Tag Archives: 1910s fashions styles clothing dress World War I

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

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

Summer Dresses from Butterick, July 1918, Part 2

Summer fashions from Butterick, Delineator, July 1918, page 51.

Summer fashions from Butterick, Delineator, July 1918, page 51.

These summer outfits — with one exception — are really blouse and skirt combinations. The blouses deserve a close-up look:

Butterick blouse patterns 9999 and 9997, Delineator, July 1918, p 51.

Butterick blouse patterns 9999 and 9997, Delineator, July 1918, p 51.

9995 and 1011, with skirts 1028 and 1001. The bag, with tassel trim, is Transfer pattern 10370. Delineator, July 1918, p. 51.

Butterick blouses 9995 and 1011, with skirts 1028 and 1001. The bag, with tassel trim, is Transfer pattern 10670. Delineator, July 1918, p. 51.

These sheer overblouses are smocked to provide a little fullness over the bust. "Smock or Blouse 9994 and Blouse 1012. Delineator, July 1918, p. 51.

These sheer overblouses are smocked to provide a little fullness over the bust. “Smock or Blouse” 9994 and “Smock or Blouse” 1012. Delineator, July 1918, p. 51.

Dress 1007 is bluish, with a slight teal or gray tint. Its pockets and hem area are either embroidered or use soutache braid as a trim. Butterick sold the transfer pattern for such embellishments: No. 10692.

Butterick dress pattern 1007, from July 1918, Delineator.

Butterick dress pattern 1007, from July 1918, Delineator.

Page 50, which had all the pattern descriptions, also showed three additional outfits in black and white illustrations:

Butterick patterns from Delineator, July 1918, p. 50. From left, Blouse 1025 with skirt 1020; dress 9934, and dress 1019.

Butterick patterns from Delineator, July 1918, p. 50. From left, Blouse 1025 with skirt 1020; dress 9934, and dress 1019.

Here are all ten outfits, with their original descriptions and alternate views — which are often quite different from their color illustrations.

Butterick blouse 9999 and skirt 9991, July 1918.

Butterick blouse 9999 and skirt 9991, July 1918.

The alternate view shows a very different, high necked version of the blouse; the U-shaped neckline was a fairly recent fashion, so the high-necked version was aimed at older or more conservative dressers.

Butterick blouse 9997 and skirt 1013, July 1918.

Butterick blouse 9997 and skirt 1013, July 1918.

The skirt pattern was available in waist sizes 24 to 38 inches. The alternate view has a “Peter Pan collar.” The actress Maude Adams toured extensively in the play Peter Pan, setting a fashion. Click here to see her Peter Pan collar. Click here to see more about this Turn-of-the Century beauty with a brain.

Butterick Smock or Butterick dress pattern 1007. Delineator, July 1918.

Butterick dress pattern 1007, July 1918. The illustration of the alternate view shows a high collared insert — perhaps a dickey or vestee?

Dress pattern 1007 came in a larger than usual size — 46″ bust — and has a surplice closing “becoming to every woman, whatever her age,”  so it was expected to appeal to older women, too. During World War I, Delineator fashion writing often used military phrases, such as “maintains the morale,” “obeys all orders,” and “dangerous to mankind.” (See Up Like Little Soldiers for more examples of jingoistic fashion writing.)

Butterick Smock or Blouse 1012 with skirt 9723. Delineator, July 1918.

Butterick Smock or Blouse 1012 with skirt 9723. Delineator, July 1918.

Notice that the fancy, smocked pocket is shown as part of the skirt pattern, although it is on the smock in the color illustration. This skirt is gathered in back, and forms a header/ruffle above the waistband. This smock is also shown with a Peter Pan Collar (or it may be a long Buster Brown…. see below.) If not made in sheer fabric, would it be a maternity top?

Another Smock or Blouse pattern from Butterick, No. 9994. This sheer blouse is shown over a "Foundation" -- a slip like underdress, meant to show. July 1918.

Another Smock or Blouse pattern from Butterick, No. 9994.  Foundation 9842. July 1918.

This sheer blouse is shown over a “Foundation” — a slip-like underdress, meant to show; the foundation looks more like a lingerie slip in the alternate view.

Butterick blouse 9995 with skirt 1028. Delineator, July 1918.

Butterick blouse 9995 with skirt 1028. Delineator, July 1918. The skirt was available in waist measurements 24 to 38 inches.

Butterick blouse 1011 and skirt 1001, July1918.

Butterick blouse 1011 and skirt 1001, July, 1918. More smocking gathers the bodice. This alternate view shows a “Buster Brown collar.

Buster Brown shoe ad, Nov. 1917. Delineator.

Buster Brown shoe ad, Nov. 1917. Delineator.

Butterick blouse 1025 with skirt 1020. July, 1918.

Butterick blouse 1025 with skirt 1020. July, 1918.

Butterick dress pattern 9934, from July 1918.

Butterick dress pattern 9934, from July 1918. The bodice can be made with either front or back closures, and “all of the most popular necklines.” The unusual sleeves were a popular style.

Her flower-covered hat has a sheer brim. (For others, click here or here or here.)

Butterick dress pattern 1019, July 1918.

Butterick dress pattern 1019, July 1918.

The hat shown in the middle of the page deserves a closer look. How did the wearer get through doorways, or into a car?

The hat is adorned with two feathers which appear to be ten or twelve inches taller than the hat.

The hat is adorned with two feathers which appear to be ten or twelve inches taller than the hat.

Perhaps the hatless lady in the foreground is making a comment?

Part 1 of Summer Dresses from Butterick, July 1918, is here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

page 51

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, Accessory Patterns, bags, handbags, Hats, lingerie, Maternity clothes, Purses, Slips and Petticoats, Underthings, Hosiery, Corsets, etc, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes, World War I