Category Archives: Vintage patterns

Coats, Suits, and Print dresses, March 1926

Some of the colors used here are now associated with an autumn palette, but these Spring clothes for women from March, 1926, have their own charm.

A page of patterns for young women, Delineator, March 1926, page 27.

Skirts were still below the knee, except for young girls, but the Art Deco fabrics and geometric touches I love about the twenties are definitely present.

Women’s coats could be sleek or sporty:

Butterick coat pattern 6668, in black, and coat 6639 over dress 6653. March 1926. Fashions for women.

Capes were also popular, sometimes being attached to dresses or coats.

Butterick dresses 6662 (in Vermilion red) and 6659, shown with cape 6618. March, 1926. These are for young women.

Dresses with a fitted basque (i.e., bodice) and a gathered skirt, like No. 6662,  were often worn by young heroines in the movies. No. 6659, in olive and black with a vaguely Asian print, looks like a skirt and blouse, but is really a dress.

Butterick suit 6641, caped coat No. 6622, and coat 6674. A tiny view of the dresses under this coat and Coat 6655, below, appeared in a circle between them.

Butterick coat 6685, coat-dress 6652, and another dress posing as separates, No. 6643. March 1926, Delineator. No. 6643 is made from a border print which increases in scale. The burnt orange band is printed on the dress fabric.

Butterick dresses 6648 and 6587, March 1926.

Women’s clothes included a double-breasted “box coat” (Butterick 6603) worn with a matching skirt (no. 6601) and blouse (6649); coat 6613 is shown over a coordinating green dress which matches its lining (6602); coat 6666 (right) is flared at the hem and made in a warm rust color. Delineator, March 1926.

Coats for young teens and even for little girls are as chic as adult versions:

Butterick coats for girls up to 15 (left) and for little girls, right, echo adult styles. 1926. Butterick 6609 with hat 6327; coat 6671 with hat 5952; girls’ coat patterns have collars, flare, and a capelet, just like their elders’.

Five different Butterick cloche hat patterns were illustrated — plus the turban shown with this matching cape and dress:

Butterick cape 6618 with dress 6642 and matching turban (Butterick pattern 6634.) March, 1926. Delineator, p.28.

“Ensemble coats and frocks are no longer dependent upon each other for color — they may match or they may not; but, if not, the contrast must be studied and chic.”

Text, page 29; Delineator, March 1926.

Dresses were often made of colorful printed fabrics.

Six dresses for women, Delineator page 29, March 1926.

Butterick patterns 6640, shown in a geometric pink border print; Butterick 6610, with sheer embroidered sleeves, and Butterick 6623, illustrated in a print inspired by Chinese cloud designs.

A very “twenties” abstract print in blue and white (Butterick pattern 6655;) a floral print on black (6647,) and a dark green dress with geometric accents (6658,) 1926.

More print dresses were illustrated in black and white:

Print dresses for young women, 1926. Butterick patterns 6648, 6679, 6687, and 6659. Delineator, p. 26, March 1926. The diamond-patterned dress is another border print; the dress at far left [correction: far right] plays with stripes and angles; a green and black print version appeared at the top of this post.

Of course, young women need party dresses for spring dances and graduation parties; these are made special by hand embroidery in beads or silk floss. (Butterick sold embroidery transfers, and featured lots of embroidery on 1920’s dresses.)

Party or evening frocks for young women, Delineator, page 26, March 1926. Dresses 6645 and 6676; embroidery transfers 10357 and 10425. 1926. Both dresses have scalloped hemlines, perhaps trimmed with beads. [It’s hard to believe that dress 6645 would flare like that when weighted down with beads, however.]

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

More Fashions from McCall, July 1938

It’s such a pleasure to see full-color pattern illustrations; here are some more.

McCall coat pattern 9809, McCall dresses 9807 and 9815. McCall’s Magazine, July 1938.

Surprisingly, the gold colored garment on the left is a coat for summer; it could be made with longer sleeves for other seasons.

McCall coat pattern 9808, from 1938. It has a “petal neckline.” Available in sizes 12 – 18 and 36 to 42.

McCall dress pattern 9807 from 1938. A dress “anyone can wear,” it was available in sizes 12-18, and 36 to 46.

