Butterick Forecast Wardrobe Patterns, 1927 to 1928

I don’t collect patterns or sell them anymore, so I feel a little weird about finding another category of rare Butterick patterns. These are proving difficult to research, simply because they appeared in a few issues of Delineator with no fanfare (as far as I know,) and then no more was seen of them — at least, not by me.

Forecast Wardrobe from Delineator, November 1927, p. 26. The Butterick pattern numbers are, from left, 9-D, 9-C, 9-B and 9-A. These patterns cost more than four-digit Butterick patterns.

Forecast Wardrobe from Delineator, November 1927, p. 26. The Butterick pattern numbers are, from left, 9-D, 9-C, 9-B and 9-A. These patterns cost a dollar each.

These “forecast wardrobe” patterns are peculiar for two reasons:

  • They are outside the usual four-digit numbering sequence.
  • They cost $1.00 each at a time when most Butterick patterns cost from 25 to 50 cents.
Detail from a Butterick pattern price chart, Delineator magazine, January 1928, page 92.

Detail from a Butterick pattern price chart, Delineator magazine, January 1928, page 92. Pattern numbers and prices in cents. A chart of current pattern prices appeared in every issue.

I stumbled upon a two-page spread of “Fashions of the Forecast Wardrobe” in the January 1928 Delineator [Butterick’s magazine for women,] and didn’t see anything special about them except the odd numbering: 10-A, 10-B, etc.

"Daytime Fashions of the Forecast Wardrobe," Delineator, January 1928, p. 30. From left, Butterick patterns 10 B, 10 F, 10 A and 10 C.

“Daytime Fashions of the Forecast Wardrobe,” Delineator, January 1928, p. 30. From left, Butterick patterns 10 B, 10 F, 10 A and 10 C.

It was the price chart — which appeared at the back of every issue in the late 1920’s — that surprised me.

A typical Butterick Price Chart like this allowed Delineator readers to order by mail. January, 1928. It also helped me to date Butterick patterns.

A typical Butterick Price Chart like this allowed Delineator readers to order by mail.  It also helped me to date Butterick patterns. This one appeared in January 1928.  (Three-digit numbers are craft patterns.) The dollar patterns at the bottom are unusual; other prices are given in cents [Cts.]

I started looking through the previous years — 1927 and 1926 –expecting to find a regular series, but have only discovered five sets of “Forecast” patterns so far, starting with the four-pattern group beginning with 8 (8 A, 8 B, 8 C, and 8 D) in October of 1927 — and those patterns did not appear on the October price chart.

Butterick patterns 8-A through 8-D appeared in an article on wardrobe planning, Delineator, October 1927, p. 26. There was no mention in the article of the patterns' prices.

Butterick patterns 8-A through 8-D appeared in an article on wardrobe planning, Delineator, October 1927, p. 26. There was no mention in the article of the patterns’ special prices.

The group numbered 9 (9 A, 9 B, 9 C, 9 D) was illustrated in the November 1927 Delineator, again without appearing on the price chart.

Butterick patterns 9-A through 9-D appeared in November, 1927, with recommended accessories. Delineator, p. 26.

Butterick patterns 9-A through 9-D appeared in November, 1927, with recommended accessories. Delineator, p. 26.

In January 1928, the eight-pattern Number 10 series was luxuriously illustrated (on the S.S. Ile de France) by L. Frerrier, and showed up on the pattern chart with that $1.00 price, finally giving me an idea why these “Forecast” patterns were special. Series Number 9 patterns were on the January price chart, too.

Butterick "Forecast" patterns 10 D, 10 H, 10 E, 10 G. Illustrated by L. Frerrier for Delineator, January 1928, p. 31.

Butterick “Forecast” patterns 10 D, 10 H, 10 E, 10 G. Illustrated by L. Frerrier for Delineator, January 1928, p. 31.

Another eight-pattern Forecast wardrobe (11 A through 11 H) appeared in March, 1928 — again, a two page spread. The final group of eight (12 A through 12 H) appeared in June, but Frerrier’s illustrations were crammed into just one page. I haven’t gone through 1929 Delineators page by page, but there were no more Forecast patterns in 1928. As Kermit T. Frog would put it , “What the Hey?”

Butterick Forecast patterns 11-C, 11-D, 11-B, and 11-A, from March 1928. Delineator, p. 30.

Butterick Forecast patterns 11-C, 11-D, 11-B, and 11-A, from March 1928. Delineator, p. 30.

I don’t see anything special about the designs of Forecast Wardrobe patterns; in fact, some of them look a bit dowdy. And, as for predicting future fashions — well, if anyone could do that with absolute accuracy, that person would be very rich.

As I work through Delineator magazines for 1928, I’ll be keeping an eye out for these designs; did they reappear with normal numbers and normal prices as time went by? In what way were they “forecast?” And what made them cost twice as much as other patterns?

Has anyone found a vintage Butterick pattern with these peculiar numbers? Did they appear in the store pattern catalogs or store flyers? And, are there more than thirty-two of them (four  in October 1927,  four in November 1927, and eight per month in January, March, and June of 1928?)

I’ll be sharing details of the patterns in later posts; after the library retrieves the bound volumes for 1927 and 1928 from off-site storage, I’ll be reading through their masthead pages in case “Forecast” patterns were announced there. For now, I’m just sharing the mystery.

 

 

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9 Comments

Filed under 1920s, bags, handbags, Purses

9 responses to “Butterick Forecast Wardrobe Patterns, 1927 to 1928

  1. Here an intriguing guess–maybe these patterns were aimed at well off older women, which might explain the dowdiness, like an early version of Vogue Woman patterns. And maybe older women were having none of it, which might explain why they disappeared.

  2. Perhaps they were aimed at well off older women, since the patterns were not the highest fashion and a more expense. That would make them an early version of the Vogue Woman patterns. And maybe they disappeared because they didn’t sell. Just guessing.

  3. My initial thought, particularly since they are found in a wardrobe planning section is that they are more expensive because they include multiple pieces for layering or taking off as needed, hence “forecast.” The text under the first image mentions being comfortable if a room is “underheated.” Looking forward to hearing of your further discoveries!

    • Thanks for giving this some thought! They are not “mix and match” patterns like 1970’s wardrobes which often included jacket, blouse, skirt, slacks and a dress, or a coat and a dress — you had to buy each “forecast” pattern separately: coat ($1), dress ($1), skirt and blouse ($1.) But they do often mention that the coat and dress ought to be planned to harmonize; that’s really a matter of fabric choices. I need to find the complete pattern descriptions and alternate views when they don’t appear on the same page as the illustration. Back to the library!

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