Saturday, June 29, 2013

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Trimming a Smart Frock with Fabric Disks

This tip reminds me of bottle cap covers - which this most definitely is not. Flat circles of bias fabric are sewn and them joined to create attractive trim for your "late spring and early summer frock" of flat crepe.

I like the effect on the sleeves, though I'm not sure if trimming the skirt has the same charm. Thoughts?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It's Radical - Fashion Protest over Hemlines in 1970!

In the late 1960s, the mini skirt reigned supreme, and did we young women ever love it! I remember it with such fondness. My father would often remark, as I was preparing to walk out the door in a mini-something "Well, you have a shirt on, when are you going to put on the rest of your clothes?" ;) In those days, I wore clothes with the high-thigh lengths you see in these photos. So sassy, so liberating!


Yes, we really wore our hemlines that short. Here are some patterns from 1969 that demonstrate the mini-length hemlines. There is short, and then there is really short:

(Note the bridesmaid's mini dress!)

Then, in 1970, the powers that be in fashion dictated a switch in skirt length from mini to midi. Not happy!! Life magazine, March 13, 1970 edition, captured this fashion hassle over hemlines.

Couture designers were quoted on their views about the hemline change, and they clearly had strong preferences:

In the sewing patterns of 1970 and on, we slowly start to see lower hemlines, including the midi and the maxi lengths. The ultimate compromise was moving the hemline up to just below the knee.



Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Women Protest Fashion Decrees - The Hemline Revolt of the late 1940s!

During the war years, hemlines were at the knee in order to accommodate war time rationing of fabric.

Then, in 1947, a hemline change occurred.  In that year, Paris decreed the "New Look" and and skirts dropped from knee length to tea length (mid-calf). This caused a serious protest - women did not like losing the freedom of those shorter hemlines.

News photo from 1947 of women's protest against new fashion skirt lengths
Patterns from the late 1940s demonstrate the return of hemlines to mid-calf lengths (tea-length).

Ultimately, the voice of women was heeded, and hemlines gradually rose closer to the knees in the 1950s. This won't be the only time women protested Paris designs. Next post, I'll talk about the hemline revolt of the 1970s. :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Sun Ray Pleats

This tip from Ruth Wyeth Spears and the 1920s focuses on accent pleats that fan out in sun rays. I particularly find the side godet interesting, and the use of the pleated fans at the hemlines of both the godet and the "scarf collar". Ruth's explanation and drawings (she drew all her own illustrations) are perfectly clear, as always.

Note the title in this article. Rue de la Paix was (and is) the fashionable shopping street in the center of Paris. Fifth Avenue in New York, of course, is lined with prestigious boutiques and flagship stores and is consistently ranked among the most expensive shopping streets in the world. So "sun ray plaitings" was a current trend that was evident in the leading fashion houses and shops of the day.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Celebrate Summer Solstice Day with Dresses from June 1950!

Whether you have some real sun or not on this longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, you can imagine yourself wrapped up in these delightful dresses, straight from June 1950 and Women's Home Companion. Wrap and button, double-breasted button, or tie!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

1920s Home Sewing Tips - Scalloped Shirred Ribbon Frills

This 1920 sewing tip from fashion columnist and sewing expert Ruth Wyeth Spears is intriguing. Addressing a trend for "fluffy trimmings", she explains how to accent a chic little frock (of black flat crepe!) with vertical rows of wide black satin ribbon. The ribbon is first sewn loosely in a serpentine or scalloped line and then pulled to produce a shirred effect. Smart style!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Trimming Your Frock with Silk Braid

Add a smart accent to your tailored frocks with this handy tip for trimming with curves of silk braid. Brought to you courtesty of Ruth Wyeth Spears and the late 1920s!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Friday, June 14, 2013

Day Dress from June 1950

A pretty pleated spectator dress, with blouson bodice and breast patch pockets - perfect for every day! Note the perfect alignment of the lines in the fabric, from the matching of all horizontal lines to the pleating on vertical lines - very impressive. Courtesy of June 1950 edition of Women's Home Companion magazine.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Coat and Dress from June 1950

Oh, what a Marilyn Monroe pose! When the rain threatens, this coat and dress combination is perfect. Note the generously wide sleeves at 3/4 length, and just two big buttons at the waistline - delicious. From June 1950 Women's Home Companion.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sunny June Fashion from 1950 - An Afternoon Dress

This afternoon dress was featured in the June 1950 edition of Women's Home Companion. I love the surplice bodice and that fabulous collar - beautiful!