Tag Archives: Companion-Butterick pattern

One Suit with Many Blouses: March 1936

Companion-Butterick suit pattern No. 6671, March, 1936.

Companion-Butterick suit pattern No. 6671, March, 1936.

This surprisingly modern-looking flared jacket, with a curved hemline, ought to inspire somebody. [You might want to make it a bit shorter, or inches longer, or add a collar, but the asymmetrical closing, curved hem, and raglan sleeves  are all  worth thinking about.] It was featured in The Woman’s Home Companion as the core of a spring wardrobe for 1936 — varied with several blouses made from a “Triad” pattern.

Pages 70 and 71, Woman's Home Companion, March 1936.

Pages 70 and 71, Woman’s Home Companion, March 1936.

A frequent theme in the Great Depression, when people owned fewer clothes than today, was fashion advice on making one basic dress or suit look different by careful planning and accessorizing. (See also One Good Dress in the 1930s.)

“One Suit Can Make a Spring Wardrobe, Given Plenty of Bright Accessories”

WHC 1936 mar p 71 triad blouses 6672 top

The suit, Companion-Butterick pattern No. 6671 was available in sizes “12 to 20, also 30 to 40 bust measures.” [At first, I thought it was a maternity pattern, but it is just “boxy,” worn over a very slim skirt.]

WHC 1936 mar p 70 suit 500 6671

The skirt has a flared godet in front, instead of a kick pleat in back, for walking ease.

WHC 1936 mar p 70 just suit 500 6671

Woman's Home Companion description of current suits from Paris. Mar. 1936.

Woman’s Home Companion description of current suits from Paris, Mar. 1936.

Pattern #6648, which appeared in the same issue, illustrates a similar chamois yellow blouse worn with a black, boxy-jacketed suit, as described above:

Companion-Butterick pattern 6648, March 1936, was for young women sized 12 to 20. Woman's Home Companion.

Companion-Butterick pattern 6648, March 1936, was for young women sized 12 to 20. Woman’s Home Companion.

Companion-Butterick blouse pattern No. 6672 contained several distinctly different blouse styles, “for sports,” “for shopping,” “for parties,” etc.

Companion-Butterick "triad" blouse pattern #6672. March, 1936, WHC.

Companion-Butterick “triad” blouse pattern #6672. March, 1936, WHC.

I confess — I love the version with red top-stitching.

Pattern 6672 in white linen with red stitching and buttons. March, 1936.

Pattern 6672 in white linen with red stitching and buttons. March, 1936.

For sports — a rough white linen shirtwaist trimmed with red stitching and red buttons. Add a bright red hat, the soft fabric kind that sticks on your head and rolls up in your hand.  Find a red bag to match, preferably with a convenient top handle, low heeled black walking shoes, and black or white fabric gloves.”

For parties — a short-sleeved blouse of printed silk in the gayest colors you see. Top it with a huge hat of flattering white straw, your best white suede gloves, black sandals and a large black and white bag. You might try a big chiffon handkerchief in white or a bright color knotted around your throat.”

Two more versions of pattern No. 6672.

Two more versions of pattern No. 6672.

For shopping — a chamois yellow shantung blouse tied high and crisp at the neck. Choose a tailored black straw hat banded in yellow, natural chamois gloves, a neat black seal bag and comfortable black town shoes.”

Bage and gloves, Nar. 1936. WHC, p. 71

Bags and gloves, Mar. 1936. WHC, p. 71

“Just for fun — bright Kelly green in a saucy little hat and a tremendous green alligator bag, green polka-dotted white silk blouse, white gloves and the season’s newest shoes —  square-toed, square heeled, patent leather pumps.”

WHC 1936 mar p 70 suit 500 6671

 

“That is one outline for a colorful wardrobe based on a black suit. You may want to vary it with a scarf to match your favorite bracelet or an entirely different color scheme.  But whatever you do remember the suit is a foundation. The accessories are your color notes to be played as gaily as you please.” — Woman’s Home Companion, March, 1936.

Inside-Out Darts

Another surprising [Post modern? Deconstructed?] detail:

The print blouse …

Print blouse #6672. March 1936.

Print blouse #6672. March 1936.

. . . has neckline darts that put the excess fabric on the outside, as a trim detail, rather than hidden inside.

