China Machado for Vogue Patterns

December 28, 2016 § 1 Comment

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.

Create Your Brilliant Season

December 21, 2016 § 2 Comments

Dovima wears McCall's 4425 for Celanese, 1959

Dovima wears McCall’s 4425 for Celanese, 1959.

A Celanese advertising insert from the late 1950s shows McCall’s festive styles in the latest synthetic silks—top models and more than one tiara from the multinational chemical company that brought you cellulose acetate.

"Create your brilliant season with opulent fabrics of Celanese Contemporary Fibers" - 1959 Celanese insert

Celanese Contemporary Fibers advertising booklet, Fall 1959.

The booklet frames small, full-length photos of McCall’s designs with close-ups showing off the “brilliant” textiles. Here, McCall’s 4999 is shown in Belding Corticelli’s rayon-acetate matelassé, with McCall’s 5057 in Cohama’s Arnel triacetate faille. The model on the right is Simone D’Aillencourt:

1950s dress patterns McCall's 4999 and McCall's 5057

Left, McCall’s 4999 in Belding Corticelli matelassé; right, McCall’s 5057 in Cohama faille. Celanese insert, Fall 1959.

The blue ensemble on the left is McCall’s 5023, made in Celanese Celaperm acetate satin faille from the David Hecht Co. Anne St. Marie poses in McCall’s 5029 in Onondaga rayon-acetate brocade:

1950s dress and jacket ensemble patterns McCall's 5023 and McCall's 5029

Left, McCall’s 5023 in David Hecht Co. satin faille; right, McCall’s 5029 in Onondaga brocade. Celanese insert, Fall 1959.

Here, Dovima wears a shimmering gold version of McCall’s 4425 in Lawrence and Klauber printed crepe satin acetate, while McCall’s 4870 evokes Princess Grace in aqua acetate satin from William Skinner and Sons:

1950s evening dress patterns McCall's 4425 and McCall's 4870

McCall’s 4425 in Lawrence and Klauber printed crepe satin; right, McCall’s 4870 in William Skinner and Sons satin. Celanese insert, Fall 1959.

Dovima closes the booklet in McCall’s 5012, an at-home trouser ensemble shown in orange and tangerine Celaperm acetate satin peau from Wedgwood Fabrics.

Dovima wears McCall's 5012 in Wedgwood Fabrics' satin peau

Dovima wears McCall’s 5012 in Wedgwood Fabrics’ satin peau. Celanese insert, Fall 1959.

For more on the history of Celanese (est. 1918), see the company website.

Happy holidays, everyone!

James Galanos: Vogue Patterns

December 16, 2016 § 3 Comments

Silk burnooses by Galanos photographed by James Moore for the cover of Harper's Bazaar, October 1966

Silk burnooses by Galanos on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, October 1966. Photo: James Moore. Image: eBay.

This week, a look at the late James Galanos’ licensed Vogue patterns. (See my McCall’s post here.)

James Galanos Vogue pattern envelope flap with biographical note

James Galanos Vogue pattern envelope flap. Image: eBay.


"Vogue Americana presents The Masterful Touch of James Galanos": Maud Adams wears V1854 by Galanos

Maud Adams wears Vogue 1854 by James Galanos on the cover of the Vogue Patterns catalogue, January 1968. Image: eBay.

Vogue Patterns introduced James Galanos patterns in late 1967, with two dress designs modelled by Maud Adams and Lauren Hutton. The counter catalogue promotes Galanos’ “masterful touch” with an alternate shot of Vogue 1854, an A-line dress with side pleats at right front and left back:

1960s James Galanos dress pattern - Vogue Americana 1854

Vogue 1854 by James Galanos (1967) Model: Maud Adams. Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.

Lauren Hutton models Vogue 1855, a coat dress with double inverted pleats in the back:

1960s James Galanos coat dress pattern feat. Lauren Hutton - Vogue 1855

Vogue 1855 by James Galanos (1967) Model: Lauren Hutton. Image: eBay.

This short, wrap-effect evening dress has square armholes and front pleats concealing pockets:

1960s James Galanos evening dress pattern - Vogue 2071

Vogue 2071 by James Galanos (1969) Image: Etsy.


Later Galanos patterns were photographed on location in New York, where the designer showed his collections. This dress goes one further than Vogue 1855 and has double inverted pleats in both front and back:

1970s James Galanos dress pattern - Vogue 2269

Vogue 2269 by James Galanos (1970) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.

Jumpsuit Vogue 2524 features a shoulder yoke, pintucks, and wide, corded belt:

1970s James Galanos jumpsuit pattern - Vogue 2524

Vogue 2524 by James Galanos (1971) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.

