Tag Archives: vintage patterns

Fashion Illustration and Fashion Reality, 1948

Butterick 4609, evening gownfrom Butterick Fashion News, back cover, August 1948.

Butterick 4609, evening gown from Butterick Fashion News, August 1948.

I’ve been looking at pattern illustrations from 1948, when Dior’s “new look” was getting women into waist-cinching undergarments, full (sometimes padded) hips, and a long, long silhouette.

Butterick 4610, from Butterick Fashion News, Aug. 1948.

Butterick 4610, from Butterick Fashion News, Aug. 1948. The waist is exceptionally narrow compared to the hips.

Simplicity store flyer, patterns from April 1948.

Simplicity store flyer, patterns from April 1948. Note the waist sizes.

Butterick suit pattern 4600 from August 1948, Butterick store flyer.

Butterick suit pattern 4600 from August 1948, Butterick store flyer.

I love to remind people that fashion illustrations shape women’s expectations (and self-critical self image) of what they should look like. This 1948 Butterick suit pattern was sized for women under 5′ 5″ tall:

Butterick suit pattern 4569 was available in a special version for women under 5' 5" tall.

Butterick suit pattern 4569 was available in a special version for women under 5′ 5″ tall. Store flyer, July 1948.

If suit 4569 seems awfully tall and thin for a petite woman —  it is.

Fashion models used to be 5’7 or so; this photo from the back of Butterick Fashion News, February 1948, shows a probably waist-cinched but otherwise real young woman:

Ad for Butterick, back of Butterick Fashion News, July 1948.

Ad for Butterick, back of Butterick Fashion News, July 1948.

It was hard to judge her head size exactly, since she is looking down, but from crown to heel (or front anklebone) she is six and a half heads high. The illustration of suit 4569 is relatively (well over a foot) taller and much thinner:

Photo and fashion illustration from July 1948. Using here head a a a unit of measurement, the real woman is six and a half heads from crown to heel. The illustration is eight heads high.

Photo and fashion illustration from July 1948. Using her head as a unit of measurement, the real woman is six and a half heads from crown to heel. The illustration is eight heads high — a woman stretched by more than a foot. And compare their waists!

Over the decades, we appear to have selectively chosen fashion models to match fashion illustrations, putting very thin,  5′ 11″ tall women into very high heels, to resemble these old drawings of imaginary human beings.

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Filed under 1940s-1950s, Corsets, Musings, Vintage patterns

Dual (or Triple) Purpose Apron, 1949

This is a rather peculiar multi-purpose pattern: an apron that could be used as an evening cape….

McCall Pattern 1509 for an apron, or a cape, or ....

McCall Pattern 1509 for an apron, or a cape, or ….

“And that’s not all!” as they say in those ads on TV at two in the morning. McCall 1509 could also be an overskirt, made to match your dress material, or in lace, organdy or taffeta,  and trimmed with velvet, beads or sequins:

McCall pattern 1509, the "glamour tunic apron," first appeared in 1949. Images from McCall needlework catalog, Nov. 1950.

McCall pattern 1509, the “glamor tunic apron,” first appeared in 1949. Images from McCall needlework catalog, Nov. 1950.

McCall 1509.

McCall 1509. “The new costume stretcher. It changes day dresses into date dresses…. Glamorize your dresses with the new tunic apron! It’s smart to match fabric to your dress material. Wear this style tied at front, back, on the side…. Note slenderizing effect.”

If you wore the glamor tunic over a mid-calf sheath dress, you would have two looks without having to make two dresses.

Maybe it was the words “costume stretcher,” but when I saw this pattern, I remembered a fascinating item which Joy Spanabel Emery featured in her book, A History of the Paper Pattern Industry. Butterick pattern B4408, from 1948, was a set of “Yoke, Flares, and Flounces for Skirts.”  The purpose of the pattern was “to lengthen skirts.” Click here to see it. I wonder if this McCall Apron/Tunic pattern was ever used the same way?

The black version, with velvet and bead trimmed pockets, would allow you to lengthen the skirt of the dress under it.

The black version, with velvet and bead trimmed pockets, would allow you to lengthen the skirt of the dress under it by adding fabric between the waist and the hip, and would work with almost any black sheath dress.

Why Would You Want to Do That?

During the years of the Second World War, America was “cut off” from French couture.

In England and America, regulations controlled the amount of fabric in garments.

Dior’s “New Look,” introduced in 1947,  was in part a reaction to years of fabric shortages, fabric rationing and war-time clothing restrictions.

The "Bar Suit" from Christian Dior's "Corolle" collection, 1947.

The “Bar Suit” from Christian Dior’s “Corolle” collection, 1947. American magazines called this “the new look.”

