Tag Archives: twenties dress

Dresses for Large or Slim Figures, June 1928

A page of Butterick patterns for “Large Sizes,” Delineator, June 1928, p. 38. They were available in the normal range of sizes, plus larger sizes than usual.

On two facing pages were Butterick patterns for “Large Sizes” and “Slim Figures.” The normal range of sizes usually ended with size 44 bust, 47.5″ hip. Many of the “slim figure” patterns were available in larger-than-normal sizes, too.

Butterick patterns for Slim Figures, Delineator, June 1928; page 39. “Smart frocks that wash, designed for slim figures.”

Large figures were sometimes expected to be older figures; notice the hems. Larger, older women had skirts which covered the knee completely (below, left), while younger, smaller women’s dresses grazed and sometimes exposed the bottom of the kneecap (right). [All these dresses will be shown below in larger images.]

Hem lengths for “large” and “slim” figures, Delineator, June 1928. The striped dresses (1 and 4) are fairly similar.

Dresses for larger figures apply some styling tricks to make the body seem longer and narrower, but the hip band is never a friend to wide hips. The illustrations at left have wider-than-usual shoulders and upper bodies, too. Slenderizing vertical lines are introduced into the fashions for “slim figures,” also.

A Closer Look at Frocks for Large Sizes (Page 38)

Butterick 1970 for large figures has a “slenderizing” vertical contrast panel and a decorative button placket down the front. June, 1928. For sizes 34 to 52 inch bust. Those cuffs attract attention to the width of the body at the waist and hip.  Either the short or long sleeve option would be more flattering to a large woman. [I’m not saying “thin is good,” just pointing out that the sleeves illustrated will exaggerate the width of the wearer.]

Vertical stripes (and playful side panels with the stripes turned horizontally) on this washable day dress recommended for large figures. Butterick 2092, from June 1928. “For sizes 32 to 35 [inch bust] (15 to 18 years) and 36 to 50 [inch bust.]

Butterick 2100 has an asymmetrical collar that becomes a scarf. [I’m not sure that white scallop insert at the hip is a flattering idea for large women… or any women.]

The front of dress 2100 is complex, but the one-piece back is very plain. This dress came in sizes for teens and small women (bust 32 to 35″) plus normal sizes up to 46″ bust — only one size larger than the standard pattern run of 32 to 44″.

Butterick 2102 is a formal afternoon dress for “larger women,” but it comes in sizes 32 to 46. Delineator, June 1928.

“There is dignity as well as chic in this one-piece dress with its smart caught-up drapery released in a front flare and its cape back dividing at the shoulders in a scarf…. The hemline is smartly uneven.” There’s a real effort to introduce vertical lines in the long, scarf-tied collar and the front drape. Notice the lorgnette in her hand– nothing youthful about that!

Butterick 2080 is suggested for “large women; it came in sizes 32 to 46” bust.

Butterick 2105 has chic, pointed inserted panels and an uneven hem. Why does it look so top-heavy? For large sizes up to 52 inch bust.

Butterick 1948 from June 1928. Like many twenties’ dresses, the front has pleats, but the back is plain. Notice the bust darts partially hidden by the collar. In sizes 34 to 52.

There is nothing old-fashioned about the very short haircuts on these illustrations of mature women.

Frocks Designed for Slim Figures

Question: Are these frocks especially suited to slim figures, or are they supposed to make any figure look slim?

Butterick 1952 “for slim figures.” Delineator, June 1928, page 39. “For smart country communities….” In sizes 32 to 35 bust (15 to 18 years) and women’s sizes 36 to 44 — Butterick’s normal range.

Butterick 2050: A washable dress for sizes 32 to 46. “For tennis or mornings is a one-piece frock whose kimono sleeves are smartly abbreviated. A side cluster of pleats, inserted in a slanting line, offers freedom for sports activity.” The back is plain.

Butterick sport frock 2062 has short kimono sleeves and a skirt that is gathered in front. Delineator, June 1928, p. 39. Available in sizes 32 to 35 (for teens and small women) and 36 to 48 inch bust. [Sizes 46 and 48 were larger than the usual pattern.]

