Companion-Butterick ‘Triad’ Patterns, 1930s

Woman's Home Companion, January 1937

Woman’s Home Companion, January 1937

Although pattern sales rose during the Great Depression, Butterick’s magazine, Delineator, was struggling by 1936 and abruptly stopped publication after April, 1937. However, Butterick had already formed an alliance with Woman’s Home Companion magazine. Beginning in March, 1936, Woman’s Home Companion began to offer Companion-Butterick patterns instead of its own patterns.

While Butterick’s Delineator had always emphasized the influence of Paris couture and aimed at the upper middle class consumer, Woman’s Home Companion was more budget-conscious. It often emphasized value for money, and ran a series of versatile Companion-Butterick ‘Triad’ patterns. The original idea was to get “three dresses from one pattern,” but in some cases five or six versions of the same pattern were illustrated, in full color.

Three Dresses from One Companion-Butterick PatternWHC jan 1937 p 43 Butt triad pattern 7164 three dresses

These three dresses ‘for the business girl’ promise to take you from 9 am to 9 pm – one is a version is a floor length housecoat. The editor appeals to the efficiency of the businesswoman: “Consider what a good Triad pattern can do for you.” Making three dresses from the same pattern can be done “with a minimum of effort, since cutting three designs from one pattern is so easy.” And “it can stretch your clothes budget to include a new accessory or two.”WHC jan 1937  p 43 7164 descript text rt

Woman's Home Companion, Jan. 1937

Woman’s Home Companion, Jan. 1937

Note that the version which appears to have a jacket is actually a dress with a peplum attached its belt.

Six Dresses from One Pattern: Companion-Butterick # 7204

Woman’s Home Companion, February 1937

Woman’s Home Companion, February 1937

“This what I call a personality pattern, because the styles you can make from it are as individual as your moods.”  This pattern is for young women: Junior Misses sizes 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 18, or women’s [bust] sizes 30 to 38 inches. “Make six at a time – it’s so easy.”WHC feb 1937 p 67 central Butterick companion #7204

“A young friend” found that making all six dresses “did not take her very long, because the pattern is so simple and the oftener she used it the easier it became.”

“She began with a dress for her most sophisticated self, her woman-of-the world moods. It was navy blue rough silk crêpe splashed with large white piqué flowers at the base of the V neck and matched by low-heeled bucko shoes – perfect for early spring in town.”  [Bucko was the inside of a heavy calf-skin leather.]

WHC feb 1937  p 67 btm left Butterick companion #7204[Left]  “Next she got the brightest cotton print she could find, cut it out, sewed it up, tied a plain-colored sash at the waist and fastened a string of large beads around her neck. She had a gay time at her next informal party.” [Center]  “For rustic moods – and any possible picnics – she made herself a rough neutral linen banded with rows of red and green rickrack braid, peasant fashion.” [Peasant and ‘Tyrol’ styles were quite popular before WW II.]

WHC feb 1937  p 67 btm right Butterick companion #7204

[Left] In behalf of that occasional urge to look soft and feminine she chose something more fragile – sheer cotton printed with a green and white fern design and tied with a huge white organdie bow.” [Center] “Because a crisp dress is one cure for different moods she decided on wine-colored piqué and finished all the edges with fresh white rickrack braid. This turned out to be one of her favorites for daily use.”  [Right] At the country club she wanted at least to look the part of a smart sportswoman. So she developed a tailored effect with a purple kerchief and belt on pale blue linen.” Quotes are from Ethel Holland Little, an editor at Woman’s Home Companion.

Moveable Decoration; and More Possibilities

Although the article does not mention it, the flower trim and the organdie bow would be removable for washing, and therefore interchangeable. Using the white bow on the green dress, the red dress, or even the pale blue or yellow print dress would increase the ‘looks’ possible. Also, although not illustrated, the pattern can be made with long sleeves. And I can vouch for the fact that, when you make the same pattern repeatedly, the time it take to complete a garment is drastically reduced!


Filed under 1930s, Vintage patterns

18 responses to “Companion-Butterick ‘Triad’ Patterns, 1930s

  1. The peplum attached to the belt is a really interesting idea for a “fake” jacket! Love these old ads!

    It’s so true – when making multiples of something, you really do get faster with each one. And it’s so much more fun when you can make multiples in completely different fabrics! I have made more than I want to of same-fabric-same-garment costumes/bridesmaids and it gets boring really quickly when you can’t change fabrics.

    • It’s surprising how often the fake peplum idea was used in the 1930s. I’ll try to feature some more of them soon. There are so many “how to make the most of your limited budget” patterns. I really appreciate their ingenuity.

  2. What wonderful stories along with the patterns. This is my kind of sewing–I use patterns over and over.

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