April 4, 2012

56 years is a long time

And yet this magazine, along with a bunch of others owned by the same budding seamstress (I'm guessing at that. this pile included Marions from the 1950's and 60's. In all the 50's ones, the pattern sheets appear to be untouched but several issues from the 60's show the marks left by tracing wheels) survived it all, just to be sold to me by the lady's grandchildren...So, I'm happy to show you the contents of the April 1956 issue of Marion (a Dutch sewing magazine which, as far as I know, was published from the late 1940's to the early 1990's).

The cover shows a quintessential mid-fifties look: a full-skirted shirt-waist for which they have made clever use of the striped fabric. With matching gloves, a pattern for which was included if you bought the dress pattern.

As in every issue of Marion, patterns in one size were included for some of the looks. Here, the elegant, sleek coat and dress on the left were included for plus sizes, the sophisticated suit, or 'deux-pieces' (which indicates they saw this as a two piece dress, rather than as a proper suit) was avaible for mid-sizes (42 to 48) and included in size 44. The cheerful white dress with the impractical pocket obsession was considered to be more something for the young woman. The striped number to the right actually shows a trend which was on its way in at the time: the dropped waistine complete with fake belt at the high hip.

Then, there are some seperates: A darling blouse with collar and bow and a pencil skirt with decorative button tabs. The outfit on the right is included in its entirety (in size 42): Full skirt with pockets, matching belt, blouse and bolero.

And of course, there were always children's patterns as well. These all came with patterns. The dress at bottom right is actually included in ladies size 36, which is also for girls of 14 to 16, according to Marion (and which happens to be closest to my size...) Is anyone else slightly freaked out by the 'too young for a wasp-waist' look of the girls' dresses?

Obviously, Marion was saving some of the best stuff for its 'to order' patterns:

Aren't these dresses (one and two piece) great? I love the shirt-waist with the big collar and that suit with the plissee skirt...

And there were wedding dresses (on the right) and party-clothes for kids. Those 'bridal dresses for little girls' are only described as being 'festive' which seems a bit odd to me. My guess is that they were either for bridesmaids and flower girls or to celebrate first communion.

Personally, I see a lot of design elements I wouldn't mind incorporating in my summer looks (the warmer weather has me back to thinking about vintage-style dresses already). Is there anything you would wear today?

P.S. I hope to be able to show you my first spring dress tomorrow.


  1. Oh, I love that striped dress! I really enjoy the dropped-waist/full skirt look, if only because I can actually wear it, unlike a full, gathered skirt from my actual waist.

    I very much have spring dresses on the brain right now, although it's going to be a bit before I can get to actually sewing any...

  2. Funny because I've been planning a striped shirt dress. Some things never date.