Category Archives: Vintage patterns

Fashions for Children, October 1927

Butterick patterns for girls, October 1927. Coat 1609, flanked by dress 1613 (left) and dress 1702 (right.) Butterick also sold hat patterns, like Tam-O-Shanter 5416.

There are some good looking coats among these illustrations of Butterick patterns for 1927. In fact, you probably wouldn’t be surprised to see the children’s double-breasted coats today. This plaid one doesn’t scream, “I’m ninety years  old!”

But the many-buttoned winter leggings worn by boys and girls are no longer seen.

Clothes for a small boy, left, a child’s coat for boys or girls, and a dress for a small girl. Delineator, October 1927. They all wear high leggings (not tights, but separate legs, like long gaiters) that button up the sides — a nightmare for getting a child dressed in winter.

Shorts for little boys buttoned to their shirts in front and in back, so a trip to the restroom must have required assistance. Small boys had to suffer freezing temperatures in shorts; apparently this practice was so universal that it was unquestioned. (Zippers were introduced into children’s clothing in the late 1920’s.)

Alternate views for boy’s “suit” 1680. coat 1670, and girl’s dress 1615. Butterick patterns for 1927. The legging pattern was included with the coat, which was recommended for “brother and sister” dress-alikes.

Similar leggings (really, extended gaiters) for toddlers were still pictured in McCall catalogs in 1950 — but by then, they closed with zippers.

1927 dresses and a coat for girls up to age ten: Butterick dress 1664, coat 1666, and dress 1662.

Alternate views of Butterick patterns for girls, 1927.

Patterns for older girls and pre-teens look very much like clothes for grown women. In fact, these look the way I mentally picture the “twenties;” girls’ clothing was always shorter than clothes for women, but rising hems for women in the late twenties seemed to follow the lengths worn by girls. (These also “look right”because the proportions on these drawings are closer to a normal human body than the super-slender fashion figures used for women’s styles.) For similar women’s styles from 1927, click here.

Butterick patterns for girls aged 8 to 14 or 15 years. From left, dress 1599, coat 1601, and two-piece dress 1676. From 1927. Surprisingly, the two piece (1676) was “smart for evening” if made “without sleeves and with a low neck.”

Alternate views of Butterick patterns for girls 8 to 15. The skirt of number 1676 is “flared-in- front”but straight in back, like many twenties’ dresses; the skirt hung from a bodice top, so it did not need a waistband or any shaping at the waist.

For those who like to read the pattern descriptions, here are the others, with their illustrations:

Butterick patterns for girls, dress 1613, coat 1702, dress 1609. 1927. No. 1702 is “quaint” like a figure from a children’s book by Boutet de Monvel.

Little girls wore matching “French panties” or bloomers under their short dresses. No. 1702 is “gathered at the normal waist,” or so it says.

Butterick boy’s suit 1680, coat 1670 “for both brother and sister,” and dress 1615. From 1927. Pattern 1670 included coat, hat and leggings. “The leggings are elastic at the back.”

1927 party dresses and a coat for girls up to age 10 years: Butterick dress 1664, coat 1662, and dress 1666.

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Filed under 1920s, Children's Vintage styles, Hats, Vintage patterns

Stylish Coats for Women, December 1917

A fur-collared coat from Butterick’s Delineator magazine, December 1917. Butterick coat pattern 9535 had a convertible collar, a criss-cross belt, and gathered pockets — all frequently seen in patterns from 1917.

Sketches of coats from three top Paris designers: Beer, Poiret, and Jenny. Delineator, December 1917.

Paris designs were converted into Butterick patterns in spite of the war in France. This was the year of convertible collars that could come right up to the chin when buttoned, or spread over the shoulders like a shawl when unbuttoned. The hats are pretty spectacular, [or hilarious] too.

Coats for young or small women show how the convertible collar looked when fastened, as on the three at left, or unfastened, as on the far right. Butterick 9556, 9535, 9533, and 9531, December 1917.

Alternate views of Butterick coat 9556 show it with the collar undone. Delineator, page 76, Dec. 1917.

Coat 9556 “is made with the large collar shown on all the newest winter coats and it buttons up snugly at the front for cold weather…. It is as good-looking and becoming for young girls as for women.” This pattern was available for bust measure 32″ through 46.”

