Tag Archives: afternoon dress

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

Who Would Ever Guess?

Companion-Butterick Triad pattern #6948, 1936

Companion-Butterick Triad pattern #6948, 1936

These Are Maternity Dresses from 1936

Woman's Home Companion, August 1936

Illustration by Ernst. Woman’s Home Companion, August 1936

I look at those slim 1930s hips, those flat 1930s bellies, and, even after reading the full text, it’s hard to imagine how these dresses expanded to cover the ninth month of pregnancy.

However, it’s important to remember that women did try to conceal their pregnancies as long as possible in this time period.

How to Look Smart Before the Baby Comes

1936 aug p 62 maternity pattern 6948 dress jacketThe text says “You can be just as smartly dressed as ever and perhaps a little prettier than usual in a maternity wardrobe that is well-chosen and carefully planned.  All you need as a guide is Triad Pattern No. 6948.  The style is a straight concealing wrap-around with three flattering necklines and a separate jacket.  One version is your afternoon dress of dark pure silk with a soft shirred blouse and pastel collars.  The second dress of sheer wool has a more tailored look with a squared-off button bib.   The third gives you a simple and attractive house dress of sanforized shrunk cotton.  Add to these essentials comfortable kid oxfords, soft all-Lastex brassieres, one of the special new adjustable elastic girdles and underwear that is wrap-around or two sizes larger that usual. Be sure that your coat has a wide lap-over and your hat a becoming brim.  You’ll be surprised to find how well you look.”

1936 aug p 62 closup back 6948 back tiesThe back views of pattern #6948 show that all three versions tied with a sash behind, and there is a deep pleat or fold of material which presumably could be released to expand the dress as needed. (I wish there was a pattern layout illustration! Exactly how it worked is not very clear, since the fold seems to run up into the bodice only on the dress at left.)

A Lane Bryant Maternity Dress, 1934

This 1934 catalog from the Lane Bryant company, which had pioneered maternity clothing in 1904, shows that Companion-Butterick patterns were not alone in designing clothes which expanded only from the back and tried to look as much as possible like normal fashions for as long as possible. “Designed to conceal condition. . . .”1934 march p 80 lane bryant maternity catalogFashion-incubator.com discusses the early Lane Bryant Maternity catalogs and how they handled sizing — ingeniously!


Filed under 1930s, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Maternity clothes

Companion-Butterick Triad Dress Pattern for Women after Fifty, May 1937

Companion-Butterick pattern # 7353, May 1937

Companion-Butterick pattern # 7363, Woman’s Home Companion, May 1937. Illustrated by ERNST

7363 Triad Dress. Sizes, 34 to 52 inch bust measure. Size 40 requires 4 1/4 yards 35-inch material for house dress; 4 ½ yards 35-inch material for sports dress; 4 1/4 yards 39-inch material for afternoon dress. Price of pattern, 45 cents.

“You cannot be too particular about lines, colors and fabrics – when you are on the after side of fifty. Everything you wear must look as if made to your special order.  That is why this Triad pattern is a perfect solution for the three new dresses you will undoubtedly need this summer.

“The lines of 7363 are all part of a plot to make you look younger, slimmer. The darts which let in fullness at the top, the three different blouse fronts, each long-lined, the straight pleats in the skirt, stitched down above the knee and extending above the waist in two versions, the perfectly smooth shoulders – all these are flattering and new.” — Woman’s Home Companion

Afternoon Dress

Afternoon Dress

Afternoon Dress

“So are the fabrics and colors illustrated here.  Try a soft gray and white silk print as a change from navy and touch it up with a luscious medium blue.”

Sports Dress

Spectator Sport Dress

Spectator Sport Dress

“Keep to pink or any other becoming pastel for your spectator sports linen, set off with this season’s saddle stitching.”

House Dress


Green Housedress in a Modernistic Print

“And then let yourself go, practically to modernism, in a gay cotton for the house.”

