Saturday, October 12, 2013

Butterick Paris 1932 Fashion Pattern Catalog

Many years ago I picked up this catalog at a flea market in Allen, MI. It cost me $2.50!

It is dirty but all the pages are intact. In the back was a collection of a girl's paper dolls, made up of cut out fashion illustrations from other catalogs.

Fashions included masculine style sportswear, such as Katherine Hepburn wore. Trousers were wide legged and high waisted--yet were considered "narrower legged than before. The silhouette was slim, with a defined waist. "Today our skirt is as slim as a match stick--well, almost--and our shoulders are broad." Five o'clock frocks were "very dressy afternoon dresses with jackets" in a "regular" dress length. Jacket dresses were fitted and in length hit a few inches belong the hipbone. The new bathing suits were "just a pair of jersey shorts and a matching jersey Brassiere!"

Coat collars were smartly worn up. Buttons were used freely as trims. Navy gloves were the newest rage, along with berets pulled over one eye. Necklines were interesting, making necklaces superfluous, but bracelets and earrings were essential.

 Golf clothes were sporty slender dresses worn with comfortable shoes.

One pages boasts, "Fabrics You Can See Through will See You Smartly Through Summer." The dresses were made of heavy sheer crepe, georgette, triple layers of chiffon, and heavy silk.

Evening gowns were not to be longer than the instep length. They had high or low necks, with  bare arms and exposed shoulders.

"All Paris is wearing suits with high waistline skirts". The left style was called "the new gigolo style."

The patterns sold for a quarter "for the Depressed Purse" or for thirty-five cents as "aids for Broken Down Bank Books."

The fabrics of the season included:

  • Novelty Mesh, especially a white with bumpy black thread running through it in a check pattern. 
  • Dotted Lawn with red and blue dots on a white ground
  • Colonial prints on voile
  • Handkerchief Linen printed with polka dots
  • Amurise, a waffle weave for sportswear
  • Pique for tailored cotton dresses, suggested in tan, orange, or yellow
  • Printed Crepe in geometric patterns
  • Cotton Shantung for pajamas in red polka-dots on white
  • Pajama Cloth, a Bemberg that looks like wool but was cool and washable for sportswear
  • Matuca, a lightweight silk for spectator sportswear
  • Printed Crepe in a "town print" of navy blue with white print
  • Triple Sheer in black for evening wear
  • Irish Lace in red for a "gay summer dress"
  • Ribbed Cottons 
  • Sheer Woven Check for summer suits
  • Bedford Cord, "an old timer," for coats and suits
  • Seersucker, "ridiculous name!", "one of our smartest cottons!"

Color were blue, midnight blue, bright navy, and pale flax. Also yellow and lots of red and orange. For evening wear, they preferred white, with black, pink, and blue following.

The Summer Bride wanted a wedding gown in satin and lace, or silk crepe or taffeta. They were fitted, and could include a peplum, lace jacket, and a sheer long veil. Orange blossoms, white orchids, gardenias, roses, lilies of the valley, white lilacs and sweet peas were preferred flowers.

I love this hosiery ad on the inside back cover! But it looks dated in comparison to the fashions inside.


  1. Love this! We have similar taste, Nancy -- I have a copy too, and just haven't gotten around to scanning it. I'll do that soon, including different pages, and I'd like to put a link to your post as well, if that's all right.

  2. Martha, It is amazing you have the same catalog!