Friday, December 30, 2011

1970's for New Years

1970s sewing pattern
McCall's 3206
simplicity 8025
Fashion illustrations from 1970's patterns:
Two figures: a Butterick pattern (torn number)
Two figures with red dress: McCall's 3206
Green Dress: Simplicity 8025

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sheath Cocktail Dresses from 1958: Fit to Impress

1950s fahion
1950s fashion1958 fashion illustrations from "Modes Royale" a pattern magazine of European designs for the home seamstress.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sequins 1930's Style: Vintage New Year

1937 Turn Off the Moon, Edith Head1937 Costume design by Edith Head for "Turn Off the Moon"

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

1958: Vintage New Year Cocktail Dresses

1958 fashion illustration
1958 fashion illustration
1958 fashion illustration
Fashion Illustrations: 1958 from "Modes Royale"
This was a pattern magazine that showcased European fashion designs when cocktail dresses were at their height for creative drape and silhouette.

Monday, December 26, 2011

"Sabrina" Costume Illustration: New Year's Inspiration

Sabrina illustration
Edith Head illustration for Audrey Hepburn as "Sabrina"


This look is so classic and as perfect for this New Year's as it was in the 1950's.
You can whip up your own version with vintage sewing pattern: Simplicity 3002. Wouldn't that be fun!

Simplicity 3002, is currently available on HERE

Thursday, December 22, 2011

1958 Back Views: Cocktail Dresses for New Years

1958 fashion
1958 fashion1958 fashion illustrations from "Modes Royale", a pattern magazine of European designs for the skilled seamstress.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Janet Klein and her Parlor Boys: Music for a Vintage Lifestyle

Janet KleinIf you love vintage fashion from the 1920's and 30's, then Janet Klein and her Parlor Boys should be the musical score for your life.

Janet has found a way to capture all of the fun and jive of that era's music, singing and playing her ukulele with a back-up band of marvelous musicians. But there's more! She's also a gifted graphic artist, as well as a spell binding performer. She has designed a vintage style web site that will make you want to put on a pot of tea and settle in for awhile, to cruise the many pages that relate to her work, musician friends and related topics, HERE.

Janet Klein, Living in Sin

To see more, there is a treasure trove of her videos online HERE.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Preview: 1950's dresses

Here is a preview of a few "fresh vintage" dresses that will debut at the pop-up shop for Pintuck Style this coming Saturday, Nov.26.

More info on this sale: HERE. Drop by/ say hi!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

1970's Vintage Sewing Patterns & California Fashion Designers

Collecting and selling vintage sewing patterns has heightened my awareness of “designer” brands from past decades. I have often wondered about some of the late 1970’s patterns. Why were there so many pattern designers from Los Angeles then? Like “Made in California”, there seemed to be more interest in west coast fashion back then than today. I did some digging around and came up with part of the story:

By 1979, the home sewing business was around $3.4 billion per year. About 125 million patterns were sold annually. The four major pattern companies at that time were: Vogue, Butterick, McCall’s and Simplicity. About 35 to 40 million home sewers were located in Southern California, the largest regional group in the US. The huge demand for home sewing patterns in California prompted the home sewing industry to release designs by popular local fashion designers. It was also hoped that the allure of the west coast life style would spread a demand for these young, unique and less European fashion designs throughout the country.

At that time it cost $25,000 to produce and issue one original designer pattern for the home sewing market. Featuring a designer meant that companies expected a good sell out to support their investment. Seeking life style branding, along with a middle class interest in a fashion that was more accessible, the designer patterns where hoped to be top selling designs not only on the west coast, but nationally as well.

In that year, eleven fashion designers from Los Angeles and two from San Francisco had sewing patterns featuring their labels. Seven of these designers were published by McCall’s. By May, 1979 that company featured designer patterns by Bob Mackie, Norma Fink’s “Theodore” label, Carol Little’s “St. Tropez West” label, “Singer and Spicer” and the “Strauss” label by Bonnie Strauss. In June, 1979 the “Ma Chemise” label by Dennis Goldsmith and Nancy Heller’s “Tea Shirts” designs would be added to the roster of California design talent at McCall’s.

