Patterns in Vogue: Pillow Talk

Dorothea McGowan in breakfast coat Vogue 9774, 1960 - "fresh, frothy, delicious - almost Victorian in feeling, even to the pale ribbon sash."
“Fresh, frothy, delicious” – breakfast coat worn by Dorothea McGowan in Vogue, May 1, 1960. Photo: Leombruno-Bodi.

This Galentine’s, a midcentury slumber party.

Leombruno-Bodi photographed three models, including Nena von Schlebrügge and Dorothea McGowan, in airy loungewear made from Vogue patterns.

Vogue 5032 and 9774 in Vogue, May 1, 1960. Photos: Leombruno-Bodi.

Left: Red polka dots printed on white cotton: brief panties, a top swung briskly from red ribbon shoulder straps. In Crown Soap n’ Water fabric. Centre: Candy-striped silk, slipping into a perfect fall from narrow, softly bowed ribbon straps. Pink and orange stripes skimming white silk; the ribbon, orange. A.P.Silk fabric. Right: White cotton batiste, embroidered with white medallions; single touch of colour, the trailing, sweet-blue ribbon. Emanuel Roth fabric. All ribbon by Century.

The patterns are Vogue 9774 and 5032, a ruffled breakfast coat and nightgown / short pyjamas and nightcap.

Late 1950s-early 1960s lingerie patterns Vogue 9774 and Vogue 5032 "Very Easy to Make"

Pattern images: Vintage Pattern Wiki, Pinterest.

The Irresistible Charm of Embroidered Lingerie

LingerieB

In honour of Valentine’s Day, some mid-Twenties illustrations for McCall lingerie patterns including embroidery transfers. The heading reads, “Embroideries That Lend Irresistible Charm to the Intimate Garments.”

LingerieA

From the numbering, I’d say the page dates to circa 1925, when these types of pattern were the only ones to have colour envelopes.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

There’s a War On: Weldons So-Easy Patterns

Bomb with lipstick kiss in Bomb Girls' munitions factory - Jumping Tracks

Bomb Girls is back. For me, much of the show’s interest lies in its portrayal of women’s wartime fashions, both on and off the factory floor. One line of sewing patterns that I associate specifically with the Second World War is Weldons So-Easy patterns.

1940s English coat pattern - Weldon's So-Easy 34
Weldons So-Easy 34 (c. 1940) Two smart coats. Image: Vera Venus.

Founded in 1879, Weldon’s was England’s first major pattern company. The So-Easy line seems to have been introduced during World War 2. Weldons So-Easy patterns included a range of designs, from day wear to toys; the earlier women’s So-Easy designs tended to be available in only three sizes. Update: At least one was plus-sized: So-Easy 35 is a pattern for “Outsize Slip and Knicker Sets.”

So-Easy patterns don’t bear copyright dates, but some include the war rationing notice, “Professional dressmakers are reminded that they must comply with the Making of Civilian Clothing (Restriction) Orders.” These measures were passed in 1942-43. (For the text and discussion see Cargo Cult Craft’s posts.) According to U.K. vintage dealer Tracy of Wickedlady Collectables, Weldons did not promote So-Easy patterns in their magazine, but the mention of purchase tax, introduced in late 1940, can also help with dating.

One thing that distinguishes wartime So-Easy patterns is their pinup-style illustrations straight out of Mrs Henderson Presents. Here is a selection of World War 2 Weldons So-Easy patterns, with an emphasis on lingerie.

This ‘Pretty Undies’ set includes a brassiere, full slip, and knickers with pointed yoke:

1940s British lingerie pattern, Weldons So-Easy 50
Weldons So-Easy 50 (c. 1942) Pretty undies. Image: Vintage British Style.

These ‘Slim Line Undies’—a full slip and knickers—are held in the National Trust Collections:

1940s British lingerie pattern for slips and knickers, Weldons So-Easy 64
Weldons So-Easy 64 (c. 1942) Slim-line undies. Image: eBay.

These ‘Simple Undies’ include a nightgown and slip with seam interest:

Weldons So-Easy 72 (c. 1942) Simple undies
Weldons So-Easy 72 (c. 1942) Simple undies. Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.

This pattern includes a bra and knickers in two styles, French and Directoire (bloomers), the last with interesting details:

Weldons So-Easy 85
Weldons So-Easy 85 (c. 1942) Brassière and two knickers.

This two-piece bathing suit with skirt was available in four sizes:

Weldons So-Easy 154
Weldons So-Easy 154 (c. 1943) Two-piece bathing suit and skirt. Image: eBay.

My personal favourite must be the Two-Way Siren Suit, an air raid coverall with options for a hood and gathered ankles:

1940s English siren suit pattern - Weldons So-Easy 19
Weldons So-Easy 19 (c. 1940) Two-way siren suit. Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.

For fans of Bomb Girls, which films in the Toronto area, it’s possible to visit some of the locations for the show. Victory Munitions and other sets were built in an old furniture factory in Etobicoke, while street scenes were shot in Hamilton. The Witham mansion is Oshawa’s Parkwood estate, the former home of General Motors founder R.S. McLaughlin.

(Read an interview with the cinematographer here; download production notes here.)