Monday, May 28, 2012

McCall 1090- Ladies' and Misses' Victory Apron


So that you don't have to find your reading glasses, here is the verse on the envelope front:
Tie this apron round your waist
And join the Victory war-on-waste,
Plan your meals for zest and vim
And don't forget Ye Vitamine!
Remember that the right nutrition
Is Uncle Sam's best ammunition!
I'm guessing that this was written by that nice Mr. Murple up in McCall's Accounting department - who knew he was so talented.

This is a lovely apron pattern - easy enough to be made by girls in home ec. classes as well as by ladies' groups.  Imagine refreshments tables at dances with all the attendants in their victory aprons worn over white dresses.  The rick-rack braid stars are very clever.

In my family we have a cookbook which we refer to as the Women's Victory Cookbook.  The correct name is the Victory Binding of the American Woman's Cookbook, an enormously popular cookbook of the mid-twentieth century.  The Victory binding edition provides a small appendix on wartime cookery, which includes such contemporary-sounding advice as eating more fish and whole grains and retaining the vitamins in vegetables by not boiling them to death.

Happy Memorial Day, everybody.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Butterick 2209 - The American Red Cross Volunteer Special Service Outdoor Uniform

"1/14/43" is written on the flap of the envelope of this one.

Women's Red Cross uniforms had been re-designed around 1941 by Elizabeth Hawes to be more contemporary looking.  "Red Cross Lassies Get Snappy New Uniforms,"  burbled the St. Petersburg Times on May 4, 1941.  Indeed, without the epaulettes (and the cap) this is a pretty standard women's suit of the time.

Wool gabardine in blue-gray would have been used for View A, the winter uniform.  View B, the summer uniform, would have been made up in a rayon-mohair mix for summer weight or seersucker for tropical weight.

By April 1942, about 20,000 women wore some type of Red Cross uniform.  The Red Cross had to walk a fine line between complying with the overall need to economize in every possible way and to assure that its workers were properly recognized.  The New York Times reported on April 3, 1942 that the bellows pocket with flap that had previously been used on jackets was being dropped in favor of pockets using less material.  In the same article, Mrs. Dwight Davis, the Red Cross's national director of  volunteer special services stated that uniforms should be reserved for women who spent the bulk of their time performing Red Cross-related activities - particularly if this work took them out in public:  women working in chapter work rooms were not to wear uniforms.

Even though uniforms could be purchased at department stores, making or having a uniform made might have been a good option for a woman who required special care in fitting.  This uniform pattern was available in bust sizes from 30" to 46" - a much wider range than that of patterns for civilian clothes.

While the envelope for this pattern is rough around the edges, this unprinted pattern does not appear to have been used, possibly because there was less demand for the generous size 46.

The American Red Cross was founded on May 21st, 1881.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

May Manton 6599 - Boy's Base Ball Suit

About 1910.

Note the padded pants, a feature that seems to have originated in the 1880s and disappeared around the first World War, as far as I can tell from looking at high school team photos of the period. (1)

The pull-over shirt is a pretty standard outing shirt design, with three sleeve options:  long, short, and convertible. (We've seen these convertible sleeves before, with Pictorial Review 5969)

Consider the amount of work involved in making this uniform:  colored facings are sewn to the shirt; button holes must be worked (by hand) for the convertible sleeves, the shirt, and the fly front of the pants; the pants must have padding sewn into them; the cap is lined.

And because I know you'll ask, here is what the cap pieces look like.
 The three perforated crosses in the brim indicate where it's placed on the fold of the material.  It's interesting to see that the cap sections are shorter toward the fronts, which will give the cap a jaunty set.

"B C", I assume, very cleverly stands for "Ball Club,"  but wouldn't it have been fun if the illustrator had had the imagination to use "M M?"

(1) See the history of baseball uniform pants on the web site for the Baseball Hall of Fame.