I’ve seen this on other Butterick patterns; these are all from 1938:

Dress pattern, Butterick Fashion News, March 1938.

Dress pattern, Butterick Fashion News, March 1938.

Butterick Fashion News, March 1938.

Butterick Fashion News, March 1938.

Butterick Fashion News, April 1938.

Butterick Fashion News, April 1938.

 

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Filed under 1930s, bags, Gloves, handbags, Hats, Purses, Shoes, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns

Smart on the Sand, 1937

"Smart on the Sand at Any Age," Woman's Home Companion, May 1937.

“Smart on the Sand at Any Age,” Woman’s Home Companion, May 1937.

In a two-page spread, the Woman’s Home Companion suggested these Companion-Butterick patterns for the summer of 1937. The second page showed the back view of #7356 and three versions of this little girl’s dress, # 7358.

"Smart on the Sand at Any Age," WHC, may 1937. Companion-Butterick pattern for girls No. 7358.

“Smart on the Sand at Any Age,” WHC, may 1937. Companion-Butterick pattern for girls, No. 7358.

“The clothes you wear on the sand or by the pool this summer depend largely on whether you are six, sixteen, or sixty. Anything goes so far as fashion is concerned.  Shorts, slacks, dresses, long coats, short coats — the choice is endless. But when it comes to what is most becoming — that is a different story.”

Dress and Long Coat #7357

1937 may p 80 smart on sand any age 7357  text asian text

Companion-Butterick pattern #7357:  Dress or coat. May 1937.

Companion-Butterick pattern #7357: Dress or coat. May 1937.

“Suppose you are at the head of the family on the distaff side and you have decided not to lounge about in trousers. Then for you we suggest the brief dress which buttons over your bathing suit. Or, if you prefer, the long fitted coat. Both are 1937 imports from the Riviera and both come from pattern 7357. Try a printed pique or chintz for the long coat with huge (they can’t be too huge) figures. For the dress, be sure to pick out one of the most original of the colorful cotton prints. “

“Huge” prints on fabrics show the influence of Schiaparelli. The side-wrap dress — which seems awfully ‘nice’ to wear over a wet swimsuit — has a cheongsam-inspired closing and a sleeve detail reminiscent of some Chinese decorations. The long double-breasted coat is also shown printed with medallions.

Jacket, Trousers, Shorts, and Halter Top #7356

1937 may p 80 smart on sand any age 7356 text

Companion-Butterick pattern #7356;  Halter top, shorts, trousers and jacket. May 1937.

Companion-Butterick pattern #7356; Halter top, shorts, trousers and jacket. May 1937.

“You couldn’t be sixteen (or even a slim forty-six) without wanting to wear either shorts or slacks. Here they are topped by a halter that buttons on and one of those new jacket coats that hang like a man’s shirt — all, we might add, from one pattern — No. 7356. The neat-fitting slacks are practical in a plain  heavy sailcloth or cotton sheeting, the shorts in either plain or printed cotton or rayon.”

I like the loose jacket with a deep pleat in back; this back view shows how the halter top buttons on to the shorts or slacks:

Companion-Butterick pattern 7356, back view.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7356, back view.

 Girls’ Dress #7358

“And if you are six, what then? Well, why not a sundress with straps that cross in the back and a conical cap to match?  This is one part of a Triad pattern which also includes the pieces for a dress of dotted swiss with loops of white binding and a raspberry linen with rickrack braid.”

Companion-Butterick pattern 7358; a Triad pattern (three dresses from one pattern.) WHC, May 1937.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7358; a Triad pattern (three dresses from one pattern.) WHC, May 1937.

The text writer may have confused the trims; the rickrack is shown on the dotted dress. Here are the back views, in the background.

Back views of girls dresses #7358.

Back views of girls dresses #7358.

The lively illustrations are by Ernst.

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Filed under 1930s, Children's Vintage styles, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Sportswear, Vintage patterns, Women in Trousers

Some 1930’s Evening Gowns, and What to Wear Under Them

Evening gowns from Companion-Butterick patterns 7073 ans 7083. Woman's Home Companion, November 1936.

Evening gowns from Companion-Butterick patterns #7073 and #7083. Woman’s Home Companion, November 1936.

