Sewing and Smoking

Cheryl Tiegs in a 1975 Virginia Slims / Vogue Patterns sewing ad
Detail, Virginia Slims advertisement, 1975.

Today is World No Tobacco Day. Here’s a look at a Virginia Slims ad that ran in Vogue Patterns magazine.

The mid-’70s ad—with the famous You’ve come a long way, baby slogan—contrasts the fashionable, contemporary Cheryl Tiegs with the Edwardian “Mrs. Florine Knauff,” caught smoking during a fox hunt. Along the lower left-hand side, the caption reads, Fashions: Vogue Patterns.

Virginia Slims ad feat. Cheryl Tiegs, Vogue Patterns 1975
Virginia Slims advertisement in Vogue Patterns, January/February 1975.

Doesn’t Tiegs’ green dress look a lot like Emanuel Ungaro’s goddess gown?

1970s Emanuel Ungaro green gown with shoulder streamers - Vogue Paris Original 1135
Vogue 1135 by Emanuel Ungaro (1974)

The popular design was reissued in 2001 (as V7521).

A handful of ’70s Virginia Slims ads credit Vogue Patterns, most notably this Yves Saint Laurent couture pyjama, as worn by Beverly Johnson:

Beverly Johnson wears pyjamas made from a Vogue Pattern - Virgina Slims "You've come a long way, baby" ad, 1973
Virginia Slims advertisement, 1973. Image: Stanford Research into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising (SRITA).
Yves Saint Laurent Spring 1973 haute couture printed pyjama pattern - Vogue Paris Original 2912
Vogue 2912 by Yves Saint Laurent (1973) Image: Paco Peralta.

There were even promotional Virginia Slims sewing kits. This one contains FDR-made upholstery needles:

Virginia Slims needle pack cover. Image: Etsy.
Pack interior: We hope you enjoy this assortment of quality all-purpose sewing needles compliments of Virginia Slims
Virginia Slims needle pack. Image: Etsy.

Click the Beverly Johnson ad to learn more about SRITA, Stanford’s tobacco advertising project.

Glow, Holiday 1979

Vogue 2337 by Yves Saint Laurent in purple silk jacquard, shown with a giant red gift
Tara Shannon wears Yves Saint Laurent’s V2337 in Vogue Patterns, November/December 1979, “Glow” editorial. Photo: Albert Watson.

Perfume: Opium, of course!

Yves Saint Laurent’s Chinese tunic got a lot of exposure during the 1979-80 holiday season. The cover of Vogue’s January 1980 retail catalogue also shows a version of this shot. (See Make Mine Vogue.) The pattern is Vogue 2337.

Happy holidays, everyone.

Patterns in Vogue: Gia in Versace, 1979

Gia Carangi in Genny by Versace, Vogue, July 1979
Detail, Gia Carangi in Vogue, July 1979. Photo: Alex Chatelain.

2017 is officially the year of Versace. To mark the 20th anniversary of her brother’s death, Donatella Versace has been returning to the house’s heritage, most notably with a surprise finale to her spring runway show. But if it’s that ’90s supermodel moment—glamazons lip-synching George Michael—that we remember best, let us not forget Versace’s equally glamorous beginnings.

Early in Gianni Versace’s career, Vogue magazine featured one of his Vogue patterns, as worn by the young Gia Carangi. The pleated blouse, pants, and cummerbund were shown in black and white silk taffeta.

Gia Carangi in Vogue 2025 by Gianni Versace, 1979
Gia Carangi in Vogue 2025 by Gianni Versace. Vogue, July 1979. Photo: Alex Chatelain.

The pattern is a Genny design:

Vogue 2025 by Gianni Versace for Genny
Vogue 2025 by Gianni Versace for Genny (1978) Model: Karen Bjornson.

For more on Versace’s licensed patterns from the late ’70s and early ’80s, see my 2-part series: 1. Versace for Genny and Complice and 2. Gianni Versace.

photo and biography of Gianni Versace from pattern envelope flap: "GIANNI VERSACE the Milanese master of fashion! His is the biggest ready-to-wear business in Italy and his clothes are sold around the world from Germany to Japan to the United States. Art, cinema and young people's tastes all influence his modernistic fashion approach."

Horn/Griner, 1972 + Labour Day Sale

V8206 and V8204 Vogue Pattern Book, 1972
Vogue 8206 and 8204 in Vogue Pattern Book, 1972. Photo: Horn/Griner.

Horn/Griner photographed this military-inspired ensemble for an early ’70s issue of Vogue Pattern Book: the shirt, Vogue 8206, in camo voile and the pleated skirt, Vogue 8204, in khaki gabardine. The vest was available as a knitting pattern in the magazine. (Printed voile by Aquarius Fabrics; Rosewood Fabrics double woven polyester gabardine.) The scene captures the late-summer mood.

This Labour Day weekend, from Thursday, August 31st through Monday, September 4th, customers will receive 15% off everything in the PatternVault shop as part of Etsy’s first Labour Day sale. No coupon required—the new system will show the discounted price. And if you’re new to Etsy, you can use the new guest checkout.

Happy Labour Day, everyone. See you in September.

Photo: Horn/Griner, 1972

Betsey Johnson: Butterick Patterns

Betsey Johnson sketch for Paraphernalia, 1965. Image: CFDA / Pinterest.

Betsey Johnson turns 75 today. Four decades on, the designer’s 1970s Butterick patterns are still very popular. Here’s a look at Johnson’s early work, with an emphasis on more seldom seen archival images.

Betsey Johnson (b. 1942) has made a career of creating irreverent, youth-oriented clothes that stand a bit outside the mainstream. She learned sewing and pattern drafting while running a dance school as a teen, but got her official start in the business designing for Youthquake boutique Paraphernalia. By 1970 she was the designer for Alley Cat, a junior sportswear label. (For more see Vogue.com and Anne-Marie Schiro, “Betsey Johnson: Honor for a Life of Celebrating Youth.”)

Dale Fahey, Birgitta, and Renée Roberts in Betsey Johnson neon satins (Golo sandals) photographed by Howell Conant, 1966
Models wear Betsey Johnson neon satin dresses in Piper’s Alley, Chicago. Life magazine, November 11, 1966. Photo: Howell Conant. Image: LIFE archive.
Juggler stands in front of Steel Pier's mystery ride and wears fancy-sleeved mini (Betsey Johnson, $34). Life magazine, May 24, 1968
Juggling in a Betsey Johnson mini dress in front of Steel Pier’s mystery ride, Atlantic City. Life magazine, May 24, 1968. Photo: Richard Davis. Image: LIFE archive.

In 1971, Johnson won a Coty Award for her work at Alley Cat (see the New York Times notice). The following year, Butterick launched its Betsey Johnson patterns in the Spring 1972 catalogue. The designs were also cross-promoted (along with Cyrus Clark cotton chintz) with a Barbara Bordnick editorial in Seventeen magazine.

Sunny Redmond in Butterick 6530 Betsey Johnson dress
Butterick 6530 by Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat, Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1972. Model: Sunny Redmond.
1970s Betsey Johnson Butterick editorial "The Betsey Girl," photographed by Barbara Bornick
Butterick 6533 by Betsey Johnson in “The Betsey Girl,” Seventeen, January 1972. Photo: Barbara Bordnick. Image: Gold Country Girls.
Butterick 6530 by Betsey Johnson in Seventeen, January 1972. Photo: Barbara Bordnick. Image: Gold Country Girls.
1970s Butterick 6535 by Betsey Johnson photographed by Barbara Bordnick for Seventeen
Butterick 6535 by Betsey Johnson in Seventeen, January 1972. Photo: Barbara Bordnick. Image: Gold Country Girls.
Butterick 6532 by Betsey Johnson in Seventeen, January 1972. Photo: Barbara Bordnick. Image: Gold Country Girls.

The earliest of Johnson’s Butterick Young Designer patterns refer to her as Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat, and most seem to predate the founding of her company in 1978. Here’s Butterick 6979 on the cover of the March 1973 issue of Butterick’s news leaflet:

1970s Betsey Johnson Butterick 6979
Butterick 6979 by Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat, Butterick Fashion News, March 1973. Image: eBay.

The young Patti Hansen in Alley Cat:

pink Alley Cat by Betsey Johnson acetate/cotton velvet dress with two Red Cobra necklaces, pink Lurex and stone bracelets by P.C. Designs
Patti Hansen in Alley Cat by Betsey Johnson, Glamour, December 1973. Photo: Rico Puhlmann. Image: Getty.

One of the first items I sold on Etsy was this 1975 issue of Butterick Fashion News with a Betsey Johnson cover. (Click to see inside.) The same embroidered pinafore was featured on the home catalogue cover:

The Romantic Pinafore: Butterick 4090 by Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat, Butterick Fashion News, March 1975. Image: PatternVault on Etsy.
Butterick 4090 by Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat, Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1975
Butterick 4090 by Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat, Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1975. Image: eBay.

The pinafore also appears in this cute advertisement with Butterick 4088:

Butterick 4090 and 4088 by Betsey Johnson, 1975
Butterick Betsey Johnson ad in Seventeen, February 1975. Image: Carmen and Ginger.

This Butterick ad shows three Betsey Johnson designs that came with transfers for DIY embellishment (dress Butterick 4679, knit tops Butterick 4676, and skirt/pants Butterick 4678):

Butterick 4676, 4678, 4679 by Betsey Johnson
Butterick ad for Betsey Johnson patterns in Seventeen, 1976. Image: Gold County Girls.

The Spring 1976 catalogue used illustrated photographs to present this DIY series, which also included a hat and shoes (1st page, Butterick 4680; 3rd page Butterick 4681, with Joyce Walker on the right):

Butterick 4680 by Betsey Johnson in the Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1976
Butterick 4680 by Betsey Johnson, Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1976.
1970s Betsey Johnson patterns in Butterick 4679, 4676, 4678; 4676, 4681
Betsey Johnson patterns in the Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1976.

Another 1976 Butterick ad shows a Betsey Johnson jumper (Butterick 4956) with deep ribbon trim—perfect for a late-summer Cape Cod getaway:

Butterick ad for Betsey Johnson patterns in Seventeen, August 1976. Image: Pinterest.

Happy birthday, Betsey Johnson!

Cotton ad feat. Alley Cat by Betsey Johnson in Seventeen magazine, August 1973
Cotton ad featuring Alley Cat by Betsey Johnson in Seventeen, August 1973. Models: Sunny Redmond, Betsey Johnson. Image: FinnFemme.
With thanks to Heidi at Gold Country Girls.

You and Me and Rainbows

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.