the more things change, the more things I have to sew

The picture above is a link sent me, from . Below is another link she sent me — this is a current Vogue pattern, 8182.

Isn't it interesting how the illustration style makes the patterns seem so different, when really they're nearly identical? Look at what's conveyed through the posture of the women in the illustrations; the 1960s illustration is swaybacked, with hips thrust forward, while the more modern woman is standing completely straight (so much for your mother's injunction to stand up straight, you'll look better …). The bust point on the 1960s illustration is also a bit higher, and the surplice cross point is, too.

It'd be really interesting to buy 'em both and see how different they are … too bad you can't get a grant from the National Institute of Fashion to do diachronic pattern comparisons …

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0 thoughts on “the more things change, the more things I have to sew

  1. I’m in the process of sewing a career wardrobe for my daughter and am using a vintage jacket pattern. In the pre-cad days before multisizing the fit was much closer to the body. It’s too bad Vogue didn’t just reissue the same pattern using the old draft. While Americans are fatter these days, the width of our shoulders hasn’t changed. This is something Chanel understands.

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  2. The 1960’s illustration is much more appealing. It would be interesting to see if they marketed contemporary patterns with such glamorous images if they would sell more.I can’t be the only one who thinks the more current one is illustrated to look bland.

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  3. I smiled and sighed when I saw the 50’s pattern, but I grimaced when I saw those modern drawings — the girls just look so sad. I suppose part of me is grateful for the more human realism, but it’s not inspiring. I’ll buy the dream version of the same pattern in a heartbeat.

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  4. my mother had a dress almost exactly like the 60s pattern (it was in the 60s) made of a nice crepe de chine and a lace overlay. i still remember her in that dress going out to a fancy dinner with my father and both of them looking radiant. and has anyone noticed that the 60s women actually look like *women* who, even though slender, still have hips and a bust — while the modern ones look like they can barely stand up without assistance. patterns for the modern anorexic.

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  5. Maybe there’s a fashion design STUDENT who reads this blog who’d be willing to run these two up as a class project…? Anyone?It is too bad about the modern illustrations. Though I’m just happy that there continue to be variations on the midriff band: high, wide, bias, faux belts, multiple tucks, pointed, shaped, ruched – keep them coming, says I! My dream is to have a whole stable of dresses like this, so that I can have apparently different looks while still always appearing to have a waistline. And you can bet I’ll be tossing my head back and showing my pearly whites (as in the top illustration) when that happens!

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  6. I just bought the modern version of that pattern a few days ago – but I’m so much more inspired by it now that I’ve seen the vintage one!

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  7. The scarf option on view B, vintage! Haven’t seen that in a modern pattern. It’s such a wow factor in the design.

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  8. I also find that the modern patterns are bland and uninspiring. With gals who do not look happy to be dressed up. I buy vintage patterns and sew them with my daughter and now one of her friends. Nothing compares to the style and fit those old patterns give, or to the flattering they do for your figure.We were looking at dresses at a major department store yesterday evening. I remarked that if I were a size 6 I would never don one of those fancy ‘bags’ they had for sale.

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  9. I bought the modern Vogue version of this pattern after realizing that I had bought three versions of what was basically that same dress, with skirt and midriff variations, over the course of a year. It seemed like a good investment to be able to make more of my own!I don’t know if it would have caught my eye if I hadn’t seen the dress in action first. That illustration is deadly. Vintage pattern illustrations, on the other hand, often present the opposite problem – they’re so glamorous that I think I like everything!

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  10. It is the horrible prints on the dresses that make the new one look less appealing. Plus the orange color does nothing for the blonde. There are also no accessories in the new one.I love the vintage one. I have also noticed that I am more attracted to the vintage ones in the store as well. I hope they reissue this Butterwick one.

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  11. I wish that I could read the back of the vintage pattern because I have a hunch that part of the difference might be the fabric recommendations. The vintage pattern illustration makes me think of a nice crisp taffeta or other fabric that “stands up” more while the modern print is suggesting very drapey fabrics like crepe and jersey. Maybe I’m reaching.Either way the modern pattern makes me think it would make me look dumpy while the vintage pattern makes me think it could turn me into Lana Turner.

