July 25, 2014 § 10 Comments
Versatile and contemporary, jumpsuits and their cousins, playsuits and rompers, have become increasingly popular in the last few years. Jumpsuits—or all-in-ones, if you’re British—seem poised to move beyond a trend this summer.
The modern women’s jumpsuit has origins in two different garments: beach pajamas and the boiler suit. These twin origins mean jumpsuit styles range from fluid loungewear to utility-inspired or tailored designs. (See Vogue Italia for a short history of the jumpsuit.) Here are some favourite all-in-one patterns from the 1930s to the 1990s.
Beach pajamas, often worn with a matching bolero, had become one-piece by the early 1930s. This McCall’s design combines flowing trousers with geometric seaming details in the bodice and hip yoke. A reproduction is available from the Model A Ford Club of America:
The boiler suits of wartime utility wear are said to have made bifurcated clothing more acceptable for women. This Vogue pattern from ca. 1940 includes both a hooded mechanic suit with cuffed trousers and a more casual, short-sleeved version shown in a dotted print:
This early 1940s pajama ensemble with T-back halter bodice was not just for the beach—the envelope says it’s for “beach, dinner or evening”:
In the postwar period, more tailored jumpsuits emerged as a choice for casual sportswear. This early 1950s pedal-pusher coverall has cuffed sleeves and pants and a front zipper closure:
From the late 1950s, this trim, one-piece slack suit from Vogue came in two lengths and with a matching overskirt:
The jumpsuit—sometimes called a culotte or pantdress—truly comes into its own in the later 1960s. Here Birgitta af Klercker models Vogue 2249, a loungewear design by Emilio Pucci (previously featured in my goddess gown post):
In this late 1960s Butterick Young Designers pattern, Mary Quant combines a trim, zip-front jumpsuit with a low-waisted miniskirt for a sleek, futuristic look:
Both pajama and menswear-inspired styles continue into the 1970s. Famous for her palazzo pajamas, Galitzine designed this bi-coloured lounge pantdress with criss-cross halter bodice:
From Calvin Klein, Vogue 1453 marks a return to the boiler suit style. With cargo pockets, self belt, and wide, notched collar, the jumpsuit could be made long or short, with long or short sleeves:
This Bob Mackie disco jumpsuit or evening dress pattern for stretch knits dates to 1980. (See my earlier Bob Mackie post here.) The jumpsuit has a plunging neckline, waistline pleats, and tapered, bias pants designed to crush at the ankles:
An instance of the late 1980s jumpsuit trend, this shirtdress-style jumpsuit by Donna Karan has a notched collar, welt pockets, and cuffed or seven-eighths length kimono sleeves:
Also by Donna Karan, Vogue 2609, ca. 1990, is a long-sleeved, tapered jumpsuit for stretch knits with neckline variations, front pleats, and stirrups. View C has a contrast bodice with self-lined hood:
From 1996, Vogue 1821 by DKNY is almost vintage. It’s a novel suit consisting of a single-breasted jacket and wide-legged, halter jumpsuit:
Finally, this pattern is not yet vintage, but a jumpsuit collection would be incomplete without Vogue 2343, Alexander McQueen’s tailored, tuxedo jumpsuit for Givenchy haute couture Spring/Summer 1998 (earlier post here):
With their demanding fit, jumpsuits are ideal for home sewers. And they’re not just for the tall and leggy: many of the later jumpsuit patterns are marked as suitable for petites.
January 19, 2014 § 10 Comments
I had planned to make the dress in my default black, and had even bought some mesh for the contrast cowl neck. But when I started looking back over runway photos from Givenchy’s neo-noir Fall 1998 ready-to-wear collection, I was struck by the palette of neutrals, electric blue, and especially the combination of oxblood with red.
(There’s a blue version of the original sleeveless dress on eBay. The dress fabric is a nylon/acetate/elastane blend, with acetate lining, and the back zipper reaches all the way up through the cowl.)
I made View B, the sleeveless, mid-calf version, in oxblood with a red cowl neck. I hit Designer Fabrics and found some oxblood wool, red mesh for the contrast cowl, and Bemberg for the lining. The pattern recommends chiffon for the contrast, but I wanted to stick with the mesh used for the runway version. I was a little stumped as to interfacing for the contrast, and even bought some tomato red tricot to use before learning that the best interfacing for mesh is more mesh.
I wanted a close fit, so I ignored the sizing and went by the finished garment measurements printed on the pattern, including 1″ ease at bust and waist and a little more in the hips. I also lengthened the skirt by 1.5″ to achieve the correct length.
