Tag Archives: Butterick Fashion News flyer

When Pantsuits Were “Slacks Suits:” 1938, 1940, 1948

Play dresses and a pants suit, Butterick Fashion News flyer, March 1938.

Beach wear and a pants suit, Butterick Fashion News flyer, March 1938.

All the “pant suits” for women —  actually trousers with matching jackets (called slacks suits) —  in this post are from Butterick Fashion News flyers, given away for free in pattern stores. Trousers with matching jackets for women are always shown with other resort wear or beach wear, as in the illustration above.

Butterick 7756

Butterick 7736, March 1938.

Butterick 7756, March 1938. Pattern for slacks, jacket and shirt, sizes 12 to 20 and 30 to 40 inches bust.

This trim jacket would also look at home with a skirt; sharkskin fabric was recommended. The cuffed trousers have full, straight legs.

Butterick 7796

Butterick pants suit 8796, February 1940.

Butterick (pantsuit) slacks suit 8796, February 1940.

To be worn “where it’s fair and warmer,” this mannish chalk-striped trouser suit is shown with very broad shoulders and casual sandals — and painted toenails. The evening gown on the right, Butterick 8798, is shown with a snood on the model’s hair — possibly the influence of 1939’s blockbuster movie, Gone with the Wind.

“With the increasing approval given to slacks by fashionable women everywhere, you can wear the pants in the family.  These have a band with suspenders attached (optional) and a fitted, classic tailored jacket. Sizes 12 to 20 and bust 30 to 42 inches.” Flannel (i.e., wool flannel) was the recommended fabric.

Butterick 4458

Butterick slack suit with optional long shorts. March 1948.

Butterick “slacks suit” # 4458 with optional long shorts. March 1948.

The waist is nipped in with eight darts, and the slacks are narrower in this post-war, New Look-era suit. The model on the right has a bicycle, but these are called “long shorts,” not “pedalpushers.”

This ensemble was the centerfold in a two page spread of “sun fashions for resort wear.”

Butterick Fashion Newsflyer, March 1948.

Butterick Fashion News flyer, March 1948.

The “sea sprite” bare-midriff bathing suit (top left) has shorts that draw up on the sides, probably inspired by Claire McCardell’s Pantung Loincloth swimsuit of 1946.

Again, it’s clear that these trouser suits are not to be worn in the city, nor to restaurants except in resorts. (There’s a story that Marlene Dietrich, refused admission to a city restaurant because she was wearing a suit with trousers, simply stepped out of them and was escorted to a table wearing only her jacket. Well, she had famously great legs. . . .)

Butterick 8454 trousers

Butterick trouser pattern , July 1939.

Butterick trouser pattern #8454 , July 1939. The playsuit to the left is a different pattern, #8475, as is dress #8494, on the lower right.

These long, full-legged and high-waisted trousers evoke Katharine Hepburn, and come back into fashion every once in a while. When they do, I always buy a pair!

“The pattern includes long and short-sleeved shirt, and slacks, and a culotte, to scramble as you choose. Junior Miss sizes 12 to 20, 30 to 38.”

Sadly, the culottes are not illustrated.

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Filed under 1930s, 1930s-1940s, 1940s-1950s, Bathing Suits, Shoes, Sportswear, Swimsuits, Vintage patterns, Women in Trousers

Dresses from Remnants, World War II

“Remnants on Your Budget,”October 1943, Butterick Fashion News flyer. Pattern #2718.

With war-time fabric regulations and eventual fabric rationing, women who sewed were trying to make do, cannibalizing old garments to create more up-to-date styles. Butterick responded to their needs with a series of suggestions on how they could combine fabric remnants using specific Butterick patterns. Some new fashions also helped, like a fad for dresses made with two different materials, or for suits that no longer needed matching jackets and skirts.

“Something New from Something Old,” Butterick Fashion News flyer, September 1943. Yoke and sleeve pattern #2304.

