Detail Inspiration: Drop waist & lace (or why I love 1920s fashion)



Perhaps I’ve seen one too many Merchant Ivory films, but I think I could practically live in a loose-fitting, drop-waisted lacy dress like this all summer.

1920s fashions make such wonderful inspiration because the style lines are incredibly simple and the details so rich. Take any shift or drop waist dress pattern (might I suggest Laurel?), make it in a light silk or cotton, add pleats and lace insertions. Add a straw hat and bright lipstick. Done!

image sources: 1920s silk dress from Dear Golden

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

Comments 19


Beautiful! I love 1920’s fashion as well. It’s the first ‘modern’ approach to clothing; no fussy, confining undergarments, but retains beautiful handmade details of the decades before it. Swoon!

Diane @ Vintage Zest

I may be chastised for this, but where is the drop waist supposed to lie? I’m only 5’0″, so commercial clothes don’t fit me well (height-wise) and I’ve never bought one because it would below my crotch! Is it at the hip, or just above? Thanks!

Rochelle New

I would describe the drop waist line as where the band on modern day underwear would hit. At the hip bone? I’m a bit taller though (5′ 7″) so maybe I’ve been wearing it wrong, too! lol


I don’t think there’s a hard and fast rule, but I’d agree with Rochelle’s comment. I think in 1920s fashion, it’s supposed to emphasize a straight, boyish body, so putting that line at the top of the hip works well for that.


I would be willing to learn how to drop a waist in a shift dress.. hint hint….


This is one of the best styles for those of us with a waist measurement about the same as our hips!!!! Solves the fitting problem. The skirt should always, I think, be longer than the bodice, to look attractive proportionately. Right?


For the 20s look, yes… perhaps using the golden mean would help get the right proportions of bodice to skirt length.

However, lots of 1960s mini dresses also have drop waists! In that case, the skirt is definitely shorter than the bodice. I think it’s more about proportion and how it works with the body than anything else.

Lorie ~ Ferndale Lane

So pretty and light!! I am thinking of making a few drop waist dresses for this summer! I love the less restricting flowyness to them, also for some reason you just feel more beautiful in them!


It not only will work with the Laurel, but with the sorbetto as well!
The 1920’s my favorite era!


Good idea! Just add a skirt that’s 1 1/2 times the circumference of the bottom of Sorbetto, and a zipper up the back and your good to go. Or side seam zipper to make it more vintage. I just might try this. Got a sorbetto cut out already.


You might not even need a zipper.


OMG. 1920 – fashion! This cup of my tee.. Adorable dress !!


Good ideas.

Miss Crayola Creepy

Perfect post for the Great Gatsby Sewing Challenge! :)

Miss Crayola Creepy

PS my dress is going to be a Laurel!

Jeri Sullivan

I did use the Laurel for my Great Gatsby Sewing Challenge and it worked perfectly.


Yay, dropwaists… Something else to make me look 5 months along when I’m not remotely pregnant.


Why the snarky comment? They are not for everybody. So what?

Also, a drop waist doesn’t mean the dress has to be unfitted. Lots of 60s dresses have princess seams and a dropped waist. I have a 1930s dress with a drop waist that is cut on the bias and very flattering. If anything, the dropped waistline emphasizes the hips.


Love 1920s styles. I love vintage clothes but don’t carry off 1940s and 50s as I just don’t have and am never going to have the necessary pear or hour glass shape needed for those styles, with 1920s it just works so well for goblet, rectangle and apple shapes, as I have skinny hips and flat bottom a bit of volume lower in the dress is perfect.

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