Coat 9556 was also illustrated in color on a different page:

Butterick coat pattern 9556, page 68, Delineator, Dec. 1917.

Left, coat 9556 again; right, coat 9535. That X-shaped belt also appeared on dresses in the nineteen teens.

Description of coat 9535 from Delineator, page 76, Dec. 1917. On page 69 another description said, “There is the large cape collar that plays such a strong part on all the coats of the season.”

Butterick coat 9535, shown with its collar open. Notice its belt — very “1917” — and the peculiar gathered pockets. This is the same coat illustrated in color at the top of this post.

A fur-collared version of Butterick 9535,  December 1917.

Left, coat 9533; right, coat 9531. December 1917.

Butterick 9533 has one enormous, decorative buckle at the back. One version is 7/8 length, and has huge optional pockets.

Coat 9533 was sized for busts 32 to 44 inches. The straight silhouette “is youthful looking for the older woman….”

Since coat 9531 was illustrated with the collar open on page 76, its alternate view shows the collar closed. Cuffs could be gathered or turn-back. Clothes from this period often have a higher waist in back than in front.

Coat 9531, like the others, has a large cape collar and “deep armholes for comfort and wearableness.”

Coat 9567 was illustrated as worn by a young woman or teen (but, no, that’s not actually her graduation cap.) This was not an era for women who worried, “Does this coat make me look fat?” [See the coat by Paul Poiret pictured earlier.] I find the clothes of this period extremely unattractive.

Butterick coat 9567, with its “new type of convertible collar” is “an excellent coat for a young girl;” the pattern was available from bust 32″ to 44.”

butterick Coat 9567 could have decorative buttons on the front; those on the back are for fastening the collar. Imagine that wide rectangle of collar pulled up and buttoned at the front of the throat. Like this:

Coat 9567 was illustrated again on page 70 of the same issue:

Here, coat 9567 is shown with pairs of buttons all the way down the side fronts. From left, Butterick coat 9567; coat 9490 with skirt 9545; and coat 9501. Delineator, Dec. 1917, page 70.

Coat 9501, seen at the far right above, was shown in color in November:

Butterick coats 9485 and 9501, November 1917, Delineator.

Editorial illustration, Delineator, November 1917. This looks like coat pattern 9485, although these editorial sketches introducing the fashion pages never gave the pattern numbers.

All of these coat patterns appeared late in 1917, but similar styles could still be purchased in 1921.

These coats appeared in the Sears catalog in 1921. The plain one, at right, has another kind of cross-over belt. From Everyday Fashions of the Twenties by Stella Blum.

A strange belt also appears on this vintage coat:

A light weight vintage coat from the WW I era. The checked fabric looks like linen. One side of the belt twists around to button to the other side. (One button is on the back of the belt, so it has to twist, unlike this one.)

The cape collar is trimmed with non-functional buttons, which match the blue band on the collar.

A blurry photo of the vintage coat circa 1917 to 1921. It looks home-made.

If I wanted to select an era when fashion was really inexplicable, it would be this one.

https://witness2fashion.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/dot-age-17-about-1918828.jpg?w=346&h=500

My aunt Dot, age 18, proudly posing in her fashionable coat. Circa 1917-18. A glimpse of her thin ankles reminds me that she was petite — not chubby — underneath that colossal wool cocoon.

This was also the era of the tonneau, or barrel, skirt. What were they thinking?

 

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, 1920s, Coats, Hats, Vintage Accessories, Vintage Couture Designs, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing, Vintage patterns, vintage photographs, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes, World War I

More Princess Line Dresses (and Styling Tricks) from the Nineteen Twenties

These princess line dresses from the 1920’s do not have the characteristic horizontal hip band of most twenties’ fashions.

In my post about Butterick styles for October 1927, I wrote,

Not all 1920’s dresses had a strong horizontal line across the hip. Princess-seamed dress patterns were available for several years and didn’t change much — except for their length.

Left, Butterick 1683, a princess line dress; Delineator, October 1927, page 31. These 1927 hemlines are just below the knee.

The rear view of the princess dress (1683) shows the characteristic princess seams, which can be shaped to follow the lines of  the body without any waist seam. The front and back are each divided into three panels. A princess line dress usually skims the body — at least, they did before the use of stretch fabrics and elasticated knits.

