Tag Archives: women’s suits 1917 1910s

Cutting the Cost of Clothes, March 1917

In March, 1917, before America officially entered World War I, Delineator magazine began a series of articles on the advantages of making your own clothing. I find them interesting because the cost of making up the same pattern(s) in different fabrics is given.

"Cutting the Cost of Slothing," Delineator, pages 54 and 55, March 1917.

“Cutting the Cost of Clothes,” Delineator, pages 54 and 55, March 1917.

Second page of "Cutting the Cost of Clothes" article, Delineator, March 1917.

Second page of “Cutting the Cost of Clothes” article, Delineator, March 1917.

Digression:  Before I show the patterns and their budgets in detail, I can’t ignore that ad for Hump Hair Pins.

Ad for Hump Hair Pins, Delineator, March 1917.

Ad for Hump Hair Pins, Delineator, March 1917. “The Hump Hair Pin Locks the Locks” … “hours after your hair has been dressed.”

Not quite a bobby pin and not quite a traditional hairpin, the Hump Hair Pin seems to be designed for women who are bobbing their hair like Irene Castle, or at least wearing it shorter in front while pinning up the long hair in back.

Hump Hair Pin ad, Delineator, March 1917. "Short Ends never worry the woman who insists on Hump Hair Pins."

Hump Hair Pin ad, Delineator, March 1917. “Short Ends never worry the woman who insists on Hump Hair Pins.”

Cutting the Cost of Clothes, March 1917.

1917 mar p 54 cost of clothes caption

The article by Evelyn Chalmers, “Cutting the Cost of Clothes,” was the first in a series intended to be of “very practical helpfulness to women of average means.” Delineator aimed at the middle and upper-middle class woman; not everyone lived near a department store, but most towns had dressmakers who made clothes from patterns their customers selected. Not every woman who bought a Butterick pattern would sew it herself. However, Butterick Publishing Company had good reasons to stress the cost-saving potential of sewing patterns.

“I am going to show how you can cut the cost of clothes. . . . I am going to show, . . . for instance, how you can have a delightful little suit under fifteen dollars that you couldn’t buy for twenty-five. . . . I am going to help you choose styles that will serve as many purposes as possible so that you will always be correctly dressed without having to go to the expense of a very elaborate and varied wardrobe. It is a question of using your brain, your thrift and your industry in place of money.”– Eleanor Chalmers in Delineator

“The three [suits] I have chosen . . . are simple but not too severe, smart enough to answer all requirements  and yet so conservative that you can use them for traveling, shopping, etc. . . . The suits are smart. They are correct. They are young looking and becoming.”

Costs of Materials for Making Butterick Patterns 9039 and 9019 

“A smart little suit with pinch tucks:”

Butterick Jacket and Skirt, Delineator, March 1917, p. 54.

Butterick Jacket 9039 and Skirt 9019, Delineator, March 1917, p. 54.

Supplies for making this coat and skirt combination ranged from $7.21 to $11.43, depending on the version you made and the materials you chose. March 1917. Delineator.

Costs of making Coat 9039 and Skirt 9019, March 1917. Delineator.

Supplies for making this coat and skirt combination ranged from $7.21 to $11.03, depending on the version you made and the materials you chose.

I am assuming that “flannel” is wool flannel, but it is a facing, so perhaps not. Satin lining material varies from $0.80 to $1.00 per yard. I’m surprised to find that the coat is interlined with cambric (which I associate with handkerchiefs) which can cost either $0.09 or $0.12 per yard. As now, buttons could be cheap ($0.18 per dozen) or a bit fancier ($0.25 per dozen.) Chalmers suggested celluloid buttons.

Detail of jacket No. 9039.

Detail of jacket No. 9039.

Costs of Materials for Making Butterick 8980 and 9040

“A suit with splendid lines:”

Butterick coat pattern 8980 and skirt pattern 9040, March 1917. Delineator, p. 55.

Butterick coat pattern 8980 and skirt pattern 9040, March 1917. Delineator, p. 55.

The jacket has a rather interesting pocket and belt combination. High, and bizarre, hats were popular.

Costs for materials: four different versions of jacket 8980 and skirt 9040. Delineator, March 1917, p. 55.

Costs for materials: four different versions of jacket 8980 and skirt 9040. Delineator, March 1917, p. 55.

The jacket’s collar could be made of velveteen, at $0.75 per yard, or of velvet, at $1.00 to $1.25 per yard.

All three jackets are lined with satin, and interlined with cambric. “For your lining you can get a satin with a cotton back at the price I’ve quoted.”  This outfit’s price ranged from $7.20 to $11.20.

1917 mar p 54 Light Bright

Costs of Materials for Making Butterick 9041 and 9042

Butterick coat 9041 and skirt 9042, March 1917. Delineator, p. 55.

