July 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

Iman photographed by Norman Parkinson for the cover of Vogue Italia, March 1976

Iman on the cover of Vogue Italia, March 1976. Photo: Norman Parkinson. Image via eBay.

Iman (b. 1955) turns sixty today. Born Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid in Mogadishu, Somalia, she and her family fled to Kenya after the 1969 military coup, where she was discovered while a student in Nairobi by photographer Peter Beard. She soon became the first African supermodel, later founding Iman Cosmetics. (For more on Iman’s early career, watch Vogue Italia’s video interview, or read a 2014 Guardian profile here.)

Iman in Chanel couture with David Bowie, photographed by Bruce Weber for Vogue Italia, 1995

Iman and David Bowie in Vogue Italia, August 1995. Photo: Bruce Weber. Image via

Iman can be seen on a handful of Vogue Patterns, circa 1980, as well as pattern editorials in Vogue Patterns and Vogue magazine.

From Jean Muir, Vogue 2399 is a long-sleeved, blouson dress with matching scarf:

Iman wears a blue Jean Muir dress pattern - Vogue 2399, circa 1980

Vogue 2399 by Jean Muir (ca. 1980)

Vogue 2400 is an Emanuel Ungaro skirt suit with striped, quilted jacket and tucked blouse:

Iman on the cover of a 1980s Emanuel Ungaro suit pattern - Vogue 2400

Vogue 2400 by Emanuel Ungaro (ca. 1980) Image via Etsy.

From Yves Saint Laurent, Vogue 2404 is a skirt suit with contrast standing collar and turn-back cuffs:

Iman wears an Yves Saint Laurent skirt suit, circa 1980 - Vogue 2404

Vogue 2404 by Yves Saint Laurent (1980) Image via Etsy.

In a 1977 Vogue Patterns editorial in Vogue magazine, the young Iman wears a top (Vogue 9798) and drawstring pants (Vogue 9493) with a Liberty-print sarong:

Iman photographed by Bob Richardson in Vogue 9798 and 9493 for Vogue magazine, May 1977

Iman in Vogue 9798 and 9493, Vogue, May 1977. Photo: Bob Richardson. Image via the Fashion Spot.

(Reposted from the Fashion Spot Iman thread.)

Iman also appears with Karen Bjornson in a Vogue Patterns blouse editorial by Patrick Demarchelier from summer, 1979. Here she wears Vogue 7413 (with Bjornson in Vogue 2185 by Renata):

Iman and Karen Bjornson in blouses Vogue 7413 and Vogue 2185 by Renata, photographed by Patrick Demarchelier, 1979

Iman and Karen Bjornson in Vogue Patterns, July/August 1979. Photo: Patrick Demarchelier.

On the left, Iman wears Vogue 7234 (the envelope shows Gia Carangi; with Bjornson in Vogue 7392); on the right, her wrap-front blouse is Very Easy Vogue 7373 (with Bjornson in Vogue 7435 – click to enlarge):

The New Suitors, 1979: Vogue 7234 and 7392; Very Easy Vogue 7373 and Vogue 7435

Iman and Karen Bjornson in Vogue Patterns, July/August 1979. Photos: Patrick Demarchelier.

Just for fun, here’s another early Iman cover from the same period as her commercial pattern work (photographer unknown; later used by German Cosmo):

Iman Italian Cosmopolitan cover, June 1980

Iman on the cover of Cosmopolitan Italia, June 1980. Image via Modelinia/Fashion Bomb daily.

Happy birthday, Iman!

With thanks to vegas4001 for the Vogue Italia photographer credit.

Pan Am Games 2015 – Vintage Pattern Edition

July 20, 2015 § 6 Comments

This week the Pan Am Games continue in Toronto. In honour of the Games, here’s a look at vintage patterns and illustrations showing women’s sports.

First up: Pan Am sports that have already concluded for 2015.

Archery. From a 1933 issue of McCall’s magazine, this archery scene was illustrated by Jean des Vignes:

Jean des Vignes archery illustration in a 1930s McCall's magazine

“Taking Aim,” McCall’s magazine, March 1933. Illustration: Jean des Vignes.