Julian Robinson’s Fashion in the Forties (which has a British slant) makes it clear that many aspects of the New Look — tiny waists, widened hips, flowing drapery and longer hemlines — were under way before the war, but fabric rationing and “utility” clothing kept women in short skirts and other late thirties’ styles until the war ended.

Slim Two-Piece patterns from a Butterick store flyer, October 1943. Patterns 2734 and 2725 have skirts that stop just below the kneecap/

Slim Two-Piece patterns from a Butterick store flyer, October 1943. Patterns 2734 and 2725 have skirts that stop at mid-kneecap, and use about three yards of fabric for the whole outfit.

Joy Spanabel Emery concisely summarized American clothing restrictions:

“In 1942, the War Production Board (WPB) issued Regulation L-85, specifying restrictions for every item of women’s clothing. The regulation essentially froze the fashion silhouette. It limited the use of natural fibers, limited full skirts to a seventy-two-inch circumference, and banned knife pleats and patch pockets (part of a ‘no fabric over fabric’ rule.) Pattern companies responded patriotically. For example, Simplicity announced ‘patterns with few pieces, made from 3 yards or less….’ ” — A History of the Paper Pattern Industry, page 136.

As in the 1929 – 1932 period, in the post-war years 1947 -1949 the fashionable skirt length dropped precipitously.

Simplicity store flyer, April 1948. Long, full skirts were a luxury after wartime scrimping.

Simplicity store flyer, April 1948. Long, full skirts were a luxury after wartime scrimping.

And, although it’s easy to make a skirt shorter by taking up the hem, it’s very difficult to make a skirt several inches longer without an obvious “patched” look. You can add a contrast band or ruffle to a full, gathered skirt and make the result look deliberate, but the dresses and skirts of the war years were made close to the body, in an effort to avoid wasting materials.

So — how could a woman on a limited budget get from this silhouette …

Left, two suits from 1943; right, a suit from May 1944. Butterick 2746, ad from Vogue, and Butterick 2979.

Left, two suits from 1943; right, a suit from May 1944. Butterick 2746, ready to wear ad from Vogue, and Butterick 2979.

… to this one?

Three Butterick suits from 1949. Butterick Pattern Flyer, Nov. 1949.

Three Butterick suits from 1949. Butterick Pattern Flyer, Nov. 1949.

It takes a while for fashions to change, since only a few people adopt a drastically new silhouette at first. But eventually, if successful, the new styles displace the older ones in the stores. By the late nineteen forties, dresses that could be made with less than three yards of material looked shockingly short.

War-time dress patterns: you could make aany of thers dresses in an average size (16) with three yards of fabric or less. Butterick 2721, 2735, 2600, and 2611;store flyer, Oct. 1943.

War-time dress patterns: you could make any of these dresses in an average size (16) with three yards of fabric or less. Butterick 2721, 2735, 2600, and 2611; store flyer, Oct. 1943.

For women used to making their clothes last for years, (and remaking them) and especially for women on a limited budget, patterns like B4408 — which offered a way to lengthen skirts from waist to hip instead of by letting down the hem — must have seemed like a very good idea (if you still had a well-defined waist).

Butterick 4408 circa 1948 from an image on Pinterest

Detail of Butterick B4408 circa 1948 from an image on Pinterest; ( I couldn’t find it at its source.)

The idea was to remove the original waistband or bodice, let out the waist-to-hip darts (if any,) and insert a new piece in the skirt  — which would be concealed by a peplum, as in B and C. Fortunately, a peplum was often part of the New Look, which exaggerated the width of the hips in order to make waists look smaller. Notice the peplum at top right in this Dior image from 1948 (from Life magazine.) I’m looking at the McCall multi-purpose apron pattern with this in mind.

McCall 1509 tunic apron used as a peplum would allow you to lengthen your old cocktail dress.

McCall 1509 tunic apron used as a peplum would allow you to lengthen your old cocktail dress.

What a cocktail dress from May 1944, might look like when lengthened with the addition of a peplum to hide a pieced skirt.

What a cocktail dress from May 1944, might look like when lengthened with the addition of a peplum to hide a pieced skirt. New hairstyle optional….

Of course I’m just speculating — which is always fun….

 

 

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Filed under 1930s-1940s, 1940s-1950s, Accessory Patterns, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns

What’s Cooking? Holiday Aprons, Mostly from the 1940’s

Holiday party aprons for little girls, McCall pattern 1281, from a needlework catalog for December 1946.

Holiday party aprons for little girls, McCall pattern 1281, from a needlework catalog for December 1946.

