Monthly Archives: March 2016

Copies of Store-Bought Hats, 1917

After encouraging readers to make their own hats in July and September of 1917, in November The Ladies’ Home Journal sent a staff member to buy nine fashionable hats and then make her own copies — and compare the costs.

Article "What I Paid for Some Hats and What I Made Them for at Home." Ladies' Home Journal, Nov. 1917, p. 134.

Article “What I Paid for Some Hats and What I Made Them for at Home.” Ladies’ Home Journal, Nov. 1917, top of page 134.

I have included larger images of all the individual hats, later in this post.

The article does not have a by-line, but readers could address inquiries to the Millinery Editor.

“NOTE — If you would like to learn how to make your own hats, the millinery lessons will help you:  “Hat-Frame Making,” “Covering a Velvet Hat,” and “Trimming a Hat.” They cost ten cents each. Descriptions of the hats pictured on this page and a list of the various articles used and their cost will be mailed upon receipt of four cents in stamps to cover the service. Inclose [sic] a stamped, addressed envelope to the Millinery Editor, The Ladies’ Home Journal, Independence Square, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with your request.”

Presumably, the photos show the originals, not the copies….

Hats bought and copied, Ladies Home Journal, Nov. 1917. Center of page 134.

Hats bought and copied, Ladies Home Journal, Nov. 1917. Center of page 134.

Hats Bought and Made, Ladies Home Journal, Nov. 1917. bottom of page 134.

Hats Bought and Made, Ladies Home Journal, Nov. 1917. bottom of page 134.

The purchased hats cost between $30 and $15.  Making them was cheaper, of course, but the Ladies’ Home Journal made it clear that these store-bought hats were not overpriced:

“You may think, upon comparison of these prices, that the profits of the milliner are overwhelming; but in all fairness to the milliner, the figures which signify the cost at which these hats were copied at home do not include the salaries paid to the high-priced designer and the assistants, nor the wages of the dainty model who so alluringly pictures to you how you will look in the hat [!], or those of the saleswoman who serves you. It does not include the rent for the salon in which you comfortably relax while trying hats on, nor the many other expenses incident to the final delivery of the hat.”

Dover’s Women’s and Children’s Fashions of 1917: The Complete Perry, Dame & Co. Catalog shows eight pages of ready-to-wear hats with loads of trimming; the most expensive is $6.49, and most can be purchased for between two and four dollars.  The Ladies’ Home Journal Millinery Editor must have thought her readers would be impressed by the idea of copying a $25 dollar hat for $5.

Here are larger images of the individual hats.

Toque, $25 in a store, and "a very new shape ... trimmed with gray vulture." $30 in store. LHJ, Nov. 1917.

Toque, $25 in a store, and “a very new shape … trimmed with gray vulture.” $30 in store. LHJ, Nov. 1917.

If you can read the words “trimmed with gray vulture” and not think of Neville Longbottom’s grandmother — or Professor Snape dressed in her clothes — where have you been? The position of the feathers reminds me of a skunk on alert….

Two "tam" style hats for women, Nov. 1917. Ladies' Home Journal.

Two “tam” style hats for women, Nov. 1917. Ladies’ Home Journal.

This hat style, with the brim rolled up on one side, was recommended for “matrons” in July.

Hats with rolled brims, Nov. 1917. Ladies' Home Journal.

The hat on the left is trimmed with a “smart hackle fancy.” Clusters of feathers, sometimes known as hackle pads, can be found online. Here is a large selection of hackles from the Zucker Feather company (a wholesaler.)

The wings on this hat are made of moleskin (a brushed cotton) and velvet — and it cost $12.25 to duplicate at home, more than any of the others.

A hat covered with moleskin and velvet. LHj, Nov. 1917, LHJ.

A hat covered with moleskin and velvet. LHJ, Nov. 1917.

Hats that required special navigational skills — hats which were extremely tall, or extremely wide — were often illustrated. I showed more 1917 hats in a previous post:  click here.

Delineator hat illustrations, May 1917.

Delineator hat illustrations, May 1917.

Delineator hat illustrations, September, 1917.

Delineator hat illustrations, September, 1917.

Hats in Delineator illustrations, May 1917.

Hats in Delineator illustrations, May 1917. Usually a sheer hat would have visible “spokes” supporting the brim.

The hat on the left, below, is quite wide, and has a very high crown, too.

Velvet covered hats, Ladies' Home Journal, Nov. 1917.

Velvet-covered hats, Ladies’ Home Journal, Nov. 1917.

The “rolled quills” are probably long feathers that have been trimmed to have short barbs. This was not a good time to be a bird (or a woman with an aversion to wearing parts of dead animals), although by 1913 the Audubon Society had succeeded in passing legislation to protect native and migrating birds. (Read a good account here. (“Mama, there’s a woman with a dead body on her hat who wants to see you.”)

Ladies Home Journal, Oct. 1917, 137. Hats for tailored clothes.

Ladies Home Journal, Oct. 1917, 137. Hats for tailored clothes.

May, 1917. Hats from Ladies' Home Journal.

May, 1917. Hats from Ladies’ Home Journal.

Hats which use old velvet and fur scraps. LHJ, Nov. 1917.

Hats which use old velvet and fur scraps (and bird parts). LHJ, Nov. 1917.

However, there are plenty of delightful 1917 hats to copy without looking like a taxidermist’s shop.

Hat in ADM ad, Oct. 1917 LHJ.

Hat in ADM ad, Oct. 1917 LHJ.

Cloth covered hats, Delineator illustration, May 1917.

Cloth-covered hats, Delineator illustration, May 1917.

Delineator, hats illustrated in May 1917. The one on the right uses wide striped ribbon for a band and cockade.

Delineator, hats illustrated in May 1917. The one on the right uses wide striped ribbon for a band and cockade.

Picture hat with a tassel on a long cord. LHJ, Oct. 1917.

Picture hat with a tassel on a long cord. LHJ, Oct. 1917.

