You may not have time to make one of these gowns for New Year’s Eve 2014, but Butterick offered a variety of choices for 1937. Long gowns could be revealing dance dresses, like this one, or covered-up dinner dresses, in fabrics ranging from metallic brocades and lamés to velvet or satin.
Butterick 7650 is described as a “Junior Miss evening dress” to be made “in metal threaded crepe.” Pattern for sizes 12 to 20, 30 to 38 inch bust. The dress on the right was featured in the Styles in Stores column of Woman’s Home Companion:
“The evening dress would make a shining success at a gala New Year’s party — and for various excellent reasons. The first has to do with the sparkle (it is really glamorous) of the rhinestone trimming, applied in a new scroll effect. The second concerns the rustle of the material, a white, black or sapphire taffeta which is sure to be heard on the smartest dance floors this winter. The third springs from the graceful swing of the full skirt and the fourth, from the novel cut of the halter neckline. Famous Barr Company, St. Louis.”
Butterick 7644 and 7646
Both evening gowns are the “new slit-up-in-front” style. The one shown in black is made of taffeta and has “the new corseted silhouette:” “Dramatized last summer by the Duchess of Windsor the long molded line from diaphragm to hip top is now the most important point in the new silhouette.” — Woman’s Home Companion, December 1937. The fabric suggested for the gown illustrated in white is satin. The backs are low-cut and bare. Pattern 7646 was also featured in an ad for Butterick Winter Fashion Magazine, which cost 25 cents, unlike the free Butterick Fashion News flyer. (The ad, on newsprint, is very grainy. The dress may or may not be velvet.)
This was also an era when women wore long gowns to dinner at restaurants and private homes, to night clubs, and to the theatre. “Dinner dresses” tended to be more covered up than evening gowns — often, they were made from the same pattern as a shorter day dress, as the following examples show.
Butterick stopped publishing its fashion and news magazine, The Delineator, abruptly in April 1937. However, the Butterick pattern empire, with offices in Paris and other European cities, continued. An agreement with its (former) rival magazine, Woman’s Home Companion, was in place, and the WHC began featuring “Companion-Butterick” patterns in 1937. Consequently, patterns illustrated in the Butterick Fashion News store flyers might also be illustrated, in full color, in Woman’s Home Companion.
Here, pattern 7626 is “A dress as new as the minute and elegant in black velvet.” For sizes 12 to 20, or 30 to 40 inch bust. [12 to 20 were sizes for young or small women.] It is “corseted” because of the snug, ruched waist, which fitted tightly because of side seam zippers on both sides. The day version could be made with a print bodice.
“Soft gathers in the bodice and the new slim corseted waist…. Bias cut skirt.” The Butterick Fashion flyer suggested that the dress on the left be made from satin crepe. Sizes 12 to 20, 3o to 40. Its shaped midriff is accented [and slenderized] by a row of tiny buttons down the front. [See below.]
Companion Butterick 7628
Companion Butterick 7628, pictured on the right, above, has “The high draped surplice line in a lovely lamé dinner dress.” The magazine reminded readers that they could use the same pattern for “a formal day dress or a simple dinner dress, or both.” Both versions were accented by a colorful “high placed handkerchief” to match your shoes, bag, or hat.
The hostess of a dinner party could also wear a long “hostess” gown or a “housecoat.” See Companion-Butterick Triad Patterns for an example.