Women over Forty in Advertisements from the Woman’s Home Companion

In addition to the Triad Pattern for women “after fifty,” the  May, 1937 issue had the usual ads and articles; Mother’s Day was probably the inspiration for the article about Mother/Daughter Hair styling. Women’s magazines had a wealth of shoe advertisements, many stressing comfort and good arch support, and aimed at the older woman.

White Shoes for Summer, 1937

Florsheim Shoes for Summer, May 1937 ad

Florsheim Shoes for Summer, May 1937 ad Click to enlarge

The model for Pattern #7363 is wearing shoes very similar to these in white kid, “Juliette, W-364” shown in a Florsheim ad in the same issue of the Woman’s Home Companion. These shoes cost $9.50 to $10.50 – definitely middle-class. [Summer shoes from Sears cost about $2.00 in 1936. A nurse earned $20 to $35 per week.]

Foot Saver Shoes, ad from May 1937

Foot Saver Shoes, ad from May 1937  Click to enlarge

These Foot Saver shoes were even more expensive, costing up to $14.75. The model looks young, but young women were more likely to choose strappy, white sandal-type shoes than lace-ups.

Hair Styles for Older Women

This one was done at the Marshall Field store’s salon: “How a daughter would like her mother to dress her hair — and vice versa.”

Hairstyles for Mother and Daughter, Chicago, 1937

Hairstyles for Mother and Daughter, Chicago, 1937

I can’t resist ending with a less glamorous picture of  middle-aged women, as well. A more natural hairdo — and a less rosy view of life after forty — is presented in this ad for Scot Bathroom Tissue:

Ad for ScotTissue: "Are You Past Forty?"

Ad for ScotTissue: “Are You Past Forty?”

“Are you past forty? It is estimated that 65% at middle age suffer from rectal ailments. Then the comfort of Luxury Texture is doubly appreciated.” Oh, dear.  Time to count my blessings…. I do like the casual hair style in this ad; you can believe the model did it herself. Her crisp collar and print dress are quite chic for a housedress.


Filed under 1930s, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Hairstyles, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Shoes, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes

An Art Deco Fringed Dress, November 1926

nov 1926 butterick  ad pattern #1090In this illustration by Jean Desvignes for The Delineator, Butterick pattern #1090 is a classic of Style Moderne, the repeated curves of the lines of fringe accented by the repeated triangles in the model’s jewelry – and in the shape of her fingers, her stockings, and the elongated triangle formed by her legs. Even her shingled hair, worn smooth over the crown, curves to expose her earlobes and dangling earrings; the curves of the stylized 1920s rose in her hand and the curves and angles of the constructivist sculpture on the table echo the fringe.

The Chrysler Building's Curves and Tringles

The Chrysler Building’s Curves and Tringles

The tout ensemble reminds me of the Chrysler Building.

Here are some closer views of her Art Deco bracelets and the necklace cascading down her back (very 1920s!) details of  jewelry, heels, fringe

Desvignes has given her a jeweled belt to echo her rhinestone-studded high heels – perhaps it was woven, like a necklace, of black and silver beads – or it may be artistic license, since it ties like a ribbon. It was possible to buy jeweled heels like this  and have them put on your shoes.  Here’s a closer view of the curves of her dress: 1926 fringed dress detail butterick #1090 ad

Another View of the Same Pattern (#1090)

1926 dec #1090 version 2 front p 46 alt croppedDevignes’ illustration was part of an advertisement for Butterick patterns, so it’s interesting to compare his version with this conventional pattern illustration, which appeared elsewhere in the same issue of this Delineator magazine.

“# 1090: Pale dawn-blue georgette spattered with crystal stars is intended for the night life that begins one day and ends the next. The uneven line of the tiers and the backward flutter from the shoulder are extremely chic. The frock is in one piece and may be trimmed with tiers of fringe and made with a higher neck and a sleeve for afternoon. [The version with sleeves was probably illustrated on the pattern envelope.] The design is beaded with sequins. [Butterick embroidery pattern #10422] Designed for women 32 to 44 bust.”

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Filed under 1920s, Vintage patterns