Tag Archives: 1920s hemlines

Dresses for Teens and Young Women, October 1924

In 1924, dresses were still longer than our usual image of the nineteen twenties — even dresses for young women, who were usually illustrated in the shortest styles.

A page of dresses for Teens and young or small women, Delineator, October, 1924, p. 29.

A page of dresses for teens and young or small women, Delineator, October, 1924, p. 29.

For their back views, see the end of this post.

This group reminds us that there are fashions in color combinations, as well as in cut. In 1924, Orange and navy, or orange and black, did not evoke Halloween. Dellineator, Oct. 1924.

This group reminds us that there are fashions in color combinations, as well as in cut. In 1924, orange and navy, coral and black, or green with orange and black did not evoke Halloween. Delineator, Oct. 1924.

These dresses look very long, but any of them might have been skillfully shortened and worn later in the decade. Delineator, Oct. 1924.

These three dresses look very long, but any of them might have been skillfully shortened and worn later in the decade. Delineator, Oct. 1924.

The evening dresses would have needed a clever remodel around 1926 — cutting them at the 1926 hip or waist line, and raising the lower part of the skirt. The new seam could have been hidden with a sash or belt, too. The tunic dress at right might have simply discarded the underskirt.

Butterick also offered many cloche hat patterns — and tam-o’-shanters — during the twenties — including two that were shown with these dresses.

A Closer Look at These 1924 Dresses and Hats

Butterick 5487, dress pattern from Delineator, Oct. 1924, p. 29.

Butterick 5487, dress pattern from Delineator, Oct. 1924, p. 29. “Plaited” means pleated, not “braided.” Its scarf collar seems to end in a long fringe. This pattern was also available in Ladies’ sizes, usually 34″ to 44″ bust. The bird-trimmed hat is not a Butterick pattern, but it does have comic possibilities! [A hat trimmed with stylized bird silhouettes would be a little less old-fashioned than this flock circling her head.]

Butterick pattern 5528, for an evening dress trimmed with feathers. Delineator, Oct. 1924.

Butterick pattern 5528, for an evening dress trimmed with feathers. Delineator, Oct. 1924. A light, floating effect was recommended for dancing.

If you’re wondering what size “16 to 20 years” means, click here.

Butterick pattern 5550, from Delineator, Oct. 1924.

Butterick pattern 5550, from Delineator, Oct. 1924. “Silver, beige, or colored lace is new…” There is an interesting free-swinging back detail trimmed with a large tassel; but only the bottom layer of ruffles continued around the back. Available up to bust size 38 inches.

“It is worn over a slip of flesh-pink satin veiled with flesh-pink chiffon trimmed with lace.” This suggests that the impression of a nude body glimpsed through the lace was the goal. Other lining colors were, of course, possible — tan, coffee, pale blue, yellow-green, etc. In the image below, it appears that the chiffon-over-satin layer was visible at the sides.Back trim on evening dress 5550. The trim begins with the straps in front, and exctends into a long tassel, with a surprise lining of pink.

Back trim on evening dress 5550. The trim begins with the straps in front, and extends into a long tassel, with a surprise lining of strong pink, and plenty of beads or pearls.

Butterick dress pattern 5511 and hat pattern . Oct. 1924, Delineator.

Butterick dress pattern 5511; Oct. 1924, Delineator. Velvet, trimmed with fur, and with long fringe extending the collar. The length of the gloves works surprisingly well with the short sleeves.

There are “fine plaits at each side,”  [tucks?] making the dress fit more closely at the hip. This dress from 1926 has the same “plaits” at the hip.

Butterick dress pattern 5536 with Tam-o'-Shanter pattern 5458. October 1924.

Butterick dress pattern 5536 with Tam-o’-Shanter pattern 5458. October 1924. Tam 5458 was featured in several issues of the Delineator.

“It is the new narrow type [as] close fitting at the hips as one can sit down [in.]” It closes at the side front, like a Russian shirt. The pattern description suggests making it in dark brown with a contrasting scarf. In an era when ladies still did not go shopping or to work without wearing a hat, the soft, crushable Tam-o’-Shanter was especially popular with girls and young women.

Descriptioin of Butterick tam pattern No. 5458, Delineator, September 1924.

Description of Butterick Tam-o’-Shanter pattern No. 5458, Delineator, September 1924. Another use for a very long tassel.

For more about 1924 Tam-o’-Shanters, click here. For Part 2 of Tams for 1924-25, click here.  For a brief history of the Tam, click here.

