Friday, July 31, 2009

Simplicity 4694 - Official Red Cross Home Nursing Pinafore and Canteen Apron

World War II (probably after 1941)

LIFE photograph by George Strock, 1941
Interestingly, no fabric recommendations are made, and yardages are given only for 35" wide material, so I'm assuming the Red Cross made recommendations or supplied the fabric.

The Red Cross museum site has a nice overview of WW II canteens here. Make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom for a link to a PDF that will tell you how to recreate a WWII canteen.

The Red Cross also offered home nursing courses during the war, in part to mitigate the shortage of doctors.

Simplicity 4150 - Men's Western Shirt


Western shirt patterns for both men and women seem to start showing up in the late 1940s and are still available today. This one is pretty typical for the period, and shows up on eBay quite regularly, so it must have been popular.

Suggested fabrics include Cotton, broadcloth, rayon, wool, flannel, denim, gabardine, corduroy, and broadcloth.

Doing a good job of piping pointed yokes and shaped sleeve plackets is no joke; this is not a trivial garment to make.

Ladies Home Journal 1719 - Ladies' and Misses' Smock

About 1918.

The envelope description states:
LADIES' AND MISSES' SMOCK, in Two Lengths; Back Shoulder Edges Extending Over Front; One-Piece Full Length Sleeves Perforated for Shorter Length.
This is a nice smock. The shawl collar and belt add a stylish touch, and you can stash your knitting in the big patch pocket.

The quality of the pattern envelopes for Ladies Home Journal patterns at this period is uniformly dreadful though the pattern tissue is fine.   This unprinted pattern appears to have been used.  No separate instruction sheet was included.

There was an extensive campaign to knit for the soldiers during World War I, so the illustration would have resonated with women.

March 2, 2013 - updated and added scans of pattern envelope.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Butterick 1700 - Official Brownie Scout Uniform

I'm going to date this one to the 1940s.

View A is the Official Brownie Scout Uniform, for which the Official Fabric is Brownie Chambray. You'll also need five Official Brownie Buttons and Buckle.

Here's the transfer for the embroidery for the pocket:

View B is a (pretty boring) Girl's Frock with Attached Four-Piece Skirt.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

McCall 2523 - Ladies' One-Piece Slip-On House Dress

First half of the 1920s.

Made up in a cotton shirting that was on sale for a few dollars a yard, with white pique trimming.

Finished measurements:

Center back length: 51 1/2"
Actual bust measurement: 53"
Actual hip measurement: 55"
Belt finished measurement: 40"

House dresses don't get much simpler than this. You really don't need to spend 30 cents for a pattern. The Lesson II book of Isabel Conover DeNyse's A Complete Course in Dressmaking, Aprons and House Dresses, shows a very similar dress on its cover, and then guides you through making a simple house dress pattern from a blouse pattern.

The only construction instructions on this McCall pattern are on the back of the envelope.

As usual with garments that don't have shoulder seams, a directional print will be upside down on the back unless you add a shoulder seam. You're assumed to know how to make a slashed opening (either bound or faced) and how to attach a collar with a bias facing.

The sides are finished with french seams and the 3" hem is sewn by hand. After I'd finished buttonhole stitching the loop for the button I remembered reading somewhere the tip to make tatted rings to whip on in place; as far as I know this is the only really practical use for tatting.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

McCall 432 - Uncle Sam Costume


Another one of McCall's lovely color illustrations. This one includes a pattern for the top hat. The vest has lost the stars of the earlier versions.

Butterick 1697 - Costume for Uncle Sam, George Washington, Ring Master, Full Dress

Mid 1940s.

This war-time pattern, with its austere black and white illustration, gave good value for the money, with four different options. Uncle Sam is something of a sharp dresser, with his restrained white tie, and the intriguing striped collar and lapels. The starry vest returns, and the tail coat seems to have become white. The stripes on the coat and trousers are made by tacking down about 25 yards of inch wide ribbon. The earlier broadfall on the trousers has been replaced by a button fly front. The only hat pattern included is for George Washington's tricorn.

Many patterns published during WWII now have brittle, crumbling envelopes and instructions, although the pattern tissue remained of high quality.

McCall 2489 - Uncle Sam Suit

Mid 1920's. For Men and Boys.

This pattern includes the tailcoat, vest, and broadfall trousers. With this version both the vest and the tailcoat may be star-studded.

McCall 7369 - Uncle Sam Suit

World War I. This one looks quite a bit like the J.M. Flagg recruiting poster from World War I:

The pattern artist seems to have tried to lighten the stern-looking Uncle Sam of the poster, but this demonically grinning Uncle Sam is a little disturbing. Note the broadfall trousers.

This pattern is for the tail coat, vest, and trousers; no pattern is included for the hat. The starry vest is similar to this Uncle Sam found on a poster at

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Advance 4674 - Kitchen Jacket

Mid 1940's.

Designed by the Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Economics, a branch of the U.S.D.A.

This pattern was featured in Dresses and Aprons for Work in the Home, first published in 1944. The University of North Texas has a nice digital copy here.

And here's the kitchen jacket made up. The copy indicates that this is really intended as a jacket, worn for warmth and modified for safety and practicality.