The variety of lingerie — and the names — from Butterick’s 1924 underwear patterns is amazing to me. It’s a specialized area that doesn’t really make me want to hit the reference books. However, for those of you who love or collect vintage undies, here are some images and pattern descriptions from 1924 and 1925.
These two patterns were illustrated repeatedly, but not together, with varied descriptions. I arbitrarily referred to this pale green one-piece as a “teddie” in a previous post, but I’m no longer sure that’s the correct term. It might be “combinations” or a “step-in” chemise. [See comments.]Edit 1/17/18: thevintagetraveler says this green envelope chemise is not a step-in, because step-ins don’t have a button crotch. See her very helpful comment for more clarifications. That makes this a step-in:
[End of edited section….]
The very low crotch looks uncomfortable to a woman who grew up wearing knitted briefs, but there was probably a notion that “the parts need airing,” as was sometimes claimed by wearers of kilts.
Munsingwear offered this unfussy, step-in version of a “woven union suit with closed gore, step-in style.”And the Munsingwear ad mentions bloomers among its underwear selections.
Below, a pair of “knickers” held by a young woman wearing an “envelope chemise.”Knickers? Bloomers? Confused? That’s OK. “Don’t get your knickers in a twist….” Incidentally, the pattern numbers give you an idea which were slightly earlier styles that were being continued (3000’s and 4000’s) and newer styles (5000’s and 6000’s.) This knickers pattern (6194) — clearly an undergarment — was new in 1925:
But, to add to my confusion, Butterick offered knicker pattern 3496 as outdoor wear, also in the summer of 1925.
The number series suggests knicker pattern 3496 was issued back in 1922 or 1923 and still popular in 1925.
Knickers? Bloomers? Drawers?
This set (“chemise and drawers”) was featured in June, 1924.
This lovely vintage set of camisole and drawers shows its button crotch clearly:A camisole, which covers only the upper body, could be worn with drawers, like the camisole and drawers (or step-ins?) shown in this Royal Society ad: Different patterns for drawers were issued: Drawers and knickers were different from bloomers, which tended to be fuller:
But bloomers, like knickers, could also be outerwear:
Often, “bloomers” were intended to be seen, and were worn by almost all girls as part of their gym suits, or for any active pursuits. The middy blouse would cover the underbodice:
Did I learn anything from this adventure in undergarment nomenclature? Only to avoid making absolute pronouncements about bloomers, knickers, drawers, teddies, chemises, camisoles, combinations, and step-ins! [Please see helpful comment from thevintagetraveler!]