Monthly Archives: October 2016

Happy Halloween 2016

Halloween illustration for the Little Delineator, Signed "Robt a Graef."Delineator magazine, October, 1924/

Halloween illustration for the Little Delineator, Signed “Robt a Graef.”Delineator magazine, October, 1924.

The Delineator was a woman’s magazine, and in the nineteen twenties, that meant that each issue included a magazine for children — pages which could be torn out and folded to make a child-sized book.

This would have been the October cover illustration. Robert A. Graef was a versatile illustrator who died in 1951. He painted many covers for the men’s magazine, Argosy.

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Evening Dress Patterns Become Wedding Dress Patterns, Fall of 1925

Butterick 6227 was an evening dress in September, and a Wedding dress in October, 1925. Delineator.

Butterick 6227 was an evening dress in September, and a wedding dress in October, 1925. Delineator.

While writing about patterns illustrated as wedding gowns in Delineator magazine, October 1925, I recalled that Delineator (owned by Butterick Publishing Company) sometimes illustrated a pattern as an evening or afternoon dress in one issue, and then illustrated it as a wedding dress in a later issue. So I went looking for different versions of the seven “wedding” dresses from October.

Butterick evening dress Patterns 6360 and 6362, Delineator, October 1925, page 33.

Butterick evening dress Patterns 6360 and 6362, Delineator, October 1925, page 33.

These two evening dresses were illustrated as wedding gowns in the same issue — in fact, on the reverse side of the same page:

Butterick patterns 6362and 6350, Delineator, October 1925, pg 32.

Butterick patterns 6362 and 6350, Delineator, October 1925, page 32.

Here’s a closer look:

Two versions of Butterick 6360, Delineator, Oct. 1925. Pages 32 and 33.

Two versions of Butterick 6360, Delineator, Oct. 1925. Pages 32 and 33.

The evening dress description was a little different from the wedding version (see “October Brides”, posted Oct. 16th.)

6360-party-dresss-text-6352-text-1925-oct-dresses-p-33-too-hat-6359

The description of it as a bridal dress did suggest that it could be altered after the wedding and worn as an evening dress. Evening dresses usually had lower necks and lower armholes than day dresses.

Butterick 6362 as a wedding dress, page 32, and as an evening dress page 33. Delineator, Oct. 1925.

Butterick 6362 as a wedding dress with sheer sleeves, on page 32; and as an evening dress on page 33. Delineator, Oct. 1925.

As a wedding dress, it has covered arms (the sleeves were attached to the slip) and a higher neckline. For evening,  it’s accessorized with necklaces and a very big feather fan (above right.}6362-party-dress-text-1925-oct-dresses-p-33-too-hat-6359

Butterick 6349 also appeared in the October issue as a wedding dress and as a casual dress:

Two illustrations of Butterick 6349; Delineator, October 1925, pages 32 and 26.

Two illustrations of Butterick 6349; Delineator, October 1925, pages 32 (wedding) and 26 (day dress.) No. 6349 was only available in sizes 15 years to 20 years.

The skirt of the wedding version looks a little more flared, probably because satin is a stiffer fabric. It also looks shorter to me — again, perhaps that’s due to the droop of a softer material on the right.

As I expected, I found other “bridal” patterns illustrated as evening dresses in the previous month’s magazine. This one was impressive in both versions:

Butterick pattern 6227 as an October Bride and a September evening dress. Delineator.

Butterick pattern 6227 for an October bride and a September evening dress. Delineator.

Butterick 6227, Delineator, September 1925.

Evening dress description of Butterick 6227, Delineator, September 1925.

Butterick 6175 was illustrated as a bride in October; in September, the look was appropriate for a party, but much less formal. Does the lace make all the difference?

Butterick 6175 was illustrated as a bride’s dress in October; in September, the look — illustrated in shiny satin with with fur collar and cuffs — was appropriate for a party, but much less formal. Does the lace make all the difference?

6175 description from Delineator, Sept. 1925.

Dress on right, above:  Pattern 6175 description from Delineator, Sept. 1925.

I only found five of the seven October Brides’ patterns in day or evening versions — perhaps because I simply didn’t photograph them.  Why some dresses had bridal potential and others didn’t is not clear to me. If one of these two dresses could be adapted to a wedding, why not the other?

