Tag Archives: vintage Butterick pattern

Asian-Influenced Maternity Pattern, 1956

This chic maternity pattern appeared in the Butterick Fashion News store flyer in June, 1956.

Butterick 7795, a maternity pattern from June, 1956. Available in three versions.

[I apologize for the poor quality photos — my new computer won’t run my old photo program!]

Pattern description for Butterick 7795, from 1956.

The sleeveless version of Butterick 7795 was illustrated in pale green. The dress at left was for “Expecting company.”

The “Party time” version was a skirt and blouse with three-quarter sleeves and side slits; brocade material was recommended.

A glamorous Asian-influenced brocade maternity outfit for parties. 1956.

These 1950’s outfits — which assume that the mother-to-be will lead a normal life, entertaining, shopping, attending parties — are a refreshing contrast to the attitude of previous decades, which suggested that pregnancy should be concealed as long as possible, and that a pregnant woman should try not to attract attention in public. (See Who Would Ever Guess? (1930’s), Some Maternity Clothes of the 1920’s and 1930’s, and Maternity Fashions for December 1942, etc.)

1934 march p 80 lane bryant maternity catalog

“Designed to conceal condition,” 1934.

I remember the maternity fashions of my own childhood, the fifties, as being pretty — and making the wearer look pretty, too — distinct from the tight-waisted dresses of those days, but available in many versions, from “suitable for church” to “picnic in the back yard,” which included trousers instead of the narrow pencil skirts worn in public. (Trousers were strictly casual — not for school or PTA meetings.) This McCall pattern is from 1959.

McCall maternity pattern 4936, dated 1959. A pencil skirt, tapered “Capri” pants, and Bermuda shorts were included.

Back of pattern envelope, McCall 4936. From 1959. The “kangaroo” front of the pencil skirt and the waist of the trousers are adjustable.

There is no nonsense about concealing pregnancy in these fifties’ outfits. Hooray!

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Filed under 1940s-1950s, 1950s-1960s, Maternity clothes, Sportswear, Vintage patterns, Women in Trousers

Butterick Fashion News: A Few Patterns from August, 1938.

Thanks to Monica Shaffer and her colleagues at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas, I can share some images from Butterick Fashion News, August 1938. It features this shirt and slacks combination on its cover:

Butterick pattern 7988, August 1938. Cover of Butterick Fashion News flyer.

Butterick pattern 7988, August 1938. A “bush jacket” on the cover of Butterick Fashion News flyer.

Back view of Butterick pattern 7988, dated August 1938. "Bush jacket."

Back view of Butterick pattern 7988, dated August 1938. “The Bush jacket is a new companion for slacks.” The back shows a pleat and gathers for ease of movement.

This “bush jacket” pre-dates the 1967 YSL safari collection — a lasting fashion influence — by nearly thirty years.

The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum is “located just a few miles from Amarillo as well as Palo Duro Canyon,” which could be a pleasant side trip if you are headed toward North Texas. I’d be a happy traveler in that pants outfit.

This pleated bolero jacket looks fresh, seven decades later…. Here’s a link to a more recent one by Alaia, on sale for $3,000.

Butterick bolero and dress No. 8005 and a dress with waist-length jacket, No. 8017. 1938.

Butterick bolero and dress No. 8005 and a dress with waist-length jacket, No. 8017. 1938.

I also like the way the open fronted, waist-tied jacket on the right allows a row of buttons to peek through.

Butterick patterns 8005 and 8017, from summer, 1938.

Butterick patterns 8005 and 8017, from summer, 1938.

I had never heard of “the Doll Silhouette,” which makes the skirt ripple by stiffening the hem.

The Doll Silhouette; Butterick patterns 8023 and 8016. August, 1938.

The Doll Silhouette; Butterick patterns 8023 and 8016. August, 1938. Lots of top-stitching. “By stiffening the hemline, even the limpest fabrics flute out like the dress of a doll.” [Or an Art Nouveau illustration.]

