Friends, when is the last time you saw someone wear a bed jacket who wasn't starring in a 1940's film noir?
The bed jacket harks back to a time when many women (Lord knows, not all) weren't in any particular rush to get anywhere in the morning. A bed jacket was something to lounge in when you weren't quite ready for a full length robe (or peignoir). Today, the very idea of lounging at all seems to have gone the way of the bed jacket.
The front copy on the vintage McCall's bed jacket pattern below aptly defines its purpose:
To look pretty in, to be warm and comfy breakfasting in bed --
or reading in bed, there's nothing lovelier than your hand-quilted jacket.
The bed jacket was part of a lady's boudoir, along with a (preferably large) vanity mirror, cut crystal perfume bottles, frilly nightgowns, and satin bedroom slippers. It had a purpose, but a very narrow one.
Bed jacket sewing patterns were ubiquitous in the 1930's and 40's, still around in the 1950's and 60's, and had all but vanished in the 1970's for reasons you can probably figure out. The woman who once would loll about in a bed jacket chatting on the telephone extension or sipping tea was, by this time, more likely to be running off to work.
Bed jacket patterns went out with old-fashioned ideas about femininity, daintiness, and Hollywood-style glamour. Nobody wears a bed jacket for a Tinder hookup, right? They were the type of sewing project that involved hand-sewn embellishment techniques like embroidery, smocking, and quilting which, I'd argue, many more female sewers knew how, and were willing, to do. It's also a lot about finding the time.
In closing, friends, I ask you:
1) Do you now or have you ever worn a bed jacket similar to those above?
2) Do you remember anyone you know wearing a bed jacket -- mother, grandmother, closeted uncle?
3) Is the modern day equivalent of the bed jacket, a) a snuggie; b) a sweatshirt, c) central heating?
Is it time for the return of this glamorous garment?
BONUS: Name the celebrities featured above for extra credit!