Category Archives: Fashion Guide

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!

 

El Salon De La Moda 1880 – 1890

The Library Archives contain samples of historic fashion from all over the world – and from many different eras.  While Harper’s Bazar and La Mode de Illustree are two of the more well known publications that catered to women who wanted to make their own garments – there were many, many others that mirrored their form and format.  (If not quite often stealing their designs!)

La Salon De La Moda was such a publication, that featured a 11 X 17 format folio and an over size pattern sheet from which the pattern were traced.   While there is not a broad depth of information on this magazine, the publishers were Montaner & Simon – one of the most important publishers in Spain.   The magazine was published from about 1884 through 1913.

The mast head reads (in my not so good Spainsh!) – “A biweekly journal, indispensable for families, with a profusion of black and white illustrations of the latest fashions from Paris.”

The issues contained in the archive are noted as follows:

Volume 5 – no date

Volume 6 – Jan. 14, 1889

Volume 6 – Feb. 25, 1889

Volume 8 – July 14, 1890

Volume 9 – July 13, 1891

And one mystery issue which is noted as Volume 5 – but with no publication date.  If it follows the system as above – volume 5 would be from 1888.

The pattern sheets are of an interesting type of paper.  Rather than the same newsprint as the magazines (which Harper’s and La Mode used) the paper is a semi-transparent red – with a waxy or glossy finish on it.  Heavier than onion skin – but not as heavy as newsprint.

The pattern sheet is printed both sides as is usual with these sort of publications – with a cutting guide to the pieces, but no instructions for sewing.  A template of all the pieces on the sheet is provided.  Pieces for bodices are given but no patterns or diagrams for skirts are included.

In general the art work and fashions depicted are not as elegant or as well defined as those in La Mode Illustree from the same period – though it is clear that the target audience for this publication would have been the same as that of La Mode or Harper’s.

Dressing Well 1904


     This odd little booklet came from the “Misc. Fashion” files.  One of those items that is somewhat difficult to actually pin a label on.  At first glance one would suppose it would be chock full of all sorts of hints and information about clothing yourself or your family on a budget.

   Despite the title, it appears to be an advertising give-away, most likely from a tailoring shop, as on the second page we find: The magazine is eight pages in length, with black and white illustrations through out – except for the color front and back covers.  The box on the front cover is imprinted with the Berry-Ball Dry Goods Co.  Which indicates that this was a magazine that was ordered from a central clearing house, where it was imprinted with the purchaser’s company name.

  However, despite the title – there is very little about Dressing Well For Little Money.  A few of the written pieces exhort men to consider purchasing their suits of “good taste and quality” ready-made.   And there is very sound advice regarding the “Whole Cloth Back Suit” – wherein the back of the jacket is made in a single piece, in order to avoid ” . .  the breaking of the stripe or check”.

The majority of the page space is  filled with light humor in the form of jokes, short tales of about two paragraphs long, and some pithy observations on the nature of life.  Such as:

A Few Buts

          A man demands that a woman shall always be well dressed.  He is a perpetual victim to the click of high-heeled       shoes and the frou-frou of silk skirts, and to his private code, considers mother hubbards and curl papers as suffcient grounds for divorce.  But – he expects his wife to achieve the miracle of first-class clothes on an eighth-class income.

          EVERY man demands that a woman’s heart shall be an ice-bound fortress, diffusing a cold storage atmosphere that will give every other man who approaches her frosted feet.  But – he wants her to turn into a seething volcano of red-hot affection when he draws upon the scene.

All in all – it’s an odd little bit of printing.  If you’d like to take a look at the magazine in it’s entirety – you can download it in full (for a small fee) – by going to this link:  DRESSING WELL DOWNLOAD.

It’s All About the Men

Historic fashion for men tends to get short shift, in comparison to the discussions of women’s fashions.  Perhaps because the costuming world tends to be a bit gender tilted towards women. Today I address that a bit with the first in a series of posts about the world of gentleman’s clothing.

