Tag Archives: taffeta gown 1930s

Gowns for New Year’s Eve, 1937

Butterick pattern 7650, December 1937. Cover, Butterick Fashion News flyer.

Butterick pattern 7650, December 1937. Cover, Butterick Fashion News flyer.

You may not have time to make one of these gowns for New Year’s Eve 2014, but Butterick offered a variety of choices for 1937. Long gowns could be revealing dance dresses, like this one, or covered-up dinner dresses, in fabrics ranging from metallic brocades and lamés to velvet or satin.

Butterick 7650

Butterick pattern 7650, left, and a store-bought dress featured in Woman's Home Companion, both from December, 1937.

Butterick pattern 7650, left, and a store-bought dress with similar top featured in Woman’s Home Companion, both from December, 1937.

Butterick 7650 is described as a “Junior Miss evening dress” to be made “in metal threaded crepe.” Pattern for sizes 12 to 20, 30 to 38 inch bust. The dress on the right was featured in the Styles in Stores column of Woman’s Home Companion:

“The evening dress would make a shining success at a gala New Year’s party —  and for various excellent reasons. The first has to do with the sparkle (it is really glamorous) of the rhinestone trimming, applied in a new scroll effect. The second concerns the rustle of the material,  a white, black or sapphire taffeta which is sure to be heard on the smartest dance floors this winter. The third springs from the graceful swing of the full skirt and the fourth, from the novel cut of the halter neckline. Famous Barr Company, St. Louis.”

Butterick 7644 and 7646

"Glamour at Night" evening gowns, Butterick Fashion News flyer, Dec. 1927. The gown on the left is pattern #7644; the one on the right is #7646.

“Glamour at Night” evening gowns, Butterick Fashion News flyer, Dec. 1937. The gown on the left is pattern #7644; the one on the right is #7646.

Pattern descriptions and back views, Butterick 7644 and 7646.

Pattern descriptions and back views, Butterick 7644 and 7646. Dec. 1937.

Both evening gowns are the “new slit-up-in-front” style. The one shown in black is made of taffeta and has “the new corseted silhouette:”  “Dramatized last summer by the Duchess of Windsor the long molded line from diaphragm to hip top is now the most important point in the new silhouette.” — Woman’s Home Companion, December 1937.  The fabric suggested for the gown illustrated in white is satin. The backs are low-cut and bare. Pattern 7646 was also featured in an ad for Butterick Winter Fashion Magazine, which cost 25 cents, unlike the free Butterick Fashion News flyer. (The ad, on newsprint, is very grainy.  The dress may or may not be velvet.)

Another view of Butterick 7646, Dec. 1937.

Another view of Butterick 7646, Dec. 1937.

Dinner Dresses

This was also an era when women wore long gowns to dinner at restaurants and private homes, to night clubs, and to the theatre. “Dinner dresses” tended to be more covered up than evening gowns — often, they were made from the same pattern as a shorter day dress, as the following examples show.

"That Corseted Look:" Companion-Butterick patterns from Woman's Home Companion, Nov. 1937.

“That Corseted Look:” Companion-Butterick patterns from Woman’s Home Companion, Nov. 1937. Left, #7624; right and seated, #7626.

Butterick stopped publishing its fashion and news magazine, The Delineator,  abruptly in April 1937. However, the Butterick pattern empire, with offices in Paris and other European cities, continued. An agreement with its (former) rival magazine, Woman’s Home Companion, was in place, and the WHC began featuring “Companion-Butterick” patterns in 1937.  Consequently, patterns illustrated in the Butterick Fashion News store flyers might also be illustrated, in full color, in Woman’s Home Companion. 

Companion-Butterick 7626

Companion-Butterick pattern 7626, from Butterick Fashion News flyer, Dec. 1937.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7626, from Butterick Fashion News flyer, Dec. 1937.

Here, pattern 7626 is “A dress as new as the minute and elegant in black velvet.” For sizes 12 to 20, or 30 to 40 inch bust. [12 to 20 were sizes for young or small women.] It is “corseted” because of the snug, ruched waist, which fitted tightly because of side seam zippers on both sides. The day version could be made with a print bodice.

Daytime version of Companion Butterick 7626. WHC, Nov. 1937.

Daytime version of Companion-Butterick 7626. WHC, Nov. 1937.

Companion-Butterick 7624

Companion-Butterick pattern 7624, "That Corseted Look," WHC Nov. 1937.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7624, “That Corseted Look,” WHC Nov. 1937.

“Soft gathers in the bodice and the new slim corseted waist…. Bias cut skirt.” The Butterick Fashion flyer suggested that the dress on the left be made from satin crepe. Sizes 12 to 20, 3o to 40.  Its shaped midriff is accented [and slenderized] by a row of tiny buttons down the front. [See below.]

No. 7624 (left) and 7628 (right) were "Glamour for Night." Butterick Fashion flyer Dec. 1937.

No. 7624 (left) and 7628 (right) were “Glamour for Night.” Butterick Fashion News flyer Dec. 1937.

Companion Butterick 7628

Companion Butterick 7628,  pictured on the right, above, has “The high draped surplice line in a lovely lamé dinner dress.” The magazine reminded readers that they could use the same pattern for “a formal day dress or a simple dinner dress, or both.” Both versions were accented by a colorful “high placed handkerchief” to match your shoes, bag, or hat.

A long dinner-dress version of Companion-Butterick 7628. WHC Nov. 1937.

A  long dinner-dress version of Companion-Butterick 7628. WHC Nov. 1937.

A formal day dress version of Companion-Butterick pattern 7628, Nov. 1937.

