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.

Our Man in Leather: Bobby Breslau for Vogue Patterns

June 18, 2017 § 1 Comment

Vogue 2184, 2153.

Bobby Breslau in Vogue Patterns, May/June 1979. Photo: Charles Tracy.

“Our Man in Leather”: Vogue Patterns introduced Bobby Breslau, one of the company’s rare designers of accessories, with a winking acknowledgement of the gay community.

Bobby Breslau designs the softest leather in the world. His BigPouch and family of Little Pouches sensualized the bag world, becoming classics in their own time! Soft, sensuous, supple and totally functional, with a size and design for every occasion.

Bobby Breslau biographical note, Vogue 2184 (1979). Image: Etsy.

Bobby Breslau (ca. 1943-1987) was a friend of Halston, Stephen Burrows, and Keith Haring; photographer Charles Tracy, who took Breslau’s portrait, was a member of the same social circle. Breslau’s training was in the garment industry, but a toy commission from Halston set him on the path of accessory and furniture design. His tactile, unstructured style of bag showed a sculptor’s eye for colour and texture; the New York Times called it “the handbag of the 1970’s.” (See Robin Givhan’s The Battle of Versailles and Suzanne Slesin, “Beyond the Fringe: A Designer’s Zany World in Leather.”) Breslau was the manager of Keith Haring’s Pop Shop until his death from complications of AIDS in early 1987.

Breslau bag in Halston: An American Original (1999)

Breslau bag for Halston in Elaine Gross and Fred Rottman, Halston: An American Original (1999) Image: Behind the Seams.

In 1979, Breslau licensed two bag patterns with Vogue. Each design could be made in three sizes. Vogue 2153 is a “draw-stringer and scarf tie-up”:

1970s Bobby Breslau handbag pattern Vogue 2153

Vogue 2153 by Bobby Breslau (1979) Image: Etsy.

Vogue 2184 is a saddlebag and roll pouch:

1970s Bobby Breslau handbag pattern Vogue 2184

Vogue 2184 by Bobby Breslau (1979) Image: Etsy.

Just as Breslau’s unconstructed bag is back, so too are the brights of ’79. As Hannah Marriott writes, a trend for Lego colours is predicted for spring 2019…

Vogue Patterns May Jun 1979

Model with Breslau bag, Vogue Patterns, May/June 1979.

Taste the Infinite

June 11, 2017 § 5 Comments

Eight ways to wear an infinity dress - sketch by Lydia Silvestry in Vogue

Eight ways to wear an infinite dress. Sketch by Lydia Silvestry in Vogue, October 1976.

Summer means weddings and infinity dresses—or, if a couple is particularly on-trend, infinity bridesmaid jumpsuits.

TwoBirds bridesmaid jumpsuits, 2016

TwoBirds bridesmaid jumpsuits, 2016. Image: Instagram.

China Machado’s summer 1973 resort set was a precursor to the infinity garments of the mid-1970s. Like the infinity dress and its cousins, Machado’s pieces call for two-way stretch knits; but Grace Mirabella’s Vogue featured the design in muslin, as worn by Beverly Johnson:

Very Easy Vogue 2881 by China Machado (1973)

Very Easy Vogue 2881 by China Machado (1973) Image: Sew Exciting Needleworks.

Beverly Johnson in Vogue, May 1973. Photos: Kourken Pakchanian

Beverly Johnson in Vogue, May 1973. Photos: Kourken Pakchanian. Image: Youthquakers.

Lydia Silvestry trademarked “The Infinite Dress” and licensed it with McCall’s in 1976. As the pattern envelope says, “One size dress can be worn an infinite number of ways. See enclosed guide sheet illustrating 13 ways dress can be worn, or try creating your personal version.” (See Carmen Bouchard / Carmencita B’s posts about this pattern here.)

McCall's 5360 by Lydia Silvestry (1976)

McCall’s 5360 by Lydia Silvestry (1976) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Silvestry also licensed her infinite jumpsuit as a pattern featuring Maud Adams. I think this pattern has my favourite fabric note: For best results use a Lightweight, Non-cling Stretchable Jersey-type Knit Fabric such as Rosewood Fabric’s LA GRAND QUE of 100% QIANA, Burlington’s AMBROSIA of 100% Dacron Polyester, Millikin’s SURE THING of 100% Dacron Polyester. (Click to view in the shop.)

1970s Infinite Jumpsuit pattern by Lydia Silvestry McCall's 5529

McCall’s 5529 by Lydia Silvestry (1977) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

From Carol Horn, this dress has strapless and colour blocking options:

1970s Carol Horn dress pattern Vogue 1573

Vogue 1573 by Carol Horn (ca. 1977) Image: Etsy.

Also one-size, the Seven Way Wonder Dress seems to have been Butterick’s answer to the Infinite Dress. A winter retail catalogue shows the Wonder Dress as black tie wear:

Butterick 5230 (ca. 1977)

Butterick 5230 (ca. 1977) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.

Butterick Feb 1977

The Wonder Dress – Wear It 7 Smashing Ways! Back cover of the Butterick retail catalogue, February 1977. Image: eBay.

Meanwhile, Simplicity had the Wonder Wrap Jiffy Jumpsuit and Jiffy Multi-Wrap Dress:

1970s Wonder Wrap Jiffy knits Jumpsuit pattern Simplicity 7957

Simplicity 7957 (1976) Image: Etsy.

1970s Jiffy knits dress pattern Simplicity 8086

Simplicity 8086 (1977) Image: Etsy.

Vogue released two Very Easy infinite dress patterns in spring, 1977:

Vogue 1640 (1977)

Vogue 1640 (1977) Image: Sew Exciting Needleworks.

Vogue 1641 (1977)

Vogue 1641 (1977) Image: Etsy.

Vogue 1641 is seldom seen, despite being illustrated by Antonio and photographed in Antigua for Vogue Patterns magazine:

1970s Antonio illustration of Vogue 1641, Very Easy Vogue news

Vogue 1641, Very Easy Vogue Patterns, May 1977. Illustration: Antonio. Image: Patterns from the Past.

Clotilde wears Vogue 1641, photographed by Albert Watson in Antigua, 1977

Vogue 1641 in Vogue Patterns, May/June 1977. Model: Clotilde. Photo: Albert Watson. Image: The Fashion Spot.

Is that Patti Hansen modelling the Glamour Plus Dress?

It's the Glamour Plus Dress!! Butterick 5683 (ca. 1977)

Butterick 5683 (ca. 1977) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.

Fast forward to 2000, when McCall’s released an infinite dress by Debra Moises (Debra and Moises Diaz). The envelope shows 5 variations:

Debra Moises dress pattern McCalls 2781

McCall’s 2781 by Debra Moises (2000) Image: eBay.

In early 2011, the New York Times ran a story about the trend for convertible garments (see Ruth La Ferla, “Convertible Clothing Is a New Twist for the Cost-Conscious“). Butterick featured an infinite dress (now out of print) on the cover of that year’s Spring catalogue:

The Infinite Dress: Drape it... Wrap it... Make it your own! Butterick 5606 on the cover of Butterick's Spring 2011 catalogue

Butterick 5606 on the cover of the Butterick catalogue, Spring 2011. Image: Issuu.

Butterick 5606 in the Butterick catalogue, Spring 2011

Butterick 5606 in the Butterick catalogue, Spring 2011. Image: Issuu.

Last summer, as part of their Archive Collection, McCall’s reissued their 1970s-era infinite dress and jumpsuit as a single pattern (still in print). These patterns are usually adapted somewhat from the vintage originals:

M7384 in McCall's lookbook, Early Summer 2016

’70s Chic with Infinite Looks: M7384 in McCall’s lookbook, Early Summer 2016. Image: Issuu.

It’s easy to see why infinity dresses remain popular, with their carefree resort vibe and minimal fitting requirements. And on the pattern envelopes, the hall of mirrors effect never gets old, does it?

For more discussion and links, see Michelle Lee’s post.

Donna Karan's Infinity Dress, 2011

Donna Karan’s jersey Infinity dress, 2011. Image: New York Times.

Motherhood, 1971

May 14, 2017 § 3 Comments

Maternity dress pattern Vogue 7952 photographed by Art Barclay, 1971

Vogue 7952 in Vogue Pattern Book, August/September 1971. Photo: Art Barclay.

In honour of Mother’s Day, some maternity images from an early ’70s Vogue Pattern Book.

That’s Vogue 7952 by the red Volkswagen bug. (Shoes: Charles Jourdan.) The other maternity patterns are Vogue 7382 and Vogue 8079.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Maternity dress pattern Vogue 7382 photographed by Art Barclay, 1971

Vogue 7382 in Vogue Pattern Book, August/September 1971. Photo: Art Barclay.

