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McCalls patterns Magazine

McCall's August 1925
Fashion History
McCall's Magazine Images

By Pauline Weston Thomas for

August 1925 McCall's Magazine Images - C20th Fashion History

The signature fashion silhouette lines of 1920's fashions were often achieved by using McCall's or Butterick dress patterns.  Similar free dress patterns or trace outlines of fashionable garments were also given in other fashion, needlecraft and sewing magazines of the day.  You can read detailed text on 1920's fashions here.

McCall's Patterns - August 1925.

Double colour feature of McCall's Patterns - August 1925.

These fashion images from magazines and catalogues of the era are very representative of the styling of clothes real people wore in the mid 1920s.  Many styles were original fashion patterns by designers such as Chanel and Lanvin.

When first studying costume history, students often wrongly assume that every skirt fashion of the 1920s was short.  Not so.  It was only in 1925 that the fashionable skirt rose 14 to 16 inches (45 to 50 cm) from the ground making the shorter hemline we associate with the twenties era.  Let's look at these fashion magazine images more closely.  The main feature of 20s fashions is that throughout the 1920's decade the silhouette was a straight tubular column with dropped waist and no body curves evident, making it a boyish fashion silhouette.

Skirts were only really short in 1926 and 1927 and after that they slowly began to drop or waiver in length.  This is why handkerchief and indecisive hemlines were so popular. Those who were fainthearted could opt for an indecisive hemline and still be fashionable.

Aug 1925 - McCall's Patterns On White Backgrounds.

Stylish McCall's Patterns - August 1925. Godet inserts on McCall's Patterns - August 1925. Pleats as features of skirts on McCall's Patterns - August 1925.
In 1925 the fashionable skirt rose 14 to 16 inches (45 to 50 cm) from the ground. Knees were still covered in 1925.
Fluted features on skirts of McCall's Patterns - August 1925.

When printed off these images enlarge to fill an A4 size sheet.

 Buttons elongate the line of McCall's Patterns - August 1925.

The examples below show this feature of skirts and the dithering hemlines.


Paris Wears Evening Frocks That Ripple 1925

Paris Wears Evening Frocks That Ripple 1925 - McCall's
Floaty fabrics in McCall's Patterns - August 1925. Style and wrap glamour with  McCall's Patterns - August 1925. Wonderful afternoon dresses from McCall's Patterns - August 1925.

One aspect of the fashion editorial on this McCall's page is the reference to gloves.  It stated that Parisian women never went out in the day without gloves.  Although at night for 'artistic reasons' they went gloveless.  The bare gloveless arm was thought to be a visible and attractive feature of women at night.

When printed off these images enlarge to fill an A4 size sheet.

After skirt lengths dropped in 1930, skirts did not regain knee high shortness again until the 1940s and the skirt rising above the knee would not happen until the mid 1960s.  Yet most individuals only associate the 1920's era with shorter skirts. 

The selection of fashion history images above on this page and in 1925 Part 2 are taken from a McCall's magazine dated August 1925.  The original scans for the images I've presented here were kindly provided by Cynthia McCracken of Florida who sells vintage paper ephemera.  I have extracted most of them into their own pages on white clutter free backgrounds so you can clearly see the lines of each fashion style for your own purposes.  Original images such as these look wonderful when framed and used as part of a room scheme theme.

I hope to feature more of Cynthia's quality images in the near future.  You can read more detailed text about 1920's fashions in flapper fashion.  You can see some 1920's wedding photos here.  More line drawings are available here.  Use the gold navigation buttons above to see more McCall's and Good Housekeeping coloured and monochrome magazine images.

Page added 2 June 2005

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About looks at women's costume and fashion history and analyses the mood of an era.  Changes in technology, leisure, work, cultural and moral values. Homelife and politics also contribute to lifestyle trends, which in turn influence the clothes we wear.  These are the changes that make any era of society special in relation to the study of the costume of a period.Fashion History can take no responsibility for any information on the site which may cause you error, loss or costs incurred from use of the information and links either directly or indirectly.  This site is owned, designed, written and developed by author: Pauline Thomas and Guy Thomas. This site is designed to be viewed in 1024 X 768 or higher.

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