Back in the mid-twentieth century, before women wore casual slacks or jeans to do housework, the apron was a useful, and often elaborate, handmade gift. Aprons were not included in the rule that gifts of clothing were too intimate for anyone but family members. Pattern catalogs and women’s magazines usually featured apron patterns in November and December;  in my parents’ home, one sign that Christmas was approaching was the making of pajamas and aprons.

Holiday Aprons" from Woman's Home Companion, December 1937. Companion-Butterick pattern No. 7652.

“Holiday Aprons” from Woman’s Home Companion, December 1937. Companion-Butterick pattern No. 7652.

The elaborate backs of these aprons may be surprising to those of us who are used to modern, store-bought, unisex aprons. These were serious aprons that protected your dress.

Back views and text for Companion-Butterick apron pattern 7652. Dec, 1937.

Back views and text for Companion-Butterick apron pattern 7652. Dec., 1937. “Triad” meant three designs in one envelope.

This unisex apron set from 1950 shows the basic outline of inexpensive, utilitarian aprons like the ones in my kitchen today; in 1950 they were called “barbecue” aprons, and the idea of a man cooking and wearing an apron at home was no longer just a joke — although the gift aprons were often intended to be humorous.

His and Hers barbeque aprons. McCall pattern circa 1950.

His and Hers barbecue aprons. McCall pattern 1515, circa 1950.

This apron set, found in a McCall Needlework catalog from May, 1950, has elaborate appliques, and would probably have been intended as a gift set — made for a friend, or newlyweds, or intended to be sold at a charity bazaar.

Making aprons to sell at fundraisers is an old tradition. The Ladies’ Home Journal suggested making these aprons for a fundraiser during WW I:

Aprons to make for a Charity Bazaar; Ladies' Home Journal, October 1917.

Aprons to make for a Charity Bazaar; Ladies’ Home Journal, October 1917. (In 1917, some skirts also had a ruffle at the waist.) Many women still wore “pinner” aprons, without straps, like those at right.

Of course, when women made aprons for themselves, they might prefer a simple shape, bound in bias tape

Two versions of Butterick apron pattern 6874, from 1926.

Two versions of Butterick apron pattern 6874, from 1926.

… but frilly, sometimes silly, labor-intensive aprons were a staple of holiday gift-making.

McCall called this a "little girl look" apron. Needlework catalog, Dec. 1946.

McCall called this a “little girl look” apron. Pattern 917, McCall Needlework catalog, Dec. 1946, but first issued in 1941. [I can picture June Allyson in this one.]

You can see the pattern piece shapes for No. 917 from a copy in the CoPA collection; click here.

Aprons like the ones below, often decorated half-aprons, were called “cocktail aprons” or “bridge aprons,” [for hosting card parties] and were worn while entertaining, not cooking or washing dishes.

Apron decorated with sequinned hearts. McCall 1278, from a 1946 needlework catalog.

Apron decorated with sequinned hearts. McCall 1278, from a 1946 needlework catalog. I have also seen aprons with sequinned martini glasses on them….

Simplicity aprons No. 1805, dated 1956. Starching and ironing those ruffles would be time consuming.

Simplicity apron No. 1805, dated 1956. Starching and ironing those ruffles would be time consuming.

This dress, McCall 1312, made from sheer fabrics, might be a gift to a bride. It was a fantasy of housework.

This apron, McCall 1312, made from sheer fabrics and delicately appliqued, might be a gift to a bride. It evokes a fantasy of housework, unrelated to reality. 1950 needlework catalog.

I suspect that many fancy aprons were re-gifted and never worn (probably why so many delicate aprons survive in vintage collections.)

This one, decorated with Scottie dogs, is my virtual gift to The Vintage Traveler.

McCall Scottie dog apron, circa 1950.

McCall Scottie dog apron, before 1950. I prefer the version on the right.

Aprons and Sewing Classes

Many girls and women made aprons while learning to sew. A simple half apron was well within the abilities of elementary school students, and many a proud mother must have received an apron — far too pretty to wear — for Christmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc.

McCall apron 1096 -- probably a Valentine gift. From a 1946 needle work catalog.

McCall apron 1096 — an appropriate Valentine gift. Photographed from a 1946 needle work catalog, but it dates to 1943.

Simplicity aprons from 1956, pattern No. 1789.

Simplicity aprons from 1956, pattern No. 1789. Even a beginner could make version 4, or apply rickrack, as in version 3.

A Super-Successful Apron Pattern

I found three McCall needlework catalogs (1946 to 1950) at an estate sale; some apron patterns were so successful that they appeared year after year, so a three-digit pattern number is often an indication that the pattern pre-dates 1946. This one first appeared in 1941 and was still in the catalog for November, 1950 — nine years later.

McCall pattern 884, called the "Necktie" apron dates to 1941 and was still being offered in 1950.

