Tag Archives: CoPA Commercial Pattern Archive

Clothes for Clubwomen (and Their Cost) Feb. 1933

Butterick suggests a "Clubwoman's Wardrobe for $30.00." Delineator, Feb. 1933.

Butterick suggests a “Clubwoman’s Wardrobe for $30.00.” Delineator, Feb. 1933. “The colors are, from left to right, black, green, gray and black.”

“Clubwomen” implies enough leisure to participate in community fundraisers, bridge parties, etc. The Delineator‘s target reader was middle-class (Butterick patterns were more expensive than “dime-store” patterns.) But this was 1933, and many formerly “comfortable” people were struggling to keep their (1929) pre-crash position in the economy. This article assured “clubwomen” that they could afford to dress well, making four outfits for $30. As we might expect, “clubwomen” were often women whose children were grown, women of a “certain age” and, in some cases, a less than ideal figure.

Opening paragraph of the article, Delineator, p. 68. February 1933.

Opening paragraph of the article, Delineator, p. 68. February 1933.

Clubwoman’s Figure

“I have what is known as the ‘clubwoman’s figure’ and I suffer from those I-can’t-find-anything-to-fit-me blues…. I am so tired of those oldish frocks that shopkeepers seem to think  anyone weighing over a hundred and twenty should wear.”

Delineator suggested a four pattern wardrobe to solve these problems and gave the cost for materials to make each of them. Not surprisingly, the coat and the evening ensemble were the most expensive. However, a coat might be expected to last for two years.

Butterick 4902 coat pattern for 1933

Butterick coat pattern 4902, from Delineator, Feb. 1933.

Butterick coat pattern 4902, from Delineator, Feb. 1933. Estimated cost of materials is $9.91. Sizes up to 44 inch bust.

Description of Butterick coat pattern

Description of Butterick coat pattern 4902, from 1933.

The coat pattern was available in sizes 12 to 20, 30 to 44 inch bust measure. This was a normal range of women’s sizes for Butterick in 1933, equivalent to modern sizes 6 through 22.

Butterick dress pattern 4840 from 1933

Butterick No. 4840 for "clubwomen." It could be made for and came in sizes up to 44 inch bust measure.

Butterick No. 4840 for “clubwomen.” It could be made for $ 5.20 and came in sizes up to 44 inch bust measure.

Description of Butterick

Description of Butterick 4840, from 1933.

The solid color on the wrap bodice isn’t allowed for on the pattern — which I have not been able to locate at the Vintage Pattern Wikia or at CoPA. The largest size on this pattern was for a 44 inch bust, which usually meant 47.5 inch hips.

Butterick dress pattern 4790 from 1933

Butterick No. 4790, a "clubwoman's dress" from Feb. 1933. It was available in large sizes.

Butterick No. 4790, a “clubwoman’s dress” from Feb. 1933. It was available in large sizes and could be made for $5.26, including materials, buttons and pattern.

Butterick description.

Butterick  4790 description. “Get the darkest gray, as the light ones are not so interesting.”

Even a clubwoman with a 52 inch bust (a modern size 30W) could use this pattern.

Butterick evening ensemble 4904 from 1933

Butterick evening grown and jacket pattern. No. 4904 from 1933. Suggested for mature women,

Butterick evening grown and jacket pattern. No. 4904 from 1933. Suggested for mature women, its materials cost $9.63 (or $10.88.)

This evening gown and matching jacket were suggested for “clubwomen” in sizes up to a 48″ bust measurement, size 26W in 2016.

Description of Butterick pattern 4904.

Description of Butterick pattern 4904. If you line the lace yoke with flesh chiffon as recommended, the materials and pattern would cost $10.88.

Although this outfit looks like velvet in the illustration, the budget suggests “heavy sheer black crepe” and black lace. “With the jacket, this is correct for any formal afternoon occasion. Without the jacket, it is suitable for evening. So that it could be used for both purposes, we made it rather long — eight inches from the floor. For best effect, use lace that is not too hole-y and line the lace with flesh chiffon…. Those two bright spots at the neckline are double rhinestone clips. And when you want to look especially ravishing, give yourself a big bunch of purple violets and pin them, with their spread-out green leaves, just below that high point in the skirt.” [The skirt goes all the way up to the sternum on this pattern.]

