Category Archives: evening and afternoon clothes

Teen Dresses from November 1925 in Color

Butterick dresses for teens and small women; Delineator, November 1925.

It’s easy to generalize about the Twenties, but every once in a while I encounter a dress that is undeniably “Twenties” but also defies the clichés.

I like all three of these dresses (and, if you dread wearing those 1920’s hip bands, these are for you!) But the one in the center, with its piped and slashed tunic, has really charmed me.

Black tunic dress 6381 has a muted pink collar, white piping, and an unexpected side slit.

The tunic is very long, revealing just a couple of inches of skirt — which has white trim to continue the lines of trim on the tunic.

The brown velvet dress at right is also unbroken by any belt, and its lean lines are accentuated by a long, soft drape. The sleeves have openings bound with what appears to be lighter brown satin. Perhaps the neckline has openings, too. The sleeves continue to the neckline in a sort of yoke effect.

The green dress is also unusual:

Butterick 6385 suggests a coat over a lighter-colored under dress, but judging from the hem, it’s probably one piece.

I doubt that it would fall so perfectly straight on a normal female body. My guess is that the CF opening is bound with self-fabric, but it could be two lines of stitching instead.

Detail of center front, Butterick 6385, Nov. 1925.

On the same page of Delineator were these evening dresses for young women:

Three evening dresses for young women and teens, Delineator, November 1925.

The yellow dress, Butterick 6330, also avoids having a hip-band or sash. It is not a princess-seamed dress; it has a small bust dart or easing in the side seam. (It’s essentially a tube with a circular flounce added, but getting the flounce to fall as illustrated would take some patterning skill.)

A closer look at Butterick 6330, 6328, and 6383, dresses from the winter of 1925.

The center dress may be a two-piece (I think I see a camisole top with narrow straps showing through the tomato-red georgette bodice.) This would be a great dress for dancing the Charleston –imagine all those skirt panels flying! The light triangles give a touch of Art Deco and a sporty quality.

Detail of skirts; Butterick 6328, left, and 6383, right.  Delineator, November 1925. Notice the picot edges on the green panels.

It’s possible that the green panels are matching-colored chiffon on top of a narrow skirt, rather than inserted into it.

In January 1926, Delineator suggested that last year’s straight skirts could be made to appear more stylishly flared by adding “godets, circular flounces, inserted [pleats,] flying panels, etc.”The vogue of two materials, two colors or two shades of the same color makes reconstruction possible and practical.”

This rosy-red dress has gathered flying panels of a different material in a slightly different shade:

Butterick dress with flying panels, Delineator, January 1926.

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Less Familiar Designers of the 1920s: Jenny (Part 2)

Red and white tennis dress by Jenny, sketched for Delineator by Leslie Saalburg, February 1927.

Jenny in the 1920s

Jeanne Adele Bernard (married name, Jeanne Sacerdote) worked as “Jenny” — an oddly British sounding name. (There were other designers in Paris named Bernard.)  The name “Jenny” became as well known as “Georgette” or “Lucile.” She had been hugely successful in the late 1910s, and she adapted to the 1920s just as well.

Afternoon gown by Jenny, photographed by O’Doye for Delineator February 1924.

Do check out this luxurious evening coat by Jenny, sold by Carolynforbestextiles.com. Amazing 1920’s colors. Simple — but dazzling — is this mid-twenties dress from Jenny:

Evening dress by Jenny, 1925 to 1928; courtesy of the Victoria and Albert museum.

The Peabody Essex Museum has a superb Jenny evening dress circa 1926, more elaborate that the one above and photographed on a mannequin. Click here.

Jenny combined both ivory and black lace with black satin and a beaded belt on this very feminine gown, sketched for Delineator, April 1924.

What struck Delineator’s editors was the full sleeves,  “which have been neither seen nor heard of for evening for several seasons.”

