Tag Archives: 1930s large sizes

Vogue Patterns for Summer Dresses, 1936

Vogue patterns featured in Ladies' Home Journal, July 1936.

Vogue patterns featured in Ladies’ Home Journal, July 1936.

The Ladies’ Home Journal sold its own line of patterns early in the twentieth century, but in 1935 it entered into a special agreement with Vogue patterns to feature “exclusive but ‘Easy to Make’ Vogue patterns.”

Announcing the first anniversary of Vogue-Journal "Easy -to-Make" patterns , August 1936. Ladies' Home Journal.

Announcing the first anniversary of Vogue-Journal “Easy-to-Make” patterns, Ladies’ Home Journal, August 1936. Most of the patterns illustrated above are “Easy-to-Make”, but none is the four-in-one pattern mentioned here.

The Vogue-Journal patterns illustrated in July, 1936, are for “little summer daytime dresses.” One is a wrap dress, recommended for pregnancy; two are for “big ladies;” another has an optional zipper closing in front. 1936 is the year when couture collections began showing dresses — not necessarily sport dresses — with slide fasteners, although the zippered gold dress shown here is a sporty two-piece.

Summer dresses from Vogue patterns, Ladies' Home Journal, July 1936.

Summer dresses from Vogue patterns, Ladies’ Home Journal, July 1936.

“How about adding some of these little summer dresses to your repertoire? Any of them could be made of nice gay fabrics whose cost is negligible, but with Vogue’s styling, you can be sure of a dress that looks like — well, not a million dollars but many more than you put into it.”

This was 1936, when the Great Depression was in its sixth year, and many families were lucky to have $25 per week to live on. A new cotton dress was a luxury for most housewives. The Woman’s Home Companion, April 1936, reported that a survey of 16,000 professional women showed a median income of $1,625 per year. “Although a salary of $1,625 . . . is several hundred dollars over the average income received by nearly nine million typical American wage-earners, the majority of them men.” (p. 25.)

Nevertheless, there is a tempting variety of styles in these seven dresses.

Vogue 7402 and 7407

Vogue 7402 and 7407, July 1936. Ladies' Home Journal.

Vogue 7402 and 7407, July 1936. Ladies’ Home Journal.

“The pleated front of No. 7402 will notify your friends that you know fashions. Use a sheer or a challis.  No. 7407, being a bit dressy, can take a flowered lawn or a plain pastel batiste, and add a flower and ribbon sash. ‘Easy-to-Make.’ “

To my eyes, No. 7407 looks dressy, too. In fact, it reminds me of a yoked and pleated Albert Nipon dress I bought around 1980. The shape of this yoke is unusual; the contrast collar and cuffs, puffed shoulders, little bow at the neck, and bodice-to-hem pleats all reappeared in 1980’s styles. This dress, reserving its pleats for the center front, with a close, stitched-down fit over the hips, was probably more flattering than many 1980’s versions.

A 1936 dress that was echoed in the 1980s. Vogue pattern No. 7402.

A 1936 dress that was echoed in the 1980s. Vogue pattern No. 7402.

Vogue 7398 and 7397

“Now, after you look at 7398, an ‘Easy-to-Make,’ look at its rear view. Its wrapped panel will tell you how it could serve for those of you who are going to have babies this fall.” Many 1930’s maternity fashions [absurdly] had extra fullness in the back, rather than in the front. See “Who Would Ever Guess?”

Vogue 7398 and 7397, July 1936. Ladies' Home Journal.

Vogue 7398 and 7397, July 1936. Ladies’ Home Journal.

“No. 7397, ‘Easy-to-Make’ is sketched with a slide fastener, but there’s an alternate opening shown below. The tuck-in blouse and four-gored skirt are separate.” The novelty sleeve and partially in-seam bodice pockets are rather special. The bolero-shaped front bodice seams, sleeves and all pockets are top-stitched or prick-stitched.

lhj 1936 july vogue prick stitched

Vogue 7405 and 7404

“Nos. 7405 and 7404 are our answer to your plea, ‘Show some dresses for big ladies!’ “

Vogue patterns 7405 and 7404 for "big ladies." Ladies' Home Journal, July 1936.

