Friday, December 31, 2010

McCall 1886 Ladies' and Misses' Smock

After 1931, as this is the last patent date on the envelope.

Here's another beautiful embroidered smock from the 1930s.  See McCall 4531 for a somewhat earlier and simpler smock, and  McCall 603 for a late '30s offering.  A price of forty-five cents makes this a somewhat expensive pattern.  At this period inexpensive DuBarry and Simplicity patterns were available for 15 cents, while an undecorated smock from Vogue was available for 25 cents.

This version, with its dropped shoulder line, standing collar (View A), and "primitive" geometric embroidery motifs seems to borrow from folk or regional dress.  The shaped pockets unusual.

Recommended materials include linen, cotton, silk, and wool jersey.  The recommendation for silk or wool jersey is interesting, as these fabrics would require some care in laundering, moving us away from a strictly utilitarian garment even without the extensive embroidery.

The embroidery is to be executed with tapestry wool or perle cotton.  The colors recommended for View A are gold, black, and white;  for View B, which is made up in "natural linen," coral, purple, and bright green are used; for View C pale green, orange, and dark blue.  Note that the seams and hems are all embroidered - a lot of work!

This pattern has been cut with the exception of the tie belt.  The transfers are unused.  We saw this preservation of the transfers in McCall 603, so while the beautiful embroidery may have been a selling point, and the buyer paid a premium price for the pattern to get the transfers, not all makers had that much commitment to their projects.

Friday, December 24, 2010

McCall 2062 - Family Aprons and Bib - with Gingerbread Appliques


If two points describe a line, then two aprons featuring dogs describe a trend, and McCall seems to be blazing the trail.  You'll recall their his-and-hers "in the dog house" aprons from 1942.

Ten years later, that happy couple have produced the lovely family you see here.  The menfolk wear straightforward butcher's aprons while Mother and Sissy sport bouffant numbers.  Notice that even their gingerbread gals wear skirts.  And I just don't know what to make of the pooch's bib.  They can't be serious.  But the bib does have a gingerbread dog on it.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Friday, December 17, 2010

McCall Kaumagraph Transfer 588 - Cover Design for Hot-Water Bag

I'd guess the early to mid 19-teens.

It's not precisely a pattern, but the idea of dressing up your hot water bottle is just so appealing at this time of year.  I'd do mine in pink flannel with the embroidery in white.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Butterick 7031 - Boys' Windbreaker

After 1923.

I bought this pattern because I was interested in the use of the term"windbreaker" at this early date.  The earliest use of the term found on Google Books is a February 1919 review in the wonderful Outing magazine, while Boy's Life magazine for May 1928 recommends a windbreaker as part of a bicyclist's kit of gear.

The Youngstown Vindicator for November 10, 1925 contains an advertisement for "the new wind-breaker  The newest thing for boys and girls." The Montreal Gazette for September 30, 1926, shows an advertisement for suede windbreakers designed to appeal to young women.  Some more sleuthing might find a parent of the windbreaker in the leather jackets worn by aviators, who probably knew more about wind than anybody.

We've seen the banded bottom used a little earlier on Excella 1111, Men's Jumper, as well as the much earlier Working Blouse pattern put out by the Universal Fashion Company.

Recommended fabrics for the Butterick windbreaker include:
Plain or Plaid Flannel, Camel Hair, Fleece Coatings, Corduroy, Duvetyn, and Suede Coatings
Fleece in this sense means a heavily fulled wool fabric with a somewhat soft, fleecy finish (as opposed to a smooth, sheared finish.)   Duvetyn is a "soft, filling-faced fabric made in a satin or twill weave with a fine downy nap...Its appearance is similar to velvet.  Originally made of soft wool in France." (1)  The soft quality of the fabrics accords with the view expressed by the reviewer in Outing that this firm, fleecy quality is what cuts the wind.

But possibly the most intriguing aspect of this pattern is the "instructions for knitting collar, cuffs, and band for View D."

Commercially knit banding was certainly available for the 1930's, when it's called for in the DuBarry Children's Snow Suit, but a substantial wool banding may have been harder to find, so Butterick enhanced the value of their pattern by providing instructions for knitting the straight bands for the collar and cuffs as well as a slightly shaped collar.  I must admit that I find knitting 1x1 ribbing just about the most boring knitting task possible.  However, a thrifty, thoughtful maker might buy extra yarn so that frayed or badly stained ribbing could be replaced to extend the life of the windbreaker.  My recollection is that Shetland Floss is about like our fingering weight yarn.

This unprinted pattern appears to have been used and is in reasonably good condition.

(1) See Sources Consulted