Ivory lace tops the off-the-shoulder bodice [how did that work?] and peeks out from below the black lace skirt. Bare arms were standard on evening dress in 1924.

This sleeveless Jenny design from 1926 has the low armholes and bare arms expected in formal evening gowns.

Jenny’s ruffled evening frock in pink taffeta trimmed with turquoise ribbons; matching cape trimmed in turquoise ribbon and feathers. Sketch in Delineator, July 1924.

In 1924, Jenny was not afraid of the play of patterned fabrics and severely geometric details:

A three piece suit from Jenny; the cashmere printed crepe de Chine “blouse” is a tunic almost reaching the hem of the coat, which is shorter than the long gray skirt. In Delineator, April 1924.

Jenny suit, 1924. The applied trim is bands of self-fabric. See the book Classic French Fashions.

This Jenny ensemble puts a 7/8 length beige coat over a beige, rose, and green plaid dress. The plaid also trim the coat. Delineator, July 1924.

When the very narrow “tubular” silhouette came in, Jenny was ready:

Two long, narrow “tubular” coats by Jenny, illustrated in Delineator in September, 1924.

In 1925, one of Jenny’s designs was this coat and dress ensemble. Her hems were rising rapidly, but she went against the tide with this very high collar, and a dress trimmed with tiny gold buttons.

Jenny puts this green velvet coat over a dress of rose-beige crepe de Chine, trimmed with hundreds of little gold buttons. Delineator, September, 1925.

1926 shows Jenny still among the top-ranked couturiers:

Three couture ensembles from Delineator, June 1926. Jenny shows a short flared coat over a “just to the knees” dress.

Earlier in the 1920s skirts tended to be straight in back; now these are flared all the way around.

Jenny again catches the mode: a bloused top. Sketched for Delineator, September 1926.

A very bare evening dress with a flared skirt. It was orchid pink crepe satin embroidered with pink pearls. Jenny design, sketched for Delineator, January 1926.

Evening dresses by Jenny and Chanel, Sketched for Delineator, February 1927.

There are a lot of 1960s’ and 70s’ “Twenties” costume dresses out there, covered with tiers of fringe, but this is what beaded fringe looked like in the hands of a couturier like Jenny; on a pink dress, a deeper pink “fringe of crystal beads that touch it with rosy frost.”

Beaded fringe in geometric patterns on an Art Deco evening dress by Jenny, Delineator, February 1927.

Top of beaded dress, Jenny, 1927. I like the way beaded fringe partly covers the deep V neckline — it’s subtly sexy.

I’m not as impressed by every one of her 1927 creations, although closer study usually reveals a little extra creativity. (Remember these are just a tiny fraction of her output.)

Left, Jenny, for evening; right Vionnet day dress. From Delineator, August 1927.

This black and white (?) satin dress comes with a heavily sequinned black chiffon bolero. Jenny in Delineator, October 1927.

Her more tailored coats and suits really are wonderful, with many subtle touches.

One-button suit by Jenny, illustrated in Delineator, June 1927.  The button suggests “a high waistline,” the style of the 1930s, which was just starting to appear.

Lovely lines and pocket detail on the left; astrakhan (unborn lamb) is used on the collar and — unexpectedly — on the back skirt of the coat at right. [Photo distorted by the curvature of the page.]

Her very flared, collarless 1927 coat is a fore-runner of 1940s’ and fifties’ styles.

If you can ignore the scarf, this is a coat decades ahead of its time, from the “Swing” of its flare to the curved seams running into the pocket; note the curved detailing on the cuff. Illustrated for Delineator, May 1927.

It’s quite a change from the tubular coats she made in 1924! Just three years had passed.

Two long, narrow “tubular” coats by Jenny, illustrated in Delineator in September 1924.

In 1928, Delineator was still enchanted with Jenny’s flower-printed underwear, which she had been showing since 1917, or possibly earlier.

Poppy printed chemise by Jenny, in Delineator, April 1928.

