A page of Butterick patterns for “Large Sizes,” Delineator, June 1928, p. 38. They were available in the normal range of sizes, plus larger sizes than usual.
On two facing pages were Butterick patterns for “Large Sizes” and “Slim Figures.” The normal range of sizes usually ended with size 44 bust, 47.5″ hip. Many of the “slim figure” patterns were available in larger-than-normal sizes, too.
Butterick patterns for Slim Figures, Delineator, June 1928; page 39. “Smart frocks that wash, designed for slim figures.”
Large figures were sometimes expected to be older figures; notice the hems. Larger, older women had skirts which covered the knee completely (below, left), while younger, smaller women’s dresses grazed and sometimes exposed the bottom of the kneecap (right). [All these dresses will be shown below in larger images.]
Hem lengths for “large” and “slim” figures, Delineator, June 1928. The striped dresses (1 and 4) are fairly similar.
Dresses for larger figures apply some styling tricks to make the body seem longer and narrower, but the hip band is never a friend to wide hips. The illustrations at left have wider-than-usual shoulders and upper bodies, too. Slenderizing vertical lines are introduced into the fashions for “slim figures,” also.
A Closer Look at Frocks for Large Sizes (Page 38)
Butterick 1970 for large figures has a “slenderizing” vertical contrast panel and a decorative button placket down the front. June, 1928. For sizes 34 to 52 inch bust. Those cuffs attract attention to the width of the body at the waist and hip. Either the short or long sleeve option would be more flattering to a large woman. [I’m not saying “thin is good,” just pointing out that the sleeves illustrated will exaggerate the width of the wearer.]
Vertical stripes (and playful side panels with the stripes turned horizontally) on this washable day dress recommended for large figures. Butterick 2092, from June 1928. “For sizes 32 to 35 [inch bust] (15 to 18 years) and 36 to 50 [inch bust.]
Butterick 2100 has an asymmetrical collar that becomes a scarf. [I’m not sure that white scallop insert at the hip is a flattering idea for large women… or any women.]
The front of dress 2100 is complex, but the one-piece back is very plain. This dress came in sizes for teens and small women (bust 32 to 35″) plus normal sizes up to 46″ bust — only one size larger than the standard pattern run of 32 to 44″.
Butterick 2102 is a formal afternoon dress for “larger women,” but it comes in sizes 32 to 46. Delineator, June 1928.
“There is dignity as well as chic in this one-piece dress with its smart caught-up drapery released in a front flare and its cape back dividing at the shoulders in a scarf…. The hemline is smartly uneven.” There’s a real effort to introduce vertical lines in the long, scarf-tied collar and the front drape. Notice the lorgnette in her hand– nothing youthful about that!
Butterick 2080 is suggested for “large women; it came in sizes 32 to 46” bust.
Butterick 2105 has chic, pointed inserted panels and an uneven hem. Why does it look so top-heavy? For large sizes up to 52 inch bust.
Butterick 1948 from June 1928. Like many twenties’ dresses, the front has pleats, but the back is plain. Notice the bust darts partially hidden by the collar. In sizes 34 to 52.
There is nothing old-fashioned about the very short haircuts on these illustrations of mature women.
Frocks Designed for Slim Figures
Question: Are these frocks especially suited to slim figures, or are they supposed to make any figure look slim?
Butterick 1952 “for slim figures.” Delineator, June 1928, page 39. “For smart country communities….” In sizes 32 to 35 bust (15 to 18 years) and women’s sizes 36 to 44 — Butterick’s normal range.
Butterick 2050: A washable dress for sizes 32 to 46. “For tennis or mornings is a one-piece frock whose kimono sleeves are smartly abbreviated. A side cluster of pleats, inserted in a slanting line, offers freedom for sports activity.” The back is plain.
Butterick sport frock 2062 has short kimono sleeves and a skirt that is gathered in front. Delineator, June 1928, p. 39. Available in sizes 32 to 35 (for teens and small women) and 36 to 48 inch bust. [Sizes 46 and 48 were larger than the usual pattern.]
Butterick 2084; Delineator, June 1928. “It has the Vionnet V-neckline and the side plaits permit ample freedom of movement. The belt is a new width….” For sizes 32 to 44.
Butterick did not necessarily consider this a dress for larger women. The sleeveless armholes are modern compared to the kimono armholes in Nos. 2050 and 2052 — and they do provide more freedom of movement.
Butterick 1904 “for any age and almost any figure” has the same scalloped hip yoke as No. 2100, (above) which was recommended for larger sizes.
This style (1904) with a narrow edging at the bodice bottom is more flattering, and was also available in large sizes: 32 to 35 and 36 to 48 inch bust — a size larger than No. 2100.
A similar scalloped hip treatment on Butterick 2100 and 1904. The thickness of the contrast band makes quite a difference. From June 1928.
Butterick 2090 came in the normal size range, 32 to 44 inch bust. The collar that turns into a scarf is “new and chic” and also seen on Butterick 2100.
Butterick 2104 evokes a schoolgirl’s middy uniform, but this is a one-piece dress, not a skirt and separate top. The pleats are top-stitched horizontally in rows, echoing the belt, cuffs, and sailor collar and tie. There are four bust tucks at each side of the collar, because the flattened bust was no longer in style.