If you were persuaded to make your own hats, and you wanted to learn the milliner’s craft, the Woman’s Institute was ready to help with a correspondence course:

Ad for hat making course from Woman's Institute, Ladies Home Journal, September, 1917.

Ad for hat making course from Woman’s Institute, Ladies Home Journal, September, 1917.

 

 

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, Hats, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage Accessories, Woman's Institute, World War I

Winter Wardrobes for Women, October 1933

I showed one, low-backed evening gown from a 1933 article about Butterick’s “Wardrobe for Young Married Women” and Michele asked to see the rest of the article. When I looked for it, I discovered that the same issue of The Delineator magazine recommended winter wardrobes for The Business Girl, The Clubwoman, and The High School Girl, too. So, for comparison, here are the suggested fashions. I found a few surprises, and, as the highway signs say, “Wide shoulder ahead.”

Butterick’s Wardrobe for Young Married Women, 1933

Part of Butterick's recommended wardrobe for a young married woman. An evening wrap and an evenig dress were also included. Delineator, October, 1933.

Part of Butterick’s recommended wardrobe for Young Married Women. An evening wrap and an evening dress were also included. Delineator, October, 1933, p. 69.

Evening clothes for young married women, 1933. Wrap #5338 and Gown #5321, Butterick patterns.

Evening clothes for young married women, 1933. Wrap #5338 and Gown #5321, Butterick patterns.

1933 oct p 69 wardrobe for young married woman 5338 evening wrap text

1933 oct p 69 wardrobe for young married woman 5321 evening gown text

Day dress 5315 and coat 5336, recommended for young married women. Butterick patterns from Delineator magazine, Oct., pg 69.

Day dress 5315 and coat 5336, recommended for young married women. Butterick patterns from Delineator magazine, Oct., pg 69.

1933 oct p 69 wardrobe for young married woman 5315 text

1933 oct p 69 wardrobe for young married woman 5336 text

Clothes for a yung married woman. Butterick patterns 5313 and 5311, Oct. 1933 Delineator.

Clothes for a young married woman. Butterick patterns 5313  (afternoon dress) and 5311 (dinner dress), Oct. 1933 Delineator.

1933 oct p 69 wardrobe for young married woman 5313 text

1933 oct p 69 wardrobe for young married woman 5311 btm text

The “organ pipe” sleeves of No. 5311 and the “loop shoulders” of No. 5315 are among many odd sleeve and shoulder treatments from 1933, when wider shoulders for women were just finding their way into fashion.

Butterick’s Wardrobe for the Smart Business Girl, 1933

Four outfits for the "Smart Business Girl;" Butterick patterns 5339, 5346, 5341, and 5325. Oct. 1933, Delineator, page 68.

Four outfits for the “Smart Business Girl;” Butterick patterns 5339, 5346, 5341, and 5325. Oct. 1933, Delineator, page 68. There are two additional items.

Butterick pattern 5337 for the "Smart Business Girl." Delineator, October 1933.

Butterick pattern 5337 for the “Smart Business Girl.” Delineator, October 1933.

Detachable and interchangeable collars were very popular in the nineteen thirties.

Coat for the "Smart Business Girl," Butterick pattern 5344, Delineator magazine, October 1933.

Coat for the “Smart Business Girl,” Butterick pattern 5344, Delineator magazine, October 1933. The sleeves are widened with a detail resembling fish fins.

Butterick patterns 5339 and 5346 for the "Smart Business Girl. Delneator, Oct. 1933/

Butterick patterns 5339 and 5346 for the “Smart Business Girl.” Delineator, Oct. 1933.

1933 oct p 68 business girl wardrobe 5339 5346 text 400

No. 5339 has a “rim shoulder,” and No. 5346, a double-sided satin dress which goes from office to date, also has a rather experimental shoulder, perhaps inspired by the Elizabethans. This Elizabethan jerkin, at the Metropolitan museum, shows what I mean.

An afternoon dress (Butterick 5341) and an evening dress (5325) for the "Smart Business Girl," Delineator, Oc.t 1933.

A velvet dress (Butterick 5341) and an evening dress (5325) for the “Smart Business Girl,” Delineator, October 1933.

1933 oct p 68 business girl wardrobe 5341 5325 400 text btm

The evening gown (No. 5325) is the new “mermaid silhouette;” both dresses are designed to make the shoulders look wider. The pointy diagonal accent on No. 5341 was seen in many variations. Click here for Joan Crawford in an extreme version, 1933.

Butterick’s Wardrobe of Patterns for the Smart Clubwoman, 1933.

Members of women’s clubs did not merely play bridge and socialize; in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century they were very much involved in improving their communities. “Women’s clubs founded kindergartens, settlement houses, school-lunch programs, health clinics, museums, and parks” according to this article about the Audubon Society.

Clubwoman” was also Butterick’s euphemism for women who were older and not especially slender. (Lane Byrant catalogs called them “stout.”)

"Winter Wardrobe for the Smart Club Woman." Butterick patterns 5329. 5353, 5290, and 5350, from Delineator, page 71. October 1933.

“Winter Wardrobe for the Smart Clubwoman.” Butterick patterns 5329, 5353, 5290, and 5350, from Delineator, page 71. October 1933.

The Delineator also suggested a Spring and Summer wardrobe for “clubwomen;” click here to read about it.

Outfits for "Club Women," Butterick patterns 5329 and 5353, October 1933.

Outfits for “Clubwomen,” Butterick patterns 5329 and 5353, October 1933. Available up to 48″ bust.

1933 oct p 71 wardrobe clubwoman 5329 text

1933 oct p 71 wardrobe clubwoman 5353 text

A coat (Butterick 5290) and a dress (5350) for mature women. Delineator, October 1933.

A coat (Butterick 5290) and an afternoon dress (5350) for mature women. Delineator, October 1933. For sizes up to 52 inch bust.