The latest Galanos pattern I’ve seen is Vogue 2639, a long-sleeved evening dress with front slit and waistline smocking detail:

1970s James Galanos evening dress pattern - Vogue 2639

Vogue 2639 by James Galanos (1971) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.

A dreamy illustration made the cover of the news leaflet:

1970s Galanos evening dress Vogue 2639 illustrated by Ron Becker for Vogue Pattern Fashion News

Vogue 2639 by James Galanos on the cover of Vogue Pattern Fashion News, January 1972. Illustration: Ron Becker. Image: eBay.

For more on James Galanos, see Hamish Bowles’ obituary for Vogue or watch LACMA’s 1996 documentary, Galanos on Galanos (with thanks to Jen O of the Pintucks blog).

Donna Mitchell, "Black silk ottoman cloqué sheath wreathed in feathers by Galanos" photographed by Melvin Sokolsky for Bazaar, fall 1963

Feather-trimmed sheath in silk ottoman cloqué by Galanos on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, November 1963. Photo: Melvin Sokolsky. Model: Donna Mitchell. Image: Paper Pursuits.

McCall Style News, November 1934

December 11, 2016 § Leave a comment

1930s fur-trimmed tunic coat illustration - McCall 8038 (1934)

McCall 8038 on the cover of McCall Style News, November 1934.

We finally got some snow in Toronto. Here’s a winter-themed cover from the mid-1930s.

The pattern is McCall 8038, a suit consisting of a high-waisted skirt and tunic-length wrap coat with fur-trimmed collar.

(The NRA eagle logo shows compliance with the National Recovery Administration. For more on this Depression-era US policy, see Rebecca Onion for Slate.)

Black and White Ball 50th Anniversary + Sale!

November 28, 2016 § Leave a comment

Principessa Luciana Pignatelli, Peter Gimbel and Contessa Crespi at Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball at the Plaza hotel in Manhattan in 1966

Guests at Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball at the Plaza hotel, Manhattan, 1966. Photo: Lawrence Fried. Image: Condé Nast / Getty via the New York Times.

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Truman Capote’s legendary Black and White Ball. (Read Amy Fine Collins’ article for the 30th.)

Can you name the celebrities behind the masks? Guests at the Black and White Balls, 1966 photographed for LIFE by Henry Grossman

Masked guests in Life magazine, December 9, 1966. Photos: Henry Grossman. Image: Life archive.

To mark the occasion, I’m having a flash sale in the PatternVault Etsy shop.

Black and white evening ensembles by Pauline Trigère, 1964

Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

The sale runs through today only—20% off with coupon code CAPOTE. Your purchase helps support the research on this blog.

Happy shopping!

Photo: Barton Silverman. Image: the New York Times.

Truman Capote in his mask from F.A.O. Schwarz. Photo: Barton Silverman. Image: the New York Times.

James Galanos: McCall’s Patterns

November 27, 2016 § 4 Comments

Gold and black metallic evening gown built over a pellon and black silk taffeta by James Galanos, 1954

Metallic evening gown by James Galanos photographed at the Costume Institute, 1954. Image: Bettmann / Getty.

James Galanos died last month. He was 92. According to his obituary in the New York Times, Galanos authorized only two licenses: furs and fragrance. But he also licensed commercial sewing patterns—first with McCall’s, and later with Vogue Patterns. This post looks at Galanos’ 1950s patterns with McCall’s.

Jean Patchett photographed by Nina Leen in Galanos, 1959

Jean Patchett in Galanos, Life magazine, February 23, 1959. Photo: Nina Leen. Image: Life archive.

Born in Philadelphia to Greek parents, James Galanos (1924-2016) was a graduate of the Traphagen School of Fashion. He worked with Hattie Carnegie, Hollywood costume designer Jean Louis, and Robert Piguet before founding his own, LA-based label in 1951. He retired in 1998, the year after LACMA mounted a retrospective of his work. Galanos won the devotion of celebrities and socialites with his virtuoso technique and flawless craftsmanship.

Galanos label

Image: the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


McCall’s introduced designer exclusives by “James Galanos, brilliant young star of American fashion” with two patterns for winter 1956-57. The Galanos designs—full-skirted formal gowns in two lengths—were prominently featured in the holiday issues of McCall’s Pattern Book and the company’s monthly news leaflet.

Clothes to make you beautiful this Christmas: Galanos gown McCall's 3895 on the cover of McCall's Pattern Book, Winter / Holiday 1956-57

McCall’s 3895 by Galanos on the cover of McCall’s Pattern Book, Winter 1956-57. Image: eBay.