In 1978, Simplicity patterns, the largest pattern company at that time, sought out a strong California identity. Their west coast design roster featured Holly Harp, Harriet Selwyn’s label “Fragments” and “Gunne Sax” by Jessica McClintock. Jessica McClintock would prove to be a profitable pattern label that continues to be part of the Simplicity pattern company designer roster.

The Vogue pattern company had always featured well known American fashion designers and is credited with being first to feature California labels (that’s debatable). In 1976 they started including local talent with Edith Head’s designs. As a movie costumer who didn’t design or manufacture, she was a legend of Hollywood glamour.

Butterick’s first California designer label was for Jane Tise in 1975 under the “Young Designer” title for her label “Sweet Baby Jane”. If a count were made, she would probably be one of the top designers creating sewing patterns during that decade. The California free spirit and inspiration buyers sought after were featured in Jane Tise designs. Lesser known Nancy Stolkin’s simple to sew yet fashionable designs were added in April, 1979.

What seems like a spontaneous display of interest in California fashion designers was brought about by two occurrences: an alarming downturn in pattern sales that began in 1976, and the realization that most home sewers thought high fashion designer labels were too complicated and difficult to sew. The companies hoped that these new California labels would seem inspiring without being intimidating. They also hoped the new looks would bring back a customer who was wearing more pants, fewer dresses and sewing for herself less often. Like Jessica McClintock, a few designer labels would be long term sellers, keeping some of the departing sewing masses in the fold.

Most information for this article came from an April 16, 1979 news article “Pattern Makers Heading West for Designs for Middle America” written by west coast fashion journalist, Marylou Luther, who wrote for the “Los Angeles Times”.

Below is an incomplete inventory of the California designer patterns, starting in the 1970’s. Most are currently available for sale online. If you have more pattern numbers to add to the lists, please feel free to leave them in the comment’s section, thanks!

Norma Fink “Theodore”: McCall’s: 6770
Bob Mackie: McCall’s: 6840 (1979)
Nancy Heller: McCall’s:, 8783, 9040 (80s), 9055 (1984)
Singer and Spicer: McCalls: 6756
Carol Little “Saint-Tropez West”: McCall’s: 6725, 6726, 7983(1982), 8816 (1983)

Harriet Selwyn “Fragments”: Simplicity: 8648 (1978), 8905 (1979)
Dennis Goldsmith: Simplicity: 8589(1988), 9193 (1989), 9856 (1990), 9885 (1990, girl’s)
Holly’s Harp: Simplicity: 8645, 8646 (1978), 9177 (1979)
Nancy Heller: Simplicity: 8607
Jessica McClintock, “Gunne Sax”: Simplicity: 6270, 6271 (1983), 9350 (1979), 8907, 8947, 8223 (1987), 8224 (1987), 7563 (1991), 8985 (1989, girls), 8671, 9558, 9100, 6883, 6361 (1983)

Nancy Stolkin: Butterick: 6579, 6581
Jane Tise “Sweet Baby Jane”: Butterick: 4096, 4098, 4099, 4100, 4391, 4642, 5049, 5050, 5051, 5283, 5990, 5991, 5992, 5993, 6330, 6331, 6332, 6412, 6681, 6682, 6683, 6684

Edith Head: Vogue, American Designers: 1560, 1803, 1895, 1896, 2041, 2221, 2335, 2560, 2561, 2831, 2832, 2923

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Vintage Details: Rudi Gernreich: 2 Kabuki Dresses, Autumn 1963

It's not often that we get a chance to see two vintage dresses that are from the same collection: similar in design, but different in fabrication.

Rudi Gernreich produced a wide range of innovative designs during his career, but the Kabuki dress remains one of the most recognizable. Designed in 1963 for his Autumn collection, it is a wool double knit with body drape. What made it so unique was the eye popping textile colors and the innovative bodice 'obi' belting across the bustline.