1933 oct p 71 wardrobe clubwoman coat 5290 text

1933 oct p 71 wardrobe clubwomanafternoon dress 5350 text

The coat, like all the others, is enhanced with fur; in this case, the “mushroom collar” adds width to the shoulders, and the cut of the back is flattering to wide hips. These two patterns were available up to a bust measurement of 52 inches.

Butterick’s Winter Wardrobe for the High School Girl, 1933

Butterick patterns 5335, 5331, 5340, and 5333, recommended for High School Girls in Oct. 1933, Delineator, p. 70.

Butterick patterns 5335, 5331, 5340, and 5333, recommended for High School Girls in Oct. 1933, Delineator, p. 70.

Just when I think I’m getting a feel for a period, something like this makes my jaw drop. People had to grow up fast in the Depression, but what ever happened to wearing a simple skirt and sweater? These are not “going away to an Ivy League college” clothes; the text says “High School Girl.” Surely dressing like this was cost-prohibitive for most. And, if schoolgirls dressed like this, how could you tell them from adults?

Dresses for High School Girls, Butterick patterns 5335 and 5331, October 1933 Delineator, p. 70.

Dresses for High School Girls, Butterick patterns 5335 and 5331, October 1933 Delineator, p. 70.

1933 oct p 70 wardrobe plan for high school 5335 5331 text

“Flaming red faille taffeta” and “Low in back.” Not the “pretty in pink” innocent look. The school dress (5331) surprises me because it is so memorable — you couldn’t wear a dress like that every day without everyone noticing that you only have one school dress. All four of these styles for high school girls have the new, very wide shoulders and/or puffy sleeves. And they are designed for relatively small sizes.

A coat (Butterick 5340) and a dress (pattern 5333) for high school. Delineator, October 1933. p. 70.

A coat (Butterick 5340) and a red velveteen date dress (pattern 5333) for high school girls. Delineator, October 1933. p. 70.

1933 oct p 70 wardrobe plan for high school text 5340 5333 btm

No. 5333 has unusual off-center “clips” [ buttons (?)] “front and back.”

The hem lengths for the young married woman and the smart business girl are noticeably longer than those for the high school girl and the clubwoman.

Young MArried Women and Smart Business GIrls are shown with longer hemlines than High School Girls and Older (Club) Women. Oct. 1933 Delineator.

Young Married Women and Smart Business Girls are shown with longer hemlines than High School Girls and Older (Club) Women. Oct. 1933 Delineator.

This could be because schoolgirls and older women were assumed to be shorter than young adult women. “Sizes 12 to 20” still referred to the old practice of selling young (and/or small) women’s dresses by age rather than by size. Click here for “Size 16 Years: What Does That Mean?” The patterns for older (club) women may say “Sizes 14 to 20,” but that does not equate to bust measurements 34″ to 52″! “Sizes 14 to 20” means “14 to twenty years of age,” and those patterns had different proportions than, and were made in addition to, patterns sold by bust measurement.

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Filed under 1930s, Vintage patterns

Home Made Hats, 1917; Part 1

Collage of hats from Delineator, Sept. 1917. These are not home made hats, but give an idea of the current styles.

Collage of hats from Delineator, Sept. 1917, p. 62. These are not home made hats, but give an idea of the current styles.

Collage of hats from Delineator, Sept. 1917. These are not home made hats, but give an idea of the current styles.

Collage of hats from Delineator, Sept. 1917, p. 62. These are not home made hats, but give an idea of the wide range of styles.

I started to collect images of ladies’ hats from 1917, and discovered that I have far more material than I realized. The Ladies’ Home Journal ran a series of articles on home-made hats in 1917; women were encouraged to waste nothing, as part of the war effort. Similar make-your-own hat articles ran in September and November.

July 1917: Smart Hats From Ten-Cent Foundations

"Smart Hats from Ten Cent Foundations," Ladies Home Journal, July 1917.

“Smart Hats from Ten Cent Foundations,” Ladies’ Home Journal, July 1917. Top of page.

In July, women were encouraged to make their own hats as a patriotic duty:  “As the call for recruits arouses the fighting spirit of the men, it also stirs the inherent thriftiness of the American girl to prove her preparedness to make many of her own clothes and fight the high cost of living.” [At Envisioning the American Dream,  Sally Edelstein has been sharing wartime ads and posters aimed at the American woman in 1917. Click here for Part 1 of her series.]

Hats to make, Ladies Home Journal, July 1917. A rolled brim hat for a married woman, a picture hat trimmed with little green apples, and a pink and white gingham covered hat.

Hats to make, Ladies’ Home Journal, July 1917. A rolled brim hat trimmed with bird wings for a married woman, a picture hat trimmed with tiny apples, and a pink and white gingham covered hat.

lhj 1917 july p 76 hats matron rolled brim text

lhj 1917 july p 76 hats picture hat text

lhj 1917 july p 76 hats gingham text

Notice the military phrase: “ready for active service in town or country.”

Hats to make, and a buckram foundation; Ladies' Home Journal, July 1917

Hats to make, and a buckram frame foundation; Ladies’ Home Journal, July 1917. The hat on the right is a “mushroom hat” with braided straw under the brim.

“The frames on which the hats on this page are made are of light buckram like this [bottom center above,] and cost 10 cents each.” Several of these hats have cloth covering the frame on top, but their brims are “faced with straw.” The straw hat braid was bought by the yard and stitched together to fit the shape of the brim. Lynn McMasters shows how it’s done here.

A pre-formed hat frame or foundation like this can be ordered online, but it won’t cost ten cents any more.  There’s a decent selection of wired, buckram frames at Hat Supply.com. You can buy wired brims separately.

These are the last two hats from the July article:

A sailor hat and a hat with a quilt-pieced crown. Ladies' Home Journal, July 1917.

A pink linen sailor hat and a hat with a quilt-pieced crown. Ladies’ Home Journal, July 1917. The “quilt” hat’s brim –on the right — was faced with yellow [straw] braid.

