Thursday, June 27, 2013

Focus on: Pockets

By Sherri of Sew Betty and Dot

This is the first in a series of blog posts focusing on a particular aspect of a garment's design.

Today we look at pockets, those oh-so-handy (pun intended) applied elements that began as a practical solution to carrying around necessities and then began to take on a design or decorative purpose over the ages. The pockets below are clearly just decorative! (Or maybe a small lipstick and one house key will fit?)
Vintage Butterick 7445 Sewing Pattern, 1950s Suit Pattern, Bust 30 Inches, Midcentury Suit, Full Skirted Suit, 1950s Sewing Pattern
Butterick 7445: Sew Betty and Dot

The word "pocket" is derived from the Anglo-Norman word "pokete," which means small bag or pouch. And the first pockets were indeed small bags sewn onto a thin band that was then tied around a woman's waist, usually over her shift and under her petticoats (men's pockets were sewn right into seams and linings)--women's dresses did not have pockets as we know them, sewn into/onto a garment, until the eighteenth century. Remember, dresses were full and wide-shirted, with petticoats and/or panniers and hoops under them. A pocket could be worn with no interruption to the line of the dress itself.

And these tied-on pockets seemed to have held quite a lot: handkerchiefs, needle kits, combs, pocket-books (small diaries), snuff cases, scent bottles (often held up to the nose to block out some of the unpleasant odors associated with urban living), and sometimes even small food items (!). Pockets were often hand made and frequently made by friends as gifts.
Image courtesy
 The Duchess of Devonshire's Gossip Guide to the Eighteenth Century,
who I believe got the image from Victoria and Albert online (see below).

When fashions changed to the more straight up-and-down form familiar from the Regency period (Jane Austen, anyone?), the tied-on pockets, which added bulk, no longer worked: voila, the reticule (a very small, often drawstring bag) was born.
Image courtesy

By the 1840s, as fashion changed again and dresses and skirts became full again, they began to have pockets sewn into the seams. (All of the pocket history comes from the Victoria and Albert Museum, which, in addition to being one of my very favorite museums,  is a fabulous fashion/costume resource online.) But enough history: let's look at some gorgeous vintage sewing patterns where the pocket is prominent.
Butterick 3918:
Dresses from the 1920s--again, with straight up-and-down lines, for the most part--didn't lend themselves to pockets. The dress above (late twenties/early thirties) has small diagonal patch pockets, not terribly noticeable. In the 1930s:

1920s Flapper Era Dress Pattern Butterick 3918 Delineator Bust 40 Womens Vintage Sewing Pattern Pullover Frock Scalloped Hem V Neck
Butterick 3918: 

Late 1930's Dress Pattern New York 971 Ladies' and Misses' Two-Piece Dress and Hat Vintage Sewing Pattern Bust 32
New York 971:  GreyDogVintage

Patch pockets, often relatively small...

1930s Misses Coat Dress Vintage Sewing Pattern, Simplicity 1562 Bust 32"
Simplicity 1562: MissBettysAttic

1930s Vintage Plunge Back Dress & Jacket Pattern  DuBarry 1184B Bust  32
DuBarry 1184B: All the Precious Things

1930s Evening Dress Pattern McCall 9451 Plunging Neck Puff Sleeve Evening Gown with Train Womens Vintage Sewing Pattern Bust 36
McCall 9451: PaneenJerez

And an evening dress with tiny decorative pockets!

Pockets became more decorative in the 1940s; you often see contrasting colors or bias pockets, or designs where the pocket is a feature of the garment.
Vintage 1940s Simplicity 2075 Sewing Pattern V Neck Dress Bishop Sleeve Plus Size 18 Bust 36
Simplicity 2075: PeoplePackages

Original 1940's Pattern Featuring a Blouse, Skirt or Jumper Size 14 Bust 32 Simplicity 4496
Simplicity 4496: FaithfulFabrics

1940s Simplicity 2903 Dress with Kimono Sleeved Bodice, Flared skirt and Great Looking Pocket  - Size 18, Bust 36
Simplicity 2903: DesignRewindFashions

Vintage 1940s McCall 7544 Rockabilly Pencil Skirt Sewing Pattern Waist 24
McCall 7544: Sandritocat

Vintage 40s McCall's 7735 - Button Front Shirtwaist Dress BIG Pockets Sewing Pattern -  Bust 38 - FF
McCall's  7735: Anne 8865