Although they were available in both women’s and misses’ [teens’] sizes, the illustration shows these patterns from 1936 being worn by sophisticated women. Fashion Editor Ethel Holland Little recommends “this pale pink satin or the dusty blue jacquard crepe [only] if they are becoming. If not, you can go in for tomato red or emerald green or again keep to black or a dark grape color.”

Text accompanying Companion-Butterick patterns 7073 & 7083, WHC Nov. 1936.

Text accompanying Companion-Butterick patterns 7073 & 7083, WHC Nov. 1936.

I love the braided neckline on #7073, and the slenderizing vertical lines on #7083, which also shows a glittering Art Deco belt buckle with matching dress clips.

Details of Patterns #7073 and #7083, Nov. 1936.

Details of Patterns #7073 and #7083, Nov. 1936.

Number 7083 has a matching jacket; both show low, bare backs accented with a row of tiny buttons.

Alternate views of Companion-Butterick #7073 and #7083, 1936.

Alternate views of Companion-Butterick patterns #7073 and #7083, 1936.

Women with perfect figures might wear these gowns with just a smoothing “Softie” girdle, but those who were not as young and firm as they used to be had quite a selection of foundation garments to choose from. This “Flexees” foundation ad was frank about its target customer in 1937:

Ad for Flexees foundation garment, Woman's Home Com[anion, Dec. 1937.

“Years from your Waistline, Inches from your Age.” Ad for Flexees foundation garments, Woman’s Home Companion, Dec. 1937.

“Nowadays a woman’s as young as her figure, and FLEXEES is her greatest rejuvenator. The extra inches that come with years . . . the years suggested by extra inches . . .both surrender to FLEXEES. And it’s a permanent surrender, because FLEXEES patented bias panels . . . Twin and Super Control . . . teach your body to retain the lovely lines in which they mold it. At your favorite store — Girdles, $3.50 to $15 — Combinations, $5 to $35. “

[In 1936, a female college graduate could expect to earn about $20 per week. Click here. Foundation garments from Sears were much less expensive. (Click here for examples.)

These two back-baring gowns are from 1934:

Butterick pattern 5531, Feb. 1934, The Delineator magazine.

Butterick evening gown pattern #5531, Feb. 1934, from The Delineator magazine.

Butterick pattern #5745, June 1934, The Delineator magazine.

Butterick evening gown pattern #5745, June 1934, from The Delineator magazine.

This nearly backless Gossard foundation garment was advertised in The Delineator in April of 1932:

Gossard "Simplicity Junior" foundation garment ad; Delineator, April 1932.

Gossard “Simplicity Junior” foundation garment ad; The Delineator, April 1932.

"Simplicity Junior" from Gossard, April 1932 advertisement.

“Simplicity Junior” foundation garment from Gossard, April 1932 advertisement.

“If you are slim . . .  regardless of your age . . . you can have a debutante’s figure. This silken under-fashion molds your figure without the aid of a single bone. The clever brassiere part gives a pointed outline to the bust, and the back is low enough for your most daring gown. . . .”

The following ad for Flexees — a boneless corset probably knitted from the new rubber called Lastex — appeared in Woman’s Home Companion just one month after these dress patterns.

Evening gowns from Companion-Butterick patterns 7073 ans 7083. Woman's Home Companion, November 1936.

Evening gowns from Companion-Butterick patterns 7073 & 7083. Woman’s Home Companion, November 1936.

Flexees ad, Woman's Home Companion, Dec. 1936.

Flexees ad, Woman’s Home Companion, Dec. 1936.

“Flexees — the modern corset. Twin-Control for the average figure — Super-Control for the full figure. At all good stores.”

Of course, not even a low-backed “modern corset” could be worn under this spectacular sequinned gown, also from 1936:

A sequin covered gown with "back interest" from April, 1936. Woman's Home Companion.

A sequin-covered gown with “back interest” from April, 1936. Woman’s Home Companion.

This photo is from an ad for Listerine mouthwash. I suspect that any woman who could wear this dress on the red carpet today, would wear it! That’s what I call a classic.

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Filed under 1930s, Foundation Garments, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Uncategorized, Underthings, Hosiery, Corsets, etc, vintage photographs

Striped Prints, Spring 1938

Companion -Butterick patters Nos. 7734 and 7733, March 1938 Butterick Fashion News flyer.

