Sunday, 21 October 2012

Patterns past and present. Part 3

Butterick 3986 is another pattern without a date, but as the price is given in shillings and pence it must predate decimalisation in February 1971.

Late sixties?

The envelope back is printed with both imperial and metric measures, but this and the bust size are the only pieces of metric information; the yardages and standard body measurements are all imperial.

Centimetres start to make an appearance

The instructions proudly state that, "For your sewing pleasure…this new, improved guide is scientifically designed to make the sewing and cutting instructions clearer and easier-to-follow". As the instructions don't look very different from those found in a modern pattern, the scientific design clearly worked.

Scientifically modern-looking instructions

There is a large gap in my pattern collection, namely the 1970s. There is a reason for this; having lived through it the first time, I can't imagine wanting to recreate any of those fashions.

The 1970s. Once was enough. More than enough.

Unlike most of my earlier patterns, Style 3095 was not bought at a vintage fair, although I have seen patterns from this and more recent eras being sold as 'vintage'! Dating from 1980, this is the oldest pattern in my collection which I bought new. When we moved house a few years ago I threw out a lot of my patterns (like mother, like daughter), and now really regret having done so.

I made views 3 and 4, I don't really 'do' bows

It is still a single size pattern, and that size for a 92cm (36") bust is finally a 14. Yea! The bust measurement on the envelope front and the fabric requirements on the back are in metric only, and although standard sizes are given in both metric and imperial, the use of half and quarter inch measures shows that metric is now the predominant measurement.

Very much metric

The pattern pieces are printed in several languages, probably reflecting the information on the envelope front about where the pattern was sold.

Multi-lingual pattern pieces

Vogue 1302 is the most recent pattern I've bought. It is high on my 'to make' list, although with all the draped panels it will be a challenge altering it to fit.

My next project?

The photos on the envelope front give more realistic idea of proportions than the line drawings of old, and even with French and English text, the simple, clean layout of the envelope back is a world away from all the information packed onto Maudella 5151's envelope.

Clear information

Like all modern patterns, it is multi-size, and as well as the pattern pieces, the instructions are in more than one language; the fourth page is in French.

One of the many pieces I'll need to alter

There have been so many changes in the world of home dressmaking since my mum made her dressing gown (sorry, housecoat) in 1954. Many 'how to sew' books will tell you that whereas sizing of ready-to-wear clothes has changed over time dress pattern sizes have remained constant, but even this small selection of patterns shows that this isn't true.

There are many types of pattern missing from my collection; half size patterns (size 13, 15 etc.) and patterns associated with Sunday newspapers are evidence of a time when dressmaking was a far more popular and widespread pastime than it is now. Nowadays reader offers in those newspapers are more likely to be a DVD - a very different way to spend your time.

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