Butterick 8023:  “Grosgrain ribbon swirls out the hemline, ties the neck.” Sizes 12 to 20; 30 to 44 [bust measures.] Butterick 8016:  “Organdy is stitched inside skirt and shoulders, waist is pulled in.” Sizes 12 to 20; 30 to 40 [bust measures.] All those lines of parallel stitching remind me of the same ornamentation in 1917-1918.

Sheer dresses, like these, featured in 1938…

Sheer dresses: Butterick 8011 and Companion-Butterick pattern 7989. August, 1938.

Sheer dresses: Butterick 8011 and Companion-Butterick pattern 7989. August, 1938.

… and were also on the cover of the Butterick Fashion News –and in many other pattern catalogs — in 1939.

The Doll Silhouette was also mentioned with Butterick 8020.

Butterick 8020 and 7993, August 1938.

Butterick patterns 8020 and 7993, August 1938.

Here is the whole page:

A page from Butterick Fashion News, August. 1938.

“Swing Your Skirt Wide.” A page from Butterick Fashion News, August. 1938.

Hemlines are rising, but, even on younger women, they are still well below the knee. Here is a closer view of the two outfits on the right:

Dresses for younger women, Butterick, 1938. Patterns no. 7999, a two piece, and 8022.

Dresses for younger women, Butterick, 1938. Patterns no. 7999, a two-piece, and 8022. I love the sporty vest or “weskit” illusion.

Butterick 7999:  “Two-piece, two-tone dress.” Sizes Junior Miss 12 to 20, bust measurement 30 to 38 inches. You can see a less casual version on the pattern envelope at the Vintage Pattern Wikia.

Butterick 8022:  “A gored skirted dress designed to make you look taller.” “For Misses of 5 ft. 4 or under in sizes 12 to 20; 30 to 40” [bust measure.] Is “taller” a euphemism for “thinner?” If so, the center back seam on the skirt is a good idea.

Butterick Fashion News, page 5, August 1938. Companion-Butterick patterns 7991 and 7987; Butterick patterns 8007 and 7995.

Butterick Fashion News, page 5, August 1938. Companion-Butterick patterns 7991 and 7987; Butterick patterns 8007 and 7995.

Another sheer dress, and some lively prints. I’ve written about the popularity of large-scale prints in 1938 before. Companion-Butterick patterns were featured in Woman’s Home Companion magazine.

unspecified 1938 aug p 4 text CB7991 CB7987 Butterick 8007 7993

Additional lively prints were shown on the back cover:

Print dresses from Butterick patterns 8003 and 8009, Aug. 1938.

Print dresses from Butterick patterns 8003 and 8009, Aug. 1938.

Butterick 8003:  “In the manner of Vionnet, with draped shoulders, wide short sleeves.” Sizes 12 to 20, 30 to 40 [bust.]

Butterick 8009:  “A sheer printed cotton looks very youthful gathered at the neck and sleeves.” Sizes 12 to 20, 30 to 40 [bust.]

When a style is described as “youthful,” I always suspect that it’s aimed at older wearers — although this pattern isn’t available in larger sizes.

Here are styles for “figure problems.”

Figures are no problem to us." The problems range from wide hips to pregnancy.

“Figures are no problem to us.” The problems range from wide hips to pregnancy.

The suit dress on the left is a maternity outfit:

Butterick 8012, August 1938. A wide bow at the neck distracts from a pregnant body.

Butterick 8012, (top left) August 1938. A wide bow at the neck is meant to distract from a pregnant body. (Not that this model is “showing.”)

Butterick 8012:  “A big bow focuses the interest in this maternity dress with jacket and adjustable waist.” Sizes 12 to 20, 30 to 40 [bust measurement.] See the dress on its envelope here. The “wrap” maternity dress has a deep pleat at its left side for expansion.

Butterick 8014 for "shorter women of larger hip," and Butterick 8021

Butterick 8014 (left) for “shorter women of larger hip,” and Butterick 8021 “for the mature figure.” 1938.

Butterick 8014:  “Deep neckline, slim skirt and narrow sleeves make this ideal for shorter women of larger hip.” Sizes 34 to 52 [inches bust.]

Butterick 8021:  “For the mature figure, a softly molded bodice and waistline are gracious and becoming.” Sizes 34 to 52 [inches bust.]

