Peruse vintage costume patterns for just a few moments, and you'll realize that the footed pajama has long been the bedrock of kids' costume patterns. It beckons from within the illustrations like a shady man on a streetcorner, opening its coat full of watches and whispering to tired moms, "Pssst. Lady. I know the sewin's gonna take some time. You're just makin' pajamas, some mittens and a hood with bunny ears or a spaceman's antenna, see? Let the kid run around in it for Halloween and ya got jammies for the rest of the year."
Take McCall's 1485 from 1949. The panda, in particular, is quite adorable. (Click on the photo to go to the listing, which is at Midvale Cotttage.)
See? Cute! Bunny is helping Tiger with makeup and Mouse is hanging out with Cat, who's carrying a cane for some reason. I feel bad for the little girl who's staying in, but she does have good slippers. S
Adorable and practical: that's the footed PJ costume. Timeless, really. So it's no surprise that McCall's re-issued the same pattern in 1980, this time calling it McCall's 7132 (click on the drawing to go to the listing in tiddleywink's shop.) Taking recycling to heart, though, the pattern illustrators re-used the same concept -- although I find the update disturbing:
Cat still has a cane, and that gives me pause. Do cats usually carry canes? I've always been a dog person, so maybe there's a cat/cane connection I don't know about. Maybe canes were the height of fashion for cats between 1972 and 1980, and any child dressed for Halloween in footed pajamas, ears and a bow tie but sans cane was mistaken for a marmot.
Then there's Bunny. Bunny isn't helping with makeup any more, electing instead to tauntingly wave a cottontail at Pajama Girl which, frankly, isn't so nice. Whatever illness is still keeping Pajama Girl inside this Hallow's Eve has presumable gotten worse. She's practically quarantined off, though the fever has made her blissfully unaware of it.
Mouse has taken over makeup duty, but I don't like the look on Tiger's face. Not one bit. That kid is going to cause some trouble. Combined with the what must be cruel laughter of Cat, the taunting of Bunny and that inexplicable cane, the whole thing is feeling a little too Clockwork Orange to me. The "Powers" scrawled next to Trio Taunt doesn't help much either. (Truth be told, neither does the fact that the hubby and I decided to re-watch some Kubrick films last week, so I've got the Korova Milk Bar on my mind.) At any rate, I fear for Pajama Girl. She's not going to be smiling for long.