Tag Archives: 1920s styles

Before “Twenties’ Fashions” Had That Twenties’ Look

Fashions for women from Butterick patterns, February 1924. Delineator Magazine, page 32.

The iconic look of nineteen twenties’ fashions — dropped waists, short skirts, an emphasis on youth — didn’t really dominate until the latter half of the decade. These styles from 1924 don’t suggest flaming youth.

Butterick coat 5055 with skirt 4743, from 1924.

These outfits from the tubular twenties have very long skirts, just exposing the ankle area. Women’s hemlines are not much changed from 1917. The 1924 Butterick suit coat shown above, from the lower left of the page, not only looks matronly to me, it reminds me of the suits of 1910, although the body ideal is quite different.

More suits from The Gimbel Book, a 1910 catalog in the Metropolitan museum collection.

Another suit, from the Bendel Collection, by French designer Jenny has a vague twenties’ look, hinting at a lowered waist, but it is actually from 1914. Here’s a closer look at that Butterick style for 1924:

The coat is long, the bust is low, and the waist is ignored. 1924. Butterick also sold the hat pattern, a Tam-o Shanter, No. 4886.

An illustration from later in 1924 shows that this shapeless look (with the same hat) was not necessarily for older women:

Butterick hat pattern No. 4886, is worn with a coat (Butterick 5120) and matching skirt (Butterick 4983.) in Delineator, April 1924.

Returning to the top of page 32, a “box coat,” elaborately embroidered using Butterick transfer pattern 10181, is at left. The dress worn under it does have a dropped waist.

At left, Butterick’s box coat pattern 5052 over dress 4721. From 1924. The outfit at right is made from coat pattern 5051 over dress 4789.

Butterick coat pattern 5053 treats the female body as a long cylinder, although this pattern was available up to bust size 46 inches, which assumed a proportionately bigger hip measure.

Left, a “coat dress,” Butterick 5054, with embroidery pattern 10191; right, a mannish suit made from “sack coat” 5040, blouse 4790, and skirt 4753. Delineator, Feb. 1924, page 32.

The sack coat (as in the traditional sack suit worn by men) is shown with a Butterick hat pattern, 4973. From 1924.

Here’s another illustration of hat 4973, worn by a much more girlish model, from April of 1924.

This last coat, from the lower right side of page 32, is rather charming, perhaps because it looks more like the fashions to come:

Butterick coat pattern 5032, Delineator, February 1924.

The model is drawn as a teen; her hem shows just a bit more leg, and the coat’s pin-tucked trim on cuff and collar hints at an Art Deco influence.

Butterick coat 5032 — with a swirling button — and cloche hat pattern 4973 again.

When I look at these styles, I can hardly wait for the “real” twenties to begin. As in the 1960’s, styles favored by young women and teens became dominant as the decade progressed.

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Filed under 1920s, Accessory Patterns, bags, Hats, Vintage Accessories, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes

Hats and Dresses for Young Women, April 1924

The young woman at left wears Butterick dress pattern 5141 with Butterick hat pattern 4973. (The cape can be removed; it buttons on.) The frilly cloche worn with Butterick dress 5167 is presumably store-bought. Delineator, April 1924, page 36.

One of the pleasures of pattern illustrations in old magazines is seeing the accessories that accompany them. I especially enjoyed these 1924 hats and dresses for “Misses age 15 to 20” (and for “smaller women.”) Some of the hats are actually illustrations of  Butterick patterns. Other hats and accessories seem to be drawn (in both senses) from a selection kept on hand at the Butterick offices.

A satin dress topped with a wide brimmed hat. Butterick dress 5173, Delineator, April 1924. Page 36.

I’ll show most of  these outfits in full at the end of this post; first, I’ll show the hat details.

This Butterick dress with cape is pattern 5099. April, 1924. The cascade of roses on the hat would be easy to duplicate.

This wide-brimmed hat has a free-form pattern on the band. It’s worn with a tunic and slip combination, Butterick 5155. April 1924, Delineator.

Right, a simple cloche with an oddly cut front brim is shown with a plaid dress and decorated gloves. Delineator, April 1924, p. 36.

