Category Archives: Women in Trousers

Summer Halter Dresses and Pantsuit Patterns from Vogue, 1966

Cover of Vogue store flyer, June, 1966. Vogue pattern 6797.

These breezy summer fashions are fifty-one years old, but I can’t really remember a summer since then when halter styles were not worn. In 1966, Vogue patterns offered several halter-style dresses, plus a pantsuit with a halter top included.

Vogue halter dress patterns 6766 (left) and 6787 (right;) June 1966 flyer.

Alternate views of Vogue 6766 and 6787.

The only thing that separates these dresses from current styles is that they have more structure: darts, linings, interesting seams — details that we don’t find in garments mass-produced as cheaply as possible, using stretch fabrics and sewing shortcuts.

Depending on fabric choice, these two could be very dressy — cocktail dresses rather than casual dresses. Vogue patterns 6793 (left) and 6789, from 1966.

The dress on the right has a sixties’ stiffness that requires some lining or flat-lining to hold its shape. The pattern includes a matching jacket.

The pattern for the long, bare-shouldered beach cover-up on the left included a two-piece swim suit:

Vogue 6771 included a swim suit whose straps are perfect for wearing under it. Right, the short dress with a flounce, Vogue 6772, also conceals a swim suit. From 1966.

Another swim suit and “sun-shelter” dress:

Vogue 6772, a beach cover-up with bathing suit included. From 1966.

This pantsuit has a halter-topped blouse under it:

A pantsuit with long, slim trousers or conservative shorts. Vogue 6795 from 1966. The “spare little jacket, belted high in back, covers a turtleneck blouse with cut-in armholes.”

The Commercial Pattern Archive (CoPA) at University of Rhode Island has this pattern, Vogue pantsuit 6795 .  It’s illustrated in a Villager-flavored floral print. Although not mentioned in the store flyer, the pattern also includes a skirt and a dress, in day or evening length.

A caution about pantsuits in the sixties: I graduated from college in this year, 1966. Women students were not allowed to wear trousers on outdoors on campus unless they wore a coat over them. These pantsuits are sportswear, not worn to school or to the office. (The big-city bank where I worked allowed us to wear matching trousers and jackets to work in 1970.)

A “smock-like” fabric pullover top with matching above-the-knee shorts. Vogue pattern 6727, from 1966.

A  bit “kookie” is this dress trimmed with ball fringe (optional).

Vogue 6726 is a dress with a little Mod/op art influence and some hippie ball fringe…. To see it in color, click here.

To the right of 6726 is a much more sophisticated bare-backed dress — I think it has an Emma Peel flavor.

In black, Vogue 6751, a side-baring, back-baring “patio dress” from 1966.

Notice the low-heeled shoes. The hairstyles illustrated were often seen on television, worn by Marlo Thomas (“That Girl”) and Barbara Feldon (“Get Smart.”) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under 1950s-1960s, 1960s-1970s, Bathing Suits, Sportswear, Swimsuits, Vintage patterns, Women in Trousers

Asian-Influenced Maternity Pattern, 1956

This chic maternity pattern appeared in the Butterick Fashion News store flyer in June, 1956.

Butterick 7795, a maternity pattern from June, 1956. Available in three versions.

[I apologize for the poor quality photos — my new computer won’t run my old photo program!]

Pattern description for Butterick 7795, from 1956.

The sleeveless version of Butterick 7795 was illustrated in pale green. The dress at left was for “Expecting company.”

The “Party time” version was a skirt and blouse with three-quarter sleeves and side slits; brocade material was recommended.

A glamorous Asian-influenced brocade maternity outfit for parties. 1956.

These 1950’s outfits — which assume that the mother-to-be will lead a normal life, entertaining, shopping, attending parties — are a refreshing contrast to the attitude of previous decades, which suggested that pregnancy should be concealed as long as possible, and that a pregnant woman should try not to attract attention in public. (See Who Would Ever Guess? (1930’s), Some Maternity Clothes of the 1920’s and 1930’s, and Maternity Fashions for December 1942, etc.)

1934 march p 80 lane bryant maternity catalog

“Designed to conceal condition,” 1934.

I remember the maternity fashions of my own childhood, the fifties, as being pretty — and making the wearer look pretty, too — distinct from the tight-waisted dresses of those days, but available in many versions, from “suitable for church” to “picnic in the back yard,” which included trousers instead of the narrow pencil skirts worn in public. (Trousers were strictly casual — not for school or PTA meetings.) This McCall pattern is from 1959.