Pattern 6224, October bride, and 6275, just a pretty September dress. Delneator.

Pattern 6224, an October bride, and pattern 6275, just a pretty September dress with embroidery on the sheer sleeves. Both have flared skirts and similar necklines. They are both very long in the torso. Delineator.

6275-text-1925-sept-p-36-party-dresses

I wondered about this rose-trimmed dress, too — until I realized that it was born to dance:

Butterick 6276 from Sept. 1925. Delineator.

Butterick 6276 evening dress pattern from September  1925. Delineator.

Butterick 6276 description, Delineator, Sept. 1925.

Butterick 6276 description, Delineator, Sept. 1925.

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Beauty Spots, Court Plasters, and Patches

A package of gummed black beauty spots, from Johnson and Johnson, circa 1915-1927.

A package of gummed black beauty spots, from Johnson and Johnson, between 1912 and 1927.

When I inherited my Aunt’s house, I found this little envelope, about three inches wide. It originally contained “100 Assorted Beauty Spots manufactured by Johnson and Johnson.”
There are quite are few left in the envelope.

Gummed beauty spots in the shape of circles, stars, crescent moons, triangles, etc.

Gummed beauty spots in the shape of circles, stars, crescent moons, squares,  triangles, etc.

According to the very helpful Kilmer House website, Johnson and Johnson first made this item in 1912, and continued to sell Beauty Spots until 1927. You can read a very good article from Kilmer House about court plasters, beauty spots, and their relationship to Band-Aids (TM) by clicking here.

Butterick pattern 4298 for a "Martha Washington" costume. February, 1924.

Butterick pattern 4298 for a “Martha Washington” costume. Delineator, February, 1924.

When I was writing about this vintage masquerade costume pattern a few days ago, I noticed that “Martha Washington” had beauty spots on her face, and remembered the little package that belonged to my Aunt Dot. (no pun intended.)

Pattern for an 18th century costume, from 1924. Accessories: a white wig, a small mask, and beauty spots.

Pattern for an 18th century costume, from 1924. Accessories: a white wig, a small mask, and beauty spots.

The satirists Joseph Addison and Richard Steele, writing in their magazine, The Spectator in 1711, produced a much quoted satire on ladies wearing beauty spots (then called “patches.”) You can read it by clicking here. (It’s followed by a satire on the size of petticoats in 1709.)

The young man has a patch on his neck; the woman is wearing at least two patches. Hogarth, Marriage a la Mode, Plate III. From Engravings by Hogarth, Sean Shesgreen, Ed.

The young man has a patch on his neck; the woman is wearing at least two patches. Hogarth, Marriage a la Mode, Plate III, 1745. From Engravings by Hogarth, Sean Shesgreen, Ed.

These little black patches (called “mouches” in France) could be stuck to the face to draw attention to an attractive feature (like the natural mole near Cindy Crawford’s lips.) A small black star near the eye might give importance to that feature, while  distracting us from a missing tooth, or a pimple on the nose. In fact, Steele mentions a lady who used a patch to cover a pimple, which made people misjudge her political affiliation. (He says patches on the right or on the left cheek proclaimed a lady’s politics in 1711.)

There is a wonderful gallery of 17th and 18th century images featuring beauty marks and patches at Poor Little Rich Girl by Boudoir Queen. Click here to enjoy them.

Norma Shearer in Marie Antoinette, Costumed by Adrian in 1938. From Creating the Illusion, by Jorgenson and Scoggins,, p. 144.

Norma Shearer in Marie Antoinette, Costumed by Adrian in 1938. From Creating the Illusion, by Jorgenson and Scoggins, p. 144.

Here is 1930’s star Norma Shearer as Marie Antoinette wearing beauty patches. Her costumes, by Adrian, were many yards over the top (and the movie was in black and white!)

Here is an Italian diagram for the placement of beauty spots.

Marilyn Monroe sometimes accented her mole, or beauty mark.

This Pictorial Review cover from 1927 shows a woman in an 18th century white wig and a beauty spot.

Men wore beauty patches, too.  According to The Encyclopedia of Fashion,

“Beginning in the late sixteenth century, fashionable men and women imitated this natural mark by sticking black beauty patches on their faces. These patches were eventually used to send signals to members of the opposite sex in flirtatious courtship rituals, but they had a practical use as well. Carefully shaped black patches could be applied to hide blemishes and scars on the face, especially the deep round scars left on those who survived the frequent outbreaks of smallpox.” Read more here.