As early as 1954, when in his early 30’s, Gernreich was noted for his colorful, geometric, and unique styling. His styles are highly influenced by the flapper silhouette of the 1920’s, which was a departure from the hourglass look being designed in Paris by Dior. In 1951 he began working for Walter Bass, a California manufacturer. There he became well known for contemporary clothing design.

He created boxy jackets and tight pants and other clothing styles that would become more commonplace in the early 1960’s but were considered bold, sophisticated, and shocking 10 years earlier.

Like Claire McCardell and Bonnie Cashin, he was influenced by Asian garment styles. As a designer he felt that he was a practicing artist, where aesthetics were important. He also believed that a good design need not be discarded after only one season.

Wool knit textiles were produced by Harmon knitwear. In the early 1960's his color sense and ability to manipulate textile graphics were becoming popular. The bold colors and patterns here predict the trend in fashion that would become mainstream by the late 1960's and early 1970's.

And finally, a quick look at the inside construction. The obi section is backed by cotton broadcloth to prevent it from stretching out of shape.

(click on the photos so see enlargements)
Please contact me if you wish to use these photos, thank you

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fall is Sweater Time: Pringle Cashmere

Pringle sweaters
Cashmere and Pringle sweaters are a great combination that is getting harder to find. The weight and texture has made them a favorite knit and it's become impossible to pass up a vintage cashmere while cruising a good estate sale.

beaded sweater
Recently I came across a great video for a recent exhibition, "From Hawick to Hollywood: the Women who wore Pringle". This looks at mid-century Pringle knits and is exhibited in Hawick, Scotland where Pringle is made. Wallace Shaw, who designed for Pringle between 1972 and 1978 shares his impressions about Pringle during that time. The gorgeous sweaters shown here are all from that video.

The Pringle webpage and video are ”HERE”.

beaded sweaters
Don't these gorgeous cashmere knits make you want seek out Pringles? I know I do!
Also, I have to credit Lizzie at ”The Vintage Traveler” for sending me on this little journey into Scottish textiles. I have enjoyed every minute, and will share more with you later.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Breakfast at Tiffany's: 50th anniversary

Fifty years ago Breakfast at Tiffany's captured an era and a generation, distilling glamour and charm into one amazing film.

It's never to late to join in the fun, especially with a bright orange coat, so Holly
Golightly! You can have your own from our Pintuck Style shop: HERE.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

History of California's Fashion Industry: Part 1

The 1920’s is a good place to begin a brief look into the California apparel industry. The decade began with a new but strong apparel business in Southern California so that by 1921, "The Associated Apparel Manufactures of Los Angeles" was organized. It would offer a bureau of information for area manufacturers. The organization also provided a buyer’s office for out of town buyers who would arrive by train from the east coast and other points in the country, to see fashions during market week. There was also an employment bureau to help provide the labor needed to produce the goods within the region.

Included with the "Associated Apparel" group was smaller organization called the “California Fashion Creators”. They were known to stage fashion shows at movie star's homes, providing an early link to the movie industry. The synergy between fashion and Hollywood continued to develop and grow during this decade.

In 1926, an industry organization called the "Affiliated Fashionists" was organized by six women who owned design firms. They would promote their fashions by hosting many social events and fashion shows. The original members were Irene Bury, Viola Dimmitt, Peggy Hunt***, Violet Tatum*, Pat Perkins*, Marjorie Montgomery**, and later Addie Masters**, Louella Ballernio, Agnes Barrett, and Mabs Barnes. All of these names and labels were important to the growing reputation for fashion that Los Angeles would market throughout the U.S.

San Fransicso in the 1920’s also had a fashion industry group, with such members as Dolly Meyers and Harvey Rothschild. In 1951 this group was still strong, producing fashion shows in Union Square.


* retired early
**still in business in 1962
***businesses pre-1962, 25 years or more

The information in this series comes from my thesis.
Most primary references are from "California Stylist" and the "Los Angeles Times".

This is original material and may not be reproduced without my permission.
Please contact me here at PintuckStyle if you would like to quote all or part for your own use, thank you.

A note on the image used in this post:
This is a commercial photo.
My father has written a note about it based on his own years in L.A.:
"Looking north on Broadway. This was the main intersection in L.A."

