We must dance because the Twenties roar

by Erin on September 24, 2012

Michelle (at OldPatterns.com) has a score of mint-condition 1920s patterns right now. Check out this one:

This one almost makes me think that perhaps airship hostessing started in the 1920s, rather than the art-deco 1930s. I love the determined asymmetricality (and the Modiglianish pattern illustration). I also think with great sympathy of all the women in the 1920s who had to wear stuff like this and who weren’t sylphlike gamines. That must have really, really sucked.

These patterns are definitely on the pricey side but they’re mint, practically Starlight mint, actually. (Maybe Michelle has been raiding some time capsules …) The 1920s are where I start to feel that sewing patterns are edging into Collectorsville and out of the range of “I’ll make this up next Saturday for a lark,” but the boundaries of your Collectorsville may vary. (I think that for some folks 1950s vintage clothing is now edging into Collectorsville — as I skip gaily towards my dotage, I start to realize that The Kids Today are now buying “vintage” that I wore in junior high school, and that the 1950s day dresses I took for granted as costing $7, tops, in the local Goodwill can and do now hit three figures. Speaking of 1980s “vintage” — dear children, floral rayon rompers are not improved by the passage of time. Take it from your Great-aunt Erin.)

I have one or two 1920s patterns I’m holding onto just because they’re so pretty to look at … like paper dolls. But I think if you want 1920s patterns, you might want to hunt them up now, because I have been given to understand that once the new Gatsby movie comes out in December, there will be a rush to flapperdom in fashion. (I hope there’s a rush to 1920s men’s fashions, too …)

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Catherine Green September 24, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Couldn’t agree with you more about floral rayon jumpers. In fact, having been a young thing in the 70′s and 80′s, I think it wouldn’t hurt to have whole chunks disappear from the vintage stratosphere.

What struck me about the patterns above is how modern they look. Not being sylphlike I am unlikely to invest time or money in this lok but if I were…

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Jen O September 24, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Well, at least those 1920′s styles where sewn up in a soft, drapey fabric, unlike their soul sisters from the late 60′s and early 70′s that were fabricated from polyester doubleknit with a drape not unlike cardboard.

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Sew Little Time September 24, 2012 at 3:16 pm

spooky. i have just blogged about some gorgeous1920s dresses (and hats) that have been on TV in an ad in the UK, and then i read this. but the 1980s was definitely the decade fashion forgot!

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Joni September 24, 2012 at 4:16 pm

I’m really tempted by 1920s patterns – can’t wait to see the Roaring Twenties fashions on Downton Abbey! I’ve often contemplated making myself a Twenties dress (from a Vintage Pattern Library reprint, not one of these glorious originals) and then I remember that I have boobs. Like, fairly big boobs. And hips. So I will just admire these beauties from afar.

I’ve never, ever traced a vintage pattern but for $100 a pop I might just be tempted to start!

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Evlayn September 24, 2012 at 5:50 pm

I love what they did with fabric – pleates and tucks, buttons and darts, inserts, draping, bias cuts etc. I think clothing was an art from then, I miss it like I miss the design of vintage cars. I don’t necessarily want to drive a ’49 Studebaker but I like to look and I appreciate the artfulness of the design.

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Cel September 25, 2012 at 1:06 am

It’s already time to remake Gatsby–again? I’m old.

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Lynn September 25, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Yes, the twenties were a tough time for women with curves…and especially older women. Take a look here: http://americanagefashion.com/?p=49

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Kris Grooms October 26, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Lynn, thanks for the post. I run a vintage clothing shop, and I’ve been wondering lately what older, and possibly more buxom, ladies did to work with some of these fashions.

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Dan September 28, 2012 at 8:52 am

I like the contemporary fashion, even though it’s inspired by the last century fashion, but it has it unique wild and sexy style… Though, the best thing I like about 20′s fashion is the material they used to use … They were more natural and softer.

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Carol Melancon October 10, 2012 at 2:21 am

I remember my grandmother telling me she used to have to bind her breasts flat with a wide strip of muslin to wear this style. What a contrast to today.

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