Tag Archives: ribbon pompom

1920’s Accessories: What’s Missing?

Two pattern illustrations showing two-piece border print dresses, June 1926.

Modified pattern illustrations showing two-piece border print dresses, Delineator, May 1926.

Do they look a little unfinished? Like something is missing? Do you have an urge to add a long necklace — or something — to these dresses? Here are the original illustrations:

Two border-print two piece dresses as they were meant to look. Illustration from Delineator, May 1926.

Two-piece border-print dresses as they were meant to look. Illustration from Delineator, May 1926.

Writing about the ways that 1920’s designers tried to add vertical lines to their designs (click here and scroll down) made me realize how much may have been lost from vintage clothing that appears to be complete.

A dress from July, 1928, with and without its matching scarf. Butterick pattern

A dress from July, 1928, looks complete (left), but very different with its matching scarf (right.) Butterick pattern 2147.

I would be happy to find that 1928 dress with its belt still attached; would I realize that something else might be missing?

Anyone who works with vintage clothing knows how often the matching, self-fabric belt gets lost, leaving just the belt loops as a clue. Without a buckle, however subtle, in the middle of the waist, the design is incomplete. In fact, any items that had to be removed before dry-cleaning — from belts to rhinestone or glass buttons, or bows, scarves, artificial flowers, even jeweled dress clips that were sold with the dress — are liable to have  disappeared over time.

Vintage twenties dress with clever vertical designs. Private collection.

Vintage twenties’ dress with clever vertical designs. Private collection.

The vertical pattern in the black chiffon velvet, the deep V, the row of decorative buttons, and the rhinestone buckle all attract the eye to the center of the body, instead of to the width at the hip.

The decorative buttons and buckle are essential to the design. Vintage twenties' dress.

The decorative buttons and buckle are essential to the design of this vintage twenties’ dress.

I wonder how often I’ve seen a dress that looks complete but slightly boring, and assumed that it needs jewelry. Until I started playing with my photo program, modifying illustrations from 1926, it never occurred to me that what was missing might be two yards of contrasting ribbon!

With and without ribbon or silk ties. Patterns from June, 1926. Delineator.

Left, original pattern illustration; right, as they would look without ribbon or silk ties,  and belt. Patterns from May  1926. Delineator.

Since there is no black on the original dresses, there is no clue that a black accessory is missing. Imagine how easily the black ties (or a belt) would become separated from their garments!

Two dresses from 1926 with their long, vertical ties removed.

Two dresses from 1926, left, and with their long, vertical ties removed, right.

The dress on the left had long ties as part of the collar, so they would probably be intact. But the figured ribbon tie on the gold dress is not part of the dress itself, or even the same fabric. Would I think of adding such a simple accessory instead of jewelry?

Do these 1926 dresses look rather sack-like? Bland?

Do these 1926 dresses look rather like bags? Bland? The illustrations have been altered.

I removed their vertical trims. This is how they ought to look:

All three original dresses had long ties, which create vertical accents.

All three dresses were intended to have long ties, which create vertical accents.

The struggle to draw eyes away from the horizontal hip band of the twenties took many forms, including vivid neck scarves which direct attention to the face.

Scarf from Callot Soeurs, Delineator, April 1927.

Scarf from Callot Soeurs, Delineator, April 1927. No solid-color dress could compete with that high-contrast scarf.

Many women used lively scarves to draw attention up, toward their faces in the 1920s.

Many women used a neck scarf to draw attention up toward their faces in the 1920s. Both illustrations from Delineator, 1928 and 1927. (Even with a scarf, it’s hard to focus on the face above that striped and dotted golf sweater!) The round belt buckle (at natural waist!) is also important.

Chanel Uses Scarves and Flowers, 1927

Chanel uses scarves and masses of fabric flowers; Delineator, Oct. 1927, p. 21.

Chanel uses scarves and masses of fabric flowers; Delineator, Oct. 1927, p. 21.

Fabric flowers, or abstract pompoms at the shoulder, were another device for drawing attention toward the face and away from the hips.

Left, a dress worn with a lively scarf; right a floral pom-pom made of ribbon, to be worn at the shoulder. Delineator, Oct. 1927.

Left, a dress worn with a high-contrast bordered scarf; right, a floral pompom made of organdy, to be worn at the shoulder. Delineator, Oct. 1927. You can see it on an evening dress, below.

Twenties dresses with floral pom-poms at the shoulder, both 1927. Delineator.

Twenties’ dresses with floral pom-poms at the shoulder, both 1927. Delineator.

Even in a very poor photo, this tomato red vintage dress is completed by a “pompom” of self-fabric leaf or petal shapes on the shoulder.

A cluster of red georgette petals is original to this vintage twenties' dress.

A cluster of red georgette petals is original to this vintage “bolero” dress.

