Anyone who grew up — as I did — watching the 1931 movie Frankenstein every time it was on TV will probably associate these long surgical gowns with Colin Clive shrieking, “It’s alive! It’s aliiiiive!“
But it never occurred to me that Butterick would offer sewing patterns for surgical gowns and dentists’ smocks. We now order such things from specialty uniform supply houses.
I hope no doctor operated in his spats…. And — maybe it’s the test tube — but there’s a touch of Gene (Young Frankenstein) Wilder in his eyes.
Butterick suggested it was “much less expensive” to make gowns like this than to buy them.
During World War I, Red Cross Volunteers made surgical gowns, robes for hospitalized soldiers, specialized pajamas for hospital and convalescent use, hot water bottle covers, bed linens, and surgical dressings, among other things.
So the idea of sewing home-made operating gowns was not at all strange in 1924.
A pattern for a dentist’s gown was also offered by Butterick:
The basic dentist’s gown didn’t change much, except that short sleeves were introduced….
Although Butterick assumed that dentists were male in 1924, my friend Barbara collected this interesting vintage garment for a woman, thinking it would have suited a pharmacist or other woman working in a medical field:
Do you think she was right?