Butterick 7998 is a simple lace evening dress  that “you can wear anywhere with dignity and chic;” its bolero jacket covers  the upper arms. This gown was  available in bust sizes 34 to 52 inches. [And illustrated on a size 34, of course.]

Butterick 7998 evening dress with jacket for mature women. Aug. 1938.

Butterick 7998 evening dress with jacket for mature women. Aug. 1938. Available in large sizes.

I’ll try to share more of these great thirties’ clothes in another post. Thanks again to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum.

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Filed under 1930s, 1930s-1940s, bags, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Gloves, handbags, Hats, Maternity clothes, Purses, Sportswear, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes, Women in Trousers

Striped Prints, Spring 1938

Companion -Butterick patters Nos. 7734 and 7733, March 1938 Butterick Fashion News flyer.

Companion -Butterick patterns Nos. 7734 and 7733, March 1938 Butterick Fashion News flyer.

The dress on the right, Companion-Butterick pattern 7733, is both a floral print and a stripe. What’s more, it’s a horizontal stripe. Not just the fabric, but the high waist and the draped V top reminded me of something familiar:

My mother with her mother, 1938.

My mother with her mother, 1938.  The woman on the left is in her 30s; the older woman is in her 60s.

Of course, it’s not exactly the same dress, but it’s very similar. The photograph is dated 1938, and I happen to have several Butterick Fashion News flyers from 1938.  Large scale prints were becoming popular in women’s dresses, under the influence of Elsa Schiaparelli. This Schiaparelli blouse, in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum, has a floral/horizontal striped print, too.

Schiaparelli print evening blouse, Metropolitan Museum. Winter 1938-1939.

Schiaparelli print evening blouse, Metropolitan Museum. Winter 1938-1939.

It has some elements in common with the dark fabric on the dress shown by Butterick, #7733.

Companion -Butterick patters Nos. 7734 and 7733, March 1938 Butterick Fashion News flyer.

Companion-Butterick patterns Nos. 7734 and 7733, March 1938 Butterick Fashion News flyer.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7733 (right):  “A soft, simple dress just right for the new striped prints. Junior Miss sizes 12 to 20; [women’s sizes] 30 to 38 [inches bust measurement.]

Companion-Butterick pattern 7734 (left):  “A tiny lace frill on a new scalloped neckline. Junior Miss sizes 12 to 20; [women’s sizes] 30 to 38 [inches bust measurement.]

Another horizontally striped floral print is used for Companion-Butterick 7745, below. “Peasant influence, laced bodice, puffed sleeves, square neck. Sizes 12 to 20; [women’s sizes] 30 to 40 [inches bust measurement.]

Companion -Butterick pattern No. 7745, Butterick Fashion News, March 1938.

Companion -Butterick pattern No. 7745, Butterick Fashion News, March 1938.

“Tyrolean” fashions were popular until World War II broke out. Lantz of Salzburg dresses — very popular with young women in the 1950s  — were known for these floral stripes. (Now, those floral stripes — used lengthwise — are associated with flannel nightgowns.)

Companion-Butterick patterns 7781 (seated) and 7791, Butterick Fashion News , April 1938.

Companion-Butterick patterns 7781 (seated) and 7791, Butterick Fashion News , April 1938.

The dress on the left  looks youthful, but the pattern goes to size 42″.

Companion-Butterick No. 7781 (left):  “The neckline outlined with flowers is fresh. Size 36 takes 3 1/2 yards rayon crepe 39. Sizes 12 to 20; [women’s sizes] 30 to 42 [inches bust measurement.]

Companion-Butterick No. 7791 (right):  “A peasant dress in bayadere print. Junior Miss sizes 12 to 20; [women’s sizes] 30 to 38 [inches bust measurement.]” The Design Fabric Glossary defines “bayadere” as “brightly coloured stripes in a horizontal format characterized by strong effects of colour. A Bayadere is an Indian dancing girl, trained from birth.”

Although this dress does not technically have striped print fabric, the floral pattern is distributed in chevrons, rather than randomly:

March 1938 cover of Butterick Fashion News, featuring Butterick pattern No. 7757.

