Monthly Archives: January 2015

Striped Prints, Spring 1938

Companion -Butterick patters Nos. 7734 and 7733, March 1938 Butterick Fashion News flyer.

Companion -Butterick patterns Nos. 7734 and 7733, March 1938 Butterick Fashion News flyer.

The dress on the right, Companion-Butterick pattern 7733, is both a floral print and a stripe. What’s more, it’s a horizontal stripe. Not just the fabric, but the high waist and the draped V top reminded me of something familiar:

My mother with her mother, 1938.

My mother with her mother, 1938.  The woman on the left is in her 30s; the older woman is in her 60s.

Of course, it’s not exactly the same dress, but it’s very similar. The photograph is dated 1938, and I happen to have several Butterick Fashion News flyers from 1938.  Large scale prints were becoming popular in women’s dresses, under the influence of Elsa Schiaparelli. This Schiaparelli blouse, in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum, has a floral/horizontal striped print, too.

Schiaparelli print evening blouse, Metropolitan Museum. Winter 1938-1939.

Schiaparelli print evening blouse, Metropolitan Museum. Winter 1938-1939.

It has some elements in common with the dark fabric on the dress shown by Butterick, #7733.

Companion -Butterick patters Nos. 7734 and 7733, March 1938 Butterick Fashion News flyer.

Companion-Butterick patterns Nos. 7734 and 7733, March 1938 Butterick Fashion News flyer.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7733 (right):  “A soft, simple dress just right for the new striped prints. Junior Miss sizes 12 to 20; [women’s sizes] 30 to 38 [inches bust measurement.]

Companion-Butterick pattern 7734 (left):  “A tiny lace frill on a new scalloped neckline. Junior Miss sizes 12 to 20; [women’s sizes] 30 to 38 [inches bust measurement.]

Another horizontally striped floral print is used for Companion-Butterick 7745, below. “Peasant influence, laced bodice, puffed sleeves, square neck. Sizes 12 to 20; [women’s sizes] 30 to 40 [inches bust measurement.]

Companion -Butterick pattern No. 7745, Butterick Fashion News, March 1938.

Companion -Butterick pattern No. 7745, Butterick Fashion News, March 1938.

“Tyrolean” fashions were popular until World War II broke out. Lantz of Salzburg dresses — very popular with young women in the 1950s  — were known for these floral stripes. (Now, those floral stripes — used lengthwise — are associated with flannel nightgowns.)

Companion-Butterick patterns 7781 (seated) and 7791, Butterick Fashion News , April 1938.

Companion-Butterick patterns 7781 (seated) and 7791, Butterick Fashion News , April 1938.

The dress on the left  looks youthful, but the pattern goes to size 42″.

Companion-Butterick No. 7781 (left):  “The neckline outlined with flowers is fresh. Size 36 takes 3 1/2 yards rayon crepe 39. Sizes 12 to 20; [women’s sizes] 30 to 42 [inches bust measurement.]

Companion-Butterick No. 7791 (right):  “A peasant dress in bayadere print. Junior Miss sizes 12 to 20; [women’s sizes] 30 to 38 [inches bust measurement.]” The Design Fabric Glossary defines “bayadere” as “brightly coloured stripes in a horizontal format characterized by strong effects of colour. A Bayadere is an Indian dancing girl, trained from birth.”

Although this dress does not technically have striped print fabric, the floral pattern is distributed in chevrons, rather than randomly:

March 1938 cover of Butterick Fashion News, featuring Butterick pattern No. 7757.

March 1938 cover of Butterick Fashion News, featuring Butterick pattern No. 7757.

Butterick 7757:  “One of the new prints in a dress with softly shirred bodice.  Sizes 12 to 20; [women’s sizes] 30 to 42 [inches bust measurement.]

This dress, whose top is made of striped print fabric, appeared in Woman’s Home Companion in November of 1937:

Companion-Butterick pattern 7626. Woman's Home Companion, Nov. 1936.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7626. Woman’s Home Companion, Nov. 1936.

Strong colors and stripes were certainly used by Schiaparelli in this blouse from 1936:

Schiaparelli blouse, summer of 1936; Metropolitan Museum collection.

Schiaparelli blouse, summer of 1936; Metropolitan Museum collection.

(It could have been worn in the 1980s — or now — but it dates to 1936.)

The woman who couldn’t afford to make a new, print dress could add a print halter top over a solid dress, as in this Butterick accessory pattern (No. 7792), which included “collars and cuffs, gilets and sashes to make a small wardrobe seem extensive:”

Butterick "Quick Change" accessory pattern 7792, Butterick Fashion News April 1938.

Butterick “Quick Change” accessory pattern 7792, Butterick Fashion News, April 1938.

Taking a closer look at my mother’s dress from 1938, I can see that the pattern in the fabric is not actually floral; it is more like a negative pattern made by using lace to bleach out a solid color.

Close up of print dress, 1938.

Close up of print dress, 1938.

I can also see that there is a little white chemisette filling in the neckline.

Daughter and mother, 1938.

Daughter and mother, 1938.

Note:  Pictures from the Metropolitan Museum should not be copied from a blog and posted elsewhere — The Met graciously allows their use for writing about fashion history. If you want to use them, please get them from the Met’s Online Collection site, and credit the Museum.

