HSM #2 – Tucks and Pleating: Hattie’s Dress


This month’s challenge is:

Tucks and pleating – make a garment that features tucks and pleating for the shape or decoration

And my inspiration was this picture from german Vogue, August 1929:


The caption reads: “Mrs. Allan A. Ryan, junior, chosen by Cecil Beaton as the embodiment of the beautiful blonde American.”

I used a viscose fabric I had had in stash for some months, which proved to be a good choice, with a crepe-like feel and very drapey, though capricious. Too impatient to deal with well-known basics like basting the edges, I was rewarded with a neckline that grew larger by the minute. I added vertical seams in the front and back (fortunately barely visible) but in the end couldn’t get around inserting a strip around the neckline. It turned out okay, although taking a closer look makes it obvious, that this was not planned originally. But Mrs. Ryan’s elegant sash wasn’t easy to add to this, so I decided to fake it altogether, using a vintage buckle for the faux bow.


By and large this blouse has a more casual and sporty feel than its model, and it reminded me of wonderful Hattie from “Sweet and lowdown”, so that’s where it got its name from. I like it.

Now I have always wanted to make a typical twenties’ two piece frock, with the skirt attached to a vest, and being thrifty with my fabric I just had enough left to give it a try. I made a simple slip like the one for the last challenge of 2015 and sewed the skirt to it:



(Again, the slip doesn’t go on my dress form, so it’s pinned to it – the straps are not double.)

Pleats on either side:


The whole dress:


And this is what I’d really like to know: How do you make a pleated skirt (an extremely popular design in the twenties) without loosing the slim shilhouette? Especially pleats that open up at the waistline like these. I made another skirt this month with one pleat in the centre front, from top to bottom, as seen in many fashion plates – apart from being very unflattering it gives the skirt an unmistakable A-line shilhouette. Looks rather 70s. Starting the pleat below the lower hipline, everything’s fine. I’m really at a loss, so if anybody out there has an idea how to handle this, I would be grateful for a hint!


The Challenge: tucks and pleating

Material: viskose for the dress, rayon for the slip

Pattern: my own

Year: about 1926

Notions: thread, an original buckle

How historically accurate is it? very, as far as I can say.

Hours to complete: about a week’s time snippets

First worn: last sunday to church and a family gathering

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