Golf. Ben-Hur Baz (later known for his pin-ups) illustrated this golf scene for McCall’s magazine, circa 1930:

Ben Hur Baz ladies' golf illustration in McCall's magazine, spring 1930

McCall 6078 and 6074 in McCall’s magazine, April 1930. Illustration: Ben Hur Baz.

Donna Karan designed these mid-1970s golf separates, hat included, when she was at Anne Klein. You can buy it for your own golfing needs from the PatternVault shop.

1970s Donna Karan for Anne Klein for Penfold golf pattern - Vogue 1415

Vogue 1415 by Donna Karan for Anne Klein x Penfold (ca. 1976) Image via PatternVault on Etsy.

Roller skating. Simplicity 3890, a World War 2-era skating pattern, includes this roller skating illustration:

1940s roller skating pattern - Simplicity 3890

Simplicity 3890 (ca. 1941) Image via Etsy.

Sailing. This 1930s sailor dress has a contrast collar and big buttons at the side-front closure:

1930s sailor dress pattern - New York 217

New York 217 (ca. 1930s)

Swimming. This chic, cuffed swimsuit (previously featured in my Heat Wave! beachwear post) dates to the late 1940s:

1940s bathing suit pattern - Vogue 6709

Vogue 6709 (1949) Image via Oodles and oodles.

The swimsuit was photographed by Richard Rutledge for Vogue Pattern Book:

1940s Richard Rutledge photograph - Vogue pattern no. 6709

Vogue 6709 in Vogue Pattern Book, April/May 1949. Photo: Richard Rutledge.

Tennis. The cover of the McCall Quarterly for Spring 1932 has this tennis-themed illustration featuring two dresses by Bruyère:


Bruyère patterns McCall 6804 and 6819 on the cover of McCall Quarterly, Spring 1932. Illustration: Blanche Rothschild.

(For more tennis patterns see my Tennis, Anyone? post.)

Stay tuned for more vintage sports wear… I’ll be looking at a different Pan Am sport and related vintage pattern every day this week.

Yves Saint Laurent 1971: la collection du scandale

June 11, 2015 § 3 Comments

Yves Saint Laurent 1971: la collection du scandale. Exposition du 19 mars au 19 juillet 2015 - Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent 1971: la collection du scandale. Model: Willy Van Rooy. Photo: Hans Feurer.

Yves Saint Laurent’s Spring 1971 haute couture collection, Libération, is currently the focus of a major Paris exhibition. Curated by Olivier Saillard of the Palais Galliera, Yves Saint Laurent 1971: la collection du scandale may be seen at the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent through July 19th, 2015. A catalogue (in French only) is available from Flammarion.

Inspired by the women of occupied Paris, Saint Laurent’s “Forties” collection interpreted vintage styles for the younger generation—subversive historicism with an edge of camp. The wartime silhouettes of thirty years previous dominated for day, with evening gowns featuring prints based on ancient Greek erotic art. (See Suzy Menkes for Vogue and Joelle Diderich for WWD.) Like the designer’s Beat collection for Dior, it brought youthful street style to couture, prompting a similar backlash but ultimately succeeding in terms of broader influence.

Yves Saint Laurent Spring 1971 haute couture (Libération) in L'Officiel 1000 modèles' YSL special issue

Yves Saint Laurent Spring 1971 haute couture (Libération), L’Officiel 1000 modèles hors série, 2002. Image via

L’Officiel was one of the only magazines to put the collection on the cover; British Vogue and Harpers & Queen opted for related Rive Gauche looks instead:

Yves Saint Laurent couture ensemble on the cover of L'Officiel, March 1971

Yves Saint Laurent couture ensemble, L’Officiel, March 1971. Photo: Roland Bianchini. Image via

Florence Lafuma photographed by Barry Lategan for the cover of British Vogue, March 1, 1971

Poppy accessories from Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, British Vogue, March 1971. Model: Florence Lafuma. Photo: Barry Lategan. Image via Vogue UK.

Viviane Fauny photographed by Helmut Newton in YSL Rive Gauche for the cover of Harpers & Queen, April 1971

“Lips” print dress from Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Harpers & Queen, early April 1971. Model: Viviane Fauny. Photo: Helmut Newton. Image via Pinterest.

Vogue Patterns licensed two patterns from the Spring 1971 couture. Vogue 2571 is a puff-sleeved dress trimmed down the front with tiny buttons. Frank Horvat photographed the navy original for the August/September issue of Vogue Pattern Book. The editorial text reads, “From Yves Saint Laurent, a slither of crepe. Note the new high puffed sleeves tight round the wrists, with just enough flare and tiny ball buttons”:

1970s Yves Saint Laurent dress pattern - Vogue 2571

Vogue 2571 by Yves Saint Laurent (1971) Image courtesy of Paco Peralta.

V2571 schematic

Technical drawing for Vogue 2571

Here’s the envelope description: Misses’ Dress. Semi-fitted, slightly flared dress, mid-knee length, has jewel neckline, front button and loop closing, front gathered into forward shoulder seam and topstitch trim. Full length leg-o-mutton sleeves with pleated cap have zipper closing. Purchased scarf. Semi-fitted sleeveless slip has back zipper closing.

The exhibition catalogue includes this photo of the dress in the original collection presentation:

Runway photo of the Vogue 2571 dress in the collection du scandale exhibition catalogue

A model shows the navy dress from Yves Saint Laurent’s Spring 1971 Libération collection. Image courtesy of Paco Peralta.

Vogue 2598 is a pattern for pleated skirt, cuffed trousers, and double-breasted jacket with optional ribbon trim (see Paco’s post here):

1970s Yves Saint Laurent three-piece suit pattern - Vogue 2598

Vogue 2598 by Yves Saint Laurent (1971) Image courtesy of Paco Peralta.

V2598 schematic

Technical drawing for Vogue 2598

The envelope description reads: Misses’ Three-Piece Suit. Fitted, double-breasted blazer jacket has notched collar, wide lapels, patch pockets, extended padded shoulders, full length sleeves with buttoned vents and turn back cuffs. Topstitch or ribbon trim. Gored, pleated skirt, two inches below knee, has waistband and topstitch trim. Straight-legged pants with cuffs are darted into waistband.

Here is a ribbon-trimmed pantsuit version of Vogue 2598 in the original presentation. The pattern could be adapted to make the sleeveless variation:

Runway photo of an Yves Saint Laurent pantsuit - Spring 1971 haute couture

A model shows a pantsuit from Yves Saint Laurent’s Spring 1971 Libération collection. Image: Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent.

These editorial photos from L’Officiel’s spring couture preview show three variations on the Vogue 2598 double-breasted suit look: a long, houndstooth coat; a jacket worn with a short, wool jersey jumpsuit; and a pinstriped pantsuit topped with a fur stole:

Yves Saint Laurent Spring 1971 couture photographed by Jean Louis Guégan for L'Officiel

Yves Saint Laurent Spring 1971 couture in L’Officiel 582 (1971). Photo: Jean Louis Guégan. Image via

Jane Birkin was photographed in the long-sleeved, ribbon-trimmed jacket (can anyone identify the photographer?) and Bianca Jagger wore a white, single-breasted jacket from this collection to her wedding:

Jane Birkin in Yves Saint Laurent Spring 1971 couture

Jane Birkin in Yves Saint Laurent. Image via tumblr.

Mick Jagger with Bianca Jagger in Yves Saint Laurent couture, May 1971

Mick Jagger with Bianca Jagger in Yves Saint Laurent, May 1971. Image via Gaia Fishler.

Just for fun, I’ll close with some editorial images featuring spring 1971 Yves Saint Laurent:

Helmut Newton's photos of Yves Saint Laurent couture for Vogue Paris, March 1971

Yves Saint Laurent couture in Vogue Paris, March 1971. Photos: Helmut Newton. Models: Viviane Fauny, Margrit Ramme. Image via Youthquakers.

Bob Richardson's photos of Anjelica Huston in Yves Saint Laurent couture for Vogue Italia, June 1971

Anjelica Huston in Yves Saint Laurent couture, Vogue Italia, June 1971. Photo: Bob Richardson. Image via

Gian Paolo Barbieri's photo of Ingmari Lamy in Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, 1971

Ingmari Lamy in Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche (?), 1971. Photo: Gian Paolo Barbieri. From Soie pirate (Scheidegger & Spiess, 2010) Image via little augury.

With thanks to Paco Peralta.

Yves Saint Laurent + Halston: Fashioning the 70s

April 17, 2015 § 1 Comment

The Museum at FIT’s exhibit, Yves Saint Laurent + Halston: Fashioning the 70s, closes this Saturday. (See Bridget Foley, “That Real Seventies Show.”) If you can’t make it to New York to see it, a catalogue is available from Yale University Press.

Patricia Mears and Emma McClendon, Yves Saint Laurent + Halston: Fashioning the 70s. Image via Yale University Press.

The MFIT exhibit organizes the two designers’ 1970s work in three thematic sections: menswear influence, exoticism, and historicism. Since both Yves Saint Laurent and Halston had licensed sewing patterns in the ’70s, I thought it would be fun to present three pairs of patterns in the exhibition’s format.


From Yves Saint Laurent, Vogue 1143 is a ’70s version of the famous Le smoking. Helmut Newton photographed Charlotte Rampling in a similar, Prince of Wales check pantsuit for Vogue (with original text here):

1970s Yves Saint Laurent pantsuit, blouse, and skirt pattern - Vogue 1143

Vogue 1143 by Yves Saint Laurent (1974) Image via Etsy.

According to the curators, Halston’s most famous garment is the Ultrasuede shirtdress. McCall’s 4391 is a zip-front shirtdress that includes special instructions for working with synthetic suede:

1970s Halston dress pattern, view A for synthetic suede - McCall's 4391

McCall’s 4391 by Halston (1975) Model: Karen Bjornson.


Yves Saint Laurent’s interest in “exotic,” non-Western dress is perhaps best remembered from his Russian collection (Fall 1976 haute couture). From Vogue’s Ballets Russes patterns, Vogue 1558 is a Russian ensemble consisting of blouse, vest, bias skirt, and braid-trimmed jacket—hat and babushka scarf not included (see more at Paco’s blog):

1970s Yves Saint Laurent Ballets Russes pattern - Vogue 1558

Vogue 1558 by Yves Saint Laurent (1976) Model: Karen Bjornson. Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

During the 1970s, both Saint Laurent and Halston showed non-Western influence in their caftans and pajama ensembles. Halston pattern McCall’s 3590 combines both:

1970s Halston caftan, top, and pants pattern - McCalls 3590

McCall’s 3590 by Halston (1973)


Inspired by the 1940s, Yves Saint Laurent’s Spring 1971 haute couture collection, Libération, launched the decade’s vogue for vintage. Although the 1971 collection was poorly received, Saint Laurent’s subsequent vintage-inspired efforts were very influential. From 1973, Vogue 2930 is a Forties-inspired dress-and-coat ensemble:

1970s Yves Saint Laurent dress and coat or jacket pattern - Vogue 2930

Vogue 2930 by Yves Saint Laurent (1973) Image via eBay.

Halston’s historicism focused on the interwar couture of the 1930s, especially the work of Grès and Vionnet. McCall’s 4046 is a slinky dress for stretchable knits. It has only one main pattern piece and is shaped by gathers and side darts:

1970s Halston cocktail or evening dress pattern - McCall's 4046

McCall’s 4046 by Halston (1974)

As the curators note, Halston and Yves Saint Laurent have been seen as embodying two separate styles: minimalist ready-to-wear vs. fantasy couture. Yet comparison of their work shows how their stylistic experimentation led them to common ground, particularly in the earlier ’70s. Interestingly, some Saint Laurent and Halston garments can be hard to tell apart until you examine the construction—something home sewers can certainly appreciate.