Butterick 2084; Delineator, June 1928. “It has the Vionnet V-neckline and the side plaits permit ample freedom of movement. The belt is a new width….” For sizes 32 to 44.

Butterick did not necessarily consider this a dress for larger women. The sleeveless armholes are modern compared to the kimono armholes in Nos. 2050 and 2052 — and they do provide more freedom of movement.

Butterick 1904 “for any age and almost any figure” has the same scalloped hip yoke as No. 2100, (above) which was recommended for larger sizes.

This style (1904) with a narrow edging at the bodice bottom is more flattering, and was also available in large sizes: 32 to 35 and 36 to 48 inch bust — a size larger than No. 2100.

A similar scalloped hip treatment on Butterick 2100 and 1904. The thickness of the contrast band makes quite a difference. From June 1928.

Butterick 2090 came in the normal size range, 32 to 44 inch bust. The collar that turns into a scarf is “new and chic” and also seen on Butterick 2100.

Butterick 2104 evokes a schoolgirl’s middy uniform, but this is a one-piece dress, not a skirt and separate top. The pleats are top-stitched horizontally in rows, echoing the belt, cuffs, and sailor collar and tie. There are four bust tucks at each side of the collar, because the flattened bust was no longer in style.

 

 

 

 

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Butterick Dresses for Summer, June 1928

Three “afternoon frocks” from Butterick patterns; Delineator, June 1928, p. 34. From left, 2066, 2070, and 2072.

Sometimes the difference between an afternoon dress and an evening dress was that afternoon dresses had sleeves. In the pattern descriptions below, if sleeves are mentioned as an option, that probably means that a sleeveless evening version, with deeper armholes (and sometimes, deeper necklines) was included in the pattern.

Butterick 2066, from Delineator, June 1928.

Alternate view and description, Butterick 2066. There is a short-sleeved version, but not an evening option.

Butterick 2072, with long sleeves for afternoon — and a very different back/alternate view.

Alternate view and description for Butterick 2072, page 34. The version with a short pleated skirt is only described as “an even [i.e., not uneven] lower edge.” Illustrations by the versatile L. Ferrier.

In this illustration of the same pattern, Butterick 2072 — made without sleeves for evening — has a pointed hemline and a scarf/shawl.

Butterick 2072, like 2070, has a collar/shawl that appears to tie at the neckline. Delineator, June 1928, page 34.

A different description of of Butterick 2072, from page 35 of Delineator, June 1928. This one mentions a “finely pleated” skirt option, but doesn’t illustrate it.

Butterick 2070 is illustrated with a bertha collar that reaches to the waist in back. The edges of the dress and flounces are picot hemmed.

Detail of illustration, Butterick 2070.

https://witness2fashion.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/murray-suit-bodice-front1.jpg?w=450&h=500

The ochre yellow collar (top) on this dress is picot edged. The grayish, beaded chiffon is decorated with beads spaced less than 1/4 inch apart. Sew Historically wrote about how picot hems were done in the 1920’s and also provides a tutorial on faking them with a modern sewing machine.

Alternate view and description of Butterick 2070, Delineator, June 1928, pg. 34.

A similar flounced, tiered dress, Butterick 2085, appeared in the same issue. It had both day and evening versions:

Butterick 2085, evening version; Delineator, June 1928, pg. 35.

“For day the round neck is particularly nice…  and there are long close sleeves with frills.”

Butterick 2085, afternoon dress version. Delineator, June 1928, pg. 36. It has sleeves and a higher neckline than the evening version. The flounces are picot edged.

Butterick 2085 as described on page 36. “Tiers used across the back as well as front are very new and smart.” Many 1920’s dresses had very plain backs, with all the interest (and pleats or flares in the skirt) on the front only.

Butterick two-piece dress 2088 has a scalloped “lingerie” collar, a surplice closing, and a skirt [probably suspended from a camisole bodice] that is pleated only in front. Delineator, June 1928, pg. 37. Notice the stitched-down pleats with rows of stitching running horizontally instead of down the pleats.

All the fullness on the pleated skirt of Butterick 2088 is on the front of the dress. This pattern was available up to size 48 bust measurement, with a hip around 52.”