McCall pattern 884, called the “Necktie” apron dates to 1941 and was still being offered in 1950 –and, possibly, later.

The Necktie apron — cut in many sections — had to be folded to be ironed correctly:

Necktie apron, McCall 884. It is shown folded for ironing at the left.

Necktie apron, McCall 884. It is shown folded for ironing at the left.

Necktie apron description form 1946 catalog.

Necktie apron description from 1946 catalog. Rickrack trim was applied behind its edges, so that only half the trim was visible. Other designs used rickrack more obviously:

Rickrack was applied to the top sides of these aprons, McCall 987, from 1942.

Rickrack was applied to the outsides of these aprons, McCall 987, from 1942. The tassels would be rather impractical.

Mother-Daughter Aprons

In the post-war period it was generally assumed that little girls wanted to grow up to be housewives, just like their Mommies. You could buy identical apron patterns for children and women, like these:

McCall apron pattern 1532, for women. May 1950 needlework catalog.

McCall apron pattern 1532, for women. May 1950 needlework catalog.

Child's version of McCall 1532 was McCall 1533.

The child’s version of McCall 1532 was McCall 1533.

This Butterflies apron was also available in a child's version. (From 1946)

This Butterflies apron was also available in a child’s version. (From 1946) McCall No. 1257.

A Daughter (or little sister) version of the Butterflies apron was McCall 1258.

A daughter (or little sister) version of the Butterflies apron was McCall 1258.

Once upon a time, little girls wore dresses all day, and protected them with aprons or pinafores. Women also expected a practical apron to protect their dresses from cooking spatters and laundry suds; except for their elaborate embroidery or appliques, these aprons would do the trick:

McCall 1209 covered most of the dress,

McCall apron No. 1209 covered most of the dress. 1940s.

Kitchen pet of the career girl -- this young apron ... completely covers the dress. Pinafore ruffles give the smart broad-shouldered look." McCall 1135.

“Kitchen pet of the career girl — this young apron … completely covers the dress. Pinafore ruffles give the smart broad-shouldered look.” McCall 1135. Circa 1945.

The apron below is really unusual — but I’ll save the other aprons with novelty pockets for another day!

A tulip forms a novelty pocket on this unusual, fasten-in-front apron. McCall 1403, from 1948.

A tulip forms a novelty pocket on this unusual, fasten-in-front apron. McCall 1403, from 1948.

Although it looks complex, this apron would lie completely flat for ironing — more practical than it looks.

1403-m50-p-44-text-tulip-novelty-pocket-front-tie-waist-coverall593

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you’re inspired to cook up something delightful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 1920s, 1930s, 1930s-1940s, 1940s-1950s, Accessory Patterns, Children's Vintage styles, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Menswear, Uniforms and Work Clothes, Vintage patterns, World War I

Wedding and Evening Gowns, April 1925

This is another set of dress patterns which were also sold as bridal patterns, this time from April of 1925.

Illustration for the article "The New in New York: The Bride Takes the White Veil and Gown of Tradition, or Turns to Silver or Palest Pink" by Evelyn Dodge. Delineator, April 1925, p. 24.

Illustration for the article “The New in New York: The Bride Takes the White Veil and Gown of Tradition, or Turns to Silver or Palest Pink” by Evelyn Dodge. Delineator, April 1925, p. 24.

It’s striking to me how this illustration for the article on weddings shows up-to-date short skirts in comparison to the pattern illustrations for the same Butterick dresses. (Perhaps patterns had a longer lead time, so the article’s illustrator adjusted hemlines to the newest fashions.)

Maid of Honor and Bridesmaids, Delineator, April 1925, page 24.

Maid (or Matron) of Honor and Bridesmaids, Delineator, April 1925, page 24. They are wearing Butterick patterns.

The dress worn by the Maid (or Matron) of Honor, Butterick pattern 5933, was illustrated as an evening dress — in print fabrics — in both April and May:

On left, and in detail, Butterick 5933, April 1925, Delineator.

On left, and in detail, Butterick 5933, April 1925, Delineator.

Butterick 5933 illustrated in May 1925, Delineator, page 26.

Butterick 5933 illustrated in May 1925, Delineator, page 26.

Two versions of the bridesmaids’ dress appeared, one for Ladies and one — with a different pattern number — for Misses 16 to 20.

Left, Butterick pattern 5906, available in Ladies' sizes, and right, Butterick 5919, for Misses 16 to 20.

Left, Butterick pattern 5906, available in Ladies’ sizes, and right, Butterick 5919, for Misses 16 to 20 or small women. March and April, 1925, Delineator.

There is a difference in hem length and torso length, and both differ slightly from the center illustration.

Description of Butterick 5906, March 1925.

