A bit of Vogue Designer pattern nostalgia

I have to admit to a pang of envy when my fellow sewing bloggers mention sewing with some fabric they've found at the op shop. I often check out the fabric section in the op shops around here, and in over 6 years have come up with two barely acceptable lengths of fabric, which still sit in the stash. Otherwise, it's dubious stuff in awful colours. Erk.
I seem to do better, however, with patterns. A couple of weeks ago, I picked up two Vogue Designer patterns from the early 1990s. What attracted me was not so much that they were Vogue Designers but rather because I was attracted by the writing on the envelopes by the former owner. These finds tickled me, and I thought I would share them here.
This sewist it seems sewed for two lucky people: Kathy and Kylie. Her handwriting is almost a facsimile of my mother-in-law's handwriting (she was born in 1918), and she uses inches, so you get a picture of her straight away.

This Albert Nipon pattern in sizes 6 -10,  is a dress with a tulip skirt from a spaghetti strap fitted bodice, with a separate lace top with shoulder pads and buttons up the back. Plenty there for the advanced sewist to get her teeth into!
This skirt was a good fit on Kylie, it seems. And the sewist reminds herself to "dart waist as this is cut on hip".
A bit of frankenpatterning was also going on, with the bodice of Simplicity 5998 being added to the skirt.

This pattern in sizes 8 - 12 includes a dress and top that has interesting underarm gussets. It also has a straight dress and top with back button closures, and two tapered skirts. Wow, this pattern offered value for money, and this sewist certainly got her money's worth, making it for both Kathy and Kylie.
The notes:
Kathy's grey pique sleeve  on the blouse was too tight . The sewist needs to let shoulder seam out at sleeve 3/8". There are other notes, but I can't make them out.
The length of the bodice on the collared dress is OK when the skirt is added.
Kylie's blouse is TOO short!
As is the dress on Kathy W.
The neckline on the straight dress needs to be drafted 1 1/2"down.
When using the brown silk, use only 1/2"seams.
And lastly, check the Blue Book before cutting again.

To me, this stuff is priceless.

As I look at these patterns, I wonder where our dressmaker is now? Is she still with us?  What happened to her Blue Book? What was in the Blue Book?
Where are Kathy and Kylie? Did they appreciate having someone (Aunt? Grandmother? Mother?) sew Vogue Designer patterns for them? Do they sew themselves now?
So many questions to mull over.

Lastly,  does anyone else write on their pattern envelopes (a bit hard to do, though, on pdf!)? Does anyone have a Blue Book? I don't and I think I should.


  1. Great post Paola. I don't have a Blue Book but I do have 110 Creations A Sewist's Notebook by Beth Byrge. See her website http://www.110creations.com/p/about-book.html I have found this book to be so helpful. I jot down notes during construction and then later when I use that pattern again, I simply refer back to my notes to remind myself of any changes to make etc. You think you will remember these things at the time...but you really don't. I find it so helpful to have something to refer back to.

  2. I do have a note book that I write all my pattern changes in and it was getting full, so this year I splurged on the 110 Creations A Sewist's Notebook. I agree with Sew, Jean Margaret, my notebook has save me quite a few frog stitching moments.

  3. I know exactly what you both mean. I'm off to purchase the 101 Creations book now...

  4. These are fabulous - and I have the Vogue Attitudes! (from the Opp shop!, but not annotated!) I've filled a spiral plain paper book (one of the art sketch ones) & have a fashionairy, but I think I'm more of a plain paper girl as I can't bear to write over the sketches! My blog is my other 'pattern notes' record ;)

    1. Too funny you found the same pattern in the op shop. Having a pattern notes record was one of the reasons I started blogging too.

  5. I love this stuff too. It tells a story... I scribble ideas and sketches and shopping lists in little notebooks. I always have one with me. Also I have been guilty of scribbling on patterns but at least it was in pencil.

    1. I really need to get into the habit of writing shopping lists, especially for fabric. I always overestimate how much I need, so I end up with leftovers more often than not.

  6. That is an interesting story. You can almost see the fittings can't you.
    Today I use Pattern Review reviews and a blog as a fitting diary. A few notes are made on the patterns themselves, but the fittings notes are left to a more easily located source. As soon as I finish cutting all the pieces, it get neatly folded and put back in the bag.

    1. I also note my own alterations on my Pattern Reviews. Its very useful for that.

  7. This is really fascinating and those patterns are still very wearable for today. Most of the fabrics I see in the op shops are awful as well but there is the occasional treasure.

  8. I agree that both are wearable, but the sizing is too small for me.I'm a 14-16 in Vogue, so I'd have to do a fair bit of grading.

  9. I don't write on my patterns at all, but I do love reading those that have. I guess blogs and Pattern Reviews have taken place of manual record keeping, I wonder what will become of our photos and notes one day in the future when blogs no longer exist? Makes me want to start making hard copies.....

    1. I've referred to my own blog posts and Pattern Reviews to remind myself what I've done to date. It's not as romantic as writing this stuff down in your handwriting for someone else to find in the future though..

  10. I had a copy of the top one, I went looking for it recently and can't find it unfortunately. I never made it as a dress, but I did franken the skirt part into a draped skirt. Made it in a black crepe with a satin binding on the edge. Back then I was really into ballroom dancing and that skirt was worn a lot! It's a great pattern.


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