Surplice styles were often recommended as slenderizing for older women:

Butterick pattern No. 1187 from Dec. 1926 had "reducing properties" and came in sizes 36 to 48.

Butterick pattern No. 1187 from Dec. 1926, with a surplice bodice, had “reducing properties” and came in sizes 36 to 48.

This dress, with bertha collar and fitted bodice, was for younger or smaller women.

Another dress with a “bertha” collar: Butterick 2077 from June 1928. It also has a dipped hem in back, like No. 2072.

Alternate view and description of Butterick 2077. “Frocks with the down in back movement have become a very important type for formal wear.” The bodice [basque] closes under the left arm. Dresses with a basque bodice fit rather tightly at the natural waist — and this pattern is not available in large sizes.

More dresses for June coming up:  Dresses for girls 8 to 14.

 

 

 

 

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Ollie

Can a dress change a life? Probably not, unless you’re Cinderella. But a dress can mark a turning point in your life…. I inherited many photos of a young woman named Ollie Cornelius. Often, there is an air of sadness about her.

Studio portrait of Ollie Cornelius, taken in Colusa, CA.

I’ve been trying to find out more about her from an ancestry site, with limited success. Ollie Cornelius and my mother became friends as young teenagers, and they were still writing to each other in 1950.

Ollie, left, and my mother, right (with ukelele) in a school playground, Redwood City, CA, circa 1918.

Ollie posing in a schoolyard. She is wearing a corduroy jacket over her school uniform. Circa 1918.

Young Ollie on a bench in Redwood City, CA. Although posing for a friend, she doesn’t look happy.

Ollie looks sad in the next photo because, having made friends in a new city — Redwood City, California — she was uprooted when her family moved again, to Colusa, 148 miles away.

Ollie in Colusa, CA, about 1919.

On the back she wrote, “When I had this picture taken I was thinking of Redwood City [That’s] why I look so sad.”

Today friends exchange photos instantly; then, people also kept in touch by mailing photographs back and forth. Luckily for us, these pictures often have writing on the back.

Ollie posing on a bridge, about 1919. This is not a period for flattering fashions…. but she knew how to wear an enormous black tam-o-shanter.

In her later teens, Ollie’s sadness had a more serious cause: she was diagnosed with tuberculosis — the “consumption” that killed so many in Victorian times.

On the back of the bridge photo, Ollie wrote, “This was taken before I was sick.”

Ollie is wearing the same dress in this photo taken at Weimar TB Sanatorium.

Ollie on the steps of her ward at Weimar Joint Sanatorium.

In 1919 there were no antibiotics; the usual treatment for TB was a move to a place with “better air” and complete rest for several months. Obviously, for working class people, quitting work and spending months in a private sanatorium was not an affordable option. Often, they continued working, incidentally spreading infection, until they literally dropped in their tracks.

Another tam-o-shanter. Ollie did not come from a wealthy family.

For a young office clerk like Ollie, TB could be a death sentence. Among men receiving treatment, the mortality rate was 50%.

Ollie and Claude (another TB victim) on the steps at Weimar Sanatorium.

Given America’s current attitude toward healthcare, it’s disconcerting to read that one hundred years ago, public health officials realized that an epidemic of this frequently fatal, contagious disease could only be prevented by treating the poor as well as the wealthy.

The Weimar Joint Sanatorium was created by the State of California and subsidized to give working class people the same chance of recovery as people who could afford private care.

Ollie at Weimar Sanatorium. The back of this photo says, “Where I used to live.” Dated 1919.

Fresh air was considered necessary for TB patients; Ollie is standing by a screened-in sleeping porch — unheated.

Three patients at Weimar; Ollie is on the right. The photo was dated 1919 by my aunt, who received it in the mail.

Ollie made friends with other women in her ward; in spite of their grim situation, they were still young and tried to cheer each other up.

Fellow patient Mrs. Alice Smith with Ollie Cornelius, about 1919.

On early photos, Ollie respectfully called her “Mrs. Smith.” “She was just married above a month,” [when she was diagnosed with TB] Ollie wrote. Apparently, Mr. Smith came to visit, still in his First World War military uniform.