The historical film spectacle Orphans of the Storm (the storm was the French Revolution) opened in 1921. Rudolf Valentino’s movie Monsieur Beaucaire (1924) may also have prompted some people to wear 18th century masquerade costumes in the twenties. In this poster,  both Valentino and his female co-star wear “patches.” Here is another view.

There  was even a language of patches, just as there was a language of fans and a language of flowers. With three patches you could day “I am married” but “I entertain propositions” and “I know how to keep a secret, ” among other things.

In novels of the early twentieth century, a small cut may be treated with a self-adhesive “court plaster,” which you cut to size as needed. Practical big sisters often carried court plasters in their pockets.  Kilmer House — the history division of Johnson and Johnson —  explains the name:

“Johnson & Johnson made Beauty Spots out of materials left over from making plasters.  Since 1887, Johnson & Johnson had been making Court Plasters, which had the same origins but were the more practical cousin to Beauty Spots.  To confuse matters, Beauty Spots were sometimes referred to as Court Plasters, a name that goes back to their origins in the royal courts of Europe.  They had been used by court women, who set the fashions in their day.  According to Fred Kilmer, Court Plasters started out as fashion statements, before being used by the masses to cover small cuts and scratches. “

Into the Gloss wrote a nice summary of attitudes toward moles and beauty marks over the years.

My Aunt Dot, sitting on a roof as a teenager in 1919. She like costume parties. I wonder when she bought that package of beauty spots.

My Aunt Dot, sitting on a roof as a teenager in 1919. She liked costume parties. I wonder when she bought that package of beauty spots, and how she used them.

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Martha, Is That You?

George and Martha Washington in illustration for article in Delineator, February 1925, p. 19.

George and Martha Washington in an illustration for an article in Delineator, February 1925, p. 19.

I was making an inventory of a vintage costume collection for a friend, trying not to spend too much time on items with little resale value. I found a section of bustle dresses, or parts of them, that were clearly “the real thing.”

Vintage bustle dress, skirt missing.

Vintage bustle dress, skirt missing. Too small to fasten on the mannequin.

Vintage bustle dress , embroidered buttons. Details.

Vintage bustle dress, embroidered buttons. Details. The fabric is substantial.

Vintage brown taffeta bustle dress top; skirt missing.

Vintage brown taffeta bustle dress top; skirt missing. The long overdress fitting snugly at the hips, with gathers almost over the pelvis, can be seen in 1879-1880.

I never had time to photograph that one on a mannequin. The front with long, low gathering is very distinctive.

Back detail of late Victorian overdress. Skirt missing.

Back and fabric detail of late Victorian overdress. Brocade, satin, and velvet.

Front of long dress in autumn colors, satin underskirt.

Front of long dress in autumn colors, satin underskirt.

Late Victorian bustle dress, side view.

Late Victorian bustle dress, side view. Changeable taffeta.

A vintage bustle dress with back draperies pulled up, rather like a 19th century version of an 18th century polonaise.

A vintage bustle dress with back draperies pulled up, rather like a 19th century version of an 18th century polonaise. Skirt missing; a petticoat is visible.

All those crisp fabrics — and then I reached into the “bustle era” hanging storage and put my hand on this one:

A polaise -- sort of. Print cotton fabric, soft and droopy, rather too small in circumference....

Not a bustle, but a polonaise — sort of. It has elements of the robe a la francaise. Print cotton fabric, soft and droopy, rather too small in circumference…. for a moment, I thought it might be a “Dolly Varden dress.” (An 1870’s fad based on an 18th c. character in a Dickens novel.)

But, no, it’s a masquerade costume — meant to be 18th century — from a period that favored soft, droopy fabrics, no boning, and a skirt less full than the 1780’s.

 Martha Washington costume pattern, Butterick, 1924.

Martha Washington costume pattern 4258, Butterick, 1924.  (It is not this exact dress, but shows the effects of 1920’s style on the perception of 1780’s fashions.)

