I don’t mean to neglect clothing for men, but it evolves more slowly and less obviously than clothing for women. Seeing the great sweaters and knickers on the boys who visited Mount Lowe, I remembered that I’ve been compiling a file of Butterick patterns f0r boys. Today’s focus is on pre-teens and boys up to 16 or so. [With a digression on the Butterick Deltor….]
Boys had been wearing short trousers, knickers, and Norfolk jackets for some time. This is an ad from 1917, but the trousers would be much the same in 1927:
Boys’ clothes were often very similar to men’s clothing — with the exception of those short trousers.
The Deltor was Butterick’s patented instruction sheet. In an era of blank tissue pattern pieces, identified only by punched holes and purchased in an envelope with all the sewing instructions that would fit on the envelope — and nothing more — the innovation of a pattern that came with an illustrated “how to” guide made Butterick’s reputation. The guide was called “The Deltor.”
Butterick patterns included a suggested fabric layout, as well as assembly instructions, but the pattern pieces were still unprinted, factory-cut tissue in this 1924 ad.
Why boys were expected to suffer the cold — wearing trousers that ended at the knee in all weathers — I do not know. At least these aren’t flapping in the wind:
The day when a boy got his first pair of long trousers marked his entry into manhood.
Summer meant even shorter pants — or possibly golf knickers — for boys.
Even in Africa, this was the basis for the Boy Scout uniform:
That wide range of pattern numbers, from 4480 to 7031, is a reminder that boys’ clothes, and children’s patterns in general, have a longer fashion life than women’s clothing.
Just as 1920’s women’s skirts sometimes were attached to an underbodice that hung from the shoulders, trousers for little boys whose pants wouldn’t otherwise stay up were sometimes attached to a button-on top. Naturally, this made trips to the toilet difficult without assistance.