Maternity top and pants pattern Vogue 8079 photographed by Art Barclay, 1971

Vogue 8079 in Vogue Pattern Book, August/September 1971. Photo: Art Barclay.

1970s family road trip maternity editorial with VW beetle - Vogue Pattern Book, Aug/Sept 1971

“Motherhood” in Vogue Pattern Book, August/September 1971. Photos: Art Barclay.

Marisa Berenson

February 15, 2017 § Leave a comment

Marisa Berenson in Vogue 7827 on the cover of Vogue Pattern Book, June/July 1970

Marisa Berenson on the cover of Vogue Pattern Book, June/July 1970. Photo: Otto Storch.

Marisa Berenson (b. 1947) turns 70 today. Though best known for her work as a film actor in movies like Visconti’s Death in Venice (1971), Cabaret (1972), and Barry Lyndon (1975), Berenson grew up wanting to be a fashion model. Her career was launched when she met Diana Vreeland at a society ball, and she became one of the most successful models of the ’60s and ’70s. For more, see the visual biography Marisa Berenson: A Life in Pictures (Rizzoli, 2011).

Marisa Berenson promoting Kubrick's Barry Lyndon on the cover of Interview, Jan. 1975

Marisa Berenson as the Countess of Lyndon on the cover of Andy Warhol’s Interview, January 1975. Image: eBay.

As far as I know, Berenson appears on only one pattern envelope: Vogue 2369 by Oscar de la Renta. Taken in a New York interior, the photo was also published in a 1970 Vogue Pattern Book feature on the designer:

1970s Oscar de la Renta dress pattern feat. Marisa Berenson, Vogue 2369

Vogue 2369 by Oscar de la Renta (1970) Image: Etsy.

Berenson can also be seen in Vreeland-era pattern editorials in Vogue magazine, like this shoot by Guy Bourdin (see my earlier post):

Marisa Berenson photographed by Guy Bourdin in Vogue pattern 6916

Marisa Berenson in Vogue, August 15, 1966. Photos: Guy Bourdin.

Irving Penn’s “Look Marvellous” editorial, showcasing clothes in American fabrics, included Berenson in Vogue 7017 and Vogue 7022 (via Youthquakers):

Marisa Berenson photographed by Irving Penn in Vogue 7017 and 7022, shown in Forstmann and Anglo wool

“Look Marvellous”: Marisa Berenson in Vogue, January 15, 1967. Photos: Irving Penn. Image: Youthquakers.

This Gianni Penati editorial shows two Vogue Paris Originals by Marc Bohan for Dior, Vogue 1787 and Vogue 1792:

Marisa Berenson photographed by Gianni Penati in Dior patterns 1787 and 1792

“Hit Knits: the geometric jerseys.” Marisa Berenson in Vogue, June 1967. Photos: Gianni Penati.

The issue of Vogue Pattern Book with the Berenson cover (shown above) includes more of her editorial work. In “New Evening Splendour,” she wears the cover look, caftan Vogue 7827, as well as Vogue 7834 and Vogue 7836:

vpb junjul 1970 7836

Vogue 7836 caftan, Vogue Pattern Book, June/July 1970. Photo: Otto Storch.

Vogue 7827 caftan in Vogue Pattern Book, June/July 1970. Photo: Otto Storch.

Vogue 7827 caftan, Vogue Pattern Book, June/July 1970. Photo: Otto Storch.

Vogue 7834 Vogue Pattern Book, June/July 1970. Photo: Otto Storch.

Vogue 7834 poncho and pants, Vogue Pattern Book, June/July 1970. Photo: Otto Storch.

Berenson also models some jumpsuits in a summer portfolio—Vogue 7697 in a groovy print:

7697 Vogue Pattern Book, June/July 1970

Vogue 7697 in Vogue Pattern Book, June/July 1970.

High-waisted jumpsuit Vogue 7818:

7818 Vogue Pattern Book, June/July 1970.

Vogue 7818 in Vogue Pattern Book, June/July 1970.

And short jumpsuit and wrap skirt Vogue 7812:

Vogue Pattern Book, June/July 1970

Vogue 7812 in Vogue Pattern Book, June/July 1970.

Happy birthday, Ms. Berenson!

Marisa Berenson on the Tom Ford Spring 2011 runway

Marisa Berenson on the runway for Tom Ford’s Spring 2011 collection. Photo: Terry Richardson. Image: Harper’s Bazaar.

