1920s Alternatives to the Cloche Hat
Although the cloche is the definitive “Nineteen Twenties” hat style, there were alternatives – including wide brims, turbans, “very small hats” (almost brimless), and the Tam-o’-Shanter. (For more about the history of Tams, click here.)
Above, from left to right: 1) “a wide hat of lacquer-red straw,” 2) “a turban-hat of twisted ribbon,” 3) “the very small hat turned up at the front or back.”
Tam-o’-Shanters for Women and Girls, Mid-Nineteen Twenties
A very good article about twenties hats, “1920s Hat Styles Beyond the Cloche,” by Vintage Dancer, mentions that the tam was usually worn by young women and girls, but it also appears occasionally with rather dressy outfits on adult women:
Butterick’s tam-o’-shanter patterns were usually sized for “Ladies, Misses (i.e., ages 14 to 20), Children and Girls.” Tams could be made from wool flannel, silk velvet, satin, cotton velours, taffeta, and other elegant fabrics. Although a pom-pom was the traditional trim, tassels, ribbons, feathers, embroidery, jewels, and other ornaments decorated 1920s tams for women.
Magazines usually featured tam o’shanters in fall and winter, but this summer tam appears to be made of lace or, possibly, popcorn-knitted or crocheted silk ribbon:
The Tam: Simple to Sew
Butterick offered many Tam-o’-Shanter patterns during the 1920s, perhaps because the tam was easier for a home stitcher to sew than a cloche (although four- and six- gored cloche patterns were also sold.) In fact, I have come across so many 1920s Tam-o’-Shanter patterns that I can only describe a few in this post.
In an era when women and men rarely left the house without wearing a hat or cap, the tam-o-shanter was a quick, un-fussy hat to put on for the trip to and from school, or to the local shops. A schoolgirl or telephone operator could take it off and hang it with her coat, and there was no danger of a tam-o’-shanter being crushed; they looked crushed to begin with!
Butterick Tam-0′-Shanter Patterns, 1921 to 1925
These three tam patterns were featured in Butterick’s Delineator magazine in 1924 and 1925. Their numbers, in the three- and four- thousand range, indicate that they were first issued before 1924, but they were still being included in pattern illustrations for 1924 and 1925. Although some Butterick hat patterns are for children or girls only, these tams were intended for ‘Misses’ (ages 15 to 20) and adult women (“Ladies”) as well.
Butterick Tam-o’-Shanter Pattern # 3157
These full-length pictures show them with appropriate daytime clothing:
Butterick Tam Hat Pattern #4886
The two-headed pin which goes through so many 1920s hats is called a “cliquet” or scarf / jabot pin. The Cartier and America Exhibition in San Francisco included several superb art deco examples. You can see some of them here, at a Yahoo image search.
Here are the full-length illustrations of the outfits tam #4886 was shown with:
Butterick Tam-o’- Shanter Pattern # 4898
Although all four of these illustrations show girls or teens, pattern #4898 was sized for Girls, Misses, and Ladies.
Sidelight: The girls on the left have a hair-do associated with Mary Pickford, (“Little Mary”) the silent star who played child-women well into adulthood. She played Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm the year this picture was taken (1917), and Pollyanna in 1920, when she was 28 years old. She finally bobbed her hair in 1928. Mothers who were fans of Mary Pickford movies were probably responsible for their daughters’ long, long curls in 1925.
7 responses to “Tam-O’-Shanters for the 1920s, Part 1”
Oh wow I just love these tam o shanters! Too bad I cant sew because I really feel I need a tam o shanter and a dress to go with it!
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