At the top of page 37, a gored cloche hat pattern (Butterick 4973) is shown with a caped dress pattern, Butterick 5070. Delineator, April 1924. I love the rose inside the brim of the hat worn with dress 5136.

As on dress 5141, at the top of this post, the short matching cape on pattern 5070 is optional.

Butterick dress 5145 is decorated with a large monogram (from a Butterick embroidery transfer.) The hat is Butterick pattern 4449. April 1924. Note the wallet-like clutch purse with a handy strap on the back.

Two ways of trimming a cloche hat; shown with Butterick dresses 5114 (left) and 5082. Delineator, April, 1924, p. 37.

Clusters of cherries cascade from the hat worn with Butterick dress 5159. Delineator, April 1924, pg. 37. The dress is made from fabric printed with large roses, shown later in this post.

A pleated frill trims the front of this cloche, like a 20th century version of the fontange. Butterick dress 5165 is probably an afternoon dress. April 1924.

Another Butterick hat pattern, No. 4886, is worn with a coat (Butterick 5120) and matching skirt (Butterick 4983.) Delineator, April 1924.

For those who are curious about the dresses, here are some full-length images:

Butterick 5481 and 5167, Delineator magazine, page 36, April 1924. Even on very young women, the hems are still several inches below the knee. The hips are made snug with tucks and buttons [!]

Page 36, top right: Butterick 5076, 5151, and 5173. Delineator, April 1924.

Top of page 37; Delineator magazine, April 1924.

Bottom of page 37, Delineator, April 1924.

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

Colorful Fashions for April, 1926

Delineator, page 27, April 1926. Butterick patterns for women.

These Butterick patterns for April, 1926, were illustrated by Marie L. Britton. I did not record all the pattern information, but, based on other issues of Delineator magazine, the illustration style distinguishes between dresses for women (usually sized up to 44 inch bust) and dresses for young women 15 to 20, or for small women. Typical mid-twenties details include colorful prints, border prints, embroidery, and the contrast between the matte and shiny sides of crepe satin.

At left, Butterick dress pattern 6686; at right, Butterick dress pattern 6737, shown decorated with Butterick embroidery transfer 10430. Delineator, April 1926, page 27.

The dresses on page 27 were for adult women.

Butterick patterns for women, Delineator, April 1926, top of page 27. Butterick 6692, 6704, and 6739.

The dress in the center makes good use of a border print fabric which graduates from larger to smaller scale. The dress on the right contrasts shiny with matte surfaces. Both dresses on the left have the long, ribbon-like ties at the neck which can be seen on many 1920’s Butterick patterns — an attempt to introduce a flattering vertical line to balance the horizontal line at the hips. (For more examples, see 1920’s Accessories: What’s Missing?)

This page also showed a classic twenties’ evening dress:

Butterick pattern 6743 is very snug around the hips. Delineator, April 1926, p. 27.

Party dresses were also illustrated on page 29. I think these are for young or small women, judging from the illustration style.

Left, Butterick dress pattern 6716 is embroidered with Butterick transfer pattern 10378. It could be worked in beads or in shiny thread. Right, Butterick 6715.

Instead of a “Spanish” shawl, a painted shawl is shown: This "Aztec" pattern hand painted shawl was made in the Samuel Russel Studio, New York, and illustrated by Katharine Stinger for an Ivory Soap Flakes ad. Delineator, March 1927.This “Aztec” pattern painted shawl was made in the Samuel Russel Studio, New York, and illustrated by Katharine Stinger for an Ivory Soap Flakes ad. Delineator, March 1927.

Another black floral print dress is illustrated on page 29. Notice that these young women or teens are drawn with snub noses.

Butterick pattern 6650, shown in a black print fabric; Butterick cape coat 6769 over dress 6719; and another border print, Butterick 6683. April 1926.

All three of these dresses have long ties at the neckline. Perhaps Butterick didn’t want to suggest that a long necklace was necessary. On the print dress below, which is very snug across the rear, the long tie is on the back of the dress.

Butterick dress patterns [for young women,] April 1926; Delineator page 29. Butterick 6711 and 6728. Notice the bust dart at right.

The dress on the right, No. 6728, has the bib front (based on a man’s shirt) that was very popular in the twenties, and seen again in the 1960’s,  when dropped waists were also briefly in style.

