Maybe it was the result of seeing flowers in bloom that made women dress in print fabrics every Spring. In 1938, the flowers on the dresses were often big ones:
Two dresses for May, 1938. Butterick Fashion News flyer. Butterick 7847 and 7839.
Pattern descriptions and back views for Butterick 7847 and 7839, May 1938.
These (mostly floral) print dresses appeared in the Butterick Fashion News flyer in April and May of 1938.
Print dresses for Spring, 1938. Butterick store flyer, April 1938. Butterick 7813, left, and 7801, right.
Butterick dress pattern 7809 illustrated in a large-scale print fabric. Butterick store flyer, April 1938. Available up to bust size 44 inches.
Butterick patterns 7786, 7784, 7817, and 7795. Store flyer for April 1938.
Patterns for older and larger women were also illustrated in print fabrics. Butterick patterns 7802, 7799, and 7815; store flyer, April 1938. These were available up to size 50 or size 52.
Smaller and younger women could also find patterns — and print fabrics — to meet their needs.
Butterick 7862 was for women 5′ 4″ and under. Store flyer, May 1938.
The “jacket frock” in the center is for Junior Miss figures up to bust size 38. Companion-Butterick patterns 7830, 7836, and 7828, from May 1938. The one on the right has print lapels and sash.
The dress on the cover for May 1938 was polka-dotted. Butterick 7857.
Left, a big floral print on Companion-Butterick 7829. Next, No. 7823 has a floral print sash. Its neckline is attributed to Vionnet’s influence. The dress with bows, No. 7827, is shown in a smaller, widely spaced white floral print. Right, No. 7825. All were available in a wide range of sizes, to fit either young and small women (Sizes 12 to 20) or women up to bust 44″. Butterick store flyer, May 1938.
Bold border print fabrics were suggested for these “Beginners'” sewing patterns.
These patterns for inexperienced dressmakers use 52″ border prints. One has a zipper front, and neither has set-in sleeves. Butterick 7838 and 7864. May 1938.
Print fabrics were also suggested for Spring of 1939 — but there was a more youthful silhouette:
Butterick dresses for Spring, 1939. Patterns 8366, 8387, and 8372. Butterick Fashion News flyer, May 1939.
These sleeves and shoulders resemble those of the previous year, but in 1939, skirts were being worn much shorter — just at the bottom of the kneecap:
Butterick dress patterns from May 1938 (left) and May 1939 (right.) Butterick store flyers.
For May, 1939, a suit jacket and bodice are piped with the same polka-dotted fabric that makes the “pancake” hat, worn very far forward on the head. The hat is Butterick pattern 8359. The suit, with knee length skirt, is Butterick 8351.