Category Archives: Woman’s Institute

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.

 

 

Advertisements

3 Comments

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

New Clothes from Old, World War I

Ladies' Home Journal Cover by M. Giles, September 1917.

Ladies’ Home Journal Cover by M. Giles, September 1917. Her dress, with its 1860-ish pagoda sleeves, evokes the Civil War.

When the United States entered World War I, the “women’s magazines” communicated many of the new restrictions on food and fabric use to families all over the country.

“This Is What the Englishwoman Did.” Ladies’ Home Journal, July 1917.

What the Englishwoman did was plunder her closet and convert out-of-fashion or worn-out clothing to new styles for herself and her family. She made children’s dresses from her old jackets (top left) and old petticoats (top right), put new, remade sleeves on old gowns, turned old suits into “new” dresses (center), and refurbished old hats.

Woman's Institute ad, Ladies' Home Journal, Nov. 1917.

Woman’s Institute ad, Ladies’ Home Journal, Nov. 1917. “This year women are urged to economize, but economy need not mean fewer clothes.” Woman’s Institute offered correspondence courses in sewing, etc.

Both Delineator (which targeted middle and upper middle class women) and Ladies’ Home Journal (which was aimed a little lower on the social scale) began runnning regular articles on how to convert old clothes to new; sometimes they even sold patterns intended to be used in this way.

Ladies' Home Journal pattern No. 9776 for boy's shirts made from worn out men's shirts. Aug. 1917.

Ladies’ Home Journal pattern No. 9776 for boy’s shirts made from worn out men’s shirts. Aug. 1917. “When a man’s shirt is perfectly good ‘all but,’ it may be made over into any one of these three garments pictured here.”

This blouse was made from an old evening dress:

How to use an old evening gown is solved by this dainty Georgette crepe waist made from the gown above.

You can see that the bands of trim from the evening gown, including ruffle, have been incorporated into the blouse. This may not be easy reading for Vintage Clothing Dealers; today, a lovely pre-war gown is more appreciated than a matronly blouse.

Dresses suitable for salvage, Ladies' Home Journal, Sept. 1917.

Dresses suitable for salvage, Ladies’ Home Journal, Sept. 1917.

” ‘ What shall I ever do with this old-fashioned eyelet embroidery gown? ‘ Combine it with that black satin dress you spilled acid on, select an up-to-date model and you will not believe your own eyes. Here the result is shown.”

Dress made from two old dresses, Sept. 1917. Ladies' Home Journal.

Dress made from two old dresses, Sept. 1917. Ladies’ Home Journal.

A reader of mystery novels might wonder why a woman wearing a black satin dress was handling acid . . . .

The dress below was made from an old dress and a long plaid skirt. The criss-cross belt was very fashionable in 1917.

Dress made from two old dresses, Sept. 1917. Ladies' Home Journal.

Dress made from an old skirt and dress, Sept. 1917. Ladies’ Home Journal. I’m not sure that “bite” out of the front showing an underskirt is a great idea….

When you ran out of old clothes, you could start on the curtains:

“Young girls fairly glow in fluffy things with ruffles, like this party frock made of dotted curtain mull.” Ladies’ Home Journal, Sept. 1917.

This young woman told a story of embarrassment solved by an ingenious remodel:

Remodelled coat, Sept. 1917. Ladies' Home Journal.

Remodeled coat, Sept. 1917. Ladies’ Home Journal. Illustration by Sheldon.

” ‘I cannot wear this old coat another season; everyone knows it by its plainness.’ A friend suggested a new collar, cuffs, pockets and sash of a self-toned material, all coarse-stitched with a heavy floss. Anyone would be proud to wear the coat after the ‘fixing.’ “

The result is much more stylish, indeed. coat remake

I had a chance to photograph a high-quality wool suit ( probably dated 1918) with similar “coarse-stitching” in silk floss; it’s a lovely detail.

“Coarse-stitching” on the pockets, belt, and center front opening of a vintage suit with labels from Hickson (New York & Boston)and E. E. Atkinson & Co., Minneapolis.

Thanks to B. Murray for the opportunity to photograph this suit.

8 Comments

Filed under 1900s to 1920s, Children's Vintage styles, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing, Woman's Institute, World War I