Butterick dress pattern 5489, October 1924.

Butterick dress pattern 5489, October 1924. The orange braid on the sleeves is applied in the pattern available as Butterick embroidery transfer #10175. This dress has a gathered skirt attached to a long bodice, called a basque. See back view below.

No. 5489 could easily have been shortened at the hem and worn in 1926, when hemlines approached the knee. Its proportions could have been improved by raising the waist line as well, but it wouldn’t have been necessary.

Butterick dress pattern 5546, Oct. 1924.

Butterick dress pattern 5546, Oct. 1924. “It is new to use the shiny side of crepe satin and bind the edges of the bias bands with the dull side, or reverse this order….” However, the illustration seems to show black trim; a pale border this narrow would have been lost in the small printed image.

Butterick dress pattern 5485 and hat pattern 5561. Delineator, Oct. 1924.

Butterick dress pattern 5485 and hat pattern 5561. Delineator, Oct. 1924. “For the wrap-around hat use velvet, etc.” Is that a miser’s purse in her hand?

Butterick hat 5561, 1924.

Butterick hat pattern 5561, from 1924. “The hat which ties around the head to form a trimming at the side is typically French.”

I  don’t see any knot, or other sign that it literally ties, in this illustration. This hat appeared in several issues. The side views make it look as though the velvet whatever-that-is-on-the-side is wired and possibly twisted, but not “tied.” It does look, in the side view, as if the front brim extends into a long point which is twisted up, and the back brim has a shorter extension which twists down.  I am glad I don’t have to make it, because I’m not at all certain I understand it!

Butterick hat pattern 5561 was illustrated several times in 1924.

Butterick hat pattern 5561 was illustrated several times in 1924. I’m not sure the illustrators were really clear on how that side piece worked, either.

Butterick’s cloche hats were usually either four or six gored. I wrote about another cloche hat pattern from 1924 here.  (The variety of easy trims on that one attracted me.)

Here are the back or alternate views for seven of these dresses.  The back of No. 5550 was illustrated in color and shown earlier.

Back and alternate views of Butterick

Back and alternate views of Butterick patterns 5487, 5526, 5511, 5536, 5589, 5546, and 5485 from October 1924.

Dresses cut like No. 5489 are often seen in silent movies, but they are usually tightly fitted, with an opening in the left side seam; or the actresses may have been stitched into their evening dresses by hand.

 

 

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Filed under 1920s, Accessory Patterns, bags, Gloves, handbags, Hats, Purses, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns

Hems Going Down Part 2: July 1928

Afternoon and daytime fashions for July 1928. Butterick patterns featured in Delineator magazine.

Afternoon and daytime fashions for July 1928. Butterick patterns featured in Delineator magazine.

As I mentioned in Part 1 of this “Hems Going Up/ Hems Going Down” series, even in the years when 1920’s hems were at their shortest, there were options for longer variations, especially in more formal afternoon and evening dresses.

Sleeve length was another indicator of formality:

Day dresses, July 1928. Buitterick patterns 2129, 2066, and 1961. Delineator.

Day dresses, July 1928. Butterick patterns 2129, 2066, and 1961. Delineator.

The dress on the right, #1961, is shown sleeveless, but:  “The sleeveless printed frock may be worn for afternoon out of town; … for town add long sleeves.” It was suggested that the center dress, # 2066, be made in red, white, and blue.

These three dresses have hems that are simultaneously long and short:

Afternoon dresses for July 1928. Butterick patterns 2086, 2133, and 2038. Delineator.

Afternoon dresses for July 1928. Butterick patterns 2086, 2133, and 2038. Delineator.

The tiered dress on the left, #2086, “slips on over the head.” It is shorter in front than in back — a style favored by Misses aged 15 to 20 in 1926. (click here.) or (here) In 1928, pattern #2086 was available in sizes 15 to 18 years and ladies’ bust sizes 36 to 42 inches.  The dress in the middle (# 2133) with its “smooth hipline, circular flare, uneven hem, and fagotting, is smart beyond measure.” The dress on the right (#2038) was versatile:  with its long-sleeved bridge coat [i.e., jacket] it was “suitable for formal afternoon. Without the coat it is a chic [sleeveless] evening frock, with an uneven hem, long at the sides. . . . Designed for sizes 32 to 40.”

Six hems, July 1928. Delineator.

Six hems, July 1928. Delineator.