This wardrobe, according to editor Marian Corey, could be worn six months of the year, if cleaned regularly.

“It  has got the right dress for every occasion, from shopping in town to traveling in Europe, or presiding over a club meeting, or attending a wedding. And it is inexpensive — costing, if one makes it oneself, just $30.00.” [In the 1930’s, many female college graduates were getting by on $18 per week.]

The same issue of Delineator had two more pages dedicated to hard-to-fit women. If coat No. 4902 wasn’t big enough, this coat and dress for “The Shorter Figure” (short in relation to its circumference) were featured on page 77.

Butterick patterns 4883 and 4956, "For the Shorter Figure," Delineator, Feb 1933. Page 77.

Butterick patterns 4883 and 4956, “For the Shorter Figure,” Delineator, Feb 1933. Page 77.

1933 feb p 77 text 4883 shorter figure large

1933 feb p 77 text 4956 shorter figure large

Dress 4883 is “especially designed to give height and slenderness to the woman less than five-five with a larger hip size than average.” [That’s a surprise; apparently Butterick expected the average woman to be taller than 5′ 5″] Diagonal (or “surplice“) lines were often suggested as slenderizing. The cleverly cut back of this “height-giving” coat does create the illusion that the waist is much smaller than it really is. “Created with shorter women in mind.” These are not yet called “half-sized” patterns, however.

back views of Butterick 4956 and 4883. Large sized patterns, 1933.

Back views of Butterick 4956 and 4883. Large sized patterns for shorter women, 1933.

On page 76 there were two more patterns designed for the “clubwoman’s figure” — here called “dresses with slender lines.”

Butterick 4957 and 4917, slender lines for larger and shorter figures. Feb. 1933.

Butterick 4957 and 4917, slender lines for larger figures. Feb. 1933.

1933 feb p 76 text 4957 slender lines large

1933 feb p 76 text 4917slender lines large

You can see that the print dress does look slightly less short-waisted than its neighbor. [But not very flattering to the hips!]

And, in the same issue, women who were not young and slim could find an ad for the Lane Bryant Stout Women’s catalog:

Ad for the Lane Bryant Sotut and Large catalog. Delineator, Feb 1933.

Ad for the Lane Bryant Stout Women’s catalog. Delineator, Feb 1933.

The prices shown on the cover ($5.95 to $8.95) are not too far off Butterick’s make-it-yourself estimates. The dress at right has a skirt extending in a point up to the sternum, like the evening pattern suggested for clubwomen; its sleeves are also  very similar to the “clubwomen’s”  patterns. The illustration style, however, is a bit more realistic.

Similar slenderizing styles from butterick and Lane Bryant. Delneator, Feb 1933.

Similar slenderizing styles from Butterick and Lane Bryant. Delineator, Feb 1933.

 

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Filed under 1930s, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes

More McCall Hats and Bags, 1946

My copy of the McCall Needlework store catalog for December 1946 shows many delightful patterns for hats and handbags. I’ve already described three patterns from the 1946 catalog that were successful enough to still be included in a store catalog at the end of 1950.

McCall 1228 pattern for hats and handbags. 1945. Image from McCall Needlework catalog Dec. 1946.

McCall 1228 pattern for hats and handbags. 1945. Image from McCall Needlework catalog Dec. 1946.

When dating styles from sewing patterns, it’s good to be reminded that it takes a while for a new style to gain acceptance, so that pattern companies continue to feature some patterns over a span of several years. The following group of patterns debuted between 1944 and 1946, and were out of print by November of 1950 (the latest McCall Needlework catalog I happen to have.)

This, No. 1115, is the oldest hat pattern from the 1946 catalog — originally issued in 1944. It has been dated by the Commercial Pattern Archive.

McCall 1115, Pattern for Hat and Handbag

McCall hat and bag pattern 1115, from the Dec. 1946 Needlework catalog. Pattern issued in 1944.

McCall hat and bag pattern 1115, from the Dec. 1946 Needlework catalog. Pattern issued in 1944.