McCall pattern 9815 from 1938. These floral striped fabrics were very popular that year. Available in sizes 12 through 20 years, but not in woman’s sizes.

For more stripes and flowers from 1938, click here.

Dresses to make your waist look smaller. McCall 9792, 9790, 9791, from McCall’s Magazine, July 1938.

McCall dress pattern 9792 from 1938. It was only available in young women’s sizes 12 to 20.

McCall dress pattern 9790 is described as a new kind of  princess line, shaped with tucks instead of princess seams. 1938. Sizes 12 to 20.

McCall pattern 9791 looks like a dress and bolero jacket, but it is really a dress made from two fabrics. 1938. Sizes 12 to 20.

Three dresses intended for average and larger women appeared together, at left:

McCall dress patterns available up to size 46: 9817, 9805, 9789; right, 9795. McCall’s Magazine, July 1938.

As usual, they were not illustrated on a different body type than the dresses for younger or smaller women, and these 1938 styles do not seem especially matronly. They were not only for larger sizes.

McCall dress pattern 9817 was available in sizes 12 – 18 and 36 to 46. 1938. I would think this dress was more slenderizing than the pink “hourglass” one (No. 9790) above.

McCall dress pattern 9805 was available in sizes12 to 18 and 36 to 46. 1938.

McCall dress pattern 9795 was available in the normal range of sizes, 12 to 18 and 36 to 42. 1938.

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Filed under 1930s, 1930s-1940s, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes

McCall Dress Patterns in Color, July 1938

McCall patterns 9802 and 9803, McCall’s Magazine, July 1938.

Even allowing for the difference in printing technology, the color combinations from vintage fashion magazines are often surprising. This mustard yellow and dark olive green suit was on one page, and this light yellow and robin’s egg blue coat, beside a mauve coat and peachy pink dress, was featured on the opposite page, captioned “Colors in Twos or Threes.”

McCall patterns 9812 and 9816, McCall’s Magazine, July 1938.

McCall’s was a large format magazine, so I’ll show closeups of the outfits below.

Detail, McCall patterns 9802 and 9803,for sizes 12 to 18 and 36 to 42. 1938.

McCall 9802 and 9803, showing the detail of the jacket and dress bodices. 1938.

Large line drawings of the dresses without cape or jacket were conveniently placed beside them:

Dresses 9802 and 9803, 1938. A large bunch of artificial flowers, stems down, is tucked into a belt.

Back views, McCall 9802 and 9803.

Dresses with coordinating coats, McCall 9812 and 9816, From McCall’s Magazine, July 1938.

On the left, a sort of hat/scarf, tied in back, which matches the striped gloves. (In surprising colors….) Notice the wrist-exposing sleeves on the mauve coat.

Again, these dresses were also illustrated without the coats:

Dresses 9812 and 9816, McCall’s Magazine, July 1938. Pattern 9816 is shown with a bunch of artificial flowers tucked into its belt.

All four dresses have puffy sleeves, and were available in pattern sizes 12 to 18 and women’s sizes 36 to 42.

The fashion illustrator on these two pages was B. Rothschild:

The illustrator’s signature is B. Rothschild, but the first name is not simply “Blanche”….

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Filed under 1930s, Vintage patterns

Two Coats from January 1936

I was looking for images of 1930’s hats when I noticed this inspiring coat. If you can get past the stylized nineteen- thirties’ illustration, the lapel structure is rather modern.

Butterick coat 6594 from Delineator, January 1936.

Butterick coat 6594 from Delineator, January 1936.

The coat seems to be unlined, perhaps with the fashion fabric turned in and topstitched instead of having a separate facing piece, although I don’t see any topstitching on the coat front. Perhaps the skirt was attached with a waist seam.

Butterick coat pattern 6594, detail. 1936.

Butterick coat pattern 6594, detail. 1936. The center panel is topstitched, as are the cuffs and pockets.