If you are at all tempted to make your own hats, I don’t know of a better book than Denise Dreher’s From the Neck Up. She has a website, www.hatbook.com where you can order the book and/or find links to millinery supplies galore. It’s worth visiting several  suppliers — the range of styles and prices varies a lot.

September 1917: Hats You Can Make From Patterns

In September, The Ladies’ Home Journal wrote about “Hats You Can Make from Patterns.”  The LHJ sold its own sewing patterns, but you had to write to the appropriate editor and ask for the pattern by number, enclosing a 4 cent stamp for each hat pattern.

"Hats You Can Make from Patterns" in Ladies' Home Journal, September, 1917. Middle of page.

“Hats You Can Make from Patterns” in Ladies’ Home Journal, September, 1917. Middle of page 85. Hairstyles were also illustrated. The hat in the center is a Tam.

The Ladies Home Journal sold patterns for these hats. Sept. 1917, top of page hats.

The Ladies Home Journal offered patterns for these hats. Sept. 1917, top of page hats.

The black velvet hat on the left is trimmed with tight spirals of white soutache braid.The black velvet hat on the right has a “top crown of white Georgette crepe, trimmed with a white worsted cockade.

Hats from Ladies' Home Journal patterns, Sept. 1917. Images from middle of page.

Hats from Ladies’ Home Journal patterns, Sept. 1917. Images from middle of page.

Left:  “In these war times, the designers cannot overlook the [military] fatigue-cap crown, as copied on this wide-brimmed hat of blue satin with appliqued red roses.” Right: A blue satin hat with a white satin facing, trimmed with a white tassel (which seems to be falling from the top of the crown.)

Hats from Ladies' Home Journal patterns, Sept. 1917. Images from middle of page.

Hats from Ladies’ Home Journal patterns, Sept. 1917. Images from middle of page.

Left:  “This is what may be done with red and blue ribbon and a national emblem.” Right:  “Beaded pins still make a point of trimming smart hats, as you can see by this tall velvet-crowned, satin brimmed matron’s toque.” [A toque is defined as a hat without a brim. Fashion writing was as inconsistent 99 years ago as it is today.]

There was a strong military influence on women’s fashions during World War I. Pattern companies offered military insignia for trimming women’s dresses, hats and bags. The hats below were illustrated in Delineator magazine. Not only were the military cap (top left) and the shako (bottom right) popular, Napoleonic era bicorns and tricorns reappeared.

Women's hats, Delineator pattern illustration, May, 1917.

Women’s hats, Delineator pattern illustration, May, 1917. Military influence on women’s hats: An officer’s cap, a tricorn, and a shako.

Hats in fashion illustration, Ladies Home Journal, Nov. 1917. A bicorn at right.

Hats in fashion illustration, Ladies’ Home Journal, Nov. 1917. A shako at the left, a bicorn at the right.

The Ladies’ Home Journal also encouraged readers to make hats from unusual materials:

A hat made from fabric strips, and a hat covered with sacking (burlap.) Ladies' Home Journal. Sept. 1917. Pg. 84.

A hat made from the wool braid that used to be used for facing long skirt hems, and a hat covered with coarse-woven sacking. Ladies’ Home Journal. Sept. 1917. Pg. 84.

Fashionable women's hats, Delineator, October1917. These are not home-made.

Fashionable women’s hats, Delineator, October 1917. These are not home-made, but the toques, tassel, asymmetrical rolled brim, and the shape at top left share some elements with the LHJ’s home-made hats.

Coming up:  Part 2. In November, 1917,  The Ladies’ Home Journal buys $25 hats and copies them for much less.

 

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, A Costumers' Bookshelf, Accessory Patterns, Hats, Resources for Costumers, Vintage Accessories, World War I

Clothes for Clubwomen (and Their Cost) Feb. 1933

Butterick suggests a "Clubwoman's Wardrobe for $30.00." Delineator, Feb. 1933.

Butterick suggests a “Clubwoman’s Wardrobe for $30.00.” Delineator, Feb. 1933. “The colors are, from left to right, black, green, gray and black.”

“Clubwomen” implies enough leisure to participate in community fundraisers, bridge parties, etc. The Delineator‘s target reader was middle-class (Butterick patterns were more expensive than “dime-store” patterns.) But this was 1933, and many formerly “comfortable” people were struggling to keep their (1929) pre-crash position in the economy. This article assured “clubwomen” that they could afford to dress well, making four outfits for $30. As we might expect, “clubwomen” were often women whose children were grown, women of a “certain age” and, in some cases, a less than ideal figure.

Opening paragraph of the article, Delineator, p. 68. February 1933.

Opening paragraph of the article, Delineator, p. 68. February 1933.

Clubwoman’s Figure

“I have what is known as the ‘clubwoman’s figure’ and I suffer from those I-can’t-find-anything-to-fit-me blues…. I am so tired of those oldish frocks that shopkeepers seem to think  anyone weighing over a hundred and twenty should wear.”

Delineator suggested a four pattern wardrobe to solve these problems and gave the cost for materials to make each of them. Not surprisingly, the coat and the evening ensemble were the most expensive. However, a coat might be expected to last for two years.

Butterick 4902 coat pattern for 1933

Butterick coat pattern 4902, from Delineator, Feb. 1933.

Butterick coat pattern 4902, from Delineator, Feb. 1933. Estimated cost of materials is $9.91. Sizes up to 44 inch bust.

Description of Butterick coat pattern

Description of Butterick coat pattern 4902, from 1933.

The coat pattern was available in sizes 12 to 20, 30 to 44 inch bust measure. This was a normal range of women’s sizes for Butterick in 1933, equivalent to modern sizes 6 through 22.

Butterick dress pattern 4840 from 1933

Butterick No. 4840 for "clubwomen." It could be made for and came in sizes up to 44 inch bust measure.

Butterick No. 4840 for “clubwomen.” It could be made for $ 5.20 and came in sizes up to 44 inch bust measure.