This was my first dart-fitted dress, and I had fun sewing my very first contour darts—eventually realizing the virtues of even a makeshift tailor’s ham. The cowl neck is cut on the bias, but this didn’t pose any problems, since the mesh handles much better than chiffon.
With the full lining and absolutely no stretch, the dress feels very old-fashioned to wear. One thing I misjudged was the bodice/cowl part of the bodice—I cut the right size in the bust, but didn’t distribute the extra waist length I was adding between the above-waist and shoulder areas, so it’s a bit on the high side and the cowl neck has a closer fit than in the runway photo. It would have been simpler to cut a size up and take the bodice in at the sides. The “interfaced” mesh is also a little bulky; the extra layer was probably unnecessary.
Since the Fall 1998 collection was inspired by Blade Runner, it seemed appropriate to take photos of the dress at the David Cronenberg: Evolution exhibition at TIFF Bell Lightbox. In the Interzone area, devoted to Naked Lunch (1991), visitors could have their photo taken with a Mugwump:
Naomi took some photos of me upstairs at an extension of the Cronenberg show called Body/Mind/Change (BMC). Visitors to the biotech facility BMC Labs can observe the production of personalized POD (Personal On-Demand) implants, which are held awaiting pickup by their hosts. The BMC Labs facility is still open if you’d like to create your own POD implant:
Here I am in the POD holding area:
A closer view of the mesh cowl neck:
The cowl fastens in the back with hooks and thread eyes:
The lab staff let me hold a brand-new red POD (rara avis—most are colourless):
We were delighted to find BMC Labs at the end of our visit: it was the perfect backdrop for the dress given McQueen’s futuristic, sci-fi inspiration for his collection for Givenchy. I’m crossing my fingers for a red POD of my own…
March 17, 2013 § 9 Comments
Alexander McQueen would have been 44 today. On the occasion of his birthday, here’s a look back at the free pattern McQueen shared with SHOWstudio: the Scanners kimono jacket.
The original kimono jacket was made of black silk, and was shown on the runway with a matching pencil skirt and long gloves:
The kimono jacket is drawn from Scanners, Alexander McQueen’s Fall/Winter 2003 collection. (The invitation to the show was printed with brain scans—CAT scans of the designer’s brain.) This was the year McQueen received his CBE from Queen Elizabeth II, as well as the CFDA’s International Award and his fourth British Fashion Designer of the Year. The models walked across a snowy tundra and along a raised wind tunnel; the design references represented a journey eastward through Siberia, Tibet, and Japan, mixed with geometric prints and McQueen’s signature tailoring. (See Suzy Menkes, “The Collections / Paris: A stellar McQueen; elegance at Viktor & Rolf.”)
Here are the collection images from L’Officiel 1000 modèles (click to enlarge):
Watch the runway video (kimono jacket at about 6:10):
Kimono-inspired designs are a thread running through McQueen’s work. Here are a few more kimono looks by Alexander McQueen, from Eclect Dissect—Givenchy couture, Fall 1997 (as on the McQueen / Nick Knight album cover for Björk’s Homogenic); La Dame Bleue, in memory of Isabella Blow; and the posthumous Fall 2010 collection:
Size: US size 6 / UK size 8 approx. (bust 32″ – waist 24″) *
Fabric requirements: approx. 1.75 metres (about 2 yards) of 60″ fabric / over 3 metres (about 3.25 yards) of 39″ fabric *
See the SHOWstudio submissions gallery here. Toronto’s Mel of inside out inside has made an adapted version in Lida Baday fabric. Blithe of blithe stitches has a post on her metallic Hablon version and also a detailed tutorial.
* Sizes and yardages are approximate and are drawn from Mel and Blithe’s notes on their versions of the kimono jacket.
February 27, 2013 § 2 Comments
I’m a little late to the party, but—as part of Anne of Pretty Grievances’ Jungle January event, I thought it would be fun to use a reptile print to make the strapless dress from Vogue 2086, the first of Vogue Patterns’ Givenchy patterns by Alexander McQueen.
The dress and jacket are from the Fall 1997 prêt-à-porter, McQueen’s first ready-to-wear collection for Givenchy. (See my earlier post here.) As you can see from this Richard Avedon campaign photo, animal prints were a feature of the collection:
The runway collection included not only leopard lace but also leopard dresses, skirts, and coats. (Fashion TV even has a highlights video of the leopard looks on the Givenchy runway; full runway video starting here.) Leopard lace was also used in this strapless catsuit, modelled by Shalom Harlow:
McQueen showed versions of the Vogue 2086 sheath in both leopard and emerald green python (models: Michele Hicks and Naomi Campbell; photos via L’Officiel 1000 modèles):
Coming soon: a post on my reptile print PVC version of the Vogue 2086 strapless dress.