View (B), a beret worn tilted far forward on the head, has a pretty extension at the back in place of the more common 1940’s band. The purse has straps which act as a drawstring, passing through sewn-on metal rings.

MC 1115 txt 500 hats bags dec 1946

The close-fitting cap (A) is described as a calot, meaning a close-fitting hat without a brim. It was more commonly called a “Juliet cap.” (See pattern 1293, below.) There are many illustrations of modern royalty wearing “calots” at the Royal Hats blog. In the 1920’s a hat type called a callotte was also brimless, but not close to the scalp. See a twenties version here.

McCall 1193, Hat Patterns

McCall hat pattern 1193 dates to 1945. McCall Needlework Catalog, Dec. 1946.

McCall hat pattern 1193 dates to 1945. McCall Needlework Catalog, Dec. 1946.

Frankly, View (A) looks to me to be too small for the model. The caved-in crown is a bit of a surprise — but handy as a base for a bowl of fruit… :). Version (B) evokes 1930’s hats like this one from 1936. From the rear, View (C) suggests a matador’s hat.

MC 1193 text hats bags dec 1946

“Turban A has a bias-fold crown. . . marvelous in stripes, and plain, too. The widow’s peak hat B and the beret-type C are soft hats, too. C is machine stitched and trimmed with ribbon bows. All are snug-fitting hats.”

“They can be worn with high or low hair-dos.” But, obviously, the extreme pompadour hair styles of the early 1940’s are not going to work with these hats.

There are more views on the pattern envelope at CoPA.

McCall 1200 Hats and a Bag for Very Young Women

McCall hat and bag pattern 1200, from 1945. Imge from McCall Needlework catalog, Dec. 1946.

McCall hat and bag pattern 1200, from 1945. Image from McCall Needlework catalog, Dec. 1946.

The round bag is a perennial style. Ridiculously small hats worn very far forward were a chic forties’ style.

McCall 1200 hat for young women. The green one is an "Eton cap" or schoolgirl's cap.

McCall 1200 hats for young women. The green one is an “Eton cap,” or schoolgirl’s cap. It was copied from uniform caps worn by schoolboys.

“The Eton cap (B) and the brim hat (C) are tops for young casuals, especially when matched up with suits or dresses.”

McCall 1228, Hats and Bags

McCall 1228 pattern for hats and handbags. 1945. Image from McCall Needlework catalog Dec. 1946.

McCall 1228 pattern for hats and handbags. 1945. Image from McCall Needlework catalog Dec. 1946.

MC 1228 hats TXT 500 bags dec 1946351

“Wonderfully smart dressmaker hats with bags to match. So easy to run up! Nothing but stitching and a self-bow on the hats. Companion bags in two styles carry out the stitching trim. Both styles have loop handles and are finished with slide fasteners [zippers.] One is a large carry-all, the other a small, compact model.” The blue bag is a “large carry-all” by 1945 standards, but not today! There are additional views on the pattern envelope. If you love to enter the zen state of decorative machine stitching, these really could be fun to make….

McCall 1252, Flat Hat Patterns circa 1945

McCall hat pattern 1252 circa 1945-46. Image from McCall Needlework catalog Dec. 1946.

McCall hat pattern 1252 circa 1945-46. Image from McCall Needlework catalog Dec. 1946. Views A, B, and back of C.

McCall hat pattern 1252 circa 1945-46. Image from McCall Needlework catalog Dec. 1946

McCall hat pattern 1252 circa 1945. Image from McCall Needlework catalog Dec. 1946. Views C and D.

“Making hat news, these four clever models are designed to open out for washing or cleaning. A — modified peach basket, ties together.  B — Coolie type, snaps to position at top and brim.  C — a drawstring beret.  D — pouchy turban that snaps to crown…. No blocking required.” Like No. 1228, Versions A and  B are stiffened with extensive machine top stitching.

