Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Sewing Through the Cinema ~ Petulia

by Amy~ViennasGrace

        Get your tissues ready, no not that kind of tissue silly-less of a tear jerker, more of a very "uncommon" drama.  I'm searching sewing patterns modern and vintage to find the looks featured in classic films. Although it might not be possible to duplicate the exact look, I'll show you how to easily mimic the feeling of the style. Soon you'll see that a silver screen wardrobe is only a pattern away.

This very "uncommon" American drama from 1968 tells the story of Petulia, using flash forwards and flash backs.  Petulia is a young, trendy, socialite living in San Francisco.  She is married to David Danner, a cruel and abusive man. From the first time Petulia sees Dr. Archie Bollen treating an injured young boy that was traveling with her, she seems mysteriously attracted to him.

 I think this movie is a little Alfred Hitchcock and a little Quentin Tarantino. minus the extreme suspense and the shooting gore.(The Q-man is my secret crush-xoxo)

This has to be one of the best movie posters ever!

Watch the original movie trailer
Arlette of Real was the costume designer for Julie Christie's  wardrobe in Petulia.
(keep an eye out here on the Pattern Patter Blog-later this month, for Sherri's writeup when she shares info about Arlette and other fabulous designers)
Arlette Nastat designed a series of patterns for McCall's based on her designs for Petulia. They were even modeled by Julie Christie in San Francisco. 
I know of 4 from the series
McCalls New York Designers' Collection Plus -
Arlette of Real for Joan Arkin
n/1039-green dress
n/1040-white trench
n/1041-navy skirt jacket
n/1042-white dress and cape
Although a rarity- check out two of these fab styles available on Etsy
"What Julie Christie wears has more real impact on fashion than all the clothes of the ten Best-Dressed women combined," said Time Magazine in 1967.
GreyDogVintage McCall's 1040                        ViennasGrace McCall's 1039
Here is Julie Christie in the White Trench Coat-which has been called by many as one of the silver screen's top movie trench coat of all time-right up there with Mr. Bogart in Casablanca.
Found the image of McCall's Vintage Pattern Catalog-thanks to "unknown" Pinterest user. Wish I could see if there were more than these 4 patterns from this series.

I was unable to find these 2 patterns currently available anywhere, but thanks to http://vintagepatterns.wikia.com I was able to find the images.
Let's see if I can dig up a few patterns that have the same style feeling.
allthepreciousthings Butterick 5516                            MaddieModPatterns Modes Royal 2321


  • n.noun
    1. An unconventionally modern style of fashionable dress originating in England in the 1960s.
When viewing many of these mod patterns, I was reminded how too often I over look the beauty of their simple lines and timeless style.  I really want to add more mod looks to my wardrobe.  
  The late 1960s gave us much more than our first moon walk, and Woodstock...they gave us the available to styles that felt expensive, felt like a London socialite-and were so often easy to sew; mod A-line dresses, the pant dress, yoke front smock tops, mandarin collar caftans. (and me! I showed up in '67)
Check out more styles from Petulia
Here she is in her draping neckline evening dress that was under her fabulous feather trimmed coat. 

Obsessed would be an understatement with how I feel about this pastel mini pant dress and  matching zip front swing jacket. The whole look is absolute fashion perfection!
         Didn't take much to find the perfect zip front jacket and a fun hat pattern.
patternshop McCall's 8254                                     FriskyScissors Simplicity 7442 

The only way to get this fab look perfect, is to....you know what I'm going to say, GO SEW IT GIRL!  And wow were there options in patterns! With a mild hem adjustment-take it up a bit to a Petulia style micro mini.
Now I'm going to be honest-in the past- I have had mixed feelings about most mod style rompers, but when you see it a few inches shorter and in that gorgeous blue, I'm saying yes to the mini pant dress--100% romper-tastic!
  1. Romper Definition

    n. noun
    • 1. One that romps. (oh ya!)
    • 2. A loosely fitted, one-piece garment having short bloomers that is worn especially by small children for play. (or really cool stylish gals like Petulia-step aside babies)
    • Mrsdepew Butterick 4805  HeyChica Butterick 7528 Denisecraft McCalls 8900 
    • retromonkeys Simplicity 8146  midvalecottage McCall's 2282

    • Al Pacino called Julie Christie "the most poetic of all actresses."

    • It was hard to find a full view of this dress, so here are a few screen shots.  This is my 2nd style obsession from Petulia. Wouldn't this make an amazing go anywhere dress this summer? to the grocery store, evening out with friends...I would want to wear this everywhere!
                                   mbchills Simplicity 5043                                  WEAREVINTAGESEWING Simplicity 9156
How can you get all this style into your closet? I told you, 
pull out your tissues! Pattern tissue that is, go sew it girl! 

