the slinky dress- 1920s

Right now I am working on two velvet gowns inspired directly from two that were used for film of the late 1920s, these are very representative of a style worn through the 1920s.

I have endeavoured to credit the design or wardrobe team where possible.

Vilma Banky in The magic Flame (1927, uncredited designer), and Norma Shearer in Upstage (1926, Kathleen Kay*, Maude Marsh and André-ani).

Both of these gowns are from the height of the flapper era, and yet both are designed to cling to the body from shoulder to hips. And they are not alone!

 

Nita Naldi, Cobra (1925, Adrian), Anna May Wong, Nita Naldi Cobra, (1925, Adrian)

These gowns are clearly designed to make a stark visual impact and yet the materials are soft and flow around the body.

 

These gowns have defined body shaping. It is achieved using inserts and cutouts to take in or spread out  V shaped elements- using decorative elements to achieve a closer fit, and was used a lot in the 1920s to shape clothing.

From experience it is a style that is best draped on the stand. French bias* is used through the 1920s which affects stretch in seams and this style makes most use of barely diagonally cut fabric.

It can be seen on long clinging gowns, short gowns, and even what I am calling a demi skirt- a flared rather than gathered skirt that ends below the knees and before the ankles.

A hip seam (straight or also v shaped) is of benefit in anchoring the bodice to the torso especially for skirts that are gathered or flared.

*french bias is barely off the grain and is usually used on the CF line. True bias is cut at 45 degrees to the grain. A lot of shaping of this time is not true bias, but uses the same extra ease offered from french bias

  

Dorothy Sebastian & Anita Page, Our Dancing Daughters (1928, David Cox), Colleen Moore, Clara Bow

 

Norma Shearer, The Last of Mrs Cheyney (1929, Adrian), Joan Crawford, Our Dancing Daughters (1928, David Cox).

And the fit was even used for Robes de Style!

 

Arlette Marchal, Clara Bow, Jacqueline Gadsen

Anita Page, Our Modern Maidens (1929, Adrian)

 

In this case the fit is from the hips up to underbust at the side and then the excess from the bust is eased into the scooped neckline.

Paul Poiret evening gown, 1920s, Christies auctions.

This gown makes use of the seaming needed to create the geometric patterns to also fit to the body. This use of decorative seams to hide functional seams can also be seen in Patterns of Fashion, a blue silk crepe dress from 1925 has teardrop shaped panels that are used to take in or spread the ground fabric.

1921 evening dress, Les modes, “where there’s smoke” by Patterson.

 

 

Whitaker auction 3

Salad costumes. Help, obsessed.

LOT 936 WILLA KIM/ BARBARA MATERA GARDEN SALAD ENSEMBLE, 1988
LOT 936 WILLA KIM/ BARBARA MATERA GARDEN SALAD ENSEMBLE, 1988

LOT 937 WILLA KIM/ BARBARA MATERA PASTA SALAD ENSEMBLE, 1988
LOT 937 WILLA KIM/ BARBARA MATERA PASTA SALAD ENSEMBLE, 1988

LOT 937 WILLA KIM/ BARBARA MATERA POTATO SALAD ENSEMBLE, 1988
LOT 937 WILLA KIM/ BARBARA MATERA POTATO SALAD ENSEMBLE, 1988
LOT 938 WILLA KIM/ BARBARA MATERA ROMAINE LETTUCE ENSEMBLE, 1988
LOT 938 WILLA KIM/ BARBARA MATERA ROMAINE LETTUCE ENSEMBLE, 1988

Whitaker Auction 2

Green silk crepe, Judy Garland, A Star is Born

Worn by Judy Garland during the 30 minutes cut from the original film. Green silk crepe having stand collar with ruched slightly darker green chiffon back insert and front tie, long bell sleeve with narrow cuff sewn into an outer point, curved darts, slightly trained skirt having satin-edged full chiffon gores set in an inverted V at waist and around hip at back, hidden front hook-and-eye closures. Label “Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.” inked 7072-386 J. Garland. B-34, W-26, L-57-63. (Minor fading, two small spots hidden in gores) very good. 2000-3000

OMG! Look at those sheer gores and how high the go! Also nice details of

making my Robe de Style

For the Very Vintage Day Out I wound up in a fluffy Robe de Style so thought I should update with how I made it, and proof it was a very common shape!

vvdo vvdo2

I spent days going through every issue of Les Modes de la Femme de France There were hoops in most years, if not most issues!

screenshot-2016-09-09-12-17-57 screenshot-2016-09-09-12-21-06 screenshot-2016-09-09-12-22-19

Jan 9, 1921, Jan 16 1921, Feb 13 1921

To show every single example would take forever! But I really recommend going through these for inspiration. They really show the amazing experimentation that was going on in the era.

 

To draft the gown I used a few resources.

 

Art in dress by Brown, P. Clement (Percy Clement), 1886-

Published 1922
Topics Dressmaking, Clothing and dress
Publisher New York, P. C. Brown
Pages 204
Call number 9662562
Digitizing sponsor Sloan Foundation
Book contributor The Library of Congress
Collection library_of_congress; americana

This book has illustrations slightly out of the usual order, but here are some teasers to show how varied the era actually was.

screenshot-2016-09-09-11-05-54 screenshot-2016-09-09-11-06-09

These first two images are for measurements and the types of lining options. The double dart was so well established from the 1870s that it seems to have stayed on as a fitting solution. Do note the french bias. Those centre fronts are cut on a diagonal.

I wound up using a thin lining of cotton sateen and option (a) style. My darts were much deeper, and they were disguised by the lace overlaid.

sm_dsc_0574 sm_dsc_0576 sm_dsc_0578

sm_dsc_0580 sm_dsc_0581 sm_dsc_0582

It is similar to the patterning seen in Draping a Magic Dance Frock-from Fashion Service Magazine September 1928, page 20.

The narrow V inserts were inspired by vintage photos. In the end I decided to cut the neckline off and used narrow straps instead. This way I was able to make the lace work as an off the shoulder style.

screenshot-2016-09-09-11-07-12 screenshot-2016-09-09-11-07-19

These two are clearly influenced by the same sources as the Robe de Style. However they predate Jeanne Lanvin’s phrase by several years. These can be know as sobe de soir, or influenced by spanish styles. The firt gown has a yoke that is shaped to flare around with separate panels hanging from it, while the second has extra length in the top part of the skirt.

This latter solution was how I solved my hoops problem.  I wanted my lace to be as even as possible so all layers were sewn straight to the hem while the very top row were shaped to be longer over the hips and shorter at front and back.

sm_dsc_0583 sm_dsc_0584

This shows how I shaped flat net panels over my panniers. The panels were flat top and bottom, so it’s possible to see how the top of the panels are shorter front and back compared to the sides.

screenshot-2016-09-09-11-07-41 screenshot-2016-09-09-11-07-56

These patterns offer insight in to circular panels that can be used to add drama to a hem in this era. Note the bodice fitting solutions as well.