Tag Archives: forties fashions

Dresses from Remnants, World War II

“Remnants on Your Budget,”October 1943, Butterick Fashion News flyer. Pattern #2718.

With war-time fabric regulations and eventual fabric rationing, women who sewed were trying to make do, cannibalizing old garments to create more up-to-date styles. Butterick responded to their needs with a series of suggestions on how they could combine fabric remnants using specific Butterick patterns. Some new fashions also helped, like a fad for dresses made with two different materials, or for suits that no longer needed matching jackets and skirts.

“Something New from Something Old,” Butterick Fashion News flyer, September 1943. Yoke and sleeve pattern #2304.

The dress below, from Saks or Neiman-Marcus, combined a dotted fabric with a solid one, like the Butterick illustration above.

Enka Rayon dress available from Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman-Marcus, or Meier & Frank. Vogue, Aug. 15. 1943.

Enka Rayon dress available from Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman-Marcus, or Meier & Frank. Vogue, Aug. 15. 1943.

It cost $35.00, a lot of money in 1943.

Butterick 2304 was a pattern for just the spotted sleeves, collar, and yoke of this “remnant” dress.

Butterick pattern 2304, Sept 1943 Butterick Fashion News.

Butterick pattern #2304, Sept 1943 Butterick Fashion News.

The body of the dress was one you might already have in your closet; Butterick gave instructions for removing the existing sleeves and collar and replacing them with just one and one eighth yards of 39 inch fabric.

BFN sept 1943 bk cvr 500 text btm wartime color block pattern reuse277

BFN sept 1943 bk cvr text  follow 500

information from bottom of page, Butterick Fashion Flyer, Sept. 1943.

Information from bottom of page, Butterick Fashion Flyer, Sept. 1943.

“Stop, look, and consider just how you can salvage that discarded dress for another season or two. . . . Next time you’re at the remnant counter of your favorite store, look for a fabric to combine with your original dress. This bit of salvage magic will give you a completely new one. . . . This transformation of your tired frock will do such wonderful things for your budget as well as aiding in the vital program of fabric conservation.”

Click here for a great illustration of a refashioned dress in this article about clothes rationing — and the usefulness of printed feedsacks — from the Lebanon County Historical Society.

Butterick 2718

Information from the back cover of Butterick Fashion News, October 1943.

Information from the back cover of Butterick Fashion News, October 1943. “Slim two-piece dress” pattern #2718.

Because it lacks the interior structure of a suit, this is called a two piece dress, but it has a jacket-like bodice and a separate skirt.

“Remnants used adroitly are invaluable in balancing a budget; invaluable in aiding the all-out wartime effort of fabric conservation. . . . we suggest Butterick 2718, a slim two-piece dress . . . . Plan it in contrast . . . . . . In this was you can have a really individual dress . . . a dress that saves fabric . . . a dress that saves your budget from the doldrums!”

The skirt takes less than 2 yards of 39″ fabric, and the top uses only 1 3/8 yards — so the chance of finding both pieces on the remnant table were pretty good.

Butterick 2746

Butterick suit pattern #2746, Oct. 1943 Butterick Fashion News flyer.

Butterick suit pattern #2746, Oct. 1943 Butterick Fashion News flyer.

Pattern information for #2746, October 1943. Butterick.

Pattern information for #2746, October 1943. Butterick.

The skirt from either pattern could also be combined with jacket-like blouses — sometimes with a peplum — like these:

Peplum blouse patterns from Butterick, Dec. 1942.

Peplum blouse patterns from Butterick, Dec. 1942. From left, 2301 version A, 2301 version B, 2302 version B.

Butterick 2747

Butterick also offered this “shirtwaist dress,” (left, below) which looks like two pieces but isn’t. The waist is very similar to a blouse and skirt combination sold at I. Magnin. (right)

Burrerick dress pattern 2747 (left) and an outfit from I. Magnin, right. Both from Fall of 1943.

Butterick dress pattern #2747 (left) and an outfit from I. Magnin, right. Both from Fall of 1943.

Pattern information for Butterick #2747, Oct. 1943.

Pattern information for Butterick #2747, Oct. 1943.

The coral rayon top (also available in aqua) and the black velveteen skirt from I. Magnin (a very upscale store) came in junior sizes 9 to 15, and cost $35.00. The ad reminds careful shoppers that they could be worn separately.

Details copied from the I. Magnin ad in Vogue, Aug. 15, 1943.

Details copied from the I. Magnin ad in Vogue, Aug. 15, 1943.

