I don’t collect patterns or sell them anymore, so I feel a little weird about finding another category of rare Butterick patterns. These are proving difficult to research, simply because they appeared in a few issues of Delineator with no fanfare (as far as I know,) and then no more was seen of them — at least, not by me.
These “forecast wardrobe” patterns are peculiar for two reasons:
- They are outside the usual four-digit numbering sequence.
- They cost $1.00 each at a time when most Butterick patterns cost from 25 to 50 cents.
I stumbled upon a two-page spread of “Fashions of the Forecast Wardrobe” in the January 1928 Delineator [Butterick’s magazine for women,] and didn’t see anything special about them except the odd numbering: 10-A, 10-B, etc.
It was the price chart — which appeared at the back of every issue in the late 1920’s — that surprised me.I started looking through the previous years — 1927 and 1926 –expecting to find a regular series, but have only discovered five sets of “Forecast” patterns so far, starting with the four-pattern group beginning with 8 (8 A, 8 B, 8 C, and 8 D) in October of 1927 — and those patterns did not appear on the October price chart.
The group numbered 9 (9 A, 9 B, 9 C, 9 D) was illustrated in the November 1927 Delineator, again without appearing on the price chart.
In January 1928, the eight-pattern Number 10 series was luxuriously illustrated (on the S.S. Ile de France) by L. Frerrier, and showed up on the pattern chart with that $1.00 price, finally giving me an idea why these “Forecast” patterns were special. Series Number 9 patterns were on the January price chart, too.
Another eight-pattern Forecast wardrobe (11 A through 11 H) appeared in March, 1928 — again, a two page spread. The final group of eight (12 A through 12 H) appeared in June, but Frerrier’s illustrations were crammed into just one page. I haven’t gone through 1929 Delineators page by page, but there were no more Forecast patterns in 1928. As Kermit T. Frog would put it , “What the Hey?”
I don’t see anything special about the designs of Forecast Wardrobe patterns; in fact, some of them look a bit dowdy. And, as for predicting future fashions — well, if anyone could do that with absolute accuracy, that person would be very rich.
As I work through Delineator magazines for 1928, I’ll be keeping an eye out for these designs; did they reappear with normal numbers and normal prices as time went by? In what way were they “forecast?” And what made them cost twice as much as other patterns?
Has anyone found a vintage Butterick pattern with these peculiar numbers? Did they appear in the store pattern catalogs or store flyers? And, are there more than thirty-two of them (four in October 1927, four in November 1927, and eight per month in January, March, and June of 1928?)
I’ll be sharing details of the patterns in later posts; after the library retrieves the bound volumes for 1927 and 1928 from off-site storage, I’ll be reading through their masthead pages in case “Forecast” patterns were announced there. For now, I’m just sharing the mystery.