Tag Archives: Butterick 2125 dress with bow 1928 1920s

Twenties’ Styles for Burn-Out Velvet

Vintage Twenties’ dress in champagne-colored silk velvet chiffon (burn-out velvet.) Private collection.

Some people call this “cut velvet“; it’s also called “burn-out,” “voided,”or “devoure” (with an accent aigue on the final e: dev’-00r-ay.)  The places where there is no velvet pile can be sheer, like chiffon; or satin-y, as in this bustle-era cape or mantle (the leaves are plush velvet, and the spaces between feel like heavy satin:)

Victorian dolman cape made to fit over a bustle dress. Cut (voided) velvet/satin brocade with silk chenille fringe. Private collection.

Back view, vintage twenties’ cut velvet and chiffon evening or afternoon dress. The top looks lighter because the skirt lining has been lost.

A close-up shows damage to the vintage chiffon back drapery and the burn-out silk, but you can see how sheer and chiffon-like the burnt-out areas are. A silk or rayon lining in the sale color as the velvet makes the subtle effect seen at left.

I don’t have a really good photo of this twenties’ fabric, but, if I were trying to reproduce this dress, I would visit Thai Silks.  Currently, you can find convincing period fabrics like this one for $25 to $28 per yard. Multi-colored, printed burn-out velvets will make a glamorous Twenties’ dress, and work best with a very simple dress pattern: easy elegance. Thai Silk is also a good source for silk charmeuse, silk satin, crepe de chine, etc.

On this store-bought twenties’ vintage dress, designs in velvet form a border on sheer black chiffon.

Butterick 2125; suggested fabrics were satin, metal cloth, or lace, but rayon silk velvet would also look like this. Delineator, September 1928.

I don’t usually recommend businesses on this blog, but as a theatrical costumer — twenty years ago — I used to love the company called Thai Silks. I was close enough to shop there in person, but you can order (one yard minimum!) online. The online catalog is downloadable, and they will mail you a swatch or two before you commit to a purchase. Burn-out velvet (very 1920’s) is currently about $25 per yard. If you like Britex, you might love Thai Silks.

Butterick patterns for velvet dresses, Delineator, November 1928, p. 118. The printed velvet second from left is Butterick 1785, for sizes 34 to 48. Second from right is Butterick 2232. The print velvet on No. 2232 looks much like this one.  These velvet dresses are for afternoon wear.

Note: the “hand” of real silk or rayon/silk velvet is nothing like the stiff “decorator” velvet sold in many fabric chain stores. Thai Silks sells many rayon/silk blends, so asking for a swatch allows you to “feel” if it will behave properly for your pattern. Rayon and silk are both authentic 1920’s fabrics.

About rayon/silk velvet: one of the first synthetic fabrics, rayon is cellulose based, like cotton and linen. Silk, like wool, is protein based. Chemicals that make it possible to dissolve the protein (silk) and leave the cellulose (rayon) intact make it possible to create burn-out effects. (I’m working from memory here, so if you need more information, please look for a more knowledgeable source on devoure silk!)

These print dresses from Delineator, November 1928, could be made from printed velvet if you use silk velvet or a soft rayon/silk blend. Butterick 2335 and 2299. (Maybe this one?)

Printed silks in patterns suitable for the 1920’s (including “necktie silk”) are still being made, if you shop carefully.

It’s important to remember that the labor (or time) spent making a dress is almost always more “expensive” than the fabric. Three or four yards of quality silk or silk velvet fabric (under $100 total) will result in a dress worth hundreds of dollars, and putting all that work into a polyester dress will never give the same result. Luckily, the more interesting your fabric, the less complex your dress style should be, so that the fabric, not the trim, is the real star. [Be aware that stitching velvet requires careful pinning and basting, and practice.]

Two views of Butterick 1118, from Delineator, November 1926.

Delineator suggested transparent “night blue” velvet for this evening gown. White or plum or another color of velvet would be just as lovely. So would many other silks.

The Exotic Silks company offers basically the same products as Thai Silks, and offers a large sample set of velvet swatches for $12 (2017 price.) However, Exotic Silks is a wholesaler; (minimum order for silk is 15 yards and for velvet is 28 yards.) Thai Silks has a one yard minimum and will send you swatches of the fabrics you really are interested in; you can phone them. Thai Silks also offers several sets of swatches, $12 and up. (I believe Exotic Silks and Thai Silks are two branches of the same store, wholesale and retail.)

P.S. Here is the store label from this 1880’s cape; today, fabric similar to this is often sold as upholstery velvet:

1880’s dolman cape, front view. The “sleeves” are held in place with internal ties; this is a cape, not a jacket with fitted sleeves.

Label from bustle-era cape: “L.F.W. Arend & Co., Importers & Mfturers, Chicago.”

Click here for a Pinterest page full of late Victorian mantles like this.

 

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Filed under 1870s to 1900s fashions, 1920s, 1920s-1930s, Costumes for the 19th century, Dresses, evening and afternoon clothes, Resources for Costumers, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes

The Bows of Summer, 1928

Big bows accent these evening dresses from July 1928. Left, Butterick 2087; right, Butterick 2109. Delineator magazine illustrations.

