A Passel of Patterns

“Just when I thought I had seen it all…” That was my reaction when not one, not two, not three, but four “new-to-me” vintage Vogue patterns came up for sale in the span of just a couple of weeks. Although I am always on the lookout for any pattern which might expand my collection in a meaningful way, I am, nevertheless, quite particular when it comes to buying new ones. I only want to add patterns which I think I will use at some point, even if it is just one detail which I might combine with another pattern. But I admit to having certain proclivities which seem to guide (no, sabotage) my pattern collecting – such as coats. I am complete mush in the face of a beautiful coat pattern! Another weakness is cocktail dresses and ensembles, especially ones with little jackets. Oh, I do love a classy cocktail dress! So, is it any wonder, that when these four patterns came “on the market,” I put considerable effort into trying to make them mine? And I hope that, even if you would never see yourself using a vintage pattern, you might still find much to admire in these beauties.

If you follow me on Instagram (@fiftydresses), you have already had a sneak peek at the first pattern.

The description reads: “Slim dress has flange with front draping. Narrow shoulder straps. Short jacket with below elbow length kimono sleeves has crossed over fronts. Left shoulder scarf is joined to front shoulder.”

Lots of pattern pieces as you can see in the diagram.

The front draping and the left shoulder scarf, adding back interest, put this ensemble on a notch well above ordinary.

This Vogue Couturier Design by Ronald Paterson was next to come on the market, at which time I happened to be traveling. Of course, that did not discourage me from keeping at the important business at hand, i.e. pattern collecting.  I felt very fortunate to have the winning bid, tucked in between airline flights!

This coat is a perfect example of what is known as a “dressmaker coat.”

I was initially drawn to the blouse pattern, which has such a demure, ladylike feel to it, but, of course, the coat with its lovely collar and flattering seaming completely won me over.

The description reads: “Narrow, semi-fitted coat has curved seaming at back of waistline. Small, shaped collar; long sleeves, four fake welt pockets [I can live with that, or perhaps eliminate them…] Fly-front, tuck-in blouse has kimono sleeves in front, set-in at back. Trim-stitching on shaped neckline and sleeve bands. Slim skirt.”

The long darts in the coat sleeves are an unusual detail, and notice the four neck darts on both the coat and the blouse.  These vintage patterns give so much useful information on the backs of their envelopes.

No sooner had the last pattern appeared than another one from the same decade came to my attention. From the House of Dior, this classic dress and coat have some notable stylistic details, such as the Dior darts in the bodice of the dress and the shoulder line extensions on both the dress and the coat.

The description reads: “Sleeveless, semi-fitted dress has back shoulder line extension and high round neckline. Ribbon belt. Slender coat has padded [YES! Padded!] band edging at side closing, around neckline and on long sleeves.”

If I make the dress, I will be cutting in the shoulders by a few inches and probably slightly reshaping the neckline. Also, the ribbon belt looks a bit too wide, but that will take some more thought. I think the coat is gorgeous.

When the final “new-to-me” pattern came up for sale, I was still traveling! I was getting proficient at keeping up with multiple bids, but the auction for this one was ending when I was going to be landing at our home city, so I resolved myself to losing this one. How lovely when I found out a few hours later I had, indeed, had the winning bid.

I have found that vintage Guy Laroche patterns often have a bit of “drama” to them. Certainly that is the case with this dress with its draped back.   That detail and the perfectly placed, half-looped bow at the shoulder make this design a winner in my opinion.

This pattern is copyright 1960, making it the earliest of these four patterns.

The description reads: “Slim skirt in two lengths joins the bloused bodice at waistline. Loose draped back section below shaped neckline. Three quarter length fitted sleeves and sleeveless. “ I quite like the options available: long, short, three-quarter sleeves, sleeveless. This dress could be quite fancy or understated, depending on the fabric and how it is made.

Once these patterns started arriving in the mail, I was, happily, not disappointed.  However, since I’ve been home, I have been trying to tow the line on any more pattern purchases after my flurry of activity! I have, instead, been trying to concentrate on a flurry of sewing. It’s great, finally, to be back in the sewing room. Dare I say (without jinxing myself) that I am excited to show you – soon – what I am working on?


Filed under Bows as design feature, Coats, Cocktail dresses, Dior darts, Dressmaker coats, kimono sleeves, Mid-Century style, The Conde Nast Publications, Uncategorized, vintage Vogue Designer patterns, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1960s

13 responses to “A Passel of Patterns

  1. Whatta haul! And so many lovely details. On a complete side note, have you used ezsniper? A favourite of mine if a particular item is finishing when I am not around when the auction closes…
    So a Dior dart – I’ve heard this used but am unsure of the definition, is it a dart emanating from a princess seam specifically? The blouse I’m currently working on is a match for the particular seam/dart combo on the Christian Dior pattern, so that’s interesting to know 🙂
    Oh and yes to Guy Laroche patterns – this is my particular favourite from your haul. It reminds me of a 2014 Schiaparelli dress I’ve had on the brain recently (fitted pencil skirt with a top that creates a blouson-effect at the waist in the same fabric). That drape across the back is certainly as you describe it – dramatic!

    • I have not used ezsniper (great name!); believe it or not, I am always trying to find reasons NOT to buy, so if I lose something at auction, I comfort myself with thoughts of how much I saved by not having the winning bid!
      Yes, a Dior dart is one that comes off of the princess seam. I love this detail and how it fits!

  2. Margene

    What a keen eye you have for vintage patterns and designs. So looking forward to your future creations. Guess I’ll sign into Instagram so I can see what you posted there. Happy sewing!

  3. Wow! What great patterns. I absolutely love the intricate details and slim fit of these styles. Vintage patterns were not hesitant to incorporate designer finishes such as the draping and the padded front band sound especially interesting. I’m sure you have some spectacular outfits planned.

    • I really love the sophistication of so many vintage patterns, not just in their designs, but in their assumption that the sewing public is up to the task of some intricate construction.
      Ha! At this point, I am planning out sewing projects several years in advance!

  4. Vogue 1459 is still my idea of a perfect city coat. Is it really timeless? Or is that just the effect of being in my twenties in the sixties?

  5. Oh wow, did you make a haul! Love those details, and I agree, the coats are wonders by themselves!

  6. I really adore that blouse in the Ronald Patersonpattern. And how did I not know that you are on Instagram?!

  7. Mery

    What a treat! When the lines of patterns are this interesting I enjoy spending some bedtime studying the lines and daydreaming like reading a novel.

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