Enormous pockets!!! And then the 1950s:
50s Misses Halter Dress Sewing Pattern Oversize Pockets Size 14 Bust 32  Simplicity 4354 UNCUT FACTORY FOLDED
Simplicity 4354: RetroMonkeys
1951 Vintage Sewing Pattern Size 16 1/2 Bust 37 McCall's 8731 Misses Dress with notched v neckline and pockets
McCall's 8731: Vienna's Grace
CLEARANCE SALE Vogue 553 Vintage 1950s Asymmetrical Bodice Sheath Dress Sewing Pattern Sz 16
Vogue 553: DejaVuPatterns
Vintage 1950s Butterick 6125 Misses Winged Collar Day Dress with Large Patch Pockets Sewing Pattern Size 14
Butterick 6125: RomasMaison
Vintage 1950s Zip Front Shirtwaist Dress Elongated Front Pockets...Modes Royale D-154 Bust 32 UNCUT
Modes Royale D-154: SydCam
1950s Pattern Pedal Pushers Capris Pattern Shorts Pattern Waist 26 Simplicity 4680 UNCUT Vintage Sewing Pattern
Simplicity 4680: Cherry Corners
 And some Swingin' Sixties pockets:
1960s Vintage Sewing Pattern Skirt Top and Cigarette Pants - Floral Applique - Butterick 9550 / Size 12 UNCUT
Butterick 9550: SelvedgeShop
1962 Sleeveless Beach Dress with Ruffle at Hem or Ten Shaped Butterick 2288 Quick and Easy Size 14
Butterick 2288: RedCurlz
FREE SHIPPING Vintage 1963 Butterick 2938 Sewing Pattern Juniors' and Misses' A-Line Dress Size 12 Bust 32
 Butterick 2938: SewUniqueClassique
Federico Forquet Sleeveless Inset Dress with Pockets Women's Vintage 1960s Vogue Couturier Design Sewing Pattern 2187 Bust 36 with Label
 Vogue 1867: SewBohemian
   Finally, 1970s pattern pandemonium:

Vintage 1970s TRIANGLE POCKET DRESS Pattern - 34 Bust - Size 12 - Simplicity 8778
Simplicity 8778: Sewing With Miss Dandy

Retro 1970's Amazing Flared Leg Contrasting Pants, Butterick Sewing Pattern 6548,Smock Top, Micro-Mini Dress, Pants and Shorts, Bust 36
Butterick 6548: GrandmaMadeWithLove

1970s Laura Ashley Sundress Pattern Bust 32.5 McCalls 5058 Misses Size 10 Front Buttoned, Patch Pockets
McCall's 5058: QuiltCitySue

Simplicity 7311 1970s Misses  Shirt and Back Wrap Skirt Pattern Womens Vintage Sewing Pattern Size 12  Bust 34 Uncut
Simplicity 7311: MBChills

Butterick Pattern No 6243 UNCUT VIntage 1970s SIze 9 Bust 32" Blouse Top Pants Shorts Designer Mary Quant London
Butterick 6243: CaliforniaSunset

Pockets! Pockets!! Pockets!!! It's a Pocket-Palooza!

Tell us in the comments: which pocket-centric pattern would YOU be most likely to wear?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Singer Fun

Here are some fun vintage sewing videos with advice that still holds true for today.

It's not too late for us to learn today. Here are some fantastic Singer resources still available for us.

1960s How to Make Sleeves Booklet - Singer Sewing Library - Book 108
Making Sleeves
1960s How to Mend and Refit Book - Singer Sewing Library - Book 117
Refashioning from 1961

Vintage Sewing Supply SINGER Sewing Series How to Sew Lingerie Section 12 Paper Ephemera Original not a Repro
Study Lingerie

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tips for Dating Patterns: Zip Codes

By Ellen of KinseySue

When are antique/collectible dealers also historians? Daily! As caretakers of items from our past, we strive to provide customers with as much information as possible. Dating an object is important. I'm sure many members of the Pattern Patter Team are also vintage sellers/collectors. Knowing a bit of history helps us date an object.
For instance, Susie Seller has a Simplicity pattern listed which she describes as from the 70s. However, the last line of the address on the sleeve reads: New York 14, NY. Her pattern can not be from the 70s. Zip codes arrived in 1963. Before that, zones were used from 1943 to 1963. They were instituted during WWII because so many mail clerks had been drafted and zones made it easier for the new, inexperienced clerks to sort mail.
When Simplicity stopped placing the copyright date on the inside of their directions sheet, there was a gap of a few years before they started putting it on the pattern sleeve. They used a zone in their address. Since Susie Seller's pattern has no date on the directions, it is likely from the late 50s to early 60s, or nearly 20 years older than she thought.