September 3, 2011 § 2 Comments
Now in the PatternVault shop: a new section devoted to Vogue patterns by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy!
(Go straight to the McQueen for Givenchy section.)
A couple years ago I started collecting these patterns as I found them. After the overwhelming response to my Alexander McQueen Patterns series, I’ve decided it’s time to share them with the world…
Here’s what you’ll find in the shop:
(Available in small and medium size ranges; see the medium here.)
July 25, 2011 § 3 Comments
This week, the final instalment of my three-part series on Vogue Patterns’ Alexander McQueen designs for the house of Givenchy. (See Part 1 here; see Part 2 here.) Our last four designs were drawn from two Givenchy collections presented in 1999: the Fall 1999 and Spring 2000 ready-to-wear.
6. Givenchy Prêt-à-porter Fall/Winter 1999–2000 (shown March 1999)
As its android-meets-cybergoth runway styling made abundantly clear, the Givenchy Fall 1999 ready-to-wear collection took its theme from the new millennium. The New York Times’ Cathy Horyn reported that “Alexander McQueen … staged his Givenchy show Wednesday with models in Martian pancake and frizzled wigs walking robotlike down a mirrored runway beaming with airport lights. The collection vividly showcased Mr. McQueen’s laser-sharp tailoring—lunar-white trouser suits with crosses etched out in gray fur, slick coats with the couture equivalent of clear plastic upholstery covers, silvery leathers and a molded red top that would enhance any alien bosom” (Cathy Horyn, “Down to Earth in Paris”).
Vogue Patterns nonetheless chose two designs from the Fall 1999–2000 ready-to-wear collection. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the company opted to produce its own promotional photos, which has the effect of highlighting the tailoring—the emerging theme of this series of Vogue patterns. The first, Vogue 2467 (1999), is a double-breasted pantsuit with concealed front closure:
Here’s the envelope description: Misses’ Jacket & Pants: Close-fitting, fully interfaced, lined, double-breasted, below-hip jacket has collar, seam detail around collar, shoulder pads, front extending to side back and into flaps, no side seams, concealed welt pockets, back vent and long, two-piece sleeves with mock vent. Semi-fitted, lined, wide-legged pants have waistband, yokes and mock-fly zipper. Featured in the September/October 2000 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine. (Vogue 2467 was sold in single sizes, rather than the usual size range.)
This Corbis photo shows the runway version of Vogue 2467:
Here are L’Officiel‘s collection images:
The second pattern, Vogue 2478 (2000), is a pantsuit with inverted lapels and seaming detail on the jacket front:
The envelope description reads: Misses’ Jacket & Pants: Semi-fitted, fully interfaced, lined, below-hip or below-mid-knee jacket has upper collar and side-front cut in-one, shoulder pads, side-front pockets, side-back seams, front zipper and longer than regular length, two-piece sleeves with mock vent. B: side slits. Wide-legged, floor-length, lined pants have front button waistband, welt pockets and mock-fly zipper.
Here’s the Corbis runway photo of the Vogue 2478 design:
Just for fun, here are two editorial images of Givenchy’s Fall 1999 ready-to-wear from W magazine that show the collection’s different potential emphases. The first shoot follows Claudia Schiffer in Cannes, while the second re-imagines Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” starring Guinevere Van Seenus (slightly cropped by my scanner):
(Vogue took a similar tack in its September 1999 issue in this editorial photo by Mario Testino.)
Parallel Alexander McQueen collection: The Overlook (FW 1999–2000)
7. Givenchy Prêt-à-porter Spring/Summer 2000 (shown October 1999)
For this “sporty” collection, the Carrousel du Louvre was transformed into a high school gymnasium, with the models posing on a tiered podium. The Spring collection is viewable on style.com.
Vogue Patterns’ first selection from this collection, Vogue 2486 (2001), is a pantsuit with a ‘tail’ extending into draped panels. View A includes capri pants:
Here’s the envelope description: Misses’ Jacket & Pants: Semi-fitted, lined jacket, mid-calf (center back) has collar, shoulder pads, side panels, no side seams, pockets, self-lined lower back and long, two-piece sleeves. Below waist, tapered or straight-legged pants have shaped waistband and fly zipper. A: lower calf, side back seams with pleat/zipper. B: side front pockets. Purchased top. Featured in the November/December 2000 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine.
