Wednesday, April 20, 2011

1940s Fashion

I love the number in Funny Face where every woman in America starts to "Think Pink!" So my blog got a makeover for spring.

Today's pattern is an Advance pattern from the 1940s. I'm pretty sure this is a wartime pattern. World War II patterns are so interesting to me historically. The envelope paper is very cheap for one thing. Good paper was needed elsewhere. This one is in amazingly good shape considering.

And look at the styles. Remember that the skirts got shorter in the 1940s, a sacrifice women made to the war effort. It took less material to make a short skirt. And look at how conversative this pattern is in use of fabric too. A dress from the 1930s took yards more material. (But not as much as the dresses to come in the 1950s!)

These young ladies probably were not wearing hose. Silk was a high demand item for the military. So silk stockings were very hard to come by. Today women gladly go without hose when they're wearing dresses but at the beginning of the war, it was unthinkable to do so. My mom tells of how she and her friends used leg makeup instead of hose when they got dressed up. She says they sometimes even painted the line down the back of the leg to mimic the seams in hose.  In one of her most poignant stories, a boy she dated briefly at Camp Claiborne in Louisiana went off to war and was killed. His mother sent my mom her son's parachute. He had told his mom he wanted my mom to have it. My mom says she made lovely lingerie from that parachute silk.

There are so many things I like about this pattern. Look at that contrast panel and sweetheart neckline on View 2. And the lace trim on view one is just amazing. Even little bitty woman in View 3 is wearing a lovely dress.

But even though times were spare, women still wanted to look beautiful. I particularly like the hairstyles on this pattern cover. The flowers in View 2's hair are so beautiful and I think many, many women would die for that handbag she's carrying.

Monday, April 11, 2011

What I Find in Vintage Patterns

I don't know any other vintage pattern sellers personally. I've talked with a few of them via email. But I can tell you one thing we all share: a vivid memory of things we have found in patterns. I just bought a huge stash and here are some of the fascinating things I've found so far. Click on the first photo for a closer look. The ornament was in the box. But the rest were hidden treasures I found as I started to count pieces. They are:

A lab receipt.

I hope Stan and Steve didn't break anything in Chemistry lab in 1965.

Part of a 1939 calendar. A 1964 postcard posted at sea. The writer says she had a rough crossing. At first I thought she said that she had eaten "on land for every meal." But on closer inspection I see she was "on hand for every meal." A baby gown pattern made from a 1950s newspaper. One side has the classical and opera radio offerings, the other some fabulous dinette suites. And my personal fave, the baby shirt pattern made from the clipping of the wreck of the Andrea Doria which as you all remember sank in 1956. Oh the humanity! I think I would have chosen another part of the newspaper to use for my pattern.

And there are always the pins. Long pins, short pins, colored pins, safety pins. And I throw them all away. My neighbor was surprised at the waste, but they are all going to be either rusty or dull and there's no sense ruining a new piece of fabric on an old pin. 

Sadly, I could not find the sleeve pattern made from a wonderful set of 1930s comics. But I know I saved. it. I'll post it when I find it.

The bottom line is that these old patterns are  great historical documents, but so are the things I find inside.