Tag Archives: 1960s Vogue patterns

A Collection of Coats

When the weather turns wintry, warm coats become a wardrobe staple. One or two “practical – wear everywhere” coats are a must. (I just added years to the life of a 2+ decades-old cashmere, classic, double-breasted coat by having the tattered lining replaced by a local tailor – and I will continue to wear this coat often!) But how delightful to have a collection of coats – and how much better if they are not only warm, but also stylish. If you were sewing in the 1950s and 1960s you were fortunate to have many, many coat styles and patterns available to you – and if you are sewing now, you are also fortunate to have access to many of these same patterns through the internet – and they are just as stylish now as they were 50+ years ago. I am, of course, speaking of “dressmaker coats.”

Quoting from Fairchild’s Dictionary of Fashion, (Third Edition, by Charlotte Mankey Calasibetta and Phyllis Tortora; Fairchild Publications, Inc, New York, New York, copyright 2003) a dressmaker coat is: “A woman’s coat designed with softer lines and more details than the average coat. May have a waistline and unusual details, e.g., tucks or pleats.” Such coats are so-called because they are styled more like a dress.

It doesn’t take very long to find examples of such coats in the Vogue Pattern Book Magazines from those two decades. The sheer numbers of patterns for such coats – and coat and dress ensembles – make me believe that home dressmakers from that period of time did not shy away from such sewing challenges. And why should we when so many gorgeous coats are waiting to be sewn?

Here are a few examples to tempt you:

“The Rectangle Coat: New Fashion Geometry” was a feature in the December 1958/January 1959 Vogue Pattern Book Magazine.

Dressmaker coats - rectangle #1

Both of these coats feature fur collars “added by your furrier.” The one on the left has a “slight oval to the back” – and a half belt.

Suggestions for suitable fabrics are given for each of these designs.

Suggestions for suitable fabrics are given for each of these designs.

Continuing with the theme of “New Fashion Geometry,” the following pages of the same Vogue Pattern Book Magazine show examples of “the triangle coat.” Other terminology for this style of coat is the A-line coat. First introduced in 1955 by Christian Dior, this coat was “made close and narrow at the shoulders, flaring gently from under the arms to hem; shaped like letter A, made in single-or double-breasted style with or without a collar,” according to Fairchild’s Dictionary of Fashion, page 85.

Dressmaker coats - triamgle coat #1

The coat on the right has unusual princess seaming.

The coat on the right has unusual princess seaming.

A few years later, the December 1962/January 1963 issue of Vogue Pattern Book Magazine featured “7 new ways to keep warm and look wonderful.”

Dressmaker coats - 7 coats 1

Several of the coats in this section feature "fullness" in the body of the coat.

Several of the designs in this section feature “fullness” in the body of the coat.

For me, however, it is the “ensembles” that make the ultimate fashion statement when speaking of coats. Christian Dior succinctly sums up their allure in The Little Dictionary of Fashion (Abrams, New York, New York, copyright 2007), page 40: “A very elegant way of dressing is to have a coat and dress matching together, making an ensemble… The frock should be fairly simple and the coat can be either fitted or loose, according to your taste. It can also be either long or short.” Vogue Patterns had no shortage of offerings for such ensembles. Here are four wonderful Vogue patterns – which are part of my pattern collection – and which are “ensembles.”

Note the "fullness" in this coat as well.

Note the “fullness” in this coat as well.

The princess seaming on this coat is similar to the red one mentioned above.

The princess seaming on this coat is similar to the red one mentioned above.

Somehow, this Guy Laroche pattern shows better in this photograph than in its drawing.

Another view of this  Guy Laroche pattern; it seems to show better in a photograph than in its pattern illustration.

This pattern was featured in that same VPB Magazine issue from December 1962/January 1963.

This pattern was featured in that same VPB Magazine issue from December 1962/January 1963.

And here it is in black and white in that issue. Stunning, isn't it?

And here it is in black and white in that issue. Stunning, isn’t it?

I love the knee length coat, although I may substitute another pattern for the coordinating dress.

The neckline on this coat is lovely and perfectly suited for a coordinating dress.

I actually have fabric for three of these patterns – with plans to sew them of course.  (Can you guess which one is the fabric-less orphan?)   However, all of them will remain part of my sewing dreams until after the holiday season – which “officially” begins this week with our American Thanksgiving celebration. I have festive attire and a few homemade gifts to fill my sewing days through December. Building my collection of coats will just have to wait.