[Sidenote:  the word “coolie” — often applied to Asian workers who did hard manual labor like building the Transcontinental Railroad, digging canals, and toting heavy loads — comes from two Chinese words meaning “bitter” (ku,) and “strength” (li.) It describes a person whose strength is “bitter” because it condemns one to a life of hard labor. This is not a word to use casually, although many people did not consider it offensive in 1946. “Ku” can also mean an agricultural worker. ]

Hat designer Agnes had already experimented with hats that can be unzipped or un-snapped and folded flat for packing, back in 1937.

McCall 1293, Patterns for a Beaded Halter Top, a Vestee, a Juliet Cap and a Handbag

McCall pattern 1293 for a halter top, a vestee, a Juliet cap, and a beaded handbag. 1946.

McCall pattern 1293 for a vestee (A), a halter top (B), a Juliet cap, and a beaded handbag. 1946.

The pattern envelope shows a second way to decorate the vestee.

MC 1293 blouse text hat bag dec 1946 72

“For festive occasions sew sequins on a vestee, Juliet cap, purse.” It was a Victorian custom that Juliet’s stage costumes often included a small, head-hugging cap made of pearls — not authentic to Renaissance Italy nor Shakespeare’s England, but pretty.  (Click here for silent screen star Lillian Gish wearing one.) The sideless vestee would be worn over a slip and under an open suit jacket (which you couldn’t take off in public, of course.) This glittering vestee might go with you to the office in your handbag, and be exchanged for your workday blouse in the ladies’ room at 5 p.m., turning your business suit into a cocktail or date outfit.

McCall 1298, Pattern for Hat and Bag

McCAll hat and bag pattern 1298. 1946 McCall catalog.

McCall hat and bag pattern 1298. 1946 McCall catalog. The handbag has grommet holes for the drawstring strap to pass through.

The back of that enormous beret is quite impressive, with an interesting top stitching pattern “for style and firmness.”

MC 1298 text hat bag dec 1946

“The trim spectator sports hat with clever visor brim A,  the popular big beret B, are easy to wear, simple to make.” [Just remember to duck when approaching a doorway.] Outsized berets and tams had been popular during World War I, too. Click here for an image from 1917, or here for a brief history of Tam-o’-Shanters and the difference between a tam, a toque, and a beret. And here is Joan Crawford wearing a big, dome-like hat, in 194o.

Hattie Carnegie suit and big straw beret hat, Vogue 1940.

Hattie Carnegie suit and big straw beret-type hat, Vogue 1940.

 

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Filed under 1940s-1950s, Accessory Patterns, bags, Hairstyles, handbags, Hats, Purses, Sportswear, Vintage patterns

Three McCall Hat and Bag Patterns Popular 1946 through 1950

These three hat and bag patterns were so popular that they appeared in McCall Needlework catalogs  for several years.

McCall pattern 1294, Hats and Bags

McCall hat and bag pattern 1294, from the December 1946 Needlework catalog.

McCall hat and bag pattern 1294, from the December 1946 Needlework catalog. This pattern was still being sold in November, 1950.

According to the Commercial Pattern Archive, McCall 1294 was issued in 1946.

MC 1294 text dec 1946346

“Hand-made hats, bag, with the “custom” look. Rows of machine stitching give these hats style and body. Stitched bag has hand strap or shoulder strap.” [One of the good things to come out of WW II was the popularity of hands-free, over-the-shoulder purses, suitable for busy women who carried their own packages and took public transportation.]

you can see the topstitching of mcCall 1294 more clearly here. Note the back strap which holds the hat in place.

You can see the topstitching of McCall 1294 more clearly in this enlargement. Note the period back strap which holds the hat in place.

McCall 1294 from the November 1950 catalog.

McCall 1294 from the November 1950 catalog. This pattern first appeared in 1946.

In the two 1950 Needlework catalogs I have, only the top two illustrations were used.  Hat styles were changing, along with hair styles, but the bags are classic shapes — a compact 7 1/2 inches high by 9 inches wide.

McCall pattern 1262, Handbags

McCall pattern 1262, for a a set of handbags, also had longevity; it, too first appeared in 1946.

McCall handbag pattern 1262, from 1946, and still in the catalog in 1950.

McCall handbag pattern 1262, from 1946, and still in the catalog in 1950.

McCall 1262 description.

McCall 1262 description. “You need never become a One-bag Woman!”