Companion -Butterick patterns Nos. 7734 and 7733, March 1938 Butterick Fashion News flyer.

The dress on the right, Companion-Butterick pattern 7733, is both a floral print and a stripe. What’s more, it’s a horizontal stripe. Not just the fabric, but the high waist and the draped V top reminded me of something familiar:

My mother with her mother, 1938.

My mother with her mother, 1938.  The woman on the left is in her 30s; the older woman is in her 60s.

Of course, it’s not exactly the same dress, but it’s very similar. The photograph is dated 1938, and I happen to have several Butterick Fashion News flyers from 1938.  Large scale prints were becoming popular in women’s dresses, under the influence of Elsa Schiaparelli. This Schiaparelli blouse, in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum, has a floral/horizontal striped print, too.

Schiaparelli print evening blouse, Metropolitan Museum. Winter 1938-1939.

Schiaparelli print evening blouse, Metropolitan Museum. Winter 1938-1939.

It has some elements in common with the dark fabric on the dress shown by Butterick, #7733.

Companion -Butterick patters Nos. 7734 and 7733, March 1938 Butterick Fashion News flyer.

Companion-Butterick patterns Nos. 7734 and 7733, March 1938 Butterick Fashion News flyer.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7733 (right):  “A soft, simple dress just right for the new striped prints. Junior Miss sizes 12 to 20; [women’s sizes] 30 to 38 [inches bust measurement.]

Companion-Butterick pattern 7734 (left):  “A tiny lace frill on a new scalloped neckline. Junior Miss sizes 12 to 20; [women’s sizes] 30 to 38 [inches bust measurement.]

Another horizontally striped floral print is used for Companion-Butterick 7745, below. “Peasant influence, laced bodice, puffed sleeves, square neck. Sizes 12 to 20; [women’s sizes] 30 to 40 [inches bust measurement.]

Companion -Butterick pattern No. 7745, Butterick Fashion News, March 1938.

Companion -Butterick pattern No. 7745, Butterick Fashion News, March 1938.

“Tyrolean” fashions were popular until World War II broke out. Lantz of Salzburg dresses — very popular with young women in the 1950s  — were known for these floral stripes. (Now, those floral stripes — used lengthwise — are associated with flannel nightgowns.)

Companion-Butterick patterns 7781 (seated) and 7791, Butterick Fashion News , April 1938.

Companion-Butterick patterns 7781 (seated) and 7791, Butterick Fashion News , April 1938.

The dress on the left  looks youthful, but the pattern goes to size 42″.

Companion-Butterick No. 7781 (left):  “The neckline outlined with flowers is fresh. Size 36 takes 3 1/2 yards rayon crepe 39. Sizes 12 to 20; [women’s sizes] 30 to 42 [inches bust measurement.]

Companion-Butterick No. 7791 (right):  “A peasant dress in bayadere print. Junior Miss sizes 12 to 20; [women’s sizes] 30 to 38 [inches bust measurement.]” The Design Fabric Glossary defines “bayadere” as “brightly coloured stripes in a horizontal format characterized by strong effects of colour. A Bayadere is an Indian dancing girl, trained from birth.”

Although this dress does not technically have striped print fabric, the floral pattern is distributed in chevrons, rather than randomly:

March 1938 cover of Butterick Fashion News, featuring Butterick pattern No. 7757.

March 1938 cover of Butterick Fashion News, featuring Butterick pattern No. 7757.

Butterick 7757:  “One of the new prints in a dress with softly shirred bodice.  Sizes 12 to 20; [women’s sizes] 30 to 42 [inches bust measurement.]

This dress, whose top is made of striped print fabric, appeared in Woman’s Home Companion in November of 1937:

Companion-Butterick pattern 7626. Woman's Home Companion, Nov. 1936.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7626. Woman’s Home Companion, Nov. 1936.

Strong colors and stripes were certainly used by Schiaparelli in this blouse from 1936:

Schiaparelli blouse, summer of 1936; Metropolitan Museum collection.

Schiaparelli blouse, summer of 1936; Metropolitan Museum collection.

(It could have been worn in the 1980s — or now — but it dates to 1936.)

