1912 Frocks for Christmas

New Materials   Draped Evening Cloaks   Evening Blouse   Chemisette   Artistic Evening Dress

With Christmas "in the air" one's thoughts naturally turn to frocks and the many odds and ends of dress which play an important part in those festivities which cluster around the season; for to a woman a not inconsiderable part of a pleasure depends on the knowledge that she is suitably garbed.

Now the question of pounds, shilling and pence enters largely into the matter in most of our cases, and it is with a special view of helping those of moderate means who yet desire to be becomingly and smartly gowned, that I am writing today.

Two points make for economy. First of all, expert knowledge; secondly, plenty of time. Given these, there is no reason why the girl who makes her own gowns should not be quite beautifully dressed at very little outlay.

The knowledge must be there; for to achieve success the true feeling of fashion must be met. One must always lead - not follow in the wake of everyone else. This is one of the fundamental mistakes which people dependent on their own exertions make and is companioned by another, that of getting too many things of inferior quality. To follow the most ordinary shop windows some weeks after is the worst possible plan if one wants to look smart. Instead, one should find out what is being worn in the highest plane and aim for that in good materials, and so quite a reputation for chic dressing can be established.

The second point must not be forgotten. One must take time by the forelock, deciding at leisure what one wants, securing just the right thing to carry it out (which can never be done in a hurry!) and really finishing off the work well.

It is on these lines that the special Christmas affairs have been designed for your edification. They strike a really advanced note in fashion and yet are extremely easy - and quick too - to make, for it is always a mistake to undertake at home fashions of great complication or demanding a great deal of labour.

One of the very marked features of coming fashions this year is the introduction of fur; indeed, a finger depth bordering to skirt or décolletage, or even a mere touch of the shoulder or side panel, gives a very decided cachet, the value of which must not be overlooked.

New Materials

Then there is the use of brocade or broche satin and figured velvet, another most important feature. Indeed, such materials stand alone for chic effects. Some of the brocades are quite lovely, and all these materials of Victorian sound are barely recognisable in their beautiful softness of texture. This is, indeed, imperative, for drapery plays a conspicuous part in the modistic world - unfortunately perhaps, from the home-worker's point of view, for it is no easy matter to accomplish successfully and alas! is beyond the complete scope of a paper pattern, so much depending on individual conditions.

This reminds me that

Draped Evening Cloaks

are important affairs, though hardly of sufficiently practical merits to be included in our sketches today. Yet these sumptuous garments, completed by huge fur collars, sleeves reminiscent of the mid-Victorian dolman, voluminous folds and draperies around the top of the figure and very decided tightness around the feet - these peg-top-like affairs must certainly be mentioned in any article dealing even remotely with the subject of up-to-date fashion.

In these again, brocades figure, and their initial cost, as in the complete gowns of similar exquisite fabric, is almost prohibitive to moderate purses.

Not so, however, the small amount of material needed to fashion the

Representative Evening Blouse

which expresses so well the latest edicts of La Mode, for 2 ½ yards of double width suffices amply for its construction. Of course, one need not have brocade for it, but can get an excellent effect with any of the charming new materials, or a use of satin, over which bold patterned gold or silver lace is laid, veiled in turn with ninon, gives a ravishing result. Yet broché or brocade are so chic that one is tempted to secure them, for a blouse such as this one to tone with the plain skirt, gives a costume so smart that it will carry the wearer through any number of occasions.

Representative Evening Blouse, 1912 Frocks for Christmas

As you see the blouse is edged with narrow fur at décolletage and sleeves. The front is slightly draped and held in place by fancy buttons and a wide ceinture [belt] of plain satin is fixed at the right side by a cameo ornament, the characteristic little basque being also slightly draped.

The blouse is cut entirely in two pieces, the blouse itself in one with a straight fold running down the centre front and the little basque. Take care not to stretch the curve of the neck. The fastenings are arranged in the ordinary way down the centre of the back.

For occasions when a low blouse is not desired, you have

An Up-to-Date Chemisette

Provided; it is shown here in fine shadow lace with diamante trimming around the neck and carried up the outside on the plain long sleeves from which falls a dainty frill. The chemisette is cut in one piece with the sleeves added entirely without fullness at the armholes, and needless to say, it can be carried out in any pretty net, with or without trimming.

Chemisette for Wear with Blouses &c, 1912 Frocks for Christmas

Nor is its use confined entirely to the blouse, for such a chemisette plays a part in very many of the demi-toilette frocks of today and may even be introduced into the fascinating evening frock below.

An Artistic Evening Dress

An Artistic Teens Evening Dress, 1912 Frocks for Christmas

The embroidery plays a very important part in the scheme of this dress. But it is not indispensable - any of the many appliqué trimmings provided in artistic shops being suitable; or again, an under-dress of contrasting colour, with corselet affair of the same, may be relied upon in its simplicity. Still the touch of handwork gives immense distinction. A fairly coarse form of ribbon embroidery gives a speedy and effective appearance, but that of simple silks, into which a few imitation gems of good quality and a hint of glitter in the form of gold or silver thread is perhaps themost lovely.

The skirt is one of the new draped ones and the pattern provides the narrow underskirt, for which charmeuse is the ideal fabric, on the left side of which the embroidered panel is mounted, while a further empiècement may be introduced near the back of the hem. When the drapery is not too transparent a stuff, the good charmeuse may be used only for those embroidered portions which are left exposed by the drapery, which can then be mounted on an ordinary lining satin; but if a net transparency be used, the foundation must run throughout, the embroidery being worked on it complete, which makes it a slightly more cumbersome affair in the working.

Two distinct pieces for left and right sides respectively are provided for the sides of the drapery, the back part being common to both, and so cut double, with a straight fold running down the centre; the right-side piece is arranged with a draped extension embracing a considerable part of the left side at the top, the edge falling down on one side of the panel, while the left part is quite curtailed, extending only from the panel to the back gore, to which it is slightly draped up near the hem. It sounds complicated but it is not so in reality, the drapery being so slight that it makes small demands on the maker's skill.

Half of Cutting Layout for Evening Dress, 1912 Frocks for Christmas

The bodice too is quite charming and delightfully simple, for it resolves itself really into a little crossover affair of the thin material mounted on a slightly full lining of the satin, to which it is secured some few inches above the waist line, the hiatus thus formed between the edge of the full bodice and the skirt (also joined to the bodice lining) being covered by that charming corselet, which plays so important a part in the general scheme.

The sleeves too are delightful and are distinctly interesting from the fashion standpoint, for they show a revival in their gracefully swathed folds.

Some six yards of quite wide material, ninon, gauze or what not, are required for the over part, together with the five and half yards of double width charmeuse for the under-dress; of course if part of the under-dress is made of a lining material, then a smaller quantity if charmeuse will be wanted.

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