The Fascinating Pajama, 1931

Title of Delineator magazine article, page 72, August 1931.

Title of Delineator magazine article, page 72, August 1931.

I don’t have complete copies of the Delineator for 1929-1930, but by 1931 the lounging pajama (also spelled “pyjama”) had moved from beach wear to formal wear. Butterick patterns even included a slip for wearing under pajamas. These pajamas, illustrated on page 72, were for casual wear.

Illustration for "The Fascinating Pyjama" in Delineator, Aug. 1931.

Illustration for “The Fascinating Pyjama” in Delineator, Aug. 1931. From Left, pyjamas for “Lounging,” “The ‘Jama Slip,” “Leisure,” and “Loafing or Working.”

Butterick 4014:  Lounging Pajamas, 1931

Lounging pajamas, Butterick pattern 4014, 1931.

Lounging pajamas, Butterick pattern 4014, 1931. Here, they are worn with a necklace.

1931 aug 4014 text lounging pjs p 72

“4014:  The three-piece type, with swaggeringly full trousers and a knee-length jacket. When made of satin or crepe they look especially smart and are eligible for the run of the house at all hours.”

The bi-color look, with inserts in the legs matching the bodice color, was also seen in this Munsingwear advertisement from April 1931:

Munsingwear ad, Delineator magazine, April 1931.

Munsingwear ad, Delineator magazine, April 1931. The pajamas have “Wide, wide trousers, swank as can be.” The bra is “uplift.”

[Note: “Pyjama” was the usual British spelling; “pajama” was the usual American spelling. Butterick Publishing, which had offices in Europe and aimed at middle-class readers, used “pyjama” in 1931, but its American advertisers used “pajama.”]

Butterick pattern 4037 : The ‘Jama Slip

Butterick 4037, the "Jama slip" for wearing under pajama outfits. Delineator, Aug. 1931.

Butterick 4037, the “Jama slip” for wearing under pajama outfits. Delineator, Aug. 1931.

1931 aug p 72 4037 text

“4037:  The thing to wear under the pyjamas you dance in [!] and the pajamas you receive in at home. [I.e., hostess pajamas.] It is as inevitable as the slip you wear under silk frocks. It has the “two-skirt” fulness that belongs to new pajamas, and it stops short of the ankles.”

The Vintage Traveler recently showed lounging pajamas from the 1920s (click here to see photos); the leg width increased in the thirties.

Butterick Pattern 3937 for One-piece Pajamas. 1931.

Butterick one-piece pajama pattern No. 3937, for "leisure" wear. Delineator, Aug. 1931.

Butterick one-piece pajama pattern No. 3937, for “leisure” wear. Delineator, Aug. 1931.

1931 aug p 72 3937 text undies pjs pj slip

Another — very bare — one-piece pajama, Butterick 3803, was featured in Delineator magazine in April, 1931. It was for sleeping:

Butterick one-piece pajama pattern 3803, Delineator, April 1931.

Butterick one-piece pajama pattern 3803, Delineator, April 1931.

“3803:  The sleeping version of the one-piece pajamas!  Wicked in black georgette with skin showing through in the fagoting, stunning in white crepe, smart in pastels. Wide slit trousers and sash tied waistline.”

The fagoting which joins the yoke to the bodice forms a deep V shape. A glimpse of nipple might be possible:  “wicked.”

Butterick One Piece Pajama Pattern No. 3752, 1931.

Butterick pajama pattern #3752, for "loafing or working" -- but not for working in public. 1931.

Butterick pajama pattern #3752, for “loafing or working” — but not for working in public. 1931. Interesting bare-toed sandals.

1931 aug p 72 3752 text

This one-piece pajama is for housework or lounging, depending on fabric choice. “Cotton for your morning’s work, or in printed crepe for the hours when you want a dressier type.”

Back views of "Fascinating Pyjamas," 1931.

Back views of “Fascinating Pyjamas,” 1931. Nos. 4014, 4037, 3937, 3752. #3752 could have short sleeves. Here are their fronts:

Illustration for "The Fascinating Pyjama" in Delineator, Aug. 1931.

Front views of Nos. 4014, 4037, 3937, 3752.

Evening Pajamas, 1931

These pajamas for casual wear were not the only pajamas illustrated in Delineator that month; on page 65, right beside the formal evening gowns, was an evening pajama pattern:

Pyjamas Now Go to Dances, Too." Pattern for lace pajamas, Butterick's Delineator magazine, Aug. 1931.

“Pyjamas Now Go to Dances, Too.” Pattern for lace pajamas, far right, Butterick’s Delineator magazine, Aug. 1931.

Pyjamas have "Come Out." Butterick pattern 4035, Aug. 1931.

“Pyjamas Have ‘Come Out.’ ” Butterick pattern 4035, Aug. 1931.

“4035:  As modern as a skyscraper, as graceful as a skirt, these wide, wide, lace pyjamas are a gay and amusing thing to wear to country club dances, and to dinners that are not too formal. Satin jacket.”

