Tag Archives: 1970s Vogue Patterns

A Return to Sewing

Did you think I had abandoned my cape?  After an unexpectedly long hiatus from sewing – due to busy holidays, travel, and things out of my control – I finally returned to my sewing room last week.  And although PINK is supposed to feature large in my 2022 sewing agenda, I first had “anything but pink” unfinished business from 2021.  Yes, that cape which I thought would be such an easy make…  I put the final stitches in it last week, only about 6 weeks after I imagined that would happen.

Hah… Those buttons are much more of a deep olive green in reality!
Can you tell it was freezing when I took these photos? This duo will be a good Fall ensemble, but it is not quite warm enough for the middle of Winter!

In all fairness, I should say whenever I must stop a project and then return to it weeks later, I always imagine that it has taken me much longer than it should have.  There is a “reacquaintance” factor in the time involved.  “Now, just where am I in this?  What’s the next step?  What did I do with the undercollar?  Is the lining already cut out?  If so, where is it?”  and on and on. Believe it or not, I tend to be rather organized about my sewing, leaving notes for myself – that sort of thing.  But still – the momentum needs to be rebooted, both for the project and for myself!

Enough of this babble. On to the cape – what worked, what didn’t, and what will I do differently, should I make this pattern again.  Regardless – the cape is ready to wear, and I am very pleased with how it turned out.  

I had to pay extensive attention to laying out the pattern and matching plaids as best I could, knowing that this uneven plaid was going to play some tricks on me.  For the most part, I think I was fairly successful; at least there aren’t any glaring mismatches.  

I must have sewn, torn out and resewn the collar at least five times until I realized those stripes were never going to perfectly align.
I chose an olive green silk charmeuse from Emma One Sock Fabrics for the lining.

The arm slits are just lovely, both outside and inside:

The welts are continuous with the front princess seam.
The lining is brought right up to the inner edge of the welt and slip-stitched in place.

I was a bit concerned about the size of the collar.  This is a pattern from the 1970s, when collars tended to be a bit oversized.  I certainly did not want this cape to scream 1970s, so I was ready to pare down those collar points if necessary.  But I think the collar is perfect just the way it is.

I under-stitched the collar to control the edges.
I think the size of this collar is just right.
I also under-stitched the front edges of the lining. The entire cape is underlined with silk organza, which gave me the perfect anchor upon which to attach those stitches invisibly.

The one component of this pattern I did have trouble with was the separate closing tab.  The pattern, surprisingly, did not specify bound buttonholes.  Rather it called for machine or hand-stitched buttonholes.  I usually like to make bound buttonholes on wool fabric (there are exceptions, of course, but I did not look at this as one of those).  So I dutifully went at it.  But the narrow width of the tab made turning it, with bound buttonholes applied, nearly impossible.  No, make that totally impossible.  It was lumpy, uneven, and unacceptable.  But I was not going to give up on my bound buttonholes.  I decided to redraw the tab, using “squared-off ends” rather than rounded ends.  I knew that would give me more space to manipulate all the interior buttonhole bulk.  I also oriented the buttonholes horizontally instead of on an angle as shown in the lower pattern piece below.

The lower figure is the original tab as taken from the pattern. The upper figure is my redrawn tab.

Voila!  It worked, and I think it might even be a better look than the tab with the rounded ends.  

Not sure why my olive green enameled buttons look almost mint green in these photos.

So – what would I change next time?  I think I might add an inch or two in length.  I think the cape pictured on the pattern envelope looks longer than the reality of it.  

I also think I would taper the back hem of the cape to a gentle extended curve so that the back of the cape is about one to one-and-a-half inches longer than the front.  When I visualize that, I like what I “see.”  

Making this cape has reinforced my opinions about this type of outer covering – it is graceful and quietly elegant in this unfussy form, even in plaid.  Finishing up this project was necessary, but also, as it turned out, a successful start to the new sewing year.  


Filed under bound buttonholes, Capes, couture construction, Uncategorized, Vintage fabric, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1970s, Vogue patterns, woolens

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.



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!


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