Mary Quant: Butterick Patterns

Tania Mallet wears Mary Quant and James Wedge on the cover of British Vogue, October 1, 1963
Tania Mallet wears Mary Quant (hat by James Wedge) on the cover of British Vogue, October 1, 1963. Photo: Brian Duffy. Image: eBay.

Nothing says Swinging London like Mary Quant. The pioneer of the Chelsea Look will receive a major retrospective at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2019. (An earlier exhibit, Manchester Art Gallery’s Mary Quant: Fashion Icon, had to close early due to conservation issues.)

Design for a cowl neck minidress with mustard yellow tights by Mary Quant, about 1967, London. Museum no. E.525-1975. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Mary Quant sketch, ca. 1967. Image: V&A.

The V&A is seeking vintage Quant for the show, including garments — or even photos of garments — made with Mary Quant patterns. See here for more details, or email the curators at maryquant@vam.ac.uk. Update: submissions are now closed.

Ensemble of bolero waistcoat and skirt, Mary Quant, about 1964. Museum no. T.34-2013. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Celia Hammond and Jean Shrimpton in Mary Quant, ca. 1964. Photo: John French. Image: V&A.
Mary Quant London - Made in England for Lord & Taylor 100% PVC label at the Costume Institute
Image: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Butterick licensed Mary Quant patterns from the mid-’60s to the early ’70s. (See my Mad Men-era post.)

Mary Quant pantdress pattern 4779 in the Butterick retail catalog, November 1969
Right: Mary Quant pantdress pattern 4779 in the Butterick retail catalogue, November 1969. Image: Etsy.

For knitters, there were also ultra-mod knitting patterns. Some of these vintage booklets are available as official reissues, like these ones from Mary Maxim. (More on Ravelry.)

1960s Patons Courtelle knitting patterns by Mary Quant
1960s Patons Courtelle knitting patterns by Mary Quant. Images: Mary Maxim.

Mary Quant and her husband were profiled in Life magazine as early as 1960. (View story here.)

Mary Quant and Alexander Plunkett-Greene photographed on Park Avenue by Ken Heyman for Life magazine, 1960
Mary Quant and Alexander Plunket Greene on Park Avenue, LIFE, December 5, 1960. Photo: Ken Heyman. Image: LIFE archive.

For his 1963 Life feature on the Chelsea Look, Norman Parkinson photographed Melanie Hampshire and Jill Kennington in these Mary Quant dresses:

Melanie Hampshire and Jill Kennington photographed by Norman Parksinson in Mary Quant's Bank of England and Eton striped wool dresses, LIFE magazine, 1963
Melanie Hampshire and Jill Kennington in Mary Quant’s Bank of England and Eton dresses, LIFE, October 18, 1963. Photo: Norman Parkinson. Image: Iconic Images.

Butterick released its first Mary Quant patterns in fall, 1964. Here’s Celia Hammond on the cover of the retail catalogue:

Butterick catalogue cover showing 3288 by Mary Quant - October 1964
Butterick 3288 by Mary Quant. Butterick catalogue, October 1964. Photo: Terence Donovan. Model: Celia Hammond. Image: eBay.

The Butterick Home Catalog hailed Quant as the originator of the Chelsea Look.

London: Mary Quant. A new group of Butterick designs by the originator of the Chelsea Look and winner o the International Fashion Award for Great Britain. Butterick Fall 1964 Quant
Mary Quant in the Butterick Home Catalog, Fall 1964.

The earliest Mary Quant patterns pre-date the Young Designer line. This dress pattern even includes the rosette:

1960s Mary Quant dress pattern Butterick 3499
Butterick 3499 by Mary Quant (1965) Image: PatternVault shop.

British copies of this dress pattern say “featured in Queen magazine.” Jill Kennington wore this and other Butterick Young Designers in what was billed as “The Queen’s first ever make-it-yourself fashion.”

1960s Mary Quant dress pattern Butterick 3716
Butterick 3716 by Mary Quant (ca. 1965)
1960s Jean Muir of Jane & Jane and Mary Quant dress patterns Butterick 3722, 3707, 3716
“How to be a self made sensation.” Right, Jill Kennington in Butterick 3716 by Mary Quant. Queen magazine, August 11, 1965. Image: eBay.

Here Moyra Swan models a mod scooter dress. Suggested fabrics include linen, jersey, lightweight wool, and knits.

1960s Mary Quant dress pattern Butterick 4578
Butterick 4578 by Mary Quant (ca. 1967) Image: PatternVault shop.

This jumpsuit or playsuit came with a matching mini skirt — “the latest put-togethers”:

Butterick 5404 by Mary Quant (1969) Image: Etsy.

