Tag Archives: butterick patterns 1930s

Fun with Stripes: A Gallery of 1930’s Styles

Fifty years ago, I saw this 1930’s photo of actress Gertrude Lawrence in a striped suit. The creative use of striped fabric struck me and stayed in my memory.  The joy of these nineteen thirties’ dresses is the way that a striped fabric is turned in different directions — horizontally, vertically, on the bias — to create the interest of the design.

Butterick pattern after Jacques Heim, Butterick Fashion News, July 1939.

Butterick pattern after Jacques Heim, Butterick Fashion News, July 1939.

Simple Striped Dresses

Striped dresses in many variations appeared throughout the 1930’s. I’m not talking about dresses that simply use striped material, charming as these are:

Butterick patterns from The Delineator, 1934. Left, June; right, July.

Left:  Stripes cut on the bias.   Butterick patterns from The Delineator, 1934. Left, #5599 from June.  Right, #5767 from July.  This fabric was probably printed with diagonal stripes and used on the straight grain.

I’m trying to imagine jumping over the net in one of those tennis dresses.  Actually, #5599 isn’t so simple; getting stripes to match and form chevrons on the bias takes patience.

Striped dresses were usually summer wear. This one is punningly named after Lucky Strike Cigarettes.

"Lucky Stripe;" Butterick pattern from June, 1932.

“Lucky Stripe;” Butterick pattern #4600 from June, 1932.

The dress below is a three piece set:  blouse (with or without sleeves) plus skirt and shorts.

The stripes are all used simply on straight of grain here, both they would make cutting and assembly more difficult! Butterick pattern #3785 from April, 1931. This is a three piece set:  blouse, skirt, and shorts.

Butterick pattern #3785 from April, 1931.

The stripes are all cut simply on straight of grain here, but pattern matching would make cutting and assembly more difficult! Matching stripes is a challenge for the dressmaker.

Stripes in Different Directions

The dresses that delight me turn the stripes in different directions.

Butterick patterns, The Delneator, April 1931.

Butterick pattern #3769, The Delineator, April 1931.  [Two of these early 30’s dresses have both a low hip and a natural waist.]

Pattern with a slenderizing center front panel, Butterick Fashion News, September 1939. It came in sizes 34 to

Pattern #8583 has a slenderizing center front panel, Butterick Fashion News, September 1939. It came in sizes 34 to 52.

A simple dress with bias skirt and playful pocket:

Butterick Fashion News, September 1939. Butterick pattern #

Butterick Fashion News, September 1939. Butterick pattern #8566

Sometimes the interest comes just from the flattering contrast between a horizontally striped yoke and a vertically striped dress.

Far right, Butterick pattern # in The Delineator, February 1936.

Far right, Butterick pattern #6622 in The Delineator, February 1936.

Butterick pattern #5201 makes a striped cruise dress, January 1934, The Delineator.

Butterick pattern #5201 makes a striped cruise dress, January 1934, The Delineator. The horizontally striped pocket flaps carry the yoke design to the skirt.

Here, the yoke is on the bias, and echoes the diagonal lines of the pockets:

Bias cut yoke on #7743, Butterick Fashion News flyer, March 1938.

Bias cut yoke on #7743, Butterick Fashion News flyer, March 1938.

When the yoke continues into sleeves, there is added interest:

Horizontal stripes on yoke and pockets, vertical stripes on the body of the dress. Butterick Fashion News flyer, March 1938.

Horizontal stripes on yoke, pockets, and belt; vertical stripes on the body of the dress. Butterick Fashion News flyer, March 1938. By 1938, the center front zipper was no longer news.

This yoked dress and jacket combination (at right) has an interesting dress, too.

Jacket dresses from February, 1935. The bias stripes change direction on the sleeves. Butterick pattern 6074.

Jacket dresses from February, 1935. The bias stripes appear to change direction as they follow the sleeves. Butterick pattern #6074.

This dress with chevron striping goes under coat # . Butterick pattern from February 1935. The Delineator.

This dress with chevroned stripes goes under coat # 6074 . It also has “yoke and sleeves in one.” Butterick pattern from February 1935. The Delineator.

The ensemble below is pretty straight forward, but the lapels, bow, and belt turn the stripes in a different direction:

Striped jacket dress from May, 1934. Butterick #5634.

Striped jacket dress from May, 1934. Butterick #5634.

