Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pictorial Review 4785 - Women's, Misses' and Girls' Sunbonnet

The last patent date on the envelope is 1925.  Although nominally a sunbonnet, compared to Butterick 5340 which admittedly is a little earlier, this is a much more stylish interpretation.

The most interesting element of this pattern however, is found in the descriptive text on the back of the envelope, which reads

Sunbonnets are extremely smart for those who oppose the sun-tan vogue.  This charming model has a gathered crown, and a wide brim trimmed with ruffling.  The ruffling may be omitted and a trimming-band arranged over the brim.  Elastic is inserted through a casing stitched underneath the crown extension which forms a ruffle.  Tie strings tie under the chin.
That first sentence tells us a lot.  Tanning was indeed becoming a vogue in the 1920s amongst trendsetters like Coco Chanel who was designing casual but very smart clothes that looked great in sunny places like the Riviera.

But the editors of the Pictorial Review must have felt that not all of their readers were ready to jump on the tanning bandwagon.  Even in the supposedly egalitarian Unites States, there was apparently still a sense of the class distinction imparted by maintaining fair skin.

In fact, this elegant little bonnet won't provide much protection from the sun.  The brim is fairly narrow, and the little frill at the back won't prevent one from getting a good sunburn on the back of the neck.

Here's the back of the envelope:

This is a beautifully produced pattern.  Not only does it include the Pictograph, a tissue sheet of detailed instructions, but each printed pattern piece very sensibly includes instructions for that piece, something I'd love to have on patterns today.


Thalia said...

There are some hilarious Health magazines from the 20s and 30s. There was a movement, started in Germany, to "bathe" in air or sun.
I have been looking for sunbonnet pattern. I like the Prairie style with back of neck coverage [long flap at nape of neck.] said...

And then there are the dangers of moonbathing!

You can get a good basic bonnet pattern for free here:

And then modify to meet your needs. A good long back curtain is necessary to keep from developing a .... red neck.

Momma said...

I love this!!! my daughter and i teamed up to make this and this was what we got.