In 1929, Jenny was showing asymmetrical fashions. These are dramatic and unusual.

These 1929 gowns from Jenny play with asymmetry and two-toned color schemes. Delineator‘s Paris report, November 1929.

The short satin gown is very unusual. I wish we could see all around it.

Where does the dark begin? Where does it end? What happens in the back? I don’t know.

By this time, Jenny was in her sixties. She continued making up-to-date gowns in the 1930s. Thanks to Elizabeth Handley Seymour’s desire to make and sell copies to her London clients, the V&A museum has a color sketch of a slinky, broad-shouldered Jenny gown, 1936.

Jenny was one of the couture houses that did not re-open after closing during World War II. For a time line of Jenny’s life, click here.

For French fashion illustrations of Jenny modes, visit the wonderful blog A la Recherche des Modes Perdues [lost] et Oublies [forgotten]. There is a search box and a language translator option.

[Added on 4/21/19] And one for the road: A Jenny evening dress with a complex  skirt and a high, cross-over front. It was Reseda green crepe Romain; the long ties in back gave a flattering rear view, or could be worn with one tie brought to the front.

500 jenny GH 1929 april pg 69 Jenny evening crossed front

Gown by Jenny, from Good Housekeeping, April, 1929, page 69.

The poor image quality is what happened when many magazines were converted to microfilm to save library space.

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Less Familiar Designers of the 1920s, Number 1: Jenny (Part 1)

Evening dress by Jenny (Jeanne Adele Bernard Sacerdote) as sketched for Delineator, January 1926.

Some leading designers of the nineteen twenties have names that still sell fashion. Chanel comes to mind. Others were famous before and after the Twenties, like the House of Worth. Having a successful perfume brand helps: “Joy,” by Patou is still available. This is the first in a series about once-famous 1920s designers who are no longer well known.

Jenny (born Jeanne Adele Bernard, later Jenny Sacerdote) was ranked with those big names in the Twenties, but is not as well known today. I’ll be sharing a few of her designs, with links to help you find others.

These are merely a few of the designs by Jenny that were sketched for Delineator, *** and I do not have photos from every year between 1917 and 1930. Her ability to adjust to changes in fashion is admirable.  Born in 1868, she became famous in her fifties, showing 300 pieces in her collection of 1918.

Two sketches of couture by Jenny (Jenny Adele Bernard Sacerdote ) shows her ability to move with the times. Delineator, 1917 and 1927.

Left, a gown with a “tonneau” or “barrel” skirt — a fashion innovation from 1917. Right, a bare, narrow, fringed and beaded evening gown from 1927.

Jenny in 1917

Jenny was already being copied in 1915. The V&A collection has several color sketches of Jenny designs. London dressmaker Elizabeth Handley Seymour sketched hundreds of French couture gowns and coats which she was prepared to duplicate for her customers. She included this coat by Jenny, this evening gown, and this elegant afternoon or evening gown.

Jenny was such a “star” in 1917 that even her underwear collections were featured in “Reports from Paris.” She’s notable for her use of bright colors and print fabrics (!) in her lingerie:

This frothy undergarment was “sulphur-yellow ‘gaze’ trimmed with lace.” Delineator, August 1917.

On Jenny’s pink satin knickers, cream yellow lace is outlined with little roses or ‘cocardes’ [sic] of satin ribbon:

Doucet was a very well-established design house; Jenny is treated as his equal. Delineator, August 1917. Note the ribbon straps.

Print fabric lingerie by Jenny, 1917. Sketched for Delineator.

Jenny used “Flowered muslin in a quite indescribable design of white flowers outlined with pink on a blue background” for her pleated chemise, 1917. I remember how new and exciting print underwear was in the 1960s!

This pink chiffon Jenny dressing gown would have been called a “combing jacket” in an earlier era. (See “Peignoir.”)

A dressing gown by Jenny in Delineator, July 1917: “ruched pink chiffon over a pink satin skirt.”