Zip Codes = 1963 and later
Of course we rely on the design of the dress or whatever, as well as hairstyles, to help us date a pattern. Mail order patterns are more difficult to date: many don't have the year in the postmark. Knowing a bit about postmarks as well as zip codes can aid us in dating our mail order patterns.

Over the decades U.S. Postmarks have gone through many changes. Most are round, some are oval. The combination of letters and numbers hold the clue to the approximate date. I use Cemetarian’s Dating Guide to help me date my Mail Order patterns. She sells a PDF, "Dating Sewing Patterns" for $9.95 that covers all of the major pattern companies as well as mail order postmarks. 

As we beat the bushes for patterns, we come across other interesting items. Some dating information helps us decide if an object is as old as we think. A good rule to remember as we search: just because something is old does not make it valuable!

Items marked OCCUPIED JAPAN date from 1945 - 1952. I've seen buttons on the original card marked OJ. However, most OJ items are glassware, although I once sold a hanging wooden clothes dryer stamped Occupied Japan. I've also sold linens with a paper label which read MADE IN OCCUPIED JAPAN as well as sewing notions such as a tracing wheel and some sewing baskets.  

Items marked US ZONE GERMANY, BRITISH ZONE GERMANY, AND FRENCH ZONE GERMANY date from 1945 - 1950.  The buttons below are not marked - only the card.

Glassware/porcelain was the most predominantly exported item from the German Zones. These are the years Poland exported many of their collectible Christmas ornaments. After WWII, border changes left a number of German glass factories in Poland.
As Czechoslovakia ceased to be one country in 1993, glass/porcelain from there is desirable, particularly colorful Art Deco designs. Vintage jewelry is sometimes marked Czechoslovakia. NOTE - During the 1920s, Czecho-slovakia was spelled with a hyphen.
Items made during the 60s and 70s are increasingly popular so the following trivia may help someone~~
BRITISH HONG KONG was used from the 1950s - 60s. I've frequently found this tag on vintage clothing and purses.
HONG KONG was used from the 1970s - 90s.
Patent dates are useful in dating items. There are numerous charts on the net which list the year and the patent numbers associated with it. I refer to the following - it's easier on my vintage eyes:
There are many other ways to date our treasures but I've found the above information to be the most helpful to me personally. I hope it also helps my Pattern Patter colleagues.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Staking our Claim

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Get ready! PatternPatter is staking it's claim in blogland and will now give you the ability to follow with  Bloglovin.
Thank you for your patience.

Swing Love

By Ally B. of DesignRewindFashions

Last year I went to my first fashion show, where I sat in a fancy room, drinking a sparkly drink and eating delicious food. The fashion show showcased local designers and one high-end vintage clothing shop here in Portland, Oregon.  I was having a fantastic time when everything came to a screeching halt.  On stage was a stunning, 1950s hot pink, satin opera swing coat with ivory lining. I always thought love at first sight was for the fool-hearted but here I was, eyeball deep in hot pink love….  Alas, my Neiman-Marcus coat was $500.   But not one to relinquish my love so easily, I decided I would make my own. 
McCalls 3836
McCall's 3836

I’ve sewn many things but never a coat.  Using the colors of the opera coat as my inspiration, I found a vintage McCall’s 3836 coat that I thought could be a good beginner coat. Also, it would keep me warm and I could dress it up a bit with the right fabric choice. Though I loved the satin fabric in the Neiman-Marcus coat, I live where it rains a lot and I wanted a coat I could wear more often. My belief is a great coat hides a multitude of sins.  Need to cover up that ratty t-shirt before you go to the grocery, no problem.  Bad hair day?  Pull your hair back and everyone will be looking at your coat.  Ate a bit too much this past week – Its all good because you have A GREAT COAT!  And what is so nice about a basic swing coat is it really can go anywhere at anytime - day or night.  It should be a staple in every woman’s closet.  

I am lucky to live by Mill End Fabrics.  A fantastic fabric store that gets garment district fabrics at some very fair prices.  I found this nude color wool that has a hint of pink and decided to line it with a nice quality, incredible hot pink satin. 
Here is how mine turned out. 

I’m really happy with the cut and the hot pink lined pockets make me smile.  

