This pretty little image is from The Modern Priscilla magazine in August, 1928.
Organdie with embroidery was THE THING to have for a pretty summer gown, especially in the late 1910s through 1920s. Organdie is a stuff, crisp fabric, and back then it would have been made of cotton. You can still obtain organdie, but it is getting harder to find. If you’re looking for it, check heirloom sewing stores, or stores based out of India that sell online through Etsy or Ebay.
The embroidery was often cotton but could also be made of rayon or silk. In this particular example they used wool, which might be a bit scratchy on a summer frock, but would give extra dimensional effect.
The 1920s was all about “youthfulness”, so it’s no surprise they marketed this for “girls” in their teens and 20s. Luckily, we are now able to choose our own looks regardless of age, so don’t let this stop you from experimenting with whatever fashion you wish, regardless of what numbers tell you.
I especially like that they detailed what finishings were to be done on this frock. Sewing patterns of this era were vague, at best. Most did not have any form of finishing instructions or illustrated instructions. These extra tidbits given in this article would have helped you take a basic pattern and get a truly lovely and professional finish with tiny hems, bindings, and surface embroidery.
Patterns were mail order, and the text “Dress No.28-8-31” would be the dress pattern you would mail away for. Mail order information was on another page of the book to purchase the patterns that were featured in this magazine issue. You see the same thing from most fashion and home magazine publications from the 1890s through the 1950s at least (and perhaps earlier and later than that). Dressmaking was such a common thing that magazines knew to market to those wishing to get the novel new fashions and make them at home. Even Vogue ran a pattern section, though most of the price points of ready to wear were far outside the financial abilities of most families.
Here’s the text and image from this issue:
By Eleanor F Bliefling
COTTONS are queening it in the realm of summer fashion and are responsible for the revival of dainty dimities, pretty lawns, and crisp organdies. For sheer loveliness the organdie takes the lead. Youth itself is embodied in their flower-like tints, clear canary yellow, cool green, sweetbriar pink, sky blue, delicate orchid.
The sixteen-to-twenties demand chic simplicity, but take kindly to the broad, hip swathing sashes tied in demurely dashing, big bows. Gay little wreaths of rambler roses and lazy daizies worked in soft wools of orchid, deep yellow, sky blue and nile green shades are all the decoration necessary.
Frocks of this festive nature, which are easily and quickly put together, are encouraging things for girls to make for themselves.
A straight skirt fulled into the low waistline, a wide hem, self bindings at neck and armscye, French seam , wee rolled hems on the sash, embroidery that is fun – not a puzzling problem in the whole thing– and yet there is youthful charm in every girlish line of this little summer frock.
And the whole page if you’d like to read all the ads on the page.
I still need to dive deeper into 1920s sewing and patterns. I would love to make more someday!