It’s interesting that the dresses with uneven hems (on the left) are shorter at their shortest point than the dresses with straight hems — as if the high and low hems average out to the “standard” length.

Three dresses from Frances Clyne, illustrated iin Delneator, July 1928.

Three dresses from Frances Clyne, illustrated in Delineator, July 1928.

“At teatime in town the woman at left is serenely cool in her diaphanous black chiffon frock and shadowy hat. The frock has a tiered skirt that trails to the ankles in back and a long, vague scarf.” [It’s a hem born to be stepped on, I’m afraid.] “The definite contrast of surface and color is used with skill in [the middle] frock. The blouse is lustrous white satin, the skirt, dull back crepe. . . . Arrows are traced on the blouse with fine lines of cording.” Far right:  “The smooth, cool surface of black foulard is printed with small white figures, widely spaced, for this town dress of great chic. The bordered hemline is full and very long at the left side — a new note, for it is only this season that the uneven hem has been seen in the afternoon.” Frances Clyne operated an exclusive New York dress shop; in the 1930s, it was on Fifth Avenue.

More Summer Frocks from Butterick, July 1928

The Delineator illustrated many day and evening frocks in this issue — so many to each page that I have broken the diamond-shaped illustrations into manageable groups.

A straight hem (No. 2137) and a high in front, long in back hem (No. 2121) from Butterick, July 1928.

A short, straight hem (No. 2137) and a high-in-front, long-in-back hem (actually, a flounce) [ed. 7/5/15](No. 2121) from Butterick, July 1928.

Summer frocks:  No. 2137 (left) was for Misses 15 to 18 years (32 to 35 bust) and for ladies’ bust sizes 36 to 44. The high/low hemmed dress on the right (No. 2121) was designed for sizes 32 to 48 — the style is no longer reserved for younger women.

These dresses have long side drapes — much longer than their knee-length hems.

Butterick patterns 2117, 2127, and 2131; July 1928.

Butterick patterns 2117, 2127, and 2131; July 1928.

No. 2117 (left):  “The ripple of the jabot across the front and down the left side gives this simple frock the formality required of afternoon clothes. . . . This one-piece long-sleeved frock is designed for sizes 32 to 44.” No. 2131 (right) has a detachable vestee filling in the front and was sized for busts 32 to 52 inches. (Surplice-closing dresses were often recommended for large women in the 1920’s.) (Click here.)

Dancing Frocks, July 1928

Butterick patterns for evening frocks, # 2135 and 2125. July 1928.

Butterick patterns for evening frocks, # 2135 and 2125. July 1928.

No. 2135 is made of moire fabric, but is “also chic in Georgette or lace.” Designed for Misses 15 to 18 years and ladies with busts 36 to 44″.  No. 2125 (right): “This type of evening frock is smartest in satin crepe or lace.” Also for Misses 15 to 18 years and ladies with busts 36 to 44″.

Butterick evening dress patterns for July 1928. Left, No. 1962; right, No. 2109.

Butterick evening dress patterns for July 1928. Left, No. 1962; right, No. 2109.

No. 1962, above left, shows that the handkerchief hem is still chic, but shorter and more fluttery than it was a few years earlier; No. 2109, above right,  has a long hem on its right side and a trailing drapery on the left. Notice the large scale print on this sheer fabric.

Butterick patterns for evening dresses, July 1928. No. 2112 and No. 2123.

Butterick patterns for evening dresses, July 1928. No. 2112 and No. 2123.

Here, (No. 2112, on the left)  the scalloped, high-in front hem of 1926 seems to have shifted to the side of the body. It is balanced by a long sash on the opposite side.  No. 2112 also has “the shoe-string strap . . . featured by one of the most important French houses.” Above right,  “The classic evening gown of lace is included in every complete wardrobe — it is so chic and so practical.”  No. 2112 was for younger women — 15 to 20 years plus ladies’ sizes 38 and 40 —  but No. 2123, on the right, was available in pattern sizes up to 44 inches.

Evening gowns with short-in-front-long-in back hems. Butterick patterns 2087 and 2108, July 1928.

Evening gowns with short-in-front-long-in back hems. Butterick patterns 2087 and 2108, July 1928.

The dress on the left, No. 2087, is a grown-up version of the high/low scalloped frock worn by young women in 1926.

[EDIT ADDED 7/5/15:  I can’t resist linking to this dress featured in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Style section today:  Harputs Own black Pamper dress, which appears to be long in back, shorter in front. Click here.]