Ollie with Mrs. Smith, who is clowning in her husband’s tunic and hat. “It is her husband’s uniform; her name is Mrs. Alice Smith.” I wonder if he took the photo.

Nevertheless….

Ollie and other young women at Weimar Sanatorium knew they might be facing death.

“…Patients frequently became depressed due to the severity of their infection and the hopelessness of a cure or because of separation from their families. In many cases it was difficult for families to visit either due to the cost of travel or because of the fear of becoming infected themselves. Seeing other patients die was another cause of despair.” — read more.

But a change came for Ollie. Was she really feeling well again? Had her doctors given her hope that she might be able to go home? These pictures of Ollie in a pretty new dress seem to mark a turning point:

Ollie next to her bed on the sleeping porch at Weimar Sanatorium.

Ollie modeling her new dress. Did it come from a catalog? Was it a gift?

Ollie reading in a common dining area. She still has dark circles under her eyes, but this is a different Ollie. She’s happy.

Ollie did recover, at least for many years. Trivial as it sounds, taking an interest in fashion may signal the end of her physical illness and resulting depression.

Ollie in Colusa, CA, about 1920.

Also, her friends had not forgotten her.

Ollie in a chic, sheer-brimmed hat, with my mother. About 1920.

My mother and her friend Ollie, 1920s.

Ollie fell in love:

Ollie and Lloyd Jennings, about 1920.

She got married:

Ollie and her husband. Note her Marcelle-waved hair. 1920s.

Ollie and my mother on a vacation, late 1920s.

Thanks to low-cost care during a public health crisis, Ollie survived TB and returned to active life:

Ollie, second from front, in the snow, circa 1931.

Ollie fashionably dressed (including necktie) for the snow; this photo was printed in February 1931.

Ollie with my Uncle Holt, 1930’s.

How wonderful that she had a future!

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, 1920s, 1920s-1930s, Hats, Musings, Sportswear, vintage photographs, Women in Trousers, World War I

French Designer Gowns from May 1927

Evening designs from three famous houses, illustrated for Delineator in May, 1927.

A little guessing game: Can you guess the designers of these three evening gowns illustrated in May, 1927? Hint: Here are some names in alphabetical order; Chanel, Doeuillet, Lanvin, Patou, Vionnet.

Full length images; It’s 1927, and the skirt on the left bares the kneecaps. The dress in the center is a “bolero” fashion.

Answer:

From left, gowns by Vionnet, Lanvin, and Chanel. 1927.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the simple gown with ingenious twisted fabric is the work of Madeleine Vionnet.

“Vionnet ties white crepe satin into a Gordian knot to give the swathed hip and up in front movement of the new season.” Delineator, May 1927.

The gown by Lanvin is elaborately sequinned, and — surprise — under the sheer skirt, it has knee-length trousers!

Lanvin bolero dress, heavily spangled. Delineator, May 1927.

“Gold and silver spangles outline the bolero in a heavy rope design and trim the bodice of Lanvin’s white crepe version of the Zouave silhouette with lamé trousers.”

The Metropolitan museum collection includes a black evening coat by Lanvin, also from 1927.

A “vanilla color” lace gown by Chanel, shown in Delineator, 1927.

“The square decolletage, fulness [sic] at the hips, and the use of vanilla color lace characterize Chanel’s frock.” It’s also notable for the bow shaped pin.

Pins in the shape of bows were widely copied. A nearly identical Chanel dress with similar joined bands of lace is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum. (Click to see the additional images. It has a long tunic to be worn over a slip with two more layers of lace, plus a belt.)

These three dresses could be purchased in New York: the Vionnet and Lanvin from Altman, and the Chanel from Lord & Taylor.

Another interesting fact: All three dresses were designed by women at the top of French fashion — Madeleine Vionnet, Jeanne Lanvin, and Gabrielle Chanel.

Also illustrated in the same issue of Delineator were these lovely French gowns:

Fringed and beaded gown by Doueillet; Delineator, May 1927. The fringe is apparently tubes or strips of white chiffon.

A froth of a dress in black net, with pink satin bow. By Patou. Delineator, May 1927.