More Princess Line Dresses from the Nineteen Twenties

Here are some other princess line patterns from 1925 to 1928. Some combine fur and velvet for evening, but one is a day dress.

Left, Butterick princess line dress pattern 6424, Delineator, December 1925. For a young woman or teen.

Left, Butterick princess line dress pattern 6506, from December 1925.

Also from December 1925, Butterick princess line dress pattern 6428. Dresses for adult women were slightly longer than those for teens.

In 1928, the princess line evening gown has a hem that dips low in the back. So does the neckline.

Butterick princess line pattern 2257, from October 1928. Delineator.

Putting Twenties Styles on Modern Bodies

A chenille or ribbon shoulder decoration draws our eye up toward the face on these formal dresses from December 1927. Butterick patterns 1734 and 1753.

I think I’ve mentioned this before: a director once told me that he wanted “absolutely authentic 1920’s costumes” — but added, “Just don’t give me any of those dresses with the waists down around the hips!” In times (like the 1980’s) when contemporary fashion insists on narrow hips and wide shoulders, making an actress feel confident in a dress with natural shoulders and a horizontal line across her hips can be difficult — especially if she isn’t slim-hipped or is self-conscious about her figure.

Trim or fur leads your eye to focus on the top of the body in these styles from December 1928. Butterick patterns 1761 and 1757.

But theatrical designers also have to consider audience expectations — I would not do a twenties’ show in which every woman wore princess line dresses! However, the princess line dress is among the authentic possibilities for one or two characters, or for a re-creator who doesn’t have a “boyish” figure.

Illustration by Helen Dryden, Delineator cover, September 1928. A band of deep pink on the scarf lends a touch of bright color to her head and face area.

The most flattering twenties’ styles balance the hip interest with interest near the face. Butterick patterns 1745 and 1735, from December 1927.

For plays and operas, we try to draw attention to the face and upper body. (It sounds crazy, but audiences can’t hear the lines if they can’t see the faces. Humans lip-read much more than they realize.) Accessories that create a vertical line, such as lighter or brighter colors near the face, those looooong 1920’s necklaces, and those often-seen 1920’s shoulder decorations are flattering and authentic twenties’ tricks.

A scarf or bows with long ties add interest to the top of the body and, in the case of the bows, create a vertical line to balance the hip interest. June 1928, Delineator.

These three couture sketches are undoubtedly twenties’ styles, but they use a variety of styling tricks to move our attention up the body, toward the face, and to deflect interest from the hips.

French designer fashions from May 1928. 1) Renee, 2) Jane Regny, 3) Jenny. Sketches for Delineator. The coat by Jenny suggests princess lines.

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Filed under 1920s, evening and afternoon clothes, Musings, Tricks of the Costumer's Trade, Vintage Accessories, Vintage Couture Designs, Vintage patterns

Fashions for Women, October 1927

These line drawings in black and a rusty shade of red showcased Butterick patterns for October 1927. As usual, I’ll show closer views, back views, and pattern descriptions later in this post; first, here is an overview of twenty-one styles from 1927. Most of these are clothes for adult women; some are for either teens or adults. The illustrations are by L. Ferrier.

Butterick dress pattern 1657, coat pattern 1699, and dress 1705. Delineator magazine, October 1927, page 27.

Butterick patterns 1684, 1649, ad 1690, from Delineator, October 1927, page 28.

Butterick patterns for evening: dress 1713, coat 1693, and dress 1679. Delineator, October 1927, page 28.

Ensembles:  Butterick patterns 1711, 1653, and 1672. Delineator, October 1927, page 29. If you planned your wardrobe colors, either dress could be worn under that coat.

Ensembles:  Butterick 1675 and coordinating coat 1686; the coat is illustrated over dress 1689. Delineator, October 1927, page 29.

Three 1927 dress patterns from Butterick: Patterns 1661, 1691, 1nd 1709. Delineator, October 1927, page 30.

Butterick 1683, a princess line dress; 1703, a bolero dress, and 1693, an afternoon or dinner dress which could be made sleeveless for evening. Delineator, October 1927, page 31.

Closer Views and Details:

Ensembles: both Butterick day dress 1657 (L) and more formal dress 1705 (R) could be coordinated with coat 1699 (C). Often the coat lining matched the dress. In sizes from 32″ bust to 44″ bust. 1927. I’m sorry not to have a back view of these dresses, but the description says the diagonal lines of number 1657 are not repeated on its back.

No. 1705 shows a popular twenties’ use of double-sided crepe satin, using the shiny side used on the bottom of the dress and the matte side used for the top. Velvet and satin in the same shade could also be combined; using the light-absorbing velvet on the bottom and the shiny satin on the top is very flattering to women who want to minimize their hips. Or two values of the same color could be used, such as dark and medium rosewood [a brownish deep pink,] or deep brown with a cafe au lait top.

The same hat is illustrated tree times; it is very close-fitting and appears to be covered with shiny feathers.

A very tight-fitting cloche hat. 1927.

A hat like that would fit nicely over these sleek hair styles:

Cropped hair, worn very close to the head. 1927. Very long, swaying earrings add a feminine touch.

Butterick evening gowns 1713 (L) and 1679 (R) with a velvet or metallic evening wrap coat. No. 1693. Notice the very low-cut “evening” armhole at left; at right, the low armholes show the under-slip of metallic cloth. 1927.

Back views.

Ensembles: Left, Butterick two-piece dress 1684 made in velvet; center, coat pattern 1649; right, dress 1690. October 1927. For women and young girls (15 to 18 years.) Velvet bands on dress 1690 match the velvet of the coat, making a coordinated ensemble.

Alternate views include short sleeves on the dresses. “The gusset under the arm introduced by Paris gives a semi-kimona [sic] sleeve the fit of a set-in sleeve.” You could make these from wool or other daytime fabrics; velvet was just a suggestion.

Two dresses to wear with one coat: Left, Butterick dress 1711; center, Butterick coat 1653; right, dress 1672. Delineator, October 1927, page 29. Sized for teens and adults to bust size 44″. The belt on No. 1672 appears to pass under the pointed skirt panels and buckle in the center. Note the bust dart in its side seam; boyish figures were on their way out.

“Sunray” tucks and applied trims appear on several Butterick styles from this period. The shoulders of the coat extend into a raglan sleeve whose fit is improved by an underarm gusset. The higher neckline of dress 1672 looks good under the coat’s opening.

Back views show the coat’s shoulder clearly. To modern eyes it’s surprising that the pleated or circular fronts of these dresses have very plain, straight backs.

A sporty plaid coat (Butterick 1686) could form an ensemble with dress 1675 or with a dressier day look, Butterick 1689. Delineator, Oct 1927, p. 29. [I can’t imagine that the sunrays on No. 1689 were flattering to many figures…. “The bands can be omitted if one likes.”]

Although the coat pattern is available up to bust size 44″, the dresses are for teens or small women only (“15 to 20 years.” I like the way the belt on No. 1675 passes under the pockets.

Alternate and back views show that coat 1686 also has raglan sleeves. Again, the pleated skirts are only pleated in front.

The use of matte and shiny sides of crepe satin on the same dress — sometimes in contrasting colors — gives an Art Deco chic to these dresses:

“The Flare for Satin:” Butterick dress patterns 1661, 1691, and 1709. October 1927. Delineator, page 30. No. 1709, on the right, could be made sleeveless for evening wear.

Back views of Butterick 1661, 1691, and 1709.

Three different dresses, three different hats. Oct. 1927, Delineator.

Not all 1920’s dresses had a strong horizontal line across the hip. Princess line dress patterns were available for several years and didn’t change much — except for their length. The “bolero” of the 1920’s could be separate (as here) or part of the dress, and 1920’s boleros often reached the high hip, unlike the cropped, above-the-waist “bolero” seen later in the 20th century.

Butterick patterns 1683, a princess line dress; 1703, a dress with separate bolero jacket, and 1693, which could also be made sleeveless for evening wear. Delineator, October 1927, page 31.

The alternate view of 1703 without its bolero jacket shows a very attractive evening dress with metallic top and velvet skirt:

I realize this post is longer than is usually recommended, but, when I was drafting costume patterns, I would have really appreciated more back views in my research! I have learned a lot (too late) from these old pattern descriptions.

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Filed under 1920s, evening and afternoon clothes, Hairstyles, handbags, Hats, Purses, Vintage patterns

Animal Prints and Sheer Yokes, 1927

This classic twenties’ cardigan outfit caught my eye because of its animal print (or fur) accessories. Butterick pattern 1345, from March 1927.

