Tag Archives: twisted shoulder strap 1930s

Day and Night in Vogue Patterns, 1937

“Make These and Have Something to Wear: Vogue Designs for Busy Days and Crowded Nights”

“Vogue Designs for Busy Days.” Ladies’ Home Journal, November 1937, page 30. November 1937.

Vogue Designs “for Crowded Nights.” Ladies’ Home Journal, November 1937, page 31.

This two-page spread in the Ladies’ Home Journal (LHJ) featured nine Vogue patterns. Here they are in detail:

Vogue two-piece dress pattern 7508 (in “copper”) and dress 7511 in black trimmed with grosgrain ribbons in “flower colors” to “trim the deep-lapped seam from neck to hem.” November 1937, LHJ. Shoulders are getting broader.

Vogue 7508, at left,  is “fitted to bring out natural curves;” Vogue 7511 has a “Victorian” collar and bands of grosgrain trim around the hem, too.

Vogue 7510. November 1937; LHJ. “An opportunity… if you’ve never sewn before, for it’s ‘Easy to Make.’ The skirt is in four gores, and you may use tiny buttons down the front in place of a slide fastener.”

Vogue 7510 has a zipper front and is worn with two (!) belts. Zippers made the change from sportswear to more formal clothing in 1936-1937.

This high-cut collar is also seen on the “copper” colored two piece dress, No. 7508.

Vogue dress 7509, in red, and 7512, in blue. In spite of the zigzag look at the hem and cuffs, 7512 is not a knitted dress. LHJ, Nov. 1937, p. 30. No, 7509 was available for large women, up to a bust of 46 inches.

Details of Vogue 7509 and 7512, from 1937. No. 7509 has a “soft, shirred plastron front”  and amazing sleeves. It is worn with matching dress clips. No. 7512 is “of a new violet-blue crepe with tiny wavy pleating worked right into the fabric. You can make the saw-tooth trimming on your sewing machine. Don’t you think the new-length sleeves are young?”

Alternate views of Vogue 7508, 7511, 7510, 7509, and 7512. LHJ, Nov. 1937.

On the facing page, four Vogue patterns for evening were illustrated:

Slinky satin evening gowns without a center front seam show what can be done with a bias cut and a flat tummy. Vogue 7506, in white, and Vogue 7505, in two shades of green.

“If you can enter a room regally, princess dress 7506 is for you!” This is not what is usually meant by “princess dress.” But she is wearing a tiara….

“The apparent lack of a seam down the front is not a mistake; there is one right down the center in back. We just couldn’t bear desecrating the lovely backward sweep with mere seams. The twisted shoulder straps, that are part of the dress front, drop to the waistline in back. We suggest platinum satin with mink or kolinsky banding.”

(A little digression: Kolinsky is a very expensive fur. High quality watercolor brushes are still made from it; Winsor & Newton will sell you a size 10 Kolinsky brush for $499. Movie plug:  In the 1937 comedy, Easy Living, the life of a hard-working young woman is transformed when an angry millionaire throws his wife’s Kolinsky fur coat out the window. Since our heroine doesn’t know what” Kolinsky” is, she wears the coat, not realizing it’s worth $55,000 — in Depression Era dollars! To her surprise, people start treating her differently because they think she is rich — or immoral….  Easy-to-relate-to Jean Arthur is the star. )

Vogue 7507 has a twisted tie on its bolero jacket. The glittering shoulder straps on the dress can be rhinestoned or sequinned. LHJ, Nov. 1937.

Both the bias cut and the twisted fabrics in those two Vogue evening gowns show the influence of Madeleine Vionnet.


A bias evening gown with twisted and tied jacket by Madeleine Vionnet, 1935. Photo: Metropolitan Museum.

Left, Vogue 7507, with a sheer, deep pink cover-up. Top tight, Vogue evening gown 7504. LHJ, 1937.

“Coronation pink” refers to he coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of England and the United Kingdom in May of 1937. They were the parents of Queen Elizabeth II. “Shocking pink” was introduced by Elsa Schiaparelli, also in 1937.

Alternate views of Vogue 7506, 7505, 7507 and 7504. LHJ, November 1937. Backs were cut to the waist on the gowns at left.

Are you inspired to start sewing your New Year’s gown?

Note:  These patterns were featured in November, so women would have been making and wearing them in 1938 and 1939 — or later. By mid-1939, the hems on the day dresses would have looked much too long.

Butterick Fashion News flyer, July, 1939.

Butterick Fashion News flyer, page 3. July 1939.


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Filed under 1930s, 1930s-1940s, Not Quite Designer Patterns, Vintage Accessories, Vintage Couture Designs, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes, 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.


Filed under 1930s, Vintage patterns