Tag Archives: catalog scans

Corsets: 1916

In our 1910s Suit-A-Long group the question of corset height was brought up.  Here are two pages of corsets from the 1916 W & H Walker catalog.  This was the same year that the pattern was released, so is appropriate to the WWI era and the era of this suit.

1916corset2web 1916corset1webWe see the difference in height of the top of the corset in these images.  There is also a variety in length of the hip.

The size numbers would be for the corset size.  It does not state if these are the actual corset measurements or the measure of the finished waist size.  I am assuming they are the corset measure, as the “spring” allowed at back varied from person to person based on preference.  The corset “spring” refers to the inches allowed at back for comfort- corsets would not be laced edge to edge, but allow, usually from 2″-4″, or even 6″ at the back when laced.

Sizes 18 to 30 have the most options.  We see medium bust and hip (6M50), medium low bust and long hip (2M129),  low bust and long hips (8M49), medium high bust and long hips (3M99).

There is one corset that is for comfort, with tricot for ventilation and front and back lacings (8M98), in the same sizes as above.

There is one corset for “Misses”, which would be for young ladies, and is designed as a “first corset”.  5M89 in sizes 18 to 26 waist.

There is one corset for girls, aged 7 to 13 years, which includes shoulder straps.

There is one nursing corset (7M98), which has nursing flaps at the bust and is available in larger waist sizes than the standard Misses corsets.

There is one corset for larger women, called a “form reducing” corset, which has a reducing flap at the sides, to help pull in the hips, and a spoon bust which “insures absolutely flat abdomen”.

One brassiere is shown on the page (11M29), which was available in sizes 32″ to 46″ bust. The brassiere has the appearance of a corset cover, but was of more substantial construction.  These usually had flat felled seams, boning, or both, and fastened up the back.   They did not have cups or breast support as we’re accustomed to today.  In fact, most styles of dress did not require a separation of the bust, but rather, a smooth line.  It’s a continuation of the “pouter pigeon” look of the S-Curve corset era, but with a slightly higher bust point.  The bust may be restrained, but not as much as in the “flapper” era.  In fact, brassieres would change very little between now and the late 1920s.

There are also various women’s needs that are on the page- mostly of the past “sanitary” variety.  Included are women’s dress shields that are “waterproof”, and a  “sanitary apron”, which would have the long skirt worn at the back so you wouldn’t have any accidents during that time of the month.

I, for one, am happy we’ve progressed… both in terms of undergarments and in terms of these icky “solutions”.  How far we’ve come with both brassieres and sanitary products in one hundred years!

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1930′s Inspiration- Season Your Wardrobe for the Season

Hello!

Today I’ve got more fun 1930′s inspiration to share from you.  This is from Fall/Winter 1935-1936.

This catalog page includes a bevy of separates that will make your wardrobe sing for the Winter season.  I can see I need more blouses, skirts, and jackets to get me through the year.  All of these would be easily mixed and matched together, if done in a matching colorway.

My very, very favorite is the corduroy suit (at left).  The catalog claims it can even go to tea!  Wow.  My love for corduroy knows no bounds.  It’s hearty, warm, and washable.  Everything I love in daily wear.

The jacket at makes the 1890′s influence on late 1930′s style completely obvious.  Double breasted, high neck, “leg o mutton” gathered sleeves.  It’s funny how the 1930′s took influence from the 1890′s.  To think, it was only forty years before.  It would be fashion today taking influence from the 1970s.  Which does, obviously, happen…

(Gibson Image Source)

Speaking of 1890′s style, this blouse is blaring it out, calling it the “Gibson Girl” style.  I also see ads quite often for “Gay 90′s” style.  In fact, I picked up a late 30′s brooch recently that said “Gay 90′s”, and has a pennyfarthing hanging from it.  It has since met an untimely demise of the little hanging loop and must be mended before I share photos.  An image from Charles Dana Gibson, creator of the Gibson Girl, is supplied to compare.  Eh, I can see it…

If skirts are your thing, more than jackets and blouses, check out this great detailing.  The insets of the skirt are cut bias.  It would be simple enough to do with a pattern you have to add an unexpected detail.

Or, if you want to go even more crazy, why not add zig zag insets with buttons, pintucks, or crazy deco pockets?

Hope you enjoy these images!  Happy creating!

Vintage Inspiration: 1936-1937 Winter Blouses & Skirts

I case you’re not on my Facebook page, you may not have heard that I’m in process of developing a new 1930s pattern.  Well, it’s not actually “new”, it’s one I had previously released in my beginning days as a single size reproduction.  Well, no photos of it yet (bwahaha! I like to keep you in suspense!) but I’m cutting out samples today to test it, and I was desiring a little inspiration.

Here we have some darling little blouses and skirts from Fall and Winter 1936-1937 from the National Bellas Hess catalog.  Don’t you just LOVE the details?  I want to make about a million separates for myself right now.  I hope you find these inspiring, too!

It seems like 1936 and 1937 were the years of the tunic.  They’re all over the place!  Tunic blouses, tunic dresses, two piece dresses.  And now they’re back… just over leggings or skinny jeans.

Do you have a favorite blouse of the ones above?

Fun Stockings from 1930

Happy Friday!

Here’s a fun little inspiration post from fashion’s past.  These are colorful images of stockings from the Chicago Mail Order catalog for Spring and Summer of 1930.  Click the image for a larger version.

Ladies could choose either rayon (which was invented as a silk substitute), or silk.  This attracted both budget points.

Notice how there are plain stockings, but there are also really cleverly designed ones with detailed French heels and side detailing, similar to stockings of earlier time periods but sheer.  How old fashioned but still risque!

Also notice that ankle socks and heels were popular.  But also offered were these interesting whimsical stockings.  Here’s a 1930 fashion fad for you:

Stockings that appear like ankle socks!  And wild plaid stockings, too!

1930hat3

Beautiful Spring + Summer Hats from 1930

I have a very special treat for you this evening.  Here are some absolutely gorgeous images of hats from the Chicago Mail Order catalog from Spring and Summer 1930.

Aren’t these just exquisite?

Click the image above to read descriptions of the color image below.

Click the image below to read the descriptions of the image above.

Just stunning!  This has to be one of the best periods for hats EVER.  *swoon*

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway that Debbie of Vintage Dancer has generously offered to my blog readers!  The giveaway ends tomorrow night!!  Click here to be taken to the post.

Happy Almost-the-Weekend! :)

Textile Inspiration- Pairing Dress Fabrics, 1939

Hello all!  Long time no post! I’ve been a bad, bad, blogger.

We’re currently working on a new production of His Girl Friday at the La Jolla Playhouse.  I’m so excited, and feel so blessed to be working on one of my favorite movies in one of my favorite time periods and years for fashions!  They’re setting the play in 1939 and I’m loving the costumes we’re building.  Of course, that means I’m wanting to make all sorts of 1939 fashions for myself!  Here’s some great images that I’m inspired by, from the Spring and Summer of 1939 Chicago Mail Order catalog.

What I love about this, and several other fashions from the late 1930s, is how some of them actually look like seperates but are actually a dress!   These dresses often include a few different fabrics in order to get a very tailored look.  In these pages it’s called the “basque styles”.

Even if matching different weight or style fabrics isn’t your thing, these pages are inspiring for what to do with trims.  Bows, buttons, ruffles… you can take a relatively simple dress and add a lot of whimsical details to make it more fun.

Although these styles are aimed at juniors, you can tone the proportions or styles down in you don’t want something so playful or “youthful”.

1939catalog1
1939catalog2

Hope the rest of your weekend is wonderful!

Keeping Warm in the 1930s: Rain and Snow

I’m a bit under the weather today, so I figured I should post another set of images in the “Keeping Warm” series.

Here’s two pages of catalog images from 1937-1938 showing coats to be worn in the rain, and outfits for play in the snow.

rainyweatherfriends

I find the fabric descriptions pretty fascinating. Rubberized fabrics like silk crepe de chine or cotton tweed, all rubber, or cotton gaberdine or whipcord- which were both supposed to be water repellent on their own. Also notice the sensible headwear, umbrellas, and rubber overshoes (which are made of rubber and hollow in the heel so that you can slip your regular footwear inside. I think they should make a comeback!).

snowfun

This image shows darling snow wear! I admit I have a love for the vintage ski jackets- but I’d rather wear them in regular life than in ski and snow sports. I think they’d look pretty cute even with modern jeans! I personally think ski and snow wear has come a long way since the 1930s. Although I’ve never tried it in the snow myself, it’s hard to imagine these “water repellant” styles keeping you dry, if you spend as much time as I do falling down or sitting in snow ;) These are all mentioned to be lined in cotton Kasha. I have not personally ever run across this fabric. If anyone knows what the modern equivalent is, or if it’s still available, please be sure to let us know!

Wishing you a warm weekend,
Lauren

Keeping Warm in the 1930s- Overcoats!

Now that’s we’ve taken a quick look at what goes on underneath, let’s skip to what goes on top!  Many gals have mentioned that layering is what’s needed, since it can be frigid inside and then toasty indoors.  Luckily, we can remove the overcoat.

Unlike today, when a girl can choose (or thrift, or make) several coats in one season, our counterparts in the 1930s would have to choose very wisely.  Most women had one overcoat, and that coat had to last through several winters.  Because of that, overcoats needed to be chosen with great care and thought.  It had to match your wardrobe, go with your other clothing, and fit your unique style.  This is why, often times, vintage overcoats could be a bit “bland”.  The flashy ones were fun, but were more the luxury of women who could afford to have an alternate coat- or else the purchase could be regretted the following year when the fashion forward coat was suddenly out of style!  It’s actually a great lesson to take with us into how we select our wardrobe today.  Think of it as quality over quantity- or choose a great basic to mix with more inexpensive “fun” pieces, like a quirky hat, bag, or brooch.