The woman who couldn’t afford to make a new, print dress could add a print halter top over a solid dress, as in this Butterick accessory pattern (No. 7792), which included “collars and cuffs, gilets and sashes to make a small wardrobe seem extensive:”

Butterick "Quick Change" accessory pattern 7792, Butterick Fashion News April 1938.

Butterick “Quick Change” accessory pattern 7792, Butterick Fashion News, April 1938.

Taking a closer look at my mother’s dress from 1938, I can see that the pattern in the fabric is not actually floral; it is more like a negative pattern made by using lace to bleach out a solid color.

Close up of print dress, 1938.

Close up of print dress, 1938.

I can also see that there is a little white chemisette filling in the neckline.

Daughter and mother, 1938.

Daughter and mother, 1938.

Note:  Pictures from the Metropolitan Museum should not be copied from a blog and posted elsewhere — The Met graciously allows their use for writing about fashion history. If you want to use them, please get them from the Met’s Online Collection site, and credit the Museum.

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Filed under 1930s, Accessory Patterns, Companion-Butterick Patterns, vintage photographs

Maternity Fashions for December 1942

Maternity clothes, Butterick Fashion News, December 1942.

Maternity clothes, Butterick Fashion News flyer, December 1942.

Not all 1940s babies waited to be born in the baby boom after World War II ended. These wartime “New Dresses for Mother-to-Be” reflect the desire to conceal pregnancy as long as possible, as was the case in the 1930s, too. (Click here to see some surprising maternity fashions from the thirties.)

Butterick maternity pattern 2330, versions A & B. Dresses that used two diffent fabrics were also an adaptation to wartime shortages.

Butterick maternity pattern 2330, versions B & A.  Maternity jumper and blouse with drawstring waistline. December 1942.

Butterick 2330 came in sizes 12 to 20, bust 30 to 44 inches.

These dresses have expandable waistlines, thanks to a fabric drawstring /belt in a casing at the waist. This is an improvement on 1930’s maternity clothes which had much of their room for expansion in the back of the dress. However, these dresses must have been much shorter in front than in back by the eighth or ninth month — and hems were already rising to the knee. (Some women may have stayed indoors as much as possible by then; in previous centuries well-to-do women were “confined” to home in the later stages of pregnancy. Working women didn’t have that luxury.)  These 1942 dresses do have the virtue — considerable in a time of fabric shortages — of still being wearable after the baby was born.

In 1942, maternity dresses were not strikingly different from other fashions; this style with center front fullness is not a maternity dress:

Butterick "tailored Dress" pattern # 2334, versions A & B, from Butterick Fashion News, December 1942.

Butterick “tailored Dress” pattern # 2334, versions A & B, from Butterick Fashion News, December 1942.

“Butterick 2334:  Tailored dress with double-breasted closing; peg-top skirt. Long or short sleeves . . . . [Sizes] 12 to 30; [bust] 30 to 42.”

These are maternity dresses:

Maternity dresses 2328 and 2335, Butterick Fashion News, December 1942.

Maternity dresses 2328 and 2335, Butterick Fashion News, December 1942.

Butterick 2328:  “Slimming lines in this maternity coat frock. Buttons punctuate the surplice bodice and wraparound skirt. Easy fullness drapes softly from shoulder detail.  A tie belt adjusts the fullness at the waist. . . . [Sizes] 12 to 20, [bust] 30 to 44.”

Butterick 2335:  “There’s a decidedly youthful look to this tailored maternity frock. Fullness is concentrated in the slimming front panel. Adjustable drawstring waistline. We suggest a wool and rayon blend. . . . [Sizes] 12 to 30; [bust] 30 to 42.”

Butterick maternity pattern 2329, Butterick Fashion News flyer, December 1942.

Butterick maternity pattern 2329, Butterick Fashion News flyer, December 1942.

Butterick 2329:  “Youthful two-piece frock for the expectant mother. The smock-jacket with its bow neckline is designed on discreet lines. The skirt with bodice top is adjustable at the waistline . . . . [Sizes] 12 to 20, [bust] 30 to 44.”

Boxy jackets were not necessarily for mothers-to-be.

Not a maternity pattern. This coat is Butterick 2282, from Butterick Fashion News flyer, December 1942.

Not a maternity pattern. This coat is Companion-Butterick pattern 2282, from Butterick Fashion News flyer, December 1942.

Companion-Butterick 2282:  This “casual boxy coat” with quilted lining (and matching quilted hat from pattern # 2282) could be made from tweed with a velvet lining and collar:  “We think it smart for both day and evening.” [It has no room for expansion and a very narrow overlap in front.] In sizes 12 to 20, bust 30 to 44 inches.

The majority of dresses in this December 1942 flyer did focus on a slender waist, so other women may have been very alert to the significance of the drawstring waistline as a pregnancy indicator. That may also explain the many references to the “slimming,” “youthful,” and “discreet” properties of the maternity styles.

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

Butterick Fashion News cover for December 1942. This is dress pattern #2306. It is definitely not a maternity style!

 

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Filed under 1940s-1950s, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Hats, Maternity clothes, Vintage patterns

Gowns for New Year’s Eve, 1937

Butterick pattern 7650, December 1937. Cover, Butterick Fashion News flyer.

Butterick pattern 7650, December 1937. Cover, Butterick Fashion News flyer.

You may not have time to make one of these gowns for New Year’s Eve 2014, but Butterick offered a variety of choices for 1937. Long gowns could be revealing dance dresses, like this one, or covered-up dinner dresses, in fabrics ranging from metallic brocades and lamés to velvet or satin.

Butterick 7650

Butterick pattern 7650, left, and a store-bought dress featured in Woman's Home Companion, both from December, 1937.

Butterick pattern 7650, left, and a store-bought dress with similar top featured in Woman’s Home Companion, both from December, 1937.

Butterick 7650 is described as a “Junior Miss evening dress” to be made “in metal threaded crepe.” Pattern for sizes 12 to 20, 30 to 38 inch bust. The dress on the right was featured in the Styles in Stores column of Woman’s Home Companion:

“The evening dress would make a shining success at a gala New Year’s party —  and for various excellent reasons. The first has to do with the sparkle (it is really glamorous) of the rhinestone trimming, applied in a new scroll effect. The second concerns the rustle of the material,  a white, black or sapphire taffeta which is sure to be heard on the smartest dance floors this winter. The third springs from the graceful swing of the full skirt and the fourth, from the novel cut of the halter neckline. Famous Barr Company, St. Louis.”

Butterick 7644 and 7646

"Glamour at Night" evening gowns, Butterick Fashion News flyer, Dec. 1927. The gown on the left is pattern #7644; the one on the right is #7646.

“Glamour at Night” evening gowns, Butterick Fashion News flyer, Dec. 1937. The gown on the left is pattern #7644; the one on the right is #7646.

Pattern descriptions and back views, Butterick 7644 and 7646.

Pattern descriptions and back views, Butterick 7644 and 7646. Dec. 1937.

Both evening gowns are the “new slit-up-in-front” style. The one shown in black is made of taffeta and has “the new corseted silhouette:”  “Dramatized last summer by the Duchess of Windsor the long molded line from diaphragm to hip top is now the most important point in the new silhouette.” — Woman’s Home Companion, December 1937.  The fabric suggested for the gown illustrated in white is satin. The backs are low-cut and bare. Pattern 7646 was also featured in an ad for Butterick Winter Fashion Magazine, which cost 25 cents, unlike the free Butterick Fashion News flyer. (The ad, on newsprint, is very grainy.  The dress may or may not be velvet.)

Another view of Butterick 7646, Dec. 1937.

Another view of Butterick 7646, Dec. 1937.

Dinner Dresses

This was also an era when women wore long gowns to dinner at restaurants and private homes, to night clubs, and to the theatre. “Dinner dresses” tended to be more covered up than evening gowns — often, they were made from the same pattern as a shorter day dress, as the following examples show.

"That Corseted Look:" Companion-Butterick patterns from Woman's Home Companion, Nov. 1937.

“That Corseted Look:” Companion-Butterick patterns from Woman’s Home Companion, Nov. 1937. Left, #7624; right and seated, #7626.

Butterick stopped publishing its fashion and news magazine, The Delineator,  abruptly in April 1937. However, the Butterick pattern empire, with offices in Paris and other European cities, continued. An agreement with its (former) rival magazine, Woman’s Home Companion, was in place, and the WHC began featuring “Companion-Butterick” patterns in 1937.  Consequently, patterns illustrated in the Butterick Fashion News store flyers might also be illustrated, in full color, in Woman’s Home Companion. 

