Pattern Reviews: Vintage 1920s

Butterick 4965: Ladies Dress (1926) - Recommended  (Intermediate)

This vintage 1920's Butterick shirt pattern is one from my personal collection - I won it from an auction on Ebay, along with several other Butterick shirt patterns from the same seller. For me, the appeal of this shirt is its masculine styling, particularly with the collar and sleeve. I used a wonderful Judie Rothermel 1930s reproduction print to construct the shirt - the result was a well-fitted, comfortable, and crisp garment. For detailed photographs of the shirt and the materials used, please click here

The pattern instructions (with detailed drawings) were delightfully easy to follow and the pattern very well drafted.There were no construction issues when making this shirt - all of the pattern pieces fit together precisely. Please note, however, that some construction methods are not included in the Deltor, like how to construct a cuff placket or a split lapel - it may be assumed by the pattern company that the seamstress should know these methods, so a fair knowledge of shirt construction is needed. Also, unlike most patterns of this era, misses and women's sizing are both by bust measurement in centimeters and inches, rather than by vanity sizing (by age, 12-20). 

McCall 4525: Ladies Dress (1925) - Recommended (Intermediate)

This vintage 1925 McCall's dress pattern is one from my personal collection - a purchase that I made from an estate sale some time ago. This dress was constructed for my daughter, Marie, to attend the opening night of the remake of The Great Gatsby in May 2013. For detailed photographs of the dress and a description of the materials used, please click here.

With most vintage patterns, it's important to note the sizing on the pattern jacket. In this instance (pictured above), 38" refers to the bust measurement (at the widest part of the bust); however, for misses dresses, sizing usually begins with "age numbers" (12, 14, 16, 18, and 20) - these age numbers also correspond to a relative bust size, for example, size 20 (38"), 18 (36"), 16 (34"), 14 (32"), and 12 (30"). After misses dress size 18, dress sizes on vintage patterns usually revert to bust measurements and not "age numbers" - 38, 40, 42, 44, and etcetera. Keep in mind that most 1920s patterns generally only account for the bust measurement and not the waist or the hips, and the patterns only come in one size (rather than multiple sizes like modern commercial patterns).

Regarding this pattern, the construction was flawless, all of the pattern pieces coming together well. The only adjustment made was to the length of the skirt (cut a bit shorter) to accommodate Marie's height. 

Pictorial Review 4397: Ladies Dress (1927) - Recommended (Intermediate)

This vintage 1920's slip-over, one piece Pictorial Review dress pattern is the first '20s pattern I owned and is part of my personal collection. I made this dress for myself to attend the opening night of the remake of The Great Gatsby in May 2013. Unlike my daughter, Marie, who opted for a more feminine look (see McCall 4525), I wanted something a bit more masculine and tailored. For more detailed photographs of the dress, please click here

The pattern came together well, a common experience I've had with most commercial patterns from this era. The instructions were very easy to follow, the instructional photos well drawn - no surprises, here! Note, however, that I did make two structural changes to the dress, both stylistic (for my own tastes, and not because there was an issue with the pattern): I added an inverted pleat to the back of the skirt and I constructed the belt to the bodice to give the appearance that the bodice is separate from the skirt, although the whole ensemble is a one-piece slip-over affair. I found it interesting that Pictorial Review includes a waist measurement (33") for this garment, a tunic-style dress where the waist has no real importance concerning its fit.


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