Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Focus On: McCall's New York Designers' Collection Plus: Arlette of Réal

By Sherri, SewBettyAndDot

We were treated to another fantastic "Sewing Through the Cinema" blog post by Amy from ViennasGrace a few weeks ago; she featured the 1968 film Petulia, starring gorgeous Julie Christie wearing fab mod clothes by the designer Arlette Nastat, also known as Arlette of Réal. In her post, Amy showed us four patterns by Arlette, which are part of McCall's New York Designers' Plus series. We'll get to Arlette in a moment.

McCall's launched its designer series in 1965 as a way to draw in young sewists and those seeking the newest fashions. Butterick had already begun to produce their line of Young Designer patterns in 1964 with Mary Quant as the first designer featured. (Please see this Focus On blog post for more info on Mary Quant.) 

Interestingly, the series was first called "New York Designers' [note the plural possessive here] Collection Plus 1": this was because the first designers were all American with the addition ("Plus 1") of Digby Morton, a London couturier. The first designers were Larry Aldrich, Geoffrey Beene, Bill Blass, Laird-Knox, Digby Morton, Originala, Mollie Parnis, and Pauline Trigère. 

Top row, left to right: McCall’s NYDCP 1032 (Larry Aldrich): patternshop

It's interesting that they are all relatively simple A-line garments. Additional info on these designers (and more!) in future blog posts. 

Now, back to Arlette Nastat: born in France in 1937, she was a force in the fashion world from the late 1950s to the 1980s; as late as 1989, an L.A. Times article recommended visiting her Paris shop on Rue de Passy in the Sixth Arrondissement. Arlette was the favorite designer of Brigitte Bardot (and in fact dressed Bardot throughout the late 1960s). Her father was in the ready-to-wear business, and at the age of 19, along with her friend Hélène Varger (also her sister-in-law), she opened a boutique called Real on Rue St. Honoré. 
Image courtesy Pinterest
In a 1964 article about fashion trends in the Schnectady (N.Y.) Gazette, the writer describes Nastat as the "high priestess" of a new wave of style: 

"Simultaneously the new feeling of fun, novelty and creativity is erupting in cities and towns of Europe, the United States and even Japan. Jet airplane travel is setting the pace for a smaller, faster world. Pop art, new dances like the Frug and the LeKiss, fast cars, and the Ye-Ye look in clothes are spontaneous examples of a love for living that is becoming universal everywhere. High priestess of this new wave is Arlette Nastat, the young Parisienne who designs for a shop called "Real," on the Rue St. Honore, and for the Arkins in New York under the name of Mademoiselle Arlette. Such famous fashioned trendsetters as Brigitte Bardot and Jane Fonda sometime ago found in Arlette Nastat the empathy for creating clothes that projected their image of innocent seductiveness. Today, Catherine Deneuve, the rising young movie star, and Sylvie Vartan, the Ye-Ye singing rage of Paris, head the list of fashionable young women everywhere whose wardrobes consist solely of clothes designed by Arlette Nastat. The Mademoiselle Arlette spring collection is young, bubbly, and infinitely wearable. There is a well balanced wardrobe story, of coats, coat ensembles, suits, dresses and jackets and dresses for day and evening. ...The basic shape is a modified A with a neat spare shape. Pleating, narrow braid trim, military flap pockets, and Venice lace collars are some of the details contributing to the well bred school girl look so popular now.... Many coats have figure skimming dresses in contrasting or matching colors, underneath.... Skirts are gored, box pleated, kick pleated, bias or A line, but never, never straight.... Dresses—the basic shape is the Princess skimmer. Most dresses are sleeveless, the look that Arlette believes to be the most contemporary and flattering to young figures.... Easter egg colors plus a wonderful new shade called gentle magenta are used throughout."

What was "yé-yé"? Derived from the words "yeah-yeah," this European pop music style was made most famous by singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. Most yé-yé singers were beautiful young women such as Françoise Hardy, France Gall, and the glamorous, ultra-cool, gorgeous Sylvie Vartan (if you're not familiar with her, do yourself a favor and Google her!) Arlette designed Sylvie's wedding gown (below--wow!) worn at her wedding to French heartthrob Johnny Hallyday.
Image courtesy weddingsecret.co.uk

In addition to being the costumer on Petulia, Nastat was also credited with costumes in the 1967 films À Coeur Joie, starring Bardot, and La Route de Corinth (dir. Claude Chabrol), which featured cool girl Jean Seberg.
Top row: Jean Seberg in La Route de Corinth; Brigitte Bardot in À Coeur Joie; Seberg
Bottom row: Still from À Coeur Joie.
Seberg images courtesy thelucidnightmare.blogspot.com; Bardot images courtesy luxhedera.wordpress.com

As Amy noted in her Petulia post, here are the four McCall's Arlette patterns--based on costumes from the movie and modelled by Julie Christie--that we can track down. The two on the top row are from Pattern Patter team shops and are currently available to buy--these are rarities, so snap them up while you can!
Bottom row: McCall’s NYDCP 1041 (Arlette of Real for Joan Arkin) (courtesy VintagePatternsWikia.com) 
McCall’s NYDCP 1042 (Arlette of Real for Joan Arkin) (courtesy VintagePatternsWikia.com)

The "for Joan Arkin" notation under "Arlette of Real" refers to the designer Joan Arkin, whose husband Andrew Arkin marketed Arlette's clothing under the Mlle. Arlette (and the Real line for juniors) label in the United States. Despite a LOT of research, I've been unable to unearth why "for Joan Arkin" is on these patterns--she was a designer herself, but it was her husband whose company marketed adaptations of Arlette's clothes for the American audience. (If anyone knows anything about this relationship, please let us know!). Andrew Arkin was the son of Leonard Arkin whose New York fashion house produced clothing under various labels, including Leonard Arkin and Andrew Arkin. The Advance pattern company produced several patterns by Leonard Arkin. Whew! The fashion connections are intermingled and far reaching! 

Arlette designed for the cool French girl (and she was one herself): Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve, Silvie Vartan...whose style do you like the best? Tell us in the comments!

P.S. There is an accent on the "e" in "Real" but Blogger wouldn't let me put it in after the first few times. Argh!

Thursday, March 26, 2015


Harem or Palazzo Pants

Courtesy of Neverwares

Harem Pants and Palazzo Pants are all the rage right now! Use this easy pattern to make a few pair for a fraction of the cost to buy them! 

The creator of this pattern use to teach Belly Dancing and made this pattern available to her students. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


and the winner is.....



Thursday, March 19, 2015


Which one will you make first!! 

I love these! A new toy for each and every little person in your life! Easy to make with felt and some scrap trims. Make in different sizes by resizing the patterns!
Click HERE to Download the Patterns and Instructions! 

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

Friday, March 13, 2015


Amazing Collection of 1970's Sewing Items! 

Wow! The members of the Pattern Patter Team really pulled out all of the stops on this giveaway!  An amazing collection of patterns, fabrics, notions, accessories, and even a book! 

Top Left: Simplicity 7610 Size 10 Vogue 2825 Size 14 Vogue 1530 Size 8, McCall's 3254 Size 12 Simplicity 7376 Size 12, Butterick 4185 24-25 Waist, Butterick 4508 Size 12, Simplicity 9627 Size 16-18, Design 865, Simplicity 8259 Size 8 petite (not shown) 

Singer Sewing Series Binder with inserts! I love the cover of this book! 

Fabrics from Top Left; Slinky Orange/Green/Yellow Floral  3+yds, Pink/White Geometric Knit  3yds, Green/Multi Floral Crepe 4yds, Brown/Cream/Multi Geometric Ribbed Cotton Knit  1Yd, Multi Stripe Stretch  1 yd, Lavender/White Floral  2yds, Blue/Pink Floral Knit  2/3yds, Pink/Orange Tie Dye  1 1/2yds. 

Notions  - buttons, thread, elastic, lace, needle books, belt buckles, tracing wheel set, pattern storage binders, bias tape and a pair of vintage Isotoner gloves.  PLUS needlework transfer patterns! 

Enter Below for your chance to win this amazing collection of sewing patterns, fabrics, and notions! 

Enter by March 23rd  11:59 PM to be eligible to win!
Rules for entry - Entrants must be residents of the United States and be 18 years of age or older. Former and present members of the Pattern Patter Team and their families are not eligible to enter. To Read all of the Giveaway Terms & Conditions, Click on The "Blog Policies" tab.

List of Shops who graciously donated items to this giveaway as well as previous and upcoming giveaways!
Stop by and visit these shops the next time you are shopping for your sewing needs! 
Barbara  FloraDoraPresents  https://www.etsy.com/shop/FloradoraPresents
Amy ViennasGrace  https://www.etsy.com/shop/ViennasGrace
Kinsey Sue  KinseySue  https://www.etsy.com/shop/kinseysue
Madge MadgesMightyCloset https://www.etsy.com/shop/mightymadgescloset

Virginia - DecadesofCharm: https://www.etsy.com/shop/DecadesofCharm

Monday, March 9, 2015

Who was Virginia Pope?

Virginia Pope 1885 - 1977

    You may be wondering who Virginia Pope was and what she did that a sewing blog would be interested in. When I first started looking into her, I found that there hasn't been much written about such an icon.

    Virginia Pope was born in Chicago in 1885. I found no information on her early life but the story picks up in 1925 when Ms. Pope joined the New York Times at the age of 40. By 1933, she had been named the Fashion Editor for the Times. She remained Editor until her retirement in 1955.

    Ms. Pope was a well respected figure in the fashion world. She has Carte Blanche access to every New York fashion house and a reserved seat at every fashion show. She was well known for her extensive collection of hats.

1963 Pattern Catalog and Sewing Guide

 After retiring from the New York Times in 1955 at the age of 70, she became the Fashion editor for Parade Magazine. It was at Parade magazine that she expanded her horizons. She began writing the the introduction to the upcoming year's fashion trends for the home sewist in Parade's Dress and Needlework Pattern Book.

She remained active as an influential member of the press and as a fashion "expert" until shortly before her death in 1977.

Here are a few Parade Magazine patterns that are available from members of the Pattern Patter Team!

Parade 1436 by FriskyScissors

Pauline 1471 by PatternandStitch

Pauline P-186 by Vintage Needle Finds

Parade 101 ViennasGrace

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Free Pattern - Saor Patrún

Free Pattern Friday -

Saor Patrún Aoine

Shamrock Apron 

What could be better for St. Patrick's Day than this great Shamrock Shaped Apron? Whether you're serving ale or cooking corned beef and cabbage, this is what you should be wearing! 
I found this next to a pot o'gold... (a newspaper clipping that fell out of a pattern envelope) 

CLICK HERE for pattern