However, I am in LOVE with all these more fashion forward versions of coats below.  They scream the era they’re from, but aren’t they just delightful with their topstitching detail?  (Actually, they’re a glimpse of things to come for Wearing History, since I’ve been back puttering away at a pattern with similar detailing, but from a different era).

National Bellas Hess- Fall and Winter 1937-1938

The one below has a definate “Gay 90′s” flair, as they called it in the mid to late 30s. What a time to harken back to the 1890s! It’s kind of funny, actually- our harkening to 40 years prior would put us in the 1970′s, and we can’t say that there aren’t fashions floating around today that were influenced by the recent past.

National Bellas Hess- Fall and Winter 1937-1938

I’ve got more great coat images I can share that fall more in line with “warmth” than “chic”, but these were so fun I had to share.

For past posts of mine with images of overcoats, check out these links:

 Images posted prior to my migration to a WordPress.org blog are fuzzy, but if you click on the image it will take you to a nice clear version.
Have a great weekend!

Keeping Warm in the 1930′s- Socks and Stockings

I’m so glad that so many of you loved the theme of “keeping warm” for upcoming posts!  I admit there was a lot more response on the last post than I expected.  I guess there’s lots of us who like keeping warm and toasty!

Next up, since we’re on the subject of what goes on underneath, we’ve got stockings.

Most people think of stockings of the 1930s and 1940s in terms of the “cuban heeled” or “fully fashioned” stockings that were sheer and made of rayon, nylon, or silk.  Some even think of fishnet stockings, which were less common than we might think but certainly were still around.  And when we get to the 1940s we think of leg paint to help out with looking like there were stockings when in reality they were mostly given up for the war effort!

For everyday wear, around the house, or for cool weather there were, thankfully, more options than those sheer stockings we usually think of.  Here’s two pages of legwear options from Fall & Winter 1937-1938 with images of legwear to keep you warm.

National Bellas Hess- Fall and Winter 1937-1938

The socks (or anklets) at upper left were advertised to be worn in addition to your hoisery.  Ladies wore these not only with flats and “saddle shoes”, but they were often worn with heels!  It was a cute, sporty look, and it kept your feet warm.  It wasn’t as common to wear with heels as it was to wear stockings alone, but you do see it in catalog images for footwear and in real life photos.

“Remember- Wool is Warmer”- the ad on the right reminds us.  You could select your stockings by wool content.  The ultimate luxury were 100% wool or a wool/silk blend.

Below this ad, we’ve got invisible “under hose”.  These would be an extra layer underneath your sheerer stockings, and apparently, the idea was to have these under hose look like it was actually your skin but it provided an extra layer of warmth.

And below that we’ve got stocking lined in fleece!  Don’t those sound cosy?

National Bellas Hess- Fall and Winter 1937-1938

On the page above we’ve got cotton stockings in various styles.  These would keep your warmer than sheer rayon or silk and would would be more sturdy for everyday wear.

And on the left we’ve got the “outsize” stockings, which were made for “stout” women.  You can see the standard range that most stockings, in regular or outsizes, were available in.

I usually skip over the stocking pages in old catalogs, but I found these cool weather options rather enlightening!  Are they what you would expect?  What sort of legwear do you wear to keep warm in cool weather?

Keeping Warm in the 1930′s- Knit Underwear

It’s abnormally chilly here in San Diego!  This cool weather has me thinking of things to keep warm.

One of the biggest misconceptions that I’ve seen and heard about dressing the past is our perception of keeping warm.  Just like today, our 1930′s sisters layered and selected their cool weather garments with care.  Instead of freezing in rayon satin tap pants and sheer hose, with a flimsy rayon crepe dress and jacket of questionable warmth, I’ve got a few posts coming up of images of what you’d wear to keep nice and toasty in cool weather.  It’s easy to adapt these ideas to our wardrobe recreations.  Remember no one looks chic while they’re shivering!

First up, here’s some great images of knitted underwear.  If you’ve looked at vintage knitting books, you may recognize the look of these.  Many knitted books contained patterns for wool knitted underwear like these (similar to long johns today).  It seems they were especially prominent in UK publications.  So, a clever knitter could find patterns today and knit up a set to keep warm- or the seamstress might be able to make up a set inspired by these from knits, or adapt a modern set of long underwear to a similar look (remember, cotton and natural fibres dye, so you could give them a pretty peachy pink look like these below).

Some might be turned off by these- they’re not the satin and lace dainty underwear we’ve come to associate with the 1930′s.  But, remember, it’s better to be warm and outwardly stylish than shivering in cold rayon undies that will never be seen!  Sense is always chic ;)

Check it out… the original Snuggie!

National Bellas Hess- Fall and Winter 1937-1938

National Bellas Hess- Fall and Winter 1937-1938

National Bellas Hess- Fall and Winter 1937-1938

National Bellas Hess- Fall and Winter 1937-1938

All of these images are remastered from the National Bellas Hess Fall & Winter Catalog from 1937-1938

You can click on any of the images to take you to my Flickr and see a larger version you can read.

So what do you think?  Would you be up for these vintage warm undies, or would you rather wear something modern, or stick with the rayon ones we’ve come to associate with the 1930′s?