Patterns for the Great War

November 11, 2014 § 6 Comments

PRJul1917. Image via eBay.

Pictorial Review magazine, July 1917. Image via eBay.

This year marks the centennial of the beginning of World War 1. In honour of Armistice Day, this post looks at commercial sewing patterns associated with the First World War.

Vogue, May 1918. Illustration: Porter Woodruff. Image via Vogue UK.

This illustration from the July 1917 issue of McCall’s magazine shows McCall patterns suitable for war work: a nurse’s uniform, apron, and cap, and outdoor workwear including women’s overalls (patent pending):

nurses’ uniform 7845, apron and cap 7847, overall suit 7860, sun hat 7850, waist 7073, skirt 7011 - McCall's magazine,  July 1917

“Responding to the Country’s Call.” McCall’s magazine, July 1917. Image via eBay.

Official Red Cross patterns exemplify the volunteer production of clothing and medical supplies that formed part of the war effort. American Red Cross patterns were published by multiple American pattern companies, while in the U.K., British Red Cross sewing and knitting instructions were available in several books by Emily Peek.* In Canada, volunteers sewing for the Canadian Red Cross may have used both British and American resources.

Practical instruction in cutting out and making up hospital garments for sick and wounded (approved by the Red Cross Society)

Working Uniform (B.R.C.S.) in Emily Peek, Practical Instruction in Cutting Out and Making Up Hospital Garments for Sick and Wounded (1914) Image via the University of Southampton.

Women sew for the war effort in the old University of Toronto library

Women sew for the war effort in the old University of Toronto library. Image via U of T Magazine.

The McCall Fashions for February 1918 gives a list of American Red Cross patterns for garments to be used in hospitals and refugee camps; the cover illustration shows three women dressed “For the visit to the camp”:

WW1 McCall Fashions (Style News) for February 1918

“For the Visit to the Camp.” McCall Fashions, February 1918. Image via eBay.

The inside front cover lists two types of official American Red Cross pattern: “for the relief of refugees and repatriates in the war-stricken countries, particularly in France and Belgium” and for hospital garments. The illustrations show an infant’s layette, unisex children’s cape, reversible bed jacket, and trench foot slipper (click to enlarge):

Red Cross patterns and hospital garments in WW1 McCall Fashions (Style News) for February 1918

New Official American Red Cross patterns. McCall Fashions, February 1918. Image via eBay.

A news article from June, 1918 discusses the most needed hospital garments and supplies corrections for two refugee garment patterns. It seems the “helpless case shirt” (for patients with arm injuries) was available in two versions:

Drumright Evening Derrick 17Jun1918 RedCross

Drumright Evening Derrick, June 17, 1918. Image via the Oklahoma Historical Society.

(Full archived version here.)

Andrea of Unsung Sewing Patterns has a copy of the “helpless case shirt,” Red Cross 35—more sensitively called a taped hospital bed shirt:

WW1 McCall Red Cross taped hospital bed shirt pattern - Red Cross 35

McCall Red Cross 35 (ca. 1917) Image via Unsung Sewing Patterns.

(See Unsung Sewing Patterns for more Red Cross refugee patterns.)

A 1917 article in McCall’s magazine describes the Red Cross relief effort and seven new patterns for hospital work. It presents sewing as an alternative to nursing, for which fewer women were qualified, arguing that “[s]ewing may not seem to many as romantic as nursing the wounded upon the battlefield, but without it the nursing might be useless.” Interestingly, official American Red Cross patterns were at first distributed through the organization’s national headquarters, but later became available directly to the public (click to enlarge):

McCalls July1917 RedCross

“How to Help the Red Cross–Now!” McCall’s magazine, July 1917.

On the right, readers found descriptions of the new patterns, accompanied by photographs showing Red Cross officials Jane A. Delano and Clara D. Noyes, and women in a Red Cross chapter at work:

McCalls Jul1917 photo crop

“Throughout the country, in Red Cross chapter, in club, church guild, and small home, women are doing their ‘bit’ for the soldiers.” McCall’s magazine, July 1917.

The illustrations of the new patterns seek to include the Red Cross sewing effort in the romance of nursing. Here a nurse serves a meal to a patient who is wearing McCall Special C, a hospital bed shirt:

McCall Special C (1917)

McCall Special C (1917) Red Cross hospital bed shirt.

McCall Special P is a pair of pajamas:

McCall Special P (1917)

McCall Special P (1917) Red Cross pajamas.

To be made from one or two blankets, McCall Special O is a bathrobe or convalescent gown:

McCall Special O (1917)

McCall Special O (1917) Red Cross bathrobe or convalescent gown.

McCall Special R is a Red Cross Surgeon’s and Nurse’s operating gown—a unisex medical uniform available in two sizes:

McCall Special R (1917)

McCall Special R (1917) Red Cross operating gown.

The illustration of the Red Cross nurse also shows the McCall Special S operating helmet:

McCall Special R helmet (1917)

McCall Special R and S (1917) Red Cross operating gown and operating helmet.

The Commercial Pattern Archive has both sizes of McCall Special R its collection. The larger is reproduced in Joy Emery’s new book:

1910s WW1 Red Cross pattern - McCall Special R

McCall Special R (ca. 1917). Red Cross Surgeon’s and Nurse’s operating gown. Image: Emery, A History of the Paper Pattern Industry.

Do you have any World War I patterns in your collection?

* Seligman, Cutting for All! (Southern Illinois UP, 1996), pp. 123-24, cited in Emery, A History of the Paper Pattern Industry (Bloomsbury, 2014), p. 91. A digitized version of Emily Peek, Practical Instruction in Cutting Out and Making Up Hospital Garments for Sick and Wounded: Approved by the Red Cross Society (British Red Cross Society, 1914), is available through the University of Southampton.

Preview: Lyanna Stark Costume – McCall’s 6940

November 7, 2014 § 2 Comments

Stark pin

This Halloween I went as Lyanna Stark. Full post to come when I’ve had the chance to do a real photo shoot…

If you’d like to see a preview, I used a commercial pattern, McCall’s 6940, so was eligible to enter McCall’s Halloween costume contest. You can find my photos here.

McCall's 6940 with White Walker mini figurine

If you’re on Facebook, you can view and vote for the entries on McCall’s Facebook page. (The entries are divided into 3 categories: adult, children’s, and infants/toddlers.)

Hope everyone had a great Halloween!

Krizia Playsuit – McCall’s 6624

September 30, 2014 § 9 Comments

Krizia_coverup

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:

Krizia_back

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.)

Benedetta Barzini

September 1, 2014 § 2 Comments

Benedetta Barzini photographed by Peter Knapp for the cover of Vogue Italia, September 1967

Vogue Italia, September 1967. Photo: Peter Knapp. Image via NYMag.

In honour of Labour Day, this models post is devoted to iconic model and political activist Benedetta Barzini.

Benedetta Barzini (b. 1943) grew up in Porto Santo Stefano and New York City. She worked as a model in New York for four years after being discovered by Diana Vreeland. Here she appears on the cover of Vogue Italia’s inaugural issue:

Benedetta Barzini on the cover of Italian Vogue's inaugural issue, November 1965

Vogue Italia & Novita, November 1965. Photo: Giampaolo Barbieri. Image via Vogue Italia.

Although Barzini returned to Italy to act, in the early 1970s she left acting and modelling to pursue Marxist-feminist teaching and political activism. She returned to modelling in the late 1980s. As of 2013 Barzini was a Professor of Fashion and Anthropology at the Polytechnic Institute of Milan. (Recent interview here.)

Donna Karan spring 1999 campaign photographed by Peter Lindbergh.

Donna Karan spring 1999 campaign. Photo: Peter Lindbergh. Models: Benedetta Barzini and Annie Morton.

Gianni Penati photographed Barzini for a spring 1965 Vogue Patterns editorial for Vogue magazine. The patterns are Vogue 1429 by Christian Dior and Vogue 6534:

Benedetta Barzini wearing Vogue pattern 1429 by Christian Dior in Moygashel linen photographed by Gianni Penati

Vogue 1429 by Christian Dior. Vogue, March 15, 1965. Photo: Gianni Penati.

Benedetta Barzini wearing Vogue 6534 dress in Vogue, March 1965 photographed by Gianni Penati

Vogue 6534 in Vogue, March 15, 1965. Photo: Gianni Penati.

I have seen only one Vogue pattern with Barzini on the envelope. In 1967, Len Steckler photographed her in Vogue 1775 by Chuck Howard, a pattern from the new Vogue Americana line:

Astrid Heeren and Benedetta Barzini model Vogue 1783 (Chester Weinberg) and Vogue 1775 (Chuck Howard), Vogue Pattern Book fall 1967

New Vogue Americana patterns, Vogue Pattern Book, Autumn 1967. Photos: Len Steckler. Models: Astrid Heeren and Benedetta Barzini.

Barzini was also featured on the cover of the Vogue Patterns catalogue for August 1967:

Benedetta Barzini in Vogue 1775 by Chester Weinberg - Vogue Patterns catalogue August 1967

Vogue Patterns catalogue, August 1967. Image via Betsy Vintage.

Happy Labour Day, everyone!

Patterns in Vogue: Helmut Newton at the Beach

August 31, 2014 § 5 Comments

Vogue May 1964

Detail, Vogue, May 1, 1964. Photo: Helmut Newton.

In the mid-1960s, Helmut Newton photographed a two-page Vogue Patterns editorial for Vogue magazine on location at Wanda Beach, near Sydney, Australia.

The editorial features two pieces from a single beachwear pattern: Vogue 6211. The cowl-neck coverup is shown in white terry cloth, the one-piece drawstring bathing suit in double-knit Orlon; the linen hats are by Adolfo and Halston (click to enlarge):

Vogue 6211 coverup and bathing suit photographed by Helmut Newton - Vogue 1 May 1964

Vogue 6211 in Vogue, May 1, 1964. Photos: Helmut Newton.

As always, back views and yardage could be found in the back of the magazine:

Vogue 1May1964 219

Vogue, May 1, 1964.

Click the Patterns in Vogue tag for more posts in the series.

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 jalougallery.com.

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.

Make the Clothes that Make the Woman (Part 2)

August 4, 2014 § 2 Comments

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, or are a connoisseur of 1950s sewing advertising, you’ve seen images from McCall’s mid-1950s “Make the Clothes that Make the Woman” advertising campaign. (See my earlier post here.)

I’ve found another ad from the campaign. The model is Jean Patchett, and the pattern is McCall’s 3635 —an “Italian drawstring top” and “saucy in-between-length Jamaican shorts” (click to enlarge):

Advertisement for McCall's Printed Patterns, 1956. Model: Jean Patchett.

Advertisement for McCall’s Printed Patterns, 1956. Model: Jean Patchett.

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