The play of stripes also appeared in thirties’ evening wear:

Striped evening dress, Butterick, February 1934; striped gown and matching jacket, Butterick, July 1934.

Striped evening dress, Butterick, February 1934; striped gown and matching jacket, Butterick, July 1934. #5780 has beautiful, complex striped sleeves.

Advanced Play with Stripes

But the play of stripes gets really interesting when used as the focus of the design.

Berth Roberts Semi-Made dress, Spring, 1934.

Berth Robert Semi-Made dress, Spring, 1934.

 

Butterick pattern 5678, May, 1934. The Delineator.

Butterick pattern #5678, May, 1934. The Delineator.

The more complex, the more fun -- or at least, the more challenging for the dressmaker. Butterick #4089, October, 1931.

The more complex, the more fun — or at least, the more challenging for the dressmaker. Butterick #4089, October, 1931.

Illustration from Ladies' Home Journal, Sept. 1936.

Illustration from Ladies’ Home Journal, Sept. 1936.

“The zigzag dress to the left is made of muffler woolen, soft to touch, and in wonderful two-tone colorings. Leather belt and buttons, and a scarf barely peeking out above the collar.” — Ladies’ Home Journal, September, 1936.

This one has contrasting shapes inserted in the sleeves, a tucked bib, and buttons in graduated sizes.

Wearfast sports dress, Berth Roberts Semi-Made dress catalog, Spring, 1934.

Wearfast sports dress, Berth Robert Semi-Made dress catalog, Spring, 1934.

Stripes were often used on “bib” dresses:

Butterick pattern 5760, May 1934, and Butterick 5822, August 1934.

Butterick pattern #5760, May 1934, and Butterick #5822, August 1934.

"Housedresses" from December, 1931. Butterick patterns.

“Housedresses” from December, 1931. Butterick patterns. The one on the right was actually a “pull on” dress with mostly decorative buttons.

Ribbed wool or corduroy was also used for a more subtle play of stripes:

Butterick Pattern for a dress with silk crepe bodice and skirt of ribbed wool, with matching coat. February 1932. Delineator.

Butterick Pattern #4316 for a dress with silk crepe bodice and skirt of ribbed wool, with matching coat. Contrast yoke, bow, cuff trim, and belt. The Delineator. February, 1932.

1932 feb p 87 text 4316 doat and dress vionnet coat

Corduroy was also suggested for this lightweight coat:

Corduroy coat, Butterick pattern, January 1932.

Corduroy coat, Butterick pattern #4290, January 1932.

Bold stripes give lots of “Bang for the buck.”

Butterick pattern, May 1932.

Butterick pattern #4530, May 1932.

Berth Robert Semi-made dress #932, Spring 1934 catalog.

Berth Robert Semi-made dress #932, Spring 1934 catalog.

McCall's pattern 9815, July 1938.

McCall’s pattern 9815, July 1938.

Floral stripes were popular in 1938.

Resort dress, Butterick Fashion News flyer, July 1939. Butterick

Resort dress, Butterick Fashion News flyer, July 1939. Butterick #8473.

What a difference the stripes make:  Two versions of Butterick #8557, Butterick Fashion News, September 1939.

What a difference the stripes make:  Two versions of Butterick #8557, Butterick Fashion News, September 1939.

Does anyone feel inspired to rework a basic pattern — by playing with contrasting stripes? Maybe a sewing group would like to have a “stripe challenge.”

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Filed under 1920s-1930s, 1930s, 1930s-1940s, Sportswear, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes, Zippers

More “Button-On” Patterns from the Thirties

"Another Button-on, " Woman's Home Companion, August 1937

“Another Button-on,” Woman’s Home Companion, August 1937

I confess that I am fascinated by the many “button-on” patterns I’m finding in 1930s magazines. They reflect a completely different way of thinking about clothes than we have today, in our “cheap and disposable” clothing culture. As a teenager, I lived in a house built in 1908; it had 12 foot ceilings and leaded glass windows in the china cabinet doors, but the bedroom closets — one to a room — were three feet wide and barely one coat hanger deep. I am sometimes appalled by the “House Hunters” who demand two walk-in closets. Does anyone really need that much stuff? The average 1930s wardrobe for women would have fit in a very small closet.

Depression-Era Budget Savers

Companion-Butterick pattern 7515, August 1937, sizes 12 to 20 and bust 30 to 42."

Companion-Butterick pattern 7515, August 1937, sizes 12 to 20 and bust 30 to 42.”