Butterick coat 9041 and skirt 9042, March 1917. Delineator, p. 55. “The new barrel silhouette.”

This is a typical “( “Six or seven inches from the floor is the length accepted by the best  houses here and abroad.”

1917 mar p 54 skirt in illust IIIYou can understand how the 1917 barrel skirt might have tempted women to let their figures spread a little, so that the slim lines of the 1920’s were a bit of a problem for the not-very-young. (See How to Look Thinner in the 1920’s;  Corsets and Corselettes.)

Material costs for four version s of Butterick 9041 and 1942. March 1917. Delineator. p. 55

Material costs for four versions of Butterick 9041 and 1942. March 1917. Delineator. p. 55

This suit (jacket and skirt) could be made as cheaply as $8.27 or from more expensive “serge, gabardine or check” for $13.45, assuming you made it yourself.

All of the patterns call for dress weights, cambric interlining, silk thread, cotton thread, and basting thread.

Chalmers suggested making a satin blouse (with a peplum) in the same color as your skirt, so that it could be worn as a “street dress” when the weather got warmer and you didn’t need a jacket.

Prices for Mail Order Clothing from Delineator Advertisements

The cost of making the suits shown in Eleanor Chalmers’ article do make her point:  “You can have a delightful little suit under fifteen dollars that you couldn’t buy for twenty-five”

In the same month, March 1917, advertisers in her magazine offered two piece suits, something like those above, for as much as $35.00.

Woman's suits from the Bella Hess catalog, Ad, Delineator, March 1917, p. 33.

Women’s suits from the Bella Hess catalog. Ad, Delineator, March 1917, p. 33. Suits, $25.00 and $18.98; Hats for $1.98 and $2.98.

Clothing from the Bedell dress catalog; ad in Delineator, March 1917.

Clothing from the Bedell dress catalog; ad in Delineator, March 1917. A silk dress for $16.98 and a velour coat for $12.98 .

Price range of women's clothing from Bedell catalog, 1917.

Price range of women’s clothing from Bedell catalog, 1917. Suits $8.75 to $35.00; skirts $1.00 to $10.00, Dresses $5.00 to $25.00.

An Easter Dress from the Philipsborn catalog, advertised in Delineator, March 1917.

An Easter Dress from the Philipsborn catalog, advertised in Delineator, March 1917. $4.98. Quite a bargain!

Cost of Living, March 1917

One kind of ad that appeared in Delineator over a long period — decades — was for nursing schools. To give you an idea of a desirable income for a woman:

"Be a Nurse -- Delineator, March 1917.

“Be a Nurse — Earn $15 to $25 per week.” Delineator, March 1917.

This Dodge convertible closed car cost $ 1135.00, F.O.B. Detroit.

Dodge closed car in ad, March 1917, Delineator.

Dodge closed car in ad, Delineator, March 1917.

 

 

 

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, Hairstyles, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage patterns, World War I

Butterick Fashions for August, 1917

American women had been reading about the active wartime roles of women in France and Germany since 1914. Here, a few months after the U.S. entered the first World War, softly feminine (although thick-waisted) styles appear beside clothes that look like uniforms.

Fashions from Butterick's Delineator magazine, August 1917.  During World War I, pseudo-military uniforms were shown for women who wanted to wear them while volunteering for war-related charities.

Fashions from Butterick’s Delineator magazine, August 1917.

During World War I, patterns for pseudo-military uniforms appeared for women who wanted to wear them while volunteering for war-related charities. (The Red Cross and other agencies soon prescribed their own — official — uniforms, with strict regulations about wearing them. Click here.) I’ll show these dresses and their descriptions in detail later in this post; first, here is the second full color fashion page from this issue of Delineator:

Another page of fashions from Butterick's Delineator Magazine, August, 1917.

Another page of fashions from Butterick’s Delineator magazine, August, 1917.

Some of these outfits are one-piece dresses, but often what looks like a dress turns out to be a blouse (sometimes called a “waist”) pattern with a separate skirt pattern. That allowed a great deal of customization, and I always enjoy seeing illustrations of the same skirt with several tops, or vice versa.

Starting at top left of the first color plate:

Blouse pattern NO. 9311 with skirt pattern No. 9318. Butterick's Delineator, August 1917.

Blouse pattern No. 9311 with skirt pattern No. 9318. Butterick’s Delineator, August 1917.

Butterick's description of 9311 and 9318; Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Butterick’s description of 9311 and 9318; Delineator, Aug. 1917.

“It has the popular wide collar and large pockets…. A very good design for misses [i.e., teens] as well as women.”

Left, blouse 9330 with skirt 9073; right, coat 9324 with skirt 9318. Butterick patterns, Delineator,Aug. 1917.