Vogue patterns 7405 and 7404 for “big ladies.” Ladies’ Home Journal, July 1936.

“No. 7405 [top left] if you’re the tailored type, and No. 7404 ‘Easy-to-Make’ if you can stand bows.” [My concept of “tailored” did not include giant rick-rack, but live and learn. Inserting rick-rack between the garment front and the facing makes a more sophisticated trim than applied rick-rack. Only half of the rick-rack shows.]

Small-scale rick-rack inserted in a 1930's waitress uniform.

Small-scale rick-rack inserted in a 1930’s waitress uniform.

The range of available pattern sizes for “big ladies” were not mentioned in the LHJ article. As usual, they are illustrated on very thin ladies.

Vogue 7399

“And No. 7399 is a grand sun-back dress with an after-sunning bolero.”

Vogue pattern 7399, Ladies' Home Journal, July 1936.

Vogue pattern 7399, Ladies’ Home Journal, July 1936.

The bias pockets on this slim, red checked halter dress — plus the deeply notched white collar — give it that “Vogue” look.

Details, Vogue No. 7399, July 1936. Ladies' Home Journal.

Stylish Details, Vogue No. 7399, July 1936. Ladies’ Home Journal.

 

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Filed under 1930s, Maternity clothes, Sportswear, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes, Zippers

According to Type: December 1937 Styles for Four Kinds of Figure

Just when you think you’re starting to understand the styles of a certain period, surprises come along.

Dresses According to Type. Butterick Fashion News, December 1937.

Dresses According to Type. Butterick Fashion News, December 1937.

These four dress patterns were presented as appropriate for four different types of figure — and different ages. Can you tell which is which? The bodies illustrated don’t help much.

One is “For the Smart Matron,” one is “For Junior Miss Figures,” one is “For Shorter Women of Larger Hip,” and one is “For Misses 5 feet 4 inches and under.” Try matching the description to the dress without being able to see the face and hair: dec 1937 BFn numbered no faces 500

Does it help to know that this dress, from the same issue, is a “Junior Miss frock?”

Companion-Butterick pattern 7633, for Junionr Miss sizes 12 -20 or bust measurements 30" to 38". December 1937.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7633, for Junior Miss, sizes 12 -20 or bust measurements 30″ to 38″. Butterick Fashion News, December 1937.

Not very youthful, is it?

Answers

The fact that the two figures on the left are in active poses while those on the right are standing still is a big hint. Those are styles for larger and older women. Here are the descriptions, from left to right in the main illustration.

Butterick 7643, for Misses 5'4" and under, sizes 12 to 20, and bust 30 to 40". Dec. 1937.

Butterick pattern 7643, for Misses 5’4″ and under, sizes 12 to 20, and bust 30 to 40″. Dec. 1937.

Butterick pattern 7620 for junior miss figures, sizes 12 -20, or bust 30 to 38."

Butterick pattern 7620 for Junior Miss figures, sizes 12 -20, or bust 30 to 38.”

Butterick pattern 7647 for Shorter Women of Larger Hip. Bust sizes 34 to 48."

Butterick pattern 7647 for Shorter Women of Larger Hip. Bust sizes 34 to 50.”

Butterick pattern 7645 for the Smart Matron, bust 34 to 48."

Butterick pattern 7645 “for the Smart Matron — a draped dress with slim skirt.” Bust 34 to 48.”

I think the Smart Matron has the profile of Barbara Stanwyck. She certainly does not look like a woman with a 48″ bust, with waist and hips to match . . . . Readers of The Lost Art of Dress may recall that draped bodices and skirts were only considered appropriate for women in their 30s or older, women “of a certain age” and level of sophistication.

Back views, 7643, 7620, 7647, 7645.

Back views, 7643, 7620, 7647, 7645.

The woman of larger hip (7647) would probably benefit from a center back seam in her skirt to match the one in front.

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Filed under 1930s, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes

Flattering Styles for Large Women, February 1937

Woman's Home Companion, February 1937, p. 70.

Woman’s Home Companion, February 1937, p. 70.

The Woman’s Home Companion offered four dress patterns for hard-to-fit women in its February 1937 issue. The first two were “designed especially to flatter the large woman,” and the second pair of patterns were a pre-cursor of “half-sizes,” being designed for women under 5′ 4 1/2″ tall and with “hips a little larger than average.” All four Companion-Butterick patterns were available up to size 52″ bust measurement. The articles include period advice on flattering styles, accessories, and color choices for large women; some of it is standard [wear vertical lines, avoid over-large prints] , and some of it – tiny collars? – is a surprise.

Youthful Details for You Who Are Not So Slim [page 70]

Companion-Butterick patterns 7215 &7213, 1937.

Companion-Butterick patterns 7215 &7213, 1937.

“We are sure you feel as we do about the question of youthful clothes for the large but not old figure. You are tired of the staid styles you usually find in the big sizes. You have had an overdose of surplice lines.  You want fresh-looking new-looking dresses – and there is no reason why you shouldn’t have them.

“These two patterns have been planned to solve your problem. Each is cut in sizes up to 52-inch bust measure, each has a way of concealing pounds, yet each has a smart touch that is worthy of size 16. [I.e, a teen dress size.]

Companion Butterick patterns 7215 & 7217, 1937.

Companion Butterick patterns 7215 & 7217, 1937.

“In Pattern 7215 it is the tiny contrasting collar and vest section – such a pleasant change from the usual V. Look at the belt, too. This flatters your figure because it is hidden in front. And note the smooth shoulders – a good idea if you happen to be large through the top of the body. You can make [it] in youthful colors – this flax-blue linen perhaps, with contrasting pink. It is just the type for one of the new medium-high felts [see hat] with a medium-high crown.”

“In pattern 7213 you will like the soft drapery of the jabot – as kind to the face as to the figure. You will fiind too that the sleeves have been cut to give the new broad look to sloping shoulders. Wine is a good color for the long-sleeved version – smart with black suède oxfords delicately trimmed with fine scalloped stitching. In both dresses, as you see, there is a convenient choice of necklines and sleeve lengths.” WHC feb 1937 p 70  stout patterns top left

Add to Your Height and Subtract from Your Hips [page 71]

Woman's Hone Companion, Feb. 1937, p. 71

Woman’s Home Companion, Feb. 1937, p. 71

“You may be short and your hips may be a little larger than average but you can still wear the new clothes to good advantage. One way is to choose patterns cut to fit your figure. Another is to be sure that every detail of your costume is in proportion to your height.

“Not for you the too-heavy hat, but the small saucy brim and the medium-high crown of this beige felt. Not for you the rough leathers and bulky lines of a peasant’s shoe, but the slender silhouette of these soft blue step-ins. Not for you the overlarge too-vibrant print, but the fine traceries of this monotone floral. Not for you any fluffy trimmings, but this crisp touch of white organdie or the new saddle stitching, used here to emphasize long up-and-down lines.”

Companion-Butterick patterns 7217 & 7219, Feb. 1937.

Companion-Butterick patterns 7217 & 7219, Feb. 1937.

“About the patterns: No.7217 has this season’s raised waistline – and excellent idea because it adds inches to your skirt. You will notice too that there is no belt to break your height and that there is enough fullness above the skirt to conceal any extra pounds about the diaphragm.

“No. 7219 has the flattery of a small collar, a tiny belt, and definitely vertical lines. It is perfect for beige and for piqué, the ribs of the material running up and down except in the blouse section and the sleeves. There the fabric is used cross-ways to add interest from a fashion angle.”

