, but one is a day dress.

Left, Butterick princess line dress pattern 6424, Delineator, December 1925. For a young woman or teen.

Left, Butterick princess line dress pattern 6506, from December 1925.

Also from December 1925, Butterick princess line dress pattern 6428. Dresses for adult women were slightly longer than those for teens.

In 1928, the princess line evening gown has a hem that dips low in the back. So does the neckline.

Butterick princess line pattern 2257, from October 1928. Delineator.

Putting Twenties Styles on Modern Bodies

A chenille or ribbon shoulder decoration draws our eye up toward the face on these formal dresses from December 1927. Butterick patterns 1734 and 1753.

I think I’ve mentioned this before: a director once told me that he wanted “absolutely authentic 1920’s costumes” — but added, “Just don’t give me any of those dresses with the waists down around the hips!” In times (like the 1980’s) when contemporary fashion insists on narrow hips and wide shoulders, making an actress feel confident in a dress with natural shoulders and a horizontal line across her hips can be difficult — especially if she isn’t slim-hipped or is self-conscious about her figure.

Trim or fur leads your eye to focus on the top of the body in these styles from December 1928. Butterick patterns 1761 and 1757.

But theatrical designers also have to consider audience expectations — I would not do a twenties’ show in which every woman wore princess line dresses! However, the princess line dress is among the authentic possibilities for one or two characters, or for a re-creator who doesn’t have a “boyish” figure.

Illustration by Helen Dryden, Delineator cover, September 1928. A band of deep pink on the scarf lends a touch of bright color to her head and face area.

The most flattering twenties’ styles balance the hip interest with interest near the face. Butterick patterns 1745 and 1735, from December 1927.

For plays and operas, we try to draw attention to the face and upper body. (It sounds crazy, but audiences can’t hear the lines if they can’t see the faces. Humans lip-read much more than they realize.) Accessories that create a vertical line, such as lighter or brighter colors near the face, those looooong 1920’s necklaces, and those often-seen 1920’s shoulder decorations are flattering and authentic twenties’ tricks.

A scarf or bows with long ties add interest to the top of the body and, in the case of the bows, create a vertical line to balance the hip interest. June 1928, Delineator.

These three couture sketches are undoubtedly twenties’ styles, but they use a variety of styling tricks to move our attention up the body, toward the face, and to deflect interest from the hips.

French designer fashions from May 1928. 1) Renee, 2) Jane Regny, 3) Jenny. Sketches for Delineator. The coat by Jenny suggests princess lines.

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Filed under 1920s, evening and afternoon clothes, Musings, Tricks of the Costumer's Trade, Vintage Accessories, Vintage Couture Designs, Vintage patterns

Fashions for Women, October 1927

These line drawings in black and a rusty shade of red showcased Butterick patterns for October 1927. As usual, I’ll show closer views, back views, and pattern descriptions later in this post; first, here is an overview of twenty-one styles from 1927. Most of these are clothes for adult women; some are for either teens or adults. The illustrations are by L. Ferrier.

Butterick dress pattern 1657, coat pattern 1699, and dress 1705. Delineator magazine, October 1927, page 27.

Butterick patterns 1684, 1649, ad 1690, from Delineator, October 1927, page 28.

Butterick patterns for evening: dress 1713, coat 1693, and dress 1679. Delineator, October 1927, page 28.

Ensembles:  Butterick patterns 1711, 1653, and 1672. Delineator, October 1927, page 29. If you planned your wardrobe colors, either dress could be worn under that coat.

Ensembles:  Butterick 1675 and coordinating coat 1686; the coat is illustrated over dress 1689. Delineator, October 1927, page 29.

Three 1927 dress patterns from Butterick: Patterns 1661, 1691, 1nd 1709. Delineator, October 1927, page 30.

Butterick 1683, a princess line dress; 1703, a bolero dress, and 1693, an afternoon or dinner dress which could be made sleeveless for evening. Delineator, October 1927, page 31.

Closer Views and Details:

Ensembles: both Butterick day dress 1657 (L) and more formal dress 1705 (R) could be coordinated with coat 1699 (C). Often the coat lining matched the dress. In sizes from 32″ bust to 44″ bust. 1927. I’m sorry not to have a back view of these dresses, but the description says the diagonal lines of number 1657 are not repeated on its back.

No. 1705 shows a popular twenties’ use of double-sided crepe satin, using the shiny side used on the bottom of the dress and the matte side used for the top. Velvet and satin in the same shade could also be combined; using the light-absorbing velvet on the bottom and the shiny satin on the top is very flattering to women who want to minimize their hips. Or two values of the same color could be used, such as dark and medium rosewood [a brownish deep pink,] or deep brown with a cafe au lait top.

The same hat is illustrated tree times; it is very close-fitting and appears to be covered with shiny feathers.

A very tight-fitting cloche hat. 1927.

A hat like that would fit nicely over these sleek hair styles:

Cropped hair, worn very close to the head. 1927. Very long, swaying earrings add a feminine touch.