Other Jenny designs from 1917 show that she had a sense of humor. She named this dress, amply trimmed with fur, “My hairy one.”

Jenny called this model “Mon Poilu” –“my hairy one.” Sketched for Delineator, December 1917.

However, her velvet skating dress seems a little impractical:

Jenny described this as a skating dress. Delineator sketch, December 1917. The tassels would be flying!

The coat below is actually sleeveless, worn over a matching gray silk dress. The geometric trim is stitching in green thread.

Short sleeveless coat over matching gray silk dress, green stitching. Jenny, sketched for Delineator, September 1917.

In June, 1917, Delineator showed a page full of couture designs which featured the new “barrel” silhouette. This was one from Jenny. Page 56.

Delineator claimed the barrel silhouette was chiefly the influence of Jeanne Paquin:

The barrel or tonneau skirt, sketched by Paquin’s own artist. Delineator, March 1917, p 56.

They look better to me when the model is sitting down.

Jenny created this dress for 1917. Delineator, March, p. 56. “Blue serge dress with eight box plaits over each shoulder. The square line at the neck appears in many of the new dresses.”

Left, a design by Jenny — in black satin under white chiffon embroidered with flowers — appears next to a design from the House of Worth. Delineator, March 1917.

I’m sure you could find many more Jenny designs: try searching for Delineator at Hathi Trust; select Journal, then choose a year, and search within the volumes you find. 1922 for example…

*** Note:  Butterick Publishing Company had offices in Paris, giving their pattern makers a chance to follow the very latest trends, which were reported on several times a year, often illustrated by Soulie. All the illustrations I’ll use in this “Less Familiar Designers” series come from Delineator‘s coverage. Caveat:  Pattern companies could sometimes buy couture items and copy them, but designers were not happy to be copied without any payment, so sketch artists attending fashion shows had to be quick and furtive, and sometimes had to work from memory. Read Fashion is Spinach, by Elizabeth Hawes for a sketcher’s real inside story.

Next: Jenny in the 1920s.

Tennis dress by Jenny, sketched for Delineator by Leslie Saalburg, February 1927.

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April 1928 Ad for Belding’s Silks

Part of an ad for Belding’s “Pure Dye” Silks, Delineator, April 1928.

I don’t have a picture of the entire page, but this ad interested me because it shows dress patterns from several companies:  Vogue, McCall, Butterick and Pictorial Review. It also shows a range of women’s styles for 1928, and it shows the cost of the fabric to make them.

Belding’s “Pure Dye” silk was not weighted “or in any way adulterated” to make it seem more substantial than it was. In other words, this was not the cheapest silk fabric available. In fact, at $3 to $6+ per yard, it was relatively expensive.***

(The Belding Brothers of Michigan established a successful business manufacturing silk thread and silk fabrics, with factories in four states.  They also built housing to attract the best female employees, as well as libraries and a hospital for their workers. “Belding Brothers & Company merged with Heminway Silk Company in 1925 and did business as Belding-Heminway. Soon after, the company was acquired by Corticelli Silk Company and did business as Belding-Heminway-Corticelli. The last mill in Belding closed in 1932.” This 1928 ad also mentions Belding’s silk stockings.

Butterick 1904 was featured in the ad; here it is shown in striped silk.

The Butterick Publishing Co. illustrated it in a different fabric in Delineator magazine:

Butterick 1904 made in dotted fabric. Delineator, June 1928. a “frock for mornings or sports” in sizes from 32 to 48 inch bust.

McCall pattern 5168 in Belding’s Silk ad, Delineator, April 1928. This 100% “radium weave” pure silk was washable “Vanette.”

(“Radium silk” was not radioactive.)

Butterick pattern 1906, Belding’s Silk Ad; Delineator, April 1928. “Simple crepe frocks like this have a smartness that belies their small price.” This is made of Belding’s Crepe Iris, “guaranteed washable crepe.”