Patterns in Vogue: The Insiders (Galentine’s Day Edition)

February 13, 2017 § Leave a comment

Detail - Regina Jaffrey photographed in Vogue 8888 by Chris von Wangenheim, 1974

Detail, Vogue, November 1974. Photo: Chris von Wangenheim. Image: The Fashion Spot.

Galentine’s Day calls for slumber party-worthy loungewear. “The Insiders,” a mid-1970s Chris von Wangenheim editorial photographed in interior designer Angelo Donghia’s New York townhouse, includes three Vogue patterns made up in gleaming satin.

"The Insiders" - Regina Jaffrey and unknown model in Vogue 8888, 1127, and 8855 photographed by Chris von Wangenheim, 1974

“The insiders… make their own gleam”: loungewear patterns in Vogue, November 1974. Photos: Chris von Wangenheim. Image: The Fashion Spot.

On the left, Regina Jaffrey wears robe Vogue 8888 and trousers Vogue 1127; the model on the right is wearing jacket and drawstring pants Vogue 8855. Both ensembles were made in Qiana nylon, from American Silk Mills and Jules Moskowitz. (Hair by Maury Hopson; jewels: Van Cleef & Arpels.)

Detail - model photographed in Vogue 8855 by Chris von Wangenheim, 1974

Detail, Vogue, November 1974. Photo: Chris von Wangenheim. Image: The Fashion Spot.

See Sighs and Whispers’ repost for the full editorial.

1970s patterns Vogue 8888, Vogue 1127, and Vogue 8855

Pattern images: Roma’s Maison, Vintage Pattern Wiki.

China Machado for Vogue Patterns

December 28, 2016 § 2 Comments

China Machado photographed by Bill King, 1970s

China Machado in Vogue Patterns, 1973. Photos: Bill King.

China Machado, the first mixed-race supermodel, has died. She was 86.

Bazaar Feb. 1959.

China Machado in Harper’s Bazaar, February 1959. Photos: Richard Avedon. Image: Emily Wardwell.

Born in Shanghai to Chinese and Portuguese parents, China Machado (1929-2016) was famous for working with Richard Avedon and Hubert de Givenchy. Later, she became a different kind of pioneer, as a model-turned-editor, when she succeeded Diana Vreeland as fashion director at Harper’s Bazaar.

bazaar apr 1971

China Machado on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, April 1971. Photo: Bill King. Image: eBay.

According to a 2010 profile, Machado made most of her own clothes, having learned to sew from her aunts in Shanghai. She returned to modelling in her eighties.

China Machado photographed by Brigitte Lacombe for the cover of New York magazine, August 2011

China Machado on the cover of New York magazine, August 2011. Photo: Brigitte Lacombe. Image: Cover Junkie.

In the ’70s, China Machado designed a Very Easy Vogue pattern for stretch knits, dubbed “The Shortcuts.” The collaboration was the subject of a four-page feature in Vogue Patterns magazine (click to enlarge):

China Machado: The Shortcuts. Vogue Patterns, June/July 1973.

China Machado: The Shortcuts. Vogue Patterns, June/July 1973. Photos: Bill King.

China Machado: The Shortcuts. Vogue Patterns, June/July 1973.

The Shortcuts – Vogue 2881 in Vogue Patterns, June/July 1973. Photos: Horn/Griner.

The wardrobe pattern of “nine easy pieces” for resort and lounge wear included a bikini, cover-ups, a skirt and pantskirt, and even a one-shouldered toga ensemble:

1970s wrap-and-tie pattern Vogue 2881, The Shortcuts, by China Machado: Tops, cover-ups, pantskirt, skirt, bikini and carry-all.

Vogue 2881 – The Shortcuts by China Machado (1973) Image: Sew Exciting Needleworks.

Another modelling pioneer, Beverly Johnson, wore Machado’s designs in Vogue magazine:

Beverly Johnson in Vogue pattern 2881 by China Machado and caftan Vogue 8587

Beverly Johnson in Vogue pattern 2881, by China Machado, and caftan Vogue 8587 in Vogue, May 1973. Photos: Kourken Pakchanian. Image: Youthquakers.

For more on China Machado, see Vanessa Friedman’s obituary or Bridget Foley’s 2010 profile for W.

With thanks to my mother and Nadia at Sew Exciting Needleworks.
China Machado in Derek Lam, Barney's Fall 2011 ad campaign. Photo: Mario Sorrenti. Editor: Carine Roitfeld

China Machado in Derek Lam, Barney’s Fall 2011 ad campaign. Photo: Mario Sorrenti. Editor: Carine Roitfeld. Image: Pop Sugar.

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