March 1938 cover of Butterick Fashion News, featuring Butterick pattern No. 7757.

Butterick 7757:  “One of the new prints in a dress with softly shirred bodice.  Sizes 12 to 20; [women’s sizes] 30 to 42 [inches bust measurement.]

This dress, whose top is made of striped print fabric, appeared in Woman’s Home Companion in November of 1937:

Companion-Butterick pattern 7626. Woman's Home Companion, Nov. 1936.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7626. Woman’s Home Companion, Nov. 1936.

Strong colors and stripes were certainly used by Schiaparelli in this blouse from 1936:

Schiaparelli blouse, summer of 1936; Metropolitan Museum collection.

Schiaparelli blouse, summer of 1936; Metropolitan Museum collection.

(It could have been worn in the 1980s — or now — but it dates to 1936.)

The woman who couldn’t afford to make a new, print dress could add a print halter top over a solid dress, as in this Butterick accessory pattern (No. 7792), which included “collars and cuffs, gilets and sashes to make a small wardrobe seem extensive:”

Butterick "Quick Change" accessory pattern 7792, Butterick Fashion News April 1938.

Butterick “Quick Change” accessory pattern 7792, Butterick Fashion News, April 1938.

Taking a closer look at my mother’s dress from 1938, I can see that the pattern in the fabric is not actually floral; it is more like a negative pattern made by using lace to bleach out a solid color.

Close up of print dress, 1938.

Close up of print dress, 1938.

I can also see that there is a little white chemisette filling in the neckline.

Daughter and mother, 1938.

Daughter and mother, 1938.

Note:  Pictures from the Metropolitan Museum should not be copied from a blog and posted elsewhere — The Met graciously allows their use for writing about fashion history. If you want to use them, please get them from the Met’s Online Collection site, and credit the Museum.

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Filed under 1930s, Accessory Patterns, Companion-Butterick Patterns, vintage photographs

Glamorous Turbans in the 1920s

Silver lame turban, 1920s. Labeled Miss Dolores, Paris London. Made in England.

Silver lame turban. Labeled “Miss Dolores, London, Paris. Made in England.”

[8/24/14 Correction:  Thanks to Christina — see comments —  for pointing out that, based on interior construction and the label,  this is probably not an authentic 1920s turban, but a 1970s version.]

Turban worn with velvet cape, Delineator, March 1924.

Turban worn with velvet cape, Delineator, March 1924.

I associate turbans with Paul Poiret, cocoon coats, and evening wear, but they remained fashionable throughout the 1920s, and were worn with day dresses, as well as with evening clothes. This turban is being worn with a bathing costume in 1924:

Turban with bathing costume, Delineator, June 1924.

Turban with bathing costume, Delineator, June 1924.

Butterick sold the pattern for this turban, #4748, in 1924 [the number dates it to late 1923,] and illustrated it being worn with simple day dresses and more formal outfits:

Butterick #4748 with a satin dress; this may be an afternoon dress, but it is not an evening dress; satin was often worn in the daytime.

Butterick #4748 with a satin blouse; this is office or afternoon wear, but it is not an evening dress; satin was often worn in the daytime.

Butterick pattern 4748, Delineator, March 1924.

Butterick pattern 4748, Delineator, March 1924.

Turban pattern #4748, from Delineator. Left, April 1924; right, March 1924.

Turban pattern #4748, from Delineator. Left, April 1924; right, March 1924.

Turbans were worn earlier in the 1920s, too. Remembered Summers shared this photo of her mother, dated 1921. This turban is being worn with a summery white dress, by a 17 year-old girl.

Turban worn by 17 year old woman, 1921. Phot courtesy of RememberedSummers.wordpress.com

Turban worn by 17 year old woman, dated 1921. Photo courtesy of RememberedSummers.wordpress.com

(These young people eloped at about the time of the photo.) Her turban doesn’t have a feather — they are posed in front of a palm tree, and those are palm fronds.

This “turban hat of twisted ribbon” by Paris milliner Marcelle Roze was featured in Delineator magazine in May, 1924. It’s definitely more structured and hat-like than the turbans made from pattern #4748.

Turban Hat by Marcelle Roze, Delineator, May 1924.

Turban Hat by Marcelle Roze, Delineator, May 1924.

This turban was shown with a day dress in the summer of 1925:

Turban worn in pattern illustration, Delineator, June 1925.

Turban worn in pattern illustration, Delineator, June 1925.

A new turban pattern, Butterick #6634, was shown with a dress suitable for stout women; Summer, 1926.

Butterick pattern #6634 for a turban, Delineator, May 1926.

Butterick pattern #6634 for a turban, Delineator, May 1926.

That doesn’t mean the turban was going out of style. This gold lamé turban by French designer Agnès was illustrated in 1929. The jewelry is by Patou. The illustrator’s initials are D.R.

Snug-fitting gold lame turban by Agnes, January 1924. The Delineator.

Snug-fitting gold lame turban by Agnes, January 1929. The Delineator.

Which brings me back to this beautiful silver lamé turban from the collection of a friend.

Silver lame turban, jeweled, with feather. Miss Dolores label.

Silver lame turban, jeweled, with feather. Miss Dolores label.

Styr0foam wig heads are smaller than human heads, so this turban would fit a person snugly and smoothly. The jewel was enormous, sparkly, possibly paste, and hard to photograph — it was not dulled or darkened. The silver fabric was not noticeably tarnished. The feathers were soiled and worn; I think they were white, rather than gray, originally. They may have stuck up more when new.

Silver lame turban by Miss Dolores. Back view.

Silver lame turban by Miss Dolores. Top and Back view.

You can see the small piece of cloth at center back that comes from inside the hat to cover the fabric joins.

Inside of silver lame hat, showing label.

Inside of silver lame hat, showing label.

The brand name, Miss Dolores, of London and Paris, was apparently still appearing in felt hats in the 1980s, judging by the few photos I have found online, but this turban seems to be a 1920s style. I couldn’t find out much about the Miss Dolores label, but everything about this hat — with the exception of the “Miss Dolores” script — suggested the twenties to me. I could be wrong. Comments? [Corrected 8/24/14: I was wrong. Thanks for your expertise, Christina! See Comments.]

P.S. In the theatre, we usually build turbans on a close-fitting felt base. That makes them easy to put on, and the folds can be stabilized with stitching inside the creases  — I mention this just in case you’re inspired to make a turban to go with your 1920s outfits.

 

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Filed under 1920s, Accessory Patterns, Bathing Suits, Hats, Hats, Sportswear, Swimsuits, Vintage Accessories, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes

Embroidered Peasant Styles from the Nineteen Twenties

White linen vintage dress with blue embroidery and cutwork, mid-nineteen twenties.

White linen vintage dress with blue embroidery and cutwork, mid-nineteen twenties.

Dresses from the 1910s and 1920s were often ornamented with embroidery and beading, even for daytime wear. Just as there was a strong interest in ethnic clothing and crafts in the nineteen sixties and seventies, some women appreciated folk embroidery and embellishment ninety years ago. The style was not limited to “artistic” or eccentric dressers; “peasant” blouse and dress patterns were offered by mainstream companies. I was lucky enough to photograph the 1920s peasant dresses that follow while making an inventory of a friend’s collection. [I wish now that I had had time to take better pictures!]

Peasant Blouse and Dress Patterns, 1925

Here are some Butterick “peasant” patterns from 1925:

May 1925: blouse trimmed with smocking and embroidery, from Butterick’s Delineator magazine.

May 1925: blouse trimmed with smocking and embroidery, from Butterick’s Delineator magazine.

Embroidery transfer #10341 for the blouse shown above.

Embroidery transfer #10341 for the blouse shown above.

Butterick sold sewing patterns and also sold embroidery and beading transfers.

“#10341: You get several trimming combinations in this embroidery, for after you have finished trimming your peasant blouse with the cross-stitched bandings and motifs, you can use the one-stitch banding in bright wools down the front of your wool jersey sports frock…. The one-stitch banding may combine different bright colors in wools…. It can be adapted to 1 5/8 yard each of bandings 4 ½ inches wide, 2 ½ inches wide, 1 5/8 inch wide and 1 3/4 inch wide and 32 assorted motifs.”

Butterick blouse pattern #5903. Here it is shown embroidered in red and worn under a black "suspender skirt." May, 1925.

Butterick blouse pattern #5903. On the right, it is shown embroidered in red — or red and black — and worn under a black “suspender skirt.” May, 1925.

These smocked peasant dresses from the same issue (May, 1925) have a strong relationship to the embroidered vintage dress pictured below. Smocking is a peasant embellishment technique originally used on shepherd’s smocks.

Peasant dress patterns # 6006, for ladies 32"- 40" bust, and #6012, for Misses 16 to 20 years. 1925.

Peasant dress patterns # 6006, for ladies 32″- 40″ bust, and #6012, for Misses 16 to 20 years. 1925.

“#6006: One-piece dresses in peasant style are very cool and dainty for Summer and one of the smartest new fashions…. Many attractive color combinations are possible, for instance, on a white frock the smocking may be done in red, lavender, yellow and black.”

Embroidery on Two Vintage Twenties Dresses

The subtler color palette of this vintage peasant dress, in sheer cotton, is very attractive:

1920s smocked dress in sheer cotton, with embroidered front.

1920s smocked dress in sheer cotton, with embroidered front.

Detail of front and back

Detail of front and back

V098 smocking detail

This white linen dress with marine blue embroidery and cutwork is more clearly inspired by ethnic embroidery. [I imagine it being worn by a 1920s tourist visiting the Greek islands with parasol in one hand and sketchbook in the other. I dimly remember a similar dress being used in the movie Carrington (1995), based on the life of painter Dora Carrington.]

Front and side views of a vintage white linen embroidered dress, 1920s.

Front and side views of a vintage white linen embroidered dress, 1920s.

PHOTO  This dress, which was in the collection of a friend, had blue crocheted loops and blue crocheted buttons along the collar and neck opening. I photographed it first over a pale peach slip, to show the beautiful openwork patterns:V093 front embroidery detail 500

And again over a navy blue slip, which gives it more dimension. V093 embroiderd cutwork on navy slip 500

Considering the amazing things that can be done with computerized sewing machines and soluble stabilizers, I suppose it would be possible to duplicate these dresses today without the many, many hours of handwork that made the originals so wonderful. But it would still be quite a project!

 

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, 1920s, Dresses, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing, Vintage patterns

Rapid Change in 1920s Fashion: Women, 1924 to 1925

Women's dresses: December 1924 and December 1925

Women’s dresses: December 1924 and December 1925

1925 was  a year of rapid change in women’s fashions. In addition to rising hemlines, this year marked the beginning of the end for tubular dresses worn over bust-flattening undergarments, and the introduction of a more feminine silhouette. To give an idea of how quickly styles changed, I’ll show some images from Delineator magazine that appeared just one year apart — some from the end of 1924, and some from the end of 1925.

Women’s Coats:  1924 and 1925

These two coats — pictured one month apart — were the latest styles for the end of 1924.

Left: Butterick coat pattern, Dec. 1924. Right: Lanvin coat, Jan. 1925.

Left: Butterick coat pattern, Dec. 1924. Right: Lanvin coat, Jan. 1925.

“Lanvin’s coat of beige raily kasha flares into godets at the lower part and is trimmed with a very small collar and very large cuffs of antelope and leopard skin. With it is a muff.”

Here are three coats from December 1925, Just Twelve Months Later:

Butterick coat patterns from December, 1925.

Butterick coat patterns from December, 1925.

These three coats look modern (or moderne) — the way we usually picture the 1920s. In one year, subtle changes in fit and proportion have severed the connection with the long, tubular fashions that began the decade.

December 1924 and December 1925 Fashions Illustrated in Color

Here is a closer look at some women’s dresses from December 1924:

Women's Dresses, December 1924, from Butterick's Delineator magazine.

Women’s Dresses, December 1924, from Butterick’s Delineator magazine.

These 1924 tunic dresses are ‘tubular’, falling straight from the shoulders over a low, flattened bust (especially noticeable at far left.) Tunic styles often show indecision about skirt length: there is a short hem and a long hem.