This Art Deco (or Moderne) dress doesn’t strike me as especially “simple” to make; I love its geometry (“plaits in an architectural outline,”) but I’d be tempted to hire a “little dressmaker” to deal with all those interlocking pieces.

Butterick’s own illustration of dress 1906, from Delineator, March 1928.

This dress is more formal, with a jeweled “buckle” centered on the hip yoke, and a draped neckline.

Another McCall pattern, 5157. Belding’s Silk ad, Delineator, April 1928. This afternoon frock was made in Belding’s “Satin Ciree.”

Top center in the ad was this jacket and dress combination made from Vogue patterns. The plaid dress is topped with a plaid scarf — not an easy combo to bring off well!

Vogue jacket 9273 is combined with Vogue dress 9261. Belding’s ad, April 1928. The “sport silk” fabrics are “Washable Broadcloth” and “Crepe Cashmere” for the jacket — “heavy enough to tailor crisply.”

Pictorial Review pattern 4229, Belding’s ad, Delineator, April 1928. The asymmetrical dress has a soft jabot/drape running down the bodice.

The relatively simple dress is made of Belding’s silk printed crepe “in a distinctive modern design — a summery pattern suggesting the lovely modernism of Paris.” (The “Style Moderne,” which we also call “Art Deco,” was introduced at the Paris Expo of 1925  (Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes)

This classic 1920’s evening dress is Vogue pattern S 3191.

It is sleeveless, with low armholes; a surplice closing (thought to be slenderizing;) an under layer seen at the neck opening; and a big bow forming a side drape. At first I thought it had a (very unexpected) short sleeve, but a close view shows that the model is wearing an arm bracelet, along with two necklaces and very long dangling earrings.

Detail of jewelry in the Belding’s ad illustration. 1928. Note the low armhole.

The next gown is surprisingly bare:

Pictorial review pattern 4159 is an evening dress made in sheer silk Georgette. Belding’s ad, Delineator, April 1928.

This gown is notable for its narrow jeweled straps and its asymmetric shoulder (or neck) line.

A woman really could not wear much underwear under this dress — just knickers and stockings. (And maybe a girdle….)

Details of the diagonal neckline and shoulder straps of Pictorial Review evening pattern 4159.

Georgette is usually a sheer fabric, so this dress is probably built over a straight, opaque silk lining, which would also support the blousing and hip decoration. That neckline would still be worth copying, if you have the figure for it!

*** The Sears catalog (Fall 1928) offered washable silk satin yardage for 74 cents a yard.

Washable silk satin from Sears, 1928.

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Valentine Fashions from 1926

Three young women in their teens admire an elaborate Valentine card in this illustration of Butterick patterns. 1926. Naturally, their shingled hair styles are also up to date.

For the February 1926 issue of Delineator, the fashion illustrations for teens, boys, and girls clothes were built around a Valentine’s Day theme. Even the patterns for little boys  were related to Valentine’s Day in the clever illustrations, probably by M.S. Walle.

Left, a little girl wears leggings to protect her from February weather; right, a little boy in short pants (buttoned to his shirt) holds a Valentine card to be mailed.

Right, an older girl in a green, caped coat is about to put the boy’s card in the mailbox. 1926.

Page 30, Delineator, February 1926. Valentines are mailed, received, and enjoyed by children wearing Butterick patterns.

The girl at left wears a dress that could go to the office — or, being velvet, to a daytime party. It is quite short. Frillier party fashions are worn by the other girls.

Butterick fashions illustrated on top of page 30, Delineator, February 1926. Hems for young teens barely cover the knee. Little girls’ knees are bare.

Even the littlest girl holds a Valentine close to her heart.

A range of ages for girls, plus some little boys in short pants, were shown in patterns illustrated on page 31.

A candy box and Valentine’s cards interest these schoolgirls. Delineator, p. 31. February 1926. One girl still has long, long curls.

