When I wrote about this great tote a month ago, I had no idea that a kind reader knew the source of the design. Annie Gullion had just been browsing her copy of a 1964 McCall’s Needlework & Crafts magazine, so she knew right away where the maker got the idea.
There it is, on the cover of the 1964 Spring-Summer issue.
The magazine has the directions for three different designs of this tote. Even though McCall’s sold a similar pattern, they gave complete instructions and a pattern to grade up. It even gives us the name of the tote designer, Irma Bolley. (No mention of Bonnie Cashin!)
I love how the maker of my bag changed the colors slightly.
To an experienced sewer, the instructions seem to be pretty straightforward. I had several people in my posts here and on Instagram say this bag was an early home ec class project, and some mentioned struggling with it. I can see why.
Looking through the magazine has been so much fun! I’m not a big fan of crocheted “granny squares”, having lived through that 1960s fad, but I found this top very appealing.
This project really brings back memories! For several years this was a craft project used by local churches in their vacation Bible schools. I never made these (the project had run its course by the time I was old enough to make it) but for years these plates were seen in homes all around my community.
I really want to thank Annie, not just for the information, but also for sending the magazine to me. This is exactly the type of documentation I love to have on the items in my collection.
This post asks more questions than it has answers. I recently bought this beach towel from the incomparable Neatokeen shop on etsy. I had seen this one years ago, and somehow neglected to buy it, but now it’s part of my collection.
I have been working hard, trying to discover the secret of galindo, the artist. Because the towel has never been used, it came complete with the original paper tag. That’s always a good thing, and it usually leads to more information being uncovered.
From the tag I had plenty to go on. The company was Barth & Dreyfuss, located in Los Angeles. The brand name was Royal Terry of California. The artist, galindo, was a “famous California artist”.
I started my research at the most logical place – Google. I found quite a bit on Barth & Dreyfuss. They were/are a maker or seller of home goods, mainly towels. The company has come and gone over the years, and it appears that there was recently a company by that name, operating mainly as importers.
Searching “galindo” was a bit trickier. I was able to locate some other designs by this artist, mainly on linens and paper goods. Finally, I searched “Royal Terry” and came up empty except for a wonderful youtube video that shows a knowledgeable collector showing off his 1957 Royal Terry beach towel catalog. I have a message in to him and hopefully I will hear back.
After Google I turned to the two newspaper databases I have access to – Newspapers,com and Newspaperarchive.com. I had a bit more luck. The company was owned by Marshall Barth and Stanley Dreyfuss. They were in business in Los Angeles at least as early as 1953, and probably earlier. Searching for galindo was impossible as there are numerous Galindo Streets throughout Southern California. And it seems to be a somewhat common name in some communities.
If anyone knows who galindo was, I’d be most grateful for that information. Any clues at all would be appreciated. In the meantime, enjoy these hat close-ups.
This one is a version of the famous sunglasses hat. I’ve seen these advertised from the late 1950s through the mid 1960s.
In the 1910s and 1920s gym wear was a booming business. Most schools were adding physical education classes to the curriculum, even for girls. A need for gym clothing spread beyond the elite colleges and city gymnasiums to schools across America. There were plenty of companies ready to fill the need.
Many sporting goods companies added girls’ gym clothes to their inventory, but in addition what seems to be hundreds of companies were formed to make clothes for gym class. One of these was the Lafayette Manufacturing Company, incorporated in 1923 with the mission of providing middy blouses, the standard for girls to wear not only for physical education, but also as classroom attire. The company was formed with partners Maurice Rosenberg, Irma Rosenberg, and Joseph Hinkle. The company’s address was 306 East Lombard Street in Baltimore.
A real plus to this purchase was that the shorts are deadstock and retained the original hangtag. There’s a wealth of information on the tag, without which I don’t think I would ever have been able to learn about the makers.
By far the most useful information provided was the patent number on both the label and the tag. Having the number, I was able to locate a copy of the patent.
If you are wondering why a simple pair of shorts required a patent, the answer is that these are not a simple pair of shorts. Thanks to drawstrings in the back of the waistband, the waist is adjustable from 25 to 34 inches. I can imagine the thrifty mother looking at these with glee, knowing they would continue to fit her growing daughter.
Just pull and tie to adjust the fit.
These shorts have one more interesting feature. At first I was puzzled that the tag called these “bloomers” and the patent called them “knickers” because to me I thought they should be called “shorts”. But these are indeed bloomers, which are concealed beneath the straight legs. It’s an interesting development in the history of shorts, a term that came into use about the time these were made in the late 1920s. The idea of bloomers under shorts persisted in gym clothes. I have several 1960s catalogs that show them.
Research on these bloomers was hindered by the name of the business. With all the towns and streets in the US named for the French hero, plowing through the search results was daunting. Finally, using the name on the patent, and the assumption that Rosenberg was located in Baltimore, I found exactly one useful reference.
Today the location of Lafayette Manufacturing appears to be a parking lot for a hotel.
Have you ever looked at an object, admiring it, so long that you convinced yourself you had to have it? That’s what happened to me with this hat. I was having a hard time justifying the purchase, but after months of longing to add this to my collection, I bit the bullet, so to speak. My general rule about buying things that are in the upper end of my budget is that I ask myself, “How sad will I be if someone else buys this?” In this case I decided I would be very, very sad.
You may of heard of Lenci as a maker of felt dolls. The company was formed in Turin, Italy in 1918 or 1919. The first product was the dolls, but in 1927 they decided to branch out into fashion items for women and girls made from the same felt as the dolls. The line got a lot of good fashion press in both Europe and the United States.
The entire hat is constructed of felt, with colorful felt appliques of stylized flowers. It’s in very good condition, with a few tiny moth nibbles. This is, after all, made of wool felt.
This illustration is from a March 1928 issue of Women’s Wear Daily. And how about that umbrella?
This illustration is in the collection of the Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas in Madrid. My hat also has a contrasting brim like the model in the foreground.
Here’s the label. There must have been Lenci stores in New York, Paris, London , and Manchester. I did read a reference to a store in Paris.
Lenci garments and accessories are quite rare. There is currently a darling girl’s bonnet listed on etsy, and a really sweet little sewing kit attributed to Lenci. This hat came from the collection of long-time Canadian collector Alan Suddon, who died in 2001. My thanks to Cora Ginsburg LLC for the information, the ads, and most of all the hat.
I am always looking for accessories to complete my sporting ensembles. One thing I never pass up in an antique store is a rack of hats. Ninety-nine percent of the time the rack will be full of hats from the 1960s. I have a theory, that when hats began to lose favor in the late 60s women stored their old hats instead of investing in new ones. What else could account for the abundance of 60s hats at estate sales and antique stores?
But this post is about that rarest of hat finds – the pre-1960s sports hat. I gave a little happy dance when I spotted this little red tam among all the faux turbans and pillbox hats.
Items like this hat that were worn for decades with little change in the style, so they can be hard to date from that alone. Fortunately there were a couple of things that let me know this tam dated from around 1910 to the 1920s. First, the seams were finished using a Merrow overlock machine. The stitch is similar to a modern serger, but it is easy to see the difference. I see it a lot in pre-1930 knit bathing suits.
Second, the band of the tam is in a type of machine knit that is commonly seen on knit items from this era. I have a pair of navy blue mittens in the same type knit.
In looking at catalogs and other illustrated sources from the 1910s and 20s, the tam is the hat worn by most women for winter sports. The illustration above is from a 1921 Bradley catalog.
This illustration is on a late Edwardian postcard.
And this one is from the mid to late 1920s. It fits a bit closer to the head, and might even be called a toboggan.
Another factor that contributes to the scarcity of early knits is that so many of them were consumed by moth larvae. Thankfully, this one somehow escaped the hungry little buggers.
There was also a trend toward nautical themes. The short “Oriental” pants were replaced by so-called “Gob” trousers, gob being slang for “sailor”.
A 1930 article in Good Housekeeping reported:
“Beach fashions are distinctly masculine. A marked change has occurred in beach attire, for smart women are forsaking fancy pajama suits for long, wide, sailor-like trousers… In their smartest version these trousers feature a fullness set in at the knee.”
These one-piece beach pajamas remained in fashion through the mid-1930s. In 1931 Good Housekeeping declared, “Pajamas are never smarter. For the beach they are comfortable and feminine in colorful combinations of linen, shantung, or jersey.”
The evolution of beach pajamas was complete, but it’s worth noting that pajamas did not stay on the beach. Brave women like Mrs. Joseph Walton, “[wore] a velveteen jacket, a light crepe overblouse, and dark trousers…” on the streets of Palm Beach in 1929.
By 1930 middle class and wealthy women were already wearing pants in the form of knickers for hiking, breeches for riding, and bloomers for gymnasium. But pajamas wearing on the beach was different in that women of most economic classes could participate. Cotton beach pajamas were cheap to buy and even cheaper to sew at home. Pattern companies like McCall’s, Butterick, and Pictorial Review sold pajama patterns for the home sewer.
Oregon farm girl Cecilia Nordstrom showed off her new pajamas in 1933. She later recalled, “Frivolous is lounging pajamas when you live on a farm. No one has time to lounge.” Nevertheless, she ordered this one from a catalog, and she looks quite pleased with it.
Pajamas-wearing was also different in the public nature of the beach. No longer confined to the school gym or the hiking and riding trails, beach pajamas were women in trousers in view of large crowds of people. Pants for women were here to stay, even though it would be several more decades before women wore pants for more than work or very casual occasions.
1924 saw beach pajamas spreading across European beach resorts, and were even worn by a few brave souls on Florida sands. In her memoir, Jane Fisher, wife of the developer of Miami Beach, recalled an incident that happened in 1924:
Colonel CT Melville, the international polo player, … wrote a book in which he expressed delight over such Miami Beach surprises as “…strawberries for breakfast at Christmas and being driven about by a lady wearing pajamas.” I was the lady in pajamas – as startling in the early ‘twenties, even in freedom-loving Miami Beach, as my form-fitting bathing suit had five years before.”
For the most part, 1924 was a year of debate in the United States fashion press. During that year Women’s Wear began mentioning pajamas not only in their negligee column, but also in the sportswear section.
The question of whether or not American women would wear trousers in public in the form of pajamas was answered by Vogue in January, 1925. “Usually made of gay printed [silk]… they are seen during the sunny hours between bathing and dressing when one loiters on the sand. European beaches have seen them in large numbers, and, now, Newport and Palm Beach are witnessing the beginnings of their success.”
Not that Vogue‘s proclamation was universal. In February, 1925, Women’s Wear printed a report from Palm Beach saying “Palm Beach Visitors Do Not Adopt Beach Pajamas.” The mayor of Atlantic City, NJ went so far as to ban pajamas from the beach before the 1925 season, saying, “…we could not allow anything like that.”
In 1926 beach pajamas went from being an uncertainty to being mentioned favorably in most Women’s Wear articles on the subject. They wrote in March, 1926, “…as the season advances, beach pajamas are seen in greater numbers and variety.” Even shops in Atlantic City were advertising them. Beach pajamas had truly arrived.
Although pajamas were sleepwear first and sportswear second, they did follow the rules of fashion. In the 1920s when the straight garcon look dominated, pajamas had a similar silhouette consisting of short trousers with a sleeveless tunic, often with a matching robe. They were often in bright colors with art deco or Asian designs. They were usually made of silk, but the more practical cotton began appearing as well.
When fashion began to change toward curvier, longer lines in 1927, so did pajamas. A Women’s Wear report in 1927 informed readers that “Both beach and lounging ensembles are characterized by the adoption of long trousers…”
At the same time, bathing suits were getting smaller, with the newest styles featuring a very low scooped back. Some French designers, in particular Mary Nowitzky, developed an abbreviated top for her beach pajamas, much like the tank top of today. This top was not a tunic, but instead was meant to be tucked into the waist of the pants.
It was just a short time until designers realized that making the beach pajamas as a one-piece garment would allow them more easily to include the bare suntan back. This idea developed into a wide-legged one-piece garment that highly resembled a long flowing dress. This one-piece pajama was sleeveless, usually had a bare back with a scooped or V-neck front, and very wide trousers. They were increasingly made of brightly printed cottons.
Tomorrow, the exciting conclusion of Pajamas for Women.