McCall maternity pattern 4936, dated 1959. A pencil skirt, tapered “Capri” pants, and Bermuda shorts were included.

Back of pattern envelope, McCall 4936. From 1959. The “kangaroo” front of the pencil skirt and the waist of the trousers are adjustable.

There is no nonsense about concealing pregnancy in these fifties’ outfits. Hooray!

1 Comment

Filed under 1940s-1950s, 1950s-1960s, Maternity clothes, Sportswear, Vintage patterns, Women in Trousers

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 🙂 )

5 Comments

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.

500-9294-text-1917-july-p-52-bloomer-dress-9294-housedress-9258-cap-9253-9279-megligee-9304-dressing-sack-8950-9253-9267-9301

“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.

500-text-9235-bloomer-1917-june-p-62-summer-bloomer-pants-9235-btm-text

“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.

5 Comments

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

Ski Clothes for Women, January 1927

Eighty years ago, Delineator magazine showed the latest styles seen at Lake Placid, NY, and offered Butterick patterns for skiers and skaters. (Lake Placid hosted the winter Olympics in 1932.)

Skiers at Lake Placid, January 1927. Leslie Saalburg illustration for Delineator, p. 15.

Skiers at Lake Placid, January 1927. Leslie Saalburg illustration for Delineator, p. 15.

The woman at left wears a beret, long trousers, and a heavy jacket with big pockets:

Woman skier in heavy jacket, January 1927, Delineator.

Woman skier in belted jacket, January 1927, Delineator.

In spite of twenties fashions, the belt must have “ridden up” to her natural waistline with movement.

Behind her, a woman wears a matching checked top and knickers:

Detail, Ski Resort, January 1927. Delneator, p. 15.

Detail, Ski Resort, January 1927. Delineator, p. 15. I’m curious; was that outfit true-to-life or artistic license?

A few pages later, Butterick patterns for winter sports were featured.

Costumes for Winter Sports: Butterick patterns for skiing and skating, January 1927.

Costumes for Winter Sports: Butterick patterns for skiing and skating, January 1927.

“7062 — 4147 — Back of the north wind is the windbreaker with knitted or fabric collar and cuffs and a hip band that buttons snugly. For skis with their horrid trick of doing a treacherous double cross reinforced knickers fitted at the knee are worn with wool hose and socks.” The knickers button tightly at the knee and were available up to waist size 38 inches. It looks like she is wearing two pairs of socks, one rolled at the ankle.

Butterick ski jacket pattern 7062 with heavy wool knickers, pattern 4147. Delineator, Jan. 1927, p. 22.

Butterick windbreaker ski jacket pattern 7062 with heavy wool knickers, pattern 4147. Delineator, Jan. 1927, p. 22.

Butterick windbreaker pattern 6991 and pleated skirt 1175 from Delineator, January 1927, p. 22.

Butterick windbreaker pattern 6991 and pleated skirt 1175 from Delineator, January 1927, p. 22.

Duvetyn was a brushed fabric, usually wool; suede was also suggested for the jacket. The skirt, with its top-stitched pleats, would have been too tight for some skaters’ moves, but “contrives to be both slim and roomy.” This being the twenties, when some skirts hung from the shoulders on an underbodice,  the skirt was sold by hip size. Does “waistcoat style” mean the belt was adjustable, like the back of a vest? Her striped stockings are probably wool. Textured and patterned stockings were popular for casual winter wear.

Textured stockings in an editorial article about rainwear. Delineator, April 1929, p. 85.

Textured stockings in an editorial article about rainwear. Delineator, April 1929, p. 85.

For more illustrations of colorful stockings in the 1920’s, click here.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1920s, Hosiery, Hosiery, Sportswear, Vintage patterns, Women in Trousers

Butterick Starred Patterns: Actual Fashions from the Movies (Part 1)

Katharine Hepburn in Butterick Starred Pattern 5156 5154, Delineator May 1933. P. 71

Katharine Hepburn in Butterick Starred Pattern 5156, Delineator May 1933. P. 71 From the movie Christopher Strong.

As far as I can tell, in 1933 Butterick decided to take advantage of the movies’ influence on fashion by issuing a dozen patterns that were exact copies of the clothes worn in films. The costumes were designed by Orry-Kelly, Travis Banton, and Howard Greer for actresses Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn, Kay Francis and Mary Astor, among others. The series was called Butterick Starred Patterns. The movie studios cooperating with Butterick were Warner’s, R.K.O., and Paramount.