What to wear with a Mary Quant mini dress? Why, go-go boots, of course:

1960s Mary Quant dress pattern Butterick 5475
Butterick 5475 by Mary Quant (1969)

By 1970, a Quant jumpsuit was more fluid, with a pointed collar; this pattern also includes a maxi-length cardigan. The catalogue gives a better view of the inflatable chair:

1970s Mary Quant jumpsuit and cardigan pattern Butterick 5857
Butterick 5857 by Mary Quant (1970) Image: Etsy.
Mary Quant's Butterick 5857 jumpsuit in the Fall 1970 catalogue
Mary Quant’s Butterick 5857 jumpsuit in the Fall 1970 catalogue. Image: tumblr.

Mary Quant in a more romantic mode means a sheer tunic worn with knickers. View B is a maxi dress.

1970s Mary Quant pattern Butterick 6256
Butterick 6256 by Mary Quant (ca. 1971)

After 1971 or so, Butterick Young Designer patterns had illustrations, not photos. This Mary Quant dress dates to circa early ’73.

1970s Mary Quant dress pattern Butterick 6916
Butterick 6916 by Mary Quant (ca. 1973) Image: Etsy.

Have you made anything from a Mary Quant pattern?

Maren Greve in Butterick 4128 by Mary Quant, 1966
Butterick 4128 by Mary Quant, Butterick catalogue, October 1966. Model: Maren Greve. Image: Instagram.

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.

McCall’s Pattern Fashions, Summer 1971

Lauren Hutton in two-piece bathing suit McCall's 9704 - McCall's Pattern Fashions, Summer 1971
Lauren Hutton on the cover of McCall’s Pattern Fashions, Summer 1971. Photo: Myron Miller.

Lauren Hutton frolics in Martinique for McCall’s seasonal pattern book. Hutton wears two-piece swimsuit McCall’s 9704 in orange cotton velour.

More beachwear: Heat Wave! and vintage designer swimwear.

Carolyn Murphy

Murphy in Armani, Vogue Italia, September 1998. Photo: Steven Meisel
Carolyn Murphy in Armani, Vogue Italia, September 1998. Photo: Steven Meisel. Image: Pleasure Photo.

Supermodel Carolyn Murphy can be seen on some ’90s Vogue patterns.

Born in Florida, Carolyn Murphy (b. 1973) studied art history and literature at the University of Virginia before her modelling career took off in the mid-1990s. For more, see her IMG Models page.

Carolyn Murphy photographed by Mario Testino in Spring 1998 Givenchy Couture by Alexander McQueen, Vogue Paris March 1998 cover
Carolyn Murphy in Givenchy Couture by Alexander McQueen, Vogue Paris, March 1998. Photo: Mario Testino. Image: Vogue Paris.

Before she cut her hair, Murphy did some work for Vogue Patterns. Chuck Baker photographed her for the summer 1994 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine.

Vogue 1443
Vogue 1443 in Vogue Patterns, July/August 1994. Photo: Chuck Baker.
1990s Vogue Sport pattern featuring Carolyn Murphy - jacket, dress, top, shorts & pants V1443
Vogue 1443 (1994) Image: Etsy.

Here’s the original caption: Work-out wear goes high fashion as athletic-inspired clothes come out of the gym and onto the streets. Vogue Sport presents a one-pattern wardrobe of high-function pieces that look great whatever your game. Reflective stripes stylishly accent as well as provide high visibility protection. 1443 includes a black nylon jacket with inside drawstring, pull on sweatpants, boxy fleece shorts, and a V-neck sweatshirt that elongates into a sweatdress for lounging or going out.

As well as the Vogue Sport pattern, Murphy also models 5 Easy Pieces separates “in chocolate and emerald”:

Vogue 1471 in Vogue Patterns, July/August 1994
Vogue 1471 in Vogue Patterns, July/August 1994. Photo: Chuck Baker.
1990s 5 Easy Pieces pattern feat. Carolyn Murphy - Vogue 1471
Vogue 1471 (1994) Image: Etsy.

Bonus: Murphy was also featured in this Marc Jacobs pattern hack, shot by Herb Ritts for Vogue. The Marc Jacobs slip dress (Vogue 1965) was shown in icy green velvet from Elegant Fabrics, NYC.

“The softness of pale-green velvet takes on an unexpected sexiness when it’s slit thigh-high. Dress with spaghetti straps, Vogue Pattern #1965. Fabric from Elegant Fabrics, NYC.” Herb Ritts/Brana Wolf
Carolyn Murphy in Vogue 1965 by Marc Jacobs. Vogue, October, 1997. Photo: Herb Ritts. Editor: Brana Wolf.
VogueOct1997_V1965
Vogue 1965 by Marc Jacobs – Vogue, October 1997.

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.