I can’t quite figure out how the topstitched lapel works, since there is no indication of that topstitching continuing down the front of the coat. Does the front of the coat turn in and act as its own facing? Or is it a separate piece? (More likely.) In either case, if that line of topstitching is practical, why doesn’t it continue down the front of the coat? Did the illustrator reverse the solid and dotted lines? Or is that “topstitch” purely decorative and confined to the lapel area?

text-6594-coat-1936-jan-p-39-spring-2

It would not be hard to adapt this to a more purely geometrical construction. When we look at the back, we see that the center panel is tapered, helping to shape the coat.

Butterick coat 6594 from Delineator, January 1936.

Butterick coat 6594 from Delineator, January 1936.

I’m not crazy about the pockets, but I could imagine this as a modern jacket. If the center panel continued below the waist in front, inseam pockets would be a natural adaptation. Good thing I don’t sew for myself (or even have a dressmaker mannequin.)

Butterick 6594 as inspiration:  I couldn’t resist updating it, with the front panel tapering at the waist and repeated in the skirt to make easy pockets.

Butterick coat from 1936, updated. I copied the top stitching on the lapel, to match the 1926 illustration. (I couldn't think of a hat that says "2017" more clearly than this one....)

Butterick coat from 1936, updated. I simply copied the top stitching on the lapel, to match the 1936 illustration. (But I couldn’t think of a hat that says “2017” more clearly than this one….)

I also love swing-backed coats like this one, also from 1936:

Butterick coat 6582, January 1936, Delineator.

Butterick coat 6582, January 1936, Delineator. Look at those big, rectangular buttons, and the surprise of that pointed “fishtail” back yoke.

Pattern information on Butterick topcoat 6582 from 1936.

Pattern information on Butterick topcoat 6582 from 1936. The plaid version was suggested as resort wear. I’m not sure that plaid would work over “even rather formal clothes.”

Are those double pockets, or just an oddly shaped patch pocket?

Butterick 6582 is not exactly “timeless,” but I still have a ten year old, black wool raincoat shaped like this one in my closet! (It doesn’t have those intriguing buttons, that pointed yoke, or those tiny pockets, however.) I remember buying mine at Nordstrom’s before a trip to New York in January 2008. I haven’t worn it much during the years of California drought.

 

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Filed under 1930s, Musings, Vintage patterns

Red, White, and Black Ink Fashion Illustrations, May 1927

These illustrations by L. Frerrier [2/23/17 Edit: or Ferrier] were first published in May, 1927, but they seem appropriate for Valentine’s week. Dresses for girls were included, although the grown-ups are using the swing! (Larger views and details are at bottom of post.)

Butterick patterns 1435, 1431, and 1429, illustrated in May, 1926, Delineator magazine. Page 34.

Butterick patterns 1435, 1431, and 1429, illustrated in May, 1927, Delineator magazine. Page 34. For teens or women.

Butterick patterns 1425, 1425, 1401, 1421,and 1428. Delineator, May 1927, p. 31.

Butterick patterns 1425, 1424, 1401, 1421, and 1428. Delineator, May 1927, p. 31.

Butterick patterns 1346, 1392, 1381, 1420, and 1405. Delineator, May 1927, p. 29.

Butterick patterns 1346 (coat), 1392 (frock),  1381, 1420, and coat 1405. Delineator, May 1927, p. 29.

Butterick patterns 1389, 1206, 1403, 1414, 1447. Delineator, May 1927, p. 28.

Butterick patterns 1389 (suit), 1206 (blouse), 1403, 1414, and (redingote with costume slip) 1447. Delineator, May 1927, p. 28.

Closer looks at 1927 dresses for girls:

Dress with matching bloomers for a little girl. Butterick 1927.

Dress with matching bloomers for a little girl. Butterick 1438, 1927. “This dress would be very festive in cherry red taffeta and very practical in pin checked gingham….” In sizes 2, 4, 6.

Left, Butterick 1381, with bloomers, for ages. Right, Butterick 1428. Both from 1927.

Left, Butterick 1381, with panties to match the collar, for ages 2, 4, and 6. Right, Butterick 1428. Both from 1927. Left, No. 1381 has an inverted pleat and straight panties that “show an important inch below the hemline.”  Right, No. 1428 is for girls 6 to 10 years.