Description of Butterick 5906, a lace dinner dress; March 1925.

The dress on the right, for Misses and small women, had different proportions. [Much more attractive to my eye….]

Butterick 5919:  “A hand made ribbon or metal gauze flower trims this one-piece slip-over frock with handkerchief draperies. Use Georgette, chiffon or chiffon voile over a separate one-piece slip of satin, silk crepe or heavy crepe de Chine in flesh color or to match dress. For day wear the slip may have sleeves…. Dress is for Misses 16 to 20 years.”

In addition to the article on page 24, there was an entire page of ideas for Butterick bridal patterns — most of which were also illustrated as day or evening dresses elsewhere in the magazine … sometimes months previously.

"The Easter Bride Takes the White Veil and Gown of Tradition or Turns to Silver or Faint Pink." BUtterick Bridal Patterns, April 1925; Delineator, p. 33.

“The Easter Bride Takes the White Veil and Gown of Tradition or Turns to Silver or Faint Pink.” Butterick bridal patterns, April 1925; Delineator, p. 33.

The caption says,

The "new in New York" idea was wedding dresses that were not necessarily white. Delineator, April 1925, p. 33.

The “new in New York” idea was wedding dresses that were not necessarily white. Delineator, April 1925, p. 33. “Many brides choose white and silver and more occasionally gold, or pale pink….”

I love finding more than one illustration of the same pattern — and Butterick often featured its patterns in Delineator magazine in two successive months — or in two places in the same issue.

Butterick 5935, April 1925, left, page 33 and right page 29. Delineator.

Butterick 5935, April 1925, left, page 33 and right, page 29. Delineator.

5786 in April 1925, p. 33, and in February 1925, p. 23. Delineator.

5786 in April 1925, p. 33, and in February 1925, p. 23. Delineator. Note the bust darts….

Butterick 5941, April, 1925; as a wedding dress and in a dark satin version. Delineator.

Butterick 5941, April, 1925; as a wedding dress and in a dark satin version. Delineator. Below the waist, a very asymmetrical design.

Butterick 5963, April 1925, as a wedding dress, page 33, and in black satin with coral beading, page 31. Delineator.

Butterick 5963, April 1925, as a wedding dress, page 33, and in black satin with coral beading, page 31.

It makes sense that wedding gown patterns would be bought by young women; one of these Misses’ dresses was also shown as a bridal gown:

Butterick 5755, 5714, 5713, Delineator, January 1925, page 29.

Butterick 5755, 5714, 5713, Delineator, January 1925, page 29.

Butterick 5755, in April and in January, 1925. Delineator.

Butterick 5755, in April and in January, 1925. Delineator. Note the ribbon at the natural waist.

One of these was shown as a bridesmaid’s dress, and another as a wedding gown.

Butterick patterns for Misses and small women, April 1925, pg. 36.

Butterick patterns for Misses and small women, April 1925, pg. 36. Numbers 5919, 5960, and 5897.

No. 5919, far right, was the bridesmaid, as discussed above; No. 5960 (center) has sleeves and beading in its bridal version.

Butterick 5960 for a wedding, page 33, and for a party, page 36. April 1925, Delineator.

Butterick 5960 for a wedding, page 33, and for a party, page 36. April 1925, Delineator.

These wedding gowns went back a little further:

Butterick 5719 and 5447. Originally issued a few months earlier than April 1925, as can be seen from the number sequence.

Butterick 5719 and 5447. Originally issued a few months earlier than April 1925, as can be seen from the number sequence.  Is that a Spanish comb on the right?

No. 5447 was the featured bridal gown in this wedding party for October, 1924:

Butterick 5447 was the bridal gown for October 1924, p. 27. Delneator.

Butterick 5447 was the bridal gown for October 1924, p. 27. Delineator.

5447-bride1924-oct-p-94-pattern-info-p-26-27-btm

The tabard of No. 5719 would lend itself to a silvery, medieval look, especially with a long-sleeved underdress.

Butterick 5719 in April 1925 and in Dec 1924. Delineator.

Butterick 5719 in April 1925 and in Dec 1924. Delineator.

 

Many years ago I saw this English wedding dress, dated 1924, in the Bethnal Green Museum, now a part of the V & A.  I couldn’t find the image online, so here it is scanned from the postcard I bought:

Wedding dress, English, 1924. The tabard is worn over a pleated dress.

Wedding dress, English, 1924. The tabard is worn over a pleated dress.

A silver wedding dress, with heavy lace trim, was also in the Bethnal Green Exhibit.

Silver wedding dress, English (Ada Wolf); 1924. Bethnal Green Museum postcard.

Silver wedding dress, English (Ada Wolf); 1924. Bethnal Green Museum postcard.

