Tag Archives: dress fabrics 1917 1910s

Something in the Air: Fabrics, 1917

Paisley, embroidery and large scale dots, March 1917. Delineator.

Print fabric, embroidery, and large scale dots, March 1917. Delineator.

At my grandmother’s house was an inexpensive child’s version of The Arabian Nights, with black and white illustrations that fascinated me.

Illustration from title page of Arabian Nights, Winston edition, 1924.

Illustration from title page of Arabian Nights, John C. Winston Co. edition, 1924. Illustrator not named.

The Enchanted Horse, illustration from Arabian Nights, John Winston Co., 1924

The Enchanted Horse, illustration from Arabian Nights, John C. Winston Co., 1924. The artist’s initial in the corner is FR.

Illustration for The Arabian Nights, probably by Rene Bull.

Illustration for The Arabian Nights, probably by Rene Bull. A feast of pattern and textures in black and white.

I recently located an edition similar to the one I loved and lost. When I began to research the illustrator, things got complicated. My 1924 book, published in America by the John C. Winston Co., says “with colored plates by Adeline H. Bolton.” But the black and white illustrations, much more exciting (to me) are not credited, and they appear to be by more than one artist, “FR” and Rene Bull among them. And some, at least, date back to 1912.

It even appears that “Adeline H. Bolton” . . .

Color illustration signed A. Bolton. Winston edition.

Color illustration signed A. H. Bolton. Winston edition. 1924

. . . may have been hired to paint like Rene Bull. I can’t identify “FR”, but at least some of the black and white illustrations are signed by Rene Bull — who had done illustrations for a 1912 British edition of The Arabian Nights, also published that year in the U.S. by Dodd, Mead, & Company. Bull illustrated The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayam in 1913, and Russian Ballet, by A.E. Johnson, also in 1913.

Illustration from Russian Ballet, 1913 ed., by Rene Bull.

Illustration from Russian Ballet, 1913 edition, signed Rene Bull in lower right corner.

I’m not the first to notice that the costumes of the Ballets Russesan explosion of color, embroidery, jewels, and complex pattern — influenced fashion in the first part of the twentieth century! Oddly, the contemporary book Russian Ballet (1913) is not illustrated with costume sketches by Bakst, who designed many of them, but by that well-known illustrator of Middle Eastern tales, Rene Bull.

Looking through Delineator fashion illustrations from 1917, I keep seeing echoes of my old Arabian Nights, which may have been pirated in part from the 1912 Rene Bull edition. The stripes, the embroidery, the gauzy fabrics and large-scale prints, even the poses, show how deeply this kind of art permeated the era. “Zeitgeist” might be too strong a word, but “something in the air” might apply to fashion illustration, Rene Bull, “FR”, and textile designs inspired by them.

Illustration by FH for Arabian Nights. The Princess feigns madness.

Illustration by FR for Arabian Nights:  The Princess feigns madness. A riot of checks, stripes, dots, arabesques of sheer fabric, and embroidery.

Sheer top with embroidery Feb. 1917. Delineator.

Sheer dress with embroidery Feb. 1917. Delineator.

April 1917 lingerie dresses, Butterick's Delineator.

April 1917 lingerie dresses, Butterick’s Delineator. Embroidered circles on sheer fabric, left; widely spaced circular patterns on right.

Airy poses, and a long gown with large-scale pattern, by Doucet. 1917. Delineator.

Airy-fairy-peri poses, and a long gown with large-scale pattern of medallions of “blue and green Chinois flowers,” by Doucet. 1917. The bodice has “diamonds and sapphires embroidered over silver lace.” Delineator.

(A peri is a magical being from The Arabian Nights. There’s an illustration of one later in the post.)

Large scale pattern and drifting draperies, 1917. The Ballets Russes repertory included Greek costumes for "Narcissus" and "Afternoon of a Faun."

Large scale circular pattern and sheer, drifting draperies, 1917.

The Ballets Russes repertory included Greek costumes  (like the third, above) for “Narcissus” and “Afternoon of a Faun.” This advertisement, from much later, shows that complex black and white patterns still appealed to readers in the 1920’s.

This illustration in an ad for Needle Art appeared in 1924. Delineator.

This illustration is an ad for Needle Art which appeared in 1924. Delineator. I love the play of black and white patterns, still appealing to readers long after 1917.

Large scale patterns, stripes, emboidery, exoticism. Illustration from Russian Ballet dates to 1913.

Large scale patterns, stripes, embroidery, flowing draperies, exoticism. Illustration by Rene Bull from Russian Ballet,  1913. Note the circular decoration on their sleeves.

Large Scale Fabric Ornamentation, 1917

Embroidery and large scale patterns, 1917. Delineator.