Runway photos of the Spring/Summer 2000 collection show the variations on Vogue 2486’s updated tailcoat. As you can see, the purple version on Angela Lindvall is sleeveless and has a longer tail, while the sleeveless, leather version on Gisele Bündchen has a narrower tail. The purple suit also shows the collection’s athletic wear-inspired pant cuffs, which are omitted from the long pants in Vogue 2486.
Here are L’Officiel’s collection images:
Vogue Patterns’ second selection, Vogue 2653 (2002), is the last in our series—a sleek suit with decorative hand stitching:
The envelope description reads: Misses’ Jacket, Skirt & Pants: Semi-fitted, partially interfaced, lined, above-hip jacket has collar/loop, shoulder pads, seam detail, front concealed zipper and long, two-piece sleeves. Semi-fitted, straight, lined skirt, above mid-knee, has shaped yokes, right back seam/slit, left back pocket and side zipper. Semi-fitted, slightly tapered pants have contour waistband, seam detail, back slit and fly zipper closing. All have decorative hand stitching. Featured in the April/May 2002 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine (Shop Vogue).
Here’s the pantsuit version; the jacket is quite different from the one in Vogue 2653:
The decorative stitching seen in Vogue 2653 was also showcased in the Givenchy Spring advertising campaign featuring Karen Elson:
Parallel Alexander McQueen collection: Eye (SS 2000)
As far as I know, Vogue 2653 was the last Givenchy pattern released by Vogue Patterns. For whatever reason, the two companies’ licensing agreement seems to have ended with the Spring 2000 ready-to-wear. Luckily the agreement lasted a few years into Alexander McQueen’s tenure at the house, giving us this collection of sewing patterns from a period that was influential in McQueen’s development as a designer. As he later recalled:
“Working in the atelier [at Givenchy] was fundamental to my career …. Because I was a tailor, I didn’t totally understand softness, or lightness. I learned lightness at Givenchy. I was a tailor at Savile Row. At Givenchy I learned to soften. For me, it was an education. As a designer I could have left it behind. But working at Givenchy helped me learn my craft.”
—from Purple Fashion, Summer 2007, quoted in Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty.
July 18, 2011 § 8 Comments
This week, the second instalment of my continuing three-part series on Alexander McQueen’s Givenchy designs for Vogue Patterns. (Read Part 1 here.) Our next four patterns were drawn from three Givenchy collections presented in 1998: the Fall 1998 and Spring 1999 ready-to-wear, and the Spring 1998 couture.
3. Givenchy Haute Couture Spring/Summer 1998 (shown January 1998)
The January Givenchy Haute Couture collection was shown in a Japanese bonsai garden. The models, styled with kabuki makeup and lacquered hair, were silhouetted on a screen before they emerged onto the runway. Critics noted the collection’s precision tailoring, especially the pagoda-shouldered jackets. (See Suzy Menkes, “Givenchy and McQueen Opt for Zen” and Constance C.R. White, “For Couture, New Ways to Seduce.”)
(I wasn’t able to find titles for any further Givenchy collections. If anyone knows of a resource for these I’d appreciate it if you could contact me. Thanks!)
Vogue Patterns’ selection, Vogue 2343 (1999), is the only pattern in this series from an Haute Couture collection:
Here’s the envelope description: Misses’/Misses’ Petite Jumpsuit: Semi-fitted, lined, straight-legged jumpsuit (loose-fitting through hips) has collar, shoulder pads, welt/side pockets, side zipper, front button trim and long, two-piece sleeves with mock vent/button trim. B: contrast upper collar/front facing. Purchased top. Featured in the November/December 1999 issue of Vogue Patterns (Shop Vogue).
This design was easy to place, since the staging in the Vogue pattern photo matches the staging shown in L’Officiel‘s collection photos for the Givenchy Spring 1998 couture show:
(You can always follow the L’Officiel link to see larger collection images.) Just for fun, here’s a Vogue Paris editorial photo of Guinevere Van Seenus in another look from the season’s Givenchy couture:
The Vogue 2343 jumpsuit was promoted in the magazine’s holiday issue. I’m fascinated by the fact that this pattern gives dressmakers and home sewers access to couture tailoring of this calibre. The design is probably my favourite of the series.
(No parallel Alexander McQueen collection, since the designer didn’t produce haute couture collections for his own label.)