To the author of the AllWays in Fashion blog, who just wrote “it’s clear many of our old friends are returning for another stylish go-round:” this one’s for you! Synchronicity at work.

I’m not in favor of wearing real fur, but I have to admit that the belt and matching clutch purse really jazz up this basic cardigan and pleated skirt costume. I don’t know if the matching shoes came from the illustrator’s imagination or were really in the stock at Butterick’s art department. (I sometimes see the same hat illustrated with several dresses in an issue of Delineator.)

I found the other outfits illustrated with Butterick 1345 less iconic, although 1349 is also classic. Both have skirts with pleats only on the front.

Alternate view and description of Butterick 1349, from 1927.  Surprisingly, it’s described as a “jumper frock,” not a suit or ensemble, although the pattern in the Commercial Pattern Archive says it is a “two-piece frock.”

No. 1349 is third from left below.

Four Butterick patterns from Delineator, March 1927, page 23. From left, 1345, 1297, “jumper frock” 1349, and 1347, called a “bosom front” dress.

In the same issue I found two dresses with an unusual yoke; sheer fabrics were suggested for daytime, which probably means they were afternoon dresses.

Butterick patterns for a box coat (No. 1304), worn over a dress with sheer yoke and box pleated skirt (1337;) third is dress pattern 1335, followed by another sheer-yoked dress, Butterick 1331. Delineator, March 1927, page 22.

Box jacket 1304 over dress 1337. The very simple jacket is accented with dark applied trim. At right, the dress (1337) is illustrated in crepe silk, with a yoke of sheer Georgette, a crepe-like sheer fabric.

Alternate views and text describing Butterick 1304 and 1337. To create a suit-like ensemble,  dress 1337 is made using matching fabrics for jacket and dress. From 1927. It was common for 1920’s dresses to have all the fullness in front, with a straight back.

Butterick 1337, bolero dress 1335, and 1331. Delineator, March 1927, p. 22. The dresses right and left are formal day dresses, and the one at right could be made in a sleeveless evening version.

Alternate views and descriptions of Butterick 1335 with “simulated bolero” (in the center)  and yoked dress 1331. (For a “bolero” topped evening gown by Chanel, click here.)

Butterick 1337 and 1331, from 1927. The treatment of the armholes is different, but the yokes are otherwise similar: curved, and low on the sides. They would have been worn over a slip or teddy/combination, so the sheer bodice would have something opaque covering the sides of the breasts.

All the models in these 1927 illustrations have severely shingled hair. Here’s some shingle haircut advice from 1925.

 

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Filed under 1920s, bags, evening and afternoon clothes, handbags, Hats, Purses, Shoes, Sportswear, Uncategorized, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns

Some (Surprising) Smocked Vintage Garments

This vintage blouse uses hand smocking to control fullness at the shoulders, waist, and sleeves. Probably before 1920’s.

I’ve already shared some 1940’s patterns for smocked blouses, but I keep finding more examples of smocking.

Butterick smocked blouse pattern 4456, Butterick Fashion News flyer, March 1948.

It’s very similar to this pattern from McCall:

McCall smocked blouse pattern 1136 from 1944.

But those forties’ blouses have a peasant influence; they are based on smocked ethnic clothing.

An embroidered ethnic blouse with smocked neckline.

An ethnic peasant blouse with hand-smocked neckline and wrists.

An ethnic flavor was also very popular in the nineteen twenties.

This earlier blouse, however, bares little resemblance to “peasant” styles.

Vintage smocked blouse made of sheer fabric with woven stripes.

The collar covers much of the smocking across the shoulders. So-called “Armistice” blouses are usually short-wasted in back.

I flipped the collar up to show the hand smocking on the back of this blouse. It seems a shame to hide all that work!

I had forgotten about this vintage blouse — it is probably from the “teens.” It uses the stripes woven into the fabric as the grid for smocking, and uses smocking instead of machine-stitched tucks to control the fullness at shoulders, sleeves, and waist.

Detail of smocked shoulder.

The back waist is elegant, although the blouse would look better after ironing. (But smocking makes ironing more difficult.)

The sleeves have a smocked area near the wrist, creating a modest frill.

Smocking in the wrist area. There is a narrow dark stripe in the fabric next to each tightly woven white stripe.

I believe this is called honeycomb smocking:

McCall smocking pattern 441, from 1936.