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  12. Erin, I’ve commented before that Vogue Patterns, for one, reissues at least some of its patterns after a number of years lapse; I’ve seen the same exact lines reproduced in modern patterns as in vintage; the difference is in the artistic style of the illustration presenting the pattern. (And I mean “exact” as opposed to “really really similar,” which is where this particular one falls.) I would also disagree with you slightly about the posture presented; the girls in the modern version are standing with their chests slightly sunken. It’s not entirely “hunched over,” but it is certainly a splendid example of the modern Computer Jockey posture. In the vintage version, on the other hand, the women are standing with their ribcages lifted. That’s what makes the girl in the black dress look as if she’s arching. You can try this yourself for fun! Feel along your breastbone, between your breasts, until you reach the bottom of your ribcage; you’ll feel a little notch there. Depending on the bra style you favor, it may be right at the base of your bra band, between your breasts. Now, keeping your hand there, to help you locate the body part you’re moving, as you stand in front of a mirror: 1) For the vintage posture, lift that section of your body heavenwards, as best you’re able, without moving any other body part. You’re not moving your shoulders; you’re moving your ribcage only. You should feel a certain stretching in your midriff area, which will both lengthen the area AND make it narrower. 2) Now, for the modern posture, tuck that notch into your spine, as hard as you can. Feel your waist and midriff shorten and expand outwards by inches! (You ladies who bellydance have done this as part of a vertical ribcage circle – forward, up, back and down.)That’s part of the magic of posture, which has its fashions just as everything else, whether it’s gardens, architecture, cars, or clothes. That’s not bringing anything else into the mix – not shoulders, or lower back, or any other body part. If you’re at all flexible (and even if you’re not), you should be able to both 1) see each type of posture reflected, both the vintage and the modern; and b) see how that simple a posture change could actually affect your measurements when you make, and when you wear, your clothes. (The longer bust point is a result of the bust drooping – not an attractive thought, nor an attractive look, is it?)I keep my pattern jackets in binders, according to section; suits in one, dresses in another, tops in another, very like pattern books; I keep the pattern contents themselves, with the instructions with the pattern numbers, in ziplocked bags, and I keep them filed in strict numerical order so I can find them easily. It also makes it pretty obvious that over the years I buy variations of the same basic lines over and over again! And will continue to do so. (This is not to be confused with “buying the SAME PATTERN over again,” which I did just yesterday. Yes, I just bought the same vintage pattern twice. D’oh! But … I guess I liked it!) And may I say how much I prefer the happy, confident look of the women on the vintage cover. What’s happened to the generation fifty years later??(And I haven’t forgotten I owe a couple of ladies a detailed Figure Analysis – the part about “detailed” is what I need time for. Plus, there will be a bonus Bra Discussion!)

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  13. I’ll bet the ratio of bust to waist is a lot larger (i.e., the waist is a lot smaller) in the vintage pattern than in the modern pattern. Ah, for the days when women — including myself! — had waists!And la belladonna, you really must treat us all to your own blog. Believe me, if you can sew a complicated garment, you can use blogger.

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  14. I sold that pattern to a customer the other day and lamented the fact that my figure couldn’t be shoved into that style of dress although I love them and could wear that style many years ago. Where are the Aunt Bea size patterns? Een heavier ladies looked stylish many years ago and now we have sacks to wear.I just love this blog…it is a ray of fun sunshine!

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  15. Isn’t the bust point on the vintage pattern higher because the women were wearing those pointy bullet bras? Or do I have the wrong era?…no modern bra will lift you up and point you out in quite the same way.

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  16. Erin, if anyone could get that grant for that set of pattern comparisons, it would be silver-tongued (silver-penned) (silver-keyboarded) YOU!

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  17. Wow Erin, I love that vintage pattern. I would want to make one for every day of the week. Then figure out how to put sleeves on it so I could wear it in the wintertime too. Gidget Bananas is right about La Belladonna having her own blog. I would be a regular vistor there too. There has been more then a few times I wanted to go back and reread something she has commented on. Thanks La Belladonna for all your sound advice. It is much appriciated!

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  18. The different posture of the pattern models is just part of why the vintage pattern looks more appealing than the modern one. The vintage artist was allowed more dash or elan in her or his rendering. The modern pattern has a very carefully drawn look, probably trying to more accurately portray the reality of the dress, rather than the romance of the dress. Also the vintage ladies are smiling delightedly while the modern women look definitely guarded in their enthusiasm. This was a fascinating Compare and Contrast post Erin, and I hope it becomes a recurring feature!

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  19. Ah, the power of marketing. And the blissful celebration of the female form that no longer exists! No wonder women don’t sew as much anymore. They call that modern illustration inspiring?Bust-to-waist ratio may be larger, but girdles were also de riguere. For special occasions, it’s worth it to wear vintage and all its underpinnings. You’ll stand out, but no one will quite know why. And that’s the best way to stand out!

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  20. WRT posture, I want to smack the girl in the orange dress on the newer pattern, and tell her to stand up straight. WRT to proper foundation wear, I don’t think any of the models in the modern illustration are wearing anything. Hence the saggy busts. When was the last time you saw a model wearing a bra, or one that really needed to? I notice that the back view of the modern pattern is identical to the front. I bet you could wear this dress backwards without a bra and not notice.Want to bet that to relly look like the vintage ladies we’d need serious brassieres and sturdy girdles? As we bemoan our lack of waists or marvel at the itty bitty waists of yore, let’s remember what it’s like to cram into a steel and elastic contraption. Wriggle yourself into one of those and see if you don’t get a figure. (ugh. Some things are best left in the dust of history.)The modern models all look so anorexic and weary. No smiles at all. The women in the vintage illustration look as if they know how to cook and eat, or else order nice things in fancy restuarants and enjoy them (because they deserve them).

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  21. I agree about Bella *needing* a blog, except that I don’t want her to stop commenting here, either! With any luck she’ll have time for both.Or — I know! Maybe I should set up a dress wiki, and we can have links to things like alterations and whatnot?

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  22. I also much prefer the vintage models. yes they are more stylised, but as everyone else has said it adds glamour and oomph! Though the vintage pattern seems to be targeted as a more cocktail/semi formal look while the modern is more every day look.Personally if I made this I would have to make the back a normal bodice shaped with princess seams or darts.As for undergarments, I have worn corsets and bustiers and the dramatic difference achieved is worth ever tiny bit of discomfort. Modern ones are made with streach fabric and plastic boning so you can still move and dance. I save them for special occasions as it is imposible to do them up without assistance.Love the blog Erin! It makes me smile everyday.

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  23. Another difference in the illustration styles is the head-to-body ratio. Compare the head-body proportions of the glamorous lady in view C of the vintage pattern with the pinheaded ladies of the modern one. The head on the model in the modern green print dress looks like it was Photoshopped on. Personally, I think the larger head size makes a big difference in how much the pattern reaches out and grabs the viewer.

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  24. That’s a good point about the intention of the artwork, Nancy. it’s worth remembering, as we sigh over the beautiful artwork of old, that many, many modern dressmakers complain about wanting more life-like representations of patterns on the cover, rather than idealised images. Others really prefer photographs of the made-up garment instead. After all, how many times have patterns come out looking (unintentionally) unlike the image?Perhaps it’s a factor of the relative skills of your average modern dressmaker, or perhaps it’s just a modern style of artwork. I don’t really know enough to analyse. :)How accurate do people find the representations on vintage patterns?

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  25. Interesting the contrast! When I sent Erin the dress, I only was looking at the *lines* of the dress and it sparked the old brain into what’s available in current patterns. I didn’t think about the models, but it makes perfect sense to. I think that’s one reason why vintage patterns are alluring to me – the grace and elegance portayed on the envelopes. There’s a joy, confidence and freedom (regardless of the bustiers and girdles that might be present), that the newer renderings don’t project. I have made some of the vintage patterns, and just as with modern patterns, the proportions in real life aren’t always the same. I have a Vogue Couturier pattern that I made up, and on the pattern the model’s heads look a little large for their bodies. Also, if the leg to body proportion is correct, in real life those ladies would be 10 feet tall. Doesn’t always translate well for a short-waisted shorty!

