December 1, 2013

Finally… that 30's dress

It's really finished! In the end, I didn't line the dress, I'll make a full slip later.

As you may know by now, from my previous posts about this project, I didn't use an actual 1930's pattern for this dress. Instead, I took inspiration from the wonderful images in magazines from the era. 
One of the advantages of owning several magazines, spread over most of the years of the decade, is that you get to see the progress of fashion over time. That way, I learned that there were no shoulder pads in dresses before 1932 and even in that year, fullness at the shoulder was more often achieved by gathering than by stuffing the sleeve head. Also, in 1930, waistlines were still just a bit below the natural waist, they gradually rose during that year, to reach the true waist by 1931. At that time, the commentary in the magazines thought the dresses were very fitted but in fact, all bodices still had some blousing above the waist. The completely streamlined effect didn't really show up until about 1935… At least, in the Dutch issues of Gracieuse magazine. And in the French Petit Echo de la Mode.

Anyway, like those early 30's dresses, mine doesn't have shoulder pads. It has raglan sleeves and a satin cowl neck bodice with pleats. It fits at the natural waist at the back and rises to a point at the front (like so many original 1930's dresses). The basic shape of the skirt is straight and ever so slightly flared but from the side front (at both sides) a more flared piece is inserted which runs all the way to center back (like I sketched here). The skirt is probably a bit short for a 'period' look but should work just fine for the twenty-first century.

The silhouette is still quite new to me even though the dress is very comfortable. 
When getting ready to take these pictures, I became very aware of the fact that I don't have any 1930's style hats or shoes or glasses (I've never seen women wearing glasses in neither drawings nor photographs from the era anyway). And I don't have a matching hairstyle nor any idea as to how to manipulate my long locks and fringe to imitate those semi-cropped curls. Not that I mind about that usually, but I do like to present a pretty picture when showing of my new dress for the first time ;)

I've been looking at those 1930's magazines a lot lately and I quite like them. So, there may be more garments inspired by them in the near future.  


  1. that silhouette is really flattering on you, Lauriana. well done!

  2. Fabulous. You are so clever and talented.

  3. I do love a bit of fashion history! The dress is utterly divine.

  4. What a gorgeous dress. I love it.

  5. Really pretty dress. I have been looking for warm things to wear as winter approaches. I am absolutely in love with this the silhouette is divine.

  6. The dress is beautiful, and the color is lovely :) I really enjoyed this post!

  7. Amazing! I really like the two different fabric textures you used, great effect.

  8. Gorgeous! Your dress is fabulous and the color of dress so lovely.
    formal dresses