1921 Bustle Effect Dress

by June on February 13, 2014 · 5 comments

in 1920s,Accessories,Downton Abbey Inspired,Dresses,Hats

I made this dress to wear to a Downton Abbey inspired tea, but also as an entry into the Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #3 Pink.  The pattern itself is a repro of an original 1921 Butterick pattern and it went together very nicely.  For being such an old pattern the instructions were much better than what you find on BurdaStyle magazines, although they are wholly inadequate Big Four standards today. I used a poly shantung for economical reasons but other than that, the dress is pretty historically accurate.  Actually, it’s not a dress but a skirt suspended from a “long underbody” and then a blouse on top. I am very happy with how it turned out.  It’s not something I can just wear around but it served its purpose, and I think I’m going to use during Costume College for day activities.  For more pictures and a description of the Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge, please visit my blog.  I almost forgot, I made the hat too, using Simplicity 1736 and wool/rayon felt.


As a side note, I hadn’t made any posts since the blog was moved over from Blogger but I could have sworn I had an account.  Apparently I didn’t so I had to create one, and it’s showing that I have no other posts.  Bummer.

This post was written by...

– who has written 3 posts on WeSewRetro.com.

Hello! I grew up with a professional seamstress grandmother, and all the women in my family are very good at some fiber art or other, but I always thought that the crafty gene had skipped me. Then some time in 2008 I decided that I was going to learn to sew so I could make cloth diapers for my son. It wasn't long until I realized that I wanted to make other things, and the rest is history. I'm very much interested in historical costuming but I love sewing all types of garments. Even though I've been at this for years now, I still have so much learn!

June's posts / June's website

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Katherine February 13, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Yep, when we moved from blogger two years ago everyone had to sign up for a new account, but your old posts are still here on this site – they’re just unclaimed right now. Is this username the same as your blogger one? Let me know so I can attribute your old posts to you :)


JuneHawk February 13, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Hhmm….not sure. I sign in to blogger with an email address that starts with thymeforfood.


Jeannie Watt February 14, 2014 at 8:53 am

You love wonderful! I really like the hat, too.


Jeannie Watt February 14, 2014 at 8:53 am

I do mean, of course, that you LOOK wonderful. :)


Jessamyn February 14, 2014 at 8:06 pm

It’s really fantastic. You have The Look! The trick to this era is NOT looking like a sack of potatoes, and you certainly don’t. I think the separate skirt/underbody and blouse help with that, because the skirt doesn’t drag the bodice down; instead it sits much more gracefully on the torso.

I also love the color – glad you started over with the right pink! – which in period was referred to by the fantastic name “ashes of roses.”

You mentioned on your blog that “radium” was one of the suggested fabrics on the pattern envelope, and I found quite a few hits with the term on Google Books Advanced Search in the 1920s. It appears to have been one of a variety of trade names for a fabric with a dull surface, usually a crepe, but sometimes a taffeta, often printed with patterns. It came in silk and rayon. Pussy-willow crepe is apparently pretty much the same thing. It was used a lot for underthings.


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