The dress below, from Saks or Neiman-Marcus, combined a dotted fabric with a solid one, like the Butterick illustration above.

Enka Rayon dress available from Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman-Marcus, or Meier & Frank. Vogue, Aug. 15. 1943.

Enka Rayon dress available from Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman-Marcus, or Meier & Frank. Vogue, Aug. 15. 1943.

It cost $35.00, a lot of money in 1943.

Butterick 2304 was a pattern for just the spotted sleeves, collar, and yoke of this “remnant” dress.

Butterick pattern 2304, Sept 1943 Butterick Fashion News.

Butterick pattern #2304, Sept 1943 Butterick Fashion News.

The body of the dress was one you might already have in your closet; Butterick gave instructions for removing the existing sleeves and collar and replacing them with just one and one eighth yards of 39 inch fabric.

BFN sept 1943 bk cvr 500 text btm wartime color block pattern reuse277

BFN sept 1943 bk cvr text  follow 500

information from bottom of page, Butterick Fashion Flyer, Sept. 1943.

Information from bottom of page, Butterick Fashion Flyer, Sept. 1943.

“Stop, look, and consider just how you can salvage that discarded dress for another season or two. . . . Next time you’re at the remnant counter of your favorite store, look for a fabric to combine with your original dress. This bit of salvage magic will give you a completely new one. . . . This transformation of your tired frock will do such wonderful things for your budget as well as aiding in the vital program of fabric conservation.”

Click here for a great illustration of a refashioned dress in this article about clothes rationing — and the usefulness of printed feedsacks — from the Lebanon County Historical Society.

Butterick 2718

Information from the back cover of Butterick Fashion News, October 1943.

Information from the back cover of Butterick Fashion News, October 1943. “Slim two-piece dress” pattern #2718.

Because it lacks the interior structure of a suit, this is called a two piece dress, but it has a jacket-like bodice and a separate skirt.

“Remnants used adroitly are invaluable in balancing a budget; invaluable in aiding the all-out wartime effort of fabric conservation. . . . we suggest Butterick 2718, a slim two-piece dress . . . . Plan it in contrast . . . . . . In this was you can have a really individual dress . . . a dress that saves fabric . . . a dress that saves your budget from the doldrums!”

The skirt takes less than 2 yards of 39″ fabric, and the top uses only 1 3/8 yards — so the chance of finding both pieces on the remnant table were pretty good.

Butterick 2746

Butterick suit pattern #2746, Oct. 1943 Butterick Fashion News flyer.

Butterick suit pattern #2746, Oct. 1943 Butterick Fashion News flyer.

Pattern information for #2746, October 1943. Butterick.

Pattern information for #2746, October 1943. Butterick.

The skirt from either pattern could also be combined with jacket-like blouses — sometimes with a peplum — like these:

Peplum blouse patterns from Butterick, Dec. 1942.

Peplum blouse patterns from Butterick, Dec. 1942. From left, 2301 version A, 2301 version B, 2302 version B.

Butterick 2747

Butterick also offered this “shirtwaist dress,” (left, below) which looks like two pieces but isn’t. The waist is very similar to a blouse and skirt combination sold at I. Magnin. (right)

Burrerick dress pattern 2747 (left) and an outfit from I. Magnin, right. Both from Fall of 1943.

Butterick dress pattern #2747 (left) and an outfit from I. Magnin, right. Both from Fall of 1943.

Pattern information for Butterick #2747, Oct. 1943.

Pattern information for Butterick #2747, Oct. 1943.

The coral rayon top (also available in aqua) and the black velveteen skirt from I. Magnin (a very upscale store) came in junior sizes 9 to 15, and cost $35.00. The ad reminds careful shoppers that they could be worn separately.

Details copied from the I. Magnin ad in Vogue, Aug. 15, 1943.

Details copied from the I. Magnin ad in Vogue, Aug. 15, 1943.

I haven’t checked the Ladies’ Home Journal for 1943, but that magazine constantly suggested ways to remake dresses during World War I. The World War II slogan “Make Do and Mend”  was observed by all levels of society in England and the U.S.

