October 7, 2014

Vintage Vogue patterns...

While reading the wonderful issues of American Vogue from 1915, I came across this page which explained the various kinds of patterns (you should be able to enlarge the pictures by clicking them, so can read the original text, but I will also type it out) available to the readers:

1. Vogue Stock Patterns

These are the models which Vogue itself has selected from the smartest designs, and made up in stock sizes only. Stock patterns are illustrated in each number of Vogue. They come flat, not pinned, and with each one comes a printed slip which tells the amount of materials to use. Though smart and advanced in line, Vogue Stock Patterns are exceptionally easy to use.

Vogue Stock Patterns are uniformly prices at 50 cents for waist or skirt, and $1 for complete costume. Sizes 34, 36, 38 and 40.

2. "Non-Stock Specials"

Cut only from the very practical designs illustrated in Vogue's famous "Smart Fashions for Limited Incomes", these patterns, as a rule, lean rather to the simple and conservative and are planned to remain in style for many months. they represent the ideal of the woman who must dress fashionably on a limited outlay. When reading "Smart Fashions for Limited Incomes" remember you may have the pattern for any garment there described.

"Non-Stock Patterns" are cut to order in stock sizes only (34 to 40 bust). Three-quarter-length coat, wrap or negligee, $1.50; skirt or waist, $1; complete costume $2.

3. Cut-To-Individual Measure

The ultimate in patterns. Vogue will cut to your own individual measurements a special pattern for any Vogue gown, waist, skirt or suit that appeals to you. Simply clip and send the sketch or photograph from Vogue, with a full list of your measurements. (Vogue supplies a special measurement form. A post-card request will bring you a year's supply.) The pattern will come pinned together - it is a replica in tissue paper of the model you have chosen.

Vogue's Cut-To-Individual Measure Patterns at a small cost insure absolute distinction in dress. Three-quarter length coat or negligee, $3; waist or skirt, $2; complete costume, $4; children's dresses, $2.

You may notice that none of the pattern options includes instructions... I guess the reason is that a lady was supposed to have any of these made by a professional seamstress or servant with a lot sewing experience. 
But still, a pattern of any garment featured in Vogue, made to your own measurements...
Now I understand why, despite the good condition of the paper, there is the occasional torn-out fashion picture in these magazines.

So, you could have beauties like these, the latest fashion from France. Work from notable designers like the Callot sisters...
That is a far cry from Dior who banished anyone, who was caught sketching, from his shows.

Ironically, in the same issue there is this article about the beginning of copyright in fashion design. An initiative by Paul Poiret after he saw counterfeit versions of his designs sold in American stores. However, the efforts of the Syndicat seem to have been focussed on stopping the manufacture of fake labels which allowed sub-standard copies to be sold as their designs. Despite the headline, the article announces surprisingly little action against the actual copying of designs. I guess that wouldn't happen until later...


  1. wow, so interesting!
    I have been watching Downton Abbey, always observing the clothes, changing silhouettes through the years, sewing machines beginning to appear... I enjoy this kind of subject.
    I loved seeing these! thanks.

  2. Thank you for posting this wonderful information! Love these pictures!