A formal day dress version of Companion-Butterick pattern 7628, Nov. 1937.

The hostess of a dinner party could also wear a long “hostess” gown or a “housecoat.” See Companion-Butterick Triad Patterns for an example.

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

1931 Evening Dresses: The “Bustle Influence”

“The Bustle Returns, Greatly Changed” proclaimed The Delineator in December, 1931.

cover of The Delineator, December, 1931

Cover of The Delineator, December, 1931  (To my surprise, white artificial trees were available then.)

The wine-colored evening dress on the cover and the evening gowns inside the magazine definitely show a “back interest” that had disappeared during the 1920s.

The trend had been mentioned in the previous month, when the dress on the left, Butterick pattern 4149, was described as having “The 1880 Influence.” [Only a fashion writer could see it. . . .]

Butterick pattern 4149, November 1931. The Delineator.

Butterick pattern 4149, November 1931. The Delineator.

Butterick 4149: “The 1880 Influence: A bow almost as big as the bustles of 1880 marks the period that has influenced this gown. The twisted sash is a smart touch. The deep V décolletage, wide at the shoulders, makes the waistline seem small. Designed for sizes 14 to 18; 32 to 44.”

In fact, the bow in back bears very little resemblance to the bustle dresses of 1884-89:

Bustle evening gown, 1885, from 20,000 Years of Fashion.

Bustle evening gown, 1885, from 20,000 Years of Fashion.

(And this article long preceded Diana Vreeland’s era of fashion writing.) Another sign that the twenties were over is the importance of making “the waistline seem small.”

This dress, also from the November 1931 issue, shows a much more elaborate back:

Butterick dress 4189 and wrap 4156. The Delineator, November 1931.

Butterick dress 4189 and wrap 4156. The Delineator, November 1931.

Butterick 4189, New-Old: “It’s the draped hipline that shows the polonaise origin of this taffeta gown. The drapery rises in back to the waistline where a great bow is posed. The flare sweeps upward too. The smoothly fitted bodice has a deep V décolletage. Designed for 32 to 40 [inch bust.]

“Bustle” Dresses for Evening, December 1931

Butterick patterns 4195 (left) and 4129 (right) December 1931. The Delineator magazine.

Butterick patterns 4195 (left) and 4219 (right) December 1931. The Delineator magazine.

Butterick 4195, Apron Silhouette: “A flare that crosses the front of this frock and rises in back like a frivolous apron, is finished at the waistline by a bow – a diminutive descendant of the bustle. The small sketch shows how the epaulet capes turn into a collar. Designed for 32 to 40 [inches.] Scroll down to the bottom of this page for the “small sketch,” or alternate view.

Butterick 4219, The Bustle Bow: “This charming, dull dark blue lace frock turns its back to show a huge bow of wine-red taffeta – reminiscent of the bustle on grandmama’s ball gown. Across the front the taffeta is applied at an angle. Frock designed for sizes 14 to 20 [years]; 32 to 38″ [bust.] The alternate view of this dress has puffy sleeves. See below.

Although the illustrations are in black and white, the color descriptions — like “dark blue lace” with “wine-red taffeta” or “ivory white and emerald green” are worth noticing.

Butterick patterns 4199 and 4204, December 1931. The Delineator.

Butterick patterns 4199 and 4204, December 1931. The Delineator.

Butterick 4199, A New Twist: “Ivory white and emerald green are twisted into shoulder straps and girdle for this evening gown. The back peplum is one of the things fashion is using to give the effect of a bustle to the newest evening gowns. Designed for sizes 14 to 18 [years]; 32 to 40 [inches.]” Notice the complex cut of the skirt, with long narrow panels that converge and flare. They do the same in front.

Butterick 4204, Strap Back Décolletage: “Much goes on behind the backs of new gowns. This one, simple and molded in front, has the strap décolletage that is so smart, and a chou at the waistline that shows the influence of the bustle. [“Chou” is the French word for cabbage – and also a term of endearment.] Designed for sizes 14 to 20 [years]; 32 to 38″ [bust.] The alternate front view shows 4204 without ruffles, for a much sleeker look.

The gown on the left, below, has a twisted trim similar to No. 4199 and the sash of 4149.

Butterick evening dress patterns 4222 & 4226, December 1931. The Delineator.

Butterick dinner dress patterns 4222 & 4226, December 1931. The Delineator. The one on the right has a velvet and mink jacket.

Butterick 4222, Black and White Satin: “The raison d’être of this black satin dinner dress is its white top that covers the shoulders in little capelets, is twisted at the front, and crosses over to form a sash that ties at the back. Fan shaped flare front and back. Designed for 32 to 40. [Bust]

Butterick 4226, A Bit of a Jacket: “Beige velvet and mink are a combination of great elegance for the dinner gown. The waist-length jacket has a narrow sash crossed over in the front and tied in the back. A yoke of Alençon lace tops the frock. The dress on the right is shown in two versions, evening and mid-calf length. Designed for sizes 14 to 18; 32 to 42.

Alternate views of Butterick pattern 4226. December 1931.

Alternate views of Butterick pattern 4226. December 1931.

Here are alternate views for the patterns featured in the December, 1931 issue:

Alternate views of 4222, 4226, 4218, 4199, 4204, 4195, & 4219

Alternate views of 4222, 4226, 4218, 4199, 4204, 4195, & 4219

Not all of these dresses were pictured & described above. I love the flared godet, front and back,  in number 4222. It’s impossible to see many of these designs without thinking of Vionnet’s influence.

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Filed under 1930s, Vintage patterns