I’m charmed by this asymmetrical blouse (called a “waist’) from 1917; Butterick must have had faith in the design, too, because this pattern was featured several times between October and December in Butterick’s Delineator magazine.
It was illustrated in full color in October, made of velveteen and “chiffon cloth,” and trimmed with fur, right:Many other fabric combinations were suggested.
It was featured in an article about making new clothes from old, this time in black velvet and black satin.
In December, waist pattern 9415 was shown in sheer, royal blue Georgette and matching satin, trimmed with self-colored bands of sequin trim:“Paris has made a compromise and adopted the semi-evening gown (designs 9415 — 9536) which, most of the time, is a bit of transparency trying to disguise itself as a high neck and demure long sleeve.” The sheer sleeves could also end in gathers at the wrist.
Depending on fabric choice, Pattern 9415 could be part of a dressy day outfit, an elegant afternoon dress, or a “semi-formal” evening gown. And, as was customary in 1917, the bodice could be combined with different skirts.
Note: In Victorian times, when skirts used a great deal of costly fabric, smart women had two bodices made to coordinate with one skirt. Usually there was a daytime bodice with long sleeves and a high neck, and an evening bodice, which bared the arms, the shoulders, and a good deal of the bust. At a time when wearing evening dress for dinner was expected, this must have simplified travel and country house visits.
Each time Pattern 9415 was illustrated, it was shown with a different skirt pattern.
Here is its first appearance, in October 1917: (No. 9415 is at right.)
Although it looks olive green to me, Delineator described it as battleship-gray.
“Fur, machine-hem-stitching and a soft girdle [sash] do their bit to trim a smart frock for Autumn affairs, illustrated here in battleship-gray chiffon cloth and velveteen (designs 9415 — 9418.) …The draped girdle is velveteen to match the lower part of the skirt and forms a sash which can be made in two different lengths. The French lining is essential. Machine-hemstitching in self-color outlines the straight upper part of the skirt. It is made in two pieces, while the two-pieced lower portion is cut in slightly circular shape. Satin, charmeuse, crepe de Chine, crepe meteor or velveteen combines beautifully with silk crepe, chiffon or silk voile; or serge, broadcloth or gabardine is pretty with satin.”
Serge or gabardine are definitely day-time fabrics, and satin was often worn in the daytime during World War I because of fabric shortages. (Wool was needed for uniforms, and linen was needed for covering airplanes!)
“French lining” means a closely fitted bodice inside the garment; it would support and stabilize the fashion fabrics, especially when they were draped, as in No. 9415.
This is the back view of waist 9415 and skirt 9418; the absence of a visible waistband on the skirt is surprising to me:
Obviously, you could trim the blouse’s collar with embroidery and a tassel, in this variation.
When No. 9415 was suggested as a way to recycle old dress fabric, skirt No. 9408 was suggested; perhaps you could salvage a strip of velvet for skirt front and back and enough to cover the bottom of the skirt; the fabric under the satin sides of the skirt would not be visible.
The “semi-evening” combination of waist pattern 9415 and skirt pattern 9536 used chiffon in the bodice and overskirt.
“The foundation skirt is in two pieces and the transparent one-piece handkerchief overskirt is very graceful and falls in softly with the season’s narrow lines. A straight gathered flounce could be used. Silk crepe, chiffon, tulle, net, and silk marquisette are lovely used with satin, crepe meteor, silver cloth or taffeta in orchid with silver banding, rose and coral color, sapphire blue or turquoise blue…. Bottom of foundation skirt measures 1 3/4 yard.”
In the theatre, a bodice and skirt like this would be attached by hooks and bars at side front, sides, and side backs — hooks on the inside of the bodice, bars on the skirt, hidden by their overlap.
What is not illustrated is the closures — how do you get in and out of these clothes? Dresses of this period often have a closing in a different place in each layer — such as at the center front of the French lining, and at the side of the fashion fabric, which in turn would be hidden by the wrapped sash and more snaps or hooks to hold that in place and conceal the opening. Click here for another set of 1917 waist and skirt combinations.