Using striped fabric as a base for smocking produces interesting effects; this image from A-Z of Smocking, by Sue Gardner, shows how the stripes become part of the grid:

Striped fabric can be smocked in ways the either preserve the stripe, as here, or turn them into a “solid” color. Both effects are pictured in the book A-Z of Smocking, reviewed below. Image reproduced for purpose of review example only. Do NOT copy.

I found another — to me, unexpected — use of smocking on a black silk apron from an era when most older women were almost perpetually in mourning.

A black silk apron with a smocked bib. It’s shown over an unrelated turn-of-the-century blouse.

Perhaps this apron was worn for nothing more taxing than a little hand sewing — or pouring tea.

About the A-Z of Smocking, by Sue Gardner:

Cover of A-Z of Smocking, 2016 edition, by Sue Gardner.

I was fascinated by the many smocking patterns I found in 1940’s McCall catalogs, so I wanted to learn more about this old technique for fabric modification. If you want to find beautifully illustrated, step-by-step smocking instructions, this book couldn’t be clearer. If you are a beginner with an interest in the history of smocking, this may not be quite what you are looking for.

The text can be this brief because the illustrations are so informative and well organized.  Photo from A-Z of Smocking for purpose of review. Do Not Copy.

There is a whole series of A-Z books from Search Press. It’s my fault that I assumed “A-Z” meant “from beginning to end;” instead, it means that the book is organized in alphabetical order, so a lavishly illustrated section on “Honeycomb” smocking comes before an equally fine section on “Trellis” smocking. And an advanced technique, like smocking with Beads, appears before the basic stitches, because it begins with “B.”

On the other hand, because the book is illustrated with step-by-step photos instead of line drawings, it couldn’t be clearer:

A typical section from A-Z of Smocking will have at least two pages of careful and very clear instructional photos like this for every technique covered. Do Not Copy Image.

It even explained (and illustrated the steps to using) a machine that gathers the fabric for you. But the topics I was looking for — about the history of smocking, why it was used for work clothes, which stitches were stretchable and used for the wrist area, for example, were hard to find.

This is the entire passage about Traditional Smocking. No illustrations. A-Z of Smocking is not a history book. Do Not Copy This Image.

Some of the oldest smocking techniques — sometimes called English smocking from its use on shepherd’s smocks — depend on first gathering the fabric with several rows of identically spaced stitches, and then stabilizing them with the decorative smocking stitches. When I read that, in combination with seeing the many stitching examples, I realized that a smocking grid looks a lot like the grid used for cartridge pleating, which had been used to gather fabric in garments for centuries.

Illustration from the section on cartridge pleating in The Costume Technician’s Handbook, by Rosemary Ingham and Liz Covey. Do Not Copy Image.

If you’ve examined mid-nineteenth century dresses, or made Renaissance costumes, this technique for gathering fabrics evenly and stitching them to armholes, yokes, or waists will be very familiar.

Attaching cartridge pleated fabric — e.g., a skirt — to a waistband. From The Costume Technician’s Handbook. Do Not Copy Image.

https://witness2fashion.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/close-v005-cf-detail-500.jpg?w=500&h=382

Cartridge pleats produce tightly controlled gathers in this 19th century fan-fronted dress.

Typical cartridge pleated skirt, stitched to bodice binding. Inside of dress showing extra fabric at CF. You can also see that the front opening is boned.

Typical cartridge pleated skirt, stitched to bodice binding. Inside of dress showing extra fabric at CF. You can also see that the front opening is boned.

For me, this links two very useful books: The Costume Technician’s Handbook, which I cannot recommend frequently enough (the techniques are not limited to costumes,) and the A-Z of Smocking, which I would eagerly buy if I had a practical (rather than academic) interest in smocking.

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Filed under 1830s -1860s fashions, 1870s to 1900s fashions, 1900s to 1920s, Late Victorian fashions, Resources for Costumers, Shirts and Blouses, Tricks of the Costumer's Trade, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing, Vintage patterns, World War I

Back to School Clothes, Fall 1927

“All Aboard for School or College: Butterick patterns for young women, Delineator, August 1927,  top of page 28.

“The Smart Mode on Campus:” Butterick patterns for young women and girls, Delineator, August 1928, top of page 29.

“For the Young and Younger Student:” Butterick patterns for girls, teens, and women. Delineator, August 1927, top of page 32.

“Semi-Formal Frocks for College:” Butterick patterns from Delineator, August 1927, top of page 33.

There’s a lot to like about these outfits; for one thing, they have the proportions I think of as “Twenties’ Style.” I was pleased — and surprised — to find that many of these patterns were also sized for mature women. In fact, it’s very hard to distinguish between 1927 styles for girls and styles for adults on these pages. For those who are deeply interested in the 1920’s, the descriptions of the dresses remind us of a more formal and structured society — the wildness of the “Roaring Twenties” notwithstanding. I’ll include closer views, alternate and back views, and the full text that appeared on these four pages.

Book recommendation: British author Elspeth Huxley attended Cornell University in the U.S. in 1927. Her memoir Love Among the Daughters: Memories of the Twenties in England and America is an insider’s/outsider’s view of American college life.

Butterick 1526, is a “frock for the classroom” for ages 8 to 15 years;  1544, is also for 8 to 15 years;  and 1589, for 15 to 18 years and adults to bust 44″. August 1927. The young girls’ dresses are as stylish and complex as those for adults.

Butterick 1569, for women aged 15 to 20 and in sizes 38 and 40. For football games “this is the frock to wear beneath your fur coat.” Butterick 1566, for girls 8 to 15, has a square neckline attributed to Vionnet. The blouse has a chic monogram. August 1927.

Butterick pattern 1562 is for young girls 8 to 15; 1556 is a coat for young girls and women 15 to 18 years and women with bust 36 to 44 inches. No. 1519 is for teens 15 to 18 and women all the way up to size 48! August 1927.

Butterick coat 1550 has a “mushroom shawl collar” and was available in sizes 15 to 18 years and sizes 36 to 44. For an explanation of “Size 16 Years,” click here. “School costume” 1583 is a two-piece outfit in sizes 15 to 18 years and women’s sizes 38 and 40.

The second dress, No. 1563, is very similar to 1569, for smaller women. The fourth outfit, No. 1532, is a girl’s variation on 1589.

Similar fashions from August 1927. There is no indication of anything “childish” in No. 1532; were children dressing like women in the twenties, or was it the other way around?

Butterick 1554 is “for the boarding-school girl” aged 8 to 15 years. Butterick 1563 was available from size 15 years to women’s size 44, and 1553 was also sized for 15 year-olds to women with a 44 inch bust. Its belt glides in and out of the skirt.

Butterick 1532 is “correct for school wear” for girls 8 to 15,  and “school coat” 1586 is also for girls 8 to 15 years. August 1927.

“Semi-formal” dresses for college women. 1927.

Butterick 1575 “for the formal occasions of school or college” has a “straight Vionnet neckline” and opens under the left arm, so the bodice can fit closely. For 15 to 18 years and in sizes 38 and 40. No. 1565, seems much more sophisticated (or is that because of her severely cropped hair?) It was intended for teens and for adult women up to size 44. Butterick 1581 is also suitable for teens or adults. “Concerts and that important institution, the ‘Sunday-night supper’ of schools and colleges, require a formal frock on this order.” From 1927. (Even in the 1960’s, at my women’s college we were required to “dress” for dinner, and to be back on campus by Sunday evening. Luckily, “dressing” in 1965 just meant wearing high heels and stockings with our normal school clothes.)

Butterick dress 1541, for teens and small women, is a versatile pattern; depending on the fabric used, it could be a day dress or a semi-formal one. Butterick 1577 could be made “without sleeves and with an evening neckline” to be worn to proms. As shown, it’s an afternoon dress.  For teens and small women. 1927.

Did women really dress this formally for school or college? Didn’t most female students usually wear a skirt and blouse or sweater for attending classes? Well, Delineator aimed at a middle-class readership, and it should be noted that all these dresses are for women going away to school, to boarding schools or colleges, and not to a public institution close to home.

I also wonder if this way of showing Butterick’s new dresses was really a good idea; did all readers realize, by reading the descriptions, that many of these styles were suitable for mature women, and came in sizes equal to a modern size 22, or bigger? (See dress 1589, coat 1556, coat 1550, dress 1519, dress 1563, dress 1565, and dress 1581.)

That many styles were considered suitable for mature women and college girls does emphasize the importance of a youthful look in 1927.

 

 

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Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, Children's Vintage styles, Sportswear, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes