Friday, May 28, 2010

McCall 8629 - Ladies One-Piece Seamless Apron

Late nineteen-teens to about 1920.

Although this apron is seamless, you're still going to have to piece the fabric if you're using narrow fabric, but otherwise, this is a very simple pattern, and probably very popular.

Although there is a certain satisfaction in purchasing a pristine, unused pattern, patterns that have seen some use have stories to tell us.  This pattern is well-used, with multiple tears in the pattern tissue and one small torn-off piece that was carefully pinned back on.  If the pattern pieces could speak, I'd love to know how many times this apron pattern was made up.

The maker has penciled in a shorter cutting line, as well as the line along the side where the apron will need to be pieced.

It's a little hard to see but you can just see that the artist has indicated rick-rack trim on the short version:

Rick-rack seems to have been a very common trimming for aprons.  Nu-fashond rick-rack was a common brand in the 1920s.  Sewing patterns from this period seldom mention notions and trimming, but sewing books of the period frequently mention trimming house or bungalow aprons with rick-rack.

6/18/2010 - Update.  I had a free Saturday so I took the time to make this up in a very cheery remnant I found last year.  Fortunately, because the print is so incredibly busy, you don't really notice that I didn't have enough material to match the side pieces or the pockets (if you look closely, though, you can see where the trelliswork doesn't exactly match.)  Unfortunately, I see now that the print wasn't precisely centered on the fabric, so the design is about 3 inches off center, darn it.  This fabric was 45 inches wide, so I had to piece the sides.  I finished these seams with a flat fell.

The approximate circumference at the bottom of the armholes is 36 inches.  

The very brief instructions indicate that if preferred, you may underface the edges, so I think the expectation would be that you would bind them.  I decided to underface with lavender gingham bias that I'd cut for the purpose.  Here you can see that I've pinned the folded bias on, but basted it through the deep front curve, since I think that gives me more control as I'm sewing.

Friday, May 21, 2010

McCall's 2118 Men's Western Shirt


I'm beginning to detect a certain convention in the illustrations for patterns for western shirts.  There will be three views; a workaday view, a plaid or checked view, and a fancy view.

Piping the extravagantly shaped yoke on this one is may result in the use of strong language.  The fancy view includes some pretty complex applique as well as the deep shaped cuffs with all those little buttons.

The maker made plenty of notes to herself on the envelope, though I can't quite decipher them all.  The transfers are missing, which is quite common.

Western shirts are generally quite slim-fitting, but this pattern also offers you the option of not using the back darts, giving a little more ease for a true working garment.  (You get yourself dressed up in that fancy, darted, appliqued version, about the heaviest thing you're going to lift is your hat to a lady.)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Church World Service 20 - Men's Work Clothes Set

Before 1963

This pattern was produced by McCall for Church World Service (CWS).  McCall has a long tradition of cooperative ventures; see their pattern supporting the Red Cross during WWI, Red Cross Pattern 35, Taped Hospital Shirt.  It would be interesting to know if McCall produced the CWS pattern gratis or simply at cost.  It would also be interesting to know if McCall did the pattern drafting or if CWS hired this out on their own.  I'm guessing that the somewhat amateurish illustration was produced by someone at CWS.

A section on the instruction sheet explains the goals:

Personal dignity and self-respect -- these are the things you provide for refugees, disaster victims and other needy persons overseas through the United Clothing Appeal of the Churches.
New clothing, in the styles requested by our friends abroad, will represent in a most meaningful way the Christian concern and compassion of the American churches for those who desire above everything else to stand on their own feet.
The pattern reflects a time when women (always the primary consumers of home sewing patterns) had the time and the skills needed to sew for others.

This set of work clothes has been simplified in ways that meet the specific needs of both the seamstress and the recipient.  Note that the sleeves are just hemmed, because setting in cuffs takes time and can be fiddly to do well.  A hemmed sleeve that is too short might be unattractive, but it won't flap and get in the way an unbuttoned cuffed sleeve does and can be easily rolled up. The shirt front is closed with gripper snaps, quicker than having to make button holes and sew on buttons, and as long as the snaps don't pull out, maintenance free for the wearer - no buttons to lose and have to replace.  The elastic waist bands in the slacks and shorts will assure a broad range of fit.  Although the pattern doesn't call this out, made up in cotton broadcloth, these clothes could be used for pajamas.

Church World Service is still in operation.   A few simply drawn patterns for infants clothing are available, but for the most part the expectation is that donors will supply purchased clothing.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Butterick 4550 - Men's or Boys' Outing or Negligee Shirt

Between 1905 and 1920.  Here's a blow up so that you can see some detail.  The negligee shirt is on the left, and outing shirt is in the middle; the pointed yoke is generally seen on more casual shirts, though it does show up on dress shirts now and again.

Note how similar this shirt is to Butterick 1074.

Remember that at this time, there are four broadly recognized types of shirts for men:

The outing shirt variation is a descendent of Cosmopolitan 655.

The various collar and cuff options can be a little bewildering.  Outing shirts typically have attached collars, though they were sometimes offered for sale with detachable collars, presumably as a way to extend the life of the garment.  Wristbands worn without cuffs (either attached or detachable) are appropriate only for outing and work shirts.