Friday, July 30, 2010

McCall 1332 - Men's Western Shirt


1947.

This is the earliest western shirt pattern I've found thus far.  Unlike some of the later western shirt patterns, this is purely a fancy dress shirt - no workaday checks or stripes are illustrated here.  Note the spectacular embroidered cuffs on Mr. A's shirt.

McCall was based in New York City, and I suspect their illustrators were mostly local talent, so their knowledge of cowboys may be based almost entirely on the oaters they took in at the Saturday matinees.  Any Saturday would do; between 1943 and 1947, almost 500 westerns were released in the United States, starring the likes of John Wayne, Randolph Scott, Joel McCrae, Roy Rogers; even Errol Flynn and Robert Mitchum did their time in a Stetson during these years.  (Mr. B. would appear to be related to both Randolph Scott and John Wayne.)

A few of Roy Rogers's costume changes, courtesy of LIFE magazine
But why did McCall think this pattern was necessary to their product line?  Who was buying such flamboyant western shirt patterns?  Did ranch wives make these shirts up for their menfolk for rodeo days and Saturday night dances?  Did wealthy dudes wear these while carefully rusticating at ranches catering to their dreams of a simpler, more direct life?  Did anybody east of the Mississippi wear these splendid shirts?



8 comments:

misseileen said...

I love the pattern. I have a newer one from the 70's when Urban Cowboy renewed interest in the western look. Love it!

Myra said...

Interesting questions. I have see old photos of ranching people from this area, they wore either plain work clothes or the normal styled dress shirts. I may have to make a trip to the historical museum for further research. Outside of movies, I have never seen shirts worn this fancy.

Persuaded said...

And here I am thinking that Mr. B. was a dead ringer for the wonderful Roy Rogers.... I've always kinda had a thing for Roy Rogers ~♥~

if you need proof...
http://tomatosoupcake.blogspot.com/2009/05/vintage-blaze.html

The Prudent Homemaker said...

My grandpa wore these shirts all the time. My grandma made them and did all the fancy embroidery work on them.

Also, Monty Montana (a rope perfromer who was in the Rose parade every year) wore fancy wstern shirts like this. My parents took me to see him when I was a child.

I have a litle boy's western shirt pattern from this same time period.

andrea.at.the.blue.door said...

That's so interesting! I have so many questions! Did your Grandma make workaday shirts also, or just the fancy ones? How many did she make in a year? Have any of them survived in the family?

Dianne said...

These shirts were for special occasions, dances, the rodeo (after the ride) and for dudes at dude ranches. Now that's a term you don't hear much anymore.
My ranching grandmother made regular shirts and night shirts and when they wore out they went into patchwork quilts.

Raquel Richardson said...

Hi I Live in germany how i can get this pattern .du su sell and can ship the pattern?

andrea.at.the.blue.door said...

Hello Raquel. The patterns on this site are not for sale. Many of them show up on eBay from time to time, so that's probably your best bet. Good luck.