The front of the costume was never photographed on a mannequin, but you can see, as it hangs on a coat hanger (that’s how I found it) that the sheer ruffles on each side of the front are long enough to be worn crossed like the “Martha Washington” costume’s fichu:

Top of a masquerade or theatrical costume made in the the 20th century, but suggesting the Colonial period.

Top of a masquerade or theatrical costume made in the the 20th century, but suggesting the Colonial period. The sheer ruffles on the front are very long, probably meant to cross over the breast and waist. The machine stitching on the sleeve flounces is crude.

It has an interior bodice made of netting — a practice I have seen in dresses of the nineteen-teens.

The inner bodice of costume is made of netting. A theatrical costume would be lined with a strong fabric, like muslin, to take the strain off the seams -- and to allow for a tight fit over a period corset.

The inner bodice of costume is made of netting. A theatrical costume would normally be flat-lined with a strong fabric, like muslin, to take the strain off the seams — and to allow for a tight fit over a period corset.

All the sewing is a bit sloppy — and  why not, for a costume that might be worn only once?

These pieces of twill tape inside the skirt hold up the poufs of the polonaise.

These pieces of twill tape inside the skirt hold up the “Polonaise” poufs of the overskirt.

At the time when I found it, I wondered why my friend had collected something so clearly not “the real thing.”

But, many years afterward, I remembered it when I realized that pattern companies have been making “colonial lady” and “Marie Antoinette” patterns for costume parties, Halloween parties, centennials and local history pageants, 4th of July parties, and amateur theatricals for a very long time.

A Martha Washington costume from Butterick, February 1924. It is wrong, wrong, wrong, but dressing up in a masquerade costume like this was more glamorous and romantic than many other options.

A “Martha Washington” costume from Butterick, February 1924. As far as historic accuracy goes, it is pretty awful, but dressing up in a masquerade costume like this was more glamorous and romantic than many other options.

Click here for another Butterick  “Martha Washington”  pattern, circa 1941, No. 1695. The dress my friend collected does a better job of interpreting the back of an 18th century dress than either of the Butterick patterns.

Martha Washington Costume pattern 4258 and Continental suit costume pattern, Delineator, Feb. 1925, p. 37.

Martha Washington costume pattern 4258 and Continental suit costume pattern 4262, Delineator, Feb. 1925, p. 37.

 

 

 

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October Brides, 1925

Patterns for October Brides. Delineator, October 1925.

Patterns for October Brides. Delineator, October 1925.

The classic 1920’s roses embroidered on this simple beaded dress show both luxury in ornamentation and simplicity in style. It is just one of seven October wedding dresses from Butterick, including one recommended for very young brides, and one that was available up to size 48 bust.

Butterick patterns 6362 and 6350, Delineator, october 1925, pg 32.

Butterick patterns 6362 and 6360, Delineator, October 1925, pg. 32.

Butterick 6362, October 1925.

Butterick 6362, October 1925. Made in colored fabric, this pattern would serve as an afternoon or evening dress.

In illustrations, it’s not always easy to distinguish between a line of beads or a line of topstitching. The zigzag edges of No. 6362 are probably an indication of picot edging, a typical 1920’s hem for chiffon. Spaced beads were sometimes used, but their weight would affect the hang of the draped panels.

You can see a picot edge on the collar, and spaced beading on the edge of a side panel on the blouse of this suit, circa 1917. Thanks to B. Murray for permission to photograph.

You can see a picot edge on the collar, and spaced beading on the edge of a side panel on the blouse of this suit, circa 1917. Thanks to B. Murray for permission to photograph.

 

Butterick wedding dress No. 6360, October 1925.

Butterick wedding dress No. 6360, October 1925. The sheer sleeves may be removed and the armhole cut down to make an evening dress after the wedding. This pattern was available up to size 48 inches bust measurement.

Wedding gowns from Butterick patterns 6224, 6175, and 6146. October 1925, Delineator.

Wedding gowns from Butterick patterns 6224, 6175, and 6146. October 1925, Delineator. They are as short as ordinary day dresses.

Butterick 6224, with embroidery pattern for rose. Delineator, Oct. 1925.

Butterick 6224, with embroidery transfer 10285 for the rose worked in pearls on a satin or silk crepe dress.  Delineator, Oct. 1925.

Wedding dress No. 6175, Butterick, Oct. 1925, Delineator pg. 34.