Left, in pink:  blouse 9330 with skirt 9073; right, coat 9324 with skirt 9318. Butterick patterns, Delineator,Aug. 1917.

Blouse 9330 with skirt 9073, Butterick patterns in Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Blouse 9330 with skirt 9073, Butterick patterns in Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick 9330 and 9073, Aug. 1917. Delineator.

Description of Butterick 9330 and 9073, Aug. 1917. Delineator.

What makes this a “Russian Blouse?” I have no idea. Research project for somebody….

Coat pattern 9324 with skirt 9318, Butterick patterns in Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Coat pattern 9324 with skirt 9318, Butterick patterns in Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick patterns 9324 adn 9318; Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick patterns 9324 and 9318; Delineator, Aug. 1917.

” ‘Who goes there?’ The answer — a new suit with smart military cape and pockets receives a salute from Fashion. . . . The cape is removable. . . The suit is a splendid design for misses [i.e., ages 15 to 20] as well as women.” This same skirt, No. 9311, was also shown with the long, dotted blouse No. 9311.

Butterick blouse pattern 9311 with skirt 9318. 1917.

Butterick blouse pattern 9311 with skirt 9318. 1917.

Butterick patterns 9317 and 9320, Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Butterick patterns 9317 and 9320, Delineator, Aug. 1917. “The coat has the popular large collar, [No kidding!] with two new outline possibilities….”

Description of Butterick patterns 9317 and 9320; Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick patterns 9317 and 9320; Delineator, Aug. 1917.

The pattern descriptions page included two more contrasting styles, a loose embroidered dress beside another version of the piped coat with military pockets and insignia:

Butterick dress 9326; coat 9324 with skirt 9309. Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Butterick dress 9326; coat 9324 with skirt 9309. Delineator, Aug. 1917.

This is the same military-influenced coat, No. 9324, that was shown above in a tan, caped version.

Description of Butterick coat 9324 and skirt 9309, Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick coat 9324 and skirt 9309, Aug. 1917.

“It is a splendid model for the woman who wants something newer and more picturesque than the severely tailored suit.” [Top it with a Rough Riders hat?]

Description of dress 9326, Butterick's Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Description of dress 9326, Butterick’s Delineator, Aug. 1917. “The deep pouch pockets and long narrow sash-belt are popular parts of the one-piece look.”

The one-piece dress above, No. 9326, has big, triangular, embroidered pockets something like this one, shown in color:

Description for Butterick dress pattern 9335; Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Description for Butterick dress pattern 9335; Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick dress 9335, Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick dress 9335, Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Dress patterns 9323 and 9331, Butterick. Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Dress patterns 9323 and 9331, Butterick. Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick pattern 9323; Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick pattern 9323; Delineator, Aug. 1917. “The modern woman buckles on her armor . . . .”

Altenate views of Butterick 9323 and 9331, Aug. 1917.

Alternate views of Butterick 9323 and 9331, Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick pattern 9331, Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick pattern 9331, Aug. 1917.

It’s interesting that the blue dress, No. 9323, is described as appealing “to the woman who does not care for the one-piece frocks.” But it is a one-piece frock, with several sleeve variations.  The checked dress, No. 9331, has a more complicated cut than you would think from the color illustration. This issue of Delineator had a separate article about gingham dresses.

Butterick pattern 9321, Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Butterick pattern 9321, Delineator, Aug. 1917.

This blue and tan dress is worn with an exaggerated military cap; Butterick also sold embroidery transfers for military insignia like the one on this dress’s sleeve.

Description of Butterick patern 9321 from August, 1917.

Description of Butterick patern 9321 from August, 1917.

“The attractive military lines . . .  military pockets and collar  . . . maintain the martial spirit. . . . It is pretty for a young girl. . . . Sizes 32 to 44 inches bust measure.”

Two more black and white illustrations appeared with the descriptions of the color images on page 43.

Both are waist and skirt combinations, and both outfits use the same skirt pattern, No. 9316. When the folds are buttoned together, as on the left, it is called an “envelope effect.”

Butterick dress patterns 9340 and 9316; Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Left:  Butterick dress patterns 9340 and 9316. Right:  waist 9350 and skirt 9316. Delineator, Aug. 1917.

Butterick pattern 9340 and 9316 on the left. Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick waist [blouse] pattern 9340 and skirt 9316, above on the left. Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick waist pattern 9360 with skirt 9316. Aug. 1917.

Description of Butterick waist pattern 9360 with skirt 9316, illustrated above on the right. Aug. 1917.

It’s possible that the Delineator magazine was especially militaristic, but this coat ad from the Ladies’ Home Journal also shows a military influence on women’s ready-to-wear:

Ad for Hamilton coats, Ladies' Home Journal, Oct. 1917.

Ad for Hamilton coats, Ladies’ Home Journal, Oct. 1917.

 

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes, World War I