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Filed under 1930s, Accessory Patterns, Companion-Butterick Patterns, vintage photographs

Fashions from Paris, January 1924

Illustration from January 1924 Deliineator. Not by Soulie.

An illustration — not by Soulie — from January 1924 Delineator. 

 

“Soulié’s Sketches Sent from The Delineator’s Paris Establishment Draw Attention to Godets, Princess Lines, and Frills Flat or Otherwise.” — Headline in Delineator Magazine, January 1924

Butterick Publishing Company kept an office in Paris for the purpose of following the  latest fashion trends and reporting on them. (Not to mention producing Butterick patterns based on those trends.)

In January of 1924, Soulié sketched designs by several well-known Paris houses:  Patou, Agnès, Doucet, Louise Boulanger, and Poiret. Since Downton Abbey’s current season is set in 1924, this seems like a good time to show some 1924 French designs. (Even though my real interest is in clothing for ordinary people, the influence of major French designers always percolates down through the department stores and pattern houses.)

Jean Patou

A coat (left) and a suit (right) by Jean Patou, January 1924. Sketches by Soulié for Delineator magazine.

A coat (left) and a suit (right) by Jean Patou, January 1924. Sketches by Soulié for Delineator magazine.

“A coat that has quite the cut of a suit is made by Patou of black kid lined throughout with persisky — a form of civet — and trimmed with straps.”  [In other words, this is a soft leather coat lined with fur.]

“Flat frills begin where the straight coat ends in a suit of green fulgarante with a knee-length bodice of green and gold brocade with collar and cuffs of gray fox. From Jean Patou.” [“Fulgarante” is apparently one of those words with a specialized meaning to fashion writers; it is Spanish for “blazing.”]

Agnès

A suit and a dress designed by Agnès and sketched by Soulié for Delineator, Jan 1924.

A suit and a dress designed by Agnès and sketched by Soulié for Delineator, Jan 1924.

“Suit coats are of all lengths and many cuts, but the string-tied jacket and narrow skirt remain as popular as ever. Agnès uses them for a suit of beige zibella velours de laine with bearskin collar and cuffs.” In January of 1913, the New York Times reported that “Velour de laine, that soft, silky woolen tissue that arrived in the Autumn and was so popular till satins and silks usurped its place later, has now reappeared ….” [ Velours means velvet, laine means wool, and zibella is a mystery to me!]

“Gold braid underscored with rose-colored embroidery binds the slashed edges of an overdress and tunic of black crêpe marocain.  The foundation is narrow, the sleeve short, and the length about eight inches from the floor. From  Agnès.” You can find out more about Agnès, and see one of her dresses, at 1stdibs. Click here.

Paul Poiret

A Dress and a cape-like coat by Paul Poiret, sketched by Soulié for Delineator, January 1924.

A dress with metallic threads and a cape-like coat by Paul Poiret, sketched by Soulié for Delineator, January 1924.

“For the new note of gorgeousness that the French dressmakers are introducing, Poiret uses embroidery of silver and gold on a dress of blue poplacote moire.” [Poplacote is another term my search engine has never encountered.]

“Poiret uses suède-colored sapho velvet trimmed with civet cat for a wrap that hides the fact that it is a coat under cape-like sides lined with black satin.” There is a brief biography of Paul Poiret at Encyclopedia Britannica (click here).  The Metropolitan Museum devoted an exhibition to Poiret in 2007; click here to visit it online. You can see his iconic “lampshade” dress of 1912 in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Click here. (Be sure to look at the second image — the color and beadwork is lovely.)

Louise Boulanger [She later designed as Louiseboulanger.]

A coat and a dress from Louise Boulanger, sketched by Soulié for Delineator, January 1924.

A coat and a dress from Louise Boulanger, sketched by Soulié for Delineator, January 1924.

“The Ladies’ Book of 1924 is to show godets in skirts and capes according to an interesting coat of green wool duvetyn [a brushed woolen fabric] with a civet collar from Louise Boulanger.” You can see another 1920s dress by Louiseboulanger in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum. Click here.

“Also from Louise Boulanger comes a dress of bright blue matelassé flared at the foot, banded low on the hip and embroidered in gold on copper at the V neck.”  [The Fashion Model Directory says Louise Boulanger worked for Cheruit until 1927, but the Delineator attributed these designs to her in 1924.]

Doucet

Two evening gowns by Doucet, sketched by Soulié for Delineator, January 1924.

Two evening gowns by Doucet, sketched by Soulié for Delineator, January 1924.

“Doucet’s characteristic elegance speaks for itself in an evening gown of steel lace over a blue silk slip.  A girdle of blue chenille fringe is clasped with a  motif of diamonds and blue stras. [Stras is a type of artifical jewel.]”  The illustration shows the shoulder drape of the the black dress on the right hanging confusingly in front of the light-colored dress on the left — it does not have a black panel in front! You can read more about Jacques Doucet at Fashion Model Directory; click here.

“The new princess line, flat, beltless and narrow, shows itself to great advantage in a Doucet gown of black crêpe velours embroidered with blue and gold Chinese motifs.”

A Few Observations About These Fashions from  January 1924

  • Skirts are still quite long — only 8 inches from the ground.
  • All the models have short, “bobbed” hair.
  • Most of these designs have strong accents at the hip; only the heavily embroidered  Doucet  gown is a tube.
  • The “princess line” is “new.”
  • Fur adds a note of luxury to all the daytime fashions, either as collars, cuffs, belts, (even coat lining,) or carried as a stole or muff.
  • Soulié has drawn most of the models wearing rather high heels, which means the skirts are very long to still be 8″ above the floor.