Here is a small part of the advice Evelyn Dodge gave to brides in 1924:

parag-first-1925-april-p-24-wedding-article-top-left

Advice fro brides, April 1924, by Evelyn Dodge writing in Delineator.

Advice for brides, April 1924, by Evelyn Dodge writing in Delineator.

 

 

 

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Filed under 1920s, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing, Wedding Clothes

Evening Dress Patterns Become Wedding Dress Patterns, Fall of 1925

Butterick 6227 was an evening dress in September, and a Wedding dress in October, 1925. Delineator.

Butterick 6227 was an evening dress in September, and a wedding dress in October, 1925. Delineator.

While writing about patterns illustrated as wedding gowns in Delineator magazine, October 1925, I recalled that Delineator (owned by Butterick Publishing Company) sometimes illustrated a pattern as an evening or afternoon dress in one issue, and then illustrated it as a wedding dress in a later issue. So I went looking for different versions of the seven “wedding” dresses from October.

Butterick evening dress Patterns 6360 and 6362, Delineator, October 1925, page 33.

Butterick evening dress Patterns 6360 and 6362, Delineator, October 1925, page 33.

These two evening dresses were illustrated as wedding gowns in the same issue — in fact, on the reverse side of the same page:

Butterick patterns 6362and 6350, Delineator, October 1925, pg 32.

Butterick patterns 6362 and 6350, Delineator, October 1925, page 32.

Here’s a closer look:

Two versions of Butterick 6360, Delineator, Oct. 1925. Pages 32 and 33.

Two versions of Butterick 6360, Delineator, Oct. 1925. Pages 32 and 33.

The evening dress description was a little different from the wedding version (see “October Brides”, posted Oct. 16th.)

6360-party-dresss-text-6352-text-1925-oct-dresses-p-33-too-hat-6359

The description of it as a bridal dress did suggest that it could be altered after the wedding and worn as an evening dress. Evening dresses usually had lower necks and lower armholes than day dresses.

Butterick 6362 as a wedding dress, page 32, and as an evening dress page 33. Delineator, Oct. 1925.

Butterick 6362 as a wedding dress with sheer sleeves, on page 32; and as an evening dress on page 33. Delineator, Oct. 1925.

As a wedding dress, it has covered arms (the sleeves were attached to the slip) and a higher neckline. For evening,  it’s accessorized with necklaces and a very big feather fan (above right.}6362-party-dress-text-1925-oct-dresses-p-33-too-hat-6359

Butterick 6349 also appeared in the October issue as a wedding dress and as a casual dress:

Two illustrations of Butterick 6349; Delineator, October 1925, pages 32 and 26.

Two illustrations of Butterick 6349; Delineator, October 1925, pages 32 (wedding) and 26 (day dress.) No. 6349 was only available in sizes 15 years to 20 years.

The skirt of the wedding version looks a little more flared, probably because satin is a stiffer fabric. It also looks shorter to me — again, perhaps that’s due to the droop of a softer material on the right.

As I expected, I found other “bridal” patterns illustrated as evening dresses in the previous month’s magazine. This one was impressive in both versions:

Butterick pattern 6227 as an October Bride and a September evening dress. Delineator.

Butterick pattern 6227 for an October bride and a September evening dress. Delineator.

Butterick 6227, Delineator, September 1925.

Evening dress description of Butterick 6227, Delineator, September 1925.

Butterick 6175 was illustrated as a bride in October; in September, the look was appropriate for a party, but much less formal. Does the lace make all the difference?

Butterick 6175 was illustrated as a bride’s dress in October; in September, the look — illustrated in shiny satin with with fur collar and cuffs — was appropriate for a party, but much less formal. Does the lace make all the difference?

6175 description from Delineator, Sept. 1925.

Dress on right, above:  Pattern 6175 description from Delineator, Sept. 1925.

I only found five of the seven October Brides’ patterns in day or evening versions — perhaps because I simply didn’t photograph them.  Why some dresses had bridal potential and others didn’t is not clear to me. If one of these two dresses could be adapted to a wedding, why not the other?

Pattern 6224, October bride, and 6275, just a pretty September dress. Delneator.

Pattern 6224, an October bride, and pattern 6275, just a pretty September dress with embroidery on the sheer sleeves. Both have flared skirts and similar necklines. They are both very long in the torso. Delineator.

6275-text-1925-sept-p-36-party-dresses

I wondered about this rose-trimmed dress, too — until I realized that it was born to dance:

Butterick 6276 from Sept. 1925. Delineator.

Butterick 6276 evening dress pattern from September  1925. Delineator.

Butterick 6276 description, Delineator, Sept. 1925.

