Dating marian martin patterns
I’m a relative novice to vintage patterns, but I’ve had enough pass through my hands to recognize the typeface and visual style of the “Progressive Farmer” pattern (see below), which American Age Fashion wrote about recently as “Becky Stott’s pattern.” Read the blog here. I’ve noticed that there was at least one pattern company in New York that specialized in making patterns that would be sold through regional newspapers.
Sometimes they bore the name of a pattern company like “Marian Martin” or “Anne Adams,” which were possibly the names of individual designers.
Between the pattern and the envelope, there is quite a lot going on here. For those of you unfamiliar with Marian Martin patterns, they were advertised in newspapers and were generally quite economical - this one sold for fifteen cents when some of Mc Call's elegant embroidered smock patterns from the same period sold for three times as much.
A seasonal circular was also produced for fifteen cents.
Send for this pattern, buy a few yards of fabric...cotton prints are pretty and cost so little, add a bit of contract, (sic) make it during leisure hours and you'll have a most attractive frock.
It has reversible fronts, perky flares and handy pockets. Long thought of her smart apron frock: note how she's written that across the front of the envelope: This tends to stump those who are new to vintage patterns, and they wonder what on earth the National Rifle Association had to do with anything.
I like the collar and big buttons down the front, but the seaming on the skirt – not so sure. One cool thing: this is a “half size”, the old way that patterns were sized for petites.
By the late 80’s this sizing standard had been dropped entirely by pattern companies.
The instruction sheet, which is in very poor condition, refers to this garment merely as a "dress" while the newspaper article refers to it as a "smart apron frock." The newspaper copy is wonderful: "Here's a new recipe for housewives!To market these latest European styles and her patterns of them, the couple launched a magazine called “Madame Demorest’s Mirror of Fashion” in 1860. The list of designers of vintage mail order patterns is very large.Each “designer” had a different New York city address, which Smith thinks were mail drops to distinguish the bylines.The company also used regional names such as Carol Curtis in the Midwest and Mary Cullen in the Northwest.