Companion-Butterick 7626

Companion-Butterick pattern 7626, from Butterick Fashion News flyer, Dec. 1937.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7626, from Butterick Fashion News flyer, Dec. 1937.

Here, pattern 7626 is “A dress as new as the minute and elegant in black velvet.” For sizes 12 to 20, or 30 to 40 inch bust. [12 to 20 were sizes for young or small women.] It is “corseted” because of the snug, ruched waist, which fitted tightly because of side seam zippers on both sides. The day version could be made with a print bodice.

Daytime version of Companion Butterick 7626. WHC, Nov. 1937.

Daytime version of Companion-Butterick 7626. WHC, Nov. 1937.

Companion-Butterick 7624

Companion-Butterick pattern 7624, "That Corseted Look," WHC Nov. 1937.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7624, “That Corseted Look,” WHC Nov. 1937.

“Soft gathers in the bodice and the new slim corseted waist…. Bias cut skirt.” The Butterick Fashion flyer suggested that the dress on the left be made from satin crepe. Sizes 12 to 20, 3o to 40.  Its shaped midriff is accented [and slenderized] by a row of tiny buttons down the front. [See below.]

No. 7624 (left) and 7628 (right) were "Glamour for Night." Butterick Fashion flyer Dec. 1937.

No. 7624 (left) and 7628 (right) were “Glamour for Night.” Butterick Fashion News flyer Dec. 1937.

Companion Butterick 7628

Companion Butterick 7628,  pictured on the right, above, has “The high draped surplice line in a lovely lamé dinner dress.” The magazine reminded readers that they could use the same pattern for “a formal day dress or a simple dinner dress, or both.” Both versions were accented by a colorful “high placed handkerchief” to match your shoes, bag, or hat.

A long dinner-dress version of Companion-Butterick 7628. WHC Nov. 1937.

A  long dinner-dress version of Companion-Butterick 7628. WHC Nov. 1937.

A formal day dress version of Companion-Butterick pattern 7628, Nov. 1937.

A formal day dress version of Companion-Butterick pattern 7628, Nov. 1937.

The hostess of a dinner party could also wear a long “hostess” gown or a “housecoat.” See Companion-Butterick Triad Patterns for an example.

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Filed under 1930s, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Vintage patterns, 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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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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A Pattern for Mother, Daughter, and Grandmother, 1937

Companion-Butterick Triad Pattern #7553, for Three Generations. From Woman's Home Companion, September 1937.

Companion-Butterick Triad Pattern #7553, for three generations. From Woman’s Home Companion, September 1937. Illustration by ERNST

Companion-Butterick “Triad” patterns usually were marked by their versatility: patterns with day and evening versions, or patterns that could be made in several ways to create a larger wardrobe. This is the first I’ve noticed that was versatile because it was equally suited to young, middle-aged, and older women. (There would be no savings in buying this unless all three wore the same size… and were still the same shape….)

“Pattern 7553 is designed for the family — a find for teas, luncheons, and bridge. To see it at its best you will want to make it up in an exciting new fall fabric and color.  For you mothers, we suggest a wool-like silk, bound in green grosgrain. It is a perfect foil for kid-trimmed brown suede shoes and a felt toque.” 1937 sept p 82 family triad pattern 7553 3 ages illus“For you daughters, very sheer wool is new in cranberry, a vibrant fall shade. Add high-cut black suede pumps, a felt calot, and you are dressed for any special occasion. You grandmother will like the heavy drape of satin-back silk  in soft blue tinged with lavender — a color flattering to gray hair. With this dull and shiny combination, no shoe could be nicer than one in black suede trimmed with patent leather.  And to complete your costume we suggest a felt hat in matching blue.”

1937 sept p 82 family triad pattern 7553 tops bodices 3 ages 500
The daughter’s calot is a close-fitting cap without a brim.  The styling of the bodices is varied, but, except for having shorter sleeves, the daughter’s version is not noticeably youthful. Grandmother’s heavy satin-backed silk is made with the matte side out and the shiny side used only as trim.  It also has ruching on the shoulders, perhaps to provide a little more bust fullness, and less puffy sleeve caps. Mother’s wool-like brown silk bound in green grosgrain strikes me as a bit too “Robin Hood.” (To be fair, the Errol Flynn Adventures of Robin Hood wasn’t released until May of 1938.) I’m hoping that’s a gorgeous Art Deco emerald clip on her neckline.

