Butterick 3801, Delineator, April 1931. Some rather sophisticated beach pajamas for girls aged 4 t0 15 years. These were definitely for outdoor wear — and how relieved little girls must have been to play in trousers instead of dresses.
Beach pajamas were worn by ordinary women in the Thirties, not just those who could afford vacations at resorts, the Lido, or the South of France. The Vintage Traveler shared images of beach pajamas from a 1930 Montgomery Ward catalog. (Montgomery Ward was a rival of Sears. It was not an upscale store — my uncle, the plumber, bought his overalls there.) Lynn at American Age Fashion just shared a 1933 photo of my family’s close friends in beach pajamas, with a wonderful eye for the differences between the generations.
These pajamas (or pyjamas) were intended for lounging, but many of them were worn as beachwear if the fabric was not obviously lingerie material.
Butterick pajamas for big and little girls, December 1931. Left, 4177; right, 4223.
Beach pajamas were so important that even dolls needed them.
Butterick doll wardrobe pattern 440, Delineator, December 1931.
These pajamas were sleeveless, like the ones on the little girl in this painting, and trimmed with bias tape.
A little girl wears beach pajamas in this painting based on a 1930’s photograph. Detail, “Bobbie with Marbles.” Used with permission of the artist.
McCall doll clothes pattern 525 from 1937, with the original photo on which the painting was based. Both outfits have bias tape binding.
Butterick girl’s play pajamas, No. 5181, from 1933. The dots make them look a bit clown-like, and the ruffles are sheer organdy, more for lounging than sleeping..
“Cotton pajamas are one of the most practical things in the world to play in;” cotton is appropriate for the beach, but shantung seems more like an indoors lounging option [and rather sophisticated casual party wear for a girl aged 2 to twelve.]
The dots and ruffles are not so different from these lounging pajamas for grown women:
Lounging Pajamas, Butterick patterns 4014 and 3937. Delineator, Sept. 1931.