Butterick evening gowns 1713 (L) and 1679 (R) with a velvet or metallic evening wrap coat. No. 1693. Notice the very low-cut “evening” armhole at left; at right, the low armholes show the under-slip of metallic cloth. 1927.

Back views.

Ensembles: Left, Butterick two-piece dress 1684 made in velvet; center, coat pattern 1649; right, dress 1690. October 1927. For women and young girls (15 to 18 years.) Velvet bands on dress 1690 match the velvet of the coat, making a coordinated ensemble.

Alternate views include short sleeves on the dresses. “The gusset under the arm introduced by Paris gives a semi-kimona [sic] sleeve the fit of a set-in sleeve.” You could make these from wool or other daytime fabrics; velvet was just a suggestion.

Two dresses to wear with one coat: Left, Butterick dress 1711; center, Butterick coat 1653; right, dress 1672. Delineator, October 1927, page 29. Sized for teens and adults to bust size 44″. The belt on No. 1672 appears to pass under the pointed skirt panels and buckle in the center. Note the bust dart in its side seam; boyish figures were on their way out.

“Sunray” tucks and applied trims appear on several Butterick styles from this period. The shoulders of the coat extend into a raglan sleeve whose fit is improved by an underarm gusset. The higher neckline of dress 1672 looks good under the coat’s opening.

Back views show the coat’s shoulder clearly. To modern eyes it’s surprising that the pleated or circular fronts of these dresses have very plain, straight backs.

A sporty plaid coat (Butterick 1686) could form an ensemble with dress 1675 or with a dressier day look, Butterick 1689. Delineator, Oct 1927, p. 29. [I can’t imagine that the sunrays on No. 1689 were flattering to many figures…. “The bands can be omitted if one likes.”]

Although the coat pattern is available up to bust size 44″, the dresses are for teens or small women only (“15 to 20 years.” I like the way the belt on No. 1675 passes under the pockets.

Alternate and back views show that coat 1686 also has raglan sleeves. Again, the pleated skirts are only pleated in front.

The use of matte and shiny sides of crepe satin on the same dress — sometimes in contrasting colors — gives an Art Deco chic to these dresses:

“The Flare for Satin:” Butterick dress patterns 1661, 1691, and 1709. October 1927. Delineator, page 30. No. 1709, on the right, could be made sleeveless for evening wear.

Back views of Butterick 1661, 1691, and 1709.

Three different dresses, three different hats. Oct. 1927, Delineator.

Not all 1920’s dresses had a strong horizontal line across the hip. Princess line dress patterns were available for several years and didn’t change much — except for their length. The “bolero” of the 1920’s could be separate (as here) or part of the dress, and 1920’s boleros often reached the high hip, unlike the cropped, above-the-waist “bolero” seen later in the 20th century.

Butterick patterns 1683, a princess line dress; 1703, a dress with separate bolero jacket, and 1693, which could also be made sleeveless for evening wear. Delineator, October 1927, page 31.

The alternate view of 1703 without its bolero jacket shows a very attractive evening dress with metallic top and velvet skirt:

I realize this post is longer than is usually recommended, but, when I was drafting costume patterns, I would have really appreciated more back views in my research! I have learned a lot (too late) from these old pattern descriptions.

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Filed under 1920s, evening and afternoon clothes, Hairstyles, handbags, Hats, Purses, Vintage patterns

Animal Prints and Sheer Yokes, 1927

This classic twenties’ cardigan outfit caught my eye because of its animal print (or fur) accessories. Butterick pattern 1345, from March 1927.

To the author of the AllWays in Fashion blog, who just wrote “it’s clear many of our old friends are returning for another stylish go-round:” this one’s for you! Synchronicity at work.

I’m not in favor of wearing real fur, but I have to admit that the belt and matching clutch purse really jazz up this basic cardigan and pleated skirt costume. I don’t know if the matching shoes came from the illustrator’s imagination or were really in the stock at Butterick’s art department. (I sometimes see the same hat illustrated with several dresses in an issue of Delineator.)

I found the other outfits illustrated with Butterick 1345 less iconic, although 1349 is also classic. Both have skirts with pleats only on the front.

Alternate view and description of Butterick 1349, from 1927.  Surprisingly, it’s described as a “jumper frock,” not a suit or ensemble, although the pattern in the Commercial Pattern Archive says it is a “two-piece frock.”

No. 1349 is third from left below.

Four Butterick patterns from Delineator, March 1927, page 23. From left, 1345, 1297, “jumper frock” 1349, and 1347, called a “bosom front” dress.

In the same issue I found two dresses with an unusual yoke; sheer fabrics were suggested for daytime, which probably means they were afternoon dresses.

Butterick patterns for a box coat (No. 1304), worn over a dress with sheer yoke and box pleated skirt (1337;) third is dress pattern 1335, followed by another sheer-yoked dress, Butterick 1331. Delineator, March 1927, page 22.

Box jacket 1304 over dress 1337. The very simple jacket is accented with dark applied trim. At right, the dress (1337) is illustrated in crepe silk, with a yoke of sheer Georgette, a crepe-like sheer fabric.

Alternate views and text describing Butterick 1304 and 1337. To create a suit-like ensemble,  dress 1337 is made using matching fabrics for jacket and dress. From 1927. It was common for 1920’s dresses to have all the fullness in front, with a straight back.

Butterick 1337, bolero dress 1335, and 1331. Delineator, March 1927, p. 22. The dresses right and left are formal day dresses, and the one at right could be made in a sleeveless evening version.

Alternate views and descriptions of Butterick 1335 with “simulated bolero” (in the center)  and yoked dress 1331. (For a “bolero” topped evening gown by Chanel, click here.)

Butterick 1337 and 1331, from 1927. The treatment of the armholes is different, but the yokes are otherwise similar: curved, and low on the sides. They would have been worn over a slip or teddy/combination, so the sheer bodice would have something opaque covering the sides of the breasts.

All the models in these 1927 illustrations have severely shingled hair. Here’s some shingle haircut advice from 1925.

 

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Formal Styles for October, 1926

Afternoon dresses for formal day-time occasions; Butterick 1016 (for “the social butterfly”) came in very large sizes;  7079 is for formal afternoon events, dinners, theater, etc. From Delineator, October 1926.

“1016 — Paris meets the formal demands of Autumn and Winter with frocks suitable for weddings and receptions, for luncheons, tea and bridge. The cut rather than the fabric makes the difference in this mode, for satin crepe, crepe de Chine and crepe meteor are used for simple dresses as well as for the social butterfly shown at the left.  Satin crepe is used for the body and straight skirt and its reverse side for the collar and one-piece slip. The other materials area smart in two shades of the same color or in two harmonizing colors. Georgette and silk voile make charming frocks over matching slips of taffeta or satin…. The collar makes it becoming for women from 36 to 52 bust.” — Delineator, Oct. 1926,  p. 43.

The matte side of the double-sided crepe satin is shown as a lighter color; the shiny side on the lapel, slip and sleeves is shown as a darker color.

Butterick 1016, on the left, was available for women in sizes up to 52 inch bust measure. Pattern no. 7079 came in the standard range of sizes:  32 to 44 inch bust measure. Hems — even for older women — are at the bottom of the knee.

“7079 — One for every wardrobe should be the ruling for the type of one-piece frock illustrated at the right. Its circular frills and smart sleeve make it what the French dressmaker calls a dinner frock. It leads a double life of great usefulness, for it takes care of all afternoon engagements and answers for small, informal dinners, the theater, and nightlife on an ocean  liner. Chanel red — a dark peony color — in Georgette with the flower of ribbon in the same color, silk voile in string beige with the flowers of lemon and silver ribbon, fern-green moire, black Georgette with jade, with almond, with royal blue or flesh are excellent day and night colors. The lower edge measures about 44 inches…. The style is extremely becoming to women from 32 to 44 bust.” — Delineator, Oct. 1926,  p. 43.

This dress is for “informal dinners” or afternoon wear because it has sleeves. Evening gowns had deeper necklines, no sleeves, and deeper-cut armholes than formal day dresses. The ribbon pom-pom at the shoulder is apparently an important part of the dress. A very long necklace creates a flattering vertical line, although this dress does not have a hip band.

Beaded evening gowns were appropriate for very formal wear, and a truly determined woman could make her own:

Butterick frock pattern 1048 could be made to resemble this illustration if you also used Butterick embroidery and beading transfer 10481. Delineator, Oct. 1926. An alternate view shows it with sleeves and a higher neckline.

There is a copy of this pattern in the Commercial Pattern Archive, which shows the neck and sleeve differences. Some readers have commented that Butterick patterns from the 1920’s and 1930’s often seem much too difficult for a woman to make herself. In fact, since they were aimed at upper-middle-class women, many Butterick patterns must have been made by a professional seamstress, “the little dressmaker” who existed in almost every town. In the case of Butterick 1048, with all that hand beading, the customer was asking a lot!

This lace frock, Butterick 1043, is less formal than a beaded frock, but still very elegant, and more versatile. Delineator, Oct. 1926. It has a trailing “wing cascade” and is ornamented with a fake-flower pom-pom, probably of feathers, velvet, or silk chenille. Notice the bangle worn on her upper arm.

Butterick’s dolman evening coat 7084, in metallic brocade, is shown with Butterick evening dress 1041. Delineator, October 1926. In the twenties, bits of dress were often seen peeking out from the coat’s hem.

Right,Butterick evening frock 1041, October 1926, Delineator. The dress seems to be made of metallic moire, with sheer chiffon panels which have picot edges.

Alternate views of coat 7084 and frocks 1041, 1048, and 1043. Butterick patterns from October 1926. Here, 1041 is shown in an afternoon version, with sleeves and higher neckline.

A picot hem can be faked with a ziz-zag stitch. 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. [Note: Always allow your reproduction chiffon dress to hang for several days before finalizing its hem. Chiffon on the bias will stretch … a lot! Gee, I wonder if all those irregular, drooping-hem fashions of the twenties were making a virtue out of necessity….]

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