Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Focus On: Polynesian Patterns

by Sherri, SewBettyAndDot

Aloha! When you think about a midcentury vacation to Hawaii, what comes to mind? Being greeted at the airport with a lei; watching the Kodak hula show in Honolulu; sipping a mai tai as you watch the sun set; men in aloha shirts; and perhaps relaxing in a muumuu? This is, of course, a somewhat stereotypical picture of a Hawaiian interlude, but many many Kodachrome slides from the 1960s will bear out the fact that these things were indeed part of many people's experience. 
Vintage postcard for the Kodak Hula Show, Waikiki (via Pinterest).

This blog post is primarily about the Hawaiian companies that produced Polynesian patterns (or variations thereof), but no discussion of Hawaiian clothing can be had without a brief overview of the muumuu (or muu muu, or mu'uma'mu). However you spell it, it is the iconic garment many associate with Hawaii--or if not Hawaii, a 1960s pool party or backyard "luau" somewhere in America. 

When Christian missionaries arrived in the Hawaiian Islands around the 1820s, they found that the people who lived there dressed for comfort in the warm and humid climate, which meant that they were not very covered up. Men wore a malo (loincloth), while women wore a skirt (pa`u); these were usually made of kapa, a stiff barkcloth made from a number of different sorts of plant fibers. Women and men generally did not wear anything above the waist (sometimes they did wear a rectangular shawl (kihei), which was worn over one shoulder. Because nudity was not acceptable to the missionaries, women were given long and loose-fitting garments: these were called holoku and were often made of homespun or calico. 

The garment worn underneath this long dress, as a sort of shift or chemise, was the muumuu, typically knee length. Over time, the muumuu became the long garment we know today, and various other style elements have been added (trains, drapes, ruffles). Japanese immigrants brought fabric used to make kimono--often printed with flowers or other natural motifs in bright colors--and the holoku/muumuu evolved from a drab shapeless dress to a flowing relaxed garment in attractive colors. Today, the term holoku is still used for more formal evening garments, while muumuus are for daytime. Muumuus most often have a defined yoke from which the rest of the garment flows. 
Women wearing holuku, early 20th century; Woman in holuku with ukulele, ca. 1900; a group of non-Hawaiian ladies in their muumuus. (photos 1 and 2 courtesy hawaiiantimemachine.blogspot.com; photo 3 via Pinterest)

After Hawaii gained statehood in 1959 and with the advent of transoceanic air travel in the early 1960s, people were able to fly to the islands and experience all of the islands' culture, cuisine, and traditions for themselves. Simultaneously, the American postwar leisure class developed a taste for the "exotic," and tiki culture exploded: bars such as Trader Vic's and the Tonga Room, "exotica" music by musicians such as Martin Denny and Les Baxter, and the cool and comfy muumuu could be found even in middle America. If you couldn't travel to Oahu and buy a muumuu there, you could go to the fabric shop and buy a pattern by Polynesian Patterns, Patterns Pacifica, Pauloa, or Kekahi to make your own. (While the other major pattern companies also produced muumuu patterns, these four companies were all based in Hawaii.)

Of course, these pattern companies had to expand their offerings beyond the traditional muumuu, so you can find also find shifts, cheongsams, lounging pajamas, jumpsuits, and bikinis. Polynesian Patterns, which were produced in the 1960s and 1970s, gave many of their garments Hawaiian names such as Alii, Kealoha, Waikiki, Kahiko, and Ihilani. The Vintage Pattern Wiki lists 50 separate Polynesian Pattern patterns; most of the garments are for women, but they did make a few for girls and I've found one to make men's swim trunks. Below are some lovely Polynesian offerings from the Pattern Patter team on Etsy.
Top row, left to right: Polynesian 121: VintageNeedleFinds

Patterns Pacifica also produced patterns for leisurewear during the 1970s and 1980s--look for the distinctive pink-and-white packages! Their designs often deviated a bit from the more "traditional" Hawaiian designs. The Vintage Pattern Wiki lists 55 Patterns Pacifica designs.

Top row, left to right: Patterns Pacifica 3006: CloesCloset

Pauloa and Kekahi are two other Hawaiian brands (I believe the same company, as their office share the same address). These are much more scarce. In addition, Alfred Shaheen (who was primarily a fabric designer) produced several "Hawaiian" patterns. 

Which of these patterns would you say "aloha" to? Tell us in the comments!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Free Pattern Friday - Summer Belts


Let's spruce up some old tired outfits with a new belt! Wide or skinny, these crocheted belts can be made to complement any dress, skirt, pants, or shorts. Make several in all of your favorite color combinations!

Click Here

for PDF Pattern/Instructions! 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

                        Patterns for Your Home
                             Giveaway Winner!! 