1428-text-girl1927-may-p-31-1425-1424-girl-1401-girl-1421-large-1428-l-farrier-illus

For school aged girls, panties did not extend below the skirt hem. “Compose” dresses — which use two or more fabrics — were chic in 1927.

Left, Butterick 1403, Right, Butterick 1414. 1927.

Left, Butterick 1403, for girls 6 to 10 years old.  Right, Butterick 1414, for girls 8, 10, 12 & 14 years. It has an inverted pleat in front. The bib front, modeled on mens’ dress shirts, is called a gilet. 1927.

Left, Butterick 1424, Right, Butterick 1421. 1927.

Left, Butterick 1424,  for girls 6 to 10 years. It was suggested as a party dress. Right, Butterick 14o1, for girls 2 to 7.  Both from 1927. Many patterns offer the option of hand-smocked or machine-shirred hip bands.

1401-girl

Butterick 1420 for a girl . 1927.

Butterick 1420 for a girl 8 to 15 years old. Notice that the hem is above her knee.  1927 dresses for adults cover the kneecap. 1927.

1420-girl

I still have trouble reading “flannel” and thinking “wool,” rather than cotton nightgown fabric.

Left, Butterick 1425, a smocked or shirred dress for a teen 15 to 18 or women bust 36 to 40. Right, Butterick 1428, a compose dress for women.

Left, Butterick 1425, a smocked or shirred dress for a teen 15 to 18 or for women bust 36 to 40. Right, Butterick 1421, a compose dress for women, made from two fabrics, or two shades of the same fabric, or using the matte and shiny sides of crepe satin. This pattern was available up to size 52!

1425-dress-smocked-or-ruched

 

1421-dress-image10

Left, Butterick 1390 has a "Chinese" style monogram. and graded color bands. Right, Butterick 1407. Both 1927.

Left, Butterick 1390 has a stylized monogram, and graded color bands. Right, Butterick 1407.  1920’s illustrations often show a bar pin worn diagonally, not at the throat or on a lapel. Both 1927.

Butterick 1390 could be sleeveless, but bare arms were to be covered for city wear. 1927.

Butterick 1390 could be sleeveless, but bare arms were to be covered for city wear. 1927. The skirt was mounted on a sleeveless bodice top, so it hung from the shoulders rather than the waist.

Butterick suit 1389 with blouse 1206, and a sheer redingote over a print costume slip, Butterick 1447. Both 1927.

Butterick suit 1389 with blouse 1206, and a sheer redingote over a print costume slip, Butterick 1447. Both 1927.

1389-suit

In the illustration below, the woman on the swing is wearing a dress with shirring at the front.

1429-text1927-may-p-34-1435-1431-1429-dresses-swing

Butterick 1435, 1431,and 1429. May 1927.

Butterick 1435, 1431,and 1429. May 1927. Dresses for teens 15 or older, and for adult women.

Butterick 1431, in the center, which looks like a two piece, is not:

1431-text1927-may-p-34-1435-1431-1429-dresses-swing

Last, a “suit” that consists of  a two piece silk dress with a  7/8 length coat which is lined with the dress material, and a n evening coat with tiers:

Butterick frock 1392 with matching coat (pattern 1346), and Butterick coat pattern 1405, a "tioered" coat for formal occasions, available in teens or women's' sizes. 1927.

Butterick frock 1392 with matching coat (pattern 1346), and Butterick coat pattern 1405, a “tiered” coat for formal occasions, available in teens or women’s’ sizes. 1927.1405-coat

 

About the illustrator: I’ve been referring to “L. Frerrier” because that is the way the signature looked the first time I found it (in January 1928). But sometimes it looks like “L. Ferrier.”

Is it Frerrier or Ferrier? Frerrier seems most likely.

Is it Frerrier or Ferrier? Frerrier seems most likely.

[Edit 2/22/17: The comments favor Ferrier. I could not find an artist named Ferrier working in America, and the painter L. Ferrier-Jourdain appears to have lived and died in France.] I did find an “L. Ferrier” in the New York City directory, but no occupation.]

L. Frerrier often illustrated fashions for Butterick's Delineator. These stylized "one color plus black and white" drawings are very different from the same illustrator's more realistic work.

