Thursday, July 30, 2009

Making your own patterns OR Pattern making ...

As well as using commercial dressmaking patterns, I also make my own - one of my personal favourites is:

Dress Pattern Designing - the basic principles of cut and fit by Natalie Bray


Originally printed in 1961, many of the suggested patterns/designs feature unusual seam lines as well as interesting shapes. Although the 'basic principles' can be rather lengthy to follow and/or complete, they do result in patterns that produce a good fit for specific sizes.

2 other books have also been written by the author - More Dress Pattern Designing and Dress Fitting. The latter book is extremely useful for gaining a wide range of knowledge regarding garment fitting for a wide range of body shapes with and without body imperfections. The 3 books work well together to provide a very useful 'working' insight into pattern designing, pattern shapes and their ultimate fit. Well recommended reading material!

More recently published are other books I use for reference - these being written by Winifred Aldrich. The first in a series is 'Metric Pattern Cutting' (originally printed in 1976) & it has been reprinted several times together with updates. It includes a wide range of pattern cutting designs and styles but is generally more 'modern' than the above books by Natalie Bray. Additionally, I found instructions easier to follow, shapes quicker to produce as there are less measurements required to make the patterns. A varied range of fitting techniques are also included.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Dressmaking Companies ...

Sewing has been a popular hobby in days gone past - especially home dressmaking. From the beginning of the 20th century, after sewing machines began appearing in every high street, patterns for making clothes steadily increased in popularity. After WWII and right up to the 1970s, they were available in almost every high street department store as well as retail fabric and haberdashery shop. It was fun to sew and be able to wear (and make) something quite unique!

BUT as everyone could afford to buy their own clothes it became 'unfashionable' to make your own and with many having less free-time, it was not as popular. Consequently, over the years sewing patterns have become less readily available, their ranges declined and many companies have disappeared altogether amalgamated.

I have always had a hobby of dressmaking and using sewing patterns and so I have a general collection spanning from appx. 1910s to date. Mostly purchased within the UK, there are a cross-section of designs and sizes for children and adult garments as well as patterns for varied textile items that include soft furnishings, toys and accessories. The patterns have been produced by many different companies - mainly those readily available at the time. These include leading makes, such as:

Blackmore, Burda, Butterick, LeRoy, McCalls, Simplicity, Style, Vogue, Weldon

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dressmaking Patterns in Fashion Magazines ...

Some of my patterns originate from weekly magazines - available to readers who could send away for them.

The aim was usually to promote the magazine as well as sewing and fabric sales. This late 50s/early '60s pattern is typical of those generally available at the time.
Also note the subtle change to the pattern envelope and magazine WOMAN logo as it moves from the 1960s towards the 1970s.

Current fashion designers were often featured with the pattern garment being made up and photographed in the magazine. Here are just 2 such patterns – featuring designs of John Bates and Jean Muir.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dressmaking Patterns – Designers ...

During the 1960/70s, there was a variety of manufacturers who produced dressmaking patterns. Some of the main 'fashionable' ones were: Vogue, Butterick, McCall's, Simplicity, Style and LeRoy although there were others not quite as popular. These main ones had a range of dressmaking patterns available from the latest ‘young designers’ of the time so that you could sew your own ‘original designer' garment at a fraction of the cost and in a fabric or colour of your own choice.

UTTERICK 6979 - c.1970sThis one was designed by Betsy Johnson at 'Alley Cat' - a fashionable boutique of the period.

STYLE 3349 - c. 1960s

Another pattern - although not designed by a recognised or named designer, it featured garments that were almost identical to those from the BIBA range of clothes.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Wonderful Vintage Vogue Pattern ...

Ever since I began to sew, I've collected dressmaking patterns, many being those I have actually used and made from - here's a personal favourite:

VOGUE 8567 - c. 1970s

Wonderful shaped panelled dress with excellent fit and flattering design lines. 'Princess-style’ seamed panels ensure VERY GOOD BUST & HIP fitting.

Highly recommendable pattern.