Although Butterick patterns were historically more expensive than Simplicity, DuBarry, and Hollywood patterns (and were aimed at middle to upper middle-class women) Companion-Butterick patterns often tried to give real value for money by emphasizing the versatility of their designs. (For more about Companion Butterick Triad patterns, click here .) [You can see more 1930s ideas for giving one dress many looks in my post “One Good Dress in the 1930s.” Click here.   Edited 11/22/14 to add link.]

Companion-Butterick Pattern 7255

In March of 1937, this button-on dress, # 7255, was designed “to give you six day-time dresses at practically the price of one.”

Companion-Butterick pattern 7255, WOman's Home Companion, March 1937. Available in sizes 12 to 20 and bust 30 to 44;" this pattern cost 45 cents.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7255, Woman’s Home Companion, March 1937. Available in sizes 12 to 20 and bust 30 to 44;” this pattern cost 45 cents.

“The various trimmings which make this miracle possible can be buttoned or slipped into the foundation dress with lightning speed. Suppose you make 7255 in brighter-than-navy crepe. Then you may like the look of a sturdy white pique vestee on Monday; of linden-green linen at neckline and belt on Tuesday; of sober scallops of the dress material on Wednesday; of crisp plaid taffeta on Thursday; of pink Bengaline on Friday; of the grand climax of embroidered batiste and cerise red velvet bow on Saturday. One pair of blue shoes and one blue bag … may serve with all these trimmings.”

There is a copy of this pattern in the Commercial Pattern Archive.

The comment that you would need ony one pair of shoes for all six looks reminds us that, in the 1930s, most women had to pinch every penny. Click here for Living on $18 per Week, which explains that a college girl or office worker was expected to buy no more than four dresses and four pairs of shoes each year.

Companion-Butterick Pattern 7515

In August of 1937, the pattern at the top of this post appeared. Here are some enlarged views:

1937 aug p 56 button on 7515 500 51937 aug p 56 button on 7515 31937 aug p 56 button on 7515 500 21937 aug p 56 button on 7515 500 41937 aug p 56 button on 7515 500I’d be curious to see the construction of this dress, since the last two views show that there has to be a fairly large opening between the yoke and the bodice. I’m guessing there was some sort of tab or underlap on the bodice section which held the single, large button which fastened through a buttonhole on the yoke.

Companion-Butterick 7579

In October of 1937 another button-on frock appeared; number 7579 also suggested plaid taffeta or self-fabric for the office, with a gold lame vestee for “after-hour parties.”

Companion-Butterick pattern 7579, October 1937, was suggested for secretaries' or debutantes' wardrobes.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7579, Woman’s Home Companion, October 1937, was suggested for both secretaries’ and debutantes’ wardrobes.

“For years some of the Companion’s most successful designs have been dresses with a series of easily buttoned-on trimmings, each planned to give the dress a different look. And now this ever-practical idea has become a real fashion fad, made by the smartest dressmakers, worn by the smartest women.”

Companion-Butterick Pattern 8597

This rather similar version — also with a plaid option — appeared two years later, in October 1939:

Companion-Butterick 8597, Butterick Fashion News, October 1939.

Companion-Butterick 8597, Butterick Fashion News, October 1939.

companion butterick 8597 Oct 1939All those buttons give a slightly military or western frontier look to pattern 8597.

Butterick 5948

The button-on idea was still around in 1951, when Butterick offered this convertible “round the clock dress” for days when you want to go from the office to a date:

Butterick No. 5948, Butterick Fashion News flyer, December 1951.

Butterick No. 5948, Butterick Fashion News flyer, December 1951.

“It’s covered up for daytime . . . decollete for date-time.” The sparkly buttons can be made “of jet, rhinestone, mock-pearl, or tortoise-shell so that, with the yoke off, the buttons become a decorative ‘jewelry’ accent.”

Butterick 'Round the Clock dress pattern, December 1951.

Butterick ‘Round the Clock dress pattern No. 5948, December 1951.

Suggested fabrics were faille, crepe, corduroy, or velveteen. Available sizes 12 to 20 and up to bust size 38 inches.  I can imagine this design also being popular with women who dressed up to play bridge one afternoon a week, or who couldn’t justify the expense of a rarely worn cocktail dress. Many faille or taffeta afternoon or “bridge” dresses turn up on vintage racks.

 

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Filed under 1930s, 1930s-1940s, 1940s-1950s, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns