Summer 2018 Designer Pattern Highlights

April 15, 2018 § 11 Comments

Guy Laroche by Adam Andrascik, Spring 2017

A look from Guy Laroche Spring 2017. Image: vogue.com.

The new designer patterns for Summer 2018 play with texture and special fabrics. Lace, seersucker, matelassé, waffle georgette, even a laser-cut textile makes an appearance.

Vogue’s summer cover look is by Nicola Finetti.

Nicola Finetti dress V1587 on the cover of Vogue Patterns lookbook, Summer 2018

Vogue 1587 by Nicola Finetti, Vogue Patterns lookbook, Summer 2018. Image: McCall’s.

The matelassé cocktail dress with shaped hemline and flounce sleeves is from Nicola Finetti Fall 2016.

Nicola Finetti dress pattern Vogue 1587

Vogue 1587 by Nicola Finetti (2018) Image: McCall’s.

Finetti also showed a longer, front-zip version of V1587. Just trim down the A-line skirt and add a midriff panel:

Nicola Finetti Fall 2016

Nicola Finetti Fall 2016. Images: Not Just A Label.

This season’s backless showpiece is by Adam Andrascik for Laroche: a long-sleeved dress with front bodice drape and slim, layered skirt. Use a semi-sheer fabric for the full effect.

Guy Laroche dress pattern by Adam Andrascik Vogue 1589

Vogue 1589 by Adam Andrascik for Guy Laroche (2018) Image: McCall’s.

The original is textured silk georgette in a chartreuse-tinged shade of La La Land yellow.

Guy Laroche by Adam Andrascik Spring 2017 V1589

Guy Laroche by Adam Andrascik, Spring 2017. Image: vogue.com.

Andrascik showed two takes on the backless V1589 dress. (A famously backless, ’70s Guy Laroche gown is a perennial inspiration for today’s Laroche designers. French actor Mireille Darc’s gown, worn in the 1972 comedy Le grand blond avec une chaussure noire, also informed Hilary Swank’s Oscar dress.) Here, the V1589 dress is seen backstage:

Backstage at Guy Laroche Spring 2017

Backstage at Guy Laroche Spring 2017. Image: Guy Laroche/Instagram.

On a black, sleeveless version, bead chains dangled from silver appliques:

Guy Laroche by Adam Andrascik Spring 2017

Guy Laroche by Adam Andrascik, Spring 2017. Image: vogue.com.

Judging from the pattern number, the second Laroche may have been delayed from Vogue’s spring release. From Marcel Marongiu, it’s a long-sleeved dress with contrast collar, cuffs, and curved contrast panels in front and back.

Marcel Marongiu for Guy Laroche dress pattern Vogue 1577

Vogue 1577 by Marcel Marongiu for Guy Laroche (2018) Image: McCall’s.

Revered American designer Claire McCardell was the inspiration for Marongiu’s last collection for Laroche. The V1577 dress was shown both long-sleeved and sleeveless:

Guy Laroche dress by Marcel Marongiu, Spring 2015

Guy Laroche by Marcel Marongiu, Spring 2015. Image: Guy Laroche.

Guy Laroche dress by Marcel Marongiu, Spring 2015

Guy Laroche by Marcel Marongiu, Spring 2015. Image: Guy Laroche.

As a grey and white coat dress, it swaps the button placket for jumbo exposed zippers:

Guy Laroche coatdress by Marcel Marongiu, Spring 2015

Guy Laroche by Marcel Marongiu, Spring 2015. Image: Guy Laroche.

Marongiu’s shift dress version, with giant paillettes, was featured in the Laroche advertising campaign by Steve Hiett. Hiett also photographed the V1589 dress for Spring ’17:

Guy Laroche Spring 2015 giant pailette shift dresses by Marcel Marongiu

Guy Laroche Spring 2015 by Marcel Marongiu. Images: Guy Laroche.

Guy Laroche Spring 2015 ad campaign photographed by Steve Hiett

New from Rachel Comey: the Popcorn dress. The Comey staple is shown in Spring 2017’s seersucker.

Rachel Comey's Popcorn dress pattern, Vogue 1585

Vogue 1585 by Rachel Comey (2018) Popcorn dress. Image: McCall’s.

The pullover dress works for both solids and prints—even print-mixing with contrast skirt inserts. The current version is black rayon.

Rachel Comey's Popcorn dress in black rayon, 2017

Rachel Comey’s Popcorn dress, 2017. Image: Rachel Comey.

In her Spring 2007 collection, presented at the Altman building during New York Fashion Week, Comey showed the dress both loose and belted.

Rachel Comey Spring 2007

Rachel Comey Spring 2007. Images: ELLE.

Rachel Comey SS 2007 backstage

Backstage at Rachel Comey Spring 2007. Photos: Randy Brooke/WireImage.

A closer look reveals the print-mixing. There are only two prints here, with one, reminiscent of Biba’s famous banana print, in three colourways:

Rachel Comey Spring 2007

Rachel Comey Spring 2007. Images: firstVIEW.

The Summer patterns include two lace looks from Rebecca Vallance: a cutout dress and the Dolce Vita jumpsuit. (There’s one dress left at the Outnet.) The Dolce Vita is a cropped, wide-leg jumpsuit tied with grosgrain ribbon:

Rebecca Vallance Dolce Vita jumpsuit pattern Vogue 1591

Vogue 1591 by Rebecca Vallance (2018) Image: McCall’s.

The jumpsuit is from Rebecca Vallance Summer 2016.

Rebecca Vallance Summer 2016

Rebecca Vallance Summer 2016. Image: Rebecca Vallance/Instagram.

Simplicity’s latest from Cynthia Rowley is a flounce-sleeved lace dress with two neckline variations. Choose from off the shoulder or scoop neck.

Cynthia Rowley ruffle sleeve lace dress pattern Simplicity 8599

Simplicity 8599 by Cynthia Rowley (2018) Image: Simplicity.

Rowley presented her Spring 2017 collection in a “feathered snow globe” at her West Village townhouse. (See WWD.) As photographed by frequent collaborator William Eadon, the S8599 dress is layered, maximalist-style, under an appliquéd satin smock:

CynthiaRowleySpring2017_5 William Eadon

Cynthia Rowley Spring 2017. Photo: William Eadon. Image: vogue.com.

The original dress had a contrast back bodice:

Cynthia Rowley red lace ruffle sleeve dress SS 2017Cynthia Rowley red lace ruffle sleeve dress back SS 2017

Seeing designers’ alternate looks for the Spring/Summer pattern designs, it’s striking how Vogue no longer provides variant views in their designer line, whereas for Simplicity, it’s built in to the business. But armed with reference photos, it’s easy to transform a design.

Nicola Finetti Fall 2016 photographed by Marissa Alden

Nicola Finetti Fall 2016. Photo: Marissa Alden. Model: Morven MacSween. Image: Nicola Finetti/Instagram.

Spring 2018 Designer Highlights

January 25, 2018 § Leave a comment

Catherine Nako wears a Tracy Reese dress at Red’s Jazz Shoe Shine Parlor, Detroit. Photo: Ray Rushing. Image: Instagram.

Have you seen the new designer patterns for Spring 2018?

Badgley Mischka are celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary this March, so it’s a treat to see their work on the cover of Vogue’s Spring lookbook. (Click their portrait for my 2013 Just Married post.)

Badgley Mischka Key Lime cape dress V1579 - Vogue Patterns Spring 2018 lookbook

Badgley Mischka dress V1579 on the cover of the Vogue Patterns Spring 2018 lookbook. Image: Issuu.

1990s Badgley Mischka photo

The Spring collection also marks the return of Tracy Reese. (The Detroit native was last seen in Vogue Patterns in 2016.) The new Reese design is a dress with contrast yoke and sleeves—great for those matching sheer/opaque print combos:

Vogue 1578 by Tracy Reese

Vogue 1578 by Tracy Reese (2018) Image: McCall’s.

Sew Today’s latest issue tipped us off to Reese’s comeback:

Tracy Reese dress on the cover of Sew Today, February 2018. Image: sewdirect.

The dark floral was a signature print in her Fall 2016 collection, where it could be seen on dresses, sheer blouses, and a long, cuffed skirt:

Tracy Reese Fall 2016 collection

Tracy Reese Fall 2016 collection. Image: Vogue.com

Tracy Reese Fall 2016 collection

Tracy Reese Fall 2016 collection. Image: Vogue.com.

Reese was inspired by Detroit for this collection, and she opened her presentation with a short film starring local model Catherine Nako:

The film stills are by Detroit-based cinematographer Ray Rushing.

Catherine Nako in Tracy Reese Fall 2016. Photo: Ray Rushing. Image: Instagram.

Bonus: I published my Winter/Holiday post before the McCall’s Winter release, which included two Nicole Miller patterns. This asymmetrical top and flared trousers look to be from the Spring 2017 collection:

2017 Nicole Miller top and pants pattern McCall's 7692

McCall’s 7692 by Nicole Miller (2017) Image: McCall’s.

Nicole Miller Spring 2017 collection

Nicole Miller Spring 2017 collection. Image: Vogue UK.

Miller’s Gladiator gown uses contrast binding to punctuate the classic goddess dress. (Still available in white from the designer’s retail site.)

2017 Nicole Miller Gladiator goddess dress pattern McCall's 7685

McCall’s 7685 by Nicole Miller (2017) Image: McCall’s.

The original was silk chiffon.

Nicole Miller's Gladiator gown in orange silk chiffon with pink trim

Nicole Miller’s Gladiator gown. Image: Rent the Runway.

See you in the arena!

Winter/Holiday 2017 Designer Highlights

October 19, 2017 § 6 Comments

A look from Adam Andrascik’s Fall 2015 collection for Laroche. Photo: Yannis Vlamos. Image: Vogue.com.

From Guy Laroche to Paco Peralta, Vogue’s designer patterns for Winter/Holiday 2017 offer a range of festive looks for the coming season.

The new Guy Laroche is a skinny jean and party top, recommended for lamé:

Vogue 1573 by Adam Andrascik for Guy Laroche

Vogue 1573 by Adam Andrascik for Guy Laroche (2017) Image: McCall’s

The ensemble is the first pattern to be drawn from Adam Andrascik’s debut collection for Laroche.

V1573 by Adam Andrascik for Guy Laroche on the runway

V1573 by Adam Andrascik for Guy Laroche on the Fall 2015 runway. Photo: Yannis Vlamos. Image: Vogue.com.

Gleaming tartan jacquard is the star of this ensemble from Anne Klein, now designed by Sharon Lombardo:

Vogue 1571 by Sharon Lombardo for Anne Klein (2017) Image: McCall’s.

Guinevere Van Seenus wore a similar look for the Fall 2016 campaign, photographed by Annemarieke van Drimmelen:

Anne Klein Fall 2016 ad campaign. Photo: Annemarieke van Drimmelen. Model: Guinevere Van Seenus. Image: Behance.

Like fall’s V1561 jacket, the two Zandra Rhodes offerings are from the Fall 2016 collection, which was sponsored by Kraftangan Malaysia. (Kraftangan is Malay for ‘handicraft.’) As always with Rhodes’ work, the focus is on textiles, here on a double-sided fabric such as metallic jacquard:

Vogue 1566 by Zandra Rhodes

Vogue 1566 by Zandra Rhodes (2017) Image: McCall’s.

Shot by Andrew Woffinden, the collection lookbook was styled by Grace Woodward with Nicholas Kirkwood shoes and a turban by Piers Atkinson:

Zandra Rhodes’ Songket dress, FW 2016. Photo: Andrew Woffinden. Editor: Grace Woodward. Image: Zandra Rhodes.

Vogue chose three of Rhodes’ Songket pieces—a dress, peplum top, and trousers—for the Winter/Holiday collection. Songket is a traditional metallic brocade produced in Southeast Asia.

Vogue 1572 by Zandra Rhodes

Vogue 1572 by Zandra Rhodes (2017) Image: McCall’s.

Zandra Rhodes’ Songket top, FW 2016. Photo: Andrew Woffinden. Editor: Grace Woodward. Image: Zandra Rhodes.

Zandra Rhodes’ Songket trousers, FW 2016. Photo: Andrew Woffinden. Editor: Grace Woodward. Image: Zandra Rhodes.

Paco Peralta’s latest design for Vogue is a dolman-sleeved knit top and handkerchief skirt. Festive and versatile, the skirt even has pockets:

Vogue 1567 by Paco Peralta

Vogue 1567 by Paco Peralta (2017) Image: McCall’s.

I have some Lurex in my stash, don’t you?

If you’re fresh out of shiny fabric, you might be interested in Gorgeous Fabrics’ farewell sale. Last weekend, owner Ann Steeves announced that she is closing shop after 11 years in business.

Amanda Murphy photographed by Lachlan Bailey in Laroche by Adam Andrascik, for Vogue Paris September 2015

Amanda Murphy wears Laroche by Adam Andrascik, Miss Vogue supplement, Vogue Paris, September 2015. Photo: Lachlan Bailey. Editor: Géraldine Saglio. Image: Guy Laroche.

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.

V1558 by Rachel Comey on the cover of Vogue Patterns, October/November 2017, and Sew Today, October 2017

V1558 by Rachel Comey on the cover of Vogue Patterns, October/November 2017, and Sew Today, October 2017. Images: McCall’s, sewdirect.

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.

Game of Thrones Costume Patterns

March 15, 2016 § 11 Comments

Game of Thrones costume patterns M6941 and M6940 in McCall's Spring 2014 lookbook

Queens of the Game in McCall’s lookbook, Spring 2014. Image: Issuu.

Dear HBO, Have you considered costume pattern licensing? With a new trailer for season 6, and season 5 out on DVD, here’s a look at completely official Game of Thrones sewing patterns sewing patterns inspired by Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones / The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug costume pattern S1347 in a 2014 lookbook

Fantasy Play in Simplicity’s lookbook, 2014. Image: Andrea Schewe.

Sansa Stark / Game of Thrones costume pattern S1137 in Simplicity Summer 2015 lookbook

Dark Faerie Tales in Simplicity’s lookbook, Summer 2015. Image: 3D Issue.

Costume designer Michele Clapton won three Emmys for her work on the first five seasons of Game of Thrones. Season 6 will see a new costume designer for the series: April Ferry, who designed the Emmy Award-winning costumes for HBO’s Rome (2005-2007)—which also starred Tobias Menzies, Indira Varma, and Ciarán Hinds. (Read a Costume Designers Guild bio here.)

Ciarán Hinds as Julius Caesar in HBO's Rome (2005) - costumes by April Ferry

Still of Ciarán Hinds as Julius Caesar in Rome (2005) Image: HBO / IMdB.

Given the two-way relationship between Game of Thrones’ costume design and fashion, the costumes are interesting even if you don’t watch the show. (Full disclosure: I’ve made more than a few Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire costumes, including S2 Daenerys, book Quaithe, and Lyanna Stark.)

Cersei Lannister's red and gold court dress - Game of Thrones season 1-2

Cersei Lannister costume from Game of Thrones, season 1-2. Image: Bell Media.

Givenchy ensemble, fall/winter 1997–98 silk, feathers, metal, synthetic; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Friends of the Costume Institute Gifts, 2013 (2013.564a, b)

Alexander McQueen for Givenchy haute couture, Fall/Winter 1997-98 (Eclect Dissect). Image: the Costume Institute.

McCall’s

In spring, 2014, McCall’s released patterns for the most popular women’s Game of Thrones costumes, Daenerys Targaryen and Cersei Lannister. Both M6940 and M6941 are available as printable downloads. (I made M6940 for my Lyanna Stark costume; preview here.)

Game of Thrones / Cersei costume pattern McCall's 6940 (2014)

McCall’s 6940 (2014) Cersei Lannister costume.

Game of Thrones / Daenerys costume pattern McCall's 6941 (2014)

McCall’s 6941 (2014) Daenerys Targaryen costume.

Last month, the company launched a new Cosplay by McCall’s line with three patterns including a unisex Westerosi cloak, M2016, “for those for whom winter can’t come soon enough” (press release here). Their pattern for the cross-fastened cloak worn by the people of Westeros (including Jon Snow, Eddard Stark, and the Stark children at Winterfell) includes an optional fur capelet. There’s also a hooded version similar to Sansa Stark’s hooded cloak:

Cloak X: Jon Snow / Night's Watch / Sansa Stark cosplay pattern, Cosplay by McCall's 2016

Cosplay by McCall’s 2016 (2016) Cloak X

Hooded view of McCall's 2016 - Sansa Stark cloak

Hooded view of McCall’s 2016 (2016) Image: Cosplay by McCall’s.

Simplicity

Simplicity’s Game of Thrones costume patterns emerge in full plumage, but quickly change colours to evade capture.

Simplicity Game of Thrones costume patterns, before and after - S1347 / S1010 and S1246 / S1008

Simplicity Game of Thrones costume patterns, before and after - S1487 / S1009 and S1137

Andrea Schewe’s Game of Thrones adaptations for Simplicity also started appearing in 2014. Simplicity 1347 combines three Daenerys outfits—wedding dress, Dothraki Khaleesi, and Qarth court dress—with the elf Tauriel from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013). (Now out of print, but see S1010.)

Simplicity 1347 (2014) Daenerys Targaryen / Tauriel costume

Simplicity 1347 (2014) Daenerys Targaryen / Tauriel costume.

Simplicity 1487 includes court dresses for Cersei Lannister and Sansa Stark. (Now out of print, but see S1009.)

Game of Thrones Cersei / Sansa costume pattern S1487

Simplicity 1487 (2014) Cersei Lannister and Sansa Stark costumes. Image via Etsy.

Simplicity 1246 has costumes for Margaery Tyrell and Daenerys, specifically the split dress and cape she wears as leader of the Unsullied. (This version out of print, but see S1008.)

Game of Thrones / Margaery Tyrell and Daenerys costume pattern Simplicity 1246

Simplicity 1246 (2014) Margaery Tyrell and Daenerys Targaryen costumes.

Simplicity 1137 includes two Sansa Stark costumes. Michele Clapton conceived both as showing Sansa’s own handiwork: the dress with flower-embellished neckline from season 1 and ‘Dark Sansa’ from the end of season 4. The necklace refers to Sansa’s needle—“a jewelry idea of [Arya’s sword] Needle.” (See Fashionista’s interview; for more on Game of Thrones’ embroidery see Elizabeth Snead’s article in The Hollywood Reporter and embroiderer Michele Carragher’s website.) Andrea Schewe has posted tips on making the feathered neckpiece. (Still in print with new envelope, S1137.)

Game of Thrones Sansa Stark / Dark Sansa pattern Simplicity 1137

Simplicity 1137 (2015) Sansa Stark costumes.

Sansa Stark dress, bodice flower detail

Sansa Stark costume, Game of Thrones, season 1. Image: Michele Carragher.

Dark Sansa collar detail - goth Sansa / Alayne Stone costume in "The Mountain and the Viper," episode 8 of Game of Thrones S4

Dark Sansa collar detail, Game of Thrones, season 4. Image: Fashionably Geek.

Game of Thrones meets Star Wars in Simplicity 8074, a pattern for season 5’s Sand Snakes Obara and Nymeria with Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) (still S8074):

Game of Thrones + Star Wars / Sand Snakes + Rey costume pattern Simplicity 8074

Simplicity 8074 (2016) Warrior costumes: Sand Snakes and Rey.

Sand Snakes costumes from Game of Thrones S5

Sand Snakes costumes from Game of Thrones, season 5. Image: Making Game of Thrones.

HBO is owned by Time Warner, which has existing pattern licensing for DC Comics. Do you think HBO should license Game of Thrones patterns? I’d be first in line for a King’s Landing halter dress or Varys’ kimono…

New Year, Vintage You

January 11, 2016 § 5 Comments

Vogue 2321 illustrated on the back cover of Vogue Patterns catalogue, Sept/Oct 1999

Timeless Style… Vintage Vogue. Vogue Patterns catalogue back, September/October 1999. Image: eBay.

Happy New Year! Vintage reissues give a taste of the pleasures of sewing vintage, without the bidding wars and grading. Here is an overview—with rarely seen archival images—of the contemporary vintage pattern lines from Vogue, Butterick, and McCall’s. (Simplicity responded to requests for comment with promotional copy.)

Simplicity 1777 on the cover of the Simplicity catalogue, Early Autumn 2012

Simplicity 1777 on the cover of the Simplicity catalogue, Early Autumn 2012. Image: eBay.

Vintage Vogue

Launched in time for Holiday 1998, Vogue Patterns’ Vintage Vogue line provides true reproductions of vintage patterns borrowed from private collectors. (See my earlier post and discussion, How Do You Take Your Vintage Vogue? or get the details on the Vintage Vogue Search.) Alas, the terms of the old licensing agreements mean that Vogue can’t reissue designer patterns.

Deco evening dress pattern Vogue 2241 remains a favourite; I recently came across a version at Toronto’s Spadina Museum. I found an illustration of the original, Vogue S-3543, in a Vogue Patterns news leaflet from December, 1931. The description reads, “Here is a frock that expresses the newest movement of the mode, its originality and charm. It has a slender moulded look from the décolletage to the circular panels that trail slightly on the ground”:

1930s Vogue Patterns1Dec1931

Vogue S-3543 and Vogue 5849 in Vogue Patterns, December 1, 1931.

Butterick donated the original to the Commercial Pattern Archive:

At CoPA; donated by Butterick Archives. Original B36, hip 41, 1931.

Vogue S-3543 (1931) Image: Commercial Pattern Archive, URI collection. For research purposes only.

Retro Butterick and McCall’s Archive Collection

Both Retro Butterick and McCall’s Archive Collection patterns are recreated and sometimes adapted from archival materials, not the original patterns. With archival images, sticklers for accuracy can restore these adaptations to the original vintage design.

Early Retro Butterick pattern B6408 is based on Butterick 4391, a “Quick and Easy” late 1940s design for an evening gown with hooded scarf:

Quick and Easy 1940s evening dress and hooded scarf pattern - Butterick 4391

Butterick 4391 (1948) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.

McCall’s introduced The Archive Collection for Early Fall, 2014. The recent 1920s coat pattern, M7259, is based on McCall 5057, a 1927 design by Agnès:

1920s coat pattern illustration - McCall 5057 (M7259)

McCall 5057 (1927)

1920s Agnès coat pattern illustration - McCall 5057

McCall 5057 by Agnès in McCall Quarterly, Winter 1927-28.

The Archive Collection’s Deco evening dress, M7154, is based on a design from spring, 1930: McCall 6057. An original copy sold on eBay in June, 2014 for over $800 US.

1930 evening gown pattern illustration - McCall 6057 (M5154)

Catalogue illustration of McCall 6057, 1930. Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

The McCall 6057 gown is a couture adaptation: the design is after Patou. Here is the description from McCall’s magazine: “The Patou silhouette is beautifully exemplified in a formal evening gown which has curved bands at the neckline and hipline, a short bolero and inserted panels lengthening the skirt”:

No. 6057. The Patou silhouette is beautifully exemplified in a formal evening gown which has curved bands at the neckline and hipline, a short bolero and inserted panels lengthening the skirt.

No. 6057 after Patou, McCall’s, April 1930. Illustration: Lebrun.

For more on the McCall Pattern Company’s vintage lines, see We Sew Retro’s interview.

We Can Be Heroes

October 30, 2015 § 9 Comments

Lynda Carter in the Wonder Woman tv show, 1975

Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, 1975. Image: Warner Bros./Getty Images via IMDb.

Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman isn’t set to open until 2017, but audiences will get a glimpse of Gal Gadot as the Amazon princess in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). Marvel’s feminist superhero, Captain Marvel (originally Ms. Marvel) will also get her own movie in 2018. (Guardian story here.)

Panel from Ms. Marvel #1 (1977): Onlookers:

Panel from Ms. Marvel #1 (1977). Image: Talking Comics.

Since the 1930s and ’40s, when Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman made their first comic strip appearances, superheroes have occupied a special place in popular culture. The 2008 Costume Institute exhibit, Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy, explored the influence of superhero costumes on fashion.

Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy exhibition catalogue by Andrew Bolton (with Michael Chabon)

Andrew Bolton with Michael Chabon, Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2008) Book design: Abbott Miller, John Kudos at Pentagram. Image: John Kudos.

With Halloween around the corner, here’s a look at licensed superhero costume patterns from the 1960s to today, with a focus on the place of gender in children’s costuming.

1960s

In 1966, the Batman television show premiered on ABC; just the year before, the 1950s television series Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves as the Man of Steel, had returned to the airwaves in syndication.

Robin (Burt Ward) and Batman (Adam West) in Batman (1966) Image: Wikipedia.

From 1966, McCall’s 8398 is a pattern for “Girls’ or Boy’s Batman, Robin and Superman Official Costumes.” The pattern is copyright National Periodical Publications, Inc., an early version of DC Comics:

1960s Girls' or Boys' Batman, Robin and Superman official costumes McCall's 8398

McCall’s 8398 © National Periodical Publications, Inc., 1966

The Fall 1966 McCall’s Home Catalog promoted McCall’s 8398 with McCall’s 8562 as “Magical Costumes for the Wonderful World of Make-Believe.” The text reinforces the idea that these superhero costumes were intended for imaginative, active children, regardless of gender: “Now that active young lad or lass with the vivid imagination can be Batman, Robin or Superman at the switch of a colorful costume. Only McCall’s has official patterns for the costumes of these swashbuckling heroes of comic books and TV…” (click to enlarge):

McCalls Home catalogue, Fall/Winter 1966-67

McCall’s 8398 in McCall’s Home Catalog, Fall-Winter 1966-67.

1970s

In 1978, the Wonder Woman TV series was still running, and December saw the release of the first Superman movie starring Christopher Reeve.

Christopher Reeve as Superman, 1978

Christopher Reeve as Superman, 1978. Image: Keystone/Getty Images via IMDb.

That year, Simplicity released two patterns for children’s superhero costumes: Simplicity 8714, Batman, Robin, and Superman costumes for children and boys, and Simplicity 8720, Catwoman, Batgirl, and Wonder Woman costumes for girls. (‘Child’ often refers to unisex pattern sizing for younger children.) The introduction of female superhero costumes seems to have prompted a sex-division on the pattern envelopes—although the categories could always be subverted by individual children and their parents:

1970s children's Batman, Robin, and Superman costume pattern - Simplicity 8714

Simplicity 8714 (1978)

1970s Catwoman, Wonder Woman, and Batgirl costume pattern - Simplicity 8720

Simplicity 8720 (1978)

1980s

Later official superhero patterns tend to be movie or TV tie-ins. As in contemporary popular culture, the balance shifts toward male superheroes, but there’s also an oscillation between strict gender categories and more inclusive costuming. The 1980s were the decade of Superman and Supergirl: Supergirl opened in 1984, and there were three more Superman movies ending with Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987).

Helen Slater as Supergirl, 1984

Helen Slater as Supergirl, 1984. Image: Pinterest.

In 1987, Butterick released two superhero patterns, both with iron-on transfers: a Superman and Supergirl play suit for small children (sizes 2 to 6X), and a Superman costume for men and boys. I couldn’t find a corresponding women’s and girls’ Supergirl pattern. The small children’s is a pyjama or jogging suit-style top and pants for stretch knits, with separate cape and skirt; the men’s and boys’ is a spandex stirrup jumpsuit and briefs:

Butterick 5862 (1987) Image: Etsy.

1980s Superman costume pattern - Butterick 5874

Butterick 5874 (1987)

(With thanks to Jan Lamm.)

Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) launched a new superhero franchise. Late 1980s Batman pattern Butterick 4201/6313, for men and boys, appears to have been timed to the Tim Burton film, but reflects the now-retro Batman. Like the Butterick Superman, it’s also a stirrup jumpsuit and briefs for spandex blends:

1980s Batman costume pattern - Butterick 6313

Butterick 6313 (1989) Image: Etsy.

1990s

Butterick licensed costumes from Batman Returns (1992) and Batman Forever (1995): Batman, Catwoman, and the Penguin, and Batman, Robin, and the Riddler. The Batman costumes reflect the movies’ increasingly hypermasculine armour, while Catwoman’s sexy, home-sewn catsuit is the only design for women and girls.

Batman Returns Batman costume pattern - Butterick 6377

Butterick 6377 (1992) Image: Etsy.

Batman Forever Batman costume pattern - Butterick 4172

Butterick 4172 (1995) Image: Etsy.

Butterick 6378 official Batman Returns Catwoman costume (1992) Image: Etsy.

Maybe because the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles aren’t human, this Ninja Turtles pattern is gender-inclusive, labelled as for both girls and boys. The design is called a playsuit, not a costume (click the image for envelope back, or see it made up on flickr):

Girls' and boys' Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle playsuit pattern - Butterick 5143

Butterick 5143 (1990) Image: Etsy.

On the other hand, this Captain Planet pattern for children and boys includes a grotesque ‘muscle’ suit. The second character is called Verminous Skumm:

1990s Captain Planet and Verminous Skumm costume pattern - McCall's 5642

McCall’s 5642 (1991) Image: Etsy.

’90s costume patterns start to show the influence of Japanese television shows—Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Masked Rider, and Sailor Moon. This Sailor Moon costume pattern came in children’s and girls’ sizes:

McCalls 7859

McCall’s 7859/P310 (1995) Image: eBay.

Marvel doesn’t seem to have ventured into pattern licensing until the 1990s, when Simplicity’s children’s costume patterns were gender-inclusive. Simplicity 7543 is a child’s Spiderman costume with sleeve webs made from fishnet:

1990s children's Spiderman costume pattern - Simplicity 7543

Simplicity 7543 (1991) Image: eBay.

Before the X-Men and Spider-Man movie franchises of the 2000s, there were ’90s animated TV shows based on the comics: X-Men from 1992 and Spider-Man from 1994. In the mid-1990s, Simplicity released several more Marvel patterns, all labelled as unisex Child’s costumes: Spider-Man and Venom (Simplicity 7241), Wolverine and Storm (Simplicity 7246), and Cyclops and Magneto (Simplicity 7251). Wolverine and Storm is my favourite:

1990s X-Men costume pattern - Wolverine and Storm - Simplicity 7246

Simplicity 7246 (1996) Image: Pinterest.

Current patterns

This fall, Simplicity released five licensed costume patterns for Marvel and DC superheroes. The women’s DC costumes are featured on the cover of the Halloween catalogue: Wonder Woman (Simplicity 1024) with Batgirl and Supergirl (Simplicity 1036):

Saturday Spooktacular! Simplicity costumes for Halloween 2015

Simplicity Costumes 2015. Image: Simplicity.

Women's Wonder Woman costume pattern - Simplicity 1024

Simplicity 1024 (2015)

The women’s costumes match those of the comic-book characters, but for the corresponding children’s pattern (Simplicity 1035), all three costumes have been altered to become knee-length, long-sleeved dresses. Batgirl loses her catsuit and Wonder Woman is virtually unrecognizable. What message does this send to children comparing the comic-book illustrations on the envelopes?

Simplicity 1035 (2015) Image: Etsy.

The two Marvel patterns, Captain America (Simplicity 1030) and Thor (Simplicity 1038), have a different format. Both from Marvel’s Avengers, the adults’ and children’s sizes share the same envelope, which includes an illustration of the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America down the left-hand side and a superimposed image of the pattern pieces with the text Sew It Yourself. Both are labelled as boys’ and men’s. The Thor should really be unisex if he’s now a woman:

Marvel Avengers Captain America costume pattern - Simplicity 1030/0225

Simplicity 1030/0225 (2015) Image: eBay.

(S0225 is the advance version; the S1030 envelope seems to have some strange retouching of the man’s crotch.)

Marvel Avengers Thor costume pattern - Simplicity 1038

Simplicity 1038 (2015) Image: Etsy.

It’s great to see Wonder Woman making a comeback, and the increasing popularity of costuming means we’re likely to see more licensed superhero patterns in the near future. Here’s hoping there will be a Black Widow or Mystique—and it’s not a dress.

Update: Simplicity released several new DC patterns for Fall 2016, including an official Joker pattern and three DC Bombshells patterns—Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Supergirl:

Official DC Comics The Joker costume pattern - Simplicity 8195

Simplicity 8195 (2016) Image: Simplicity.

Official DC Comics Bombshells Wonder Woman pattern - Simplicity 8196

Simplicity 8196 (2016) Image: Simplicity.

Official DC Comics Bombshells Batgirl pattern - Simplicity 8197

Simplicity 8197 (2016) Image: Simplicity.

Official DC Comics Bombshells Supergirl pattern - Simplicity 8185

Simplicity 8185 (2016) Image: Simplicity.

Update, summer 2017: Simplicity’s Early Fall catalogue added more DC patterns: Harley Quinn and DC Bombshells Black Canary, Stargirl, and Batwoman.

Simplicity early autumn 2017

Authentic costumes from DC Comics. Simplicity catalogue, Early Autumn 2017. Image: Simplicity.

Harley Quinn costume pattern Simplicity 8434

Simplicity 8434 (2017) Image: Simplicity.

DC Bombshells Black Canary costume pattern Simplicity 8431

Simplicity 8431 (2017) Image: Simplicity.

DC Bombshells Batwoman costume pattern Simplicity 8432

Simplicity 8432 (2017) Image: Simplicity.

DC Bombshells Stargirl costume pattern Simplicity 8433

Simplicity 8433 (2017) Image: Simplicity.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Simplicity 8720 detail

(For more see Dorian Lynskey, Kapow! Attack of the feminist superheroes, and Jill Lepore, The Last Amazon.)

* As I wrote this post, spellcheck failed to recognize the names of female superheroes. Please fix this, WordPress!

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the The pattern business category at PatternVault.

%d bloggers like this: