1950's MAGIC To MAKE vs 2015's FAST & EASY

Although Butterick Patterns historically never dated patterns either on the envelope or instruction sheet as other pattern companies did,  their patterns can be dated  via the style of the dress, the illustrated models hair styles, shoes, hats, and accessories.

Dates can be verified if the pattern was a mail ordered by the postal date.  Butterick was first a mail order pattern company, but those are rare finds today.

Butterick Pattern 8408 is the oldest pattern by this company in my collection.  Published in the mid to late 1950's makes it around 60 years old.  I never thought much about pattern and pattern companies history until I saved a box of several hundred vintage patterns from a fate worse than rotting from old age...the dumpster/landfill/ashes/death.

Here's a bit of history about the Butterick Pattern Company.  Founded by Ebenezer Butterick and his wife Ellen in 1863.  Ebenezer was a tailor and apparently Ellen was a frustrated home sewer with...let's say, not a standard size figure.  Sewing patterns of the day offered only one size which required manually resizing using heavy paper or marking directly on the fabric with wax chalk.  It was a laborious and frustrating process.  Mr. Butterick had all the necessary skills and experience in custom tailoring and what was known as 'grading' a stock pattern.

He began work on customizing or grading by designing templates in different sizes and settled on 'Tissue paper' which was thin enough to cut several dozen layers at once...facilitating mass production. These pattern pieces could be easily folded and shipped all over the country. The Butterick's were a mail order pattern booming success.

By 1866 patterns included dresses, coats and blouses as well as the first patterns for men and boys.  Eventually women's patterns would be offered in 13 sizes for dresses, coats and blouses, and 5 sizes for skirts.

Mrs. Butterick died in 1871, and in the next ten years the company was reorganized as Butterick Publishing Company with Ebenezer as it's secretary until 1894.  The company published the Ladies Quarterly of Broadway Fashions to promote their patterns, which was followed by the monthly Metropolitan.  Both magazines offered fashion news and advice, as well as mail order services for Butterick's designs.  By the turn of the century their fashion magazine The Delineator became the premiere women's fashion magazine in the U.S. until it's last publication in 1937.  Ebenezer died in March 1903.

In 2001, The McCall Pattern Company acquired Butterick and Vogue patterns and along with McCall's patterns continues to offer the most advanced, highest quality patterns, catalogs and magazines.  You can read the complete history HERE.

B6215 is the newest Butterick Pattern in my collection.  It's catch phrase 'FAST and EASY' is a throwback to the 1950's catch phrase of 'MAGIC To MAKE'. 

Where the Magic 50's pattern was a one size (14) pattern with a price tag of 50 cents, today's all about Fast and Easy sewers can purchase this speedy multi-sized (xsm, sm, med) or (lrg, xl, xxl) all in one 'Fashion Model' and Illustrated, scan SKU, in English and French, ©McCalls 2015 published pattern for $19.95 US and Canada.

Or...you can do like I do....wait for it to go on SALE for $1.99 at Hancock Fabrics and buy Two for $3.00...which is what you would pay back in 1955 for all 6 one size per envelope patterns.  Some things never change...except the size of busts measurements, waistlines, hemlines and the definition of Abracadabra!

Modella models the 'OverDoSue Quilt Top' magically made, fast and easily from B6215.
I will be keeping both 'Multi-sized Graded' patterns in my Butterick Collection.
No discarding to dumpsters going on in OverDoSue's Sewing Studio!!!
If you have 'Old Patterns' to dispose of...please save Ebenezer and Ellen's legacy.
...here's the Link...
or contact
OverDoSue's Overflowing Pattern Collection
(leave a comment...I'll get back with you..in less than 60 years days minutes...okay...hours)


Joanne said...

interesting post. I have NO patterns in this house. I have never bought a pattern since I left jr. high home ec class (under a cloud). But I find all of this quite fascinating


lovely post
new post: http://melodyjacob1.blogspot.com/2015/06/maxi-dress-and-gladiator-sandals.html

bookworm said...

I'm another non-sewer. I had to make a skirt in 8th grade and it was a disaster. I really do wish I had learned to make my own dresses and that I had someone to help me learn. It was a fascinating experience, making that skirt, but just too frustrating. On the the other hand, my best friend's older sister went to a fashion high school (in NYC) and she could literally whip up a skirt or dress in an hour or less. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

Wendy said...

I have never thought about the history of patterns, but lots of Butterick and Simplicity patterns came and went in our household growing up. We didn't gravitate to McCall as much -- I wonder why that is. And Vogue patterns were always "expensive" so it was rare that my mom bought one.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I made a top, following the pattern, in home ec, back at Glenn. The teacher checked each step, but, somehow, my top came out HUGE. It was twice as blousy as it was supposed to be. I still wore it. I've not made clothes since. One of these days, I'm going to get a period costume, to wear when I demo my vintage machines.

Su-sieee! Mac said...

I like "Magic to Make" better than "Fast and Easy". Maybe I would've sewed more if I thought I was making something magical. That's a very cute quilt top. It looks very comfortable.
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