Women's Dresses, December 1925, from Butterick's Delineator magazine.

Women’s Dresses, December 1925, from Butterick’s Delineator magazine.

Twelve months later, the difference in hem length is not the only big change; while the tunic dresses of 1924 got narrower at the bottom, these dresses have some flare from the waist or hip to the hems. The real innovation can be seen in the red gown; it is a new “princess line” dress. The vertical seams allow it to be shaped to the body, curving out slightly over the bust and curving in slightly at the loosely fitted waist. There would be little point in flattening your chest to wear such a dress, although some older women clung to their familiar undergarments.

Evening Dresses and Wraps, 1924 and 1925

Evening Wrap Coat and Evening Dress, January 1924.

Evening Wrap Coat and Evening Dress, January 1924.

Later in the same year, 1924:

Evening Wrap Coat and Evening Dresses, December 1924.

Evening Wrap Coat and Evening Dresses, December 1924.

There is more hip interest, and a surplice (diagonally closing) gown. These are minor changes compared to the drastically different look of December, 1925:

Evening Wrap Coat and Evening Dresses, December, 1925.

Evening Wrap Coat and Evening Dresses, December, 1925.

The loosely belted columnar dress (January 1924) has been replaced with dresses that have distinct bodices and skirts, a strong accent at the hips, and geometric, Art Deco details. The effect is crisper and shorter. All the models now wear the mannish, ‘shingled’ hair style.

Surplice Closing Dress (right) from December 1925.

Surplice Closing Dress (right) from December 1925.

Surplice gown, Dec. 1924.

Surplice gown, Dec. 1924.

In one year, the surplice dress has gone from baggy to streamlined.

Coming soon:  Dresses for teens and young women, 1924 and 1925.

 

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Filed under 1920s, Vintage patterns

Zippers Are Good for Your Children: Ad Campaigns from the 1920s and 1930s

Vanta Self-Help Garments Ad, Ladies' Home Journal, Oct. 1936

Vanta Self-Help Garments Ad, Ladies’ Home Journal, Oct. 1936

“Your Child’s First Lesson in Self-Reliance is Self-Dressing”

Talon ZIpper Ad, May 1929, Delineator

“Quick Dressing at Camp or Home Is No Longer a Problem.” Talon Zipper Ad, May 1929, Delineator

In Zipper: An Exploration in Novelty, Robert Friedel attributes the wide-spread adoption of zippers in children’s clothing in the late twenties and early thirties to the relatively new field of child psychology.  Child psychologists and scientific child-rearing experts began to stress the importance of developing self-reliance and self-confidence at an early age, beginning with children dressing themselves.

Why Children Couldn’t Dress Themselves

Traditional clothing for children in the 1920s made it impossible for a young child, especially a boy, to dress himself. Girls were also afflicted with clothes that buttoned up the back, but little boys needed help several times a day.

Two Butterick Patterns for Boys, 1925

Two Butterick Patterns for Boys, 1925

Little Boy in Skirt, late 1800s. Photo courtesy RememberedSummers.wordpress.com

Little Boy in Skirt, late 1800s. Photo courtesy RememberedSummers.wordpress.com

In the 1800s, young boys as well as girls wore skirts until they were well out of diapers.

Pictorial Review pattern, courtesy of RememberedSummers

Pictorial Review pattern, courtesy of RememberedSummers

But in the 1910s and 20s, boys’ pants buttoned to their shirts, in front and back, where buttons were hard to reach. This eliminated the need for suspenders to hold the pants up, but it must have been impossible for most 4 or 5 year old boys to go to the bathroom — and re-dress — without help.

[Click on images to enlarge.]

Children circa 1924, courtesy & copyright RememberedSummers

Children circa 1924, courtesy & copyright RememberedSummers

Educator Ellen Miller, of the innovative Merrill-Palmer school, wrote that clothing for small boys had “an average of more than seventeen buttons” to be fastened, and some of these buttons were unreachable by small arms and hands. [Cited in Zipper, p. 179.] There could be even more buttons:

Leggings, 1920s

Children Wearing Buttoned Leggings, in a Ford Ad, 1924

Children Wearing Buttoned Leggings, in a Ford Ad, 1924

In the winter, boys and girls wore tight over-the-knee leggings fastened with buttons – lots of small buttons, which little fingers couldn’t fasten by themselves. (I count 11 buttons just on the part of the girl’s left legging that we can see.)

Butterick Pattern for Leggings, Oct. 1924

Butterick Pattern for Leggings, Oct. 1924

Winter months must have been a nightmare for kindergarten teachers.

As sales of zippers to B.F. Goodrich for ’Zippers’ brand boots for women tapered off around 1928,  the Hookless Fastener Company [which later became Talon] decided to develop a new market, and contacted the manufacturers of leggings: “When the New York fabric and corduroy manufacturers Hallett and Hackmeyer were persuaded to enter the market themselves, armed with the Talon fastener to make their offerings distinctive, the market turned around with astonishing speed.” By 1931, salesmen trying to set up a window display that would contrast a new zipper legging with an old-fashioned button legging reported that it was impossible to find a button legging for sale anywhere. [Zipper, p. 176]

Child Psychology and Zippers

Vanta Self-Help Baby Clothes Ad, Ladies Home Journal, October 1936

Vanta Self-Help Baby Clothes Ad, Ladies Home Journal, October 1936

I wish I could find an advertisement that says “4 out of 5 psychologists recommend zippers,” but I haven’t, yet. This 1936 ad for Vanta Baby Garments comes close to saying that children who don’t dress themselves will be psychologically damaged [Vanta did not necessarily use zippers] :

“If you keep on dressing your child when he should be learning to dress himself, you may be forming a habit of dependence upon others that he will never quite overcome. So say leading child psychologists and educators….

“Vanta Self-Help garments are designed to teach children to dress themselves when only two years old. They make a happy game of dressing – a game that the child looks forward to each day. But an important game that teaches him to think for himself, act for himself, do for himself. A self-reliant, resourceful, independent character in the making. ”

Vanta advertised that its buttonholes were large enough for little fingers; all clothes buttoned in the front, never in back; and the red, heart-shaped Vanta label was always on the front and on the outside, so children could tell when their clothes were right-side out. “This famous label is your child’s first guiding mark to independence . . . your own key to precious hours saved for recreation!”

Talon Slide-Fastener Ad, May 1929. Delineator.

Talon Slide-Fastener Ad, May 1929. Delineator.

This 1929 advertisement for Talon Slide-Fasteners also cites psychologists:  “Quick Dressing at camp or home is no longer a problem…. Whether for play or work, all the very young men are dressing themselves these days – and, thanks to Talon Slide-Fasteners, getting pleasure out of it. The reason they enjoy it, psychologists will tell you, is because Talon-fastened garments bring the ‘play-spirit’ into operation. Young minds quickly grasp any plan that affects their daily lives, in which the element of fun is involved…. Even a 4-year-old can quickly and easily work the slider-pull of a Talon Slide-Fastener….You can buy children’s Talon-Fastened garments for all occasions, or you can make them at home, using Talon Slide-Fasteners which you can buy at any Notion Counter.”1929 may zipper boys ad btm text

“Think what a help to busy housewives these features provide….”

Manufactured Items Made with Talon Zippers, Bottom of 1929 Ad

Manufactured Items Made with Talon Zippers, Bottom of 1929 Ad

The bottom of the ad pictures a “Girl’s Play Suit; Child’s Sweater; Ladies’ Hand Bag; Duffle Bag; fitted with Talon Slide-Fasteners.” The smallest Talon zipper available in 1929 was still too large for very small children’s clothing, but by 1933 the #3 Talon zipper was becoming widely used. In the early 1930s a Hookless Fastener employee named Jack Keilly took his four-year-old daughter to stores to demonstrate how easily a child could use a zipper.  She was very impressive — but too young to work! — so eventually a movie was made, and department stores spent as much as $100 a week to show it to their customers. By 1936-37, when zippers began appearing in women’s dresses, they already knew how a zipper worked — so simple, a child could do it!

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Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, 1930s, A Costumers' Bookshelf, Accessory Patterns, Children's Vintage styles, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage patterns, vintage photographs, Zippers