The masthead above is from a publication dated May 1932, and originally published by the American-Mitchell Style Corporation.  The magazine was part of a larger company (The American Mitchell Fashion Publishers) that produced many books and periodicals about the art of tailoring. The earliest editions that are in the archives date from 1913 – but they most certainly produced books prior to then.

According to the May 1932 issue they were located at 15 West 37th Street in New York.  But by the May 1934, the company is listed as the American Gentleman Publishing Corporation, located t 1133 Broadway in New York.

Typically each issue would contain news and information on the newest fabrics, styles, and articles on pattern drafting and garment construction. This 1932 edition includes the lovely fashion plates shown below:

     Description of this plate reads as follows:

TWO BUTTON SINGLE BREASTED SACK COAT

(Left Illustration)

Material is a pearl gray tweed suiting.  The coat is 30-1/2 inches for a man of average height.  The shoulders  are of natural width and finish. Gorge is cut rather low.  The lapel notch is cut slanty and measures 2 inches at the notch and 11-1/2 inches to the top button.  Collar measures 1-3/4 inches at the notch and the same at the back.  The back is well shaped an draped over the blade and has a center vent.  Fronts are made up soft with no hair cloth and quite chesty.  Lower pockets have flaps.  Breast pockets are finished with a welt.  Edges are single stitched close and the seams are plain.  Sleeves are finished with an open vent and four buttons.  The waistcoat and trousers are the same as explained on the next figure.

DOUBLE BREASTED SACK SUIT

(Right Illustration)

The material is a light Cheviot suiting.  Coat length is 30 inches for a man of average height, 5 feet, 8 inches.  Shoulders are of natural width and finish.  The Gorge is of medium depth.  Lapels are peaked, measure 2-3/4 inches at the peak and 13-1/2 inches to the top button.  The back is quite shapely, but easy fitting and has a center vent.  Front is quite chesty and closes with two buttons.  The upper buttons are 5-1/2 inches apart and the lower buttons are 5 inches apart.  Pockets are piped.  The breast pocket is finished with a welt.  Edges are single stitched close and the seams are plain.  Sleeves are finished with an open vent and close with 4 buttons.  The waistcoat is single breasted, no collar.  Fronts are made up with 6 buttons but only buttoned on 5.  The bottom is well dipped.  The trousers are natural fitting over the hip and thigh, and measure 20-1/2 inches at the knee and 18-1/2 inches at the bottom.  The bottoms are finished with a cuff.

There are several pattern drafts in this issue, including a double breasted woman’s overcoat – very similar to this pattern currently in progress.  The only difference being that the magazine draft has pockets with a flap – whereas the McCall’s pattern has double welt pockets.

At some point prior to 1945, the Mitchell magazines and publications were bought by the Master Designer Publishing company in Chicago, Ill  There is an indication that they were publishing tailoring books as late as 1992.  A quick internet search turned up nothing current on them – so I am unsure if they are still in business or not.  If anyone has further information – please post in the comments section.

I will be posting up soon a series of pattern drafts from these magazines!  Watch for the next post in the series.

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Petite Echo de la Mode Archives

Starting a new feature in the blog this week – a sort of sneak preview of some of the items in the archives – that have yet to come into the light of day.  Or onto the website.

Petite Echo De La Mode was a lovely French fashion magazine that spanned a goodly number of years, all the way up through the 1950’s or early 1960’s I believe.    The archives contain issues dating from 1896 through 1939.  While the Library’s collection is by no means complete, there is a fairly decent selection from most of the years.

If you would like to know more about the history of the magazine AND you can read French – there is a website dedicated to the magazine.

The lovely pictures below come from our April 11, 1926 issue.

Afternoon Dress

This version of our pattern # T1060 has the elegant styling that all of the classic 1930’s dresses show.  Featured at the FABRICATIONS Blog – there is a wonderful detailed write up on the construction of this dress.