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Filed under 1920s, Exhibitions & Museums, Hairstyles, Vintage Accessories, Vintage Couture Designs

A Skirt and Two Waists, January 1917

Some Butterick patterns for January 1917, Delineator magazine.

Some Butterick patterns for January 1917, Delineator magazine. These are not dresses, but skirts with separate blouses [called “waists.”]

These are not dresses. Bodice, or “Waist” patterns were sold separately from skirt patterns for a long time. (Sometimes, sleeve patterns were sold separately, too.) In Victorian times, practical women often had two bodices made to match one skirt:  a high necked, long-sleeved bodice for day, and a low-cut, short sleeved bodice for evening wear. When upper and middle class families “dressed for dinner” every night, this was a sensible way to maximize the clothing budget. Skirts took several yards of fabric, while bodices took less fabric but more labor.

It’s not surprising that patterns for these 1917 skirts, which take a lot of fabric, were also sold separately from their “waists”, i.e. blouses. This allowed women a great deal of originality in their costume, and made it possible to use one elaborate skirt with several top variations, as shown in these Delineator illustrations featuring Butterick skirt pattern 8875.

The simplest (and barest) version of both skirt and waist were shown in an editorial illustration:

Editorial Illustration, Delineator,  Jan. 1917. The top and skirt of this evening ensemble were sold separately, and both skirt  (No. 8875) and waist (No. 8901) had variations.

Editorial Illustration, Delineator, Jan. 1917. Patterns for the top and skirt of this evening “frock” were sold separately, and both skirt (No. 8875) and waist (No. 8901) had variations.

[I was able to identify the pattern numbers because they were featured in more detail elsewhere in the magazine. Butterick didn’t usually specify the patterns used for the full-page editorial illustrations that began Delineator‘s pattern pages every month.]

In this illustration, the surplice [wrap] waist is very bare, and trimmed with embroidery  at shoulder and waist:

Waist pattern 8901, shown sleeveless. Jan. 1917 Delineator, p. 37.

Waist pattern 8901, shown sleeveless. Jan. 1917 Delineator, p. 37.

On a different page, the same waist has short lace sleeves to match its more elaborate skirt:

Butterick waist pattern 8901, illustrated on page 38. Delineator, Jan 1917.

Butterick waist pattern 8901, illustrated on page 38. Delineator, Jan 1917.

Waist 8901 requires a “French lining,” which would have been close-fitting and supported the loose folds of the fashion fabric layer. Pattern 8901 was sold in sizes 32 to 46 inches bust measurement.

Butterick Skirt pattern 8875, from 1917

Skirt pattern 8875 can be made relatively simply, as on page 37:

Skirt pattern 8875 as illustrated on page 37, Delineator Jan. 1917

Skirt pattern 8875 as illustrated on page 37, Delineator Jan. 1917

Here, the sides of the panels are open at the natural waist and the front and back panels are connected with a button. The underskirt appears to be finely pleated chiffon, matching the fabric seen at the bodice underarm. [This skirt could also be made with the underskirt and overskirt of the same silky fabric — see color illustration below.]

Editorial Illustration, Delineator,  Jan. 1917. The top and skirt of this evening ensemble were sold separately, and both skirt  (No. 8875) and waist (No. 8901) had variations.

Editorial Illustration, Delineator, Jan. 1917. Page 37. This version has a plain, sheer, pleated fabric under the silk parts of the skirt and bodice.

The version with short lace sleeves was shown with matching lace — yards and yards of it — for an underskirt.

Waist 8901 with lace sleeves, and skirt 8875 with a lavish lace underskirt. Delineator, Jan. 1917, page 38.

Waist 8901 with lace sleeves, and skirt 8875 with a lavish lace underskirt. Delineator, Jan. 1917, page 38.

A closer view of this version of skirt 8875:

This version of skirt pattern 8875 has a lace underskirt, open at the sides like the overskirt, pulled through the opening near the natural waist.

This version of skirt pattern 8875 has a lace underskirt, open at the sides like the overskirt, and pulled through the opening near the natural waist. The patterned stockings echo the lacy look.

Butterick 8875:  “The skirt has an extremely graceful drapery at the front and back which gives a cascade effect at the sides. The underskirt is cut in two pieces and can be made with a flounce having a straight lower edge. The skirt is 39 inches long in front and has a slightly raised waistline.”

To make the skirt as illustrated would not be cheap. “A medium size requires 4  1/2 yards of taffeta silk 36 inches wide, 1/2 yard lace 22 inches wide, 7  1/2 yards edging 16 inches wide, 1  3/8 yard of narrow edging, 2  1/2 yards material for underskirt. Bottom foundation skirt measures 2  1/2 yards.”  When I was studying this illustration, I wondered how the underskirt could have galloon edged lace on three sides; apparently, the lace we see is the seven-plus yards of 18″ wide edging. The skirt shown here has at least three layers: silk top drape, lace under-drape, and and opaque “foundation skirt.” This skirt pattern was available in waist measurements 22 to 36 inches, for 20 cents.

Waist Pattern 8863 with Skirt pattern 8875

Skirt pattern 8875 was also illustrated with a completely different bodice, No. 8863, which had its own variations.