This vintage dress from the late twenties retained both its belt with rhinestone buckle and the flowers that can be attached to its shoulder. (Removed before dry-cleaning, they were luckily stored with the dress.)

A vintage dress, late 1920s or early 1930s, which still has its belt and floral trim at that shoulder.

A vintage dress, late 1920s or early 1930s, which still has its original belt and its floral trim at the shoulder.

Vintage late 1920s dress, with original fabric flowers.

Vintage late 1920s dress, with original fabric flowers. You can see wisps of shredded organdy among the artificial flowers.

Of course, sometimes the “missing” touch is a very long necklace:

Evening dresses worn with very long necklaces, 1926; a necklace from 1927. Delineator.

Evening dresses worn with very long crystal necklaces, 1926; right, a gold necklace from 1927. Delineator.

A gown by Carette is worn with lots of crystal beads. Delineator, Sept. 1927, p. 25.

This Paris gown by Carette is worn with waist-length beads, probably cut crystal. Delineator, Sept. 1927, p. 25.

[I just saw Pola Negri in A Woman of the World, made in 1925. Click here. She was glamorous, charming, and tremendously likeable, but not as slender as usual when it was filmed. Those long pearl necklaces hung all the way to her — um — “pelvic area!”]

But a necklace would not necessarily have been the best vertical accent for these dresses:

Dresses that would not be complete without long, narrow ties. Delineator, 1927.

Dresses that would not be complete without their long, narrow ties. Delineator, 1927. Center, a dress with its final touch removed — and as it looked originally, right.

The dress in the center may look wider, but that is an optical illusion. Center, without its narrow self-tie, the three lines of horizontal trim dominate, drawing our eyes to the sides of the dress. Right, the tie draws our eyes to the middle of the body, and reinforces the vertical lines of the bodice trim and the hip bow.

What a difference two yards of ribbon can make.

P.S. There was a twenties’ fashion for very long necklaces — sautoirs — which had fringe or tassels at each end. They could be wrapped once around the neck — or not — and loosely tied wherever the wearer thought most becoming. Usually, this was very low, at the midriff or close to the natural waist. Such a necklace would look very much like the dark ribbon worn in the illustration at left. There is a good slideshow of a beaded, tie-able sautoir at 1stdibs. 

At Antique Gown you can get a better idea of their length.

 

 

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Filed under 1920s, Dresses, Musings, Vintage Accessories, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing, Vintage patterns

Paris Calls for Pleats, 1926 (Part 1)

Paris Straightens the Autumn Frock with Front and Side Plaits. Delineator, Sept. 1926.

Paris Straightens the Autumn Frock with Front and Side Plaits. Delineator, Sept. 1926.

Pleats for All Sizes

Butterick’s Delineator magazine ran two articles in the September, 1926, issue about the importance of “plaits” [i.e., pleats] to the fall styles. The first article showed three patterns for women in the normal range of sizes, with bust measurements of 32 to 44 inches. Elsewhere in that issue, patterns for “Misses aged 15 to 20 and small women” also show pleated skirts. [Misses’ sizes were for shorter and smaller figures; age 20 assumed a 37″ bust.] But the second article showed dresses with pleats in pattern sizes up to a 52 inch bust measurement. Since the styles of the 1920s were especially cruel to large figures, I am always intrigued by these unexpectedly large pattern sizes. I’m guessing that Butterick and other pattern companies realized that being “hard to fit” is a major reason for making your own clothes, so they routinely offered sizes not available in most stores.

Pleated Styles for Average and Small Women, 1926

In this post I’ll share some of the styles for women who fell within the normal size ranges.

Butterick pattern 7067, September 1926.

Butterick pattern 7067, September 1926.

This dress is very unusual — at least in my limited experience — because of the horizonal bands which decorate the shoulders and extend onto the sleeve caps.  Twenties’ fashions can be hard to wear because they widen the hips — already most women’s widest area. Many twenties styles have vertical details which seek to counteract this problem, but I have not seen many that visually broaden the shoulders like this:  butterick 7067 detailsNote, too, that the skirt pleats are stitched down for several inches to control fullness. The belt, which passes through buttonholes in the hip band, is tied very loosely as illustrated, but it could be used to snug the hip and create a blouson above. The long tie ends and the pleats create vertical lines for a slimming effect. This fashion figure is over 9 “heads” tall, but, adjusted to a normal figure, this could be a very becoming — and not terribly difficult — dress to copy. Back views are shown at the end of this post.

Butterick 7033, September 1926.

Butterick 7033, September 1926.

This dress, with its enormous buckle and wide hip band, would not flatter many women — especially those with a 44 inch bust and 47.5 inch hip — the usual pattern proportions. The collar creates a deep curve similar to the line of a long 1920s necklace, but it gets bigger at the bottom and draws more attention to the hip area. The description (“attached to a long body”) suggests that, although described as a dress, this is probably made made as a top, including the hip band, with a separate skirt suspended from the shoulders like a slip — a very common practice. The vestee, which fills in the neckline, can be made detachable for washing.

