Individuality in dress and a few fashion sewing guidelines….

This is such an interesting topic: individuality of dress.  Does it matter what the dress looks like if it suits ones personality?  Can there be a balance of individuality and still being seen as fashion forward?  Below is an excerpt from the book Harmony in Dress, which takes on this topic, along with a few guidelines for sewing construction.  A great resource for those who love to create 1920’s fashion.  Enjoy!

“Instantly the question came. “Do you consider individuality in dress more important that becomingness?”

Then there was a little pause as though this great designer did not know just what to say, but in a moment came the reply, “A dress cannot possibly express individuality until it is first becoming.  A dress must be becoming in the three requisite – color, line, and fabric; then it can be so carefully designed and constructed as to express individuality; but last of all it can be so truly lovely and can emphasize becomingness and individuality to such an extent that it will be distinctive – to my mind, the highest achievement in dress.”

Then came another question, “What constitutes in your opinion harmony of dress?”

And again the answer was decisive and to the point, “the dress and the wrap and the places where you go.”  And this the designer demonstrated by one little incident.  She was going into the mountains for a picnic and she was to wear a charming little blue print dress, but first she had to change the silk costume slip to one of white muslin, so, as she said, she could feel “in harmony.”

A few of the dress construction rules of this great designer are as follows:

” I never use a lining unless the fabric absolutely requires it, and even then I prefer a costume slip that will not interfere with the grace of the dress, allowing it to fall as easily and naturally as possible.

“I often use a narrow, inside, unboned, pliable stay belt, just to keep my dresses in position on the figure and give stability to the waist-line finish.

“I tear fabrics crosswise always when it is possible, for the tearing straightens them and makes them easier to handle.

“I sew silk skirt seams by hand and always with silk thread, of course, for they fall ‘easier’ and are more readily lost sight of.  Waist and sleeve seams I usually prefer to have machine stitched because of the firmness desired.

“I like ribbon trimmings because of the lovely soft colors that it is possible to procure in them.

“I especially like velvet trimming on crepes and satins because of the lovely deep tones procurable in velvet.

“I never waste materials.  I use them again and again.  The dye pot and I are good friends, for with a package of dye I can, in a few minutes, dye materials to match any tone, hue or tint, so very little is wasted.”

So let your clothing, whether purchased or handmade, truly be in harmony with itself and with you!

See you all in September!


Source: Harmony in Dress by Mary Brooks Picken, 1925

Individuality in Dress Cover

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