When I bought this photo from a favorite ebay dealer, I thought that I would be sharing yet another example of older women’s love of polka dots in the 1930s. But on more careful inspection I discovered that these are not polka dots at all. Instead, they are slightly irregular white flowers on a dark background.
The dress has a geometric insert at the low hip, a common feature in the dresses of the early 1930s. The costume designer Witness2Fashion has written extensively on how this style was inspired by the great French designer Vionnet. You can see how closely this dress follows the lines of one offered in a 1931 Sears catalog.
This particular dress looks homemade, since there are many ripples where the bottom skirt meets the hip piece. Little care was taken to arrange the textile pattern attractively. What puzzles me most, though, is the second piece that stretches from the high hip to the waist. Maybe the original dress was lengthened with an extra piece as skirts lengthened in mid 1930s?
Her jacket also intrigues me. It is tightly cuffed at the wrist, making me think that the fabric might be some kind of knit. It has the sheen of silk, though. What it your best guess of how this little jacket was made?