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The 18th Century (is) Back in Fashion

VERSAILLE has an exhibition up right now that shows the influence of 18th century fashion on current design. Titled "The 18th Century Back in Fashion" (I find this awkward translation adorable) there is a colorful website devoted to the show that has several great resources. I love the exhibition BROCHURE which has gorgeous photos and designer information. And don't miss the FRENCH VOGUE website with its videos. Even though I can't understand a word of French, the visuals are still stunning!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Vintage Detail: Red Silk Dress c. 1960

This dress is fully lined. The hem appears to have been shortened. All beaded has been sewn by hand around the neckline and wrists of the long sleeves. The waistline has piping to match. Small hooks and thread loops are sewn at the neckline and waist of the center back metal zipper.

click on the photos to enlarge themr

Friday, August 26, 2011

Featuring a 1970's Dress, "Jerry Silverman" label


The designer label "Jerry Silverman" showcased wrap dresses during the 1970's that were trimmed with UltraSuede. This deep peacock blue matte jersey wrap dress has UltraSuede used in the yoke, at the hip, shoulders and collar. The drapey matte jersey is shown in a Halston-style bodice. This dress has a distinctive look that is higher in quality than most of the 1970 jerseys we see today.

Style details:
Ultra Suede
scluptured hip yoke with mock buckle
banded wrap front and collar
rounded shoulder yoke
rounded wrist cuffs with hook closure

matte jersey
gathers around the shoulder yoke
gathers around the hip yoke (skirt is nearly a half circle)
- dress is unlined, and is meant to have a draped bodice

About Jerry Silverman

It's interesting to note that Jerry Silverman began his career as a Harvard trained New York lawyer in 1933. He made a career switch to fashion in 1938, working for "Martini Designer" and becoming an owner before joining the military in WWII. After the war in 1946 he met his future business partner, Shannon Rodgers, a former Hollywood costume designer. Together they formed "Jerry Silverman" in 1959. Rodgers was the designer for this new venture of high end women's fashion. A dynamic team, they attended the couture shows in Paris to keep on up with current trends. Their dresses were popular with first ladies of the day, along with countless New York wives. The "Jerry Silverman" label was later bought by Warnaco, yet Silverman continued to be still involved. Silverman and Rodgers were active in promoting American design and supported fashion education, donating their huge historical fashion collection to Kent State.

Ultrasuede, early 1970’s

Probably the most important fashion textile development of the 1970’s was Ultrasuede, by Dr. Okamoto at Toray in 1970. This was the first mircrofiber, an ultra fine fiber that would continue in development as it produced softer fabrics. Ultrasuede was an expensive washable alternative to suede, and became popular in higher priced fashion during the decade of the 1970's. Designers such as Halston would make this a fashionable textile, using it in his shirt dresses and jackets.

Find more information on this designing duo HERE.

Find this lovely dress HERE.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Asher Fabrics: Couture Fashion, 1958

Ascher, London has posted five couture fashion portfolios from 1958. These scrapbooks with photos showcase designs using the original textiles by Zika Ascher, including mohair fabrics that Ascher was developing. It is wonderful to look through each collection. They captures the couture look from that year so well.

Also on this site is a gorgeous gallery of Ascher Scarves from the mid-1940's that were designed by known artists of the day.

Ascher Fabric Couture Collections, 1958

Haute Couture, Paris: Spring and Winter

Haute Couture, London: Winter

Alta Moda, Florence: Spring and Winter
De Luca

(a special thanks to BonBon Atelier for reminding me of this collection)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Vintage Simplicity Sewing Patterns: 1958

Vintage sewing patterns are a great resource to have. Whether I am trying to date a dress, or looking for new ideas, I just can get enough of them!

Mena Trott of Sew Weekly recently found a Simplicity 1958 pattern book. She has posted page after page on flickr for all of us to see. It's great fun to view these, and what's even better, the back views are there too. How often do we need to get those details and they aren't available? I think you'll enjoy this new resource, and if you're unfamiliar with Sew Weekly you may want to check that out too.

(the Simplicity pattern shown in this post is from my own collection)