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.


Charlotte said...

I especially like the knickers, very demure for exercising

Anonymous said...

Exercise clothes were a very different design before the advent of stretch fabrics, weren't they? Can you explain the 'no turnings allowed' note on the pattern? said...

Turnings is the british term for seam allowances. A lack of seam allowances is something one comes across sometimes with late 19th or early 20th century patterns, but is a little unusual at this date.

What this means for the maker is that she'll trace around each pattern piece, and then cut outside of that line. The advantage of this approach is that the maker can decide how much seam allowance she wants. She may decide to allow a full inch on side seams for fitting purposes, or as little as 1/4" for things like collars and cuffs.

Bunnykins said...

Reminds me of the very fitted blouses, buttoned to the neck if I remember correctly, and shorts that the ladies wore to exercise at the spa in the movie The Women (1939?) So pretty; so confining.