Description of Butterick

Description of Butterick 4840, from 1933.

The solid color on the wrap bodice isn’t allowed for on the pattern — which I have not been able to locate at the Vintage Pattern Wikia or at CoPA. The largest size on this pattern was for a 44 inch bust, which usually meant 47.5 inch hips.

Butterick dress pattern 4790 from 1933

Butterick No. 4790, a "clubwoman's dress" from Feb. 1933. It was available in large sizes.

Butterick No. 4790, a “clubwoman’s dress” from Feb. 1933. It was available in large sizes and could be made for $5.26, including materials, buttons and pattern.

Butterick description.

Butterick  4790 description. “Get the darkest gray, as the light ones are not so interesting.”

Even a clubwoman with a 52 inch bust (a modern size 30W) could use this pattern.

Butterick evening ensemble 4904 from 1933

Butterick evening grown and jacket pattern. No. 4904 from 1933. Suggested for mature women,

Butterick evening grown and jacket pattern. No. 4904 from 1933. Suggested for mature women, its materials cost $9.63 (or $10.88.)

This evening gown and matching jacket were suggested for “clubwomen” in sizes up to a 48″ bust measurement, size 26W in 2016.

Description of Butterick pattern 4904.

Description of Butterick pattern 4904. If you line the lace yoke with flesh chiffon as recommended, the materials and pattern would cost $10.88.

Although this outfit looks like velvet in the illustration, the budget suggests “heavy sheer black crepe” and black lace. “With the jacket, this is correct for any formal afternoon occasion. Without the jacket, it is suitable for evening. So that it could be used for both purposes, we made it rather long — eight inches from the floor. For best effect, use lace that is not too hole-y and line the lace with flesh chiffon…. Those two bright spots at the neckline are double rhinestone clips. And when you want to look especially ravishing, give yourself a big bunch of purple violets and pin them, with their spread-out green leaves, just below that high point in the skirt.” [The skirt goes all the way up to the sternum on this pattern.]

This wardrobe, according to editor Marian Corey, could be worn six months of the year, if cleaned regularly.

“It  has got the right dress for every occasion, from shopping in town to traveling in Europe, or presiding over a club meeting, or attending a wedding. And it is inexpensive — costing, if one makes it oneself, just $30.00.” [In the 1930’s, many female college graduates were getting by on $18 per week.]

The same issue of Delineator had two more pages dedicated to hard-to-fit women. If coat No. 4902 wasn’t big enough, this coat and dress for “The Shorter Figure” (short in relation to its circumference) were featured on page 77.

Butterick patterns 4883 and 4956, "For the Shorter Figure," Delineator, Feb 1933. Page 77.

Butterick patterns 4883 and 4956, “For the Shorter Figure,” Delineator, Feb 1933. Page 77.

1933 feb p 77 text 4883 shorter figure large

1933 feb p 77 text 4956 shorter figure large

Dress 4883 is “especially designed to give height and slenderness to the woman less than five-five with a larger hip size than average.” [That’s a surprise; apparently Butterick expected the average woman to be taller than 5′ 5″] Diagonal (or “surplice“) lines were often suggested as slenderizing. The cleverly cut back of this “height-giving” coat does create the illusion that the waist is much smaller than it really is. “Created with shorter women in mind.” These are not yet called “half-sized” patterns, however.

back views of Butterick 4956 and 4883. Large sized patterns, 1933.

Back views of Butterick 4956 and 4883. Large sized patterns for shorter women, 1933.

On page 76 there were two more patterns designed for the “clubwoman’s figure” — here called “dresses with slender lines.”

Butterick 4957 and 4917, slender lines for larger and shorter figures. Feb. 1933.

Butterick 4957 and 4917, slender lines for larger figures. Feb. 1933.

1933 feb p 76 text 4957 slender lines large

1933 feb p 76 text 4917slender lines large

You can see that the print dress does look slightly less short-waisted than its neighbor. [But not very flattering to the hips!]

And, in the same issue, women who were not young and slim could find an ad for the Lane Bryant Stout Women’s catalog:

Ad for the Lane Bryant Sotut and Large catalog. Delineator, Feb 1933.

Ad for the Lane Bryant Stout Women’s catalog. Delineator, Feb 1933.

The prices shown on the cover ($5.95 to $8.95) are not too far off Butterick’s make-it-yourself estimates. The dress at right has a skirt extending in a point up to the sternum, like the evening pattern suggested for clubwomen; its sleeves are also  very similar to the “clubwomen’s”  patterns. The illustration style, however, is a bit more realistic.

Similar slenderizing styles from butterick and Lane Bryant. Delneator, Feb 1933.

Similar slenderizing styles from Butterick and Lane Bryant. Delineator, Feb 1933.

 

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Filed under 1930s, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes

Very Bare Backs, 1930s

I happened across this Ladies’ Home Journal cover for February, 1936, and thought it was worth sharing.

Cover, Ladies' Home Journal, February 1936.

Cover, Ladies’ Home Journal, February 1936.

This low-backed dress from 1933 has similar fabric flower trim:

Butterick 5424, a low backed evening dress trimmed with flowers. Delineator Dec. 1922.

Butterick 5424, a low backed evening dress trimmed with flowers. Delineator Dec. 1933.

Like the magazine cover, this bare backed evening gown was featured in the February, 1933, Ladies’ Home Journal: [CORRECTION: Both are from February 1936.]

Dinner suit and evening dress for a cruise, LHJ, Feb. 1936.

Dinner suit and evening dress for a cruise, LHJ, Feb. 1936.

The nearly backless gown is made of “a vivid flower print on black silk.”

This low-backed gown was featured in a “Wardrobe for the Young Married Woman,”

Butterick 5321, a low backed gown suitable for the young married woman. Delineator, Oct. 1933.

Butterick 5321, a low-backed evening gown suitable for the young married woman. Delineator, Oct. 1933. “Slithery, slinky white satin with a deep, deep decolletage in back.”