Butterick 6276 description, Delineator, Sept. 1925.

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Filed under 1920s, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes, Wedding Clothes

Martha, Is That You?

George and Martha Washington in illustration for article in Delineator, February 1925, p. 19.

George and Martha Washington in an illustration for an article in Delineator, February 1925, p. 19.

I was making an inventory of a vintage costume collection for a friend, trying not to spend too much time on items with little resale value. I found a section of bustle dresses, or parts of them, that were clearly “the real thing.”

Vintage bustle dress, skirt missing.

Vintage bustle dress, skirt missing. Too small to fasten on the mannequin.

Vintage bustle dress , embroidered buttons. Details.

Vintage bustle dress, embroidered buttons. Details. The fabric is substantial.

Vintage brown taffeta bustle dress top; skirt missing.

Vintage brown taffeta bustle dress top; skirt missing. The long overdress fitting snugly at the hips, with gathers almost over the pelvis, can be seen in 1879-1880.

I never had time to photograph that one on a mannequin. The front with long, low gathering is very distinctive.

Back detail of late Victorian overdress. Skirt missing.

Back and fabric detail of late Victorian overdress. Brocade, satin, and velvet.

Front of long dress in autumn colors, satin underskirt.

Front of long dress in autumn colors, satin underskirt.

Late Victorian bustle dress, side view.

Late Victorian bustle dress, side view. Changeable taffeta.

A vintage bustle dress with back draperies pulled up, rather like a 19th century version of an 18th century polonaise.

A vintage bustle dress with back draperies pulled up, rather like a 19th century version of an 18th century polonaise. Skirt missing; a petticoat is visible.

All those crisp fabrics — and then I reached into the “bustle era” hanging storage and put my hand on this one:

A polaise -- sort of. Print cotton fabric, soft and droopy, rather too small in circumference....

Not a bustle, but a polonaise — sort of. It has elements of the robe a la francaise. Print cotton fabric, soft and droopy, rather too small in circumference…. for a moment, I thought it might be a “Dolly Varden dress.” (An 1870’s fad based on an 18th c. character in a Dickens novel.)

But, no, it’s a masquerade costume — meant to be 18th century — from a period that favored soft, droopy fabrics, no boning, and a skirt less full than the 1780’s.

 Martha Washington costume pattern, Butterick, 1924.

Martha Washington costume pattern 4258, Butterick, 1924.  (It is not this exact dress, but shows the effects of 1920’s style on the perception of 1780’s fashions.)

The front of the costume was never photographed on a mannequin, but you can see, as it hangs on a coat hanger (that’s how I found it) that the sheer ruffles on each side of the front are long enough to be worn crossed like the “Martha Washington” costume’s fichu:

Top of a masquerade or theatrical costume made in the the 20th century, but suggesting the Colonial period.

Top of a masquerade or theatrical costume made in the the 20th century, but suggesting the Colonial period. The sheer ruffles on the front are very long, probably meant to cross over the breast and waist. The machine stitching on the sleeve flounces is crude.

It has an interior bodice made of netting — a practice I have seen in dresses of the nineteen-teens.

The inner bodice of costume is made of netting. A theatrical costume would be lined with a strong fabric, like muslin, to take the strain off the seams -- and to allow for a tight fit over a period corset.

The inner bodice of costume is made of netting. A theatrical costume would normally be flat-lined with a strong fabric, like muslin, to take the strain off the seams — and to allow for a tight fit over a period corset.

All the sewing is a bit sloppy — and  why not, for a costume that might be worn only once?

These pieces of twill tape inside the skirt hold up the poufs of the polonaise.

These pieces of twill tape inside the skirt hold up the “Polonaise” poufs of the overskirt.

At the time when I found it, I wondered why my friend had collected something so clearly not “the real thing.”

But, many years afterward, I remembered it when I realized that pattern companies have been making “colonial lady” and “Marie Antoinette” patterns for costume parties, Halloween parties, centennials and local history pageants, 4th of July parties, and amateur theatricals for a very long time.

A Martha Washington costume from Butterick, February 1924. It is wrong, wrong, wrong, but dressing up in a masquerade costume like this was more glamorous and romantic than many other options.

A “Martha Washington” costume from Butterick, February 1924. As far as historic accuracy goes, it is pretty awful, but dressing up in a masquerade costume like this was more glamorous and romantic than many other options.

Click here for another Butterick  “Martha Washington”  pattern, circa 1941, No. 1695. The dress my friend collected does a better job of interpreting the back of an 18th century dress than either of the Butterick patterns.

Martha Washington Costume pattern 4258 and Continental suit costume pattern, Delineator, Feb. 1925, p. 37.