Swing coats began in the 1940s as a way to work with the wider skirts that were in fashion at the time.  They continue to be popular today though they have been modified a bit over timeFeeling a little daring?  Make your own swing coat and just wait and see how versatile this piece of clothing really is.  Here are some of my favorites.  To find your own favorites, search PatternPatter Swing Coats on Etsy to see the great selection out there.
Vintage 1950s Sewing Pattern Misses Swing Coat Wiggle Skirt Size 14 Bust 34 Simplicity 2694
Simplicity 2694 RetroMonkeys Aren't those bows just darling.

Sz 14 60s Vintage Vogue Couturier Sewing Pattern 1738 by Galitzine A Line Dress & Coat  Bust 34
Vogue Couturier 1738 AllThePreciousThings

1960s Evening Dress Pattern Simplicity 5710 Womens Sweetheart Neckline Evening Dress and Coat Vintage Sewing Pattern Bust 34
Simplicity 5710 PaneenJerez
1951 Women's Pyramid Coat and Topper Simplicity 3737 Size 12
Simplicity 3737 Redcurlzs

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

June Trends Alert

by Amy of ViennasGrace

Gucci spring/summer 2013

Elie Saab did it and so did Ralph Lauren, a big summer fashion trend that is showing up from ready to wear to high end fashion, ruffles. Sometimes as a dramatic flounce flowing down a caftan, an asymmetric jabot placed perfectly on a one shoulder blouse, or feminine ruffles spinning around a soft tiered floral skirt.

Ralph Lauren spring/summer 2013

We see the changes in the use of ruffles throughout the decades in our sewing patterns. In the 1940s an 
off the shoulder blouse or sundress frequently had a single or double ruffled neckline. Late 50s and early 60s used ruffles more as a trim, showing up on collars or finishing off hem lines. The 70s disco scene had a great look, using soft cascading waves down the front of a wrap dress. Let’s not forget the 1980s use of ruffles, blouses adorned with high neck jabots and the multi tiered skirts seen on numerous prom dresses and bridal gowns.

Top row CherryCorners Butterick 3511, AdeleBeeAnnPatterns Butterick 4801, CloesCloset Vogue 2218, retromonkeys Simplicity 1628

So as the peak of summer is nearly here, keep the fashion savvy seamstress in mind. She won’t be shopping in the high dollar designer stores, She will be hunting for the latest summer trends in all our lovely vintage patterns. Use your listing descriptions and tags creatively so she can easily find that special blouse with rows of ruffles and that perfect glamorous party dress with a flounce.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Like Mother, Like Daughter (The Simplicity Way)

By Sherri of SewBettyandDot

Did you and your mother ever dress alike? I know that my mom, at least once, made us matching Easter dresses and coats. 

While other companies certainly made mother/daughter patterns—the Vintage Pattern Wiki has a 1925 Pictorial Review “Me and Ma” apron pattern, and there are numerous Hollywood mother/daughter patterns from the 1930s—Simplicity began to issue numerous “Mother and Daughter Fashion” patterns in the 1940s and have continued to do so to this day. Let’s take a look at some matching mom and child patterns from the forties and fifties.

Apron patterns were quite popular, and these often had both mother and daughter apron pieces in the same envelope.
1950s Vintage Apron Pattern Simplicity 4139 Mother Daughter Half or Full Bib Apron Pattern One Size
Simplicity 4139: GreyDogVintage
Vintage Apron Pattern - McCall's 1641 - Vtg 1951 - Short Aprons for Mother and Daughter - One Size
Simplicity 1641: ThePatternSource
But not always: here is an example of two patterns, one for a little girl, one for mom.
Simplicity 4636 - Darling Girls 1940s Vintage PInafores, Dresses, Aprons, SO CUTE - Alice in Wonderland
Simplicity 4636: Clutterina
1940s Vintage Womens Apron Dress Pattern Or Pinafore Simplicity 4632 Sz 14
Simplicity 4632: KallieDesigns
In many cases, Simplicity would list on the back of each mother/daughter pattern what the corresponding mother (or daughter) pattern was. For example:
Mother Patterns Source: 1 2 3 4
Daughter Pattern Source: 1 2 3 4 

Some patterns don’t have the corresponding pattern numbers for the mother or daughter outfits, for example: 
1950s Dress Pattern Vintage Simplicity 3485 Mother Daughter Variations Unused Pattern
Simplicity 3485: FloradoraPresents
Vintage 1950s Misses Robe in Two Lengths, Mother and Daughter Fashion Size 14 Simplicity 4005 Sewing Pattern 50s
Simplicity 4005: PatternPalooza

It’s really fun to search and find these matching outfits. It’s so interesting, too, to examine the envelope art and see the similarities in poses and hairstyles. Me…and Mini-Me, the Simplicity way!