Betsey Johnson: Butterick Patterns

August 10, 2017 § Leave a comment

Betsey Johnson sketch for Paraphernalia, 1965. Image: CFDA / Pinterest.

Betsey Johnson turns 75 today. Four decades on, the designer’s 1970s Butterick patterns are still very popular. Here’s a look at Johnson’s early work, with an emphasis on more seldom seen archival images.

Betsey Johnson (b. 1942) has made a career of creating irreverent, youth-oriented clothes that stand a bit outside the mainstream. She learned sewing and pattern drafting while running a dance school as a teen, but got her official start in the business designing for Youthquake boutique Paraphernalia. By 1970 she was the designer for Alley Cat, a junior sportswear label. (For more see Vogue.com and Anne-Marie Schiro, “Betsey Johnson: Honor for a Life of Celebrating Youth.”)

Dale Fahey, Birgitta, and Renée Roberts in Betsey Johnson neon satins (Golo sandals) photographed by Howell Conant, 1966

Models wear Betsey Johnson neon satin dresses in Piper’s Alley, Chicago. Life magazine, November 11, 1966. Photo: Howell Conant. Image: LIFE archive.

Juggler stands in front of Steel Pier's mystery ride and wears fancy-sleeved mini (Betsey Johnson, $34). Life magazine, May 24, 1968

Juggling in a Betsey Johnson mini dress in front of Steel Pier’s mystery ride, Atlantic City. Life magazine, May 24, 1968. Photo: Richard Davis. Image: LIFE archive.

In 1971, Johnson won a Coty Award for her work at Alley Cat (see the New York Times notice). The following year, Butterick launched its Betsey Johnson patterns in the Spring 1972 catalogue. The designs were also cross-promoted (along with Cyrus Clark cotton chintz) with a Barbara Bordnick editorial in Seventeen magazine.

Sunny Redmond in Butterick 6530 Betsey Johnson dress

Butterick 6530 by Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat, Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1972. Model: Sunny Redmond.

1970s Betsey Johnson Butterick editorial "The Betsey Girl," photographed by Barbara Bornick

Butterick 6533 by Betsey Johnson in “The Betsey Girl,” Seventeen, January 1972. Photo: Barbara Bordnick. Image: Gold Country Girls.

Butterick 6530 by Betsey Johnson in Seventeen, January 1972. Photo: Barbara Bordnick. Image: Gold Country Girls.

1970s Butterick 6535 by Betsey Johnson photographed by Barbara Bordnick for Seventeen

Butterick 6535 by Betsey Johnson in Seventeen, January 1972. Photo: Barbara Bordnick. Image: Gold Country Girls.

Butterick 6532 by Betsey Johnson in Seventeen, January 1972. Photo: Barbara Bordnick. Image: Gold Country Girls.

The earliest of Johnson’s Butterick Young Designer patterns refer to her as Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat, and most seem to predate the founding of her company in 1978. Here’s Butterick 6979 on the cover of the March 1973 issue of Butterick’s news leaflet:

1970s Betsey Johnson Butterick 6979

Butterick 6979 by Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat, Butterick Fashion News, March 1973. Image: eBay.

The young Patti Hansen in Alley Cat:

pink Alley Cat by Betsey Johnson acetate/cotton velvet dress with two Red Cobra necklaces, pink Lurex and stone bracelets by P.C. Designs

Patti Hansen in Alley Cat by Betsey Johnson, Glamour, December 1973. Photo: Rico Puhlmann. Image: Getty.

One of the first items I sold on Etsy was this 1975 issue of Butterick Fashion News with a Betsey Johnson cover. (Click to see inside.) The same embroidered pinafore was featured on the home catalogue cover:

The Romantic Pinafore: Butterick 4090 by Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat, Butterick Fashion News, March 1975. Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Butterick 4090 by Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat, Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1975

Butterick 4090 by Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat, Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1975. Image: eBay.

The pinafore also appears in this cute advertisement with Butterick 4088:

Butterick 4090 and 4088 by Betsey Johnson, 1975

Butterick Betsey Johnson ad in Seventeen, February 1975. Image: Carmen and Ginger.

This Butterick ad shows three Betsey Johnson designs that came with transfers for DIY embellishment (dress Butterick 4679, knit tops Butterick 4676, and skirt/pants Butterick 4678):

Butterick 4676, 4678, 4679 by Betsey Johnson

Butterick ad for Betsey Johnson patterns in Seventeen, 1976. Image: Gold County Girls.

The Spring 1976 catalogue used illustrated photographs to present this DIY series, which also included a hat and shoes (1st page, Butterick 4680; 3rd page Butterick 4681, with Joyce Walker on the right):

Butterick 4680 by Betsey Johnson in the Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1976

Butterick 4680 by Betsey Johnson, Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1976.

1970s Betsey Johnson patterns in Butterick 4679, 4676, 4678; 4676, 4681

Betsey Johnson patterns in the Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1976.

Another 1976 Butterick ad shows a Betsey Johnson jumper (Butterick 4956) with deep ribbon trim—perfect for a late-summer Cape Cod getaway:

Butterick ad for Betsey Johnson patterns in Seventeen, August 1976. Image: Pinterest.

Happy birthday, Betsey Johnson!

Cotton ad feat. Alley Cat by Betsey Johnson in Seventeen magazine, August 1973

Cotton ad featuring Alley Cat by Betsey Johnson in Seventeen, August 1973. Models: Sunny Redmond, Betsey Johnson. Image: FinnFemme.

With thanks to Heidi at Gold Country Girls.

Fall 2017 Designer Highlights

August 7, 2017 § 4 Comments

Cynthia Rowley Resort 2016

Cynthia Rowley Resort 2016. Photo: William Eadon. Image: Vogue.com.

Have you seen the new Fall patterns? I post the designer photos to the @PatternVault Twitter. From now on, they’ll also have a more permanent home here on the blog.

(Speaking of Twitter, I’ve started posting non-fashion tweets to a new, personal account: @DrSarahSheehan.)

Simplicity’s latest Cynthia Rowley pattern came out after the Summer 2017 release and branded for the company’s 90th anniversary celebrations. The pintuck ruffle dress was seen in short and maxi lengths in Rowley’s Resort 2016 collection.

Cynthia Rowley pintuck ruffle dress pattern Simplicity 8414

Simplicity 8414 by Cynthia Rowley (2017) Pintuck ruffle dress. Image: Simplicity.

The setting for William Eadon’s photos might look familiar from The Royal Tenenbaums: the grand staircase of Brooklyn’s Grand Prospect Hall was the location where Margot went out for ice cream.

Cynthia Rowley Resort 2016. Photo: William Eadon

Cynthia Rowley Resort 2016. Photo: William Eadon. Image: Vogue.com.

Vogue’s new Guy Laroche pattern is an off-the-shoulder dress from the Spring 2016 collection, Adam Andrascik’s second for the house.

Vogue 1559 by Adam Andrascik for Guy Laroche

Vogue 1559 by Adam Andrascik for Guy Laroche (2017) Image: McCall’s.

Looks 9 and 15 Guy Laroche Spring 2016 collection

Guy Laroche Spring 2016 collection. Photos: Yannis Vlamos. Images: Vogue.com.

For a biker look—an Andrascik trademark—try it in leather with chain accents:

Look 30, 32 Guy Laroche Spring 2016 collection

Guy Laroche Spring 2016 collection. Photos: Yannis Vlamos. Images: Vogue.com.

Or cut off below the waistband to make a jacket:

Look 23 Guy Laroche Spring 2016 collection

Guy Laroche Spring 2016 collection. Photo: Yannis Vlamos. Image: Vogue.com.

Rachel Comey fans are spoiled for choice with three new Rachel Comey patterns. Vogue’s Fall lookbook cover shows Comey’s Karloff coat in Pre-Fall 2016’s floral brocade. One of the coat’s earliest incarnations was in buffalo plaid with camel contrast:

Rachel Comey's Karloff coat (V1563), Vogue Patterns lookbook, Fall 2017

Rachel Comey’s Karloff coat (V1563), Vogue Patterns lookbook, Fall 2017. Image: Issuu.

Vogue 1563 by Rachel Comey (2017) Karloff coat

Vogue 1563 by Rachel Comey (2017) Karloff coat. Image: McCall’s.

Rachel Comey's Karloff coat, Fall 2014 collection

Rachel Comey’s Karloff coat, Fall 2014 collection. Photo: Gus Powell. Image: Vogue.com.

Two of the Comey patterns are from the Fall 2016 collection—which will be familiar to those of you who follow Anne at Pretty Grievances.

V1556 is a raw-hemmed, sleeveless dress shown worn as a jumper. With sleeves it becomes the Cumberland dress.

Vogue 1556 by Rachel Comey (2017) Sleeveless dress and belt

Vogue 1556 by Rachel Comey (2017) Sleeveless dress and belt. Image: McCall’s.

Rachel Comey Fall 2016

Rachel Comey Fall 2016. Image: Vogue.com.

Rachel Comey's Cumberland dress (Pre-Fall 2016)

Rachel Comey’s Cumberland dress (Pre-Fall 2016) via The Frankie Shop. Image: Instagram.

The pleated, bishop-sleeved Bartram dress is pure sewist bait in silk jersey.

Vogue 1558 by Rachel Comey (2017) Bartram dress

Vogue 1558 by Rachel Comey (2017) Bartram dress. Image: McCall’s.

look 27 Rachel Comey Fall 2016

Rachel Comey Fall 2016. Image: Vogue.com.

Rachel Comey's Bartram dress, Fall 2016

Rachel Comey’s Bartram dress, Fall 2016. Image: Instagram.

Update on shopping local: Thanks to everyone who’s provided me with updated information about designer royalties from pattern sales. Since publishing this post, I’ve learned that Simplicity pays royalties to all licensed designers, including on web sales.

For other brands: if you would like to know whether royalties are being paid for online sales of designer patterns, you could contact the companies directly for more information.

Dress by Adam Andrascik for Guy Laroche photographed by Greg Lotus for Vogue Italia, May 2016

Guy Laroche dress (V1559) in Vogue Italia Suggestions, May 2016. Photo: Greg Lotus. Editor: Valentina Serra. Image: The Fashion Spot.

Famke Janssen

July 26, 2017 § 3 Comments

Famke Janssen photographed by Francis Giacobetti for the cover of Elle, September 1985

Famke Janssen on the cover of Elle, September 1985. Photo: Francis Giacobetti. Image: Pinterest.

This week’s post-Comic-Con models post looks at Dutch model-turned-actor Famke Janssen.

Famke Janssen on the cover of Elle Spain, March 1989

Famke Janssen on the cover of Spanish Elle, March 1989. Image: Fashion Model Directory.

Born in Amstelveen, Famke Janssen (b. 1964) studied economics at the University of Amsterdam before moving to the United States to pursue a modelling career. She signed with Elite in 1984. Returning to university in the early 1990s, Janssen gravitated toward drama; she went on to win starring roles in Star Trek: The Next Generation, GoldenEye (1995), and the X-Men franchise.

Famke Janssen in "The Perfect Mate" on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 5 episode 21

Famke Janssen and Mickey Cottrell in “The Perfect Mate,” Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 5 (1992) Image: Star Trek Blog.

Famke Janssen as Jean Grey on the cover of TV Guide magazine, July 2000

Famke Janssen as Jean Grey, TV Guide, July 15-21, 2000. Image: TV Guide.

Janssen did some modelling work for Butterick in the late 1980s: bridal and designer suits and formal wear by Ronnie Heller, Nicole Miller, and Morton Myles.

1980s bridal pattern "Enchanting hats and bows" - Butterick 3573

Butterick 3573 (1989) Image: Etsy.

1980s Robbie Heller MJ skirt suit pattern Butterick 4374

Butterick 4374 by Ronnie Heller (1989) Image: Etsy.

1980s Nicole Miller evening dress pattern feat. Famke Janssen - Butterick 4376

Butterick 4376 by Nicole Miller (1989) Image: Artfire.

1980s Morton Myles for the Warrens dress pattern feat. Famke Janssen, Butterick 4375

Butterick 4375 by Morton Myles for the Warrens (1989) Image: All the Precious Things.

Just for fun, here’s an ’80s editorial image featuring Janssen:

Famke Janssen photographed by Hans Feurer in red Rocco Barocco for Vogue Italia, December 1986

Famke Janssen in Rocco Barocco, Vogue Italia, December 1986. Photo: Hans Feurer. Image: tumblr.

Patterns in Vogue: Making Up a Legend

July 20, 2017 § Leave a comment

Celia Hammond photographed by David Bailey for British Vogue, fall 1968

Celia Hammond in British Vogue, October 1968. Photo: David Bailey.

A late ’60s loungewear pattern is the star of “Making Up a Legend,” photographed for British Vogue by David Bailey.

Celia Hammond wears Vogue 7430, made up in wave-patterned Schwarzenbach brocade in green and gold Lurex, with gold Mary Quant tights pulled up to cover the bare midriff. The gold belt is by the late, great Kenneth Jay Lane.

Celia Hammond in Vogue 7430 loungewear, Kenneth Jay Lane belt, and Mary Quant tights, photographed by David Bailey, 1968

Vogue 7430 in British Vogue, October 1968. Photo: David Bailey. Model: Celia Hammond. Image: Youthquakers.

(See Youthquakers for more from this issue.)

Late 1960s two-piece loungewear and sash pattern Vogue 7430

Vogue 7430 (1968) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.

And the Winner Is… + Poll Results!

July 19, 2017 § Leave a comment

Vogue 2740 by Michael Kors

Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

The results of my random number generator are in! The lucky number is 5, and the winner of my blogiversary giveaway is:

Liz Haywood (the 5th person to comment)

Congratulations, Liz! I’ll send you an e-mail with the details on claiming your gift certificate.

Thanks so much to everyone who responded to the poll and entered the giveaway! It was great to hear what you enjoy about the blog.

And of course, thank you for reading and commenting on this blog for the past 6 years. As a thank-you to all of you, I’m having a flash sale in my Etsy shop through this Friday, July 21st—30% off with coupon code YEARTHESIXTH.

Simplicity 8795 by Dennis Goldsmith

Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Sixth Blogiversary + Poll

July 11, 2017 § 49 Comments

Butterick 3110 jumpsuit, Butterick catalogue, June 1980

Butterick 3110 jumpsuit, Butterick catalogue, June 1980.

The PatternVault blog turns six today. To celebrate, I’m doing something a little different—I’m hosting a giveaway linked to a poll:

Vogue 2366 by Bill Kaiserman. Vogue patterns catalogue, April 1980

Vogue 2366 by Bill Kaiserman. Vogue Patterns catalogue, April 1980.

To enter the giveaway: (1) Vote in the poll, and (2) Comment to let me know you voted. The winner, chosen at random, will win one $25 CAD gift certificate for the PatternVault Etsy shop.

Poll closes Monday, July 17th. Poll results and winner will be announced Tuesday, July 18th.

With thanks to Elizabeth C., who made sure the two 1980 retail catalogues pictured reached me all the way from Amherst, Massachusetts!

You and Me and Rainbows

June 23, 2017 § 3 Comments

Early 1970s juniors/teens' bolero, skirt, and hip-hugger pants pattern Simplicity 9376

Simplicity 9376 (1971) Image: Etsy.

Happy Pride! This year you can celebrate all summer with 2017’s rainbow trend. (See Lauren Cochrane, “The rainbow’s not over – it’s the style symbol of the season.”) It’s a vintage motif with roots in the ’70s and ’80s.

The ’70s rainbow trend was well underway before Gilbert Baker created the rainbow flag in 1978. (Read MoMA’s interview.) The groovy teens’ pattern shown above came with rainbow appliqués. Maija Isola’s Sateenkaari (Rainbow) print for Marimekko appeared the same year as Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon:

Maija Isola Sateenkaari fabric for Marimekko, 1973

Maija Isola Sateenkaari printed fabric for Marimekko, 1973. Image: Etsy.

As did this Time-Life sewing book entitled Shortcuts to Elegance:

Shortcuts to Elegance: The Art of Sewing

Shortcuts to Elegance: The Art of Sewing (1973) Image: Etsy.

From McCall’s Carefree line, this iron-on alphabet transfer pattern lets you spell whatever you like in rainbow caps:

1970s iron-on rainbow transfer alphabet McCall's 5567

McCall’s 5567 (1977) Set of full colour iron-on transfers.

Meredith Gladstone’s circa 1980 children’s décor pattern, “Cloud Room,” includes a rainbow pillowcase and rainbow-lined sleeping bag:

Early 1980s Meredith Gladstone children's decor pattern Vogue 2360

Vogue 2360 by Meredith Gladstone (ca. 1980) Cloud Room. Image: Etsy.

With the right print, home dressmakers could sew everything from rainbow dresses to coverups:

Early 1980s dress and bolero pattern Butterick 3767

Butterick 3767 (1981) Image: Etsy.

Early 1980s one-piece bathing suit and coverup pattern Butterick 3902

Butterick 3902 (1981) Image: Etsy.

For those making their own Cheer Bear Care Bear, Butterick’s envelope explained the rainbow’s significance as a “traditional symbol of hope,” as well as “a cheerful reminder that things are getting better and even bad times can bring something beautiful”:

1980s Care Bears pattern for Cheer Bear toy Butterick 6230 ©American Greetings Corporation

Butterick 6230 (1983) Cheer Bear. Image: Etsy.

1980s Cheer Bear pattern envelope back, Butterick 6230

Envelope back, Butterick 6230 (1983). Image: Etsy.

Hallmark’s Rainbow Brite licensing with McCall’s included a children’s costume, Rainbow Brite and Twink toys, and a set of mobiles.

Rainbow Brite costume with Rainbow Brite and Twink dolls - McCall's 9231, 9254, 9238 - McCall's Crafts patterns, 1984

Rainbow Brite patterns on the cover of McCall’s Crafts catalogue, ca. 1984.

1980s Rainbow Brite doll pattern McCall's Crafts 9238

With a Rainbow Brite doll—share in the power of the rainbow. McCall’s 9238 (1984) Image: Etsy.

1980s Rainbow Brite Twink doll pattern McCall's Crafts 9231

With a Twink doll—create some color of your own. McCall’s 9231 (1984) Image: Etsy.

1980s official Rainbow Brite costume pattern McCalls 9254

McCall’s 9254 (1984) Rainbow Brite costume. Image: ecrater.

1980s Rainbow Brite mobile pattern McCall's 9523 / 769

A rainbow for your own—McCall’s 9523 / 769 (1985) Image: Etsy.

Of course, there’s no need to find the perfect rainbow fabric. All it takes is the right array of colours…

Eugenia Volodina photographed by Steven Meisel in an Alexander McQueen dress from Irere, Vogue Italia, February 2003

Alexander McQueen dress (Irere, SS 2003), Vogue Italia supplement, February 2003. Photo: Steven Meisel. Model: Eugenia Volodina. Image: The Fashion Spot.

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