First, the sleeves may be too big, too long, or too short to suit the exigencies of Madame la Mode's latest.decree.
Now for the other side of the question. How important it is that a dress should be cut well. It is far better to choose simplicity in preference to elaboration if one's means must be consulted. It is wiser for money to be laid out on simple, well-cut lines than on more or less costly trimmings. A well-cut gown is a good friend until the end of its days ;an overtrimmed gown is practically useless below the apparent cunning of its frills or laces - if they only disguise faulty lines.
We will, therefore, suppose that on looking through the wardrobe we discover a vieux rose evening gown of soft satin. It is plain and well cut, although out of date, the sleeves incorrect, the bodice worn, but the skirt in good condition. The hem may not look perfectly fresh ; very often this may be remedied and freshened by turning it up a trifle, and pressing it carefully on the wrong side.
The apron tunic, as shown in the figure on the right in the drawing, will renovate a dress. The tunic may be made of net, chiffon,or mousseline de sole. Spangled net looks well, or chiffon on which circles are embroidered in crystal beads or filoselle to match the gown.
A pale rose chiffon looks particularly well over vieux rose.
A Useful Suggestion
The drawing shows the apron tunic arranged with an old-world fichu. It has a wide sailor collar behind, and is edged either with a bead fringe or a silk fringe to match the gown. The waistbelt is made of drawn chiffon, finished off in front with two tassels. Tassels or a wider silk fringe finish off the apron.
Very often women have odd strips or pieces of fur lying idle. Touches of fur on an evening gown give it a distinct cachet. So these apparently useless strips, if cut into narrow pieces and joined neatly together, make a most effective border on the chiffon. Fur on chiffon is a delightful combination.
The apron tunic may also be composed of a plain chiffon or any other suitable transparent fabric. The border may be made of a silk exactly like the gown, and on this groups of Virginian creeper leaves are embroidered in silks, in the brilliant tones of this fascinating creeper. The autumn colouring scheme may be carried out for the entire gown if its principal scheme of colouring can be described as golden.
Exquisite gowns may be thought out by choosing some of the glorious colour effects of a favourite season in the year for its combination of tones. Nature in all her various moods may teach many women how to choose the colour scheme of their gowns.
Having discussed the possibilities of renovating an evening-gown, we will turn to a house-gown. The dress may be rather a plain dress with a bodice of the Magyar persuasion. A pretty and dainty apron tunic will smarten such a gown most effectively. The apron tunic is the same back and front.
We will suppose the gown is a grey cash mere. The apron tunic can be made of a Paris shade of piece lace piped all around with pale blue taffetas silk. The belt is made of folds of the grey cashmere piped with blue silk. It is effective to have some of the flowers of the lace appliqued on to the edges of the sleeves, which should also be piped with blue. The same decoration might be applied to the neck of the bodice. A band of lace on the skirt put on with a piping of blue also looks well.
The apron could be made of a soft silk, embroidered in scrolls and rings in soft shades of pink, or primrose, or powder blue. When this method is chosen it would be effective to embroider narrow bands of silk in the same manner to finish off the neck and wrists.
A Poppy Idea
We also illustrate a picturesque idea for the renovation of a smart gown for the house. It might aptly be called the " poppy" gown, and at the same time would suggest an appropriate name and scheme for a rest-gown. We will suppose that the dress is of biscuit or pale rose silk, of some soft material.
The apron tunic could be made of silk, chiffon, or mousseline de sole. After the tunic has been cut to the required shape by the dressmaker, stamp on to the material a design of Shirley poppies. The more careless and natural the design, the more effective will be the result.
Also stamp some single poppies around the neck and cuffs of the sleeves. The poppies may be worked in solidly or simply in outline, using satin stitch in the exquisite and delicate colourings of the Shirley poppy. Pink, soft yellow, and the deeper rose, with soft green leaves, any one of the colours may be chosen, as preferred.
For a brunette a beautiful gown could be carried out in dull flame colour Oriental satin. The apron tunic would be composed of black chiffon, and the poppy design could be worked in flame-coloured silks, with touches of gold thread worked in French knots for the centres of the flowers. The leaves and stems could be worked in dull green silk. The ends of the apron are finished off with heavy tassels in gold or silk.
How a house gown may be renovated and smartened by the addition of an apron tunic in piece lace, piped with silk and ornamented with buttons
By having a V or a square cut away from the bodice of the apron tunic, it would form a delightful renovation for an evening gown of deep dull apricot satin. For this the tunic would be effective in black chiffon, with the poppies embroidered in apricot with a touch of gold and rose, the leaves worked in their natural colours.
An alternative arrangement of the tunic would be to arrange it cut away in front, thus allowing the front of the gown it covers to show in panel effect. Such a tunic would look well cut to a point at the c en t r e-b a c k, sloping upwards to each side.
The skirt portion of a tunic made of a very soft and easily draped fabric might be gathered at the waist line over the hips, the back being formed of a straight panel into which the draperies are caught.
The possibilities of black net as an overdress or tunic are by no means to be despised by the woman whose choice is black wear or who is in mourning. Decorated with tiny jet beads, it will give a touch of light to an otherwise sombre garment.
One of the good qualities of the tunic is that it affords the ingenious and the economical alike adequate exercise for their special talent, and proving that their hoarding of scraps and oddments, nay, even of sale bargains, is, or may be,justified.
Dame fashion is not so hard a mistress as the masculine mind often imagines, and permits infinite variety in fulfilling her behests. She has smiled upon the apron tunic, and it is a mode that permits of using all sorts of pretty bits of fur, embroidery, fabric, or lace.
It will thus be seen that the charm of the apron tunic is unquestionable. It will add length of days to an old gown, or it may be used to glorify the latest creation of the moment.