To my eyes, the most youthful-looking shoes are worn by the grandmother, not the granddaughter. 1937 sept p 82 family triad pattern shoes 500 7553 3 ages

From an Air Step Shoe Ad, September 1937. Woman's Home Companion.

From an Air Step Shoe Ad, September 1937. Woman’s Home Companion. “Most styles $6.00. Slightly higher in Far West.”

Notice how high and relatively narrow the heels on the “Fay” model are. Mother might also wear the “Stroller” heels, which are equally high, but not as thin. “Fernwood,” with a lower heel, looks more grandmotherly to me, and as recommended, they are suede or gabardine with patent leather trim. Perhaps the daughter is wearing “high-cut black suede pumps” with a zipper front, but these Air Step “Dianne” shoes would also do.

Air Step shoes, "Dianne" model, Sept. 1937. Woman's Home Companion.

Air Step shoes, “Dianne” model, Sept. 1937. Woman’s Home Companion.

The pattern information and back views of Companion-Butterick #7553: 1937 sept p 82 family triad pattern 7553 3 ages text back view

 

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Vogue Pattern 7250: The Personality Dress, 1936

"The Personality Dress." Vogue pattern # 7250, featured on Ladies' Home Journal, Feb 1936.

“The Personality Dress.” Vogue pattern # 7250, featured in Ladies’ Home Journal, Feb. 1936.

The Woman’s Home Companion joined with Butterick in 1936 to publicize Companion-Butterick patterns, which often were selected for their versatility with accessories. But, in the grim financial situation of the 1930s, The Ladies’ Home Journal also recognized that many women had to make do with just one or two ‘good’ dresses, adding inexpensive accessories like detachable collars, “Vestees” (also known as “dickies”  — basically just the collar and front part of a blouse, which takes the place of a complete blouse peeking out from your jacket or sweater,) plus an assortment of scarves, belts, and costume jewelry.

Vogue Patterns in Ladies Home Journal

The Ladies’ Home Journal had produced and sold its own patterns earlier in the century, but it featured a few Vogue patterns, instead, in every issue by 1936 — possibly earlier. This particular Vogue dress pattern, # 7250, is described as “a frock that’s hard to find, and we thought it up especially for you!” lhj 1936 feb p 24  a b c d tops vogue 7250Vogue # 7250 has a top-stitched button front from high collar to the waist, with an apparently false placket that continues down to the hem for a very long, slender look. (See top photo) For maximum versatility, preferred colors are black, brown, gray, and navy, but royal blue, dark red, green or yellow, and white “of course” are also suggested. Available in sizes 14 to 42.

“Then you add or subtract, as your mood, the weather, or the occasion dictates. Demure for shopping, you may wear a cleric’s vestee of white sik or linen [A], with handbag, belt, and gloves possibly of red suede. Or, if there’s a dash of derring-do in you, wouldn’t you like brown with black — brown alligator belt and bag, and brown suede gloves faced with kid? On other days, let a pair of rhinestone clips [B] carry the burden of dresing up your frock. A monogram clip fastened to one side of an open white vestee [C] is an individual touch.  A sports handkerchief, [D] knotted or pinned with a wooden or copper scarfpin, will lend dash when you’re running into town some morning on the 10:10. . . .”

lhj 1936 feb p 24 bottom EFG vogue 7250It’s hard to tell whether the one I’ve labeled E is a very large pin or a bunch of flowers.

“For a special luncheon date, baste in a lingerie frill of white [G] and put on a velvet belt with a handsome buckle.  For another day, in the spirit of Salzburg, you may devise an amusing bolero of Tirolese ancestry [F]. Play at being your own designer and you’ll find it’s fascinating to experiment with one dress. . . . It’s a dress that even your best friend won’t tire of!”

Making the Best of Things

Although suede and alligator accessories sound extravagant (and probably most women only dreamed of such luxuries,) this article has a sort of sad gallantry about it. Even as a woman struggles to maintain the image of a person with adequate income, she should think of it as “fascinating” “play.” Her best friend, of course, will notice that she has to wear the same dress every day — but she “won’t tire of” it!

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