Butterick 7055, September 1926.

Butterick 7055, September 1926. For ladies 32 to 48 bust.

Butterick No. 7055 was not singled out as being for larger women, but it was available in sizes 46 and 48. I love the “Roman striped vestee” with its strong diagonals, and the ribbon-flower pom-pom which draws your eye upward to the face, plus the widening effect of “saddle shoulders” cut-in-one with the sleeve. This dress is definitely meant to be snugged at the hip; it has an adjustable belt at each side, like the belt on the back of a vest. butterick 7055 detailsThis dress has box pleats lined up with the side seams, and top-stitched for a slim fit over the hips. The saddle shoulders are similarly top-stitched.

A dress shown in “pea-soup green” gives plenty of room for movement when you’re walking:

Butterick 7045, September 1926.

Butterick 7045, September 1926.

Monograms were very popular, influenced perhaps by Jean Patou’s  use of them in sportswear. This dress is a bit tricky to make, because it has inserted pleats of darker color fabric. They are not inserted into seams, but added like a wedge-shaped godet. That explains the need for those arrow shapes — stitching or applique? — that reinforce the points of stress. 1926 sept p 28 grn skirt paris frocks pleats

Pleated Dresses for Misses and Smaller Women, September 1926.

Butterick patterns for Misses aged 15 to 20 and Smaller Women. September 1926.

Butterick patterns for Misses Aged 15 to 20 and Smaller Women. September 1926.

Butterick 7057, (left) like the green dress pictured above, has pleats inserted like godets. The color combination is interesting. A color called bois de rose (rosewood) was popular, but this dress is burgundy colored. Notice the unusual sleeves. The pink contrasts in the top half of this dress are so interesting that its self-colored hip belt is hardly noticeable.

Butterick 7057 for Misses and Smaller Women, September 1926.

Butterick 7057 for Misses and Small Women, September 1926.

The pleats are topstitched, both for flatness and to reinforce the weakest points. The “convertible” collar can be worn unbuttoned.

This blue dress also has stitched-down pleats below its dropped waist.

Butterick pattern 7003 for Misses and Small Women, Sept. 1926.

Butterick pattern 7003 for Misses and Small Women, Sept. 1926.

This dress is for younger and smaller women, who might be expected to have ideal 1920s figures, but it still uses many vertical lines for a slenderizing effect, especially in the very long tie. Little capes on the backs of dresses were often shown in pattern illustrations, but, like this one, they were usually detachable or optional. “Chin-chin blue” is probably meant to evoke Chinese colors. The gray belt seems to run through buttonholes in the front and back of the dress. See back views below.

Misses’ dress 7024 is not pleated. Described as a “coat-frock,” it has a slenderizing vertical opening the entire length of the center front.

Butterick  pattern for Misses 7024, Sept. 1926.

Butterick pattern for Misses 7024, Sept. 1926.

Lacking pleats, the skirt’s 46″ hem circumference does not encourage long strides. The artist has neglected to draw the slip straps. Another sheer-over-satin dress for young women, No. 6904, was featured in July, 1926:

Butterick pattern No. 6904 for Misses, July 1926.

Butterick pattern No. 6904 for Misses, July 1926.

These coat-dress styles create such a strong vertical line that I would expect them to be appealing to larger women, but both these patterns are for “Misses 15 to 20 years old, and small women.”

This dress pattern, No. 7059, is actually a blouse and skirt combination.

Butterick pattern No. 7059 for Misses and Small Women. Sept. 1926

Butterick pattern No. 7059 for Misses and Small Women. Sept. 1926

The pleats on the skirt can fall perfectly straight, because there is no waistband; this skirt is attached to a slip-like underbody and hangs from the shoulders. It is similar in style to some of the pleated dresses for larger women described in the same magazine. It is not a style I would recommend to women seeking to look thinner.

These 1920s Hats Deserve a Second Look:

Four hats from Delineator, September 1926.

Four hats from Delineator, September 1926.

Here are back views of the eight dresses from September that are pictured above:

Back views: Butterick patterns for Women Nos. 7067, 7033, 7055, 7045.

Back views: Butterick patterns for Women Nos. 7067, 7033, 7055, 7045.

Most of these dresses can be made with long or short sleeves. Only one, #7033, has pleats in back. #7045 shows that there is a handy strap on the back of her clutch purse.

Back views of Dresses for Misses, Nos. 7024, 7059, 7057, 7003.

Back views of Dresses for Misses, Nos. 7024, 7059, 7057, 7003.

Part 2 of “Paris Calls for Pleats” will show 1926 patterns for larger women.

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Filed under 1920s, bags, Hats, Purses, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes