February 8th, 2023
On My Mind

Pattern Play

Fall 2018 I had the Patou gown on the left made in navy wool crepe for my daughter’s ball that Christmas. Yesterday, Alison, a lovely longtime reader from Scotland, wrote asking about my post on the process of making the dress since all posts prior to 2021, at my request, were removed from the site last summer. This query sent me searching for my collection of vintage dress patterns. I would wear so many of these today and will have one made. Thank you, Alison, for the inspiration.

  • Vintage Vogue designer patterns from the 60s and 70s are wonderful and a marked contrast to current patterns. The vintage patterns fit well, and had interesting lines and construction. I look forward to seeing what you have made!

    RebeccaFebruary 8th, 2023  9:25 AM

  • I remember when you had that made, so beautiful. I forget why you had the pattern packages in the first lace though sorry. They bring back such memories of shopping for confirmation and graduation dresses. Not to mention HomeEc class.

    SueMFebruary 8th, 2023  10:10 AM

  • Thank you for this post. I have been searching for old Dior patterns the last few months. Love the classics.

    MeganNGFebruary 8th, 2023  11:14 AM

  • Preston, I remember your post on that beautiful, serene dress so well. It inspired my choice for mother of bride, a Dior, (a stroke of luck that season). I’m thinking if you have dresses sewn, it won’t have to count as one of your five purchases for the year. 🙂 Like SueM, I have happy memories of Home Ec too! I can still visualize the wrap skirts, aprons, culottes, sheath dress, and the struggles of putting in a zipper and darts. My mother sewed since girlhood, so I was quite spoiled with ‘bespoke fashion.’ She put a label in everything that read, “Made with love by Mom.” Talk about a hug that takes you through life. Can’t wait to see what pattern you choose next!

    PaulaFebruary 8th, 2023  11:36 AM

  • I was just about to write about the loving nostalgia I have for my mother’s Vogue, Butterick and Simplicity patterns from the 1960s and 1970s and that same “Made with love by Mom” tag, but Paula beat me to it! I also made the simple A-line skirt, apron, sheath dress and other items in Home Ec. The only thing I’ll add is that there came a day when I wanted the same bellbottom jeans, poor boy sweaters and clogs my friends were all wearing and I asked my mother to stop making my clothes. I was an idiot – I should have found a way to have the best of both worlds.

    Lisa MacFebruary 8th, 2023  1:24 PM

  • Thank you Preston for the mention.
    I love all your patterns and would wear any of these today, even if I didn’t have an “occasion”!
    There is something so personal and reassuring about having a beautiful piece of clothing made for you or by you.
    From spending an afternoon pulling out all your patterns and deciding what to make, selecting the fabric, to the sound of the first cut through the fabric, it’s a multi sensory experience.
    I too have vivid memories of my first sewing classes at school, I was instantly in love with the whole process and am still passionate about all things “fabric”.
    My first garment that I made to wear was a grey flannel A line skirt with a pleat in the front, which I wore with a black polo neck and that more or less established my “uniform” for the rest of my life!
    Feeling so inspired by everyone’s sewing memories, now I just have to decide is it going to be the Valentino with the heavy topstitching or your beautiful navy Patou dress?
    Looking forward to seeing your new dress when it is finished.

    AlisonFebruary 8th, 2023  3:01 PM

  • ….. and I meant to add this lovely quote by Noel Streatfield, author of Ballet Shoes.
    “There is no doubt, a new dress is a help under all circumstances”.
    I have this written on a paper tag in my bedside drawer, it’s an “emergency prescription”!

    AlisonFebruary 8th, 2023  5:38 PM

  • I remember that post well…those classic shapes will always appeal to me!

    MelissaFebruary 8th, 2023  6:45 PM

  • I was searching an old post for reference too, and came up empty. I am not sure why you can no longer find older posts, but it looks like other long time readers do the the same thing. You may want to repost some content and topics, because a lot of the links and information was golden.

    KimFebruary 8th, 2023  8:03 PM

  • Thank you for this post and walk down memory lane.
    As the child of hippie parents, who wanted to encourage my creativity, trips to our local fabric store (Gaffney’s) was a weekly affair. It’s where I found fashion. I started with McCall’s & Butterick, but Vogue patterns were my favorite. They were chic. They were where my love affair with the art and craft of fashion began.
    I still recall wearing my newly sewn aline corduroy skirt with inseam pockets complete with the slim turtleneck (just like the cover of the pattern) with pride.
    Now I feel like I need to go on search for any of those patterns.

    MelissaFebruary 9th, 2023  8:02 AM

  • Pattern in center of bottom row was used for my wedding dress 55 years ago. Coat and dress made in silk satin, coat lining in pink silk.
    Thank you for the sweet memory.

    Kathleen SaalwachterFebruary 9th, 2023  10:21 AM

  • Agree, your older posts are still referenced by your readers and hope you will reconsider and bring them back! Past and present, enjoy all your posts!

    LauraFebruary 9th, 2023  12:32 PM

  • I’ll always remember the navy wool gabardine coat, double-breasted, metal shank buttons, and belted that my mother made for me in the late 60s. I wore it with pride and felt so chic as it was at that time the very new midi length. Sadly I donated it in one of my purges.

    SLFFebruary 9th, 2023  4:11 PM

  • I have bought a number of vintage Vogue designer patterns. My mother was a sewer, and my two sisters and I were taught by her ( not sure I recommend that!) When I see a good one, I have to have it.

    AprilFebruary 9th, 2023  6:42 PM

  • I am late to this post, but it certainly brings back unexpected memories. Paper patterns, gowns made from dialogue alone, fabrics.

    RMFebruary 13th, 2023  2:28 PM

  • April, lucky you! No matter how well you learned it, it’s better than not at all! A good tailor is a must nowadays. When clothes became mostly so ugly and made out of such poor fabrics in toxic environment with ridiculous price-tags!
    Just reading a very good article about Haute Couture and India on SCMP (and generally manufacturing in India). I always said that one day we will pray for Chinese quality and here we are!
    Purchasing great natural fabrics per meter is easier than one thinks, cashmere ready garments purchasing only directly from Italian manufacturers, shoes only from smaller manufacturers or shoemakers, the list became pretty long.. “Labels” promising the quality (also quality of the fabric), style and aesthetics once, now are just a piece of fabric with a name on it.
    Seeing in one of the European capitals a summer “dress” (in 2023 colour magenta, a bit longer A-shape silk t-shirt) in the window for unbelievable 960EUR I called the office of the “designer” and asked where is it manufactured, the lady on the phone told me it’s confidential! They want someone’s 960EUR for something what is worth 50EUR (already with a great margin if one knows the textile industry), and she tells me that a place of production is c o n f I d e n t I a l !!! What a scam so called fashion industry became, what a scam!

    Rue de GirofleesFebruary 14th, 2023  2:18 AM


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