Free Designer Pattern: Callot Soeurs Pyjamas

Callot Soeurs lounging pyjamas, ca. 1913
Callot Soeurs lounging pyjamas, ca. 1913. Image: LACMA.

This week, a free couture pattern from Callot Soeurs.

Callot Soeurs was one of the old couture houses of Belle Époque Paris, founded in 1895 by the four Callot sisters. Not many Callot Soeurs garments survive, and the house is best remembered for its role in the early career of Madeleine Vionnet. But in 2015, the New Yorker published an article on a collection of Callot Soeurs dresses found stored in Villa La Pietra, a Florentine villa that was once home to American heiress Hortense Mitchell Acton. (See Jessamyn Hatcher, “Twenty-One Dresses.”) Click the image below to see the gallery of Acton’s Callot Soeurs gowns.

Callot Soeurs label inside one of Hortense Mitchell Acton's commissions found at Villa La Pietra, Florence. Photo: Pari Dukovic
Callot Soeurs label inside one of Hortense Mitchell Acton’s commissions found at Villa La Pietra, Florence. Photo: Pari Dukovic. Image: The New Yorker.

LACMA’s Callot Soeurs pyjama ensemble includes a delicate top and harem pants—a radical element of the new women’s silhouette. (See my sarouel post here.)

Here are the museum notes:

This thoughtfully crafted hand-sewn and machine-stitched lounging pajama was made bifurcated by the attachment of the skirt length from the center front of the waist to the center back through the legs. Vertical side-front seams of the skirt were sewn with openings for the feet to create a stylized harem pant. The silk charmeuse skirt draped and outlined each leg while silk tassels at the foot openings would have drawn attention to the wearer’s ankles as she walked. A bifurcated garment of any style during the early 1900s was a provocative fashion that challenged ideas about established gender-appropriate dress.

Callot Soeurs lounging pyjamas, ca. 1913
Detail, Callot Soeurs lounging pyjamas, ca. 1913. Image: LACMA.
Callot Soeurs lounging pyjamas; silk satin embellished shoes, London, England, ca. 1913
Detail, Callot Soeurs lounging pyjamas, ca. 1913. Image: LACMA.
Callot Soeurs sketch by Thomas John Bernard
Callot Soeurs sketch by Thomas John Bernard. Image: LACMA.

Download the pattern here.

Note: Gridded pattern. Does not include seam allowance.

Back waist length: 52 3/8″ (133 cm)

Notions: 10 spherical buttons, 4 5″ (12.7 cm) tassels, cord, 1/2″ (1.3 cm) bias tape, 3/4″ (1.9 cm) trim, ribbon for plackets, hooks and eyes.

For more historical patterns, see the LACMA Costume and Textile Pattern Project.

Inspired by Lost Horizon

Olivia Hussey in Lost Horizon (1973) Image: Pinterest.

Olivia Hussey has an autobiography out, reminding us of a legendary bomb: the musical Lost Horizon. Naturally, there was a pattern tie-in.

Ross Hunter’s Lost Horizon (1973) was adapted from James Hilton’s bestselling novel about Shangri-La, with costumes by the great Jean Louis.

Lost Horizon illustrated movie poster by Howard Terpning
Lost Horizon poster by Howard Terpning. Image: eBay.

There had been another Lost Horizon, in the 1930s, but it didn’t have music by Burt Bacharach.

Lost Horizon original soundtrack on vinyl - music by Burt Bacharach, lyrics by Hal David
Lost Horizon original soundtrack LP. Image: eBay.

McCall’s released at least ten patterns in its Lost Horizon-inspired series. The film opened in March, but the patterns came out later in the year. Two Carefree and Extra-Carefree styles from the series in the Fall 1973 Carefree catalogue:

3739 and 3700 - vintage McCall's patterns inspired by Lost Horizon
Lost Horizon-inspired designs in McCall’s Carefree Home Catalog, Fall 1973. Image: Etsy.

The pattern envelopes bear a tiny version of the film graphics.

Did the hippie trail reach Tibet? Some of the Lost Horizon-inspired patterns look like contemporary western clothing, but most nod to Jean Louis’ fantasia of traditional Tibetan dress, textiles, and embellishment.

1970s McCall's 3701
McCall’s 3701 (1973) Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.
McCalls 3679
McCalls 3679 (1973) Image: Etsy.
McCall's 3684
McCall’s 3684 (1973) Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.
1970s McCall's 3697
McCall’s 3697 (1973) Image: Etsy.

Of the two designs for men and women, this robe was the most popular. The men’s and women’s caftan came with its own embroidery transfers.

M3738A
McCall’s 3738 (1973) Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.
1970s Lost Horizon inspired men's and women's caftan pattern, McCall's 3685
McCall’s 3685 (1973) Image: Etsy.

Unfortunately there’s no pattern for Hussey’s saffron robes.

Olivia Hussey's saffron robes in Lost Horizon (1973) via the Fuck Yeah Olivia Hussey tumblr
Olivia Hussey’s saffron robes in Lost Horizon (1973) Image: Pinterest.