Martha Washington costume pattern 4258 and Continental suit costume pattern 4262, Delineator, Feb. 1925, p. 37.

 

 

 

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Filed under 1700s, 1870s to 1900s fashions, 1920s, Costumes for the 18th Century, Costumes for the 19th century, Dresses, Late Victorian fashions, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Tricks of the Costumer's Trade, Uncategorized, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing, Vintage patterns

October Brides, 1925

Patterns for October Brides. Delineator, October 1925.

Patterns for October Brides. Delineator, October 1925.

The classic 1920’s roses embroidered on this simple beaded dress show both luxury in ornamentation and simplicity in style. It is just one of seven October wedding dresses from Butterick, including one recommended for very young brides, and one that was available up to size 48 bust.

Butterick patterns 6362 and 6350, Delineator, october 1925, pg 32.

Butterick patterns 6362 and 6360, Delineator, October 1925, pg. 32.

Butterick 6362, October 1925.

Butterick 6362, October 1925. Made in colored fabric, this pattern would serve as an afternoon or evening dress.

In illustrations, it’s not always easy to distinguish between a line of beads or a line of topstitching. The zigzag edges of No. 6362 are probably an indication of picot edging, a typical 1920’s hem for chiffon. Spaced beads were sometimes used, but their weight would affect the hang of the draped panels.

You can see a picot edge on the collar, and spaced beading on the edge of a side panel on the blouse of this suit, circa 1917. Thanks to B. Murray for permission to photograph.

You can see a picot edge on the collar, and spaced beading on the edge of a side panel on the blouse of this suit, circa 1917. Thanks to B. Murray for permission to photograph.

 

Butterick wedding dress No. 6360, October 1925.

Butterick wedding dress No. 6360, October 1925. The sheer sleeves may be removed and the armhole cut down to make an evening dress after the wedding. This pattern was available up to size 48 inches bust measurement.

Wedding gowns from Butterick patterns 6224, 6175, and 6146. October 1925, Delineator.

Wedding gowns from Butterick patterns 6224, 6175, and 6146. October 1925, Delineator. They are as short as ordinary day dresses.

Butterick 6224, with embroidery pattern for rose. Delineator, Oct. 1925.

Butterick 6224, with embroidery transfer 10285 for the rose worked in pearls on a satin or silk crepe dress.  Delineator, Oct. 1925.

Wedding dress No. 6175, Butterick, Oct. 1925, Delineator pg. 34.

Wedding dress No. 6175, Butterick, Oct. 1925, Delineator pg. 34. Her bouquet looks like a dead fox, but I like the subtle beading (?) around the top and seams of the lace flounce.

Wedding dress No. 6146, Butterick pattern; Delineator, October 1925.

Wedding dress No. 6146, Butterick pattern; Delineator, October 1925.

Butterick 6349 was for a very young bride, and only available in sizes

Butterick 6349 was for a “very young bride” (or a small woman), and only available in sizes 15 to 20 years. Even in satin, it looks rather sporty! Click to see the pattern envelope illustrations– which do not suggest that it is a wedding dress.

It’s noteworthy that all seven of these 1925 wedding dresses are just below knee-length — shorter than most day dresses earlier in 1925. Not one is a full length gown. Some have short sleeves — not suitable for a church wedding, but popular for informal weddings at a private home. Some can be used as ordinary evening dresses, and all but one are available in sizes up to a 44″ bust measurement (and one is bigger.)

The veils range from clouds of tulle to a lace mantilla, from a headband to a tiara.

Bridal veils and weddin headdresses, Delineator, October 1925.

Bridal veils and wedding headdresses, Delineator, October 1925.

This dress, which began the post, was the featured illustration:

Wedding pattern 6227, Butterick, October 1925.

Wedding pattern 6227, Butterick, October 1925.

Butterick 6227, October 1925.

Butterick 6227, October 1925.

Butterick Bridal Gown 6227, Delineator, Oct. 1925, pg. 34.

Butterick Bridal Gown 6227, Delineator, Oct. 1925, pg. 34. An all-over pattern of stylized roses — “work in beads” — might be a mother’s labor of love….

In an alternate view, No. 6227 has long, sheer sleeves, tied at the wrist, and a wider hip sash.

Here are the back and alternate views:

Back and alternate views, Butterick 6360, 6175, 6227, 6145, from 1925.

Back and alternate views, Butterick 6360, 6175, 6227, 6145, from 1925.

Back and alternated views , Butterick 6349, 6224, 6362, from 1925.

Back and alternate views, Butterick 6349, 6224, 6362, from 1925.

6362 has quite a pretty back, while most of the other wedding dresses depend on their veils for back interest.

[More tags added 10/16/16.]

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Filed under 1920s, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes, Wedding Clothes