Butterick Fashion News: A Few Patterns from August, 1938.

Thanks to Monica Shaffer and her colleagues at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas, I can share some images from Butterick Fashion News, August 1938. It features this shirt and slacks combination on its cover:

Butterick pattern 7988, August 1938. Cover of Butterick Fashion News flyer.

Butterick pattern 7988, August 1938. A “bush jacket” on the cover of Butterick Fashion News flyer.

Back view of Butterick pattern 7988, dated August 1938. "Bush jacket."

Back view of Butterick pattern 7988, dated August 1938. “The Bush jacket is a new companion for slacks.” The back shows a pleat and gathers for ease of movement.

This “bush jacket” pre-dates the 1967 YSL safari collection — a lasting fashion influence — by nearly thirty years.

The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum is “located just a few miles from Amarillo as well as Palo Duro Canyon,” which could be a pleasant side trip if you are headed toward North Texas. I’d be a happy traveler in that pants outfit.

This pleated bolero jacket looks fresh, seven decades later…. Here’s a link to a more recent one by Alaia, on sale for $3,000.

Butterick bolero and dress No. 8005 and a dress with waist-length jacket, No. 8017. 1938.

Butterick bolero and dress No. 8005 and a dress with waist-length jacket, No. 8017. 1938.

I also like the way the open fronted, waist-tied jacket on the right allows a row of buttons to peek through.

Butterick patterns 8005 and 8017, from summer, 1938.

Butterick patterns 8005 and 8017, from summer, 1938.

I had never heard of “the Doll Silhouette,” which makes the skirt ripple by stiffening the hem.

The Doll Silhouette; Butterick patterns 8023 and 8016. August, 1938.

The Doll Silhouette; Butterick patterns 8023 and 8016. August, 1938. Lots of top-stitching. “By stiffening the hemline, even the limpest fabrics flute out like the dress of a doll.” [Or an Art Nouveau illustration.]

Butterick 8023:  “Grosgrain ribbon swirls out the hemline, ties the neck.” Sizes 12 to 20; 30 to 44 [bust measures.] Butterick 8016:  “Organdy is stitched inside skirt and shoulders, waist is pulled in.” Sizes 12 to 20; 30 to 40 [bust measures.] All those lines of parallel stitching remind me of the same ornamentation in 1917-1918.

Sheer dresses, like these, featured in 1938…

Sheer dresses: Butterick 8011 and Companion-Butterick pattern 7989. August, 1938.

Sheer dresses: Butterick 8011 and Companion-Butterick pattern 7989. August, 1938.

… and were also on the cover of the Butterick Fashion News –and in many other pattern catalogs — in 1939.

The Doll Silhouette was also mentioned with Butterick 8020.

Butterick 8020 and 7993, August 1938.

Butterick patterns 8020 and 7993, August 1938.

Here is the whole page:

A page from Butterick Fashion News, August. 1938.

“Swing Your Skirt Wide.” A page from Butterick Fashion News, August. 1938.

Hemlines are rising, but, even on younger women, they are still well below the knee. Here is a closer view of the two outfits on the right:

Dresses for younger women, Butterick, 1938. Patterns no. 7999, a two piece, and 8022.

Dresses for younger women, Butterick, 1938. Patterns no. 7999, a two-piece, and 8022. I love the sporty vest or “weskit” illusion.

Butterick 7999:  “Two-piece, two-tone dress.” Sizes Junior Miss 12 to 20, bust measurement 30 to 38 inches. You can see a less casual version on the pattern envelope at the Vintage Pattern Wikia.

Butterick 8022:  “A gored skirted dress designed to make you look taller.” “For Misses of 5 ft. 4 or under in sizes 12 to 20; 30 to 40” [bust measure.] Is “taller” a euphemism for “thinner?” If so, the center back seam on the skirt is a good idea.

Butterick Fashion News, page 5, August 1938. Companion-Butterick patterns 7991 and 7987; Butterick patterns 8007 and 7995.

Butterick Fashion News, page 5, August 1938. Companion-Butterick patterns 7991 and 7987; Butterick patterns 8007 and 7995.

Another sheer dress, and some lively prints. I’ve written about the popularity of large-scale prints in 1938 before. Companion-Butterick patterns were featured in Woman’s Home Companion magazine.

unspecified 1938 aug p 4 text CB7991 CB7987 Butterick 8007 7993

Additional lively prints were shown on the back cover:

Print dresses from Butterick patterns 8003 and 8009, Aug. 1938.

Print dresses from Butterick patterns 8003 and 8009, Aug. 1938.

Butterick 8003:  “In the manner of Vionnet, with draped shoulders, wide short sleeves.” Sizes 12 to 20, 30 to 40 [bust.]

Butterick 8009:  “A sheer printed cotton looks very youthful gathered at the neck and sleeves.” Sizes 12 to 20, 30 to 40 [bust.]

When a style is described as “youthful,” I always suspect that it’s aimed at older wearers — although this pattern isn’t available in larger sizes.

Here are styles for “figure problems.”

Figures are no problem to us." The problems range from wide hips to pregnancy.

“Figures are no problem to us.” The problems range from wide hips to pregnancy.

The suit dress on the left is a maternity outfit:

Butterick 8012, August 1938. A wide bow at the neck distracts from a pregnant body.

Butterick 8012, (top left) August 1938. A wide bow at the neck is meant to distract from a pregnant body. (Not that this model is “showing.”)

Butterick 8012:  “A big bow focuses the interest in this maternity dress with jacket and adjustable waist.” Sizes 12 to 20, 30 to 40 [bust measurement.] See the dress on its envelope here. The “wrap” maternity dress has a deep pleat at its left side for expansion.

Butterick 8014 for "shorter women of larger hip," and Butterick 8021

Butterick 8014 (left) for “shorter women of larger hip,” and Butterick 8021 “for the mature figure.” 1938.

Butterick 8014:  “Deep neckline, slim skirt and narrow sleeves make this ideal for shorter women of larger hip.” Sizes 34 to 52 [inches bust.]

Butterick 8021:  “For the mature figure, a softly molded bodice and waistline are gracious and becoming.” Sizes 34 to 52 [inches bust.]

Butterick 7998 is a simple lace evening dress  that “you can wear anywhere with dignity and chic;” its bolero jacket covers  the upper arms. This gown was  available in bust sizes 34 to 52 inches. [And illustrated on a size 34, of course.]

Butterick 7998 evening dress with jacket for mature women. Aug. 1938.

Butterick 7998 evening dress with jacket for mature women. Aug. 1938. Available in large sizes.

I’ll try to share more of these great thirties’ clothes in another post. Thanks again to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum.

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6 Comments

Filed under 1930s, 1930s-1940s, bags, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Gloves, handbags, Hats, Maternity clothes, Purses, Sportswear, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes, Women in Trousers

6 responses to “Butterick Fashion News: A Few Patterns from August, 1938.

  1. Connie R. Neumann

    After the jazzy 1920s I like the look of the ’30s so much more. These dresses remind me of the classy movies of the day with Katherine Hepburn, et al.

    BTW, the Museum of the Panhandle and Plains in Canyon, TX, is a great “jumping off” point to exploring Palo Duro Canyon (the Grand Canyon of Texas) and the great XIT and Goodnight Ranch stories. Also, Texas Tech University in Lubbock has a large historic garment collection. Thanks for showcasing the “bush jacket” of the 1930s! It wasn’t just the British in Africa using those!

  2. That’s the first time I’ve heard pregnancy referred to as a “figure problem”! But I guess it is from a pattern maker’s point of view. I’m also impressed by the 52 inch bust size–the largest I’ve heard of in a pattern.

    • My mother was proud of the fact that some friends didn’t notice she was pregnant until she was six months along. Even in the post-war baby boom, some women were embarrassed by pregnancy. I credit I Love Lucy with treating it as a natural state, and Lucy Ricardo wearing maternity clothes on television (1952) must have been part of the post-war change of attitude. (But even Lucy had to be described as “expecting,” never “pregnant,” to satisfy network censors.

  3. Nancy N

    Seems to me the dress in 7998 with the draped front would be fine on someone with no bust to speak of, not someone who wants to flatter a larger one! My grandma was a “problem figure” in their parlance — at 5′ and well over 150 lbs she was hard put to find patterns that flattered her. She had style, tho, and some of the few pictures we have of her during WWII show her in one of those open swing jackets, and she always wore really cute shoes to show off her tiny size 5.5 feet!! I suspect she draped some things on herself.
    Thanks for this, and for the museum’s interest in how the women kept and interest in fashion in areas of this country outside the major urban areas!

    • 7998 is the long, lace evening dress. I agree that the draped bodice on No.8021 is hard to imagine on “the mature figure” with a 52 inch bust — or your Grandma — with presumably a much less tiny waist! I’ll try to make the pattern numbers more legible in future post. The Delineator was an oversize magazine, so reducing the illustrations to a reasonable screen size doesn’t always result in legible numbers. Lynn Mally has been exploring the invention of “half-sizes” for short, stocky figures at AmericanAgeFashion. Eventually manufacturers’ realized that older women need to buy clothes, too.

  4. Pingback: Sized to Height Patterns from Butterick, 1948 | witness2fashion

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