The September 1892 Delineator

Antique Victorian Era Knitting & Crochet Patterns, Handbag, Purse, Rugs, an Embroidery sampler, Fashion Illustrations and More.

This is a spectacular illustrated fashion magazine from the Victorian era; the publication date was September, 1892. This periodical was marketed as The Delineator: A Journal of Fashion, Culture and Fine Arts and was published by the Butterick Publishing Company. The original price of this issue was only 15 cents!

Quoting from the ad for The Delineator magazine that appears on the inside back cover of this issue:

“Each issue contains over one hundred pages of reading matter on the prevailing and incoming fashions for Ladies, misses, girls and children, seasonable living, the decoration of the home, the care of the person, the cultivation of the artistic faculties, the newest books, and a wide range of general literature designed both to please and instruct. The fancywork department is large and filled with novel ideas provided for us by special designers. The magazine is indispensable to the housewife and mother.”

Fast forward to now, all these years later; in today’s world this issue is equally interesting but from a different perspective. This issue will be of interest to anyone with an interest in fashion & theatre costume design, theatrical re-enacting, sewing, dressmaking, crafts, knit design, crocheting, embroidery, cross stitch, needlework, rugs & rug making, lace & lacemaking, tatting, fancy work, millinery & hats, American history, cultural history, sociology, antiquarian books, women’s issues, cooking, graphic design, advertising, and old ads.

There are 4 antique crochet patterns in this issue as follows:

  • Infant’s Crocheted Sack in Puff and Five-Star Stitch: this is actually a fancy baby jacket, very sweet and very Victorian. It is lovely! Would make a beautiful gift for any baby.
  • Edging and Insertion in Crochet- according to the instructions, this is supposed to be for aprons and underwear. However it is so pretty that I am sure you will find other uses for it as well.
  • Section of Baby’s afghan in hairpin crochet work

Some Other Tidbits From This Victorian Era Magazine Issue:

Fancy Stitches and embroideries:

“The specimen of needlework introduced this month is remarkable for its novelty and exquisite beauty, two qualities which bespeak for it an enthusiastic reception from connoisseurs in needlework. It combines point-lace braid of the narrowest width with an arrangement of simple stitches so disposed as to form what is to be known as “Fish tail” embroidery.” The pattern given in this article is a passion flower worked in embroidery silk.

The art of knitting:

There are 5 incredible knitted projects in this issue.

The first knitting pattern of interest is a truly exciting knitted miser purse! Antique bags and purses are so popular with collectors these days, and this purse design is exceptional. If you are into antique purses I think you will really enjoy having the opportunity to knit your own purse using authentic Victorian era instructions.

The second knit pattern of interest is the design for a counterpane square. Afghans, blankets, throws, tablecloths, and linens made using antique knit counterpanes are extremely fashionable right now. Actually this counterpane square could be used in the same way any given granny square of the same size could be used- if you have any granny square idea books in your stash, they’ll provide great inspiration. In my opinion this antique counterpane design is prettier than a granny square- it is light, airy and lacy.

There is a pattern in this issue called “Knitted Lace” which is apparently a wide lace edging or border. This could be attached to table or bed linens to dress them up (would make spectacular sets of sheets & pillowcases! Or tablecloths, runners, etc). It could also be attached to garments. Lots of potential uses! Very versatile and very pretty!

Also in this issue is a pattern for a girls’ knitted petticoat. The instructions say to knit it using Germantown wool or camel’s hair wool. This is a pattern you will not find in any modern-day publication! If you have need of a petticoat for theatrical purposes, here is your chance to own an authentic antique pattern to re-create one!

The last knitting pattern in this issue is for a “Knitted Holder”. I am stumped as to what this holder is supposed to hold. I imagine it is quite functional, and it certainly looks intriguing. According to the instructions, it is knit with 2 separate colors of wool- both lavender and white.

Modern Lace Making:

This issue has some beautiful laces, the first of which is “A Doily in Modern Lace”. A general description is given with some suggestions for working, but the directions are of a general nature. I believe an experienced lacemaker would be able to reproduce the design but this is not a project for a beginner.
Next is another design in modern lace- a lace edging or border with a floral motif. This design is shown very close-up, with all details plainly visible. Quoting the article, “The lace here illustrated may be easily made, as the design is given in full size and no difficulty will be experienced in following it or copying the filling-in stitches”. (End quote.) If you have some experience making lace this design will probably be self-explanatory, but again, this does not seem to be a project for a total beginner.
There are 2 designs for darned net in which the diagrams are given in this issue. These are suggested as motifs to be used for bridal veil, sleeves, child’s dress, debutante’s gown, flounces, or bedspread.


In this issue is the pattern for a tatted handkerchief border- this is so pretty, dainty, and feminine! It would make an ideal wedding hanky.

Russian Embroidery in cross stitch:

This 4 ½ page article has 28 different illustrations showing different stitches that you could use to design an embroidered sampler- actually there is enough material here to do multiple samplers if you want. The accompanying text is interesting, giving a bit of history about Russian embroidery. The history lesson goes as far back as the thirteenth century! Also the article discusses techniques and materials used- silk, thread, flax, cotton, wool, canvas etc.

A Rug Recital-

This article is all about rugs and rugmaking techniques. This article concentrates on rugs woven on a loom. I am not experienced at rug making but I do have a fundamental knowledge of weaving, and I had difficulty following this article- so considering that I would say that it will take some expertise with rugs for you to fully appreciate this article.

Manners & etiquette:

  • The article called “What shall I do?” covers etiquette that was proper at the time this magazine was published. This is fascinating to read! Some tidbits:
  • ”No refined woman will form the acquaintance of a man to whom she has not been introduced.”
  • ”A young girl should not begin to accept attentions from men until she is eighteen years old”.
  • ”When a man and woman are calling together or attending a party, the woman should make the first move to leave.”

Anyone interested in antique calling cards will probably enjoy this article, as it has lots of tips regarding the proper etiquette about calling, when someone is obligated to call, when to leave calling cards, when one should ask before calling or wait to be invited, how newcomers go about arranging calls etc.
The wedding etiquette is especially intriguing. I was surprised to learn that at that time “A black silk wedding dress would be in good taste for the bride’s mother”. (My own mother claims to be the queen of etiquette, and she insists that no woman should ever wear black to a wedding because it brings bad luck! She was truly horrified because several of the female guests at my own wedding wore black! I can’t wait to show her this… if you’ve ever had a similar argument with your mother, perhaps you will find this article valuable.)

Forming a Library-

History and Historical Romance- these book reviews are so interesting, especially considering that the author of the article really did make good choices- lots of the books on the list are classics that remain familiar favorites. Topics covered are mostly historical- histories of Japan, Germany, Holland, Great Britain, Egypt, Italy, Russia, India, Norway, and Sweden are mentioned; the author of this article recommended books that were, in the opinion of the author, the best histories of those countries available at the time the article was written. If any of these titles look like ones you’d like to own, you can have hours of surfing ebay in search of them- just think of it as modern-day treasure hunting!

Ads & Advertising:

There are 38 pages of antique advertising in this magazine. I just love these wonderful old ads! They are delightfully entertaining, and informative too. I learn something new every time I read through the ads in an antique magazine.
One of the ads I found interesting in this issue was an ad for the Delineator to its advertisers. In it, they quote the “guaranteed circulation for this number in the Americas, 500,000 copies”. If you think about it, that really isn’t very many. How many of those 500,000 copies do you think have actually survived?
You probably are familiar with the name “Butterick” because you know of their sewing patterns. Well, the Butterick Publishing company used to produce much more than just sewing patterns! In this book are ads for many publications by the Butterick Publishing Company- with titles such as:

  • the Correct Art of Candy Making;
  • Home-Making and House-keeping;
  • Needle and Brush: Useful and Decorative;
  • Needle-Craft: Artistic and Practical;
  • Smocking and Fancy Stitches For the Decoration of Garments;
  • Good Manners;
  • Drawnwork, Standard and Novel Methods;
  • The Art of Crocheting;
  • Masquerade and Carnival: Their Customs and Costumes, Something for the Devotees of Terpsichore;
  • The Art of Modern Lace-Making;
  • The Tailor’s Review: A Monthly Journal of Men’s Fashions;
  • etc.

Additionally there are ads for corsets, bicycles, soap, fabric & silk, hosiery, medicines (some quack medicine too), scissors, cosmetics, wallpaper, rings, and many more products that were available at the time.

Where To Buy the September 1892 Issue of the Delineator Magazine:

Well, good luck finding yourself a copy of this. It can be done, but it probably won’t be easy! Here are some places to look:

Click Here to Search Biblio.


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