Other views of skirt pattern 8875, with waist 8901, left, and waist pattern 8863, right. Delineator,  Jan. 1917 .

Other views of skirt pattern 8875, with waist 8901, left, and waist pattern 8863, right. Delineator, Jan. 1917.

Butterick waist pattern 8863 with Skirt 8875:

Waist 8863 with skirt 8875, Delineator Jan. 1917.

Waist 8863 with skirt 8875, Delineator Jan. 1917. Embroidered bag transfer pattern 10616.

This is a day or afternoon version of the look. In this case, the skirt has been made with panels and underskirt of the same fabric, and trimmed with beading and tassels, which match the points of the bodice.  “Satin, charmeuse, taffeta or crepe meteor” are recommended. This two-piece outfit is described as a “smart frock.”

Butterick Waist pattern 8863:  “The waist has a draped front which is in one with the sash ends — a very new and effective arrangement for the back. The closing is made at the left shoulder and at the seam under the arm. Two different types of long sleeves with one seam are offered, or you could use the shorter length if you prefer. [The color illustration shows long, sheer sleeves with a cuff, and the black and white views show a tight long sleeve, left, and a below elbow sleeve, right. “The lower edge of the waist can be cut  in a single [black and white illus.]  or double pointed effect [color illus.]

Waist 8863 with a single point center front and high collared chemisette, or with the sheer collared V-neck chemisette shown in the color illustration.

Waist 8863 with a single point center front and a high-collared chemisette, or with the sheer collar and V-neck shown in the color illustration. Butterick also sold the embroidery design, Transfer No. 10101.

“The chemisette and collar can be omitted, but not the French lining, which is extremely important.” [I believe “French lining” refers to a close-fitted lining that does not have exactly the shape of the outer garment; it supports blouson or ruched and gathered effects on the outer layer and was very common on 19th century bodices.]

Waist pattern 8863 with sheer, cuffed sleeves and a double-pointed top, trimmed with embroidery and beaded tassels.

Waist pattern 8863 with sheer, cuffed sleeves and a double-pointed top, trimmed with beaded embroidery and tassels to match the skirt. The bag is also beaded and tasseled.

In 1917, one skirt pattern and two bodice patterns provided many variations; a woman could really feel that her choices would give her a unique look. Careful planning could also give her several “frocks” which used just one skirt. A second, more workaday, skirt pattern made from coordinated fabric could really multiply her wardrobe.

Simpler Skirts, January 1917

Skirts and blouses for day wear, Delineator, January 1917. p. 45.

Skirts and blouses for day wear, Delineator, January 1917. p. 45.

Since taffeta and silk were worn in daytime, as well as evening, one of these skirts might also be combined with the waists shown with skirt 8875.

I can’t resist pointing out the chi-chi balls / ball fringe trimming the hat on the right. Ole!

Hat with ball fringe, January 1917. Delineator, page 45.

Hat with ball fringe, January 1917. Delineator, page 45.

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, bags, handbags, Hats, Purses, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns

Rapid Change: 1967 to 1969

Fashions don’t change overnight; there’s always some overlap in the pattern catalogs, especially. Catalogs usually have patterns from previous years as well as the most recent designs. But these two monthly flyers feature the latest patterns from Butterick, just two years apart, and we can see the change taking place:

August 1967 cover, Butterick Fashion News flyer: Structured clothing, crisp fabrics, smooth lines.

August 1967 cover, Butterick Fashion News flyer: Structured clothing, crisp fabrics, smooth lines.

May 1969 Butterick Fashion News flyer cover:  the 'Gypsy" look, featuring soft, sheer fabrics, flowing lines, fitted with elastic at neckline and waist.

May 1969 cover of Butterick Fashion News flyer:  the “Gypsy” look, featuring soft, sheer fabrics, flowing lines, fitted with elastic at neckline and waist.

Notes from an Eye-witness to Fashion

This is a period I remember well. In 1967, I finished grad school and my teaching internship and moved to San Francisco. It turned out to be “the Summer of Love,” but I wasn’t a hippie; I briefly worked in retail and then worked for a large bank until 1970. As a young, single, working woman, I was very conscious of fashion during those years. I can remember clothes I bought for the classroom, for the bank — where I dealt with customers every day — and the clothes I wore around the house and on weekends — which might include going to a free concert on Haight Street or shopping in Union Square.

A batch of recently acquired Butterick flyers are a giving me a retrospective of very happy years. But they are still full of surprises.

Also, with hindsight, I can see the shift from mid-sixties structured clothing influenced by Pierre Cardin, Oleg Cassini, and Carnaby Street, to the softer, more body-conscious styles of the seventies. Hippies, ethnic designs, “gypsies,” Indian textiles, and soft knits (which replaced double-knits and wools with fused interfacing) all contributed to the change.

Mid-Sixties: Mary Quant and Carnaby Street

July 1964:  Mary Quant design for Butterick, cover of Butterick Fashion News.

July 1964: Mary Quant design for Butterick, cover of Butterick Fashion News.

Mary Quant and other “Young Designers” were prominently featured in Butterick Fashion News flyers. This body-skimming Mary Quant dress (# 3288) was on the cover in July 1964. (I was still wearing very similar, store-bought dresses in 1966.) Another “Young Designer” Deanna Littell, was on the cover in May of 1965:

May 1965 cover of Butterick Fashion News; design by Deanna Littell.