I haven’t checked the Ladies’ Home Journal for 1943, but that magazine constantly suggested ways to remake dresses during World War I. The World War II slogan “Make Do and Mend”  was observed by all levels of society in England and the U.S.

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Filed under 1940s-1950s, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, World War I

Mother and Daughter Fashions from the Forties and Fifties

Mother-Daughter robes from McCall, patterns 1289 and 1290. Store catalog, Dec. 1946.

Mother-Daughter robes from McCall, patterns 1290 and 1289. Store catalog, Dec. 1946.

Nos. 1289 (adult) & 1290 (child). McCall pattern catalog, Dec. 1946.

Nos. 1289 (adult) & 1290 (child). McCall pattern catalog, Dec. 1946.

These robes are from a 1940s Christmas catalog, but Mother-Daughter outfits were popular well into the fifties. I found examples from Butterick, Simplicity, and McCall.

These Butterick patterns show girls’ styles as identical to the women’s clothing as possible, as if girls really were “little women.”

Butterick Fashion News, Sept. 1943, pattern numbers 2626, 2663, 2570, 2664.

Butterick Fashion News, Sept. 1943, pattern numbers 2626, 2663, 2570, 2664.

BFN sept 1943 text  2626 2663 2570 2664

“Daughter chooses an identical coat frock to help Mummy on her busy days.” In reality, Mummy chose both their clothes.

More Mother & Daughter patterns from Butterick Fashion News, Sept. 1943. Pattern Nos. 2691, 2676, 2693, 2420.

More Mother & Daughter patterns from Butterick Fashion News, Sept. 1943. Pattern Nos. 2691, 2676, 2693, 2420.

BFN sept 1943 text 2691 2676 2693 2420

Simplicity Sundresses, 1948

Mother and Daughter patterns might be featured together, as in the listings above, but they sometimes appeared on different pages, like these charming Simplicity sundresses with bolero jackets. In this case, the child’s pattern has been modified to allow for its shorter skirt without noticeably scaling down the appliqued flowers:

Simplicity adult pattern #2397, page 3, and Simplicity girls' pattern #2415, page 8. Simplicity Fashion Preview, April 1948.

Simplicity adult pattern #2397, page 3, and Simplicity girls’ pattern #2415, page 8. Simplicity Fashion Preview (flyer), April 1948.

Sun or Swim Suits, 1950

McCall offered these Mother and Daughter playsuits on facing pages of the catalog:

"No. 1552, the Glamour Mermaid swim- or sun- suit." McCall Needlework Catalogue, May 1950.

“No. 1522, the Glamour Mermaid swim- or sun- suit.” McCall Needlework Catalogue, May 1950.

"No. 1523, the mermaid swim- or sun-suit." McCall Needlework Catalogue, May 1950.

“No. 1523, the mermaid swim- or sun-suit.” McCall Needlework Catalogue, May 1950.

The bloomers seem to work a lot better on the daughter! [Full pattern descriptions are at bottom of post.]

Mother and Daughter Matching Aprons, 1950

Mother and Daughter matching pinafores or smocked aprons, McCall Needlework Catalogue, May 1950.

Mother and Daughter matching pinafores or smocked aprons, McCall Needlework Catalogue, May 1950.

The daughter’s aprons had their own listing in the Children’s section; I have put both illustrations side by side to show how very similar the adult and child versions were:

McCall patterns #1532 (Mom) and #1533 (Daughter). May, 1950.

McCall patterns #1532 (Mom) and #1533 (Daughter).  Smocked  or embroidered pinafore aprons. May, 1950.

My mother had more enthusiasm for Mother-Daughter looks than I had. In the 1950s, it was assumed that little girls would want to be “just like Mommy.” I had suit with a dark red jacket and a plaid, pleated skirt — just like my Mother’s. I was given a little toy iron that really plugged in and got warm (not hot,) and a little toy stove (ditto.) I didn’t need a little apron “just like Mommy’s” to see where this was leading. . . .  And, even at age five, I had other plans.

More Pattern Information:

Mermaid Swim- or Sun- Suits

Pattern description for Adult playsuit #1522. May, 1950.

Pattern description for Adult playsuit #1522. May, 1950.

Pattern description for McCall girls' "mermaid" swim- or sun- suit #1523.

Pattern description for McCall girls’ “mermaid” swim- or sun- suit #1523.

Robes 1290 and 1289

mccall dec 1946 text robes 1290 1289

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Filed under 1940s-1950s, Accessory Patterns, Bathing Suits, Children's Vintage styles, Nightclothes and Robes, Sportswear, Swimsuits, Uniforms and Work Clothes, Vintage patterns