The Metropolitan museum has a similar (but not identical) 1927 black net dress by Patou.

For formal afternoon wear, Lanvin showed this:

An afternoon dress by Lanvin, seen in Delineator, May 1927. The curves of the embroidered design on the overskirt are echoed in the shape of the yoke. The taffeta sash is crimson.

Black and white organdy with a red sash is dramatic for an afternoon dress. Delineator explained the most popular evening color schemes from Paris:

Text from Delineator‘s fashion coverage, May 1927. Colors of the evening include “lipstick red.”

P.S. I can’t resist a shout out to Glamourdaze’s beautifully illustrated history of 1920’s fashions.

 

 

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Rapid Change in Twenties’ Fashions: 1924 to 1927

Dresses for women; Butterick’s Delineator magazine, March 1924, p 27.

When we speak of “the Twenties,” most of us are picturing the short skirts and dropped waists of the later 1920s:

Two Butterick pattterns for women, March 1927.

But during the immediate post-war Twenties, women’s clothing actually became longer, although less bulky and more revealing of the body under the clothes.

These dresses are from 1918, the year the war ended. One has a slightly dropped waist:

Dresses, skirts and blouses, Butterick patterns in Delineator magazine, July 1918, page 52.

Dresses, skirts and blouses, Butterick patterns in Delineator magazine, July 1918, page 52.

And these — 6 years later — are from 1924:

Butterick patterns for women, Delineator magazine, March 1924, page 27.

A reaction to the trauma of the First World War created “the Lost Generation” as described by Fitzgerald (in The Great Gatsby, published in 1925) and Hemingway (in The Sun Also Rises, published in October 1926.) Both were writing in the post-war period from 1924 to 1926. Fashions from those years may not look like “the Roaring Twenties” as we often imagine them.

Left, a draped dress from March 1927 which looks very “Twenties” to a modern eye; right, a draped dress from March 1924 — just three years earlier. Both are Butterick patterns featured in Delineator.

Which changed first: the fashions, or the women?

Less formal clothing from 1927, left, and from 1924, right. Butterick patterns from Delineator. What a difference three years made!

More fashion contrasts from March 1924 and March 1927:

Butterick patterns for young women, March 1924. Delineator, page 29.

Clothes for young women and teens; Butterick patterns from March 1924. Delineator, page 29.

Clothes for young women and teens were usually a bit shorter than those for mature women, but not nearly as short as these adult styles from just three years later:

Buttterick patterns from Delineator, March 1927, page 22.

Butterick patterns for women, March 1927.

If you want more details about those eight dresses from 1927, click here.

These youthful outfits from 1924 look fussy and rather stodgy, compared to the streamlined styles of 1927.

Butterick patterns for teens and small women, March 1924. Delineator.

Three styles for teens, Butterick March 1927. [The illustration on the left is bizarrely elongated….]

For more about dresses that combined different shades of the same color, click here. For more examples of rapid change in 1920’s fashion, click here.

A coat (1318) and dress (1323) from Butterick patterns, March 1927. Delineator, page 25. They’re like shingled hairstyles: short and sleek.

 

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Great Twenties’ Styles for Girls 8 to 15: April 1929

Three Butterick patterns for girls 8 to 15 years old, Delineator, April 1921, page 38.

Three Butterick patterns for girls 8 to 15 years old, Delineator, April 1929, page 39. The legs look coltish, (as they did in 1960’s illustrations…) but the bodies have credible proportions.

The daytime styles we think of as quintessentially “nineteen twenties” have kneecap length skirts, dropped waists, a sporty air, and proportions that look pleasant on an actual female body. The elongated fashion illustrations of the Twenties are hard to imagine on a normal young woman — but these illustrations of teens look “just right” to me.

These charming and sophisticated Butterick patterns for girls 8 to 15 years old are easy to imagine on a real (and adult) person. If you’re seeking inspiration, scroll down for the details:

A suit (dress plus matching coat), a dress, and a suit made up of suspender skirt with attached blouse, and jacket. Delineator, April 1929. Only the suspender skirt (right) is a style not worn by older women.

