Pattern Puzzle: Vintage pattern post #6

style24001_vppostSix years ago I presented a pattern challenge. A concept sketch of it appears at right. This is from Hillhouse & Mansfield’s book Dress Pattern Design. I did a whole series of posts (5, links at close) but it didn’t get much traction because people couldn’t find suggested materials, it was too complex for my audience at the time or who knows. The site was much less trafficked in those days.

It’s a style I’ve always loved and for more than obvious reasons. I suspect people think the pattern design execution is tricky but I don’t think it really is. Sure, it would be more difficult by draping but the schematic (below) shows the cut lines working from a basic bodice block that wouldn’t be so difficult.

What intrigues me about this design is the potential for a clean neckline finish -specifically the facing’s design. That I do think is a bit more complex than the design execution itself. The sewing would also be challenging, sewing to marked points (dots)… but that’s giving away too much of it. Any time I’ve seen a flange insertion into the neckline, it’s been tacked on top of the facing as a separate piece. It doesn’t look very clean or neat; it reminds me of the workaround you see on the underside of the top collar of some high dollar suits. Like they couldn’t get it to match or lay flat by machine so they rolled it over the undercollar and hand tacked it into place.

I don’t know if anyone is interested in the challenge of designing a clean finish facing with flange but I risk the suggestion on the off chance someone is up for it.

Related entries:
Vintage pattern design contest
Vintage pattern design update
Re-inventing Vionnet & 24001 draft
Vintage pattern post #4
Vintage pattern post #5

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  1. I could not miss this post as I am spending half of my days on FI at the moment.
    I am following your notorious instructions for lining a jacket : the nameless tutorial and how to bag a lining. I am ready to turn the jacket right side out and to discover if it all worked for me. I must say that I sewed out of my comfort zone but I enjoyed every minute of the process though I am very slow.
    I love following your pattern puzzle but this one is bit tough for me at the moment. I can’t wait to read others proposals.
    Thanks again Kathleen for your wonderful blog, I don’t know anything else on the web that brought me so much.

  2. Ruth says:

    Marie-Noelle, I know that you are working in a second language so a heads-up: I think you will find that Kathleen’s instructions are famous or renowned but never notorious….. :)

  3. AnaJan says:

    Wow, this really looks amazing! I can envision a lovely dress with such an eye-catching neckline. I suppose some nice goergette that drapes well would be convenient for it (I’m thinking about the fabric from my stash I could use for this one).
    So, I’m in! Would love to try it out.
    Regarding the neckline – I think it would look neat if the front facing was done out of 3 pieces – left, right and “extension” to the diagonal piece. But, I’d have to try out the pattern first, before jumping to a conclusion.
    The only constraint I have at the moment is time. However, I’ll give it a try when I can.

  4. Kathleen says:

    Ruth, you’re such a dear, thank you.

    Marie-Noelle: oh dear, no need to apologize! I knew what you meant -altho as Ruth mentioned, not everyone knows you as well as we do to know your first language is French.

    -an aside, I thought her comment was funny (not at your expense MN) and giggled a little. Some entries could be called notorious -the one on sleeve cap ease is bogus comes to mind.

  5. emily says:

    ooo as I read down the post the part of the sketch that made me do a double take was the neckline! I’m curious to know what people come up with as I’m at a complete loss! I get how to do the curved portion but how to get that little tuck into the front straight portion? a total mystery to me.

  6. If my muslin shows up any time soon I’ll post a photo to see if you can guess how I did it – it was trickier than the flange, for which the secret is not particularly difficult understitching.

  7. kenna benitez says:

    This is exactly the kind of pattern we would have to learn when I was in fashion school. I really love these challenges. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

  8. Victoria Kathrein says:

    Regarding the facing: If you extend it to shoulder and armhole, would it restrict movement? Same way in the back. It would give the fabric more body. I think I would do it that way and seam the facing at corners: so a three piece facing in front: center, right side and left side.

  9. Amrita says:

    Wow, I get the pattern…but I am curious to know how I would go about sewing this….??

    I have to tell you how happy I am that I have found your blog!
    I’ve learned so much more than I ever did on my product development degree!

    I’m sure I’ll be a regular reader!


  10. Kathleen says:

    That reminds me, there’s another option for Vionnet than the Kirke book. Bunka published one, which I reviewed. It’s also much less expensive and a better value if you’re interested in the technical aspect of her work.

  11. Elle says:

    Nice to see this topic revived… I’ve spent countless time thinking about these two patterns, the original Vionnet design and the Hillhouse & Mansfield pattern draft. Not that I’ve actually made anything out of those two : (

    btw, the Japanese Vionnet book is now available on Yesasia (Free International Shipping).

    Personally, I like both Betty Kirke’s original book and the Japanese supplement. The Japanese supplement is convenient with the grid and sewing instruction but there’s also quite a bit of small modifications (some of which might even be improvement) from the original designs judging from the Metmuseum Archive and the Paris Exhibit. So I would still consult Kirke’s book for comparison… (I think I’m sounding a little bit obsessive now).

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