Views A and C close with a slide fastener, i.e., a zipper. Trapunto quilting, as on C, involves putting extra padding under the design, so that it is a raised pattern with stitching around it. Click here to see trapunto on a bed jacket. The sequinned bag at right is for evening. View C is “very dressy.”

McCall 1204, Hats for Girls

These hats for girls also appeared for at least four years, starting in 1945.

McCall pattern 1204, Girls' hats, dates to 1945.

McCall pattern 1204, girls’ hats, dates to 1945.  View C needs a back strap to stay perched on the head, just like some adult hats.

Here’s a closer look at the top four images — that jaunty feathered hat seems pretty sophisticated:

This enlarged image is from the November, 1950 McCall needlework catalog. No. 1204.

This enlarged image of No. 1204 is from the November, 1950 McCall needlework catalog, although the pattern was first released in 1945.

View C was called a “pancake hat” in 1945. It reminds me of a bellhop’s cap. It was also called a “pillbox” hat.

MC 1204 text girl hats top 1204 text

“Left-over pieces from Sister’s dress or coat can be used to make her a matching fabric hat.” “For school, for gadabout, for prettying up! Most casual of the three is the little brim hat (A) that fits the head closely.” It’s very similar to 1294 (B), the equally popular adult pattern, although the crowns are constructed differently.

McCall hat pattern #1294 for women, from 1946, and #1204, from 1945, for girls.

McCall hat pattern #1294 for women, from 1946, and #1204, from 1945, for girls.

Imagine: a world where little girls routinely wore hats — as did their fathers.

These girls’ hats are from Sears — 1945. Women who wanted to make hats at home from sewing patterns used cloth, because making a shaped felt hat usually requires equipment not available to the home stitcher.

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Filed under 1930s-1940s, 1940s-1950s, 1950s-1960s, Accessory Patterns, bags, Children's Vintage styles, Dating Vintage Patterns, Hairstyles, handbags, Hats, Purses, Vintage Accessories, Zippers

Christmas Gifts to Sew for 1936: Lingerie, Robe, Pajamas, Nightgown

For some folks, the approach of Thanksgiving is a reminder to start making Christmas presents — if you didn’t start last summer.

The Personal Touch in Pattern-Made Gifts

"The Personal Touch in Pattern-Made Gifts." Woman's Home Companion, Dec. 1936, pp. 70-71

“The Personal Touch in Pattern-Made Gifts.” Companion- Butterick patterns in Woman’s Home Companion, Dec. 1936, pp. 70-71

If you were a reader of The Woman’s Home Companion, this two page spread in the December, 1936, issue might inspire you to sew gifts for members of your family or close friends:  a personalized set of matching panties, slip and nightgown; a classic robe/negligee, or lounging pajamas.

Companion Butterick patterns, Woman's Home Companion, Dec. 1936, p. 70.

Companion-Butterick patterns, Woman’s Home Companion, Dec. 1936, p. 70.

Companion-Butterick patterns, Woman's Home Companion Dec. 1936. Page 71.

Companion-Butterick patterns, Woman’s Home Companion, Dec. 1936. Page 71. Illustration by Mortimer.

If you didn’t feel up to that much work — or have enough time — you could always run up a few aprons.

Companion-Butterick apron pattern #7114: Christmas Aprons, Dec. 1936.

Companion-Butterick apron pattern #7114: Christmas Aprons, Dec. 1936. Illustration by Ernst.

Matching Panties, Slip, and Nightgown, 1936

Companion Butterick patterns 6835 (panties and bra) and wrap slip (6847.) WHC, Dec. 1936.

Companion Butterick patterns 6835 (panties) and wrap slip (6847.) WHC, Dec. 1936.

whc 1935 dec p 70 500 panties slip 6835 6847 text

There’s no mention of bias binding. The slip is a “wrap-around,” although the line drawing doesn’t show how the bodice closes. The nightie has a pretty back:

Back views of slip 6837, nightgown 6835, and panties 6847. Companion-Butterick patterns, Dec. 1935.

Back views of slip 6837, nightgown 6835, and panties 6847. Companion-Butterick patterns, Dec. 1936. Bra not included.

