Throwback Thursday: A-Line Silhouette

A real passion of mine is historical fashion. I studied Costume at university and therefore it will forever be my primary inspiration for anything that I create. With that being said I thought I’d introduce a little segment called ‘Throwback Thursday’ to the blog where each week I explore a cut, style or technique’s history, and discuss how they can inspire modern sewing.

And where better to start than with the letter A? Quite literally!

The term ‘A-Line’ stems back to Dior’s  collection of the same name introduced in Spring 1955. The collection was characterised by narrow shoulders and a flared skirt- with extreme waistlines (either under the bust or at the hip) suggesting the crossbar of an A.

A-line-ensemble-Christian-Dior

Dior’s 1955 silhouette isn’t exactly as we imagine ‘A-Line’ today, but it represents both the style and the term’s origin. Despite the collection’s success, this A-Line silhouette was not immediately widespread across fashion, however the term itself quickly became widely acknowledged.  Yves Saint Laurent’s Dior collection ‘Trapeze Line’ a few years later in 1958 introduced knee-length dresses which flared directly from the shoulders- a look which would quickly evolve into the tent dresses of the 1960s.

In the 1960s the A-Line shape became its most popular. The look represented the swinging era’s youthfulness, its new freedoms for women, as well as it’s ‘space-age mania’ futurism. A-Line silhouettes cast aside the looks associated with the past and defied the old rules of sexuality and conformity with its androgyny. Especially when combined with the new shorter skirt length, the style drew attention away the breasts and highlighted less sexual and more youthful areas of the body (the arms and legs).

As a rule, children’s clothing has always followed the trends of the time. And considering the youthful connotations it’s no surprise that the 1960s saw an overwhelming surge of A-Line childrenswear. Here are a few of my favourites from a large selection that I’ve gathered over on my Pinterest page.

I love the way such a simple style can be adapted in so many ways! Ruffles, smocking, buttons, bows and inverted pleats can all lead to completely different results. Despite all evolving from the same basic template, the design possibilities are completely endless.

I love to trawl the internet to see what the sewing community is producing and unsurprisingly there are so many sewers creating adorable A-Line garments. Check out Mini Lulu’s gorgeous tunic top here and Bellabug’s charming Oliver & S Carousel Dress here. Aren’t they just beautiful?

I also love how A-Line pieces are timeless. My Mum wore them in the 60s, I wore them in the 90s and now here I am sewing them for today’s little ones (and no doubt for my own one day). I can’t wait to get stuck into sewing a whole line of A-lines (see what I did there?!) and incorporating some of those 60s design details. Better get cracking!

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