This Valentine girl is dressed up in an entire outfit made from Butterick patterns, including her hat.

These little boys play with a ball, while the girl below holds a heart-shaped cookie (with a bite out of it.)

Young girl’s fashions, February 1926. Imagine buttoning those leggings!

Even very little girls attract Cupid’s attention.

Since I’ve been absorbed in boleros from the 1930s this week, I can’t resist pointing out this much longer 1926 bolero:

The long bolero at left is typical of the twenties, when the waist was near the hips.

The younger the girl, the shorter the dress. These are for ages 15 to 20.

All these “Valentine” girls wear their dresses much shorter than adult women in the same issue.

Women’s skirts are shown well below the knee. Delineator, page 28, February 1926.

Although I couldn’t find a signature on the pages of children’s fashions, the February illustrations for women’s fashions were signed by M.S. Walle.

Artist’s signature at lower left: M. S. Walle.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Paris Ideas, Butterick Pattern, 1926

Soulie’s sketches of Paris designer fashions, Delineator, January 1926.

Two designers showing strongly banded dresses were featured in Delineator‘s January report from Paris. And a strongly banded Butterick pattern appeared in the same issue.

Butterick dress pattern 6543 (right) shows Paris influence.

The designer dress by Lanvin has a “silver girdle” molding the hips and its “divided front tunic” is trimmed with silver, perhaps silver stitching. (Custom embroidery is still a mark of couture.)

A closer look at the Lanvin design, which features silver bands on a black dress. Winter, 1925-1926.

Striking, contrasting bands down the center front give impact to this Butterick pattern (right) from January 1926:

Butterick 6543, right, offers a charming solution to “authentic Twenties style” for women who don’t want to exaggerate the width of their hips.

“Crepe satin used with its reverse side” would give a very subtle effect; here, chiffon velvet seems to be suggested, although applying those straight bands to velvet would not be easy sewing. Heavy crepe de Chine would be an easier-to-handle choice.

Right, a good example of the subtle effect of reversible crepe satin; this 1927 dress uses the matte and shiny sides of the same fabric.

The flared sleeves of Butterick 6543 are very like the Lanvin couture design, although the bands ate placed differently.

Here is the alternate view of patterns 6561 and 6543:

Alternate views of Butterick patterns 6561 and 6543.

Note the short-sleeved summer version of 6543; the suggested border print fabric would make a dress that looked very different from its dark winter version.

Happy New Year, 1926!

This banded evening dress by Jenny was also illustrated in January 1926 — It’s not for the timid:

A banded evening design by Jenny, a very successful couturier in the 1920’s. For more about those deep armholes, click here.

In “orchid pink crepe satin embroidered with pink pearls and blue flowers worked at hip and shoulder,” it would be modified to suit the woman who ordered it. It was probably available in other color choices — and with a sheer “modesty” insert in the deep V neckline, if required.

Click here for another daring neckline by Jenny. UK vintage clothing dealer and blogger Blue 17 wrote a good, illustrated Jenny tribute: Click here to read it.

For a much less elaborate Butterick dress from 1926 — which used a slimming contrast tie to good effect, see 6553, at right:

Butterick 6559 and 6553, Delineator, January 1926. Cape optional.

The long ties are important to the effect of these dresses, distracting from the horizontal line at the hips, adding the illusion of width to the shoulders and drawing our eyes up, closer to the face.

Butterick 6559 (left) makes good use of a border print.

Wishing you a very happy 2019!

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Party Dresses for January 1926

Afternoon and evening dresses for women, Delineator, January 1926, page 28.

Evening dresses for teens (ages 15 to 20) and small women. Butterick 6535 and 6482, Delineator, January 1926, p. 27.

Details of evening dresses for young women. The proportions of the blue dress — and its flaring circular skirt — do not scream “Twenties.”