A Vogue pattern circa 1966 with a bib front. Vogue 6988.

This dress pattern from 1965 shows a dropped waist and, like Butterick 6728, a long row of buttons creating a vertical line down the front.

McCall’s 8135 from 1965 has a dropped waist and a long vertical line of buttons.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that very long necklaces also returned to style in the 1960’s.

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Filed under 1920s, Musings, Vintage patterns

90 Years Ago: Daytime Fashions for April 1927

Two views of a suit from Molyneux, left, and a sporty double-breasted suit from O’Rossen. The Molyneux suit used the same ombre striped fabric for the skirt and to trim the jacket. Delineator magazine, April 1927.

Since time forthe Easter Parade is approaching, lets take a closer look at the hats:

Left, two views of a hat from Molyneux; right, a simpler hat by Reboux. 1927.

Original description of Paris designer suits from Delineator, April 1927, p. 24.

Molyneux was one of the most influential designers of the late twenties. O’Rossen is almost forgotten today.  Another very successful French designer from the 1920’s was Louise Boulanger, whose fashion house was called Louiseboulanger. I may have shown her appliqued coat before — but it’s worth a second look (below right.)

French designer coats illustrated in Delineator, April 1927, p. 25. Left, a coat by Paquin; right, an applique-trimmed coat from Louiseboulanger.

Description of Paris coats from Delineator magazine, April 1927, p. 25.

These coats could be purchased in New York at the shop of Mary Walls. Here is a closer look at those hats:

Left, a hat from Molyneux; right, a hat by Alphonsine trimmed “with a huge taffeta ribbon bow.” 1927. They were available in New York:  the Molyneux from Mary Walls, or the Alphonsine from Saks Fifth Avenue.

If your budget did not run to couture, these Butterick patterns for Spring were also available:

Butterick coat pattern No. 1346, and dress 1386. Delineator April 1927, p. 31. The dress has closely pleated tiers cut in a scallop shape.

Descriptions and back views of Butterick 1346 and 1386, 1927.

The coat lapel is trimmed with a large “flower” made of ribbon. The hat at left is decorated with a cliquet pin. Bar pins, some of them quite large, like the one on the dress, were often shown worn like this, pinned diagonally to the front of a dress which looks too fragile to support it. 1927.

Some early 20th c. bar pins. I have worn these on my lapel or at my throat, but never diagonally on the mid- chest as seen in 1920’s illustrations.

Butterick coat pattern 1387; Frock 1392; two-piece dress pattern 137; and “jumper frock” 1372, Delineator, April 1927, p. 32. The skirt of No. 1372 hung from an under bodice, not a waistband.

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Butterick 1387 and 1392, 1927.

Details of Butterick 1370 and 1372. 1372 has a bow at the neck, partly hidden by her hand..

Butterick patterns 1360, 1408, and sports wear patterns 1396 (spectator sports) and 1378 (active sports, like tennis.) Delineator, April 1927, p. 33.

The rows of parallel top-stitching on No. 1360 is a style of trim that was popular in 1917.

Butterick 1360 and 1408.

The tennis dress below is illustrated with contrasting fabric inside the pleats, which would have flashed when the wearer was in motion. I’ve also seen this in several other twenties’ illustrations.

Butterick 1396 and 1378, from 1927. The monogram shows the influence of Molyneux. That sleeve construction would be rather binding in an active tennis game,  but truly sleeveless styles were still associated with evening dress.

 

Butterick patterns for Teens, April 1927. The one with the black jacket is called the “tomboy suit.” Delineator, April 1927, p. 29.

Alternate views of Butterick teen fashions 1362, 1388, 1344, and 1366. April 1927 Delineator, p. 29.

Butterick styles for teens, 1927. Patterns 1362 and 1388.

Descriptions of Butterick 1362 and 1388.

Details of Butterick’s “tomboy suit,” pattern 1344, and a surplice dress, 1366. Delineator, April 1927.

Descriptions of Butterick patterns 1344 and 1366.

“Size 19 years ” had a 38 inch bust. Size 15 years was proportionately smaller. For more about 1920’s pattern sizing click here.

 

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Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, Hats, Sportswear, Vintage Accessories, Vintage Couture Designs, Vintage patterns

Unexpected Styles for the Expectant, from Vogue, 1924

What do these outfits have in common?