May 1965 cover of Butterick Fashion News; design by Deanna Littell.

The sleeveless overblouse, worn with an A-line skirt, often a dirndl style, plus a jacket that might or might not match the skirt, was a staple of my wardrobe in 1965 & 1966. This was the “Jackie look” on a college girl’s budget. These lady-like dresses and coats for young women were also featured in Glamour magazine. (You can see other versions of these designs in an interview with Deanna Littell by The Vintage Traveler: Click here.

Travel wardrobe by Deanna Littell, from May 1965 Butterick Fashion News.

Travel wardrobe by Deanna Littell, from May 1965 Butterick Fashion News.

Young Designer Mary Quant was still on the cover in 1968:

October 1968 Mary Quant design, cover of Butterick Fashion News.

October 1968 Mary Quant design, cover of Butterick Fashion News.

Inside, Mary Quant’s designs were still body-skimming, with dropped waistlines and crisp, rather than droopy, fabrics. These sixties’ dresses would have been lined, or made of thick jacquard double-knits, not made from thin silk or crepe, so they look quite different from the nineteen-twenties’ drop-waisted styles.

Mary Quant designs for Butterick patterns, October 1968 Butterick Fashion News flyer.

Mary Quant designs for Butterick patterns, October 1968 Butterick Fashion News flyer.

Less than a year later, the flyer with this cover . . .

May 1969 Butterick Fashion News flyer cover:  the 'Gypsy" look, featuring soft, sheer fabrics, flowing lines, fitted with elastic at neckline and waist.

May 1969 Butterick Fashion News flyer cover: the ‘Gypsy” look, featuring soft, sheer fabrics, flowing lines, fitted with elastic at neckline and waist.

. . . showed the wide variety of styles that could be worn in 1969 — sometimes, by the same young women, depending upon the occasion and their mood: We could choose to wear soft, sheer, prints with a hippie influence . . .

May 1969 "Gypsy" styles from pages 2 & 3 of the Butterick Fashion News flyer.

May 1969:  “Gypsy” styles from pages 2 & 3 of the Butterick Fashion News flyer.

Or we could wear chic variations on the body-skimming styles we were used to:

May 1969:  pages 4 & 5 of Butterick Fashion News flyer.

May 1969: pages 4 & 5 of the same Butterick Fashion News flyer.

Talk about a period of transition! Waistlines are all over the place:  from Empire, to natural, to hip, to both high and natural (thanks to that wide, wide belt),  to none (the princess line dress) to somewhat raised. Most of the styles on these two pages depend on double-knit fabric or interfacing for their stiffness.

Digression:  These hairstyles were achieved with the use of “falls” or “Postiches” or full wigs, plus plenty of “ratting” — as we called it. Hairdressers called it “teasing.” On television, model-turned-actress Barbara Feldon had the ideal 1960’s hair and style.  British model Jean Shrimpton was perfection.

Butterick “Gypsy” styles from 1969

Here’s a closer look at the “Gypsy” styles — Butterick could hardly call them “hippie dresses,” although now the word “Gypsy” is more offensive — from May 1969:

May 1969:  Butterick patterns 5265, 5279, 5245.

May 1969: Butterick patterns 5265, 5279, 5245.

Butterick 5265 (top left) is a fairly straightforward shirtwaist:  “The sheer shirtdress, precisely tailored from the notched collar to the snap front closing and full blown cuffed sleeves. Belted naturally over the dirndled skirt. Misses sizes 8 to 16. [Except for the sleeves, it would have been lined, or worn over a shoulder-to-knee opaque slip.]

Butterick 5279 (center):  “The drawstring neckline of this tenty little dress, in a sheer print, shapes the fall of the full belled sleeves while a wrapped ribbon tie defines the waist. Easy. Misses sizes 8 to 14. Junior sizes 7 to 11. [This is a dress for teens and very young women. ] Click here for a version by McCall’s.

Butterick 5245:  (right)  “A gentle dress, gypsy mooded [sic] with a scoopy neck and blouson bodice tied at the waist over the softened skirt. The sleeves are soft and full. Misses 8 to 16.”

Butterick patterns 5299 and 5225, May, 1969.

Butterick patterns 5299 and 5225, May, 1969.

Butterick 5299:  “The gypsy-yoked dress . . . tent like fullness falling from a curved and slashed yoke to a swirling hem. The sleeves are elasticized at the wrist. Easy. Misses sizes S-M-L. [Unless you were wearing it as a beach cover-up, a sheer dress like this would have a lining below the yoke. ]

Butterick 5225:  “An angel of a dress . . . A tiny bodice rises to the low square-cut neckline elasticized all around. Misses sizes 8 to 14. Junior sizes 7 to 11.” [The size range tells us that this, too, is not a dress for mature women.]

Butterick Styles for Mainstream Women

Butterick patterns 5298,  5246,  5283,  5297. May, 1969.

Butterick patterns 5298, 5246, 5283, 5297. May, 1969.

The dresses on this page and the next are described as “Bare Beauties:  The neckline news is bareness for day and evening in endless variety. Scoop it or plunge it low, open it with cutouts or a shoulder baring halter.”

Depending on fabric and accessories, most of these would be cocktail dresses. All the models are wearing or carrying gloves. Notice also their low-heeled shoes; early 60’s stiletto heels were not worn with miniskirts.  Number 5246, with bow at waist, is a cocktail dress when made from silk (interfaced), but made from linen or wool (interfaced ) it would have been acceptable for me to wear it to work as a bank teller;  the other three dresses are too bare for a business environment.

Butterick 5298 (far left):  “A plunging neck with wide lapels and high belting marks this dress for after dark. Misses sizes 8 to 14.”

Butterick 5246 (left center):  “The softness of a drawstring waistline combines with the bareness of a V neck for a simple yet charming dress. Easy. Misses sizes 8 to 16.”

Butterick 5283 (right center):  “The bare neckline in a scoopy version with button trimmed over-the-shoulder straps. Easy. Misses sizes 8 to 16.” [This dress would cover your bra straps, but it’s still more of a luncheon or after work dress than an office dress.]

Butterick patterns 5283,  5297,  5233. May 1969.

Butterick patterns  5297, 5241, 5233. May 1969.

Butterick 5297 ( left):  “The halter dress . . . baring the shoulders while skimming close to the body. Butterick Boutique. Misses sizes 8 to 14.” [Busty women were not expected to wear this style.] 

Butterick 5241 (Center, white dress):  “For daytime or evening dressing . . . a peek-a-boo cut out at the throat of a slim, dart fitted dress. Butterick Boutique. Misses sizes 8 to 16.” [This is about as covered-up as an evening dress gets, but even so, sizes only ran to 16 — usually a 38″ bust.] Being under 25 in 1969, I would not have worn this dress with the keyhole neckline! Too middle-aged!

Butterick 5233 (right):  “Curved seaming emphasizes the high, narrow bodice with neckline scooped low. Butterick Boutique. Misses sizes 8 to 14. Junior sizes 7 to 11.”  [The size range tells us that this, unlike # 5231, is not a dress for mature women.]

Witness to Fashion notes:  Just as in pattern books, this wide-ranging variety was also available in stores in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. I saw a lot of sheer printed voile or light-weight polyester knit “gypsy” dresses on Haight Street, and clerks in stores there could wear them to work; however, my bank’s one authentic hippie clerk did not come into contact with the customers. She was also allowed to wear sandals without stockings and ankle length skirts. Other women who worked out of sight, processing loan payments, etc., sometimes wore polyester pants to work. Those of us who were the public face of the bank, however, followed a dress code which did not include pants suits until 1970.    Also, many of these patterns didn’t come in my size, which was about as big as they got:  size 16, bust 38″.  I was almost 5′ 8″  — 38-27-37 — and wearing the biggest pattern size available made me feel huge.  [ If only those were my measurements now! Actually, I’d settle for my healthy 1960’s BMI. ]

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Filed under 1960s-1970s, Hairstyles, Uniforms and Work Clothes, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns, Women in Trousers

Online Research Tool: UCLA’s Digital Fashion and Costume Collections

Image from Godey's Magazine, 1841, found through UCLA's Digital Image Collection. Casey Fashion Plates  rbc2847

Image from Godey’s Magazine, April 1841, found through UCLA’s Digital Image Collection. Casey Fashion Plates rbc2847

UCLA Library Digital Image Collection: Online Collections Related to Fashion and Costume

While following up recommendations for online Museum collections, I accidentally discovered this wonderful site, which I have barely begun to explore.  It acts as a portal to many online collections and research materials. The entire UCLA Library Digital Image Collection must be huge (click here  to see the Fashion home page), since there are dozens of sites (with descriptions and live links) related to just the site for Fashion and Costume (click here).  For a list of accessible fashion magazines and newspapers, click here. Below you’ll find just a small selection of the extraordinary collections you can find through the Digital Image Collection.

Casey’s Fashion Plates

The image at the top of this page is from the collection of Casey’s Fashion Plates at the Los Angeles County Library — over 6200 images of hand-colored fashion plates. (Click here.)

“The Joseph E. Casey Fashion Plate Collection at the Los Angeles Public Library contains over 6,200 handcolored fashion plates from British and American [and other] magazines dating from the 1790s to the 1880s. All of the plates are indexed and digitized for online viewing.” It includes thousands of dated images from early 1800’s sources, including Ackerman’s Repository, Godey’s Magazine, Ladies’ Museum, Ladies’ Magazine, La Belle Assemblee, Petit Courrier des Dames, and many, many more.

This digitized collection is really user-friendly, grouping the plates by date instead of by source. (You could search by magazine name if you wanted to.) You can search by date, too. Type in a year and pages and pages of plates appear. I chose 1815; this is one of many images that I found.  (Let’s pretend it’s Jane Austen and her sister, Cassandra.)

Fashions for March, 1815; image rbc0500 in the Casey Collection.

Fashions for March, 1815; image rbc0500 in the Casey Collection.

Brooklyn Museum’s Henri Bendel Fashion and Costume Sketch Collection

From the Bendel collection: Design by Lanvin, 1917.

A typical digitized sketch from the Bendel collection: Design by Lanvin, 1917.

Another wonderful collection accessible through the UCLA site is the Henri Bendel Fashion and Costume Sketch Collection 1912 to 1950. (924 images are online at present) This archive is in the possession of the Brooklyn Museum, but you don’t have to go to Brooklyn to see hundreds of sketches of dresses (and even bathing suits), including many designer names. (Click Here.)

It’s also well-thought out: when your mouse hovers over the thumbnail image, a description and date appears. Click to get a larger view and more data. There are over 11,000 sketches in the Bendel Collection, but most of the 924 that are online are for the era 1912 to early 1920s. (They are gorgeous, and most are in color! If you are a fan of styles from the Titanic era and the first years of Downton Abbey, prepare to spend hours here.) I saw designs attributed to Doucet, Worth, Callot Soeurs, Lanvin, Premet, and many other “name designers.” Among the few sketches from the 1930’s that have been put online was this evening gown by Schiaparelli:

From the Henri Bendel Collection online; Schiaparelli, 1934.

Image from the Henri Bendel Collection online; Schiaparelli, 1934.

Bonnie Cashin Collection of Fashion, Theater, and Film Costume Design

“The collection contains Bonnie Cashin’s personal archive documenting her design career. The collection includes Cashin’s design illustrations, writings on design, contractual paperwork, photographs of her clothing designs, and press materials including press releases and editorial coverage of her work.”

Lovers of Bonnie Cashin designs will enjoy the photos and design sketches of many of her classic coats, knits, etc.  (Click here.) The images are under copyright, but you can see a sample sketch for a characteristic tweed coat by clicking here. If you searched a little longer, you could probably find a photo documenting the finished coat. This is a huge archive.

You can also see more about Bonnie Cashin at the next online collection I’ve chosen from UCLA’s Digital Image Collection:

The Drexel Digital Museum Project Historic Costume Collection

The collection is searchable, (and images are under copyright) but this link will take you to the Galleries page — which includes slide shows of Bonnie Cashin clothes and Villager Sportswear textiles! Click here.

“The Drexel Digital Museum Project: Historic Costume Collection (digimuse) is a searchable image database comprised of selected fashion from the Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection (FHCC), designs loaned to the project by private collectors for inclusion on the website, fashion exhibitions curated by Drexel faculty and fashion research by faculty and students. To best present and create access to this online resource, the image standards of the Museums and the Online Archive of California initiative and the metadata harvesting protocols of the Open Archive Initiative have been implemented to insure sustainability, extensibility and portability of the digimuse digital archive.” —

A World of Riches, Digitized

I will add some of these links to my sidebar of “Sites with Great Information,” so they will be easy to locate in the future. But first, I’m going take a coffee break and read a copy of the French Vogue, February 1921 (click here) thanks to the UCLA Library’s Digital Image Collection!

 

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Filed under 1860s -1870s fashions, 1870s to 1900s fashions, 1900s to 1920s, 1920s, 1920s-1930s, 1930s, 1930s-1940s, 1940s-1950s, 1950s-1960s, 1960s-1970s, A Costumers' Bookshelf, Costumes for the 18th Century, Costumes for the 19th century, Exhibitions & Museums, Resources for Costumers, Vintage Couture Designs, vintage photographs

Maternity Fashions for December 1942

Maternity clothes, Butterick Fashion News, December 1942.

Maternity clothes, Butterick Fashion News flyer, December 1942.

Not all 1940s babies waited to be born in the baby boom after World War II ended. These wartime “New Dresses for Mother-to-Be” reflect the desire to conceal pregnancy as long as possible, as was the case in the 1930s, too. (Click here to see some surprising maternity fashions from the thirties.)

Butterick maternity pattern 2330, versions A & B. Dresses that used two diffent fabrics were also an adaptation to wartime shortages.

Butterick maternity pattern 2330, versions B & A.  Maternity jumper and blouse with drawstring waistline. December 1942.

Butterick 2330 came in sizes 12 to 20, bust 30 to 44 inches.

These dresses have expandable waistlines, thanks to a fabric drawstring /belt in a casing at the waist. This is an improvement on 1930’s maternity clothes which had much of their room for expansion in the back of the dress. However, these dresses must have been much shorter in front than in back by the eighth or ninth month — and hems were already rising to the knee. (Some women may have stayed indoors as much as possible by then; in previous centuries well-to-do women were “confined” to home in the later stages of pregnancy. Working women didn’t have that luxury.)  These 1942 dresses do have the virtue — considerable in a time of fabric shortages — of still being wearable after the baby was born.

In 1942, maternity dresses were not strikingly different from other fashions; this style with center front fullness is not a maternity dress:

Butterick "tailored Dress" pattern # 2334, versions A & B, from Butterick Fashion News, December 1942.

Butterick “tailored Dress” pattern # 2334, versions A & B, from Butterick Fashion News, December 1942.

“Butterick 2334:  Tailored dress with double-breasted closing; peg-top skirt. Long or short sleeves . . . . [Sizes] 12 to 30; [bust] 30 to 42.”

These are maternity dresses:

Maternity dresses 2328 and 2335, Butterick Fashion News, December 1942.

Maternity dresses 2328 and 2335, Butterick Fashion News, December 1942.

Butterick 2328:  “Slimming lines in this maternity coat frock. Buttons punctuate the surplice bodice and wraparound skirt. Easy fullness drapes softly from shoulder detail.  A tie belt adjusts the fullness at the waist. . . . [Sizes] 12 to 20, [bust] 30 to 44.”

Butterick 2335:  “There’s a decidedly youthful look to this tailored maternity frock. Fullness is concentrated in the slimming front panel. Adjustable drawstring waistline. We suggest a wool and rayon blend. . . . [Sizes] 12 to 30; [bust] 30 to 42.”

