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.”
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.
“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
“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.
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?”
“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.
Vogue 7405 and 7404
“Nos. 7405 and 7404 are our answer to your plea, ‘Show some dresses for big ladies!’ “
“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.]
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.
“And No. 7399 is a grand sun-back dress with an after-sunning bolero.”
The bias pockets on this slim, red checked halter dress — plus the deeply notched white collar — give it that “Vogue” look.