Anne's backyard iris. colors muted

image: (left) intro image for summer pattern collection on Vogue/McCall's website (right) vintage McCall's dress pattern from 1950s featured in Summer Collection video

|| 13 August 2017

Sewing Your Own Chic

Women are sewing again. That is truly good news for chic. Proper fit is a basic foundation of chic. Sewing your own clothing (and altering ready-to-wear) can give you a flattering fit often impossible with ready-made garments.

Recently Jill in San Francisco who sews her own clothes sent a link to Vogue Patterns on the McCall’s website. McCall’s was one the most popular of the pattern companies when I was growing up. To accommodate my fatty form my clothes had to sewn by a local seamstress. Almost all my clothes were made with Simplicity or McCall’s patterns.

In her email Jill wrote:

Thanks so much for your great insights. I wanted to alert you and your readers to another source for examining clothing on different bodies - with sewing patterns. I make my clothes, and the Vogue, McCall's, Burda, and Simplicity websites each season roll out new patterns often with different body shapes. The Vogue website ( has just rolled out their Fall line of patterns and they are fabulous. Don't miss the Guy Laroche dress or the "Melania inauguration" Ralph Lauren dress and shrug. :) Sandra Betzina and Marcy Tilton design patterns for Vogue and they are over age 50.

Jill also suggested two other websites for women who sew, one focused on women who wear larger sizes. I will save those two for another post because today I want to focus on McCall’s excellent website to which Jill sent a link. And on the bonus delight I found there when I checked out the site.

When you arrive at the Vogue McCall's website, top is the announcement of the Fall 2017 patterns. (Note: page slow to load) Scroll down the page a bit and you will come to Summer 2017 Pattern Collections. There is a play button for a video featuring these fashions. After a quick overview the video presents a segment on a tangerine Guy Laroche dress, then a yellow print dress made from a 1950s McCall's pattern reissued this year. When I saw that vintage dress, I hit the pause button. I was sure I had a dress made from that McCall's pattern in the spring of 1958 when I was 13 years old. I headed for my scrapbooks to confirm.

As you can see in the photo right below, not only was I photographed in the dress, but for a studio portrait, no less.


Anne photographed in 1958 wearing dress made from McCall's pattern

image: (left) Anne in 1958 wearing dress made from McCall's pattern (center and right) McCall's 2017 update of Anne's dress from Summer Collection 2017 video

If you check the updated 2017 version of the pattern on the McCall's website, you will find that this pattern offers two versions: more conventional straps and tie-straps. My 1958 version combines both. Whether this was my own design modification choice — or it was a suggested way to make the pattern, I simply can't be certain. It was 59 years ago, after all. But I seem to remember that the pattern catalog showed an illustration of the dress made as you see in my photo. I liked the off shoulder bows in addition to the sundress style straps. My dress was made of pink and white striped cotton sateen.

Exciting for me that the pattern for a special dress I loved has been brought back six decades later — and that young women today can sew and wear the same dress I did. A special delight that the model wearing the dress in 2017 had a "pony tail" hairstyle as I did in 1958.

Much thanks to Jill in San Francisco who sent the pattern information and link to the Vogue Pattern McCall's site.

YouTube Video of Summer 2017 Pattern Collection with vintage dress.

Main Page of the Vogue patterns website. VERY SLOW to load on some internet connections.

McCall's Pattern M7599 page showing both versions of the dress

be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone

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