L. Frerrier [or Ferrier] often illustrated fashions for Butterick’s Delineator. These stylized “one color plus black and white” drawings are very different from the same illustrator’s more realistic work.

Whoever he or she was, this was a versatile artist.

In January 1928, L. Frerrier painted these models as passengers aboard the luxurious S. S. Ile de France. Delineator, p. 31.

In January 1928, L. Frerrier [or Ferrier] painted these models as passengers aboard the luxurious S. S. Ile de France. Delineator, p. 31. I darkened the signature to make it more visible.

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Filed under 1920s, Children's Vintage styles, Hats, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes

Pajamas and Sleepwear from 1917

Pajamas for girls and women, Butterick pattern 9433, Delineator, October 1917, p. 89.

Pajamas for girls and teen women, Butterick pattern 9433, Delineator, October 1917, p. 89.

Some pajamas from 1917 were really “onesies,” since the part below the waist was attached to the top. I inherited a pair of these-all-in one pajamas, made of peach-pink cotton and embroidered with a few little flowers, but donated them to a university collection without taking a photo.  As I remember, the crotch from waist in front to back was open, and closed with little snaps.

Pattern description of Butterick 9433, Oct. 1917.

Pattern description of Butterick 9433, Oct. 1917. Made in sizes from 4 to 18 years.

How you get into and out of these pjs, Butterick 9433, is hard to say; the girls’ version obviously unbuttons down the front, but whether the “bloomers” are attached at the waist isn’t clear. I think they were attached, just like pajama pattern number 9400, which is pictured and described next.

In fact, pattern 9433, for girls and teens,  looks identical to 9400, except that 9400 came in women’s sizes. Butterick pajama pattern 9400 is explained more thoroughly:

Butterick negligee 9279, boudoir cap 9523, and pajama 9400. September, 1917. Delineator.

Left, Butterick negligee 9279, boudoir cap 9523; Right, Pajamas or Lounging-robe 9400. September, 1917. Delineator.

Pattern description, Butterick 9400, from 1917.

Pattern description, Butterick 9400, from 1917. The bloomers are “sewed to the belt.” Recommended for lounging or sleeping.

The word “houri” is used here in the sense of  “beautiful woman” in vaguely Arabic dress.

Baby, It’s Cold Inside….

One reason for wearing a sleeping cap — or boudoir cap — was added warmth. These advertisements for Brighton Carlsbad Sleepingwear are from winter months.

Ad for Brighton Carlsbad Sleepingwear, Ladies' Home Journal, October, 1917, p. 141.

Ad for Brighton Carlsbad Sleepingwear, Ladies’ Home Journal, October, 1917, p. 141.

These pajamas for both women and men are called “pajunions” — a combination of “pajama” and “union suit.” (“Union suit” was the proper name for long, neck-to-ankle undergarments, familiarly called “long johns.” They were worn by both  men and women.)

A teen-aged daughter wears warm flannel "pajunions.' YOu can see the stitching at the waist which attaches the bottoms to the top. LHJ, Oct. 1917.

“When the dance-card is read/ then to Brightons and bed.” The teen-aged daughter wears warm flannel “pajunions.’ You can see the stitching at the waist which attaches the bottoms to the top. LHJ, Oct. 1917.

Buttoned ankles of Brighton Carlsbad Pajunions. 1917 ad.

Buttoned ankles of Brighton Carlsbad Pajunions. 1917 ad.

Ad for Brighton Carlsbad Sleepingwear, Ladies' Home Journal, Nov. 1917.

Ad for Brighton Carlsbad Sleepingwear, Ladies’ Home Journal, Nov. 1917.

Text of Brighton Carlsbad ad, October 1917.

Text of Brighton Carlsbad ad, October 1917. The pajunion, “a pajama in one piece,” had “no binding draw-string” because the trousers hung from the shoulders.

The child’s sleepers show the “trap door” in back which was necessary for using a chamber pot, or visits to the outhouse.

The posterior could be unbuttoned.

The posterior could be unbuttoned.

This child’s sleeping garment is not unlike Butterick’s pattern 1330, here called a “nightgown.”

Butterick child's "nightgown-with feet" number 1300, from December 1918.

Right, a Butterick child’s “nightgown” with feet, number 1330, from December 1918. Delineator.

