This is a variation on my “Hems Going Down” posts. (Part 1: 1926) (Part 2: 1928.) While collecting images of 1920’s dresses with high-low hemlines, side drapes, back drapes, and handkerchief hems, I realized that I had quite a lot of pictures of late twenties’ dresses with tiers of flounces, often sharing a page with dresses that feature gigantic bows which flow into side drapes, etc.
Paris led the way, with couture frocks of increasing complexity. This simple, flounced, formal gown is by Chanel:
“This frock, stiffened at the edges, embroidered with chenille, is black net. From Chanel.”
So is this much more complicated red gown, trimmed with a huge bow:
“Velveteen is now an evening fabric. Chanel has chosen it in red in a very stiff quality for this frock.” The complexity of that cut would be daunting for a stitcher, in any fabric!
“This is the new tulle frock of the winter — it is all in tulle, from flowers to hemline. Lelong.” Note Lelong’s indecision about the waistline, with the dress’ belt lower than the waist of the slip.
“White chiffon and the glitter of white strass and crystal beads are used by Vionnet for this frock.” ‘Strass’ refers to a type of rhinestone. The skirt looks heavy with beading, and it seems to have a draped (cowl) neckline.
“Here Louiseboulanger has revived old-fashioned brocaded satin in brilliant yellow.” [Louise Boulanger’s design house used her name as one word, frequently all in lowercase letters.] Note the enormous amount of fabric used in the side drape — perhaps as much as used for the dress itself!
These dresses by Chanel and Lelong illustrate the accompanying text from The Delineator:
“The full skirt . . . drops at the back in a graceful point almost touching the floor, with a molded bodice cut higher than the slip, giving the effect of a transparent yoke of lace or chiffon . . . . The skirts, almost without exception, have an uneven hemline, and while the favorite movement is toward the back, there are many which have a diagonal line with a deep point on one side. [Like the Vionnet.]“
If there was any doubt about how quickly Butterick’s Paris office could translate designer fashions into patterns for its customers, here are six Butterick patterns which appeared in that same November 1928 issue of Butterick’s Delineator magazine:
The bow construction on Butterick 2317 deserves a closer look:
Tiers and flounces were also featured in these 1928 patterns:
The one on the left above has flounces and a bow. The high/low-hemmed dress at right is for a young woman.
Nothing succeeds like excess.
Although the “pillow” bow on the right is outrageous, the curved seams in the chiffon dress (far left) and the lace dress (center right) are real tests of sewing skill. The lace dress has both the uneven hem and sheer top [“the effect of a transparent yoke of lace or chiffon . . . . The skirts, almost without exception, have an uneven hemline.”] described in The Delineator.