April 1924 Latest Fashions

(Transcribed from McCall’s Fashion Catalogue)

THE OUTLOOK

BY  ANNE  RITTENHOUSE

When the days lengthen and the cold ceases to strengthen, to transpose the old rhyme, it’s time in a woman’s mind to conserve money – to coyly lift it from the housekeeping allowance,possibly – in order to buy the new so that one may throw away the old.  What a glorious gesture is that particular one which woman makes in springtime;  that sweeping gesture which discards all the flotsam and jetsam she has made serve for clothes in the name of thrift.

Now she has a reason, a dire necessity for things new, so she goes to the work quite merrily.  The shop counters are as colorful as an exhibition of cubistic pictures.  Fabrics have lost the influence of Tut’s tomb.  Thank the designers for that much.  But they have not lost the touch of the Orient.  Indian prints, Chinese flowering, Persian and Arabic letterings and patterns are offered.  Roman striping and Venetian blossoms cover silks and cottons.  Whatever is old in art is modern in its application.

Silk fabrics are plentiful for spring clothes and well they should be –  they suit our climate.  Tub silks come to us for simple frock from Paris and Cairo.  Cotton crepe is to be fashioned into frocks for hot days.  Ginghams take their established place for morning gowns.  Dimities with their ancient patterns and some new ones, are to be worn by youth an middle-age.  Pique is struggling for importance in sports skirts and sleeveless jackets.  Silk alpaca is accepted at last.  Nursery flannel, plain, is also striped like cricket blazers in England, is so highly sponsored that none can resist it.  It goes into frocks as simple a monastic robes, and monks are the source of the inspiration.  It goes into tuck-in shirts with rolling collars.

There are three lines to follow in spring clothes.  You should choose the one that suits you best, or take all three.  The first and dominating one is straight with the suppleness of an eel.  The second is wide below the hips and tightly trig above the waist.  The third is flexibly circular, its movement achieved through the cut of the fabric, not the insertion of godets.

1930s Gown with Cascade

That amazing sewing maven at the Sew Weekly blog has done it again!  Her version of our pattern # T3946 is sure to turn heads at the upcoming Bay Area Gatsby Weekend.   Be sure to scroll down in the blog and read all the details about the construction of this dress!.

1940s Daytime Frock

A lovely version of pattern number F3666made by one of our clients.

To read about the construction details of this dress – visit her blog!

1924 Women’s Fashion

Characteristics Of The Spring Styles

Spring fashion dictates a silhouette that is narrow and flat, with all curves eliminated as much as possible. Bust, waist and hips are diminished at every point from the shingled head under a tiny cloche hat to the hem of a short and narrow skirt.

Waistlines are conspicuously absent, while the hip line is often indicated by the narrow belt or a gathered girdle, or an ornament, but is quite often eliminated altogether in straight dresses.

Tube or pencil dresses and coats, the coats in full or three-quarter length. There is a tendency toward cape backs in dresses of all types, street, afternoon and evening, because of its straightening effect on the figure, especially when it is at all full in back.

The use of flounces, draperies tiers, accordion pleats, panels, etc. for afternoon and evening dress. The popularity of accordion pleats in flounces, cape backs, and the lower parts of sleeves can not be stressed enough, and is most chic for springtime garments.

The current vogue for two-piece dresses with straight blouses, and exquisite lingerie collars and cuffs, slit pockets, and narrow belts continues unabated.

The skirt length is now short, even in afternoon frocks, and still shorter for street and sports clothes. For evening wear the length various from ankle-length to from six to ten inches above the floor.

Stockings should be as sheer as possible, with either plain or with the drop-stitch clock at the side, in rose, beige, nude, banana, log cabin, Sahara, acorn or peach. The same type of stocking worn at morning (except for sports), noon and night. For evening, even with silver and gold evening slippers, the nude or peach shade is most correct for the newest fashions.

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