However, the college girl might also wear a low-backed gown:

A low backed evening gown for an

A low-backed evening gown for an “undergraduate.” Butterick pattern 6011, Delineator, January 1935.

They were not just for evening wear:

Butterick sundress pattern 5766, Delineator, July 1934.

Butterick sundress pattern 5766, Delineator, July 1934. Yes, she’s playing tennis.

Low-backed gowns were used to get the reader’s attention in advertisements, too.

A backless gown in an ad for mouthwash, Delineator, April 1934.

A backless gown in an ad for mouthwash or toothpaste, Delineator, April 1934.

Low-backed, sequinned gown in an ad for Listerine mouthwash. Woman's Home Companion, April, 1936.

Low-backed, sequinned gown in an ad for Listerine mouthwash. Woman’s Home Companion, April, 1936.

This ad is selling hand lotion:

Ad for lotion, low-backed evening gown. Woman;s Home Companion, April 1936.

Ad for lotion, featuring a low-backed evening gown. Woman’s Home Companion, April 1936.

Shelvador refrigerator ad, with a party guest visiting the kitchen in her back-less evening gown.

Shelvador refrigerator ad, with a party guest visiting the kitchen in her backless evening gown. July, 1936. Delineator.

This was from a series of ads where elegantly dressed guests visited the kitchen to “ooooh and ahhhhh” over the refrigerator. (To be fair, refrigerators were not that common; on the other hand, this seems like “bad form” — bragging.) The men are in white tie.

Low-backed evening gowns also sold Kellogg’s Bran flakes:

Constance Cummings in an ad for Kellogg's Bran. June, 1934. Delineator.

Actress Constance Cummings in an ad for Kellogg’s All-Bran. June, 1934. Delineator.

Kellogg's bran ad, June 1934.

Kellogg’s All-Bran ad, June 1934. “To look well in the new gowns, many of us must reduce.”

This lovely green [velvet?] dress is selling (green) Palmolive soap:

Evening gown in a Palmolive soap ad, Delineator, February 1933.

Evening gown in a Palmolive soap ad, Delineator, February 1933.

It’s less surprising that bare-backed ladies in evening dress were also used to sell Fashion classes . . .

An Ad for Woodbury College, Woman's Home Companion, Dec. 1937.

An Ad for Woodbury College, Woman’s Home Companion, Dec. 1937. “Earn Good Money as a Costume Designer.”

And pattern catalogs:

Butterick catalog cover, Oct. 1933.

Butterick catalog cover, Oct. 1933.

Of course, there were also ads for undergarments that would allow you to wear backless evening gowns. This Gossard foundation really does allow the wearer’s back to be bare all the way to the waist:

Ad for a backless foundation garment. Delineator, April 1932.

Ad for a Gossard backless foundation garment. Delineator, April 1932.

Gossard backless and boneless foundation garment. Advertisement, in Delineator. April 1932.

Gossard backless and boneless foundation garment. Advertisement in Delineator; April 1932.

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Filed under 1930s, Foundation Garments, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Underthings, Underthings, Hosiery, Corsets, etc, Vintage patterns, vintage photographs

More McCall Hats and Bags, 1946

My copy of the McCall Needlework store catalog for December 1946 shows many delightful patterns for hats and handbags. I’ve already described three patterns from the 1946 catalog that were successful enough to still be included in a store catalog at the end of 1950.

McCall 1228 pattern for hats and handbags. 1945. Image from McCall Needlework catalog Dec. 1946.

McCall 1228 pattern for hats and handbags. 1945. Image from McCall Needlework catalog Dec. 1946.

When dating styles from sewing patterns, it’s good to be reminded that it takes a while for a new style to gain acceptance, so that pattern companies continue to feature some patterns over a span of several years. The following group of patterns debuted between 1944 and 1946, and were out of print by November of 1950 (the latest McCall Needlework catalog I happen to have.)

This, No. 1115, is the oldest hat pattern from the 1946 catalog — originally issued in 1944. It has been dated by the Commercial Pattern Archive.

McCall 1115, Pattern for Hat and Handbag

McCall hat and bag pattern 1115, from the Dec. 1946 Needlework catalog. Pattern issued in 1944.

McCall hat and bag pattern 1115, from the Dec. 1946 Needlework catalog. Pattern issued in 1944.

View (B), a beret worn tilted far forward on the head, has a pretty extension at the back in place of the more common 1940’s band. The purse has straps which act as a drawstring, passing through sewn-on metal rings.

MC 1115 txt 500 hats bags dec 1946

The close-fitting cap (A) is described as a calot, meaning a close-fitting hat without a brim. It was more commonly called a “Juliet cap.” (See pattern 1293, below.) There are many illustrations of modern royalty wearing “calots” at the Royal Hats blog. In the 1920’s a hat type called a callotte was also brimless, but not close to the scalp. See a twenties version here.

McCall 1193, Hat Patterns

McCall hat pattern 1193 dates to 1945. McCall Needlework Catalog, Dec. 1946.

McCall hat pattern 1193 dates to 1945. McCall Needlework Catalog, Dec. 1946.

Frankly, View (A) looks to me to be too small for the model. The caved-in crown is a bit of a surprise — but handy as a base for a bowl of fruit… :). Version (B) evokes 1930’s hats like this one from 1936. From the rear, View (C) suggests a matador’s hat.

MC 1193 text hats bags dec 1946

“Turban A has a bias-fold crown. . . marvelous in stripes, and plain, too. The widow’s peak hat B and the beret-type C are soft hats, too. C is machine stitched and trimmed with ribbon bows. All are snug-fitting hats.”

“They can be worn with high or low hair-dos.” But, obviously, the extreme pompadour hair styles of the early 1940’s are not going to work with these hats.

There are more views on the pattern envelope at CoPA.

McCall 1200 Hats and a Bag for Very Young Women

McCall hat and bag pattern 1200, from 1945. Imge from McCall Needlework catalog, Dec. 1946.