"Holiday news: Galanos designs for McCall's" - illustration of McCall's 3894 and 3895, 1956

“Holiday news: Galanos designs for McCall’s.” McCall’s news leaflet, December 1956.

According to the news leaflet, McCall’s 3894 is “a fabulous ball gown to make in brocade.” The molded bodice is a trademark Galanos touch:

1950s James Galanos evening dress pattern McCall's 3894

McCall’s 3894 by Galanos (1956) Image: the Vintage Pattern Wiki.

McCall's 3894 by Galanos in McCall's Pattern Book, 1956

McCall’s 3894 by Galanos in McCall’s Pattern Book, Winter 1956-57. Image: eBay.

McCall’s 3895 is a bow-trimmed evening gown. As the leaflet notes, “Beautifully low-cut in back, it can be cocktail length.” Recommended fabrics included heavy satin, peau de soie, brocade, and taffeta:

1950s James Galnos evening dress pattern McCall's 3895

McCall’s 3895 by Galanos (1956) Image: eBay.

A Galanos design in the McCall's catalogue, February 1957

A Galanos design in the McCall’s catalogue, February 1957. Image: Etsy.

In spring, 1957, McCall’s released two more Galanos patterns: the lavishly full-skirted McCall’s 4045 and 4046.

1950s Galanos evening dress and petticoat pattern McCall's 4045

McCall’s 4045 by Galanos (1957) Image: eBay.

Here, the back bodice extends into a front yoke. The skirt and petticoat were to be made in organdy, nylon, or silk organza:

1950s Galanos evening dress and petticoat pattern McCalls 4046

McCalls 4046 by Galanos (1957) Image: eBay.

The new Galanos patterns were promoted in the March issue of McCall’s magazine (“Galanos designs: Black-and-white for summer evenings”) and in the company’s “Make the Clothes that Make the Woman” advertising campaign.

"Make the Clothes that Make the Woman - with exclusive McCall's patterns by Galanos, Givenchy, Trigère, Sybil Connolly, Emilio of Capri!" McCall's 4046 by Galanos

“Make the Clothes that Make the Woman” advertisement featuring McCall’s 4046 by Galanos, spring 1957.

In the Summer 1957 pattern book, the designs are illustrated in green linen and flower-embroidered organdy:

James Galanos patterns illustrated in McCall's Pattern Book, Summer 1957

James Galanos patterns illustrated in McCall’s Pattern Book, Summer 1957.

Today, Galanos’ McCall’s patterns are quite scarce. Perhaps customers balked at the extravagant yardage: the skirt for one dress took over 20 yards of narrow fabric. Galanos’ work with sheer layers continued into the following decade, as seen in this 1961 editorial by Gordon Parks:

"Full-length evening dress is draped in pink and rose with a light orange hem. Like most Galanos styles, this one is deceptively simple but it is intricately and artfully constructed so that it is not bulky despite the amount of chiffon used -- 75 yards in all." Life, April 14, 1961.

Gloria Vanderbilt in a chiffon evening dress by Galanos, Life magazine, April 14, 1961. Photo: Gordon Parks. Image: Shrimpton Couture.

Next: James Galanos’ Vogue patterns.

What to Wear in an Emergency

November 9, 2016 § 3 Comments

Weldons So-Easy 20 hooded wrap housecoat detail

Detail, Weldons So-Easy 20 (ca. 1940).

From Weldons’ 1940s So-Easy line, this “Ten-Second” Siren Wrap features a cozy hood and chic contrast binding:

Ten-second siren wrap dressing gown pattern - Weldons So-Easy 20, circa 1940. A Weldon Production.

Weldons So-Easy 20 (ca. 1940) Siren wrap.

Other So-Easy air raid patterns included a women’s two-way siren suit (no. 19), child’s hooded siren suit (no. 17), and girl’s hooded siren suit (no. 18).

Back of Weldons So-Easy 20, showing other 1940s designs in the So-Easy pattern range

Back of Weldons So-Easy 20, showing other designs in the So-Easy pattern range.

The pattern tissue is printed with an advertisement for Dewhurst’s Sylko machine twist.

Weldons So-Easy 20 pattern tissue advertising Dewhurst's Sylko machine twist

Weldons So-Easy 20 pattern tissue advertising Dewhurst’s Sylko machine twist.

For knitters, Weldons also had a special knitting book called Quick-Change Siren Woollies (click to view an Etsy download):

Weldon Knitting no. 29 1940: Quick-Change Siren Woollies - 14 garments including jackets, pullovers, children's siren suits, mittens, shawls, socks, etc.

Quick-Change Siren Woollies – Weldon Knitting no. 29 (Nov. 1940) Image: Etsy.

For more on Weldons’ wartime So-Easy patterns, see There’s a War On.

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