These patterns are not to be confused with the Hollywood Pattern company; Hollywood Patterns only had movie studio tie-ins, with pictures of stars and starlets appearing on the pattern envelopes. The patterns were not exact copies of movie costumes. As explained in A History of the Paper Pattern Industry, by Joy Spanabel Emery:

“Hollywood pattern styles were not of the garments worn in films, for as stated in the April/May Hollwood Pattern Book, ‘[The designs] are inspired by the clothes of the smartest stars, not copied from them. The dress which may be perfect for the camera may be too dramatic in the office or home. Our staff studies the best previews, then creates clothes in the same spirit, but easier to wear.’ ” — Joy Spanabel Emery, p. 126. [Movies were often previewed a month before general release.]

SoVintagePatterns.com has many Hollywood patterns for sale. Click here and see if you find your favorite actress. Click here to see the Hollywood pattern version of a Scarlett O’Hara dress, translated into a 1939 evening gown or day dress.

Butterick Starred Patterns

Because of their rarity and their genuine movie and celebrity tie-ins,  Butterick Starred Patterns are collectors’ items now. Butterick No. 5215, a pattern for the bathing suit worn by Bette Davis in The Working Man, sold on Ebay in December, 2015, for $113.50 (unused.)

Bette Davis in The Working Man, and Butterick Starred Pattern. Delineator, June 1933.

Bette Davis in The Working Man, and  Butterick pattern 5215, a halter top bathing suit. Delineator, June 1933.

Butterick Starred Patterns only appeared in the Butterick catalog for one year: 1933. (Joy Spanabel Emery, p 127.)

As it happens, I have just finished going through all 12 issues of Butterick’s Delineator magazine — in which “Starred” Patterns were publicized — from 1933. From April through August, The Delineator featured a different movie each month, with illustrations of the patterns on the same page as photographs of those exact outfits being worn in the film.

Delineator, June 1933. p. 63. Four Butterick Starred Patterns designed for Bette Davis by Orr-Kelly in the film The Working Man.

Delineator, June 1933. p. 63. Four Butterick Starred Patterns designed for Bette Davis by Orry-Kelly in the film The Working Man.

I’ll separate the patterns by designer, starting with Bette Davis in four costumes designed by Orry-Kelly for the Warner Brothers’ film, The Working Man. Here is the text of the article “Four Costumes Worn by Bette Davis.”

1933 June p 63 Bette Davis 500 hollywood 5204 5215 5212 5214 left TEXT

1933 June p 63 Bette Davis 500 hollywood 5204 5215 5212 5214 btm half TEXT

Bette Davis’ bathing suit 5215  in The Working Man is searchable as Butterick 5215 C in the Vintage Pattern Wikia. The pattern envelope shows another, pleated version, too. That view was featured in Delineator’s July issue. It’s been named “Seaworthy,” and there is no mention of Bette Davis or the movies.

Butterick bathing suit pattern 5215 -- "Seaworthy" -- in a feature about resort wear. Delineator, July 1933.

Butterick bathing suit pattern 5215 — “Seaworthy” — in a feature about resort wear. Delineator, July 1933.

In June, Delineator said, “The plaid gingham bathing suit is fashion news, for the cotton suit is the suit of the summer, much, much smarter than the wool one.” In July, the same suit, in an alternate view with pleated skirt, was described this way:

Butterick 5215 as described in July 1933.

Butterick 5215 as described in July 1933.

Two designs for Bette Davis in The Working Man. Butterick Starred Patterns 5204 and 5215. Jule 1933, Delineator.

Two Orry-Kelly designs for Bette Davis in The Working Man. Butterick Starred Patterns 5204 and 5215. June 1933, Delineator.

Bette Davis wore Starred Pattern No. 5204 for her role as a secretary:

Butterick Starred Pattern 5204, a "four pocket" dress for a secretary. Delineator, June 1933, p. 63.

Butterick Starred Pattern 5204, a “four pocket” dress for a secretary. Delineator, June 1933, p. 63.

“It was a grand dress to get fired in.” 5204  is not in the Vintage Pattern Wikia, but click here to see the envelope.

Butterick Starred Patterns 5212 and 5214, designed by Orr-Kelly for Bette Davis. Delineator, June 1933.

Butterick Starred Patterns 5212 and 5214, designed by Orry-Kelly for Bette Davis. Delineator, June 1933.

Butterick Starred pattern 5214 is described in the June article as the “two color dress [which] tends to reduce one’s ‘Boss’ to a state where he will eat out of one’s hand.”

Bette Davis in the dress which Butterick copied as pattern 5214. Delineator, June 1933.

Right: Bette Davis in the dress which Butterick copied as pattern 5214. Delineator, June 1933.