                  Below is a Pattern Patter Team Treasury inspired by the lovely fashions in Petulia.
                                                         CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON ETSY

                     Here's another treasury inspired by Petulia, featuring some fun Etsy finds.
                                                                CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON ETSY


  1. Amy, What a fantastic article! Informative and inspiring! I love the fashion selections! Okay now I have to find the movie and watch it, I know I saw it years ago when I was a teen. Thanks so much for a brilliant blog article and featuring our pattern!

  2. Another great article in the series. I love these! Thank you!

  3. Wow! My mother was so Julie Christie! The Up-Do hairstyle I remember quite well! The rest of the hair - straight w/bangs - me! I love all of the patterns that you found to make the look! Funny, they are all in style for spring this year!

    1. So right Mary Beth these styles are in spring magazine ads and runways. After doing this write up, I have a whole new love and appreciation for mod styles!

  4. Oh my goodness Amy! You are amazing! Great post, great fashion and great movie recommendation. Thanks!

  5. I love this series, and especially this Mod Era feature! Incredible research, Amy, and so inspiring!

  6. Super post! I love these fashions. Thank you for including one of my mod patterns.

  7. I wore a ton of mod in the 60.s--even had a pair of knock off Courreges boots.
    I've never seen the movie so I also plan to check it out.

    What a wonderful eye you have for fashion, Amy and you always find the best replica patterns.

    1. Thanks Barbara, the movie is filled with cameos from The Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin...along with interesting era quotes like "it's a Pepsi generation".

  8. Great article, remember these fashions!

  9. Amy, this post is another fascinating story of a popular, stylish 1960s movie and an informative tie-in to how accessible the 60s fashions are to those who sew by using vintage sewing patterns. I distinctly remember the mod styles, A-line dresses, drop waists, mini skirts. What a great read! Thank you

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  11. Fantastic article with one of my favorites! Julie Christie is up there with Audrey Hepburn when it comes to fashion. That pant-dress and jacket kill it! Amy, thanks for all your research and great inspiration!

    1. Agreed that pantdress and jacket set-I am crazy about, and with the little blue boots. <3 that outfit!

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  12. Amy, what a joy it is to read your well-informed blog posts! Thanks so much for including one of my mod patterns :-)

  13. Wonderful Amy. Takes me right back to my "just out of high school and newly married / you mother" days. (Because that's what we did back in the 60's). And who wouldn't drool over Richard Chamberlain? I think we all did. LOL

  14. So cool...love this--it is a wiggy movie, so of its time. And the clothes ARE amazing! Thanks for the inspiring finds so that we can all look like Julie Christie!

    1. Sherri can't wait to see your post later this month, I'm so intrigued by all these designers that are not the super well known group, can't wait to learn more about them. :)

  15. Thank you for another fabulous post!

  16. Great article, Amy! I missed the movie, but remember the fashions. So many great patterns here to help recreate them!

  17. I just love this series you are doing Amy !
    Your eye for detail is amazing !
    Great pattern matches every time !

  18. One of my favourite fashion eras! Now I must watch this movie! Great article Amy!

  19. This is a fabulous post. Thanks for sharing.

  20. I just love these cinema features!!! Great styles! I don't think I've seen the movie but it's on my to do list now. Great job Amy! Sherri, I can't wait to read your post.

  21. Great article...love this era. I am going to be searching to see this old movie.

  22. Amy, I love your Sewing Through The Cinema series. I'd like to find out more about Arlette, the clothing designer for Petulia. Reminds me of Mary Quant. Mary is 83 now. I just looked her up to see what she's been up to lately. She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to British fashion!

  23. Thank you so much for sharing. I really had not thought about how classic these styles really are. The drop waist was popular in the 80's and something that I still like to wear today. I had never heard of this movie before but now I think I will see if I can track it down. Wonderful post.

  24. Petulia is available on amazon instant rental. Make sure to watch the scene with her in her light blue mini pant dress and jacket, it is really gorgeous. And Julie Christie is such a beauty, also a really fun red and white striped jacket when she is on the boat.

  25. Amy, as always these are so much fun to read, not to mention informative! Thank you again, for including one of my patterns!

  26. This is amazing! You did a fabulous job. I have just rented the movie thanks to you! Can't wait for it to be delivered. Thank you so much for including one of my patterns.

  27. Love the mod! And your posts tying a movie to vintage sewing patterns!