Evening clothes featured in Vogue, August 15, 1924. Illustration by Leslie Saalburg.

Fashions featured in Vogue, February 1924, p. 74.

Fashion suggestions from Vogue, Feb. 1924: “Maternity Clothes Which Avoid the Obvious.”

That’s right. These are illustrations of maternity fashions which could be purchased or made to order.

Text, top left, pg. 74; Vogue, Feb. 1924. Were the cape-backed dresses and coats supposed to balance a pregnant woman’s expanding front?

The idea was to dress, not in clothing designed specifically to provide comfort and convenience for an expanding body, but in clothing which resembled — and sometimes was — current off-the-rack or made-to-order fashion. (Even in the 1960’s, good quality department stores assumed that garments would be altered to fit the customer. Men’s departments offered tailoring service — trousers often came unfinished, and jackets were expected to need sleeve-length adjustments. In the twenties, women’s clothing received the same personalization from a staff of skilled seamstresses.)

Vogue’s advice for mothers-to-be in the nineteen twenties was to dress normally, in larger sizes, and choose styles with elements that distracted from the abdomen. Hence these elaborate collars and scarves:

(Left to right) “Lingerie collars of satin, batiste, crepe, or pleated crepe or batiste are easily made and soften a dark cloth neckline.”

“Draping, pleats or panels should not be placed where one is inclined to be largest, but always either above or below that point…. Brilliant colors should be avoided, except perhaps in small accessories…. It is always wise, both from the point of view of health and of appearance, to avoid high heels…. The individual figure should be studied before purchasing a costume. The tight, flat back, however, must always be avoided…. For one, the  apron-front is not so appropriate as the cape-back, while for another, a blouse or panel-back is most becoming and the apron-front is essential.” — Vogue, February 1924.

Vogue’s maternity articles, in February and August of 1924, mostly illustrated clothing that could be purchased from Lane Bryant or Mary Walls. Mary Walls’ shop was located in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. She made authorized copies of French designer clothing.

Maternity evening clothes from Lane Bryant, illustrated in Vogue, August 15, 1924.

Text describing maternity evening clothes from Lane Bryant, Aug. 1924, Vogue.

The cape at left, below, was available in coral red, beige, or French blue kasha [a kind of wool;] Vogue allowed the wearing of “brilliant color” in the case of the cape.

Designs available from Mary Walls which could be adjusted for maternity wear [up to a point.] Vogue, Feb. 1924.

Notice the cape-back on the coat, and on the dress below:

More back emphasis. The wrap dress, left, is from Lane Bryant. The pleated suit at right is from Mary Walls. “Pleats or panels should not be placed where one is inclined to be largest, but always either above or below that point….” [Presumably the blouse in “flame” is not recommended for maternity wear.]

Recommended for maternity wear, Vogue, Feb. 1924.

Left, the “fichu-collar” seems designed to accentuate a baby bump, but Vogue recommended it as a distraction. The “apron-front” was suggested for some, but not all, pregnant figures. A surplice line dress (like that at right)  was often recommended as slenderizing.

Maternity styles recommended in Vogue, Feb. 1924. A cape-back, lots of pleats, and neckline interest.

“Pleats are to be depended on for disguising the figure.” I can’t imagine that any figure was enhanced by the maternity dress on the right, but it was sold by Lane Bryant, who pioneered maternity clothing. Incidentally, the inclusion of so many Lane Bryant maternity fashions in Vogue articles, illustrated alongside clothing from a top New York custom shop, makes me think of Lane Bryant customers in a new way. [Of course, Lane Bryant was a regular advertiser in Vogue….]

Lane Bryant offered this maternity gown for evening in 1924. “Dinner dress” illustrated in Vogue, Feb. 1924, p. 75.

“The models on this page are all adaptations of the mode, and while they are for maternity wear and are made invisibly adjustable at a low waist line by means of elastic and snaps, they are not necessarily maternity models; in other words, they are clothes that any one might choose for chic.” — Vogue, Feb. 1924.

Vogue ran another article on maternity styles later in 1924.

“Tea-gown or informal dinner-gown.” Details from a maternity fashion article in Vogue, August 1924.

Details from “Maternity Wardrobe Meets the Mode,” Vogue, August. 1924, p. 56.

The “frock” at left plus the coat at right is a “three-piece costume,” so the frock may be a two piece outfit.

The fourth illustration from “Maternity Wardrobe Meets the Mode”, Vogue, August 1924, p. 56. There is as much fullness in the back as in the front.

Capes, pleats, and restrained colors — black, brown, cocoa, and navy blue — are still the editors’ choice for expectant mothers in 1924. Again, the importance of choosing shoes for safety and comfort (and correct fit on swelling feet) was emphasized. In February, Vogue also proclaimed that “no woman should go without a corset at this time, even though she does not ordinarily wear one, for the support is absolutely necessary.” But I’ll leave the subject of maternity corsets for another day.

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Filed under 1920s, Maternity clothes

Coats, Suits, and Print dresses, March 1926

Some of the colors used here are now associated with an autumn palette, but these Spring clothes for women from March, 1926, have their own charm.

A page of patterns for young women, Delineator, March 1926, page 27.

Skirts were still below the knee, except for young girls, but the Art Deco fabrics and geometric touches I love about the twenties are definitely present.

Women’s coats could be sleek or sporty:

Butterick coat pattern 6668, in black, and coat 6639 over dress 6653. March 1926. Fashions for women.

Capes were also popular, sometimes being attached to dresses or coats.

Butterick dresses 6662 (in Vermilion red) and 6659, shown with cape 6618. March, 1926. These are for young women.

Dresses with a fitted basque (i.e., bodice) and a gathered skirt, like No. 6662,  were often worn by young heroines in the movies. No. 6659, in olive and black with a vaguely Asian print, looks like a skirt and blouse, but is really a dress.

Butterick suit 6641, caped coat No. 6622, and coat 6674. A tiny view of the dresses under this coat and Coat 6655, below, appeared in a circle between them.

Butterick coat 6685, coat-dress 6652, and another dress posing as separates, No. 6643. March 1926, Delineator. No. 6643 is made from a border print which increases in scale. The burnt orange band is printed on the dress fabric.

Butterick dresses 6648 and 6587, March 1926.

Women’s clothes included a double-breasted “box coat” (Butterick 6603) worn with a matching skirt (no. 6601) and blouse (6649); coat 6613 is shown over a coordinating green dress which matches its lining (6602); coat 6666 (right) is flared at the hem and made in a warm rust color. Delineator, March 1926.

Coats for young teens and even for little girls are as chic as adult versions:

Butterick coats for girls up to 15 (left) and for little girls, right, echo adult styles. 1926. Butterick 6609 with hat 6327; coat 6671 with hat 5952; girls’ coat patterns have collars, flare, and a capelet, just like their elders’.

Five different Butterick cloche hat patterns were illustrated — plus the turban shown with this matching cape and dress:

Butterick cape 6618 with dress 6642 and matching turban (Butterick pattern 6634.) March, 1926. Delineator, p.28.

“Ensemble coats and frocks are no longer dependent upon each other for color — they may match or they may not; but, if not, the contrast must be studied and chic.”

Text, page 29; Delineator, March 1926.

Dresses were often made of colorful printed fabrics.

Six dresses for women, Delineator page 29, March 1926.

Butterick patterns 6640, shown in a geometric pink border print; Butterick 6610, with sheer embroidered sleeves, and Butterick 6623, illustrated in a print inspired by Chinese cloud designs.

A very “twenties” abstract print in blue and white (Butterick pattern 6655;) a floral print on black (6647,) and a dark green dress with geometric accents (6658,) 1926.

More print dresses were illustrated in black and white:

Print dresses for young women, 1926. Butterick patterns 6648, 6679, 6687, and 6659. Delineator, p. 26, March 1926. The diamond-patterned dress is another border print; the dress at far left [correction: far right] plays with stripes and angles; a green and black print version appeared at the top of this post.

Of course, young women need party dresses for spring dances and graduation parties; these are made special by hand embroidery in beads or silk floss. (Butterick sold embroidery transfers, and featured lots of embroidery on 1920’s dresses.)

Party or evening frocks for young women, Delineator, page 26, March 1926. Dresses 6645 and 6676; embroidery transfers 10357 and 10425. 1926. Both dresses have scalloped hemlines, perhaps trimmed with beads. [It’s hard to believe that dress 6645 would flare like that when weighted down with beads, however.]

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Filed under 1920s, Children's Vintage styles, Hats, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns

The Second Dart: A 1920’s Pattern Alteration for Busty Women

“The Reason for the Second Dart,” by Sarah Churchill. From a series about sewing pattern alterations that appeared in Butterick’s Delineator magazine in the 1920’s. This is from the July 1927 issue, page 26.

We tend to think of nineteen twenties dresses as shapeless tubes, but that’s not necessarily true. Dresses might have shirring or smocking or pintucks to create a small amount of fullness over the bust, or they might have a small bust dart — or even two!

This brief article from Butterick’s Delineator magazine shows how to alter a dress pattern to accommodate a full breasted figure.

The woman with a lorgnette (!) advises her friend on the way to eliminate a fitting problem caused by a larger than average bust.

The cut out dress is pinned together and tried on inside out. You can see that the pattern does have a bust dart in the side seam, but the dress fits poorly. The side seam curves toward the front. (And the dart seems too high….)

” ‘I cut this dress by those instructions you are always cheering for,’ announced the young woman of the illustration, ‘but it scoops in under me in the back and sticks out in front, and whatever does this queer long wrinkle mean?’ It meant, that ‘queer’ wrinkle, running from the bust to the underarm seam in a long curving sweep, the the frock was pushed out of place by the bust. This in turn, meant that the bust is larger than is average. The type of figure which is very full in the bust is often correspondingly narrow through the back, and the sum total of inches registered by the tape measure will indicate an average size for a figure not actually average.” — Sarah Churchill

This reminds me of the fitting room saying that “The wrinkle points to the problem;” that long wrinkle starts at the side seam and points up, toward her bust point.

This woman does not have an “average” twenties’ figure. (And clearly, she is not wearing a bust flattener.)

The problem of buying patterns (or, worse, brassieres) by the measurement taken around the fullest part of the bust is not new to me. A friend who is 5′ 10″ and athletic wears a size 38 A bra. She has a big ribcage (37″), a broad back, and small breasts. But another woman who also measures 38 inches around the fullest part of the bust may have a narrow back, a 34 inch ribcage and large breasts. Her bra size would be 34 D. And that is the kind of figure that the woman in these illustrations has.

“However, all is not lost. The frock merely needs a little adjusting — another dart to the front at each side.”

The extra fabric that created the long wrinkle is pinched out by unpinning the side seam and creating a second bust dart, which pulls the side seam into a line perpendicular to the floor. Delineator article, July 1927.

“This gives the bust the room it needs and the frock falls as it should. The back is now an inch or so longer than the front. We shall cut this off with a free hand swing since it is a one-piece frock and no complications to be encountered, and all will be well. The frock now hangs smartly. In this case, chic depended on a little dart!” — Sarah Churchill, Delineator, July 1927, p. 26.

After the second dart is created, the side seam hangs correctly and the full bust does not distort the dress.

“To those who wonder why I did not deepen the dart already in the frock, I would point out that a second dart distributes the fullness with better effect. [W2F: I also suspect that, since the dress is already cut, there might not be enough seam allowance for one, deep dart.] However, if the frock had started out with two darts, I would have deepened both evenly…. For the depth of the dart, experiment until the frock hangs straight.” — Sarah Churchill

Churchill goes on to explain that, if the back of the dress were not one, simple piece — [if, perhaps, it had a hip girdle or a separate, pleated skirt piece] — then the whole back would need to be recut, eliminating the extra inch by placing the pattern on top of the fabric and recutting the neck, shoulder, and armholes to raise the back by an inch (or whatever length the extra dart had removed in front.)

Voila!

Before and after the dress alteration which added a second dart. Delineator, July 1927, p. 26.

For anyone who has ever struggled to recreate 1920’s styles — under the assumption that bust darts were never used — this advice from 1927 should make you feel better. Here’s a 1925 illustration of a suit from Chanel — with a bust dart.

https://witness2fashion.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/1925-jan-designers-chanel.jpg?w=500

 

 

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Filed under 1920s, Resources for Costumers, Tricks of the Costumer's Trade