Saturday, April 13, 2013

Ladies' Home Journal 2452 - Men's and Youth's Overalls or Mechanics' Suit

By the style of the envelope, this one is probably the late 19-teens to the 1920s.

When you unite a shirt with a pair of pants, you get union overalls.  In the UK this garment is called a boiler suit.   The other major style of overalls would be the apron or bib-and-braces style, which we've seen with Pictorial Review 3701, Boys' Overalls.  Either of these garments is also called coveralls.  Confusingly, overall or coverall (singular) in some cases refers to a woman's apron or rarely, a shop coat.

Making a ladies' apron at home offers the maker some opportunities for self-expression, if she has the money for pretty fabric and the time to add embellishments such as rickrack or embroidery.

Making overalls at home, on the other hand, is purely about getting the gentleman suitably dressed for his job.  The 27" fabric width is common for denim at this time.  There is nothing easy about cutting out, basting, or sewing denim.  While treadle sewing machines handle multiple layers well, button holes will still have to be sewn by hand.   In some household economies, home-made overalls must have made more sense than placing an order from the Sears, Roebuck catalog.

This unprinted pattern has been used and subsequently led a hard life in storage - it's been a little mouse nibbled.

Here's a nice variety of overalls worn by the crack mechanical team of 1919 at the Haverford Cycle Company in Washington D.C.
Found at Shorpy


Anonymous said...

I have a pair of overalls similar to these, purchased and in Country Fire Authority (CFA) yellow (very bright.) They're great for painting, gardening and any other dirty work and they make you look like you know what you're doing, even when you don't. I have considered doing a collection on the street to raise some money for the CFA. There would be no problem stopping traffic.

Handy Andy said...

Charming to look at. You are so right--tough to sew!

Nina Baker said...

I am about to start making an outfit for a lady engineer (a pioneer of the time obviously) from a photo I have of her. Not sure of the date but late 1910s/early 1920s and she is wearing what seems to be a specially skirted form of the usual bib overalls and jacket that the men wore. Naturally I am winging it pretty much as the photo is murky and no pattern. But I might be able to make some guesses based on these mechanics overall patters, so thanks a lot.
Greensteam said...

Hello Nina,

During WW I US workwear manufacturers made various types of overalls for women. Brand names included things like "farmerettes" Try googling "Sweet Orr Company women's overalls for some images." At the same time, the Women's Land Army designed a uniform that converted from a skirt into overalls, though I can't remember the details at this moment. I've yet to find home sewing patterns for women's overalls this early, but that only means I haven't found any yet. Good luck with your project.