Military uniform for boys aged 6 to 16. Butterick pattern 8070, August 1917.
“In these times, boys of all ages like to be ready for service.” He is “ready to do ‘his bit.’ “
Butterick pattern 8070 for a boy’s “military suit” from 1917 was part of a trend: “service suits” and military dress for civilians.
Right, Ladies’ Home Journal “military dress” pattern 1067 for girls 6 to 14, October 1917.
Butterick “military suit” pattern 9365, September 1917. For girls 10 to 15 years old.
Butterick coat pattern 9315 from August, 1917. Delineator. Sized for young girls and adult women, it was “sometimes called the trench or military coat….” For “active service.”
“Service suits” and a military dress for women from Butterick patterns, August 1917. Delineator. For more information about these patterns, click here. The blue and tan dress, like the tan suit, has “service pockets.”
Butterick offered so many variations on “Service uniforms” for adult women, I worry that some women spent more time making an outfit to wear while volunteering than they actually spent doing war work.
Three out of four patterns on this page are “uniforms” for civilian women aged 14 to 19. August 1917, Delineator, page 50. “When Johnny comes marching home he will find his sister all turned out in a new military suit.”
The phrases used to describe these outfits use plenty of military jargon.
It’s not surprising that young women heading off to college expected that they would spend time aiding the war effort in some way.
A traveling suit that is also a service suit, for college-bound women. Butterick coat 9324 with skirt 9374. Delineator, Sept. 1917. Pleated “service pockets” came in large, practical sizes and in sizes that were purely “fashion.”
“So many women are doing relief work of all kinds, and they drop into restaurants for tea and luncheons in this type of suit.”
Right, a Butterick military-influenced suit uses coat pattern 9324 with skirt 9309. August 1917.
Left, Ladies’ Home Journal patterns 1059 (jacket) and 1099 (skirt), November 1917. The majority of patterns were less military looking.
The military look was a new fashion option, among more traditionally feminine styles for women. Left, Ladies Home Journal pattern 1061; right, LHJ pattern 1050. October 1917.
Even Chanel showed a service suit:
A service suit designed by Gabrielle Chanel, illustrated in Butterick’s Delineator in October 1917.
That is not to say that women were just playing dress-up. The “women’s magazines” were an important channel of communication for official government notices, from food conservation to Red Cross needs and instructions for volunteers.
Knitting for sailors; a form from Delineator, August 1917. Those who could knit — or learn to knit — were asked to do so; those who couldn’t were asked to donate money to buy wool yarn.
Knit Your Bit for the Navy. Delineator, August 1917.
From a Red Cross article about knitting for servicemen. It appeared in Delineator, November 1917. The Ladies’ Home Journal printed similar articles by the Red Cross so that readers could volunteer to make everything from “comfort kits” to hospital gowns, bandages, and hot water bottle covers.
EDIT 9/10/17: Synchronicity/serendipity brought me this link via Two Nerdy History Girls to a fine article at “Behind Their Lines” about women knitting for the war effort.
The Butterick Publishing Company received such an outpouring of knitting for the troops that it briefly became a problem, before standardization of size and color was imposed.
Sweater pattern 9355 from Butterick, August 1917. It was sized for boys or men. A short time later, the Red Cross issued standardized patterns for the military.
Nevertheless, the patterns for “service uniforms” for children seem to me to be a little silly. (I certainly didn’t wear my Girl Scout uniform every minute I spent earning badges….) On the other hand, now that even young children carry a cell phone to school, some big “service pockets” on school clothes would come in handy!