Butterick maternity pattern 2329, Butterick Fashion News flyer, December 1942.

Butterick maternity pattern 2329, Butterick Fashion News flyer, December 1942.

Butterick 2329:  “Youthful two-piece frock for the expectant mother. The smock-jacket with its bow neckline is designed on discreet lines. The skirt with bodice top is adjustable at the waistline . . . . [Sizes] 12 to 20, [bust] 30 to 44.”

Boxy jackets were not necessarily for mothers-to-be.

Not a maternity pattern. This coat is Butterick 2282, from Butterick Fashion News flyer, December 1942.

Not a maternity pattern. This coat is Companion-Butterick pattern 2282, from Butterick Fashion News flyer, December 1942.

Companion-Butterick 2282:  This “casual boxy coat” with quilted lining (and matching quilted hat from pattern # 2282) could be made from tweed with a velvet lining and collar:  “We think it smart for both day and evening.” [It has no room for expansion and a very narrow overlap in front.] In sizes 12 to 20, bust 30 to 44 inches.

The majority of dresses in this December 1942 flyer did focus on a slender waist, so other women may have been very alert to the significance of the drawstring waistline as a pregnancy indicator. That may also explain the many references to the “slimming,” “youthful,” and “discreet” properties of the maternity styles.

Butterick Fashion News cover for December 1942. This is dress pattern #2306.

Butterick Fashion News cover for December 1942. This is dress pattern #2306. It is definitely not a maternity style!

 

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Filed under 1940s-1950s, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Hats, Maternity clothes, Vintage patterns

More About Dating Butterick Patterns Online

Dating Butterick Patterns Online: witness2fashion.com Has Been Updated

Butterick Fashion News cover, May 1960, featuring pattern 9366. By 1961, a new 4-digit number series was beginning.

Butterick Fashion News cover, May 1960, featuring pattern 9366. By 1961, a new 4-digit number series was beginning.

A year ago, I found a way to date Butterick patterns using Delineator magazine (published by Butterick) and later Butterick publications, and posted my results at witness2fashion.com. Click here for my original post explaining my Delineator methodology. For Part 2, click here.

Now the pattern number chart for Butterick Fashion News from 1937 to the 1970s has been updated, so the blanks are slowly being filled in. Go to witness2fashion.com for charts of the Butterick pattern numbers published monthly in Delineator magazine from the 1920s to 1937 (click here) or for a chart of Butterick Fashion News flyer covers from the late 1930s to the 1970s (click here.)

Monthly Butterick Fashion News flyers like the one above were given away by fabric stores, so it is possible to date Butterick patterns — roughly — by following the sequence of numbers that appeared on the cover of each issue. (Butterick resisted putting copyright dates on its patterns until late in the 20th century.) Here’s a small portion of the resulting chart:

A small portion of the Butterick Fashion News chart relating pattern numbers to dates.

A small portion of my Butterick Fashion News chart relating pattern numbers to dates. April 1936 was an anomaly; otherwise, the numbers are sequential, in spite of large gaps in my data.

This is an ongoing project; I especially want to find flyers from 1962 and 1963, because pattern number 9968 appeared on the Butterick Fashion News cover in November 1961. A new sequence of four digit numbers began soon after that, but I haven’t found any flyers from December 1961 to October 1964 (when pattern No. 3288 was on the cover).  It would be nice to have proof that renumbering began with a 1000 series in January 1962.

By Nov. 1961, Butterick was running out of four-digit numbers. Numbering must have begun again with 1000  in December 1961 or early 1962.

By Nov. 1961, Butterick was running out of four-digit numbers. Numbering must have begun again with a 1000 series in December 1961 or early 1962.

Times When Butterick Number Sequences Started Over:

Butterick decided to start a new number sequence in 1926, jumping from the 7000’s (in September 1926) to the 1000’s in October. In mid-1940, Butterick ended its 9000 series and began re-using numbers in the 1000’s in July or August.

I found those 1940’s numbers by searching for Butterick Fashion News  flyers that were for sale online and writing down the number of the pattern on the front cover. I can’t buy them all, but here are a couple (before and after re-numbering started) from my own collection:

Butterick Fashion News for February 1940 featured Ski Suit Pattern No. 8793.

Butterick Fashion News for February 1940 featured Ski Suit Pattern No. 8793.

In February 1940, pattern numbers had reached the 8700’s. Re-numbering started that summer. By the end of 1942,  less than three years later, the new series of pattern numbers had reached the 2300’s:

Butterick Fashion News cover for December 1942. This is dress pattern #2306.

Butterick Fashion News cover for December 1942. This is dress pattern #2306.

If you have a Butterick Fashion News flyer from 1961, 1962 or 1963, I’d love to see a clear photo or scan of its cover, showing month, year, and pattern number. Please E-mail to witness2fashion at gmail.com.  (the records for 1953 and 1955 are also blank, in case you have one.)

It’s also possible to date Butterick and other patterns by using the Commercial Pattern Database (CoPA), but this site does not allow you to search by pattern number. You can how their sample [how] their search works by clicking here.     [Edited for typing error 1/13/2015.]

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Filed under 1930s-1940s, 1940s-1950s, 1950s-1960s, 1960s-1970s, Dating Butterick Patterns, Dating Vintage Patterns, Exhibitions & Museums, Musings, Resources for Costumers, Sportswear, Vintage patterns