From the USPTO comes a patent filing for a girl's dress in 1922. The claim made by Gladys Matson Stewart is for the ornamental design of the dress, which I found rather difficult to see. Perhaps the ribbon belt? I guess the claim depends on the definition of ornamental design and I find her claim rather dubious. Perhaps if she filed the claim on the basis of how the dress is constructed, then perhaps her claim may be more legitimate. The design of the dress is structural and also very intriguing. I would like to sit down with designer and see how she constructed it. The gather details on the upper skirt sides would be especially difficult to sew in an industrial setting. I have tried in the past to come up with an easy way to do it, but haven't yet. The pattern itself is rather easy to create, its the construction that is the challenge.
The difficulty would be in getting the gathers to start right at the end of the slit and have them evenly distributed across the length of it. The next difficulty is overcasting or serging the seam so there are no raw edges while avoiding unsightly tucks. There is a physical/space limitation in inserting the skirt piece under a gather foot on a sewing machine. The detail would almost certainly require some kind of hand manipulation and would be too expensive for modern manufacturing.
The gather detail on the skirt would not be very attractive on an adult woman unless done in a certain way. It would add weight and attention to an area that most women choose not to emphasize. But a girl's dress could certainly get away with it. As a design idea, the detail could show up in lots of different ways and locations on a piece of clothing. The only road block is coming up with an easy mass construction technique.