Bette Davis Starred Pattern 5214 is listed in the Vintage Pattern Wikia as 5214 B. Patterns 5204 and 5214 had long or short sleeved versions, so buyers could make an exact copy of the movie dresses.

The “jabot frock” on the left, above, “would make the best possible Saturday dress.” Bette Davis Starred pattern  5212 is also in the Vintage Pattern Wikia.

Costume designer Orry-Kelly first worked with Bette Davis in 1932, when she still thought of herself as “a mousy, twenty-two year old virgin with knobby knees, a pelvic slouch, and cold blue bug eyes….”

“Davis credited Orry-Kelly’s designs for giving her a certain amount of chic, a quality that she did not feel she possessed…. During her eighteen years at Warner Bros.,  Davis came to rely on Orry-Kelly to help her build the characterizations for which she became so famous.” — Creating the Illusion, p. 170

Orry-Kelly and Bette Davis didn’t like each other, according to Jorgenson and Scoggins in Creating the Illusion, but they realized that they complemented each other’s work.  They made forty-two movies together in a period of fourteen years.

“Working with Bette Davis isn’t easy, but she’s worth it. She’s honest and outspoken. She’s one of the very few actresses I know who can look in the mirror and tell herself the truth. When I’m ready to give up and throw out a dress, she’ll give it a hitch or a twist and turn it into something great.” — Orry-Kelly, quoted in Creating the Illusion, p. 171.

Orry-Kelly has an astoundingly long list of movie design credits  (Filmography) at the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDb), but he didn’t design all the costumes in all those movies. Studios often listed a department head or supervisor as the “designer” on films. Much of the work was done by assistants. However, established stars developed working (and sometimes fighting) relationships with studio designers. In addition to all those Bette Davis pictures, you may remember Orry-Kelly’s costumes for Gold Diggers of 1933,  Casablanca and Some Like It Hot. 

Next:

Butterick Starred Patterns, Part 2: Orry-Kelly designs costumes for Kay Francis, and Butterick makes patterns from his designs.

 

8 Comments

Filed under 1930s, A Costumers' Bookshelf, Bathing Suits, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Swimsuits, Tricks of the Costumer's Trade, Vintage patterns, Vintage patterns from the movies, Women in Trousers

Butterick Fashion News: A Few Patterns from August, 1938.

Thanks to Monica Shaffer and her colleagues at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas, I can share some images from Butterick Fashion News, August 1938. It features this shirt and slacks combination on its cover:

Butterick pattern 7988, August 1938. Cover of Butterick Fashion News flyer.

Butterick pattern 7988, August 1938. A “bush jacket” on the cover of Butterick Fashion News flyer.

Back view of Butterick pattern 7988, dated August 1938. "Bush jacket."

Back view of Butterick pattern 7988, dated August 1938. “The Bush jacket is a new companion for slacks.” The back shows a pleat and gathers for ease of movement.

This “bush jacket” pre-dates the 1967 YSL safari collection — a lasting fashion influence — by nearly thirty years.

The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum is “located just a few miles from Amarillo as well as Palo Duro Canyon,” which could be a pleasant side trip if you are headed toward North Texas. I’d be a happy traveler in that pants outfit.

This pleated bolero jacket looks fresh, seven decades later…. Here’s a link to a more recent one by Alaia, on sale for $3,000.

Butterick bolero and dress No. 8005 and a dress with waist-length jacket, No. 8017. 1938.

Butterick bolero and dress No. 8005 and a dress with waist-length jacket, No. 8017. 1938.

I also like the way the open fronted, waist-tied jacket on the right allows a row of buttons to peek through.

Butterick patterns 8005 and 8017, from summer, 1938.

Butterick patterns 8005 and 8017, from summer, 1938.

I had never heard of “the Doll Silhouette,” which makes the skirt ripple by stiffening the hem.

The Doll Silhouette; Butterick patterns 8023 and 8016. August, 1938.

The Doll Silhouette; Butterick patterns 8023 and 8016. August, 1938. Lots of top-stitching. “By stiffening the hemline, even the limpest fabrics flute out like the dress of a doll.” [Or an Art Nouveau illustration.]

Butterick 8023:  “Grosgrain ribbon swirls out the hemline, ties the neck.” Sizes 12 to 20; 30 to 44 [bust measures.] Butterick 8016:  “Organdy is stitched inside skirt and shoulders, waist is pulled in.” Sizes 12 to 20; 30 to 40 [bust measures.] All those lines of parallel stitching remind me of the same ornamentation in 1917-1918.

