Drawers, 1930s

CHM 1992.5.4 (pattern available at link)
These drawers - tap pants, they're more commonly called now - were made by a Mrs. Shattuck who ran a "sewing room" in downtown Glens Falls. (The information came from the donor; there's nothing at all about Mrs. Shattuck that I can find online, although there was a local Shattuck family.) Made of a slippery silk or rayon, they're entirely hand-sewn with grey silk thread.

I've actually used this pattern twice now to make tap pants for myself as part of my new home sewing regimen. The first time, I used a very nice, heavily patterned rayon charmeuse and I sewed them by hand. The only changes I made were to widen them a bit, leave off the lace, and hem the edges instead of binding them. And I used snaps instead of buttons. Some of these were bad choices! The pants are meant to sit at the waist, not on the hips, so I shouldn't have widened them so much; the snaps have a tendency to pop when I move, although that might not happen if they were won over a girdle the way they were intended. For the second pair, I fixed these issues - using buttons instead of snaps and only widening them about an inch - but also sewed them on the machine (much, much better on my wrist, and faster) and used a blue cotton lawn from a past bustle dress. I'm pretty happy with them so far!

Although I still couldn't make the automatic buttonholer work. Has anyone ever? Is there a trick to it?

If you like the look but aren't comfortable scaling up the pattern, Mrs. Depew has a couple of similar patterns from the 1930s and 1940s.