The same evening pajama pattern appeared in Butterick’s Delineator the next month, September 1931, with a different description and a long-sleeved jacket:

Butterick evening pajamas No. 4035, left, and Butterick lounging pajamas No. 3551, right. Delineator., Sept. 1931

Butterick evening pajamas No. 4035, left, and Butterick lounging pajamas No. 3551, right. Delineator, Sept. 1931

"Pajamas That Go Places" (Butterick No. 4035) and "Pajamas That Stay Home," (No. 3551.) Sept. 1931.

“Pajamas That Go Places” (Butterick No. 4035) and “Pajamas That Stay Home,” (No. 3551.) Sept. 1931.

“4035:  For parties that will be given the bride and for entertaining in her own home — these evening pyjamas with wide, wide trousers are gay and modern. The velvet jacket ties at the waist.” A month earlier the same pajamas were described as suitable for attending country club dances and “dinners that are not too formal.”

“3551:   There are as many types of pyjamas this season as there are dresses. These satin ones are for informal tea parties and afternoons with a book. Wide trousers, sleeveless blouse.” Satin is recommended — probably crepe satin, which is shiny on one side and matte on the other. Wearing pajamas “for informal tea parties” was probably appropriate for the “stay at home” hostess, rather than her guests.

The ” ‘Jama Slip” was also featured again in September, as were these other pajama patterns first seen in August:

Pajamas, left, and a dress, right. Butterick patterns 4014 and 3937. Delineator, Sept. 1931.

Lounging Pajamas, Butterick patterns 4014 and 3937. Delineator, Sept. 1931.

text 4014 and 3937

Butterick 4014:  “At college you may sleep in nightgowns, but you must have pyjamas for lounging. They’re perfect for studying, too. These are three-piece, wide-trousered, with a blouse that is sleeveless.” The long jacket resembles a robe.

Butterick 3937:  “Pajamas are the pet lounging costumes in college circles. The wider they are, the smarter. This is their feminine version, made of plaid silk with godets and frill of plain.”

Here are the August and September versions of these two patterns, side by side.

Two versions of Butterick 4014 and 3937 pajamas/pyjamas. 1931

Two versions of Butterick 4014 (left) and 3937 (right) pajamas/pyjamas. 1931

Butterick three piece pajama pattern 4227 (below,  at left) appeared in December of 1931:

Butterick patterns 4215, 4224,and 4227. Delineator, December 1931.

Butterick patterns 4227, 4215, and 4224. Delineator, December 1931.

1931 dec p 73 pj 4227

This pajamas set was shown with robes, but the suggested fabrics are velvet and lamé, so they are probably not for sleeping! It had wide trousers, a jacket, and a cowl-necked blouse.

Butterick even showed a pajama set for girls in this Christmas issue:

Butterick patterns 4177 and 4223, Delineator, Dec. 1931.

Butterick patterns No. 4177 (“satin crepe gown”) and girls’ pyjamas No. 4223, Delineator, Dec. 1931.

1931 dec p 69 pj text for pj 4223 ensemble

Butterick 4223:  “Much like the pyjama big sister wears, The top part is white and the trouser section and jacket are scarlet. The embroidered motif adds a ‘special’ touch. . . . Sizes 4 to 15 [years.]” The nightgown on the left looks like wide legged pajamas; it’s probably more accurate to say that wide legged pajamas looked like evening gowns.

If you didn’t want to make pajamas/pyjamas for Christmas, you could buy them. Munsingwear advertised that this set (below, top left) was only “One of many new Pajamas.”

Part of an andvertiesment for Munsingwear, December 1931. Delineator.

Part of an advertisement for Munsingwear, December 1931. Delineator.

I don’t know anything about this vintage pajama set — but the fabric says “lounging pajamas” to me:

Vintage lounging pajama set in red and black.

Vintage lounging pajama set in red and black. Private collection.

Advertisements

8 Comments

Filed under 1930s, Bras, Children's Vintage styles, Nightclothes and Robes, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Slips and Petticoats, Underthings, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing, Vintage patterns, Women in Trousers

8 responses to “The Fascinating Pajama, 1931

  1. Such wonderful information! Between you and Lizzie I have learned a lot about the pajama trend of the 1930s. I had no idea that they were so popular. It would be wonderful to find a photo of a woman wearing one of those cotton housework pajamas. All the references I have found talk about women wearing house dresses to clean until well into the fifties.

    • That print one-piece looked awfully fancy for cleaning duties to me — especially since it had no pockets visible. Maybe Butterick’s readers wore them while directing the maid? One piece lounging clothes with full legs came back in the 1960s – I bought one at Joseph Magnin. The difficulty of using the bathroom while wearing it pretty much limited it to wear inside my own apartment, since you had to pull the whole garment down around your legs. I puzzled over several of these “pyjamas” — wondering how women got in and out of them.

  2. I love 1930’s pyjamas/pajamas – especially the ones designed for beachwear. Thanks for a great article!

  3. Pingback: sewing, sorting, & baking | Curls n Skirls

  4. Pingback: Paris Fashions from The Delineator, 1929, Part 2 | witness2fashion

  5. Pingback: 1930’s Beach Pajama Looks: Borrowed from Sailors and Farmers | witness2fashion

  6. Petite Main

    Butterick 4227 is really lovely in colors, see https://it.pinterest.com/pin/381328293433714014/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s