Other views of patterns 7217 & 7219

Other views of patterns 7217 & 7219

 A Pre-Flattened Hat WHC feb 1937 p 70 squashed hat

I’ve seen a lot of 1930s hats in costume storage that look like they got squashed; I never realized that they might have started life that way!

 

Truth in Illustrating?

As usual, Woman’s Home Companion has written about patterns styled for large women, but illustrated the article on standard 1930s fashion figures. [Illustrations by Ernst.] True, these four patterns were available from size 34″ bust all the way up to size 52″, but the illustrations don’t give any idea of how the dresses would look on, say, a size 42. To be fair, however, the illustrations on page 71 did show slightly larger-than-usual hips. WHC feb 1937 p 71 hip comparison

 

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Filed under 1930s, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Hats, Vintage patterns

Spring Styles for Older (and Larger) Women, February, 1931

On Tuesday night I was going through photos I had taken of Delineator fashions from February, 1931. Someone had removed the February 1931 cover from the bound volume at the library – a shame, because the covers in the 1930s were especially lovely. This is the cover from March, by Dynevor Rhys: (Click image to enlarge)

Delineator Cover for March, 1931, by Dynevor Rhys

Delineator Cover for March, 1931, by Dynevor Rhys

I had found a page of spring fashions for older women, so I was thinking about one of my favorite blogs, American Age Fashion: What American Women Wore, 1900 to Now.  Serendipity:  In the next day’s mail, I received a gift from Lynn at americanagefashion.com: a copy on fabric of the missing February 1931 cover of Delineator! (I haven’t photographed it yet.) In return, here are . . .

Four February Fashions “Charmingly Suited to the Dignity of White Hair”

Butterick patterns "Charmingly Suited to the Dignity of White Hair" from Delineator, February 1931

Butterick patterns “Charmingly Suited to the Dignity of White Hair” from Delineator, February 1931

Back Views

Back Views

This text is typed below — the print here is a bit small!

1931 feb p 106 suited to white hair pattern info

Butterick 3363 & 3697

Butterick 3363 & 3697

3663 FLATTER YOURSELF With a deep ivory lace yoke and a lace jabot on your new black frock, and the result will turn other heads than your own.  A bit more lace is added at the cuffs. The angular line of the skirt yoke is flattering also. Notice the hem; it is at exactly the right place for the smart matron. The frock is designed for sizes 34 to 46. [bust measurement]

3697 IF YOU ARE SLENDER Choose raspberry for this frock – it is a new color with dark coats, and a charming one with white hair. If not slender, choose black with white or flesh chiffon vestee. The belt is slightly below the normal line, and both the long collar and the curved insert with a flare have a one-sided trend. Designed for 34 to 48. [bust measurement]

1931 feb p 106 3681 3675f white hair large top

3681 THE SLIMMEST LINE All the important lines in this frock are diagonals – that’s the clever part of it, for they flatter the mature figure. The straight skirt is shirred  on the diagonal. The bodice has a diagonal closing. A long white collar helps to make one appear thin, and soft flares finish the three-quarter sleeves. The frock is designed for 34 to 52. [inches bust measure]

3675 ONE TYPE OF TUNIC  The flared tunic is broken at the center front and back, so that it will not cut any length from the figure, and both skirt and tunic are joined to the long bodice in scalloped outline, Wear the belt where it suits you best. The flared three-quarter sleeves and lace vestee are flattering. The frock is designed for 34 to 48 [inch bust measurement.] “Wear the belt where it suits you best” — in other words, if you are not ready to give up the low waistline of the 1920s.

Lane Bryant Adds a Touch of Reality

Pattern number 3681 is illustrated as if the model were a little larger than the 1930s ideal. However, the three other models appear to be size 34, not size 48 or 52.  This advertisement for the Lane Bryant catalog (Style Book) for Stout Women is also from February 1931 — and a bit more realistic.  The model appears to be wearing a very good corset, with bust support and hip control. There is still a twenties influence in the low waist (or lack thereof.)

Lane Bryant Ad from Delineator, February 1931

Lane Bryant Ad from Delineator, February 1931

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Filed under 1930s, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes

Companion-Butterick Triad Dress Pattern for Women after Fifty, May 1937

Companion-Butterick pattern # 7353, May 1937

Companion-Butterick pattern # 7363, Woman’s Home Companion, May 1937. Illustrated by ERNST

7363 Triad Dress. Sizes, 34 to 52 inch bust measure. Size 40 requires 4 1/4 yards 35-inch material for house dress; 4 ½ yards 35-inch material for sports dress; 4 1/4 yards 39-inch material for afternoon dress. Price of pattern, 45 cents.

“You cannot be too particular about lines, colors and fabrics – when you are on the after side of fifty. Everything you wear must look as if made to your special order.  That is why this Triad pattern is a perfect solution for the three new dresses you will undoubtedly need this summer.

“The lines of 7363 are all part of a plot to make you look younger, slimmer. The darts which let in fullness at the top, the three different blouse fronts, each long-lined, the straight pleats in the skirt, stitched down above the knee and extending above the waist in two versions, the perfectly smooth shoulders – all these are flattering and new.” — Woman’s Home Companion

Afternoon Dress

Afternoon Dress

Afternoon Dress

“So are the fabrics and colors illustrated here.  Try a soft gray and white silk print as a change from navy and touch it up with a luscious medium blue.”

Sports Dress

Spectator Sport Dress

Spectator Sport Dress

“Keep to pink or any other becoming pastel for your spectator sports linen, set off with this season’s saddle stitching.”

House Dress

Housedress

Green Housedress in a Modernistic Print

“And then let yourself go, practically to modernism, in a gay cotton for the house.”

Women over Forty in Advertisements from the Woman’s Home Companion

In addition to the Triad Pattern for women “after fifty,” the  May, 1937 issue had the usual ads and articles; Mother’s Day was probably the inspiration for the article about Mother/Daughter Hair styling. Women’s magazines had a wealth of shoe advertisements, many stressing comfort and good arch support, and aimed at the older woman.

White Shoes for Summer, 1937

Florsheim Shoes for Summer, May 1937 ad

Florsheim Shoes for Summer, May 1937 ad Click to enlarge

The model for Pattern #7363 is wearing shoes very similar to these in white kid, “Juliette, W-364” shown in a Florsheim ad in the same issue of the Woman’s Home Companion. These shoes cost $9.50 to $10.50 – definitely middle-class. [Summer shoes from Sears cost about $2.00 in 1936. A nurse earned $20 to $35 per week.]

Foot Saver Shoes, ad from May 1937

Foot Saver Shoes, ad from May 1937  Click to enlarge

These Foot Saver shoes were even more expensive, costing up to $14.75. The model looks young, but young women were more likely to choose strappy, white sandal-type shoes than lace-ups.

Hair Styles for Older Women

This one was done at the Marshall Field store’s salon: “How a daughter would like her mother to dress her hair — and vice versa.”

Hairstyles for Mother and Daughter, Chicago, 1937

Hairstyles for Mother and Daughter, Chicago, 1937

I can’t resist ending with a less glamorous picture of  middle-aged women, as well. A more natural hairdo — and a less rosy view of life after forty — is presented in this ad for Scot Bathroom Tissue:

Ad for ScotTissue: "Are You Past Forty?"

Ad for ScotTissue: “Are You Past Forty?”

“Are you past forty? It is estimated that 65% at middle age suffer from rectal ailments. Then the comfort of Luxury Texture is doubly appreciated.” Oh, dear.  Time to count my blessings…. I do like the casual hair style in this ad; you can believe the model did it herself. Her crisp collar and print dress are quite chic for a housedress.

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Filed under 1930s, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Hairstyles, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Shoes, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes