Learn about Life in the 1920s

1920 Kimono Waist-Line Dress Description

Kimono sleeves, because of their grace and adaptability to materials and fashions, frequently come definitely to the fore. Today they are seriously the vogue, and agreeably so because of the loose waist line with which they are used.

Dress Style

Slender figures can wear kimono-cut waists with a great deal of satisfaction. Even a heavy figure can wear them becomingly, provided a panel or a panel back is used to narrow in appearance the width of back and a vest effect or definite front and collar line is employed, the Tuxedo collar effect being frequently adaptable.

A recent cable from Paris gave this fashion information: "Panels back and front on waists; panels up and down on skirts; ribbons galore; hours of embroidery; much lace; some buttons; and every other blouse a kimono sleeve." Perhaps the model here shown is that message interpreted; at any rate, it is a delightful compromise.

Material and Pattern.


Satin, crepe meteor, Canton crepe, crepe de Chine, and silk poplin used with Georgette are appropriate for this type of dress. For it 4 1/2 to 5 yards of material, 1 yard of Georgette, 4 1/2 yards of double-faced ribbon 3/8 to 7/8 inch wide, and 10 to 12 skeins of embroidery floss are needed.

The original dress was of dark-blue crepe meteor, with henna Georgette collar, sleeves, and embroidery. Black satin with rust Georgette and embroidery and sparrow-colored satin with a lighter tan Georgette and brown embroidery are excellent color combinations. Then there is the silver-gray and light-yellow combination, the silver-gray and pale-rose combination, and the navy and deep blue-gray combination, any of which makes a good color effect, especially for a very dainty dress.

The Buster Brown or Dutch collar is always a favorite, and is to be seen this year on stately dinner gowns and on the plainest of dresses. It seems that it has as many variations in materials and color as it has uses. Exquisite laces, Georgettes, marquisettes, satins, brocaded ribbons, fur, and fur-cloth all lend themselves to this simplest of collars. The collar line illustrated here is precisely the new line for this collar, though it may be narrowed at the sides and slightly lowered at the front for the round-faced, short-necked person. When the collar is narrowed at the sides, a slight point at the center back will prove pleasing.

A plain, close-fitting kimono-waist pattern may be used as a guide pattern for the blouse, and a straight two-gored skirt pattern for the skirt. First, prepare a plain foundation lining of light-weight silk and arrange the opening at the left-side front, so that it will not be visible when the vest of Georgette is in place.

The color of the lining under the Georgette vest should be taken into consideration when the color combination of the dress is decided on, so that a pleasing color effect may be secured here. For instance, if the Georgette is dark blue, a robin's-egg blue or a gold color will be pretty under it; if silver gray, then pale rose; if brown, then gold or a light blue. In any event, this contrasting color should harmonize with the embroidery and ribbon trimming of the dress.

Embroidery Designs.

Do not consider embroidery difficult; today it may be produced easily and quickly. The chief requisites are artistic designs and color combinations. Dress decorations should rarely dominate the dress; rather, the material of the dress, in color and texture, should be subordinate to the individual, and the embroidery, in design and coloring, subordinate to the material. Patchy embroidery or that which evidences hours of labor is rarely beautiful as dress decoration. Rather, embroidery should blend into the material and style and be inconspicuously decorative; seldom should it be dominant in line or color.

Study the designs given in the Embroidery Fashion Books to be found at all pattern counters, or visit a fancy goods shop or an art shop to see their special transfer designs. Among these, you can find designs that will help you materially to develop your own plan of decoration. You may not want to use all of any one design, but you can use a part or fit the design together to agree with your special need. For instance, a woman whose skirt length is short should not select an embroidery design that extends the full length of her tunic; but she could use, perhaps, a portion of a design so as to have the embroidery come in the right position for her. This may be arranged by cutting away any unnecessary part of the design before the transfer is made to the material.

Ribbons for Trimming.

One would scarcely delight in an all-ribbon frock, although such frocks are seen and are frequently quite attractive, but to see the exquisite ribbons of every color, tone, and hue, of every width and design, makes one eager to use them. Ribbons were never more beautiful nor more wholly adaptable than now. They are used on cloth, velvet, lace, satin, and Georgette, apparently without discrimination, and every ribbon seems to know just where it belongs.

As soon as you decide on the color of your dress, make it a point to see the ribbons. You are sure to find the right ribbon in width, texture, and coloring to help you with the trimming.


Place the center-back line of the kimono pattern on the center fold of a full width of material. This will bring the dropped armhole and the vest or front edges of the blouse on the half-bias, giving lines that are very satisfactory if the material does not stretch very much.

In the event that such material as Georgette crepe or crepe de Chine, which will stretch when cut on the bias, is used, cut the back with the seam at the center back on a 7/8 bias grain and then cover the seam with a panel 2 3/4 to 7 inches wide, the width of the panel depending on the width and length of back of the individual and on the material used.


Sew the skirt and tunic seams and press them open. If the material is heavy, use a picot or a bias-bound edge for the tunic. If it is medium light in weight, turn a hem 1 1/8 to 1 1/2 inches wide at the sides and 2 inches at the bottom and carefully slip-stitch these in place, taking care to use easy stitches and to press carefully from the wrong side and allowing the pressing to aid in holding the turned edges in place, thus making close, substantial stitches unnecessary. Remember that a dress can be oversewed and thereby lose its smartness. First, plan for effect; then substantiate this with good workmanship, which does not always mean close stitches.

Finish the vest edge of the overblouse to harmonize with the finish of the tunic and the lower edge of the sleeve by binding it and tacking the ribbon in place. Join the sleeve to the dropped armhole by stitching a plain seam about 1/16 inch outside of the marked seam line. Then turn both seam edges in toward the waist, and with the armhole edge of the overblouse rolled down over the sleeve just enough to cover the seam line, cut the seam edge of the overblouse to make it about 1/8 inch narrower than the sleeve seam. Then turn the sleeve edge over this and secure the turned edge to the overblouse with fine, loose hemming-stitches. These stitches should be taken very carefully so that they will be scarcely evident on the right side. Then stamp or mark the embroidery design on the material and do the embroidery in the colors selected. When this is completed, press it on a well-padded board from the wrong side, handling the iron deftly, so as to allow the pressing to improve the appearance of both the stitches and the design, rather than to make them appear flat and definitely applied.

1920 Long-Tunic Dress >>>>


Related Articles: 1920 Fall-Winter Ladies Fashions | Waist-Line Dress | One-Piece Coat Dress | Tuxedo-Scarf Dress | Long-Waisted Dress | Kimono Waist-Line Dress | Long-Tunic Dress | Straight-Line Dress | Over-blouse Dress