Tag Archives: Companion-Butterick patterns

1936 Dress Pattern for Grandmother, Mother, and Daughter

Companion Butterick pattern 7079, a "triad" pattern in three versions for three different ages. Woman's Home Companion, November 1936, p. 82.

Companion Butterick pattern 7079, a pattern with three versions for three different ages. Woman’s Home Companion, November 1936, p. 82.

In the depths of the Great Depression, The Woman’s Home Companion offered Companion-Butterick patterns. Sometimes they were called “Triad” patterns, and were selected for their economy and efficiency: “Buy one pattern, make three dresses” was the theme. This makes sense, if all three are the same size. But in 1936 and 1937, the magazine suggested one pattern which offered options to suit women of three different ages. It’s an odd idea, but tells us a little bit about how older women were expected to dress differently from their daughters.

Grandmother and Mother in versions of Companion Butterick pattern 7079. Nov. 1936.

Grandmother and Mother in versions of Companion Butterick pattern 7079. Nov. 1936.

“This pattern is designed for any age — from sixteen to sixty — on the distaff side of the family. For grandmother, who may have the flattery of V lines at the neck, we suggest grape colored [double sided] crepe, set off with a matching velvet beret [described elsewhere as “dignified”] and wide-strap shoes in black kid and gabardine.

“For mother, who can go in for sleeves slightly full at top, sheer brown wool touched with dull gold plus a toque made of the dress material [she seems to be wearing the pillbox, instead] and high-built shoes in brown suede with calf.” [A pattern for their hats was also featured in this issue.]

Pattern 7079 for women of sixty, forty, and sixteen. 1936.

Pattern 7079 for women from sixty to sixteen. 1936.

“For daughter, who will like those pocket flaps, very dull black for everything except the lacquer red quill on the toque, the lacquer red belt and the shiny patent trimming on the calf shoes. (Note the hat patterns on another page.)”

"7079 Dress. Sizes 12 to 20; 30 to 44 [inch] bust measure." Companion Butterick, Nov. 1936.

“7079 Dress. Sizes 12 to 20; 30 to 44 [inch] bust measure.” Companion Butterick, Nov. 1936. Those two little bust darts are interesting.

Daughter (age sixteen) wearing #7079, with pockets, big buttons, and a shiny red belt.

Daughter (age sixteen) wearing #7079, with pockets, big buttons, and a shiny red belt. 1936.

Presumably, only the young and slender will want horizontal pockets making their hips look wider (are they practical– i.e., real– pockets? The article doesn’t say.) The bright, contrasting belt is also only flattering to a slender waist and hips, although all three dresses have belts; grandma’s is the least conspicuous:

whc 1936 nov p 82 page 500 triad 7079 belts three generations

Sleeves that create the broad-shouldered look — popular since the Joan Crawford movie Letty Lynton, in 1932 — are for the mother and daughter, but not for conservative grandma, aged “sixty.” Surprisingly, black is suggested for the young woman, but is perhaps too severe — or too much like mourning attire — to be advised for the older ladies. And all three are wearing fashionable, sturdy, mid-thirties shoes, guaranteed to make legs look shorter and ankles — except very thin ones, as drawn by Ernst — look thicker.

Shoes, 1936. Illustration by Ernst.

Shoes, 1936. Illustration by Ernst.

But I do love those big, triangular 1930’s buttons!

Back views 7079; big 1930's buttons. 1936

Back views of pattern #7079; big 1930’s buttons. 1936. There is no center back opening; side openings under the left arm were commonly used.

All three hats — a pillbox, a beret, and a toque — could be made from pattern 7080. Making hats for “sixty to sixteen” from one pattern makes more sense than buying one pattern to make dresses for three different women, when you think about it.

Companion Butterick hat pattern 7080. WHC, Nov. 1936.

Companion Butterick hat pattern No. 7080. WHC, Nov. 1936.

whc 1936 nov p 81 hats 7080 descript

A new hat gives a lift to the spirits…. If you have never tried [to make a hat] here is a good pattern to begin on.”

Companion Butterick hat pattern 7080, 1936.

Companion Butterick hat pattern 7080, 1936.

The toque really is about as simple as a hat can be: a truncated cone with just one seam. The pillbox is made from strips of 2 1/2 inch wide velvet ribbon. (Linings and hat bands are not mentioned in the description, but could be expected on the pattern envelope.)

To read more about Companion-Butterick “Triad patterns,” click here.


Filed under 1930s, Accessory Patterns, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Hats, Shoes, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns

Dinner Suit for Summer or Cruise, late 1930s

A dinner suit, linen or rayon, late 1930s. From a private collection.

A dinner suit, linen or rayon, late 1930s. From a private collection.

After writing about 1936 swimsuits and dresses for a cruise to Cuba or Bermuda, I remembered this vintage suit which was collected by a friend. It was white linen (or linen-look rayon) with a medium-large navy floral print. It has a low, square-cut back, like the evening dresses for a 1936 cruise. It’s fresh and young-looking, but the cut is quite conservative (you could easily wear a low-backed corset under it, whereas more dramatic 30s evening gowns require the wearer to go bra-less.)

A dinner suit and evening dress to wear on a tropic cruise. Ladies' Home Journal, Feb. 1936.

A dinner suit and evening dress to wear on a tropic cruise. Ladies’ Home Journal, Feb. 1936.

Here are front and back views of the linen-look dinner dress:dress front and backThe bodice has a triangular insert that creates a squarish neckline. There is fullness in the front rather than darts, so it may have had a slight blouson when worn. Like this black and white gown from the cruise article, there is more fullness in the skirt back than in the front:

Ladies' Home Journal, Feb. 1936.

Ladies’ Home Journal, Feb. 1936.

The jacket is longer in the back than in the front, which looks graceful in profile, and its short, loose sleeves are very comfortable for an evening in a warm climate.suit jacket front side backThe puffy sleeves probably date this to the late thirties; here are some sleeves (1937) with a similar silhouette, but different construction:

Butterick-Companion patterns from Woman's Home Companion, January 1937.

Butterick-Companion patterns from Woman’s Home Companion, January 1937.

This suit did not have a manufacturer’s label; the jacket and bodice were lined, but the skirt was not. The dress closed with snaps at the side, plus a hook at the waist — always a good idea!

Side underarm bodice closing. Some female snaps are missing. The skirt (right) is unlined.

Side underarm bodice closing. The female snaps are not visible. The skirt (right) is unlined.

Here’s a closer look at the princess-line jacket:lg V173 jacket frontThe buttons are self-covered and the buttonholes were hand-bound: lg V173 jacket buttons

Karen at Fifty Dresses has been writing marvelous posts about Moygashel linen (she even found a 1955 advertisement picturing one of her vintage fabric purchases!) Click here to read her post and see the clever dress she made from a very small remnant.)

I think this dinner suit was made by the wearer — or her dressmaker — and I wouldn’t be surprised to come across the pattern someday!



Filed under 1930s, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Dresses, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing

Draped Blouses, November 1937

“One glance at this page should leave no doubt in your mind about bodice drapery. It is headline news. You can’t ignore it — especially in the more formal type of blouse shown here. Lame, crepe, velvet, sheer wool — a short length of material plus one of these patterns is all you need to have a blouse. Make several to revive a suit or top a velvet skirt. They are a boon for special occasions and an easy way of expanding your wardrobe.” — Woman’s Home Companion, November 1937.WHC 1937 nov p 96 drapery in blouse 7623 7625 7629 7627There are four separate patterns here. They are all shown as overblouses — two look rather like jackets.

Budget Dressing During the Depression

These blouses, all meant to be worn over the skirt, look marvelous in color, but it’s easy to imagine them also made in white or pastels for office wear, or made of crêpe or wool with a matching skirt. 1937 was still Depression-era, and Companion-Butterick patterns were often described as an economical way to make your wardrobe look bigger than it was.

In this case, “a short length” of a luxury material like lamé or velvet would be more affordable than a whole evening-dress length, and you could pair one evening blouse with different skirts or wear it over a simple evening dress. This was a time when dinner dresses were worn to restaurants and theatres, as well as to private homes. Pattern 7625 would be very appropriate for a “dinner suit.”

Companion-Butterick Pattern 7625

Companion-Butterick pattern, Nov. 1937.

Companion-Butterick pattern, Nov. 1937.

This jacket-like blouse could also be made in a short-sleeved version, which would be pretty under a suit jacket. The pattern description does not say anything about how it closes. This is the only blouse pattern with set-in sleeves.

Companion-Butterick Pattern 7629

Companion-Butterick Pattern 7629, Nov.1937

Companion-Butterick Pattern 7629, Nov. 1937

This blouse looks very current to me, except for the little belt in back, which snugs it to the waist. It seems to be cut on the bias. Or I can imagine a modern version in knit, with an invisible side zipper. The pattern description doesn’t say how it closes; the shorter sleeves seem to be ruched to 3/4 length, but wrist length sleeves are also illustrated.

Companion-Butterick Pattern 7623

Companion-Butterick Pattern 7623, Nov. 1937.

Companion-Butterick Pattern 7623, Nov. 1937.

A longer-sleeved version was included. Again, there is no information about how you got this tightly fitted blouse on and off. The gold novelty buttons – if that’s what they are – are a nice touch.

Companion-Butterick Pattern 7627

Companion-Butterick Pattern 7627, Nov. 1937

Companion-Butterick Pattern 7627, Nov. 1937

This blouse has interesting sleeve variations and a waist that looks almost like a vest or weskit. Since it has a center back seam, it may use a center back zipper. Lamé was not the only metallic fabric available in the 1930s, as you can see from this 1936 advertisement for Fleischmann’s yeast. 1936 metallic blouse Fleischmann's yeast adAll four of the Companion-Butterick patterns were available in sizes 30 to 44 inch bust measure.

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Filed under 1930s, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Vintage patterns

Flattering Styles for Large Women, February 1937

Woman's Home Companion, February 1937, p. 70.

Woman’s Home Companion, February 1937, p. 70.

The Woman’s Home Companion offered four dress patterns for hard-to-fit women in its February 1937 issue. The first two were “designed especially to flatter the large woman,” and the second pair of patterns were a pre-cursor of “half-sizes,” being designed for women under 5′ 4 1/2″ tall and with “hips a little larger than average.” All four Companion-Butterick patterns were available up to size 52″ bust measurement. The articles include period advice on flattering styles, accessories, and color choices for large women; some of it is standard [wear vertical lines, avoid over-large prints] , and some of it – tiny collars? – is a surprise.

Youthful Details for You Who Are Not So Slim [page 70]

Companion-Butterick patterns 7215 &7213, 1937.

Companion-Butterick patterns 7215 &7213, 1937.

“We are sure you feel as we do about the question of youthful clothes for the large but not old figure. You are tired of the staid styles you usually find in the big sizes. You have had an overdose of surplice lines.  You want fresh-looking new-looking dresses – and there is no reason why you shouldn’t have them.

“These two patterns have been planned to solve your problem. Each is cut in sizes up to 52-inch bust measure, each has a way of concealing pounds, yet each has a smart touch that is worthy of size 16. [I.e, a teen dress size.]

Companion Butterick patterns 7215 & 7217, 1937.

Companion Butterick patterns 7215 & 7217, 1937.

“In Pattern 7215 it is the tiny contrasting collar and vest section – such a pleasant change from the usual V. Look at the belt, too. This flatters your figure because it is hidden in front. And note the smooth shoulders – a good idea if you happen to be large through the top of the body. You can make [it] in youthful colors – this flax-blue linen perhaps, with contrasting pink. It is just the type for one of the new medium-high felts [see hat] with a medium-high crown.”

“In pattern 7213 you will like the soft drapery of the jabot – as kind to the face as to the figure. You will fiind too that the sleeves have been cut to give the new broad look to sloping shoulders. Wine is a good color for the long-sleeved version – smart with black suède oxfords delicately trimmed with fine scalloped stitching. In both dresses, as you see, there is a convenient choice of necklines and sleeve lengths.” WHC feb 1937 p 70  stout patterns top left

Add to Your Height and Subtract from Your Hips [page 71]

Woman's Hone Companion, Feb. 1937, p. 71

Woman’s Home Companion, Feb. 1937, p. 71

“You may be short and your hips may be a little larger than average but you can still wear the new clothes to good advantage. One way is to choose patterns cut to fit your figure. Another is to be sure that every detail of your costume is in proportion to your height.

“Not for you the too-heavy hat, but the small saucy brim and the medium-high crown of this beige felt. Not for you the rough leathers and bulky lines of a peasant’s shoe, but the slender silhouette of these soft blue step-ins. Not for you the overlarge too-vibrant print, but the fine traceries of this monotone floral. Not for you any fluffy trimmings, but this crisp touch of white organdie or the new saddle stitching, used here to emphasize long up-and-down lines.”

Companion-Butterick patterns 7217 & 7219, Feb. 1937.

Companion-Butterick patterns 7217 & 7219, Feb. 1937.

“About the patterns: No.7217 has this season’s raised waistline – and excellent idea because it adds inches to your skirt. You will notice too that there is no belt to break your height and that there is enough fullness above the skirt to conceal any extra pounds about the diaphragm.

“No. 7219 has the flattery of a small collar, a tiny belt, and definitely vertical lines. It is perfect for beige and for piqué, the ribs of the material running up and down except in the blouse section and the sleeves. There the fabric is used cross-ways to add interest from a fashion angle.”

Other views of patterns 7217 & 7219

Other views of patterns 7217 & 7219

 A Pre-Flattened Hat WHC feb 1937 p 70 squashed hat

I’ve seen a lot of 1930s hats in costume storage that look like they got squashed; I never realized that they might have started life that way!


Truth in Illustrating?

As usual, Woman’s Home Companion has written about patterns styled for large women, but illustrated the article on standard 1930s fashion figures. [Illustrations by Ernst.] True, these four patterns were available from size 34″ bust all the way up to size 52″, but the illustrations don’t give any idea of how the dresses would look on, say, a size 42. To be fair, however, the illustrations on page 71 did show slightly larger-than-usual hips. WHC feb 1937 p 71 hip comparison



Filed under 1930s, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Hats, Vintage patterns