I am making up a YSL Vogue Pattern Originals dress as my first SWAP garment. I do enjoy using these old patterns, especially the “designer” versions. I like to think about Yves St Laurent himself drawing the lines that got translated into this 1968 paper pattern. I find the idea of wearing something that was designed by one of the great designers of the past very exciting – wearing fashion history.
So I am beginning to think about doing my SWAP entirely with vintage designer patterns. Last year I the core of my collection was a 1960s Nina Ricci dress and jacket which I worked through in seven different ways.
This year I am thinking of using more than one old pattern, and trying to make it all hang together. I am not sure it is achievable, so I will allow myself to depart from the plan a little if I need a few simple garments to pull it together, in which case I will use modern patterns or self draft. The issue with SWAP is that it is not just 11 garments, but 11 garments that constitute a collection or workable wardrobe. This means I need flexibility in the outfits so they can mix and match.
Quite a lot of my nice old patterns are for adorable dresses and I will definitely need separates. But maybe with thought and planning I can get there. I wouldn’t mind doing a Pucci type pant suit although I don’t have a pattern.
The packs would have to go something like this
Pack 1: Skirt suit with blouse
Pack 2: Dress and jacket, silk skirt
Combo (I really want jeans and a lace top so I think I will use modern patterns here)
Wildcards; Dress, dress, silk blouse
That would give me
2 skirts and 1 pair of trousers
This is back to the old SWAP formulae of 3 bottoms, 5 tops and 3 extras (dresses). I know this is successful in wardrobe terms. If I get a nice vintage designer pattern for the evening trouser suit I could substitute this for the modern (jeans and lace top) or for the silk blouse and skirt.
What do you think?
That sounds like a great wardrobe, and those patterns are just gorgeous. Would it be schievable though, in the time, since I’m guessing you haven’t made or fitted any of them, except the jeans? If that’s the case maybe keep to the simpler designs or just have one new pattern per pack, vintage inspired if you will . I too am going to give it a try this year, but am not planning more than the first pack, at the moment, as I know I will struggle with everything being too planned, in advance. I know which colours suit me and I’ve got a good size stash and I enjoy more being tossed by the winds of inspiration in my sewing.
On present progress there is no way I will finish this year Karen. I just can’t focus on my sewing at the moment. And as you say these are technically challenging garments. I may just make a few items and be done with it.
I am thrilled you are joining in. For me the planning is by far the best bit! I think just doing one pack at a time is a good idea – not to create too much pressure. Knowing your colours colours and having nice fabrics is very helpful but I am completely with you on inspiration just coming and blowing it all of course!
I think it is a wonderful idea and like you I adore the old designer patterns. I hunt round the Portobello stalls and sometimes I find little gems. Like you I am a YSL fan and I really do admire his crusade to free women from the beautiful but restricting Dior designs. I am in awe of your ability to produce so many garments. I wish I had your discipline to use my time as well as you do.
Very you! I’m always of two minds with those 60s designer looks: they’re what I grew up with [on TV of course] but also they always looked stiff and boxy. The classic image for me is Alexandra Bastedo in ‘The Champions’ and Lady Penelope; tailored, stiff, bulky fabrics.
Re interpreted into softer modern fabrics and methods, they can be gorgeous. Not for me I fear, although I do have a couple of vaguely 60s style dresses in jersey.
I’m finding that the SWAP planning is very enjoyable- I spent a couple of hours last night calculating yardages and layouts as I’m trying to be economical. Ahem. Adding in the ‘Historical Sewing Monthly’ challenge restrictions has tightened up my planning even more. Unusual for me as I normally just go on impulse. This is fun!
It is fun, but I have the dressmaker’s equivalent of writers’ block at the moment….
I like your designer patterns, and can see you in the dress at the top (completely wrong for me). I remember that era, getting a fabric with some heft was important to achieve the nicely rolled look of the yoke which is top stitched down. The ideas were simple but the execution exacting.
Yes. Exactly right Jay in terms of the fabrics and the execution. I am not sure I can pull this off (genuinely: I don’t bother with fake-humble).
I think that is the dress I am going to make, in mauve linen. I am pretty sure it will need underlining.
Hi Kate. I am just now noticing your response to my post on ~Nov 20 where I was pondering the concept ‘wouldn’t if be great if sewers could just buy a bundle of fabric/patterns that suited them and stitch them up’ (with the still necessary issues of fit). I would enjoy talking with you more about this when you have time. please feel free to email me.
I LOVE the old patterns–many of them I sewed the first time around! Fond memories of that time of my life. Look forward to your creations!
I think that one of Claire Shaeffer’s Vogue patterns for pants is actually a copy (or inspired by) and Yves Saint Laurent pants pattern. Take a look if you can’t find an original.
This is so interesting, Kate. It’s funny how we reach out to other ideas but sometimes come back to the things that are “standards” for us. I hope that doesn’t offend. I was thinking it mostly in relation to myself, because I have many fancy ideas, but keep on reaching for comfort fabrics which lend themselves more to casual clothing, e.g. cottons.
I love the Fabiani dress in particular and was very interested to read Jay’s comment about the execution. I also admire YSL, which is why I need to make another pair of the trousers I made last year, but maybe a bit more fitted, and then tackle the jacket. I think that’s my first project for the new year as I commence SWAP. I might even end up making two of those jackets plus a dress in lieu of the Pucci pattern if things get too difficult, but we’ll see.
I think if anyone can do this you can. But as you say you can always substitute in other things if time and focus are wanting. I had a moment of epiphany the other day that I don’t have to make all of the items I’ve chosen for SWAP for SWAP, but can still make all of them through the year to meet my tailoring goals in particular. It’s obvious but hadn’t occurred to me. Best to take the pressure off, I think.
Thank you for saying that Stephanie. It is amazing how this SWAP process brings out some very odd thinking. I will take the pressure off now. I think I have a workable plan and like you say it can change. And the things I have dropped can easily made another time.
Love those patterns–especially the Fabiani dress and Cardin 1662–which I think would suit you wonderfully. I have fond memories of the labels that came with those patterns. I had a friend whose mother was not above moving a Vogue label from one retired garment to a newly-sewn non-Vogue garment. Apparently she thought that the label itself gave a certain cachet.
Very funny. I remember thinking, back in the 1960s, that it was rather tasteless to sew in a label and not even asking for them from “behind the counter”.
Some lovely patterns here. I’m looking forward to seeing what you make. No pressure though – that’s not the idea!
Great selection of patterns! Looking forward to seeing what you’ll sew
Sounds wonderful! I especially got excited to hear “Pucci pant suit” – I hope you find a suitable pattern for that ^_^
I think it’s good to have a plan that you know will work for you. I am starting to change a few things around from my original plan, myself, knowing I need more of some things than others. I was concerned my SWAP would look “boring” from an outside perspective but then I realized I’m the one who has to wear it! LOL – there’s no point making stuff that doesn’t get worn, or isn’t fun for you to sew 🙂