For some folks, the approach of Thanksgiving is a reminder to start making Christmas presents — if you didn’t start last summer.
The Personal Touch in Pattern-Made Gifts
If you were a reader of The Woman’s Home Companion, this two page spread in the December, 1936, issue might inspire you to sew gifts for members of your family or close friends: a personalized set of matching panties, slip and nightgown; a classic robe/negligee, or lounging pajamas.
If you didn’t feel up to that much work — or have enough time — you could always run up a few aprons.
Matching Panties, Slip, and Nightgown, 1936
There’s no mention of bias binding. The slip is a “wrap-around,” although the line drawing doesn’t show how the bodice closes. The nightie has a pretty back:
The closely fitting nightgown, Pattern 6837, has a lovely back view, but I can’t figure out how a midriff that tight could be pulled on or stepped into. Perhaps it has a snap opening on the side seam — or it doesn’t fit as tightly as illustrated.
You’d need to cut your own bias strips from that 3/8 yard of contrasting material. [The owner’s name is embroidered on the front of her nightie. In former times, this was useful for sorting family laundry. In the age of casual “hook-ups” with strangers, putting a name on one’s nightgown might prevent some embarrassing “morning after” moments….]
Although “A fresh printed silk crepe was our choice for the three-piece lingerie set embroidered with a young girl’s name,” remember that “…peach-colored silk crepe with lace is lovely as ever…. Any one piece of the set would make a regal gift…. The wrap-around slip in bright-colored taffeta — royal blue, bottle green, or rust — is sure to please a friend who follows the latest fashions. For someone else make it of black satin, her tiny initials embroidered in white.”
The “negligee” (No. 7109) could be made in double-faced silk crepe, with the body of the robe in matte silk and the collar, facings, and sash using it shiny side out. [Edited 11/22/15: See a robe like this at Glamourdaze.] Or it could be made as a warm, wool flannel robe; a flash of contrasting color is inside the sleeves. The pajamas seem to be intended for lounging, rather than sleeping: “Velveteen for the blouse … and trousers,” or with a “satin blouse,” or with both pieces in satin. The buttons, as shown, are velveteen-covered and enormous; “blue and purple are the last word in chic…,” but these pj’s would also be luxurious “all in lilac-blue satin with pearl buttons.”
The Commercial Pattern Archive (CoPA) has another pajama pattern in this number series, Companion-Butterick No. 7116, which looks more suited for sleeping. Click here to see it. If you haven’t heard of CoPA, read about it here. [EDIT 9/2/19: the “Sample” feature is gone, but you can set up a login at CoPA for free and access the entire archive. Donaations are appreciated, but there is no membership fee.] You can “Sample” its pattern search for free. Select a year, and pattern illustrations from many companies appear. For a chronological look at everyday fashion, CoPA is hard to beat.
Christmas Aprons, 1936
More suitable for a less intimate friend, or for sale at a Christmas Bazaar, are these aprons, made from Companion-Butterick pattern 7114.The idea that everything related to Christmas has to be red, white, and green had not taken hold in 1936, so these gift aprons could be worn all year round. Two of them are finished with contrasting bias binding; the one in the middle is trimmed with rick-rack.
Two tie in back; the one on the right slips on over the head. Bust sizes 32 to 48 inches.
Apron pattern 7114 looks less fancy on the pattern envelope: no rickrack. Using the rickrack so that only half of it shows is a lovely 1930’s touch. Click here for a vintage waitress uniform that uses this technique.