Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Vogue 3578 - Cat Costume

Late 1920s.

These early Vogue patterns are scarce, but they do show up now and again.  According to Butterick's corporate history, by the 1920s, each Vogue Pattern Book (published six times per year,) featured over 350 patterns.   Although we tend to think of Vogue as a high-end pattern brand, from the beginning they offered a full range of patterns, including underclothes, utilitarian patterns for garments like smocks, and costume patterns for both adults and children.

Pencil marks on the layout diagram show that the maker was carefully keeping track of the pattern pieces.  No fabric recommendations are given, but the illustration hints at a fuzzy fabric - inexpensive cotton flannel would no doubt do for the budget-conscious.

I particularly like the mitts that finish the look.

Of course this would be a fine Halloween costume, but also consider that Wanda Gag's Millions of Cats was published in 1928. Imagine if you will, an entire second grade class dressed as cats for a school pageant adaptation!  (What could possibly go wrong?)

Monday, August 7, 2017

Simplicity 4683 - Men's, Boys' and Women's Apron

Mid 1940s.

This unprinted pattern dates to before 1946, as this is apparently when Simplicity started printing their patterns.

A nice, straightforward apron for the Gentleman and his Missus, who has also made Buddy a spiffy apron for his first Industrial Arts class.  Why the illustrator chose to show the Gentleman wearing a shop apron but gearing up for kitchen duty is a bit of mystery.  And that tiny little cookbook he's holding seems to be awfully entertaining.

Your fifteen cents really bought you a good, thoughtful design.  Note that the Men's and Boys apron is darted at the sides.  This will make the apron set close through the hips, which will probably make it safer by making it less likely to snag, and should also make it more efficient at keeping the wearer clean.

The handling of the shoulder straps and ties is clever.  The straps will adjust to almost any size or shape and don't require any hardware to fasten:

Note that the topstitching around the pockets and the edges make this a very sturdy garment.

No fabric recommendations are given, but the aprons in the illustration surely look like chambray.  Denim would also have been popular, and frequently came in the 35" width called out in the yardage requirements.

Here is the men's apron made up in denim:
Here are the side darts from the inside:

And here they are from the outside:

The instructions call for a small patch of fabric to be sewn in as a backing for the button holes on the sides.  You can see that I've sewn down the patch and stitched a rectangle to outline the buttonhole.  The button holes were worked by hand.

And in the event this apron ever wanders away, I've "branded" it.

In the future, I'd probably use a good-quality twill tape for the straps, rather than making them myself, since folding those narrow strips of denim resulted in a certain amount of questionable language as I repeatedly steamed my fingers.

This denim is wonderful to work with.  Made under the SAFEDenim brand, it's made entirely in the United States by farmers who are trying to produce a sustainable product.  Cotton is demanding of the soil and can require enormous amounts of pesticides, so producing this denim requires a lot of commitment from the farmers.  I don't know where you can buy yard goods, but if you're willing to commit to a 30 yard bolt, you can buy it from the web site.

You can get a free pattern for a very similar apron from the James Thompson web site, makers of my preferred pillow ticking.  (This apron would also look great made up in ticking.)

I'm delighted to report that Simplicity has re-issued this pattern as Simplicity 8151.  Get yours now before it goes out of print again!

Originally posted on June 8, 2011.  Additional material added to show the men's apron made up. Additional information provided on the re-print.