Designs by Halston and Yves Saint Laurent on the cover of W magazine, September 3-10, 1976. Image via WWD.

Patterns in Vogue: Striking Gold

December 24, 2014 § 2 Comments

Vogue Nov1979 Turbeville detail

Detail, Vogue, November 1979. Photo: Deborah Turbeville.

“Striking Gold,” a 1979 editorial by the late Deborah Turbeville, includes a two-page Vogue Patterns spread that has a festive sparkle.

Turbeville’s photo shows four seated models dressed in shimmery charmeuse and lamé; two wear off-the-rack clothing. The two featured patterns (at centre and far right) were made up in gold-pistachio lamé from Bloomingdale’s (click to enlarge):

Striking Gold: Vogue Patterns photographed in gold-pistachio lamé by Deborah Turbeville, 1979

Striking Gold: Vogue Patterns. Vogue, November 1979. Photo: Deborah Turbeville.

The patterns are Vogue 2105 by Christian Dior and Very Easy Vogue 2182 by Oscar de la Renta.

You can see the rest of the shoot at Sighs and Whispers (larger scans at the Fashion Spot).

Happy holidays, everyone!

Krizia Playsuit – McCall’s 6624

September 30, 2014 § 9 Comments


It’s officially fall now, but the recent warm weather gave Naomi and me the chance to photograph my late 1970s Krizia playsuit, made using McCall’s 6624. (See my post on Krizia patterns here).

McCall's 6624 by Krizia - 1970s playsuit and wrap skirt

McCall’s 6624 by Krizia (1979) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

The playsuit bodice and shorts are pleated into a pointed, one-piece midriff band, and the whole thing closes at the front with a zipper and buttons. I love the shaped side vents on the shorts.

I used a black glitter stretch knit from my stash, found at Fabricland’s old downtown location. The pattern needed extensive resizing. Due to the mid-1970s unofficial sizing change (thanks to Peter for drawing my attention to this) the 10 was fine on top. (That’s my copy on the wiki.) I added some ease to the midriff band and adjusted the bodice and shorts to match up to it. I also lengthened the rise, added to the crotch length, and slashed to add some room in the hips. Yes, it’s a stretch knit, but I was trying to be faithful to the ease of the original.

This was my first time sewing a McCall’s “Carefree” pattern, and I found the instructions involved a little guesswork. I have also made up a ’70s Vogue pattern with similar design elements—midriff band, pleated dirndl skirt—and can vouch for Vogue’s more extensive markings and instructions. The McCall’s didn’t even have markings for the buttonholes. I carefully followed Vogue Sewing Book’s buttonhole instructions, but I suspect I made them too big. Perhaps vertical buttonholes would solve the problem?

If I were to make the playsuit again, I would add markings to the midriff piece to help line up the side seams etc., and also ease stitch across all the pleats (rather than just hand basting) to keep everything in place. The instructions say to finish the shorts with a narrow hem; I couldn’t see that working with my knit and the shaped side vents, so I did my best to mimic a serger finish (zigzag, trim, topstitch) and pressed the sides into relative submission. If I were making it again I would use fusible stay tape.

We photographed the playsuit by a local graffiti mural by Anser and Chou.

McCall's 6624 by Krizia (1979) - Noble St. mural in Parkdale, Toronto

McCall's 6624 by Krizia (1979)

The sparkle only shows up close:

1970s Krizia playsuit pattern - McCall's 6624

McCall's 6624 by Krizia (1979)

Here’s a view of the back pleats:


The playsuit is so strappy, short, and unstructured that it falls more into the realm of loungewear. It’s a bit more practical when worn with a coverup.

McCall's 6624 by Krizia (1979)

(Sandals: Gareth Pugh for Melissa)

(Cross-posted to We Sew Retro.)

Krizia: McCall’s Patterns

August 28, 2014 § 5 Comments

Model with Superman figure - Krizia ad campaign for Fall 1979 photographed by Barry Ryan

Krizia Fall 1979 advertising campaign. Photo: Barry Ryan.

Krizia was already an established label when McCall’s licensed Krizia patterns in the late 1970s. Designer Mariuccia Mandelli (b. 1933) co-founded the company with her friend Flora Dolci in the 1950s, naming it after Plato’s unfinished dialogue Κριτίας (Critias)—Crizia in Italian. The label is known for eclectic, youthful designs that play with pattern and contrast. (For recent coverage of the brand and its influence see the W article, Crazy for Krizia.)

From spring 1979, this two-page spread in L’Officiel shows three Krizia trouser ensembles featuring magenta, orange, and fuchsia satins (click to enlarge):

3 Krizia trouser ensembles in L'Officiel, February 1979, photographed by Michel Picard

Three Krizia looks, L’Officiel, February 1979. Photos: Michel Picard. Image via

This Krizia sweater set (short-sleeved pullover, bolero, and skirt) appeared in a Vogue editorial on the new knitwear:

Krizia knits in "The New Knitting" Denis Piel editorial Vogue August 1979

Krizia sweater set, Vogue, August 1979. Model: Kim Charlton. Photo: Denis Piel. Image via Corbis.

Between 1979 and 1981, McCall’s released a number of Krizia patterns, including a few children’s patterns. Here’s a selection of Krizia patterns for women’s wear.

McCall’s 6624 is a bias wrap skirt and playsuit with shorts and bodice pleated into a midriff band:

1970s Krizia playsuit and skirt pattern - McCall's 6624 - Carefree patterns

McCall’s 6624 by Krizia (1979) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

McCall’s 6629 combines a short-sleeved, V-neck bodysuit with a midi-length trouser skirt and wrap shorts:

1970s Krizia bodysuit, skirt, and shorts pattern - McCall's 6629 - Carefree patterns

McCall’s 6629 by Krizia (1979) Image via Etsy.

This pattern is a set of four tops for stretch knits:

1970s Krizia tops pattern for stretch knits - McCall's 6633 - Carefree pattern

McCall’s 6633 by Krizia (1979) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

McCall’s 6805 is Krizia’s take on the wrap dress, with soft pleats at the shoulder and neckline and lightly puffed sleeves in long and three-quarter lengths:

1970s Krizia wrap dress pattern - McCalls 6805 - Petite-able

McCall’s 6805 by Krizia (1979) Image via eBay.

This sleek skirt suit, reminiscent of AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, pairs a straight skirt with a fitted jacket with shaped hemline and two-piece sleeves with pleated caps. The notched collar has an optional lapel buttonhole:

1970s Krizia skirt and jacket pattern - McCall's 6808 - Petite-able

McCall’s 6808 by Krizia (1979) Image via Etsy.

From 1980, this casual summer ensemble includes bias shorts or culottes and two tops trimmed with tubular knit:

1980s Krizia bias shorts, culottes, and tops pattern - McCall's 7099

McCall’s 7099 by Krizia (1980) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

The more formal McCall’s 7307 is a pattern for polished separates: a jacket with two-piece sleeves, skirt in 2 lengths, and flowing, cuffed pants with matching camisole:

1980s Krizia evening separates pattern - McCall's 7307

McCall’s 7307 by Krizia (1980) Image via Etsy.

Just for fun, here are two more images from Krizia’s Fall 1979 advertising campaign, photographed by Barry Ryan:

Model touching up lipstick with Superman figure - Cantoni - Krizia - Creeds Fall 1979 advertising campaign photographed by Barry Ryan

Krizia Fall 1979 advertising campaign. Photo: Barry Ryan.

Model reading Superman comic - Bini/Ideacomo Group for Krizia at Sakowitz Fall 1979 advertising campaign photographed by Barry Ryan

Krizia Fall 1979 advertising campaign. Photo: Barry Ryan.

Coming soon: my version of the Krizia playsuit.

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