Friday, January 25, 2013

Aladdin Apron Company - Bungalow Apron


This pattern is the first documentary evidence I've acquired showing that some women expanded beyond home sewing into cottage industry.  It seems logical that a woman who sewed well and efficiently might chose to supplement her income by sewing for others with less time or skill, but without some sort of documentary evidence, it's impossible to prove.

The Aladdin Apron Company of Asbury Park New Jersey may have been a side business for a textile mill, or it may have been a small entrepreneur (perhaps even a woman,) negotiating deals for materials and then taking out classified ads in small town newspapers like the Kingsport Tennessee Times for May 10th, 1926.

The instruction sheet provides fascinating details.

Note that among the potential customers for these high grade percale aprons are factory girls.  It's also interesting how much emphasis is made in the instructions to work neatly and evenly.   A poorly made apron won't generate repeat sales for either the maker or for Aladdin.

As the instruction sheet indicates, the pattern for this very simple bungalow apron (house dress, more or less) has been cut from unprinted lightweight brown kraft paper that will stand up to repeated use better than the usual pattern tissue used for most home sewing patterns. Only one "fits most" size appears to have been available.  This particular style with the two-piece front was very popular in the 1920s.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Maudella 2987 - Keep Fit Costume

Late 1930s, early 1940s.

This seems to be a pretty early Maudella offering.  In the United States this would almost certainly be called a "gymnasium suit," and might be worn with a white blouse underneath.

This pattern may have been offered in response to movement started in the 1930s to promote fitness for women.  It's tempting to imagine Maude Dunsford reading about (or even being a member of) the Women's League of Heath and Beauty, founded in 1930 by Mary Bagot-Stack and in 1935 carried on by her daughter Prunella. (1)

Click on the image to watch a lovely 1930s British Pathe film of League ladies going through their paces.

This pattern is unprinted but each pattern piece is stamped with its name.  There is no separate instruction sheet, only the text instructions on the back of the envelope.

(1)The League survives today as The Fitness League.