Winter carnival festivities are underway at Winterlude and the Carnaval de Québec. Here’s a look at vintage skiwear patterns—perfect for hitting the slopes, sleigh racing, or snow golf.
The first Winter Olympics in 1924 contributed to the growing popularity of skiing, which had been around since the late nineteenth century. I have not yet seen any 1920s skiwear patterns, but contemporary magazine covers attest to the sport’s fashionability. Helen Dryden illustrated this ski-themed cover for Delineator magazine:
The following winter, Jean Pagès illustrated a ski scene for the cover of Vogue’s holiday issue:
This McCall skiwear pattern for ski jacket, pants, and separate hood dates to winter 1932-33. The catalogue text reads, “The hood fits cozily about the throat. The jacket gains freedom through two pleats in the back”:
McCall 7195 was also illustrated on the cover of the McCall Style News for January 1933:
The 1936 Winter Games were the first to include Alpine skiing, and we see an increase in skiwear patterns from the mid-1930s. (Before 1936, Olympic ski events were limited to Nordic, or cross-country, skiing and ski jumping.) A page in the December 1936 issue of Butterick Fashion News shows women’s and children’s patterns for winter sports, complete with fabric recommendations—wool, suede cloth, snow cloth, and corduroy. The patterns are Butterick 7033, 5927, and 7062 (click to enlarge):
EvaDress has a reproduction of a 1930s snow suit pattern, Hollywood 1236. (The original is a Ruby Keeler pattern.)
The cover of Butterick Fashion News for February 1940 shows an alpine chalet scene featuring a ski suit pattern, Butterick 8793. The text inside reads, “Snow fun in a ski suit… When you zip off the reversible jacket, your monogrammed suspenders will be muchly admired.” (More scans at witness2fashion.) The pattern calls for snow cloth with poplin lining:
A copy of Butterick 8793 is found in the Commercial Pattern Archive, where it is dated to 1939. The pattern includes the cap:
Postwar skiwear retained the slimmer silhouette that had been prompted by wartime fabric rationing. From 1946, Butterick 3985 is a ski suit with jaunty cropped jacket and detachable hood:
From the later 1950s, Vogue 9332 is a ski suit consisting of hooded overblouse and slim stirrup pants, for flannel, worsted, gabardine, alpaca, and poplin. I plan to make this one up for après-ski purposes:
McCall’s 4788 is a ski jacket with drawstring hem, stirrup pants, and separate hood. Recommended fabrics are corduroy, poplin, serge, jersey, and twill:
Unfortunately, no-one seems to have licensed Emilio Pucci skiwear patterns. This British Vogue cover features a Pucci ski ensemble:
The only 1960s skiwear pattern I’ve seen is Vogue 6044, a hooded parka and slim stirrup pants for stretch fabrics. The envelope back notes that, for the view A parka, allowance has been made for quilting narrow fabrics. The fur cloth version is a fun alternative:
From Daniel Hechter, Butterick 4370 is a designer ski suit consisting of straight leg pants and a belted jacket with drawstring hood. The fabric recommendations range from pinwale corduroy and double knits to synthetic leather and suede:
Butterick also had two his and hers skiwear patterns, Butterick 5110/5111, a jacket or sleeveless jacket and jumpsuit (really overalls) for water repellent, quilted fabrics. The jacket and overalls have elasticized snow guards at the wrists and ankles and contrast yokes and front bands in poplin or ciré:
From 1980, Simplicity 9785 includes overalls in full or knicker length, a ski jacket with detachable sleeves, and legwarmers—all for quilted, double-faced, water-resistant fabrics:
I’ll close with this mid-1980s, ski-themed Vogue Knitting cover:
For more on the history of skiwear, see Lizzie Bramlett’s post, A Short History of Ski Clothing, or the recent Guardian gallery.
5 thoughts on “Schuss! Vintage Skiwear Patterns”
If I ever went skiing…I would want to look like these ladies on the slopes! So elegant! I wonder how warm they were?
I’ve got some photos somewhere of my grandparents skiing in Scotland in the 40’s and 50’s. She was a very stylish lady and some of these patterns would have been right up her street.
For more on Pucci’s skiwear career: http://www.reed.edu/reed_magazine/march2014/articles/features/pucci/pucci1.html
I’ve seen Pucci’s senior thesis paper at Reed, and it reads like a defence of Fascism written by a guy who wants to go home and knows what he needs to say to convince the authorities. Now I know how he ended up there!
My parents went skiing in Arosa Switzerland in 1953 and again for their honeymoon in 1955. The outfits are so evocative of the era and this post, by showing the fashion evolution of a basic look, is so interesting. Also the idea of making ski wear is interesting – I wonder if the fabrics available would have been up to the job. I assume in the early days it was all about silk underwear and wool layers under a waterproof layer. Thank you.
Great post! I remember those stirrup pants — possible because of early stretch fabrics — worn by my friends who skied. That tapered leg went along with the close fitting tapered capri pants and other late 50s styles. It’s weird to see the return of the ski pant cuffed at the ankle — in the early decades, loose pants that bagged at the cuff were the only way you could flex your knees in heavy wool gabardine.