Thursday, April 16, 2015

Free Pattern Friday - Sewing Basket

    Sewing Basket

Courtesy of RetroMonkeys

Vintage Sewing Patterns on Etsy

Great Liner for a 19 1/2 X 12 X 12 Basket to hold your sewing supplies. Use your favorite fabric to make this organized basket that will make your life easier! 

Download Pattern & Instructions HERE

Originally Published in: 
Good Housekeeping Needlecraft Encyclopedia ©1947

Monday, April 13, 2015

Sewing Giveaway! Home Decor!~

Patterns for Your Home

If you are looking for a way to spruce up your home after a long winter, here's your chance! We are giving away this amazing collection of Home Decor Patterns, Books, Fabric, and Notions!

First let's cover the Patterns! There are 17 patterns!
Country Patterns: Clara Coe and Patricia Pig Towel Dolls; Heirloom Collection Easter Bunny Wall Hanging

McCall's:  3901 - Quilts & Pillows, 8373 Nursery Decor, 5908 "The Magic Quilt", 4124 Pillows, 7396 Faye Wine Gone Fishin' Bears, 5741 Valances/Cafe Curtains, 8211 Curtains & Shades, 4068 Chair Slipcovers, 3323 Country Decor. 8919 Pillows

Simplicity:  5688 Valances & Draperies, 8404 Slipcovers by Donna Lang, 4181 Draperies & Valances bt Robin Greenwood, 5495 Kitchen Appliance Covers

Transfers for Embroidery! 

Vogart 128 & 249 Pillow Slip Designs, Aunt Martha 3782 Native American Designs


American Quilts and How to Make Them; Carter Houck and Myron Miller Copyright 1975

Sew No More Home Decor; Leisure Arts Copyright 1993


Blue Floral has Bamboo design - 3 1/8 Yards

Flax Color - Approx. 2 Yards

Burgundy Velvet - 1 Yard Plus

Floral Gold Brocade - 1 Yard (not Vintage)

Decorator Accessories 

Drapery Tie Backs, Fringes, Bindings, Curved Needles and So much more!!

How do you Enter?

Enter Below for your chance to win this amazing collection of sewing patterns, fabrics, and 

List of Shops who graciously donated items to this giveaway as well as upcoming giveaways!
Ellie FindCraftyPatterns https://www.etsy.com/shop/FindCraftyPatterns
Janie  Redcurlz  https://www.etsy.com/shop/Redcurlzs
Barbara  FloraDoraPresents  https://www.etsy.com/shop/FloradoraPresents
Amy ViennasGrace  https://www.etsy.com/shop/ViennasGrace

Kinsey Sue  KinseySue  https://www.etsy.com/shop/kinseysue
Charlotte PatternsFromThePast  https://www.etsy.com/shop/PatternsFromThePast
Catherine - Frisky Scissors https://www.etsy.com/shop/FriskyScissors
Deb - MantuaMakers https://www.etsy.com/shop/MantuaMakerPatterns
Wendy PatternMemories 

Virginia - DecadesofCharm: https://www.etsy.com/shop/DecadesofCharm

Enter by April 20th  11:59 PM to be eligible to win!
Rules for entry - Entrants must be residents of the United States and be 18 years of age or older. Former and present members of the Pattern Patter Team and their families are not eligible to enter. To Read all of the Giveaway Terms & Conditions, Click on The "Blog Policies" tab.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Free Pattern Friday - Bookmark

Elephant Bookmark

What a great way to encourage reading! Make this adorable bookmark for your child or students. 

Originally Published in Workbasket                           CLICK HERE FOR PATTERN
Magazine, April 1957

Courtesy of RetroMonkeys

Monday, April 6, 2015

Get Well Soon Craftgossip's Anne Weaver!


[broken+arm.gif]The Pattern Patter Team is sending Get Well Wishes to Anne Weaver, Sewing Blogger from Craftgossip.com. Anne Broke her wrist while rollerskating with her daughter and required extensive surgery to repair the two breaks in her wrist. Anne is still trying to blog but between only having one hand and the pain, she can't possibly keep up with her usual prolific posting! Let's show Anne how much we appreciate her and send her our messages of a speedy recovery! Please leave a comment below for Anne! 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Free Pattern Friday - Powder Mitt

Powder Mitt

I have fond memories of my grandmother's dressing table and the smell of her body powder - Chanel No. 5. The soft fabric with the powder puffing out. I'm sure that we wasted a lot of that powder!

Now you can make your own Powder Mitt!
The easy pattern can be downloaded by clicking HERE

Originally published in Gifts you can sew -©1942 

Courtesy of RetroMonkeys