Bette Davis Swim Ensemble

Bette Davis Swim Ensemble

Here’s a lovely pattern now available at the Library as a reproduction.  The original, #5215, is from the Butterick “Starred” collection and features a bathing ensemble as worn by Bette Davis.  And, yes, Bette actually wore this in the movie “Working Man”, filmed in 1933.  This “must have” style designed by Orry Kelly was advertised in Delineator Magazine, June 1933, and could easily be considered a fabulous addition to today’s current summer wardrobe.

t5215Betty Davis bathing suit

Two-piece outfit in either of two styles with attached undershorts and optional bandana.  Pattern is sized for a 32 inch bust.

View A (Yellow version below) has a halter-style top with plain front shorts that button along both sides.


View B top ties at shoulders and at the open back (Bali print version).  Shorts have a pleated front, optional belt loops and belt, and buttons along both sides.


And finally, here is the fabulous Bette Davis wearing this ensemble.  Oh my, and she wears it well!


Starting Off The New Year With….

New patterns!

And, oh what fun they are.

1930s Ladies Evening Slip, having a V-front neckline with gathered bra-like bodice and features a deep, plunging back with darts for shaping.  Can be made in shorter length for day dresses, or longer, with or without the optional flounce.  Perhaps a lace flounce with a lace bra overlay.  Perfect for wearing under 1930’s era evening gowns.  Pattern is sized for a 34 inch bust.

1930s Combination Undergarment, having a V-front neckline with bandeau bra bodice and features a plunging back.  Tap outfit secures along the side seam for a closure free look.  Can be accented with lace – perhaps along neckline and hem, or a lace bra overlay.  Perfect for wearing under shorter 1930’s era fashions.  Pattern is sized for a 34 inch bust.

1940s Ladies Undergarments, having darted bra with back hook closure.  Bloomers feature a gathered leg hem, and gathered waistline, with optional V front yoke overlay.  Can be accented with lace – perhaps along the neckline, or another lace bra overlay.  A ‘must have’ for wearing under 1940’s era fashions.  Pattern is sized for a 36 inch bust.

And, Laura at Lilacs & Lace, made a fabulous version of our 1950s Jacket Dress that I’m sure you’ll want to check out.  Talk about talent…  I am in awe of her fabulous work.

Off to work on more ‘new’ patterns…. stay tuned!




The Standard Designer – May 1897 – Pattern # 3545

standard designerCover – May 1897   (Click on any image to see a larger view)

As you can see this issue of The Standard Designer that has just arrived at the Archives is a bit worse for wear.  The cover has been taped several times, and has seen a lot of hard usage.

Luckily the wonderful illustrations and the pages inside have stood up a bit better. Though it’s clear that whoever the original owner was, spent many hours pouring over the most current fashions of the month.

This issue also contained all four of the colored plates, which still have lovely bright colors despite some staining and wear.

Over the next few weeks we will be taking an in-depth look at the contents of The Standard Designer from May 1897.  I will be posting many of the fashion illustrations and descriptions – so stay tuned!

standard designer 2The right figure in Fashion Plate # 1 shows Standard Pattern # 3545 (Ladies Blouse Waist) and # 3547 (Ladies Five Gored Skirt – with Spanish Flounce which may be omitted).

“Blue and white foulard was the material used to make this charming combination of garments which has resulted in a stylish toilette suitable for afternoon wear.  Fine swiss embroidery and blue satin ribbon were the trimmings employed, and the belt and collar are also made of ribbon.  The skirt is an exceptionally graceful model, and is particularly well suited to thin fabrics.  The waist also appears to great advantage either in wash goods or silk.  A detailed description of the waist pattern, prices, etc. will be found on page 28; a similar description of the skirt will be found on page 23.”


standard designer 3“The spring season shows in the fashion world a great leaning towards the smart blouse waist.  In the accompanying illustration we have arrived at a most happy combination of a trim, neat-sitting back, with a blouse front.  The model preented is one of the pretiest designed this season, and as here shown s developed in figured batiste, trimmed with narrow lace about the collar and wrist.

“This waist is mounted on a lining fitted by centre-back, side-back, under-arm and shoulder seams, also by double bust darts.  The liningis overlaide to yoke depth, and the body portions of the waist which are fitted by under-arm seams, are attached to the lower edge of this one-piece yoke by gathers.  At the waist line, back and front, the fulness is confined by a double row of shirring.  The sleeves are two seamed and close fitting to ablve the elbow, where they expand into graceful fulness and are gathered into the arm-holes.  They are finished at the wrist by a facing.

“A band collar finished the neck and a plain belt encircles the waist.  The one-piece collarette is laid in a triple box-pleat on either shoulder and attahed to the neck edge of the waist.  The closing of this garment is effected down the centre of the front by means of hooks and eyes invisibly placed.  The smaller view depicts the waist minus the collarette.  Silk, flannel, chambray, gingham, organdie, dimity, mull, etc. may be used to develop this waist and lace, braid, gimp or insertion may be used to trim.  Figure views on pagees 10, 13, and 18 show different developments, more or les elaborate, of this stylish design. 

“The pattern is cut in ten sizes, for ladies from thirty-two to forty-four inches bust measure, and costs 20 cents.  The medium size requires four and one-half yards of material twenty-two inches wide; three and three-eighths yards of material thirty-two inches wide; two and three-eighths yards of material forty-four inches wide; or one and seven-eighths yards of material fifty-four inches wide.  As represented ten yards of lace edging was used to trim.”

Next Post – more detail about the waist, and images of the skirt!


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