Monday, August 6, 2012

1932 Wardrobe School Project

Some of you may know that I have a thing for collecting old scrapbooks, especially if they have something to do with fashion. I happened to find another scrapbook that not only has some pictures of what a 7th grade girl would possibly wear in 1933 but it also has swatches of fabric next to each outfit.

I bought the book at an online scrapbook and I wasn't quite sure how many pages it had as there were only a couple of pictures.  I was so excited when it came in the mail because not only does it have quite a few pages, it also has some information about the girl who made the book.

This book was made by a young girl named Valeria Henneous who lived in Erie, Pennsylvania and attended Gridley Jr High. She had sewing class every Monday with Ms. Vernon in Rm 16 and I'm sure this book was one of her assignments for this class.

I'm guessing her assignment was to come up with a full wardrobe for every possible situation and show along with what fabric she would choose to make the clothing with.  I love the fact that someone has held on to this book for approximately 80 years and it is in excellent condition!

The first page has her "Official Girl Scout Hat, Dress, Scarf and Socks." It looks like she wrote everything with pencil and then retraced with ink. The fabric looks like a dark green chambray which makes me think she might have cut this from an actual uniform?

Here's an actual 1930's Girl Scout uniform.  I guess in the 30's they would sew the badges to the sleeves and did not uses sashes.

The picture she has of the official scout shoe looks like their shoe from 1933 that was made by Melanson and sold for $5.00. In today's money would be closer to $60!

The next page has her choices for coats.  She shows an example of a dress coat with matching hat and white gloves, and a rain coat with matching hat made out of rubberized fabric.

The reddish orange fabric looks like a fine boucle with a rayon type plaid for the rubberized rain coat.

Party dresses (always one of my favorites) is next with both formal and informal dresses shown.

After that is Sunday Frocks.  The one on the left looks like a smocked dress with puff sleeves and she has what looks like a light green/blue rayon with yellow yarn which I'm thinking must have been for the pompoms?  The one on the right is a cute dress with a dotted net lace overlay.  The glue has turned brown in spots, discoloring the fabric.  The teacher apparently liked this page because she marked "good" on the bottom.

School Dresses comes next and she has three different examples.  All are short sleeved and all have belts.  For the first dress she choose a plain white fabric with a solid red for I'm guessing the bow at the neckline?  The second is a small flower print for the neck/sleeves and a plain peach colored fabric for the body.  For the third dress she picked a small flower print of pink with white flowers and solid white for the neckline and sleeve cuffs.

The page after this one has three more examples.  The first one is marked as School Dress One, Smock two and Sport dress one.

The first school dress is super cute, I love the collar and the print! She chose a print similar to the example.  I really like the smock and love the fabrics she choose.  The 1930's prints are so different and I would love to see what the finished outfits would've looked like with what she's chosen.   The sport dress looks like it has a detachable long skirt over possibly shorts or skort?

The next page is titled Sport Frocks and shows two outfits along with what looks like a yellow sock and her Girl Scout shoe from the first page.  I really like the dress for tennis, beach or street wear!

Next comes 2 pairs of "sleeping pajamas" along with bedroom slippers and shoes for dress, sport and school. They look so formal considering what kids wear to school these days!

Under Things is next and she has two slips , two good pairs of panties and two school panties.  For socks she has some colorful anklets and the fabric for the slips / panties looks like rayon or nylon.

She's included a page for Beach Wear. What I thought was funny was the fabrics are like a fine knit. Compared to the swimsuits of today it seems like such a weird choice for a swimsuit. I have to think they sucked up a lot of water back then? She shows a beach robe, two pairs of slacks and a bathing suit. 

Last but not least is title Miscellaneous.  She has a couple of outfits, some hats and an apron.

On the back of the last page her teacher (Ms Vernon?) gave her a score of 98 with "Very nicely done" written above.

The genealogist in me couldn't help but look to see what I could find about the young girl who made this book.  I didn't find much but I did manage to find a picture of her from her high school yearbook in 1940.  She would've been 16 at the time so just a few years after this was made.  Love the scarf!


  1. Its this sort of thing I find most fascinating, its a little slice of life! Those were probably clothe s that needed to last a few years and they were all hand made.

  2. That is SO COOL! Thank you so much for sharing pictures of your awesome find. It is fascinating to get into the head of somebody from ages past, especially when their thoughts were centered around fashion! :D

  3. What an amazing find! I love things like this. And I LOVE that you were able to find her photo! So great!

    Being that I'm a totally geeky fashion history nut who spends WAY too much time studying history of clothing. . . Hope you don't mind if I answer some of your questions!

    On the Sunday Frocks page, the smocked dress - you're absolutely right that the floss is going to be used to make pompoms, but it's also going to be used (and visible) for all that smocking. (I'm basing this on the fact that smocking is done in a way that it's visible from the right side of the garment, and also that floss is what is suggested to use for smocking on several 1940s-50s patterns I have that involve smocking - and one has pompoms too, and says to use embroidery floss for that as well!) How cool would that dress be? So cute!

    On the Sport Dress - I believe the skort was not invented until the 1960s, so these would be shorts. And it's very common in this era to have a skirt to go over your shorts for your sporting outfit, because while it was okay to be sporty in your shorts, you wouldn't very well want to walk around in public being all scandalous in your shorts now would you? (HA HA HA as I picture some of the teenagers today with shorts that are really more like underwear made of jean material!!!) ;)

    And the bathing suits - they sure did suck up fabric! I've never had first-hand experience, but my friend Katherine made a repro 1930s bathing suit, and documented the before and after in pictures here. And, these knit bathing suits are an improvement over their ancestors, which would have been made of things like wool! Can you imagine? There's a pretty funny pair of illustrations from an 1870 fashion magazine, which you can see about midway down on this page - Figs. 10 & 11, "How she went in" and "How she came out." Ha ha ha!

    Okay I'm done being all smarty-pants now, LOL! Hope you don't see it as someone being snotty, but rather, a friendly person who loves to babble about history of clothing and saw an opportunity to share some info. :D

    1. Not snotty at all! Thanks for all the info! It's great to talk to people who are as into it as I am! :)

  4. This is fantastic- and how wonderful to find a photo of her even :)
    Thank you for sharing!

  5. This is just great! thanks for sharing! I loved everything, I always find fascinating to find some personal information in vintage magazines or patterns, it's great you could find her picture! I'm sure her relatives nowdays would love to have that scrapbook!

  6. Terrific! She was totally adorable. I wonder if she's still alive... Or if you could contact a member of her family to share this with them.

  7. Thank you for sharing this amazing find! It's so lovely and if you imagine that this is it - no sepearates and not all of this is new each year!

  8. Love it! I did a little research myself (just googled the full name, found a married name, added it to my first search, and lots came up) and, as of Feb 2012 could find nothing to say she WASN'T still alive. She would be ninety now, and appears to be in the same city. I'm guessing she recently moved to a care facility and one or all of her children (five as far as i could tell) likely cleaned up the house, who knows, it could have been the same house for almost seventy years, and while i would have treasured something like that, they may not have had the time, energy or space. I now know waaay too much about this lady!! Great find.

  9. What a wonderful treasure! The feeling in your power this beautiful book, which is a piece of the life of a person's 40s, has to be great! Good for you!

  10. Thank you for sharing this wonderful vintage scrapbook! I just love stuff like this.