The Delineator is a major source of information on children's clothing during the late-19th century and early-20th century. Here is a page from the September 1900 issues offering a Rough Rider costume, a Fauntleroy suit, and a tunic suit (Russian blouse). The Delineator is particularly valuable because unlike many catalogs, it offers an extended discussion of both construction and fabrfics as well as other matters. Here we have only the first page of thev"Styles for Boys" section.
The Delineator was founded and closely associated with Butterick Company--one of the most well known companies making home sewing patterns. According to Metropolitan Monthly [February 1874], the Butterick company started printing patterns in 1865, issuing a Metropolitan Monthly as a means of illustrating and advertising their patterns. In 1872 they started publishing their Delineator to provide more scope in a larger publication for there patterns with many more pictures in all categories and sizes. It included other information about fashion and home. The Delineator achieved immediate popularity at a cost of 15 cents per issue or a years subscription offered at $1.50 that included a choice of bonus patterns to a value of $1.00. Prices of individual patterns ranged from 20 cents to 40 cents with a deluxe version sometimes reaching $1.50. By 1883, the circulation was 155,000 copies per month, and 10 years later in 1893 it had reached the staggering number of 500,000. Circulation was worldwide, including 85 countries in such exotic and out of the way places as Ceylon, Chile, Hong Kong, Congo, Curacao, Fiji Islands, Siam, etc. In 1905 the Delineator was still selling for 15 centsd per copy, the same as 1872. According to the same article Butterick was producing about 15,000 patterns a day, and sending them out to all the places mentioned.' The Delineator was graphically reserved, and used stylized representations of contemporary women. It was run by the inventors of the pattern and initiated the fusion of the sewing pattern and magazines. The Delineator, as with most fashion magazines, primarily focused on women's fashions. There was for the time, however, unprecented coverage of children's fashions--including boys' clothes. The magazine is the single most important source of information on late 19th and early 20th Century children's fashions.
The organization of the Delineator varied over time. Here is the first page of the "Styles for Boys" section in the September 1900 issue (figure 1). We have only the first page of the section.
We note a variety of play costumes. We are not sure when these play costumes became popular, but believe it was primarily a 1900s development. We do note play costumes in the retail catalogs as well as pattern publications. We also note many examples in the photographic record. Native American costumes seem particularly popular. One interesting 1900 development was military uniforms, of couse as a result of the Spanish-American War. A good Rough Rider pattern was offered in the Delineator. American boys might not be too excited about many outfits mom would sew for them. Most boys would have been absolutely beside themselves to get an outfir like this.
Tunic suits in 1900 were commonly called Russian blouse suits. This is what the Delineator called the suit here, altough the illustration was not on the page. The tunic suit became one of the most popular garments for younger boys in the early-20th century. Note that it was a boy's garment. The page here has only part of the text.
We still see Fauntleroy suits in 1900 but the style was beginning to declinee in popularity. Here the Delineator offers a classic Fauntleroy suit. It has a cut-away jacket, knee pants, and a fancy Fautleroy blouse. The patterns were made in six sixes for boys from 3-8 years of age. The heading read, "Little boy’s suit". The ad copy read, (for illustration see this page) number 4314-For dressy wear the jaunty suit here shown will be found eminently satisfactory. Black velvet was chosen for the jacket and trousers and white lawn for the blouse. The well-shaped jacket flares to display the blouse and has pockets covered with laps inserted low down in the fronts. The sleeves are in the regulation close-fitting style. Braid supplies a pretty decoration for the jacket.
The blouse is prettily trimmed with insertions and edging and is distinguished by a deep, rolling collar and turned-back cuffs. At the lower edge it has fullness drawn in by an elastic or tape inserted at the hem and the closing is made through a joined-on box plait at the centre of the front. The sleeves are stylishly full. The trousers are made without a fly and are shaped with the regulation inside and outside leg seams and a centre seam and are fitted over the hips by darts. The closing is made at the sides, and braid and buttons decorate the outside seams. Serge, cheviot, Venetian or covert cloth, cassimere and materials of this order are used for boys’ suits, while linen, China silk and surah are used for blouses. A trim suit could be used of cadet-blue cloth trimmed with braid and buttons. We have pattern number 4314 in six sizes for little boys from three to eight years of age. To make the suit for a boy of seven years requires two yards and one-fourth of goods twenty-seven inches wide for the jacket and trousers, with a yard and five-eighths of goods thirty-six inches wide for the blouse. Prices of patterns, 1s or 25 cents." [Note: The 1s price meant a schilling. The Dilenator was also destributed in Britain, although the Rough Rider costume here shows that it was primarily an American publication.
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