Tag Archives: vogue

Exclusive Couture=Vogue Pattern Company

Vogue Designer Pattern

Vogue Designer Pattern

Vogue Patterns are known for their exclusive couture designs–the first pattern company to license and reproduce the designs of couture designers. While other pattern companies have tried to imitate Vogue with designer patterns, Vogue still epitomizes the finest in designer patterns.

Vogue Pattern Company is one of the oldest still surviving pattern companies. It began in 1899, when VOGUE magazine published a weekly pattern feature, purchased by mail order. By 1905 the publisher established a separate pattern department. In 1909 the company was purchased by Conde Nast who formed the Vogue Pattern Company in 1914. Department stores started selling the patterns in 1916. World War I had halted the production of French couture designs and Vogue featured American designers. In the 1920s, Vogue magazine covered designs from French designers like Coco Chanel and Jean Patou.

Vogue Couturier

Vogue Couturier

While Vogue Pattern Book  featured “couturier” patterns as early as 1937, these patterns were not exact reproductions of actual styles. Vogue Patterns made news in the fashion industry by announcing the availability of Paris Original Models in 1949, featuring leading French Couturiers Balmain, Schiaparelli, Lanvin and Jaques Fath. It was the first time originals from the Paris couture had been duplicated in pattern form. Vogue Patterns became the only pattern company licensed to produce designs from the world leading couturiers, establishing a precedent which continues today. Since that time Vogue has continued to produce highly desirable couture designs. Here’s a brief synopsis:

  • 1960s – Fashion’s trendsetters emulated the minimal elegance of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. The popularity of American designers led to the introduction in 1967 of Vogue’s “Americana” patterns, a collection of signature styles which include Oscar de la Renta, Teal Traina, and Chester Weinberg. Customer favorites include Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Anne Klein, Geoffrey Beene, Bill Blass, and Oscar de la Renta.
  • mid-1970s  Italian and English designers, including the popular Bellville-Sassoon, were added. Styles by Yves Saint Laurent and Hubert de Givenchy are still among the company’s best sellers.
  • 1984 “Vogue Individualist” program created a showcase for emerging young designers whose international style appealed to a more fashion-forward customer. Many of these designers, including Issey Miyake, Isaac Mizrahi and Claude Montana, later joined the ranks of fashions established innovators.
  • 1990 – “Vogue Individualist” was replaced by “Vogue Attitudes”, a program which introduces today’s home sewers to the current generation of fashion talent. Designers like Anna Sui, Byron Lars and Isabel Toledo have a unique approach to addressing the needs of their specific customers, and are attuned to the demands of busy, clothes-conscious women of the 90s.

Collecting Vintage Sewing Patterns

Paper sewing patterns were first manufactured in the middle of the 1800s. The first ones were designed by Ellen Curtis Demorest and sold through her magazine, Mme. Demorest’s Mirror of Fashion. In 1863, American tailor Ebenezer Butterick was the first to create a sewing pattern in various sizes.  It was his idea to use tissue paper for the mass production of sewing patterns. The earliest paper sewing patterns were pre-cut on plain tissue, with notches and holes for markings which aided in construction of the garment. The printed pattern was introduced in the 1920s, but did not become commonplace until just after World War II.

There are four large pattern companies still making sewing patterns today, Butterick, McCall’s, Simplicity and Vogue.  These are also the most commonly found vintage patterns, though there were dozens of smaller companies who produced some exciting and specialty designs. Pattern magazines and counter books (the big books in stores that pictured all the styles) are also interesting to collect, and they are authoritative aids in helping to place a date on a pattern.