Lingerie for Christmas, Delineator magazine, December 1925. Pajama pattern 6031 is lacy and ruffled, clearly for indoor wear only.
I was working on these images of 1920’s pajamas when The Vintage Traveler showed this photo of 1920’s pajamas at the beach, dated 1929. Lizzie said she is tracing the progress of pajamas from bedroom to beach in the Twenties, so this seems like a good time to share 1920’s patterns for pajamas (also spelled pyjamas) from Butterick. These are in roughly chronological order.
I have already written about pajamas from 1917, like these. The gathered ankles were also used on work overalls for women at the time. (Butterick 6031, above, has similar gathered ankles.)
Butterick pajamas from 1917. No. 9433 for girls or women.
Below: the deep, open armholes on this pair of pajamas from 1923-24 were also seen on day dresses.
Pajamas from Butterick, January 1924. Meant for lounging as well as sleeping, they have an oriental scene embroidered on the front; the pajamas have pockets, with contrasting bands at the top, the hem, and at the pants’ hems. Butterick 4639, illustrated among Christmas gifts in January 1924.
These seem to have a close relationship — except for the delicate fabric — to the beach pajamas of 1929. Below: a pair of PJ’s from 1924 is banded with lace — for a bride’s trousseau.
Butterick pajama pattern 5309, June 1924. The trousers expose her ankles.
Below: strictly practical — but attractive, with contrasting collar and frog closings — are these pajamas for girls.
Butterick 5388, pajamas for girls aged 4 to 15; August 1924.
Much younger children might wear warm, one-piece night-drawers/pajamas with optional hood.
Night-drawers, Butterick 5506, for children 1 to 12. 1924.
Girls’ tw0-piece pajamas, Butterick 5529, from October, 1924. Pajamas for girls 4 to 15 years old.
Meanwhile, in Paris….
Glamorous lounging pajamas by Molyneux; couture sketched for Delineator, January 1925.
This 1925 pajama pattern was recommended for beach wear:
“Pajamas are smart for sleeping garments, or for the southern beaches.” Butterick 5948, April, 1925.
Here, Butterick pajama pattern 5948 is shown with satin bindings — sleeves, collar, and cuffs. The beach pajamas in The Vintage Traveler’s 1929 photograph appear to have satin binding at the hip and print binding at the ankles.
The Vintage Traveler found this picture, dated 1929, which shows beach pyjamas very similar to Butterick 5948, although I don’t see any pockets, and these pants are banded with the print fabric instead of the solid, shiny fabric used at the hip [and collar?] Photo used with permission.
I don’t think they were made using
Butterick pattern 5948, but, if I had Butterick 5948, I could make those beach pajamas.
Pajamas from Butterick: left, a lace-free version of pajamas 6031; center, pajama negligee 6093. Right: negligee 6107. Delineator, June 1925. Mid-twenties’ pajamas stop inches above the ankle.
About the “pajama negligee:” If you grew up in the nineteen fifties, you probably picture a “negligee” as a see-through robe worn by femmes fatales on the covers of paperback detective stories. However, Yahoo mentions that the origin of “negligee” is “mid 18th century (denoting a kind of loose gown worn by women in the 18th century): from French, literally ‘given little thought or attention,’ feminine past participle of négliger ‘to neglect.’” Encyclopedia Britannica explains: “Negligee, ( French: “careless, neglected”) informal gown, usually of a soft sheer fabric, worn at home by women. When the corset was fashionable, the negligee was a loose-fitting gown worn during the rest period after lunch. Women’s dresses were also referred to as negligés after the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, when the trend was toward loose fashions characterized by ‘studied negligence.’ “
In the twentieth century, such “at home” clothes were sometimes called “lounge wear.”
TwoNerdyHistoryGirls blogged about a painting of an 18th c. lady receiving a visitor while finishing her toilette. She wears a short, sheer combing gown (which gave us the word “peignoir.”) Peignoir, negligee, lingerie, boudoir — my, we owe a lot of words to the French!
“Pajama negligee” No. 6093 appeared more than once.
Butterick 6093, the pajama negligee, left; and pajamas 6178, right. Illustration from September, 1925. “Negligee” can mean a short robe.
Alternate version of Butterick pajama 6178, illustrated in August, 1925. Also called a “lounging-robe.”
One thing all these straight-legged pajamas have in common is their ankle-baring hems.
Butterick pajama-negligee 6093 in a short-sleeved summer version. July 1925.
Here, a luxurious, lacy version of pajama 6031 is suggested as a Christmas gift.
Lingerie for Christmas, Delineator magazine, December 1925. In this version, pajama pattern 6031 is lacy and ruffled, clearly for indoor wear only.
Pajama 6947 is scalloped, with gathered ankles trimmed in Valenciennes lace — Not for the beach. July 1926.
Butterick pajamas 6975, and child’s night-drawers, 6993. August 1926. Is it just the pattern of rectangles that gives “lounging-robe” 6975 such a wonderful twenties’ flavor? Maybe it’s the low pocket placement, too.
In 1927, Molyneux showed this lounging set:
A sketch of Molyneux’ luxurious velvet and chiffon pajamas for entertaining at home. Delineator, November 1927. In black chiffon and vermillion [red-orange] velvet, with [vermillion?] poppies and green leaf embroidery. The ankles are unusual.
These ready-to-wear pajamas have the more customary banded ankles.
Carter’s rayon knit pajamas, in an ad from November 1927.
[Edited 8/30/17: This color ad for Hoosier cabinets appeared in Delineator magazine, October 1925. I used it in a post about Orange and Blue in the 1920’s.]
A different Butterick pajama pattern was the centerpiece of an advertisement for Belding’s fabrics in September 1928.
This ad for Belding’s silk suggested patterns from Pictorial (dress no. 4337,) Butterick ( pajamas no. 2103,) and McCall (dress no. 5345.) Delineator, September 1928. “Two contrasting shades of Belding’s Crepe Iris make these cunning negligee pajamas.”
So: “negligee pajamas” were for lounging, and did not necessarily have the robe-like top of pajama-negligee 6093.
This three-piece lounging ensemble of pajamas and short robe was featured in the December 1928 issue of Delineator. They have “wide trousers” –something new.
My collection of images from 1929 and 1930 is not complete. I need to get back to the library, because, by 1931, pajamas had moved from boudoir to beach and even to public dances.
“Fascinating Pajamas,” Delineator, August 1931. For lounging, leisure, loafing or working. Second from the left is a special slip to wear under your pajamas.
For more about 1930’s pajamas, see The Fascinating Pajama, 1931.
The pajamas for dancing are on the right. Delineator, August, 1931.