Details Of The 1928 Green Silk Dress

Back in August, at Newport, I wore a whole lot of new dresses. One of them was this 1928 green silk evening dress based off of an image in Norah Waugh’s The Cut of Women’s Clothes.

At Rosecliff, in Newport, RI.

It was recently requested that I share more information about this dress, and maybe some extra pictures. This dress was lovingly placed in my closet upon my return from Newport, but as you’ll soon see, the silk charmeuse just LOVES to wrinkle! I didn’t steam the wrinkles out to take closer pictures, so you’ll have to bear with the wrinkly silk.

This dress may look complicated, but it’s actually just an L-shaped garment with neck and armholes.
The bottom of the L-shape is stitched together on a diagonal to keep the drape-y bits from showing too much leg.
Here are the drape-y bits hanging down, but folded open so you can see where the stitching stops. It’s about mid-thigh, but I didn’t have any problems with too much leg showing because it tends to hang closed all the way to the hem.
All of the bottom hems and drape-y edges are narrow hemmed by machine, like this. The hem is about 1/4″
This is a back view of the top of the dress. You can see that the front neck is a scoop and the back is a V-shape. The trim is from Heritage Trading on eBay. It’s is gold metallic threads/wires with sequins. Originally I had thought to trim the skirt as well, but decided against that because I didn’t want stitches to show on the inside when the skirt flipped around while dancing.
A closeup of the neckline. I stitched hug snug around the neck and armholes then turned the hug snug and stitched again to enclose the raw edges of the silk. I then zig zag stitched the metallic trim on. It caused some puckering of the silk, but that’s not very noticeable when I have the dress on.
Here it is!

The dress is a basic tunic with no waist, as you can see in one of the first pictures. I used my measurements to determine the basic shape, then held it up to myself (super scientific, I know) to determine arm and neck openings. I cut them, sewed the shoulder and side seams, then put the dress back on to make changes.

I didn’t want to put closures on the dress, but I did want those horizontal folds around the waist. Without a waist, the dress just droops and pulls on the side with the drape-y bits. So how did I fake a waist while still allowing easy access to the dress with no closures? Well, I took an elastic hair tie and scrunched the dress up while wearing it so that it sat the way I wanted! Then I pinned a (modern, ahem) sequined flower (left over from my beginning ballroom dancing days) to hide the scrunch. The sequins are bronze and gold, so while it didn’t match perfectly, I think it worked just fine.

It was a rather down-and-dirty sewing job. I wasn’t out to have the most beautiful interior of a dress (as I almost usually am). I was simply trying to get the dress done as quickly and easily as possible, so I could spend time making my other dresses really lovely, inside and out. As I have mentioned before, the 1920s aren’t super inspiring to me, so I didn’t have a whole lot invested in this dress, except that I wanted to look great at the Gatsby Ball at Newport with minimum effort. (My original thought was to hand bead a dress… but I didn’t have the time or interest for that, in the end.) However, I’ve got another 20s event coming up next year… and I plan to make a new 20s dress. And this time, it will be beaded. You’ll have to wait for a future post to hear about my plans for the new 20s dress!


6 thoughts on “Details Of The 1928 Green Silk Dress

  1. Thank you, Quinn. That was exactly the info I was looking for. I would never have guessed the cutting shape or your inventive “shaping” techniques. I love that you show details as well as the overall picture of your clothing pieces. Your blog has inspired me to go back to sewing like nothing in years has done. (My degree is in Fashion, but have been working in another field for 20 years.) Thanks for filling my curiosity request.

    1. Thanks! I also love the drape because it adds an interesting element to an otherwise straight and rather boring silhouette. It’s the element of the dress that drew me in. 🙂

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