The footed sleeping suit includes a hood. So did the Sleepers from Brighton Carlsbad — they had a “detachable helmet.”

From A Brighton Carlsbad ad, Ladies' Home Journal, October 1917.

From a Brighton Carlsbad ad, Ladies’ Home Journal, October 1917.

So did this sleeping suit for adults:

Brighton Carlsbad Union Sleepers for an adult. 1917.

Brighton Carlsbad Union Sleepers for an adult. “If preferred, without cap or feet.” 1917. “Cold cannot creep in. Just the garment for healthful out-door or open window sleeping.”

Think about living in a house without modern insulation, or heating. I remember Laura and Mary Ingalls, in one of the Little House books, waking up in a bed which was strangely warm for once — because there were several inches of snow on top of their blankets.

A nightgown with "foot pockets" for winter warmth. Brighton Carlsbad ad, October 1917.

A nightgown (Night Robe) with “foot pockets” for winter warmth. “For men, women and children…. With or without hood.” Brighton Carlsbad ad, LHJ, October 1917.

At least you would be able to shuffle around the bedroom with two separate “Foot pockets.” If they weren’t separate, walking would be more like a sack race.

Many men still wore night shirts in 1917:

Man's nightshirt, Brighton Carlsbad ad, Ladies' Home Journal, October 1917, p. 141.

Man’s nightshirt, Brighton Carlsbad ad, Ladies’ Home Journal, October 1917, p. 141. Fabric “Also [in] summer weights.”

I have a Silent Film Festival memory — both my husband and I noticed the same thing. In a short comedy, a pair of  newlyweds take a room in a boarding house. To our surprise, the woman is wearing mannish striped pajamas when other boarders invade their room. She grabs a rug from the floor and wraps it around her waist and hips — clearly more concerned about strange men seeing her lower body in pants than she is about them possibly seeing her breasts through her top.

New Search Category:  “Women in Trousers”

As a young adult in the 1960’s, I have clear memories about when and where women were not allowed to wear trousers. I find that I write about this topic fairly often, so I decided to add a “Women in Trousers” category to this blog — and updated three years worth of blog posts to include it whenever applicable to images or text. (Since “pants” can refer to underpants or panties in British English, I chose “trousers” to refer to slacks, culottes, pajamas, shorts, overalls, gym bloomers, golf knickers, and all other bifurcated outer garments for women.) This should make it a little easier to find relevant posts without “getting your knickers in a twist.” (Another British phrase which evokes a different garment on each side of the Atlantic 🙂 )

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, 1920s, Children's Vintage styles, Menswear, Nightclothes and Robes, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage patterns, Women in Trousers

Women’s Work Overalls, circa 1917

Quite apart from work clothes worn by women doing war work (See “College Girls Become Farmers”), Butterick offered “bloomer dress” patterns in 1917.

Bloomer Dress Overalls, 1917

The woman with the mop is wearing Butterick pattern 9294, called a "Bloomer Dress." Delineator, July 1917, p. 52.

The woman with the mop is wearing Butterick pattern 9294, described as a dress, which resembles the “Bloomer dress,” of 19th century dress reformer Amelia Bloomer. Its “overalls or bloomers are soft and pretty.” Delineator, July 1917, p. 52.

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“The design is also delightful for negligee wear” in washable silk or satin. Butterick  pajamas for 1917  were also  gathered  at the ankle.

During World War I, fashion magazines used many military terms in a punning way –“over the top” fashion, the “dress parade,” etc. Here, “home-reserve” and “active service” are not meant to be taken literally, although many American women did take active roles in formerly male occupations, from farms to factories, in 1917. (Although World War I  began in Europe in August of 1914, the United States did not enter the war until April 6, 1917.)

Like the original Bloomer outfit of the 1850’s, Butterick dress No. 9294 conceals the trousers above the knee with an ample overskirt.

The month before, in June, a more daring “Bloomer dress” was shown; without a concealing overdress, it is more like a boiler suit or coverall.

Center, Butterick Bloomer dress pattern 9235, Delineator, June 1917, page 62.

Center, Butterick Bloomer dress pattern 9235, Delineator, June 1917, page 62.

