Planning your wardrobe around your coat (assuming you have only one winter coat) has been good budget and fashion advice for a long time. In the Great Depression, it was fair to assume that most women had only one or two coats, period. And they were expected to last for at least two years. Click here for a 1936 clothing budget. However, The Woman’s Home Companion brightened its readers’ spirits by assuring them that they would be wearing the latest styles from Paris under that coat.
The advice was to make one dress that matched the coat exactly, another in a contrasting color from the same pattern, and one in a print fabric.
The coat is Companion-Butterick Pattern 6655, available in bust sizes 30 through 46 inches.
Dress No. 6649 was illustrated in two versions, one in a lively color, like the wine red shown above . . .
. . . and another version of the same pattern in fabric to match the coat.
Companion-Butterick patterns often advised that you could save time and money by making two or three versions of the same pattern. Here are two bodice variations on No. 6649.
Those square armholes are interesting, and the pockets are also sharply geometrical. The pattern envelope shows the version on the right, but without dress clips at the neckline.
Prints for Spring, 1936
“Prints are as certain to come back with spring as the swallows. All the Paris dressmakers who stress spring clothes are using prints in quantity.” Quite a list of French couturiers are cited as inspiration: Mainbocher, Schiaparelli, Molyneux, Chanel, and Lelong.
Butterick and The Woman’s Home Companion
The Butterick Publishing Company suddenly discontinued its own magazine, The Delineator, in Spring of 1937, but there was already an agreement in place with The Woman’s Home Companion to feature Companion-Butterick patterns in every issue. They debuted in this March, 1936, issue of WHC. Companion-Butterick patterns usually stressed versatility: several slightly differing dresses could be made from one pattern. The Delineator had always emphasized Butterick’s “Paris” connection; you can see traces of that attitude in this article by “Paris Fashion Correspondent” Marjorie Howard. The Woman’s Home Companion aimed a little lower on the economic scale, and acknowledged that its readers had to make their money go a long way during the Depression.