The lower edge of the “two piece circular skirt” stands out because it is scalloped and bound with bias. This dress has an underarm closing in the side seam, which would have used a row of snaps with a hook and bar at the top and at other points of stress.

Pattern magazines like Delineator came out ahead of the month on the cover, so you probably could have made these dresses in time for New Year’s Eve parties in 1926.  Dresses for adult women were shown longer than those for teens. If you want to make a Twenties’ dress shorter, you should shorten the pattern at the waist, not the hem. Click here for a 1926 article about dress alterations.

Butterick 6498, 6497, and 6527, Delineator, January 1926.

Butterick 6498, January 1928. The model is holding a huge feather fan that matches the  trim on her dress. The dress is as simple as they get! Notice the easing in the side seam instead of a bust dart. The side panel is sheer Georgette.

Details of Butterick 6497 and 6527, January 1928.

A slip with optional sleeves and a higher neckline would convert this to an afternoon dress as seen in the back view. It was illustrated in a “Lanvin green” border print.

This dress would be super-easy to copy using modern patterns. (Yes, bust darts were used in the 1920s! But they didn’t come so far toward the bust point. [Busts weren’t pointed.] Click here.) The circle skirt is attached to an under slip, so the skirt does not start at the waist, but at the hip.

The very long top on the”pervenche blue” metallic brocade dress was also seen on this pattern with “troubadour sleeves,” 1926.

Another very long-torsoed pattern from 1926. They were not as popular as the usual mid-hip waistline.

Butterick 6549, January 1926. (A good style for those who don’t appreciate a hip band.) This is an afternoon dress, with embroidered sleeves. Perhaps they have sheer appliques on them. The shirred godets go all around the dress — nice for tea dances. Bois de rose (rosewood) was a chic tan/rose pink color, not as orange as it looks here.

If made sleeveless, it would be an evening dress.

Butterick dresses 6517 and 6531; Delineator, January 1926.

“Princess dress” in the Twenties doesn’t mean it’s close-fitting, as in some other periods. The gold lining on an “Amazon green” dress below adds interest to the attached circular flare.

Details of Butterick 6517 and 6531. The vertical “circular frills” on 6517 were often used in the 1920s.

If you are wondering why the vertical frills are called “circular,” I’ll explain.

This is one of those things that made pattern making — draping and drafting patterns — such an interesting class. I urge you to experiment with it, because, although you can learn this principle, every tiny change you make to the pattern will change the way the fabric behaves, drastically!

The basic idea is this: if you want to create a cascade of ripples in a jabot or a flounce or a frill or whatever you want to call it, you need to cut the fabric with a curve on the side you will attach to the garment. It has to be cut to the right length, but not in a straight line. When you force that curve into a straight line, as has been done on Butterick 6517, ripples will form!

The “circular frills” at left and the overskirt at right are both based on circles.

Twenties’ dresses that depend on the “cut a curve and straighten it out” principle. Delineator, July 1925.

The long drape on the left is probably just a long rectangle. If cut on a curve, I think it would ripple more. The skirt on the right is based on a section of a circle. The ruffled V shaped neckline trim in the middle shows the soft ripples you get when you attach a curved frill in a straight line.

The more curved the line is, the more ripples you get when you straighten it out.

Butterick 2387 is meant to flutter. Dark fabrics are suggested, which does not rule out red....

The curves in these diagrams are greatly exaggerated, just to give the general idea!

A flounce based on a fairly tight curve.  When the blue half circle was straightened out, the flounce would have many ripples.

The gentler the inside curve, the fewer ripples the flounce will have.

That is the basic pattern for a 1920s dipping hem. (Of course, the waist is not really a circle…. This is just the starting point for a muslin.)

Left, a typical dipping hem for evening, September 1928; Butterick pattern.

Evening gown by Lelong, sketched for Delineator, May 1929. Getting all those flounces right took a lot of experiments in muslin! (Draping at 1/2 or 1/4 scale saves a lot of money.)

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