As much as I admire the Art Deco geometry of many 1920’s dresses, I can’t ignore the huge number of softly draped dresses accented with big bows, like this couture dress by Lucien Lelong from 1928.

A day dress from Paris designer Lucien Lelong; sketched for Delineator, August 1928. “Deep blue is very new for fall. It is the color of this crepe satin frock with its drooping skirt and bow-tied bolero.”

Title of page 37, Delineator, August 1928. “The Bow Continues to Play its Part.”

A solitary bow at the shoulder could be used to balance asymmetrical skirt drapery, as in this evening pattern:

Butterick evening gown pattern 2176, Delineator, August 1928.

Bows could be placed symmetrically in the center of the body or and/or neckline:

Illustration for “Are Fashions French?” article. Delineator, August 1928. [Symmetrical, but slightly dull…]

A single bow in the center of the hip girdle is the focus of Butterick 2125, left. The single bow is shifted to the left side of Butterick 2135. August 1938.

When two bows were used, they could balance each other by being offset, one high on the right side and one near the waist on the left, but this was not always the case.

Left, a day dress with a bow centered on the neck and another bow, far to the side, on the hip. Far right, a more formal dress with bows that balance each other, one on the right shoulder and one on the left hip. Butterick 2129 and 2178. August 1928. On No. 2178, the eye is led from the shoulder to the hip diagonally across and down the body, for a dynamic and slenderizing effect.

Sometimes bows were both placed on one side of the body:

In this dress, all the interest is on the frock’s left side, at the asymmetrical neck and the skirt — not an easy look to do successfully.  Butterick coat 2149 and dress 2187. August 1928. The side panel on the dress hangs below the coat hem; this was acceptable in the twenties.

Butterick afternoon dress 2174 has a bow centered at the neck line and another off to the side hip. Butterick dress 2174 and coat 2151. Delineator, July 1928. (In this case, the illustrator does not show the side panel of the dress hanging out below the hem of the coat, as it does in the previous coat and dress illustration.)

Even schoolgirls had bows on their “good” dresses:

Left, Butterick 2137 — with four bows — shown on a teen-aged girl. Right, a “bolero” outfit, Butterick 2167. August 1928. After idealizing the “boyish” look, now the magazine extols the “new feminine feeling.” The book Uplift says teens were buying brassieres, not flatteners, in the late twenties.

Dress 2137 — with four bows — was not just for teens; the pattern was also available for women sizes 36 to 44 bust. There’s a different illustration of the same dress later in this post. The dress on the right, below (No. 2066) was similarly available for teens or adults.

All three of thee dresses from July 1928 focus on large bows. from left, Butterick 2038, 2129, and 2066. Delineator.

The dress on the left has a “bridge coat” worn over a sleeveless chiffon evening dress. “Without the coat it is a chic evening frock….” Day dresses were usually not so completely sleeveless that the shoulder bone was visible; evening dresses were sleeveless and had lower-cut armholes than tennis dresses.

The print dress in the center has “a blouse with crushed waistline, square neck, and bows at hip, neck, and wrists;” for sizes up to 44 inch bust. For the dress at the right with shirred front, a color scheme of red, white and blue was suggested.

Even dresses with a modern geometric quality might be made with an accent bow:

Butterick 2137 and 2127 have a style moderne quality — and big bows. Delineator, July 1928. This illustration of 2137 is much more stylized than its version for a teen, shown earlier.

Number 2127 could be made without the bow:

Butterick 2127 in two versions, August and July of 1928.

As you might expect, bows reached their full glory in evening wear. The bow could be at the back, suggesting a bustle…

Butterick 2087, an evening dress with enormous back bow, June and July illustrations, 1928. For young or small women.

Like the dresses of the thirties and forties, its bodice has an underarm opening in the left side seam.

… or the bow could be at the side:

Butterick evening gowns, No. 2148 and 2140. August 1928, Delineator. 2148 has both bows on its left side.

Butterick evening dresses 2112 and 2123 have bows at the side hip. July 1928, Delineator. Showing bare shoulders with narrow straps, seen on No. 2112, was a very new fashion. They were called “lingerie straps.”  Chanel showed one in 1926.

Paris designer louiseboulanger (the house of Louise Boulanger) even put one enormouse bow on the front of a dress, an idea which Butterick seems to have copied…. [Butterick’s bow could be on the left side of the front — the illustration is hard to read — but the dress itself is symmetrical, so I would guess the bow’s in the center.]

Left, couture gown by louiseboulanger, sketched for the May issue; right, Butterick pattern 2108. Delineator, May and July 1928.

This complex satin dress was featured in an ad for Kotex:

Draped satin dress from an ad for Kotex sanitary napkins, Delineator, August 1928. The effect of a bow seems to be created by the tucked satin, but it is probably a separate piece of fabric.

I didn’t find a credit for the dress designer. Is the model a living woman or a store mannequin? What a lovely face….

Detail of Kotex ad, Aug. 1928.

I think she resembles Lee Miller, photographer and model. Mannequins were sometimes based on recognizable people.

 

 

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Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, Vintage Couture Designs, Vintage patterns