The dress in the center looks girlish in comparison to its neighbors. On the other hand, that’s a lot of eye makeup! Delineator, April 1929, page 39.

Here are the details:

Butterick 2572 has pleasant proportions, and those bias cut chevrons at the neckline of the sleeveless dress would look just as good without the 3/4 length coat. (Nice detail: the chevrons are repeated on the coat pockets and sleeves.)

Butterick 2427 has nothing childish about it. A long tie in back is purely decorative, but flatters the figure.

The sleeve/armhole treatment is very 1920s, and the swooping curve of the yoke, balanced by a curve on the skirt yoke, is elegant and sophisticated. If you were copying these designs for an adult, a small bust dart — or two — in each side seam would be a good idea — and common in women’s patterns from the later 1920s.

Butterick 2574 has a suspender skirt. They were worn by young adults, but not by matronly types.

Butterick 2485 owes a lot to Chanel; her jersey suits and cardigan sweaters were a major influence on the acceptance of casual chic.

You could make two blouses to go with this skirt, which hangs from an underbodice rather than the waist: one dark blouse and one in a lighter color. Bingo! Two suits instead of one. (Two neckline variations are illlustrated, too.)

Butterick 2507 uses fagoting — a nod to Vionnet — in a simple shift. I think it would look better without the embroidery.

In spite of those tucks over the breast, I’m not sure this one would be flattering to a grown woman.

Crisp and made dynamic by plaid on the bias in the top of the dress and pocket. Butterick 2558, for girls 8 to 15, Delineator, April 1921, page 39.

A long-sleeved version was also possible; and of course, the plaid is zingy, but not required. This dress could be monochromatic, or made with a white or cream top and a dark skirt and trim, or in two shades — or two textures — of the same color, for a dressy look.

I can’t imagine many pre-teens getting away with the amount of mascara illustrated, but….

Actress Phyllis Haver in an ad for Maybelline Mascara, Delineator, April 1929, pg 107.

Blame it on the movies. Advertisers didn’t have photo doctoring programs in the Twenties, but they still managed to doctor photos….

A little exaggeration in an ad for Maybelline Mascara, 1929.

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Paris Shoes for April, 1928

All shoe illustrations are by Dynevor Rhys, from Delineator magazine, April 1928. Black patent leather high heel with gold piping, by Ducerf-Scavini.

All these shoes have rather high heels, but similar shoe styles are shown in the Butterick pattern illustrations in Delineator for April 1928, too.

High heels resembling the Paris shoe designs are shown with these Butterick pattern illustrations, also from the April, 1928 Delineator magazine.

Another high heel for afternoon. In smoke gray trimmed with narrow bands of black kid. By Ducerf-Scavini.

The extremely delicate trim and piping on these shoes signal designer craftsmanship, and couture prices.

This “street shoe” has a silver buckle to accent its silvery gray goat skin. By Ducerf-Scavini.

A putty gray-beige high heel with two straps for “a foot with a very high instep.”

You can see the whimsical signature by artist Dynevor Rhys just below the heel.

Black patent leather accents this black antelope shoe, a play on texture by Ducerf-Scavini.

The very high instep in this shoe reminds me of some “gladiator” variations from the 2010s. I have no idea how anyone got a foot into this shoe, but it’s stylish…. And it must have been gorgeous in rose and silvered gray. By Perugia.

This shoe has a leather tab instead of a buckle. In silvered leather, by Perugia.

An evening shoe with two bands of rhinestones over the instep, by Hellstern.

The accompanying article mentioned that actresses in Paris were wearing shoes with rhinestoned heels, off stage as well as on.

High style for evening, in these shoes with “diamond” on heels and straps. By Perugia.

A less dramatic look from Perugia, with a tiny open triangle where the T-strap meets the band. In “Opalescent pink kid” they would have complemented a pink chiffon frock,

Here is the text that accompanied the two-page shoe article.

A colorful pair of shoes by Ducerf-Scavini is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum, and the Met has many examples of shoes by Perugia. This gold and silver pair –with quite unusual heels — dates to 1928-29.

 

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Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, evening and afternoon clothes, Shoes, Vintage Accessories, Vintage Couture Designs