Tag Archives: companion-butterick 8556

Three Pattern Companies, Similar Styles: 1939

Cover of Butterick Fashion News, September 1939.

The cover of the Butterick Fashion News flyer for September 1939 showed a sheer black dress over a matching slip. It has the puffy sleeves of the era, and a V neck.
The Du Barry store flyer for the previous month showed a similar dress.

Du Barry pattern 2319 B. DuBarry store flyer August 1939.

In fact, it was on the cover of the Du Barry flyer, in a yellow, printed, non-sheer fabric version:

Du Barry Prevue cover, August 1939. Pattern 2319 B.

Du Barry showed it a third time, in purple:

Du Barry 2319 B.

Butterick (and Companion-Butterick) patterns were sold in fabric stores, and, before the Great Depression, Butterick was aimed at middle and upper-middle class shoppers. Du Barry patterns were sold only at Woolworth’s — the five and dime store. “Du Barry Patterns are 10 cents Each — For Sale Exclusively by F. W. Woolworth Co.” By contrast, Butterick pattern 8556 cost 45 cents.

In fact the two sheer black dress patterns are not identical — just two different expressions of a current look.

Companion-Butterick 8556.

Du Barry 2319 B. Slide fasteners [zippers] began appearing in dressy dresses about 1937.

The Butterick bodice is probably more difficult to make, since its curved seams end in a crossed, tucked piece in front that becomes a belt in back.

The Du Barry bodice uses simple gathers or ruching for the bodice and the sleeve heads.

However, the Du Barry pattern has a soft pleat in the center front of the skirt.

The Butterick skirt is more flared and cut in several panels.

Butterick 8556.

Even the sleeve heads are more tailored; both dresses are consistent within their own aesthetic.

At this point, I realized that I have a third, contemporaneous store flyer: Simplicity Prevue, August 1939. It, too, shows a sheer black dress pattern. In fact, Simplicity showed two!

Simplicity 3129, a sheer black dress. August 1939.

Simplicity 3150, sheer black dress, August 1939.

Both of the Simplicity patterns have yokes at the shoulders (diagonal in the case of No. 3150, and horizontal on No. 3129. Both were shown made in opaque fabrics, too.

Two views of Simplicity 3150.

Simplicity patterns cost 15 cents each, more than Du Barry (10 cents) and much less than Butterick (45 cents.)

Simplicity pattern information for 3139 and 3150.

Although the Simplicity patterns did not come in larger-than- usual sizes, they had this caption:

Simplicity recommended these two patterns (3150 and 3139) as “slenderizing.”

Maybe because they could be made in black? Lynn Mally at American Age Fashion found this photo:

Ashville, Ohio, July 4th 1938. Photo by Ben Shahn, Library of Congress.

Ashville, Ohio, July 4th 1938. Photo by Ben Shahn, Library of Congress.

If it seems odd that older women were wearing see-through dresses, perhaps they were the generation that wore  lingerie dresses twenty-odd years before?

P.S. Does this post seem familiar? My bad. I was trying to be sure I had scanned all my department store fashion news flyers, found two of these flyers missing from my picture files, and consequently didn’t realize that I had written about some of these patterns before! So, you are not having a deja vu experience…. Click here for “More Sheer Dresses from the Late 1930s” or “Sheer Black Dresses, Fall 1930.”  That’s where you saw these pictures before….

 

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Filed under 1930s-1940s, 1940s-1950s, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Hats, Musings, Shirts and Blouses, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing, Zippers

Sheer Black Dresses, Fall 1939

Butterick No. 8556, Cover of Butterick Fashion News, September 1939.

Butterick No. 8556, Cover of Butterick Fashion News, September 1939.

I bought some counter catalogs at an estate sale, and found, tucked inside, two copies of Prevue, a newsprint pattern flyer, for August 1939. One featured Du Barry patterns, and the other showed Simplicity patterns for the same month.

Du Barry Prevue, August 1939 cover.

2 Du Barry Fashions Prevue, Cover, August 1939.

 

Simplicity Fashions Prevue, Cover, August 1939.

Simplicity Fashions Prevue, Cover, August 1939.

I already had the Butterick Fashion News for September 1939, so it was fun comparing the styles from three companies. (Incidentally, DuBarry patterns were made by Simplicity, specifically for sale at Woolworth stores. The designs were not the same. Woolworth wanted to offer a ten cent pattern, at a time when Simplicity patterns sold for fifteen to twenty-five cents. Patterns with the Simplicity name were sold at Woolworth’s competitors, like S.S. Kresge and Sears and Roebuck.  Source: A History of the Paper Pattern Industry, by Joy Spanabel Emery, pp 119 – 122.)

The Sheer Black Dress from Du Barry

In the Fall of 1939, patterns for the sheer black dress were being offered by all three companies, DuBarry, Simplicity, and Butterick. This dress, from the cover of the Du Barry Fashions Prevue, was also pictured in a violet print and as a sheer afternoon frock:

Du Barry Pattern 2319B made in lemon yellow print fabric.

Du Barry Pattern 2319B made in lemon yellow print fabric. Love that hat! The belt is clever, too.

Du Barry pattern #2319B as a sheer afternoon dress and in purple print fabric.

Du Barry pattern #2319B as a sheer afternoon dress, and in purple print fabric.

The length is just below the knee:

Du Barry #2319B, two versions. Aug. 1939.

Du Barry #2319B, two versions. Aug. 1939.

“Choose this sheer afternoon frock for sheer flattery. Sizes 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42. Slide Fastener for side placket 9″.”

Simplicity’s Sheer Black Dresses, August 1939

Simplicity showed two different patterns made up as day dresses or as sheer afternoon frocks:

Simplicity pattern No. 3139, August 1939.

Simplicity pattern No. 3139, August 1939. In sizes 32 to 44.

Simplicity pattern 3150, August 1939.

Simplicity pattern 3150, August 1939. In sizes 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 40.

Patterns 3139 and 3150 were shown under the caption “Slenderizing Dresses.” Style 3139 came in sizes for bust 32″ to 44.” Style 3150 came in young women’s sizes 12 to 20; the largest bust measurement available was only 40 inches. However, sizes 12 to 20 were generally for a shorter woman than the sizes sold by bust measurement. Both patterns came with either long or short sleeves. Pattern 3139 is shown in a sheer print fabric, which might be either black or navy — the flyer doesn’t mention color. It has a slenderizing line of buttons down the front from neckline to hem. The other (3150) has that clever, slenderizing bow — not too wide — at the center of the waist, plus a V-neck. It’s amazing how sophisticated it looks without the ruffled trim.

Companion-Butterick’s Sheer Black Dress for September, 1939

Butterick No. 8556, September 1939.

Companion-Butterick No. 8556, September 1939.

“Companion-Butterick 8556:  Sheer stark black — smart and as new as tomorrow’s newspapers. Soft surplice forms a belt in back. . . . Sizes 12 to 20, 30 to 44.”

That unusual bodice detail — the “surplice” — appears in Butterick pattern number 8557, too:

Butterick pattern 8557, Sept. 1939.

Butterick pattern 8557, Sept. 1939. Two views.

However, the surplice drape appears to be topstitched when the dress is not sheer, and the back treatment is different on this dress:

Companion -Butterick # 8556 and Butterick 8557. Back views. Sept. 1939.

Companion-Butterick # 8556 and Butterick 8557. Back views. Sept. 1939.

For more about Companion-Butterick patterns, click here.

 

 

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Filed under 1930s, 1930s-1940s, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Hats, Purses, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes, Zippers