Happy, Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers – and my heartfelt thanks to my loyal readers worldwide in this season of gratitude.

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Filed under Coats, Dressmaker coats, Mid-Century style, The Conde Nast Publications, Uncategorized, vintage Vogue Designer patterns, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1950s, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1960s

A Preoccupation with Emilio Pucci

In the world of designer fashion, there are certain names which are synonymous with specific looks.  Obvious examples are Coco Chanel with her little black dress and classic cardigan jacket, Christian Dior with his figure-enhancing full skirts and feminine décolleté necklines, and Emilio Pucci with his distinctive colorful prints,  smart sportswear and flowing at-home-wear.

Lately I’ve been thinking about Emilio Pucci (1914-1992) a lot.   It all started a couple of years ago on one of my West Coast visits to Britex Fabrics in San Francisco. I had already decided upon several lengths of fabric, when I saw a silk charmeuse, which clearly spoke to me of Pucci.  The design was so amazing, the colors so vibrant, and the silk so luscious, that, with a little encouragement from my husband, I added it to my pile.  At 60” wide, I thought 2 yards would suffice for a blouse, not really knowing what I would make.

Pucci

DSC_1183

The silk I purchased seemed to have all the bells and whistles of a classic Pucci print.  (Pucci’s daughter, Laudomia took over the business after her father’s death, and has continued her father’s signature style.)  He only used the finest, luscious fabrics with a color palette “straight from the Aegean horizon” according to the entry on him in The St. James Fashion Encyclopedia  ( Visible Ink Press, Detroit, MI, 1997, pages 325-326):  “turquoise and ultramarine set against sea green and lime, or hot fuchsia and sunflower yellow”.  These colors are arranged in “optical fantasies of geometric shapes” which eschew repetitiveness. And, finally, every authentic Pucci fabric carries his discreet “Emilio” signature.  (The Vintage Traveler blog has an excellent post on Pucci and his sporty prints, which shows another example of his signature and his diverse designs.)

The small "Emilio" signature is at the lower part of the pink section.

The small “Emilio” signature is at the lower part of the pink section.

The signature is spread thinly across the expanse of the fabric.

The signature is spread thinly across the expanse of the fabric.

And here is a signature printed vertically rather than horizontally.

And here is a signature printed vertically rather than horizontally.

Shortly after this fabric purchase, I began to get a greater and new appreciation for Pucci’s diversity as a fashion designer as I acquired a few of his Vogue Designer patterns.  Instead of featuring styles dependent upon his bright and unusual fabric designs, they showed feminine dresses and jackets, with clean lines and a surprising touch of demureness.   Here are the three patterns I purchased:

Happy New Sewing Year - Pucci pattern

Pucci - pattern envelope

Wrap dress - 5 (Pucci)

Some other of his designs for Vogue patterns were featured in Vogue Pattern Book Magazine:

The caption in this June/July 1972 article says:  "Emilio Pucci adds glamour to your life with an off-white silk crepe pantsuit..." while the lower picture shows his "signature colors on a silk jersey  lounge gown."

The caption in this June/July 1972 article says: “Emilio Pucci adds glamour to your life with an off-white silk crepe pantsuit…” while the lower picture shows his “signature colors on a silk jersey lounge gown.”

This lovely Pucci gown was shown in the April/May 1970 issue of VPB Magazine.

This lovely Pucci gown was shown in the April/May 1970 issue of VPB Magazine.

Both the fabric and the patterns sat in hibernation in one of the closets in my sewing room until an idea began to take hold in my mind.  I decided I’d like to use one of my Pucci patterns for my authentic Pucci fabric. It just seemed totally logical to me. I measured my fabric again and found I had closer to 2¼ yards.  I was envisioning pattern # 1418, with the dress in the silk print, paired with the jacket in black, lined in the same silk.  With this plan in mind, I found a lightweight, soft and silky wool/cotton waffle weave in black at Britex Fabrics in early February while I was on the West Coast for Susan Khalje’s Couture Sewing School Class – perfect for the jacket.

Hopefully the "waffle" weave shows up enough in this picture.

Hopefully the “waffle” weave shows up enough in this picture.

With pattern, fabrics, and a vision, I was ready to go on my next big project.  There was only one gnawing question – would I have enough yardage of the Pucci silk to make that sheath-style dress and line the jacket?

The answer to that question  – deserves its own Fifty Dresses post!

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Filed under sewing in silk, Uncategorized, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1960s, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1970s