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Filed under 1940s-1950s, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, World War I

More About Dating Butterick Patterns Online

Dating Butterick Patterns Online: witness2fashion.com Has Been Updated

Butterick Fashion News cover, May 1960, featuring pattern 9366. By 1961, a new 4-digit number series was beginning.

Butterick Fashion News cover, May 1960, featuring pattern 9366. By 1961, a new 4-digit number series was beginning.

A year ago, I found a way to date Butterick patterns using Delineator magazine (published by Butterick) and later Butterick publications, and posted my results at witness2fashion.com. Click here for my original post explaining my Delineator methodology. For Part 2, click here.

Now the pattern number chart for Butterick Fashion News from 1937 to the 1970s has been updated, so the blanks are slowly being filled in. Go to witness2fashion.com for charts of the Butterick pattern numbers published monthly in Delineator magazine from the 1920s to 1937 (click here) or for a chart of Butterick Fashion News flyer covers from the late 1930s to the 1970s (click here.)

Monthly Butterick Fashion News flyers like the one above were given away by fabric stores, so it is possible to date Butterick patterns — roughly — by following the sequence of numbers that appeared on the cover of each issue. (Butterick resisted putting copyright dates on its patterns until late in the 20th century.) Here’s a small portion of the resulting chart:

A small portion of the Butterick Fashion News chart relating pattern numbers to dates.

A small portion of my Butterick Fashion News chart relating pattern numbers to dates. April 1936 was an anomaly; otherwise, the numbers are sequential, in spite of large gaps in my data.

This is an ongoing project; I especially want to find flyers from 1962 and 1963, because pattern number 9968 appeared on the Butterick Fashion News cover in November 1961. A new sequence of four digit numbers began soon after that, but I haven’t found any flyers from December 1961 to October 1964 (when pattern No. 3288 was on the cover).  It would be nice to have proof that renumbering began with a 1000 series in January 1962.

By Nov. 1961, Butterick was running out of four-digit numbers. Numbering must have begun again with 1000  in December 1961 or early 1962.

By Nov. 1961, Butterick was running out of four-digit numbers. Numbering must have begun again with a 1000 series in December 1961 or early 1962.

Times When Butterick Number Sequences Started Over:

Butterick decided to start a new number sequence in 1926, jumping from the 7000’s (in September 1926) to the 1000’s in October. In mid-1940, Butterick ended its 9000 series and began re-using numbers in the 1000’s in July or August.

I found those 1940’s numbers by searching for Butterick Fashion News  flyers that were for sale online and writing down the number of the pattern on the front cover. I can’t buy them all, but here are a couple (before and after re-numbering started) from my own collection:

Butterick Fashion News for February 1940 featured Ski Suit Pattern No. 8793.

Butterick Fashion News for February 1940 featured Ski Suit Pattern No. 8793.

In February 1940, pattern numbers had reached the 8700’s. Re-numbering started that summer. By the end of 1942,  less than three years later, the new series of pattern numbers had reached the 2300’s:

Butterick Fashion News cover for December 1942. This is dress pattern #2306.

Butterick Fashion News cover for December 1942. This is dress pattern #2306.

If you have a Butterick Fashion News flyer from 1961, 1962 or 1963, I’d love to see a clear photo or scan of its cover, showing month, year, and pattern number. Please E-mail to witness2fashion at gmail.com.  (the records for 1953 and 1955 are also blank, in case you have one.)

It’s also possible to date Butterick and other patterns by using the Commercial Pattern Database (CoPA), but this site does not allow you to search by pattern number. You can how their sample [how] their search works by clicking here.     [Edited for typing error 1/13/2015.]

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Filed under 1930s-1940s, 1940s-1950s, 1950s-1960s, 1960s-1970s, Dating Butterick Patterns, Dating Vintage Patterns, Exhibitions & Museums, Musings, Resources for Costumers, Sportswear, Vintage patterns