I was working on these images of 1920’s pajamas when The Vintage Traveler showed this photo of 1920’s pajamas at the beach, dated 1929. Lizzie said she is tracing the progress of pajamas from bedroom to beach in the Twenties, so this seems like a good time to share 1920’s patterns for pajamas (also spelled pyjamas) from Butterick. These are in roughly chronological order.
I have already written about pajamas from 1917, like these. The gathered ankles were also used on work overalls for women at the time. (Butterick 6031, above, has similar gathered ankles.)
Below: the deep, open armholes on this pair of pajamas from 1923-24 were also seen on day dresses.
These seem to have a close relationship — except for the delicate fabric — to the beach pajamas of 1929. Below: a pair of PJ’s from 1924 is banded with lace — for a bride’s trousseau.
Below: strictly practical — but attractive, with contrasting collar and frog closings — are these pajamas for girls.
Much younger children might wear warm, one-piece night-drawers/pajamas with optional hood.
Meanwhile, in Paris….
This 1925 pajama pattern was recommended for beach wear:
Here, Butterick pajama pattern 5948 is shown with satin bindings — sleeves, collar, and cuffs. The beach pajamas in The Vintage Traveler’s 1929 photograph appear to have satin binding at the hip and print binding at the ankles.I don’t think they were made using Butterick pattern 5948, but, if I had Butterick 5948, I could make those beach pajamas.
About the “pajama negligee:” If you grew up in the nineteen fifties, you probably picture a “negligee” as a see-through robe worn by femmes fatales on the covers of paperback detective stories. However, Yahoo mentions that the origin of “negligee” is “mid 18th century (denoting a kind of loose gown worn by women in the 18th century): from French, literally ‘given little thought or attention,’ feminine past participle of négliger ‘to neglect.’” Encyclopedia Britannica explains: “Negligee, ( French: “careless, neglected”) informal gown, usually of a soft sheer fabric, worn at home by women. When the corset was fashionable, the negligee was a loose-fitting gown worn during the rest period after lunch. Women’s dresses were also referred to as negligés after the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, when the trend was toward loose fashions characterized by ‘studied negligence.’ “
In the twentieth century, such “at home” clothes were sometimes called “lounge wear.”
TwoNerdyHistoryGirls blogged about a painting of an 18th c. lady receiving a visitor while finishing her toilette. She wears a short, sheer combing gown (which gave us the word “peignoir.”) Peignoir, negligee, lingerie, boudoir — my, we owe a lot of words to the French!
“Pajama negligee” No. 6093 appeared more than once.
One thing all these straight-legged pajamas have in common is their ankle-baring hems.
Here, a luxurious, lacy version of pajama 6031 is suggested as a Christmas gift.
In 1927, Molyneux showed this lounging set:These ready-to-wear pajamas have the more customary banded ankles.
[Edited 8/30/17: This color ad for Hoosier cabinets appeared in Delineator magazine, October 1925. I used it in a post about Orange and Blue in the 1920’s.]
A different Butterick pajama pattern was the centerpiece of an advertisement for Belding’s fabrics in September 1928.
So: “negligee pajamas” were for lounging, and did not necessarily have the robe-like top of pajama-negligee 6093.
My collection of images from 1929 and 1930 is not complete. I need to get back to the library, because, by 1931, pajamas had moved from boudoir to beach and even to public dances.
For more about 1930’s pajamas, see The Fascinating Pajama, 1931.
The pajamas for dancing are on the right. Delineator, August, 1931.