Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. (1938). Black wool skirt. Yellow wool jacket. Black buttons. Retrieved from http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/9f043890-9b62-9ef4-e040-e00a18061059
A fashion illustration from 1938 for an ensemble of a boxy yellow jacket with black accents worn with a slim black skirt. It is nearing the end of the decade and the shoulders are getting wider and looking more like 1940’s styles. I chose this design because of the softly knotted bow at the neck and then noticed the bow on the hat as well. I wonder what color the hat would be. Hats were an important fashion accessory in the 1930’s. I recently discovered an excellent book about hat making online at the Internet Archive or if you prefer HathiTrust also has a copy. Even though it is from 1922 the instructions are timeless.
“Modern millinery; a workroom text book containing complete instruction in the work of preparing, making and copying millinery”, by Hester B. Lyon, 1922.
I found a few more instructions about how to make the ties for bows. The section on Bands, Fold and Straps states: “Bands or folds used as trimming are made in a variety of ways. They may be lined, unlined, double of the material, or piped at the edges. Cut the band the required width, allowing for a turning at each edge. folds.
You can find the entry Bias Trimmings on page 129 of The New Dressmaker by the Butterick Publishing Company, 3rd edition, 1921 online at
These next two scans show a few styles from 1930.
From Making Smart Clothes: Modern Methods in Cutting,Fitting and Finishing, Butterick, 1930. These same illustrations and text are also in another Butterick book from 1930, Paris Frocks At Home. EmilyAnn of retroglam.wordpress.com is using the Paris Frocks At Home book as a guide to create a 30’s style dress. Norma of shesewsyouknow.wordpress.com is now working on a matching top for her already completed 1930’s skirt with front pleat.
Here are more bows including the one on the upper right of a shaped facing that looks like the tie ends could be lengthened. That way it could tie as a knotted bow in front rather than to pin or tack on a separate bow as in illustration 164 above. If you are interested in the sailor look, there is a chapter on Sailor or Naval Suits in the Butterick Dressmaker book starting on page 53. Somewhere I’ve seen how to hand embroider the 5 pointed stars using a modified arrowhead stitch. Will keep an eye out, maybe next post.
From Trimmings, Spool Cotton Co., 1946
From the Complete Book of Sewing, Constance Talbot, 1943
There is a very interesting research paper about Pearl Levy Alexander, the designer for Andre Studios and the history of Andre Studios here:
You can browse the Andre Studio collection by subject. I chose the search term “bow ties” and “bows, ribbonwork”. Some of the collection is at the New York Public Library and some is from the Fashion Institute of Technology.