Sunday, July 27, 2008
Universal Fashion Company 800 - Working Blouse
This may be the oldest pattern I own. Given the typeface on the envelope, I would date this to the late 1880's or the early 1890's. I haven't been able to find out much about the company, though I discovered it's pretty easy to pick up their trade cards on eBay.
The term "Blouse" when applied to men's garments confuses people, but I believe that it's used to describe any shirt not meant to be worn with a stiff collar. When men stopped wearing stiff collars the term seems to have gone away in men's clothing except for middy blouses; a good example of the kind of linguistic ossification that can occur in closed societies.
Laughing Moon brought to my attention an eBay auction for a 19th century fireman's shirt that could have been made from this pattern, the cut was so similar. And indeed, the working blouse would look splendid in bright red wool!