Large scale embroidery and fabric patterns, 1917. Delineator.

Large scale prints, May, 1917. Delineator.

Large scale prints, May, 1917. Delineator. The design on the left is oriental lanterns. The prints on the right are large and widely spaced.

Large scale, widely spaced prints for summer, 1917. Delineator.

Large scale, widely spaced prints for summer, 1917. Delineator.

Large scale prints, widely spaced. Delineator, 1917.

Large scale prints, widely spaced. Delineator, 1917. Embroidery on blouse, left.

Fabrics with big dots, widely spaced. 1917.

Fabrics with big dots, widely spaced. 1917. The skirt on the right makes me think of “harem pants.”

Illustration for Arabian Nights and some fabrics with similar properties.

Bolton illustration for Arabian Nights, with some 1917 fabrics with similar properties. Was Bolton influenced by familiar dress fabrics? Or just imitating the successful illustration style of 1912 – 1913?

Checkerboard print and big dots with a hexagon design. 1917, Delineator

Checkerboard print and big dots with a hexagon design. 1917, Delineator

Checkerboards and Big Stripes, 1917

Delineator, June 1917.

Delineator, June 1917.

Stripes and squares in wild profusion; illustration by FR for Arabian nights.

Stripes, squares and dots in wild profusion; illustration by FR for Arabian nights.

Checkerboard patterned fabrics, 1917. Delineator

Checkerboard patterned fabrics, 1917. Delineator

January stripes, June checkerboard stripes, July checkerboard print.1917

January stripes, June checkerboard stripes, July checkerboard print. 1917. Delineator.

Ad for Keds shoes and a Victrola. 1917.

Ad for Keds shoes and an ad for a Victrola. 1917.

Did I mention the mania for embroidery?

A Peri (Persian Fairy) and a Prince, by Rene Bull. Arabian Nights.

A Peri (Persian Fairy) and a Prince, by Rene Bull. Arabian Nights.

Embroidered garments, 1917.

Embroidered garments, 1917.

Left: Embroidered gown by Paul Poiret, June 1917. Right: Butterick pattern, May 1917.

Left: Embroidered gown by Paul Poiret, June 1917. Right: Butterick pattern, May 1917.

Embroidery on sheer fabrick appliqued to back of 1917 dress.

Beading and Embroidery on sheer fabric appliqued to back of 1917 dress.

Front of dress bodice with embroidered applique. 1917. Private collection.

Front of dress bodice with embroidered applique. 1917. Private collection.

And that brings an end to this orgy of ornament! (Really, I just wanted an excuse for sharing all these images, whether you see any connection to Arabian Nights illustrations or not! ) — Cheerio!

Checkerboard trimmed suit from Butterick patterns. May 1917.

Checkerboard trimmed suit from Butterick patterns. May 1917.

 

 

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, Dresses, Musings, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage Couture Designs, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing

Butterick Fashions for August, 1917

American women had been reading about the active wartime roles of women in France and Germany since 1914. Here, a few months after the U.S. entered the first World War, softly feminine (although thick-waisted) styles appear beside clothes that look like uniforms.

Fashions from Butterick's Delineator magazine, August 1917.  During World War I, pseudo-military uniforms were shown for women who wanted to wear them while volunteering for war-related charities.

Fashions from Butterick’s Delineator magazine, August 1917.

During World War I, patterns for pseudo-military uniforms appeared for women who wanted to wear them while volunteering for war-related charities. (The Red Cross and other agencies soon prescribed their own — official — uniforms, with strict regulations about wearing them. Click here.) I’ll show these dresses and their descriptions in detail later in this post; first, here is the second full color fashion page from this issue of Delineator:

Another page of fashions from Butterick's Delineator Magazine, August, 1917.

Another page of fashions from Butterick’s Delineator magazine, August, 1917.

Some of these outfits are one-piece dresses, but often what looks like a dress turns out to be a blouse (sometimes called a “waist”) pattern with a separate skirt pattern. That allowed a great deal of customization, and I always enjoy seeing illustrations of the same skirt with several tops, or vice versa.

Starting at top left of the first color plate:

Blouse pattern NO. 9311 with skirt pattern No. 9318. Butterick's Delineator, August 1917.

Blouse pattern No. 9311 with skirt pattern No. 9318. Butterick’s Delineator, August 1917.

Butterick's description of 9311 and 9318; Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Butterick’s description of 9311 and 9318; Delineator, Aug. 1917.

“It has the popular wide collar and large pockets…. A very good design for misses [i.e., teens] as well as women.”

Left, blouse 9330 with skirt 9073; right, coat 9324 with skirt 9318. Butterick patterns, Delineator,Aug. 1917.