Wedding dress No. 6175, Butterick, Oct. 1925, Delineator pg. 34. Her bouquet looks like a dead fox, but I like the subtle beading (?) around the top and seams of the lace flounce.

Wedding dress No. 6146, Butterick pattern; Delineator, October 1925.

Wedding dress No. 6146, Butterick pattern; Delineator, October 1925.

Butterick 6349 was for a very young bride, and only available in sizes

Butterick 6349 was for a “very young bride” (or a small woman), and only available in sizes 15 to 20 years. Even in satin, it looks rather sporty! Click to see the pattern envelope illustrations– which do not suggest that it is a wedding dress.

It’s noteworthy that all seven of these 1925 wedding dresses are just below knee-length — shorter than most day dresses earlier in 1925. Not one is a full length gown. Some have short sleeves — not suitable for a church wedding, but popular for informal weddings at a private home. Some can be used as ordinary evening dresses, and all but one are available in sizes up to a 44″ bust measurement (and one is bigger.)

The veils range from clouds of tulle to a lace mantilla, from a headband to a tiara.

Bridal veils and weddin headdresses, Delineator, October 1925.

Bridal veils and wedding headdresses, Delineator, October 1925.

This dress, which began the post, was the featured illustration:

Wedding pattern 6227, Butterick, October 1925.

Wedding pattern 6227, Butterick, October 1925.

Butterick 6227, October 1925.

Butterick 6227, October 1925.

Butterick Bridal Gown 6227, Delineator, Oct. 1925, pg. 34.

Butterick Bridal Gown 6227, Delineator, Oct. 1925, pg. 34. An all-over pattern of stylized roses — “work in beads” — might be a mother’s labor of love….

In an alternate view, No. 6227 has long, sheer sleeves, tied at the wrist, and a wider hip sash.

Here are the back and alternate views:

Back and alternate views, Butterick 6360, 6175, 6227, 6145, from 1925.

Back and alternate views, Butterick 6360, 6175, 6227, 6145, from 1925.

Back and alternated views , Butterick 6349, 6224, 6362, from 1925.

Back and alternate views, Butterick 6349, 6224, 6362, from 1925.

6362 has quite a pretty back, while most of the other wedding dresses depend on their veils for back interest.

[More tags added 10/16/16.]

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Filed under 1920s, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes, Wedding Clothes

Dresses for Teens and Young Women, October 1924

In 1924, dresses were still longer than our usual image of the nineteen twenties — even dresses for young women, who were usually illustrated in the shortest styles.

A page of dresses for Teens and young or small women, Delineator, October, 1924, p. 29.

A page of dresses for teens and young or small women, Delineator, October, 1924, p. 29.

For their back views, see the end of this post.

This group reminds us that there are fashions in color combinations, as well as in cut. In 1924, Orange and navy, or orange and black, did not evoke Halloween. Dellineator, Oct. 1924.

This group reminds us that there are fashions in color combinations, as well as in cut. In 1924, orange and navy, coral and black, or green with orange and black did not evoke Halloween. Delineator, Oct. 1924.

These dresses look very long, but any of them might have been skillfully shortened and worn later in the decade. Delineator, Oct. 1924.

These three dresses look very long, but any of them might have been skillfully shortened and worn later in the decade. Delineator, Oct. 1924.

The evening dresses would have needed a clever remodel around 1926 — cutting them at the 1926 hip or waist line, and raising the lower part of the skirt. The new seam could have been hidden with a sash or belt, too. The tunic dress at right might have simply discarded the underskirt.

Butterick also offered many cloche hat patterns — and tam-o’-shanters — during the twenties — including two that were shown with these dresses.

A Closer Look at These 1924 Dresses and Hats

Butterick 5487, dress pattern from Delineator, Oct. 1924, p. 29.

Butterick 5487, dress pattern from Delineator, Oct. 1924, p. 29. “Plaited” means pleated, not “braided.” Its scarf collar seems to end in a long fringe. This pattern was also available in Ladies’ sizes, usually 34″ to 44″ bust. The bird-trimmed hat is not a Butterick pattern, but it does have comic possibilities! [A hat trimmed with stylized bird silhouettes would be a little less old-fashioned than this flock circling her head.]