McCall hat and bag pattern 1200, from 1945. Image from McCall Needlework catalog, Dec. 1946.

The round bag is a perennial style. Ridiculously small hats worn very far forward were a chic forties’ style.

McCall 1200 hat for young women. The green one is an "Eton cap" or schoolgirl's cap.

McCall 1200 hats for young women. The green one is an “Eton cap,” or schoolgirl’s cap. It was copied from uniform caps worn by schoolboys.

“The Eton cap (B) and the brim hat (C) are tops for young casuals, especially when matched up with suits or dresses.”

McCall 1228, Hats and Bags

McCall 1228 pattern for hats and handbags. 1945. Image from McCall Needlework catalog Dec. 1946.

McCall 1228 pattern for hats and handbags. 1945. Image from McCall Needlework catalog Dec. 1946.

MC 1228 hats TXT 500 bags dec 1946351

“Wonderfully smart dressmaker hats with bags to match. So easy to run up! Nothing but stitching and a self-bow on the hats. Companion bags in two styles carry out the stitching trim. Both styles have loop handles and are finished with slide fasteners [zippers.] One is a large carry-all, the other a small, compact model.” The blue bag is a “large carry-all” by 1945 standards, but not today! There are additional views on the pattern envelope. If you love to enter the zen state of decorative machine stitching, these really could be fun to make….

McCall 1252, Flat Hat Patterns circa 1945

McCall hat pattern 1252 circa 1945-46. Image from McCall Needlework catalog Dec. 1946.

McCall hat pattern 1252 circa 1945-46. Image from McCall Needlework catalog Dec. 1946. Views A, B, and back of C.

McCall hat pattern 1252 circa 1945-46. Image from McCall Needlework catalog Dec. 1946

McCall hat pattern 1252 circa 1945. Image from McCall Needlework catalog Dec. 1946. Views C and D.

“Making hat news, these four clever models are designed to open out for washing or cleaning. A — modified peach basket, ties together.  B — Coolie type, snaps to position at top and brim.  C — a drawstring beret.  D — pouchy turban that snaps to crown…. No blocking required.” Like No. 1228, Versions A and  B are stiffened with extensive machine top stitching.

[Sidenote:  the word “coolie” — often applied to Asian workers who did hard manual labor like building the Transcontinental Railroad, digging canals, and toting heavy loads — comes from two Chinese words meaning “bitter” (ku,) and “strength” (li.) It describes a person whose strength is “bitter” because it condemns one to a life of hard labor. This is not a word to use casually, although many people did not consider it offensive in 1946. “Ku” can also mean an agricultural worker. ]

Hat designer Agnes had already experimented with hats that can be unzipped or un-snapped and folded flat for packing, back in 1937.

McCall 1293, Patterns for a Beaded Halter Top, a Vestee, a Juliet Cap and a Handbag

McCall pattern 1293 for a halter top, a vestee, a Juliet cap, and a beaded handbag. 1946.

McCall pattern 1293 for a vestee (A), a halter top (B), a Juliet cap, and a beaded handbag. 1946.

The pattern envelope shows a second way to decorate the vestee.

MC 1293 blouse text hat bag dec 1946 72

“For festive occasions sew sequins on a vestee, Juliet cap, purse.” It was a Victorian custom that Juliet’s stage costumes often included a small, head-hugging cap made of pearls — not authentic to Renaissance Italy nor Shakespeare’s England, but pretty.  (Click here for silent screen star Lillian Gish wearing one.) The sideless vestee would be worn over a slip and under an open suit jacket (which you couldn’t take off in public, of course.) This glittering vestee might go with you to the office in your handbag, and be exchanged for your workday blouse in the ladies’ room at 5 p.m., turning your business suit into a cocktail or date outfit.

McCall 1298, Pattern for Hat and Bag

McCAll hat and bag pattern 1298. 1946 McCall catalog.

McCall hat and bag pattern 1298. 1946 McCall catalog. The handbag has grommet holes for the drawstring strap to pass through.

The back of that enormous beret is quite impressive, with an interesting top stitching pattern “for style and firmness.”

MC 1298 text hat bag dec 1946

“The trim spectator sports hat with clever visor brim A,  the popular big beret B, are easy to wear, simple to make.” [Just remember to duck when approaching a doorway.] Outsized berets and tams had been popular during World War I, too. Click here for an image from 1917, or here for a brief history of Tam-o’-Shanters and the difference between a tam, a toque, and a beret. And here is Joan Crawford wearing a big, dome-like hat, in 194o.

Hattie Carnegie suit and big straw beret hat, Vogue 1940.

Hattie Carnegie suit and big straw beret-type hat, Vogue 1940.

 

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Filed under 1940s-1950s, Accessory Patterns, bags, Hairstyles, handbags, Hats, Purses, Sportswear, Vintage patterns

Butterick Starred Patterns Part 5: Helen Twelvetrees Wears Travis Banton

Butterick Patterns designed by Travis Banton for Helen Twelvetrees in Disgraced. Delineator, August 1933.

Butterick Patterns designed by Travis Banton for Helen Twelvetrees in Disgraced. Delineator, August 1933. “Below is the gown that brings forth all the ‘Oh’s’ and “Ah’s” when Miss Twelvetrees models it in ‘Disgraced.’ “

Today, costume designer Travis Banton is more remembered than actress Helen Twelvetrees. (No, that was not the name she was born with.) These patterns from August, 1933 are the last two Starred Patterns in the Butterick series that began in May of 1933. Butterick’s Delineator magazine had so much faith in this wedding gown design that it was the star of its own article a month later.

Disgraced is a Pre-Code melodrama. In it, Miss Twelvetree’s character, a fashion model named Gay, begins living with a rich wastrel in the belief that he will marry her. Instead, he plans to marry wealthy Julia, and Gay only discovers his plan when she has to model Julia’s wedding dress. Murder ensues. See the movie poster here.

Butterick pattern 5297, Delineator, August 1933. Designed by Travis Banton for the Paramount movie Disgraced.

Butterick pattern 5297, Delineator, August 1933. Designed by Travis Banton for the Paramount movie Disgraced.

The text of the article says that Butterick 5297 can be worn without the cape collar, but I’m afraid that the alternate view was not illustrated.

1933 aug p 53 Helen Twelvetrees 5297 textTravis Banton des btm text

“Change-about” dresses were popular in the heart of the Great Depression.) Vintage Pattern Wikia has a larger image of this design, from the Fall 1933 Butterick catalog. The Delineator article was also printed in Butterick Fashion News.

Butterick 5299, designed by Travis Banton for the film Disgraced. Delineator, August 1933, p 53.

Butterick 5299, designed by Travis Banton for the film Disgraced. Delineator, August 1933, p 53.

Helen Twelvetrees modeling wedding gown No. 5299 in Disgraced, 1933.

Helen Twelvetrees modeling wedding gown No. 5299 in Disgraced, 1933.

The wedding dress, Butterick 5299, was described in the Delineator in August:

“If, by any chance, you’re contemplating marriage, and you’re in the ususal dither about what to wear for the Big Moment, we urge you do do just one thing. Take yourself on the run to the nearest theater showing Helen Twelvetree’s latest picture, ‘Disgraced.’

“In this picture — in which there’s plenty of excitement besides the clothes, you can take our word for it — Miss Twelvetrees wears a wedding gown that is our idea of a wedding gown. It had us practically in a swoon. All that blond loveliness of course helped, but even a plainer girl, we imagine, would look pretty glamourous in such a gown. It’s a satin affair, with a yoke of fine net, and a tulle veil that is like a cape and quite the most lovely one we’ve seen in years of weddings, on- and off-stage. The idea is to wear it down, all around, until after the ceremony, and then to toss it back off the face for the recessional.” — Delineator, August 1933, p. 53.

Butterick Starred Pattern 5299, a wedding gown designed by Travis Banton for the movie Disgraced. Detail.

Butterick Starred Pattern 5299, a wedding gown designed by Travis Banton for the movie Disgraced. Detail.  Delineator, August, 1933.

There’s a larger image from the Butterick Fall catalog, 1933, at Vintage Pattern Wikia.

Detail, Butterick wedding dress pattern 5299, Delineator, Sep. 1933.

Detail, Butterick wedding dress pattern 5299, Delineator, Sep. 1933.

Description of Butterick 5299 from September Delineator, 1933.

Description of Butterick 5299 from Delineator, September 1933.

From Delineator, August 1933. P. 53.

From Delineator, August 1933. P. 53.

Travis Banton, Costume Designer

When you think of Marlene Dietrich in extravagant and improbable 1930’s costumes, you’re thinking of Travis Banton. They first worked together on Shanghai Express, in 1932. [Her most famous line from the movie is, “”It took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily.”] Click to see Anna May Wong and Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express (1932.)

“Travis did more than any single person to make Marlene Dietrich the clothes horse of the movies.” — Hedda Hopper, quoted in Creating the Illusion: A Fashionable History of Hollywood Costume Designers, by Jorgensen and Scoggins.

Born in Waco, Texas, in 1894, Travis Banton grew up in New York. After serving in World War I, he worked for a custom fashion house, where he designed a lavish bridal gown which was seen by silent mega-star Mary Pickford. She wore it for her 1920 wedding to the equally famous Douglas Fairbanks. Banton remained in New York, working for top design house Lucile  (Lady Duff-Gordon). He started his own salon, while also designing costumes for Broadway shows. He moved to California and signed a contract with Paramount Studios in 1925, where he worked happily (and often uncredited) for Chief Designer Howard Greer.

In 1927, Banton designed Clara Bow’s costumes for the movie It, a picture with plenty of advance publicity (or notoriety.) Here are several clips of Clara Bow in It, which must have inspired ambitious shop girls to try to look just like her. (Note that some of her 1927 costumes have natural waists….)

Marlene Dietrich in Angel, 1937. Costume by Travis Banton. Imaage from Creating the Illusion by Jorgensen and Scoggins.

Marlene Dietrich in Angel, 1937. Costume by Travis Banton. Image from Creating the Illusion, by Jorgensen and Scoggins.

According to Creating the Illusion, Banton became known for form-fitting, lavishly embellished gowns. This heavily beaded dress for Marlene Dietrich in Angel (1937) cost the studio $8,000 ($135,000 in 2015 dollars.)

At the time, Banton’s salary was $1,250 per week. Paramount refused to increase it when his contract expired, so he left.  [After watching a short commercial, you can see many more of his costumes from Angel at the IMDb site. Click here.]  

Around 1940, Banton moved to 20th Century Fox, and in 1945 he moved to Universal. In the nineteen fifties he co-produced a clothing collection under the label “Marusia-Travis Banton.”

Carole Lombard in a beaded gown by Travis Banton. My Man Godfrey, 1936. Photo from Creating the Illusion.

Carole Lombard in a beaded gown by Travis Banton. My Man Godfrey, 1936. Photo from Creating the Illusion.

The classic thirties comedy, My Man Godfrey (1936), featured Carole Lombard as a wealthy madcap in costumes by Travis Banton. [She wears this beaded outfit on a scavenger hunt to the city dump.]  Here is that glittering gown in color.

If you have nine minutes to spare, this short film, “The Fashion Side of Hollywood”–  which was made to publicize Travis Banton’s designs for several movies — is a treat.  If you want to see a top model at work, watch the final segment; Marlene Dietrich poses in costumes that would look ridiculous on anyone else, and she looks wonderful. She clearly understood how to make the camera and lighting work for her!

This is the last of a series on Butterick Starred Patterns. Here are links to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

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Filed under 1930s, A Costumers' Bookshelf, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Resources for Costumers, Vintage patterns from the movies