Left, in pink:  blouse 9330 with skirt 9073; right, coat 9324 with skirt 9318. Butterick patterns, Delineator,Aug. 1917.

Blouse 9330 with skirt 9073, Butterick patterns in Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Blouse 9330 with skirt 9073, Butterick patterns in Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick 9330 and 9073, Aug. 1917. Delineator.

Description of Butterick 9330 and 9073, Aug. 1917. Delineator.

What makes this a “Russian Blouse?” I have no idea. Research project for somebody….

Coat pattern 9324 with skirt 9318, Butterick patterns in Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Coat pattern 9324 with skirt 9318, Butterick patterns in Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick patterns 9324 adn 9318; Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick patterns 9324 and 9318; Delineator, Aug. 1917.

” ‘Who goes there?’ The answer — a new suit with smart military cape and pockets receives a salute from Fashion. . . . The cape is removable. . . The suit is a splendid design for misses [i.e., ages 15 to 20] as well as women.” This same skirt, No. 9311, was also shown with the long, dotted blouse No. 9311.

Butterick blouse pattern 9311 with skirt 9318. 1917.

Butterick blouse pattern 9311 with skirt 9318. 1917.

Butterick patterns 9317 and 9320, Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Butterick patterns 9317 and 9320, Delineator, Aug. 1917. “The coat has the popular large collar, [No kidding!] with two new outline possibilities….”

Description of Butterick patterns 9317 and 9320; Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick patterns 9317 and 9320; Delineator, Aug. 1917.

The pattern descriptions page included two more contrasting styles, a loose embroidered dress beside another version of the piped coat with military pockets and insignia:

Butterick dress 9326; coat 9324 with skirt 9309. Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Butterick dress 9326; coat 9324 with skirt 9309. Delineator, Aug. 1917.

This is the same military-influenced coat, No. 9324, that was shown above in a tan, caped version.

Description of Butterick coat 9324 and skirt 9309, Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick coat 9324 and skirt 9309, Aug. 1917.

“It is a splendid model for the woman who wants something newer and more picturesque than the severely tailored suit.” [Top it with a Rough Riders hat?]

Description of dress 9326, Butterick's Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Description of dress 9326, Butterick’s Delineator, Aug. 1917. “The deep pouch pockets and long narrow sash-belt are popular parts of the one-piece look.”

The one-piece dress above, No. 9326, has big, triangular, embroidered pockets something like this one, shown in color:

Description for Butterick dress pattern 9335; Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Description for Butterick dress pattern 9335; Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick dress 9335, Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick dress 9335, Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Dress patterns 9323 and 9331, Butterick. Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Dress patterns 9323 and 9331, Butterick. Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick pattern 9323; Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick pattern 9323; Delineator, Aug. 1917. “The modern woman buckles on her armor . . . .”

Altenate views of Butterick 9323 and 9331, Aug. 1917.

Alternate views of Butterick 9323 and 9331, Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick pattern 9331, Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick pattern 9331, Aug. 1917.

It’s interesting that the blue dress, No. 9323, is described as appealing “to the woman who does not care for the one-piece frocks.” But it is a one-piece frock, with several sleeve variations.  The checked dress, No. 9331, has a more complicated cut than you would think from the color illustration. This issue of Delineator had a separate article about gingham dresses.

Butterick pattern 9321, Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Butterick pattern 9321, Delineator, Aug. 1917.

This blue and tan dress is worn with an exaggerated military cap; Butterick also sold embroidery transfers for military insignia like the one on this dress’s sleeve.

Description of Butterick patern 9321 from August, 1917.

Description of Butterick patern 9321 from August, 1917.

“The attractive military lines . . .  military pockets and collar  . . . maintain the martial spirit. . . . It is pretty for a young girl. . . . Sizes 32 to 44 inches bust measure.”

Two more black and white illustrations appeared with the descriptions of the color images on page 43.

Both are waist and skirt combinations, and both outfits use the same skirt pattern, No. 9316. When the folds are buttoned together, as on the left, it is called an “envelope effect.”

Butterick dress patterns 9340 and 9316; Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Left:  Butterick dress patterns 9340 and 9316. Right:  waist 9350 and skirt 9316. Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Butterick pattern 9340 and 9316 on the left. Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick waist [blouse] pattern 9340 and skirt 9316, above on the left. Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick waist pattern 9360 with skirt 9316. Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick waist pattern 9360 with skirt 9316, illustrated above on the right. Aug. 1917.

It’s possible that the Delineator magazine was especially militaristic, but this coat ad from the Ladies’ Home Journal also shows a military influence on women’s ready-to-wear:

Ad for Hamilton coats, Ladies' Home Journal, Oct. 1917.

Ad for Hamilton coats, Ladies’ Home Journal, Oct. 1917.

 

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes, World War I