Butterick pattern 5528, for an evening dress trimmed with feathers. Delineator, Oct. 1924.

Butterick pattern 5528, for an evening dress trimmed with feathers. Delineator, Oct. 1924. A light, floating effect was recommended for dancing.

If you’re wondering what size “16 to 20 years” means, click here.

Butterick pattern 5550, from Delineator, Oct. 1924.

Butterick pattern 5550, from Delineator, Oct. 1924. “Silver, beige, or colored lace is new…” There is an interesting free-swinging back detail trimmed with a large tassel; but only the bottom layer of ruffles continued around the back. Available up to bust size 38 inches.

“It is worn over a slip of flesh-pink satin veiled with flesh-pink chiffon trimmed with lace.” This suggests that the impression of a nude body glimpsed through the lace was the goal. Other lining colors were, of course, possible — tan, coffee, pale blue, yellow-green, etc. In the image below, it appears that the chiffon-over-satin layer was visible at the sides.Back trim on evening dress 5550. The trim begins with the straps in front, and exctends into a long tassel, with a surprise lining of pink.

Back trim on evening dress 5550. The trim begins with the straps in front, and extends into a long tassel, with a surprise lining of strong pink, and plenty of beads or pearls.

Butterick dress pattern 5511 and hat pattern . Oct. 1924, Delineator.

Butterick dress pattern 5511; Oct. 1924, Delineator. Velvet, trimmed with fur, and with long fringe extending the collar. The length of the gloves works surprisingly well with the short sleeves.

There are “fine plaits at each side,”  [tucks?] making the dress fit more closely at the hip. This dress from 1926 has the same “plaits” at the hip.

Butterick dress pattern 5536 with Tam-o'-Shanter pattern 5458. October 1924.

Butterick dress pattern 5536 with Tam-o’-Shanter pattern 5458. October 1924. Tam 5458 was featured in several issues of the Delineator.

“It is the new narrow type [as] close fitting at the hips as one can sit down [in.]” It closes at the side front, like a Russian shirt. The pattern description suggests making it in dark brown with a contrasting scarf. In an era when ladies still did not go shopping or to work without wearing a hat, the soft, crushable Tam-o’-Shanter was especially popular with girls and young women.

Descriptioin of Butterick tam pattern No. 5458, Delineator, September 1924.

Description of Butterick Tam-o’-Shanter pattern No. 5458, Delineator, September 1924. Another use for a very long tassel.

For more about 1924 Tam-o’-Shanters, click here. For Part 2 of Tams for 1924-25, click here.  For a brief history of the Tam, click here.

Butterick dress pattern 5489, October 1924.

Butterick dress pattern 5489, October 1924. The orange braid on the sleeves is applied in the pattern available as Butterick embroidery transfer #10175. This dress has a gathered skirt attached to a long bodice, called a basque. See back view below.

No. 5489 could easily have been shortened at the hem and worn in 1926, when hemlines approached the knee. Its proportions could have been improved by raising the waist line as well, but it wouldn’t have been necessary.

Butterick dress pattern 5546, Oct. 1924.

Butterick dress pattern 5546, Oct. 1924. “It is new to use the shiny side of crepe satin and bind the edges of the bias bands with the dull side, or reverse this order….” However, the illustration seems to show black trim; a pale border this narrow would have been lost in the small printed image.

Butterick dress pattern 5485 and hat pattern 5561. Delineator, Oct. 1924.

Butterick dress pattern 5485 and hat pattern 5561. Delineator, Oct. 1924. “For the wrap-around hat use velvet, etc.” Is that a miser’s purse in her hand?

Butterick hat 5561, 1924.

Butterick hat pattern 5561, from 1924. “The hat which ties around the head to form a trimming at the side is typically French.”

I  don’t see any knot, or other sign that it literally ties, in this illustration. This hat appeared in several issues. The side views make it look as though the velvet whatever-that-is-on-the-side is wired and possibly twisted, but not “tied.” It does look, in the side view, as if the front brim extends into a long point which is twisted up, and the back brim has a shorter extension which twists down.  I am glad I don’t have to make it, because I’m not at all certain I understand it!

Butterick hat pattern 5561 was illustrated several times in 1924.

Butterick hat pattern 5561 was illustrated several times in 1924. I’m not sure the illustrators were really clear on how that side piece worked, either.