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“The next step in the woman movement is into the bloomer dress.” Butterick pattern 9235 is suggested for domestic duties, with no mention of volunteer work. “If you would sprinkle the lawn or clean out the attic you might as well be practical about it as well as feminine.”

The Ladies’ Home Journal suggested equally revealing outfits for women taking on traditionally male jobs in 1917, but did not offer patterns for them.

Ladies' Home Journal, September 1917.

Ladies’ Home Journal, September 1917. Not all of the Journal’s suggestions had overskirts.

Of course, some women factory workers simply adopted men’s overalls for their war work.

American woman in Ladies' Home Journal, August 1917.

American woman in Ladies’ Home Journal, August 1917. Women doing previously male jobs freed men for military duty.

Other women workers wore variations on gym clothes, usually voluminous — and shape disguising — bloomers.

https://witness2fashion.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/1918-oct-college-girls-vassar-milk-platoon.jpg?w=500

College girls working at a dairy, Delineator, October 1918. They are literally wearing their gym suits.

Butterick’s Delineator magazine formed its own “Women’s Preparedness Bureau”…

Delineator magazine's Women's Preparedness Movement, July 1917, p. 22.

Delineator magazine’s Women’s Preparedness Bureau, July 1917, p. 22. “There are many kinds of service, from coursing on the clouds as an aviator to managing a spirited steed or a modern rifle.”

From Delineator's Women's Preparedness Bureau, July 1917

From Delineator’s Women’s Preparedness Bureau, July 1917.

“Businessmen are realizing that they will have to employ women in positions where formerly only men were to be found….”

The Woman's Preparedness Bureau offered to match women with suitable war jobs. Delineator, July 1917, p. 22.

The Woman’s Preparedness Bureau offered to match women with suitable war work. Delineator, July 1917, p. 22.

However,  The Ladies’ Home Journal published a much more practical multi-page article in November 1917. You can read it online thanks to the Hathi Trust. Here is the link. It may be slow to load, but it is interesting reading in women’s history.

Top of the first page of a long article on War Work for women in the United States. Ladies Home Journal, November 1917, page 39.

Top of the first page of a long article on War Jobs for women in the United States. Ladies Home Journal, November 1917, top of page 39.

This long article names government offices and civil service testing opportunities. If an army moves on its stomach, it also moves on a flood of clerical work.

One part sounds all too familiar…

From "War Jobs for Women," Ladies' Home Journal, November 1917, page 39.

From “War Jobs for Women,” Ladies’ Home Journal, November 1917, page 39. “All the facts he gives are from government sources.”

Given the current political climate, I found this paragraph — about the women who took those unglamorous jobs — quite interesting. They were often first generation Americans, the daughters of immigrants.

From The Ladies' Home Journal, November 1917, page 39.

From The Ladies’ Home Journal, November 1917, page 39.

Of course they had an economic incentive, but many of these first generation American women must have come from cultures not accustomed to letting their daughters work outside the home or family farm, away from the watchful and protective eyes of fathers and brothers.

A Disturbing Sidelight on Women in Trousers, 1920

At a Silent Film Festival, watching Oscar Micheaux’s historic 1920 silent film Within Our Gates, I saw female members of a lynch mob wearing variations on these wartime work outfits.

The movie, Micheaux’s response to the glorification of the Ku Klux Klan in Birth of a Nation, shows the lynching of a black family. Just after their little boy escapes, a mob including women surges toward the gallows. One of the women is wearing a suit; one wears a light, summery dress; at least two others wear voluminous gym knickers with middy blouses tucked into the waist. Whether they are farm workers or young women in gym suits isn’t clear.  The film is very grainy, but shows women appearing in a crowd of men while wearing trouser-like work clothes. Click here to see them in motion.   (It is grim.) Note that Micheaux has included women of all social classes in his lynch mob. This two-minute scene is powerful. Incidentally, his leading lady Evelyn Preer wears an extensive nineteen-teens wardrobe in the course of the film, so we can see period clothes in motion on a lovely but real woman’s body, instead of a fashion illustrator’s fantasy.

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, Musings, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Uniforms and Work Clothes, Vintage patterns, Women in Trousers, World War I