No. 2108 (above right): “the most successful evening frock of midsummer is the printed chiffon with the uneven hemline. . . . With long sleeves, it is chic for afternoon. . . . Designed for sizes 32 to 35 (ages 15 to 18 years) and sizes 32 to 42.” At the sides, the top layer is very short.

By March, 1929, apparently running out of new uneven hemline variations to describe, The Delineator proclaimed, “Among Uneven Hemlines the short position at the sides is new.”

"Among uneven hemlines the short position at the side is new." Delineator magazine, March 1929.

“Among uneven hemlines the short position at the sides is new.” Delineator magazine, March 1929.

Evening Coats

The 3/4 length coat, like the one above, or  a knee-length coat worn over long gowns  is typical. Since dresses’ hemlines were so varied, apparently fashion decreed that an evening hem draggling out below your coat was perfectly acceptable.

Evening coats and dresses, Delineator, 1929.

Evening coats and dresses, The Delineator, 1929.

Blogger Brooke (of Custom Style) commented that these short-in-front, long-in-back dresses remind her of mullet haircuts. More 1920’s mullets ahead . . . .

 

 

 

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Rapid Change in 1920s Fashion: Women, 1924 to 1925

Women's dresses: December 1924 and December 1925

Women’s dresses: December 1924 and December 1925

1925 was  a year of rapid change in women’s fashions. In addition to rising hemlines, this year marked the beginning of the end for tubular dresses worn over bust-flattening undergarments, and the introduction of a more feminine silhouette. To give an idea of how quickly styles changed, I’ll show some images from Delineator magazine that appeared just one year apart — some from the end of 1924, and some from the end of 1925.

Women’s Coats:  1924 and 1925

These two coats — pictured one month apart — were the latest styles for the end of 1924.

Left: Butterick coat pattern, Dec. 1924. Right: Lanvin coat, Jan. 1925.

Left: Butterick coat pattern, Dec. 1924. Right: Lanvin coat, Jan. 1925.

“Lanvin’s coat of beige raily kasha flares into godets at the lower part and is trimmed with a very small collar and very large cuffs of antelope and leopard skin. With it is a muff.”

Here are three coats from December 1925, Just Twelve Months Later:

Butterick coat patterns from December, 1925.

Butterick coat patterns from December, 1925.

These three coats look modern (or moderne) — the way we usually picture the 1920s. In one year, subtle changes in fit and proportion have severed the connection with the long, tubular fashions that began the decade.

December 1924 and December 1925 Fashions Illustrated in Color

Here is a closer look at some women’s dresses from December 1924:

Women's Dresses, December 1924, from Butterick's Delineator magazine.

Women’s Dresses, December 1924, from Butterick’s Delineator magazine.

These 1924 tunic dresses are ‘tubular’, falling straight from the shoulders over a low, flattened bust (especially noticeable at far left.) Tunic styles often show indecision about skirt length: there is a short hem and a long hem.

Women's Dresses, December 1925, from Butterick's Delineator magazine.

Women’s Dresses, December 1925, from Butterick’s Delineator magazine.

Twelve months later, the difference in hem length is not the only big change; while the tunic dresses of 1924 got narrower at the bottom, these dresses have some flare from the waist or hip to the hems. The real innovation can be seen in the red gown; it is a new “princess line” dress. The vertical seams allow it to be shaped to the body, curving out slightly over the bust and curving in slightly at the loosely fitted waist. There would be little point in flattening your chest to wear such a dress, although some older women clung to their familiar undergarments.

Evening Dresses and Wraps, 1924 and 1925

Evening Wrap Coat and Evening Dress, January 1924.

Evening Wrap Coat and Evening Dress, January 1924.

Later in the same year, 1924:

Evening Wrap Coat and Evening Dresses, December 1924.

Evening Wrap Coat and Evening Dresses, December 1924.

There is more hip interest, and a surplice (diagonally closing) gown. These are minor changes compared to the drastically different look of December, 1925:

Evening Wrap Coat and Evening Dresses, December, 1925.

Evening Wrap Coat and Evening Dresses, December, 1925.

The loosely belted columnar dress (January 1924) has been replaced with dresses that have distinct bodices and skirts, a strong accent at the hips, and geometric, Art Deco details. The effect is crisper and shorter. All the models now wear the mannish, ‘shingled’ hair style.

Surplice Closing Dress (right) from December 1925.

Surplice Closing Dress (right) from December 1925.

Surplice gown, Dec. 1924.

Surplice gown, Dec. 1924.

In one year, the surplice dress has gone from baggy to streamlined.

Coming soon:  Dresses for teens and young women, 1924 and 1925.

 

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Introducing the Winter Mode, by Madeleine Vionnet, 1927

Introducing the Winter Mode, an Article by Madeleine Vionnet1927 nov p 27 Vionnet 500 dpi writes article 1749 1653

This brief article in The Delineator, published in November, 1927, page 27, is ostensibly written by the couturier Madeleine Vionnet. It may actually be the report of a translated interview; The Delineator also published an article “by Captain Molyneux” in the same series, but I have not yet photographed it. The curvature of the page of the bound volume makes the pattern descriptions at the sides hard to read, so I will transcribe them; they are not written by Vionnet, but are editorial comments on the winter modes and are illustrated by two Butterick patterns, not necessarily Vionnet designs. (The Delineator was published by the Butterick Publishing Company.)  You can read the article — the center column — exactly as printed:

Vionnet Headline and Introduction1927 nov p 27 Vionnet title“Madeleine Vionnet, the famous Paris dressmaker was the first designer to make the unlined frock, discarding the hooks and bones of the tight lining. The famous Vionnet V’s of her modernistic cut made intricate line immensely more important than obvious trimming. Vionnet’s versions of flares and fagoting and bias cuts imbue the basic principles of the new mode with a supreme distinction, an ageless quality, the results of Mme. Vionnet’s own philosophy of dress.”

Vionnet’s Article from 1927

1927 nov p 27 adj Vionnet top

1927 nov p 27 adj Vionnet ctr top1927 nov p 27 adj Vionnet ctr btm1927 nov p 27 adj Vionnet btmElegant Evening Dress, Winter 1927

Butterick dress pattern # 1749 and Evening Coat pattern # 1653, November 1927, Delineator

Butterick dress pattern # 1749 and Evening Coat pattern # 1653, November 1927, Delineator, page 27

Under the dress on the left, the text says,

1749 dress alone

” 1749 – Concerning the evening mode there is no supposition for all its ways are well established. It is a fashion of supreme elegance, of great formality and dignity. Is very feminine in appearance, brilliantly conceived and brilliantly executed. In general the smart evening frock is both long and short due to an erratic hemline which is high in some places and low in others, jagged with points of drapery or elliptical as in the bouffant dresses where the longer line rounds down in back. The decolletage of the season is the low cut oval. This is new and flattering but V and square lines are continued and the latter is particularly distinguished when held by jewelled shoulder straps. Jewels are, in fact, very much a part of all evening dress. White frocks and black frocks depend on them for relief, and not only are there necklaces, bracelets and belt and shoulder touches, but dresses area embroidered with jewels, notably in necklace lines. There is much drapery in the mode, mostly with a left-side tendency, and skirts flare, some of them in most original ways.

“The front flare of the frock above (Design 1749) rises diagonally in a scalloped outline and a wing of drapery breaks the hem. For size 36, 3 1/8 yards 35-inch all-over lace. Designed for sizes 32 to 35 (15 to 18 years) and 36 to 44.”

Evening Wraps: White, Black, and Pastel1653 coat alone

Under the coat on the right, the text says,”1653 – As to the evening wrap, it is very smart to match it to the frock, but if the wrap matches one of the frocks of the wardrobe and harmonizes with the others, that is quite in good style and very much less extravagant as the means one wrap instead of a series of them. White is, and has been for two seasons, the first color for evening, its continued vogue explained by the fact that a white frock and sun-bronzed skin is an intriguing combination.  All black, relieved by rhinestones on the frock and by ermine on the wrap, follows white in the scale of evening colors, after which come pastel shades, used so much by Vionnet.  Gray and yellow are sometimes seen and are interesting because they are new.  The evening frock this season is made of transparent velvet, metallic fabrics, Georgette, chiffon, lace, flowered or gauze lamé or tulle – tulle with a gold dot is new. The evening wrap may be a coat or cape of fur, velvet, metallic fabric or brocade. The little evening jackets that are so useful in chilly rooms, or as a means of turning an evening gown into one for afternoon, are of the fabric of the frock.

“The coat illustrated (Design 1653) has a flare across the front with the ripples thrown to the left. For size 36, 4 yards of 39-inch velvet and 2/3 yard of 9-inch fur for binding are required. Designed for sizes 32 to 35 (15 to 18 years) and 36 to 44 [bust measurement.]”

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Filed under 1920s, Vintage Couture Designs, Vintage patterns