“You see her leafing through pattern books – picking out a collar here, a cuff there, a new way of pleating a skirt . . . You see her fingering a tiny swatch of fabric, Yet she’s seeing it as a whole dress, or a blouse, or a jacket . . . Who is she – this lady with the limitless imagination? She’s the woman who sews. YOU . . .”
This is just one of many ads placed by manufacturers of fabric in the April-May 1950 Vogue Pattern Book Magazine. Ordinarily I would not have purchased this issue, as most Vogue patterns available before 1955 were not printed, and I rarely buy a vintage pattern which is not printed! My particular interest in these vintage magazines is the opportunity they provide to identify dates for patterns, fabrics and style trends, making the experience of sewing with vintage patterns (and fabrics) even more enjoyable. However, when this issue was available in an Etsy store, I succumbed. I was born in May of 1950, and my curiosity just got the better of me.
Looking at this issue made me realize how old I am… NO, NO, NO! Just kidding, I think. Actually, what really popped out at me was how exciting it must have been to be a home dressmaker at this point in time, with the home sewing business booming, post-war, and fine fashion – and the desire to look wonderful – such important aspects of a woman’s life.
And then, as I was leafing through the magazine, I found an unexpected surprise. Tucked in between two pages was Vogue Patterns April 15 Collection, an 8-page flyer, available at pattern counters and easily something that could be tossed away. I find it remarkable that this slim printed piece survived.
The format is larger than what I am used to seeing in later Vogue pattern flyers from the 1960s and 1970s. When one looks at the fashions and patterns detailed, it is easy to imagine the woman who picked this up, looking at it again and again.
Not only that, also tucked in with this flyer was this page from Harper’s Bazaar, March 1st, 1950.
Clearly she had in mind making the dress pictured on the back cover of the flyer:
Some of my favorite pages in this, my “birthday” issue? I was delighted to find an ad for Moygashel linen, for which I have a particular passion:
A lover of polka dots makes me partial to this gorgeous blouse:
And how can I resist this stunning “moulded sheath dress with a draped cascade”?
I am so struck by the sophistication of the styling of the fashions and illustrations, the emphasis on Designer offerings, and the exciting abundance of piece goods being sold by manufacturer’s name to the home sewing population. Times and fashions change, but I believe we have much in common with these mid-century home dressmakers plotting their wardrobes with creativity and skill – pairing fabric and pattern. We are the women who sew – and are still the ones with the limitless imaginations!