Jean Muir: Butterick Patterns

August 28, 2016 § 2 Comments

Jean Muir for Jane & Jane, Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1965.

Jean Muir for Jane & Jane, Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1965.

This summer, after extensive renovations, the National Museum of Scotland opened its new galleries, including a Fashion and Style gallery. Jean Muir’s archive is housed in the museum, so the new gallery returns this important collection of her work to public view. To celebrate, I’ll be posting a two-part series on Jean Muir sewing patterns.

ARCHIVE - Personal Lecture Slides from the Jean Muir Collection

Box with slides from the Jean Muir Collection. Image: National Museum of Scotland.

Though born in London, Jean Muir (1928-1995) is often called “the Scottish Chanel.” Muir began her career working at Liberty London. She was the designer for Jaeger before winning backing for her first label, Jane & Jane, in the early 1960s; she also designed for Morel London. In the fall of 1966 she founded her own company, Jean Muir Ltd. Acclaimed for her precise cut in jersey, leather, and suede, she preferred to be called a dressmaker.

Jaeger advertisement illustrated by René Gruau, 1957

Jaeger advertisement illustrated by René Gruau, 1957. Image: Jaeger.co.uk.

Muir and her designs are featured in Life magazine’s 1963 portfolio (headlined “Brash New Breed of British Designers”) on what was then called the Chelsea Look.

Jane & Jane "granny" dress photographed by Norman Parkinson at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, 1963

Jane & Jane “granny” dress at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, Life magazine, October 18, 1963. Photo: Norman Parkinson. Image: Google books.

Jean Muir licensed patterns with Butterick’s Young Designers line into the early 1970s.

1960s

In early 1965, Butterick introduced Jean Muir of Jane & Jane with four designs in the Spring 1965 catalogue (click to enlarge):

1960s photo of Jean Muir and her new Butterick patterns (nos. 3493 and 3492)

“From London: Designs by Jane & Jane,” Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1965.

1960s Jean Muir Jane & Jane patterns Butterick 3495 and 3494

Butterick 3495 and 3494 by Jean Muir for Jane & Jane, Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1965.

This simple Jane & Jane dress is accented with two narrow tucks above the hemline:

1960s Jane & Jane dress pattern by Jean Muir, Butterick 3609

Butterick 3609 by Jean Muir of Jane & Jane (ca. 1965) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

The tucks on Butterick 3609 recall the single, broad hemline tuck on this Jane & Jane dress photographed by David Bailey in Kenya:

Jane & Jane wool dress by Jean Muir (Dolores hat; Ascher scarf) photographed in Kenya by David Bailey

Jane & Jane wool dress with secretary bird, British Vogue, February 1965. Photo: David Bailey. Model: Sue Murray. Image: Youthquakers.

This mod, A-line dress is trimmed with buttons and topstitching (click to view in the shop):

1960s Jean Muir of Jane & Jane dress pattern Butterick 3722

Butterick 3722 by Jean Muir of Jane & Jane (ca. 1965) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

The young Grace Coddington posed in the sleeveless version for British Vogue:

Grace Coddington wears a Jane & Jane dress by Jean Muir in British Vogue, 1965

Jane & Jane dress in British Vogue, March 15, 1965. Photo: Eugene Vernier. Model: Grace Coddington. Image: Youthquakers.

Previously seen in my Celia Hammond post, this Jane & Jane dress has a standing neckline, raglan sleeves, and Muir’s trademark tiny button trim:

1960s Jean Muir Jane & Jane pattern feat. Celia Hammond, Butterick 4153

Butterick 4153 by Jean Muir of Jane & Jane (ca. 1966) Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.

Within a year of founding her own company, Muir saw her double-breasted ‘cavalier’ coat on the cover of British Vogue:

Jean Shrimpton wears a Jean Muir coat on the cover of British Vogue, 1967 - Ph. David Bailey

Coat by Jean Muir, British Vogue, August 1967. Photo: David Bailey. Model: Jean Shrimpton. Image: Youthquakers.

"Cover: New brilliance, new romantic accessories, new cavalier look." Jean Shrimpton photographed by David Bailey for the cover of British Vogue August 1967

Burnished orange and navy blue striped cavalier coat in Garigue wool by Jean Muir, British Vogue, August 1967. Photo: David Bailey. Model: Jean Shrimpton. Image: Youthquakers.

With its shoulder yokes and double-breasted front, Butterick 5242 is a similar design:

1960s Jean Muir coat pattern Butterick 5242

Butterick 5242 by Jean Muir (ca. 1969) Image: Serendipity Vintage.

Muir’s signature topstitching and shoulder yokes define the details on Butterick 4937, a sleeveless dress illustrated on the cover of the August 1968 news leaflet:

1960s Jean Muir dress pattern Butterick 4937 - Butterick Fashion News illustration

Butterick 4937 by Jean Muir on the cover of Butterick Fashion News, August 1968. Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.

The pattern envelope shows the dress with and without the low-slung belt carriers:

1960s Jean Muir dress pattern Butterick 4937

Butterick 4937 by Jean Muir (ca. 1968) Image: Etsy.

David Bailey photographed a similar Jean Muir belted jumper in green Harris tweed:

Sue Murray in a Jean Muir jumper, British Vogue, fall 1967 - Ph. David Bailey

Jean Muir jumper in British Vogue, October 15, 1967. Photo: David Bailey. Model: Sue Murray. Image: Youthquakers.

1970s

Previously seen in my Mad Men-era Butterick Young Designers post, Butterick 5657 is the kind of fluid jersey dress Muir became known for:

Late 1960s / early 1970s Jean Muir dress pattern Butterick 5657

Butterick 5657 by Jean Muir (ca. 1970)

The design is from Muir’s Fall 1969 collection—photographed here in cloud grey jersey:

Moyra Swan in a jersey minidress by Jean Muir, British Vogue, 1969

Jean Muir jersey dress, British Vogue, August 1969. Photo: David Montgomery. Model: Moyra Swan. Image: Youthquakers.

Butterick 5954 was shown in both mini and midi lengths; the recommended fabrics include jersey, knit, and synthetic knits. The contrast cuffs and bib front give the opportunity for colour blocking or print mixing as in the Liberty-style illustration (available in the shop):

1970 Jean Muir dress pattern Butterick 5954

Butterick 5954 by Jean Muir (ca. 1970) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Before Butterick switched to illustrations only, there was a growing disparity in quality between pattern and editorial photography. Here it obscures the potential of Muir’s tucked and colour blocked peasant tunic:

1970s Jean Muir two-piece dress pattern Butterick 6222

Butterick 6222 by Jean Muir (ca. 1971)

Jeanloup Sieff photographed a similar dress-and-knickers ensemble for an editorial in Nova magazine:

Chiffon dress and knickers by Jean Muir, Nova, March 1972. Photo: Jeanloup Sieff. Editor: Caroline Baker. Image: Miss Peelpants.

The latest Jean Muir Young Designer pattern I’ve seen is Butterick 6398, a high-waisted dress with tiny self ruffles, button trim, and optional contrast sleeves and hemband:

1970s Jean Muir dress pattern Butterick 6398

Butterick 6398 by Jean Muir (ca. 1971)

I’ll close with this 1970 Norman Parkinson photo of a Jean Muir dress and turban in Monument Valley, in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery:

Norman Parkinson, Jan Ward in Jean Muir, 1970

Jean Muir dress, British Vogue, January 1971 (1970). Photo: Norman Parkinson. Model: Jan Ward. Image: the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Next: Jean Muir’s Vogue Couturier patterns.

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