Sheer dresses, like these, featured in 1938…

Sheer dresses: Butterick 8011 and Companion-Butterick pattern 7989. August, 1938.

Sheer dresses: Butterick 8011 and Companion-Butterick pattern 7989. August, 1938.

… and were also on the cover of the Butterick Fashion News –and in many other pattern catalogs — in 1939.

The Doll Silhouette was also mentioned with Butterick 8020.

Butterick 8020 and 7993, August 1938.

Butterick patterns 8020 and 7993, August 1938.

Here is the whole page:

A page from Butterick Fashion News, August. 1938.

“Swing Your Skirt Wide.” A page from Butterick Fashion News, August. 1938.

Hemlines are rising, but, even on younger women, they are still well below the knee. Here is a closer view of the two outfits on the right:

Dresses for younger women, Butterick, 1938. Patterns no. 7999, a two piece, and 8022.

Dresses for younger women, Butterick, 1938. Patterns no. 7999, a two-piece, and 8022. I love the sporty vest or “weskit” illusion.

Butterick 7999:  “Two-piece, two-tone dress.” Sizes Junior Miss 12 to 20, bust measurement 30 to 38 inches. You can see a less casual version on the pattern envelope at the Vintage Pattern Wikia.

Butterick 8022:  “A gored skirted dress designed to make you look taller.” “For Misses of 5 ft. 4 or under in sizes 12 to 20; 30 to 40” [bust measure.] Is “taller” a euphemism for “thinner?” If so, the center back seam on the skirt is a good idea.

Butterick Fashion News, page 5, August 1938. Companion-Butterick patterns 7991 and 7987; Butterick patterns 8007 and 7995.

Butterick Fashion News, page 5, August 1938. Companion-Butterick patterns 7991 and 7987; Butterick patterns 8007 and 7995.

Another sheer dress, and some lively prints. I’ve written about the popularity of large-scale prints in 1938 before. Companion-Butterick patterns were featured in Woman’s Home Companion magazine.

unspecified 1938 aug p 4 text CB7991 CB7987 Butterick 8007 7993

Additional lively prints were shown on the back cover:

Print dresses from Butterick patterns 8003 and 8009, Aug. 1938.

Print dresses from Butterick patterns 8003 and 8009, Aug. 1938.

Butterick 8003:  “In the manner of Vionnet, with draped shoulders, wide short sleeves.” Sizes 12 to 20, 30 to 40 [bust.]

Butterick 8009:  “A sheer printed cotton looks very youthful gathered at the neck and sleeves.” Sizes 12 to 20, 30 to 40 [bust.]

When a style is described as “youthful,” I always suspect that it’s aimed at older wearers — although this pattern isn’t available in larger sizes.

Here are styles for “figure problems.”

Figures are no problem to us." The problems range from wide hips to pregnancy.

“Figures are no problem to us.” The problems range from wide hips to pregnancy.

The suit dress on the left is a maternity outfit:

Butterick 8012, August 1938. A wide bow at the neck distracts from a pregnant body.

Butterick 8012, (top left) August 1938. A wide bow at the neck is meant to distract from a pregnant body. (Not that this model is “showing.”)

Butterick 8012:  “A big bow focuses the interest in this maternity dress with jacket and adjustable waist.” Sizes 12 to 20, 30 to 40 [bust measurement.] See the dress on its envelope here. The “wrap” maternity dress has a deep pleat at its left side for expansion.

Butterick 8014 for "shorter women of larger hip," and Butterick 8021

Butterick 8014 (left) for “shorter women of larger hip,” and Butterick 8021 “for the mature figure.” 1938.

Butterick 8014:  “Deep neckline, slim skirt and narrow sleeves make this ideal for shorter women of larger hip.” Sizes 34 to 52 [inches bust.]

Butterick 8021:  “For the mature figure, a softly molded bodice and waistline are gracious and becoming.” Sizes 34 to 52 [inches bust.]

Butterick 7998 is a simple lace evening dress  that “you can wear anywhere with dignity and chic;” its bolero jacket covers  the upper arms. This gown was  available in bust sizes 34 to 52 inches. [And illustrated on a size 34, of course.]

Butterick 7998 evening dress with jacket for mature women. Aug. 1938.

Butterick 7998 evening dress with jacket for mature women. Aug. 1938. Available in large sizes.

I’ll try to share more of these great thirties’ clothes in another post. Thanks again to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum.

6 Comments

Filed under 1930s, 1930s-1940s, bags, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Gloves, handbags, Hats, Maternity clothes, Purses, Sportswear, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes, Women in Trousers