The closely fitting nightgown, Pattern 6837, has a lovely back view, but I can’t figure out how a midriff that tight could be pulled on or stepped into. Perhaps it has a snap opening on the side seam — or it doesn’t fit as tightly as illustrated.

Companion-Butterick nightgown pattern #6837. WHC, Dec. 1936.

Companion-Butterick nightgown pattern #6837. WHC, Dec. 1936.

You’d need to cut your own bias strips from that 3/8 yard of contrasting material. [The owner’s name is embroidered on the front of her nightie. In former times, this was useful for sorting family laundry. In the age of casual “hook-ups” with strangers, putting a name on one’s nightgown might prevent some embarrassing “morning after” moments….]

whc 1936 dec p 70 text 500 nightie undies slip 6835 6837 6847

Although “A fresh printed silk crepe was our choice for the three-piece lingerie set embroidered with a young girl’s name,” remember that “…peach-colored silk crepe with lace is lovely as ever…. Any one piece of the set would make a regal gift…. The wrap-around slip in bright-colored taffeta — royal blue, bottle green, or rust — is sure to please a friend who follows the latest fashions. For someone else make it of black satin, her tiny initials embroidered in white.”

Companion-Butterick patterns, 7109 (negligee) and 7122 (pajamas.) Woman's Home Companion Dec. 1936. Page 71.

Companion-Butterick patterns, 7109 (negligee) and 7122 (lounging pajamas.) Woman’s Home Companion, Dec. 1936. Page 71.

whc 1936 dec p 71 text 500 negligee robe 7190 7122 pajamas text

The “negligee” (No. 7109) could be made in double-faced silk crepe, with the body of the robe in matte silk and the collar, facings, and sash using it shiny side out. [Edited 11/22/15:  See a robe like this at Glamourdaze.] Or it could be made as a warm, wool flannel robe; a flash of contrasting color is inside the sleeves. The pajamas seem to be intended for lounging, rather than sleeping: “Velveteen for the blouse … and trousers,” or with a “satin blouse,” or with both pieces in satin. The buttons, as shown, are velveteen-covered and enormous; “blue and purple are the last word in chic…,” but these pj’s would also be luxurious “all in lilac-blue satin with pearl buttons.”

whc 1936 dec p 70 text 500 robe negligee and pajamas

Negligee pattern 7109 and lounging pajamas pattern 7122. Cmpanion-Butterick patterns from WHC, Dec. 1936.

Negligee pattern 7109 and lounging pajamas pattern 7122. Companion-Butterick patterns from WHC, Dec. 1936.

The Commercial Pattern Archive (CoPA) has another pajama pattern in this number series, Companion-Butterick No. 7116, which looks more suited for sleeping. Click here to see it. If you haven’t heard of CoPA, read about it here. You can “Sample” its pattern search for free. Select a year, and pattern illustrations from many companies appear. For a chronological look at everyday fashion, CoPA is hard to beat.

Christmas Aprons, 1936

More suitable for a less intimate friend, or for sale at a Christmas Bazaar, are these aprons, made from Companion-Butterick pattern 7114.

Three aprons, Companion-Butterick [attern 7114, WHC, Dec. 1936.

Three aprons, Companion-Butterick Pattern 7114, WHC, Dec. 1936.

The idea that everything related to Christmas has to be red, white, and green had not taken hold in 1936, so these gift aprons could be worn all year round. Two of them are finished with contrasting bias binding; the one in the middle is trimmed with rick-rack.

Back views, Apron 7114. 1936.

Back views, Apron 7114. 1936.

Two tie in back; the one on the right slips on over the head. Bust sizes 32 to 48 inches.

whc 1936 500 christmas aprons 7114 text

Apron pattern 7114 looks less fancy on the pattern envelope:  no rickrack. Using the rickrack so that only half of it shows is a lovely 1930’s touch. Click here for a vintage waitress uniform that uses this technique.

 

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Filed under 1930s, Accessory Patterns, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Dating Vintage Patterns, lingerie, Nightclothes and Robes, Resources for Costumers, Slips and Petticoats, Underthings, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes, Women in Trousers