Tag Archives: dinner dress

Dinner Suit for Summer or Cruise, late 1930s

A dinner suit, linen or rayon, late 1930s. From a private collection.

A dinner suit, linen or rayon, late 1930s. From a private collection.

After writing about 1936 swimsuits and dresses for a cruise to Cuba or Bermuda, I remembered this vintage suit which was collected by a friend. It was white linen (or linen-look rayon) with a medium-large navy floral print. It has a low, square-cut back, like the evening dresses for a 1936 cruise. It’s fresh and young-looking, but the cut is quite conservative (you could easily wear a low-backed corset under it, whereas more dramatic 30s evening gowns require the wearer to go bra-less.)

A dinner suit and evening dress to wear on a tropic cruise. Ladies' Home Journal, Feb. 1936.

A dinner suit and evening dress to wear on a tropic cruise. Ladies’ Home Journal, Feb. 1936.

Here are front and back views of the linen-look dinner dress:dress front and backThe bodice has a triangular insert that creates a squarish neckline. There is fullness in the front rather than darts, so it may have had a slight blouson when worn. Like this black and white gown from the cruise article, there is more fullness in the skirt back than in the front:

Ladies' Home Journal, Feb. 1936.

Ladies’ Home Journal, Feb. 1936.

The jacket is longer in the back than in the front, which looks graceful in profile, and its short, loose sleeves are very comfortable for an evening in a warm climate.suit jacket front side backThe puffy sleeves probably date this to the late thirties; here are some sleeves (1937) with a similar silhouette, but different construction:

Butterick-Companion patterns from Woman's Home Companion, January 1937.

Butterick-Companion patterns from Woman’s Home Companion, January 1937.

This suit did not have a manufacturer’s label; the jacket and bodice were lined, but the skirt was not. The dress closed with snaps at the side, plus a hook at the waist — always a good idea!

Side underarm bodice closing. Some female snaps are missing. The skirt (right) is unlined.

Side underarm bodice closing. The female snaps are not visible. The skirt (right) is unlined.

Here’s a closer look at the princess-line jacket:lg V173 jacket frontThe buttons are self-covered and the buttonholes were hand-bound: lg V173 jacket buttons

Karen at Fifty Dresses has been writing marvelous posts about Moygashel linen (she even found a 1955 advertisement picturing one of her vintage fabric purchases!) Click here to read her post and see the clever dress she made from a very small remnant.)

I think this dinner suit was made by the wearer — or her dressmaker — and I wouldn’t be surprised to come across the pattern someday!



Filed under 1930s, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Dresses, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing

Draped Blouses, November 1937

“One glance at this page should leave no doubt in your mind about bodice drapery. It is headline news. You can’t ignore it — especially in the more formal type of blouse shown here. Lame, crepe, velvet, sheer wool — a short length of material plus one of these patterns is all you need to have a blouse. Make several to revive a suit or top a velvet skirt. They are a boon for special occasions and an easy way of expanding your wardrobe.” — Woman’s Home Companion, November 1937.WHC 1937 nov p 96 drapery in blouse 7623 7625 7629 7627There are four separate patterns here. They are all shown as overblouses — two look rather like jackets.

Budget Dressing During the Depression

These blouses, all meant to be worn over the skirt, look marvelous in color, but it’s easy to imagine them also made in white or pastels for office wear, or made of crêpe or wool with a matching skirt. 1937 was still Depression-era, and Companion-Butterick patterns were often described as an economical way to make your wardrobe look bigger than it was.

In this case, “a short length” of a luxury material like lamé or velvet would be more affordable than a whole evening-dress length, and you could pair one evening blouse with different skirts or wear it over a simple evening dress. This was a time when dinner dresses were worn to restaurants and theatres, as well as to private homes. Pattern 7625 would be very appropriate for a “dinner suit.”

Companion-Butterick Pattern 7625

Companion-Butterick pattern, Nov. 1937.

Companion-Butterick pattern, Nov. 1937.

This jacket-like blouse could also be made in a short-sleeved version, which would be pretty under a suit jacket. The pattern description does not say anything about how it closes. This is the only blouse pattern with set-in sleeves.

Companion-Butterick Pattern 7629

Companion-Butterick Pattern 7629, Nov.1937

Companion-Butterick Pattern 7629, Nov. 1937

This blouse looks very current to me, except for the little belt in back, which snugs it to the waist. It seems to be cut on the bias. Or I can imagine a modern version in knit, with an invisible side zipper. The pattern description doesn’t say how it closes; the shorter sleeves seem to be ruched to 3/4 length, but wrist length sleeves are also illustrated.

Companion-Butterick Pattern 7623

Companion-Butterick Pattern 7623, Nov. 1937.

Companion-Butterick Pattern 7623, Nov. 1937.

A longer-sleeved version was included. Again, there is no information about how you got this tightly fitted blouse on and off. The gold novelty buttons – if that’s what they are – are a nice touch.

Companion-Butterick Pattern 7627

Companion-Butterick Pattern 7627, Nov. 1937

Companion-Butterick Pattern 7627, Nov. 1937

This blouse has interesting sleeve variations and a waist that looks almost like a vest or weskit. Since it has a center back seam, it may use a center back zipper. Lamé was not the only metallic fabric available in the 1930s, as you can see from this 1936 advertisement for Fleischmann’s yeast. 1936 metallic blouse Fleischmann's yeast adAll four of the Companion-Butterick patterns were available in sizes 30 to 44 inch bust measure.

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Filed under 1930s, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Vintage patterns