Sunday, 15 September 2019

Focus on - Blueprints of Fashion

Again, not a 100% accurate depiction

I met this week's target for progress on my dissertation - probably just as well, because the Dissertation Police had promised that unspecified but definitely terrible things would happen if I didn't! So here is the next post on resources which I have used for my studies which might be of general interest.

Before I discovered the Commercial Pattern Archive which I wrote about last week, my source for dating 1940s and 1950s patterns was the two Blueprints of Fashion books by Wade Laboissonniere.



Each volume is jammed full of images of patterns, split into categories such as dresses, separates, sportswear, evening etc. - rather like a pattern catalogue. Unlike the CoPA illustrations these mostly show the full pattern, so you can see the logo, typeface etc used at the time.

Two pages of 1940s dress goodness

There is also a section specifically on dating patterns, which includes the number ranges by year for each of the main brands, and examples of different pattern envelope styles by date. Both books also contain a wealth of background information on the pattern industry, and Laboissonniere manages to provide different details in each book. I originally bought these mainly to drool at the pretty pictures, but they provide an interesting read as well.

Meanwhile, the dissertation. I just cannot write (academic writing, that is) directly on a computer. Partly this is because I'm unable to type quickly enough to keep up with my thoughts, but a lot of it is probably an age thing - I grew up writing things out by hand, and that's just what I'm most comfortable with. Unfortunately this means I currently have 26 (26!) pages of handwritten notes, complete with crossings out, bits scribbled in margins, additions noted on the back of other pages etc. waiting to be typed up. 'Eager anticipation' does not describe my state of mind at this prospect. Oh well, onwards!

Beside myself with excitement at the thought of all that typing


  1. I write a lot of stuff longhand too. I wrote my entire senior thesis in college out long hand (86 typed pages), and a good bit of my master's thesis as well (246 typed pages). I've also written almost all of my current novel out long hand (170,000+ words initially, although I've cut that nearly in half with editing). I prefer the process of writing out long hand usually, as I find my brain works differently with a pen in my hand vs. a keyboard. Good luck with all the typing!!

    1. Thank you Juliana, currently 15 pages through!