4. Givenchy Prêt-à-porter Fall/Winter 1998–99 (shown March 1998)
The Fall 1998-99 Givenchy ready-to-wear collection drew praise for its draped cowl necks, sleek tailoring, and its skilled use of leather and fur. (See Suzy Menkes, “McQueen Makes Peace With His Heritage” and Anne-Marie Schiro, “McQueen Pilots Givenchy Boldly Into the Late 90’s.”) In May, WWD announced the renewal of McQueen’s contract with Givenchy, which had been due to expire with the Spring 1999 ready-to-wear (Bridget Foley, “McQueen Renews Givenchy Contract”). For the Fall runway show, the models were made up with vampy red lips, their hair in exaggerated 1940s-style rolls.
It seems the Fall collection’s success led it to be chosen to open the supplement of L’Officiel devoted to the season’s Paris ready-to-wear. Here are L’Officiel’s collection images:
The envelope description reads: Misses’ Jacket & Skirt: Semi-fitted, interfaced, lined above hip jacket has contrast collar/hemband, shoulder pads, princess seams, no side seams and long, two-piece sleeves with mock vent and button/buttonhole trim. No provision for above waist adjustment. Semi-fitted, tapered, lined skirt, below mid-knee or mid-calf, has waistband, front hemline slit and side zipper. Featured in the January/February 1999 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine (Shop Vogue).
FirstVIEW runway images for this collection have been posted at The Fashion Spot. Here’s the runway photo for the Vogue 2228 skirt suit:
The Fall 1998 campaign featuring Erin O’Connor showcased a similar design, a fur-trimmed coatdress:
The second pattern, Vogue 2248 (1999), is a cowl neck dress:
Here’s the envelope description: Misses’ Dress: Fitted, tapered, lined dress, below mid-knee or mid-calf, has contrast cowl, front slit and back zipper. A: long sleeves. B: sleeveless. The pattern recommends chiffon for the contrast cowl.
This Corbis runway closeup shows the detail of the cowl neck, which was netting (not chiffon) fabric:
Although there are similar cowl neck looks in the collection, I couldn’t find the sleeveless version shown in the Vogue 2248 pattern illustration (view B). It seems it wasn’t a runway look.
Parallel Alexander McQueen collection: Joan (FW 1998–99).
5. Givenchy Prêt-à-porter Spring/Summer 1999 (shown October 1998)
The Spring ready-to-wear collection represented a departure from Alexander McQueen’s previous work for Givenchy: the softer silhouettes, neutral palette, and occasional, subtle sprinkling of sequins recalled the understated elegance for which Hubert de Givenchy was known. At the same time, McQueen played with his signature tailoring by using asymmetry and isolated tailoring motifs. (See Suzy Menkes, “Growing Up and Freshening Up at Givenchy and Chloe.”)
Vogue Patterns’ selection, Vogue 2628 (2002), is an asymmetrical, double-breasted coatdress:
The envelope description reads: Misses’ Dress: Fitted, A-line, lined, double-breasted dress, above mid-knee, has collar, shoulder pads, seam detail (no side seams), welt pockets, flaps, shaped hemline and two-piece, above-elbow sleeves with mock vent/button/buttonhole trim. A: button tab. B: contrast collar. Featured in the April/May 2002 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine (Shop Vogue).
As you can see from the copyright date, Vogue 2628 was released several years after the collection was presented in Paris. Despite its runway photo, I had more difficulty placing the design until I found this Corbis photo, which shows the same dark, glossy runway, palette, hair, makeup, and even shoes:
In fact, this look was shown just before ours: the back of this model is visible behind the model in the Vogue pattern photo. I thought I recognized the shoes with moulded toes from the Savage Beauty exhibit, but I see from the catalogue that those ones are from Natural Dis-tinction Un-natural Selection (Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2009).
Here are a couple L’Officiel photos that show the Givenchy Spring/Summer 1999 collection’s softness and neutrals:
The asymmetrical motif in Vogue 2628 was carried over into McQueen’s next collection for Givenchy, the Spring/Summer 1999 Haute Couture, as may be seen in this editorial photo in the Vogue Italia couture supplement (with Małgosia Bela on the right):
Parallel Alexander McQueen collection: No. 13 (SS 1999).
I would love to see photos of these patterns made up. Across the series of McQueen/Givenchy Vogue Patterns, though, the difficulty level ranges from Average to Advanced, so you could say they’re restricted to more experienced sewers. (I’ve only come across one pattern in the series—the evening suit, Vogue 2086—that had been cut out.) Which would you make first?