Butterick’s cloche hats were usually either four or six gored. I wrote about another cloche hat pattern from 1924 here.  (The variety of easy trims on that one attracted me.)

Here are the back or alternate views for seven of these dresses.  The back of No. 5550 was illustrated in color and shown earlier.

Back and alternate views of Butterick

Back and alternate views of Butterick patterns 5487, 5526, 5511, 5536, 5589, 5546, and 5485 from October 1924.

Dresses cut like No. 5489 are often seen in silent movies, but they are usually tightly fitted, with an opening in the left side seam; or the actresses may have been stitched into their evening dresses by hand.

 

 

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Home-made Halloween Costumes for Teens, 1936

Personal Note: I’m going to be spending the rest of October with my oldest friends — two women who have been putting up with me and making me laugh since 1957. New Blog posts, written ahead of time, will keep appearing at witness2fashion, but I won’t have internet access, so I may not be able to respond to comments right away.

Meanwhile, I’ll be sharing some fashions from Octobers long ago.

Costume advice for "sub-debs" by Elizabeth Woodward, Ladies' Home Journal, October 1936.

Costume advice for “sub-debs” by Elizabeth Woodward, Ladies’ Home Journal, October 1936.

“… Produce weird and wonderful outfits for this year’s masked parties.”

A masquerade party, with the guests wearing creative, home-made costumes. Ladies Home Journal, October 1936.

A masquerade party, with the teen-aged guests wearing creative, home-made costumes. Ladies’ Home Journal, October 1936.

I can’t sincerely recommend any of these costume party ideas for “sub-debs,”  even aside from the fact that costumes made of paper are not fire-safe. (Crepe paper costumes were shockingly common back in the days when a party was usually held in a room full of lighted cigarettes.)

Suggested costumes made from hatboxes and a graduation gown. 1936.

Suggested costumes made from hatboxes and a graduation gown. 1936.

text-hatbox-cuckoo-col-1-top-lhj-1936-oct-halloween-party-costume-teens-2

I’m not sure what the hatbox costume represents. Any guesses?

This costume is seriously cuckoo.

This costume is seriously cuckoo.

A candy cane is menaced by a spider. Suggested party costumes, 1936.

A candy cane is menaced by a spider. Suggested party costumes, 1936. (If those are slashed black tights or leggings over red ones …. I’ve seen those while riding the bus.)

text-candy-and-spider-col-1-top-lhj-1936-oct-halloween-party-costume-teens-2

A robot dances -- rather awkwardly -- with The Empire State Building. 1936.

A robot dances — rather awkwardly — with the Empire State Building. 1936. Chaperones would not need to worry about this couple dancing too closely.

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I hope the prizes are awarded early, before the robot realizes he can’t eat or drink — or kiss a girl.

Some guests have made costumes from sewing patterns — like the clown and the colonial lady:

A clown costume and a "Colonial Lady" costume. These patterns could be purchased from Butterick or other companies. In the background a man wears a sombrero -- perhaps he is a gaucho.

A clown costume and a “Colonial Lady” (or possibly Southern belle) costume. These patterns could be purchased from Butterick or other companies. In the background a man wears a sombrero.

Butterick pattern 4006, clown costume, Delineator, October 1925.

Butterick pattern 4006, clown costume, Delineator, October 1925.

In the background here, we can see a lady in Tudor or “medieval” dress (right), another cone-shaped clown hat center), and a top hat on a curly blonde head — is it Harpo Marx? Or a lady in a riding habit?

Masquerade costumes, Ladies Home Journal, 1936.

Masquerade costumes, Ladies’ Home Journal, 1936.

The author’s suggestion that “Two of you might go as London Bridge” reminds me of a fraternity house costume party I heard about in the 1960’s. Six of the “brothers” went as a six-pack of their favorite beer. The costume was a prize winner, but it seriously undermined their ability to pick up girls. Or  dance. Or visit the buffet (only two were facing out). A visit to the men’s room was quite a challenge, too.

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Perhaps the author favored these costumes for teenagers because they definitely minimize opportunities for close contact. I bet the clown and the colonial lady had a much better time than the robot, the cuckoo clock and the skyscraper!

 

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Filed under 1930s, Children's Vintage styles, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture