|Pattern Description: The envelope just says "Ladies' and Misses' Two-Piece Pajamas or Negligee." |
The pattern has patents from 1919 and 1923 listed on the back, and my guess is it's from the mid-twenties.
The top is tunic length with contrast bands on the neckline, armholes, hem, and patch pockets. The trousers are roughly ankle-length, without side seams, and look as if they are intended to have a drawstring and at least one side closure. View A has contrast bands, B has contrast cuffs, and C has ruffles formed by elastic. The sash shown on the View A and B drawings, and the drawstring that I assume is needed for the trousers, are not included as pattern pieces.
Pattern Sizing: As with other vintage patterns, this one came in one size per envelope. You can see the sizing information on the envelope front. Mine was the size 36" bust, 38" hip, which pretty well matches my measurements.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes. The fit is as I would have expected. The shoulder area fits pretty well, the rest is quite loose, and the lengths are as they look on the envelope (the trousers are slightly longer on me, but that's usual for most patterns if I don't shorten them, and it's what I wanted in this case).
The pattern has two peculiarities that will definitely not appeal to everyone, but that are shown pretty accurately in the drawings. First, the armholes are REALLY low, and the bands around them are cut straight, so they stick out. Second, the trousers are cut strangely, so there is a diagonal wrinkle issue (is this what people call clown butt? Has that term been precisely defined? LOL) in both front and back, and the crotch depth is quite long.
[An aside about trousers -- if you are making a women's vintage trouser pattern, and especially one from about the 50s or earlier, expect a really long crotch depth and what looks to most of us now like a really high waistline -- at the natural waist. The earlier you go, the more likely it seems that there will be an odd shape and length to the crotch curve. I'm guessing it's to do with bulky vintage underwear, the early adopters feeling a bit terrified to wear trousers in public at all (let alone close-fitting ones), and/or pattern drafters' initial lack of familiarity with fitting trousers to women.]
Were the instructions easy to follow? Well, my pattern was missing the instructions, so I can't say anything specific about that.
Here's what I can say about Buttericks from the 20s in general: you get one "Deltor" instruction sheet, which is mentioned on the front of the envelope. It's less than half the size of a modern Big 4's, but with a lot less blank space. It gives cutting layouts, which will probably be for unfamiliar (usually narrow by modern standards) fabric widths and usually will not work for napped fabrics or one-way designs, unless maybe you have a coat pattern. They may even have you cut pieces like sleeves on the crossgrain. The steps can be very detailed for some aspects while glossing over others. IMO they're usually much more detailed than most other brands that existed in the 20s, but it's still best if you have a good knowledge of closures, seam finishes, etc., and/or a general sewing reference. Also, at this time only McCall and possibly Pictorial Review patterns were printed -- the others used pre-cut tissue (see the Threads article that covers this, among other things).
Fortunately, the back of the envelope identifies all the pattern pieces, so I could at least put a name to each piece. I also knew from other Butterick patterns of similar age that
It's possible the instructions would have given measurements for cutting the sash shown on the front of the envelope, and maybe even for the drawstring that I assume is needed at the trousers' waistline -- but often they don't.
- they almost never use interfacing or interlining, except maybe on coats (the bands here might have benefited from it, but I didn't use it),
- most of the seam allowances are 3/8",
- at important fitting areas like side seams, you may get 3/4" seam allowances, which will be marked with perforations at that distance from the edge, and
- the sleeve notches are backwards compared to modern patterns', with the double notch at the front.
What did you particularly like... It's certainly unique and is one of the oldest pajama patterns I've found (though there's also this, for example). Because of the gathers on the bust area, it fits me better than most 1920s patterns. It's also cool and comfortable, and it used up a lot of stash fabric.
or dislike about the pattern? Since the pattern has no side seams, and is meant to have a side closure, it's not the easiest thing ever -- you have to make some sort of slash and placket. This may not be all that sturdy, either, depending on how you do it.
Fabric Used: Lightweight cotton shirting with a woven satin stripe. I got this from G Street Fabrics several years ago.
Pattern Alterations... None.
or any design changes you made: Instead of using contrast fabric, I cut all of the bands from self fabric on the lengthwise grain, so some of the stripes are horizontal.
I may have done the trousers' waist area differently from intended, because I didn't have the instructions, so I had to go by the drawing and the pattern pieces. I had to plan the construction order carefully, so I could do as much as possible by machine, the buttonholes for the drawstring went through just the outer layer, and the entire upper edge got finished (you make the slash through the facing, too). I think my closure and waistline finishes look like the drawing, to the extent the View C drawing shows that area -- but I did just one closure, on the left side. The drawing shows a closure on the right side, and I can't tell if there's supposed to be another one on the left. I can get the thing on with just the one, though.
Would you sew it again? Probably not. I don't think I need two of these.
Would you recommend it to others? Maybe. Pajamas might be a good choice if you want to make something vintage but not stand out in public... and you can definitely find styles very different from modern pajama patterns and RTW. Of course, it's preferable to have the instructions.