Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Delineator: August 1928

I love flipping through old magazines.  You catch snatches of antiquated writing styles, ads for cosmetic products that probably wouldn't pass current FDA standards, and of course, you get a glimpse of the hot new fashions your great-grandma might've worn.  

I found this copy of The Delineator, from August 1928, and am loving every page.  A publication of Butterick, The Delineator ran from 1869 (under the name The Metropolitan Monthly) until 1939, sharing fashion spreads and recipes, hawking sewing patterns, and publishing short stories and poetry by the likes of Edith Wharton and L. Frank Baum.  In fact, this latter feature causes me a little bit of heartache when I read the magazine-- in September 1928, the magazine says, in addition to an in-depth fashion review (it would be the September Issue, after all), the issue would feature the first installment of a new Wharton novel. One month short! Just kill me.

As it stands, though, the August issue is chock-full of great fashion plates and advertisements-- check it out!

Ms. Marie Beynon Ray, a major Francophile, writes that because Paris itself is devoted to beauty and exclusivity, it's the natural home of fashion, whereas the States, being devoted to practicality and mass production, can only emulate or inspire fashion. With sketches like these, it's hard to argue:

Someone had the idea of doing an ABC's of cruising.  After all, it was the Golden Age of ocean liners:

It reads:
A is the Alphabet boarding the ship
They have promised to write an account of the trip.

B is for "Bon Voyage," which every one knows is
The French "Goodbye," when you say it with posies.

C is the Captain, the king of the Boat,
Not elected (thank Heaven) by popular vote.

D's the Deck-steward, with tactful financing,
He will give you a chair where the view is entrancing.

E is the Electrical Horse in the Gym,
It won't take you far, but 'twill keep you in trim.


The fashion spreads are really in-depth, and show smaller reverse images of the views shown. Since it's a Butterick publication, the dresses, coats, etc. all correspond to available patterns, whose fabric requirements and sizings are described below each sketch.

As I try to learn more about sewing and costuming, these layouts and descriptions are priceless.

From an article, "Hemlines and Necklines in the New Mode":

And a few ads!

I found this last ad really interesting, in terms of fabric history. I'm not an expert on fabric timelines, so I really love reading this article detailing the uses of the new miracle fabric:

What's your favorite source of vintage inspiration?


  1. Oh I just love vintage fashion/sewing magazines. How gorgeous are the illustrations! I love that ABC of cruises - how hilarious.

    The store of the one shoe.. Well, it isn't all that exciting to be honest, one of my friends left it sitting on my TV cabinet after a rowdy night. She couldn't find it in the morning despite it being literally right in front of her face so it lived at my house for a week and a half before I could be bothered to go to the country and return it to her.

    Totally should have made up a more interesting story about that haha.

    1. I wish I had the next month, for the Wharton and the September spread, but also so for the continued alphabet. I love the flapper entry. Risqué!

      Ok I definitely thought you meant return as in return to a store! I had cockamamie theories dreamed up and everything! But I think a leftover shoe after a rowdy night is as good a story as any!

  2. So true, I adore reading the language used in vintage magazines immensely. Not surprisingly, the earlier back one goes, the less the general tone sounds like the way most people speak nowadays, a point that I rather adore. I often think, when reading 1930s-50s magazines (books, etc) in particular, if that is how those (like my maternal grandparents who grew up during those decades) still talk to themselves in their head or if they've adapted their inner dialogue as the decades progressed and think in much the same way as most folks today speak. I really must ask my grandma (my grandpa passed when I was six) about this very point one day.

    Big hugs & many thanks for your wonderfully nice comment on today's New Look inspired outfit post,
    ♥ Jessica

    1. Please do ask your grandma, I would be so interested to hear about it-- I would've never though to ask that, and my grandma's no longer with us. My maternal one is, but she's much younger and hipper!

  3. There really is no better source for learning about fashion and style history that the vintage magazine. I'm almost ashamed to admit how many I have, but then they are put to good use. I always have one or two sitting around ready to educate me!

    Great post!

    1. You're totally right, and finding this and two others has definitely inspired me to make at least a temporary collector's switch from clothing into magazines. So, so informative and helpful. And thanks for the compliment!

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