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  26. I LOVE the vintage dresses! I would probably like the modern ones if the women looked happier to be wearing pretty dresses! Maybe I could get my mom to sew me the vintage A pattern.

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  27. YES! ADAD wiki! I can’t be the only one who has been searching the archives on a regular basis now for previous comments or to find that one dress that with that one collar. So YES! I love the idea of a wiki.

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  28. Someone said in the comments a while back that they didn’t want the pattern, they just wanted some of whatever it was that made the vintage models so darn happy.Everyone else has picked up on the posture, which is a really good point, but I think a lot of it is also just on the facial expressions. I mean, come on, who doesn’t want to have those feelings displayed in the Butterick models faces? The Vogue girls look downright grim in comparision.

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  29. Found this wonderful website – for the enthusiast – all about corsets and girdles – lots and lots of photos. That’s what gave those women those maaaavelous figures (even though they are drawings, not photos). fascinating is the reminiscences of Mrs. Allison Perry, a professional corsetiere in the 1950s. The way she describes it, wearing these custom-fitted foundation garments is just on the bleeding edge of sadomasochism (my word, not hers). I was born about the time she started fitting corsets and come of age in the 60s just as girdles, stockings, and garters faded away, and panty hose and un-corseted bodies became popular. I had one panty girdle when I was 13, whose actual function was to hold up my stockings. Miniskirts and pantyhose became popular about that time, and I never wore one of those torture devices again.Says Mrs. Perry:…it was my job as a corsetiere to give my customer the idealized silhouette she saw in the magazines. to make the corset fit the client, but rather to design a silhouette and force the clients body into said silhouette. Her clothes then fit that silhouette.So why do those 50s women with their unnatural posture, big heads, impossibly small waists and too-long necks look so infernally HAPPY? My theory is that either they are oxygen-deprived because they cant breath or they are on drugs.CMC

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  30. what a fabulous post! I am sure you can get someone to sponsor the time and effort. I wonder what the girls in the vogue pattern would look like with gloves?

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  31. Um, I uh, like the new illustrations better. [ducks]I think the Vogue illustrator is less skilled, but as a presentation of what you can expect when you make the dress according to the pattern in the envelope I think it’s much more honest. The dress is not going to give you a waist. The dress is not going to raise your bustline. The dress is not going to transform you from a lumpy office worker with computer posture into a glamourous, coiffed, theatre-goer. It’s just a dress. And the Vogue illustration makes that clear. There are women who could wear acrylic pile seat covers and look achingly beautiful (Charlotte Gainsbourg comes to mind). And others who look dumpy in haute couture (check out the party photographs from Vogue magazine some time). Clothes are wonderful to play with, but they’re just clothes.

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  32. Erin has hit on a home truth; besides being blog-impaired, I like it here. I’m very happy at Dress A Day! It doesn’t mean I don’t want my own little place at some point, but if Erin can find a way to house me and my wiki, wiki ways, that would be a Good Thing for all parties, yes? And maybe at some point, Erin would like to incorporate a “search” feature here at DaD, so that if anyone wanted to search on “midriff band” or “bra” or “La BellaDonna,” that could be done?I had another nice long post eaten yesterday, in which I answered Becky: It was indeed the era of the pointy bra, and bras do make a difference; so much so, that if you are wearing a Special Bra for a Special Event, you need to make certain that you fit your Special Outfit over that particular bra, or the results could be spectacularly disappointing. However, in this particular instance, even if all other factors were equal, what the illustrators are showing is the lifted rib cage, which is actually a very graceful posture point all of us can (generally) do without discomfort, and no corseting. Keep in mind that, for the most part, the patterns for the 1940s and most of the 1950s list a bust/waist difference of six inches, and a waist/hip difference of nine inches – not so very different, in fact, from many current patterns. There is a period in the 1950s where patterns are resized, and not just numerically; that is, a size 14 suddenly has a Bust 34, instead of a Bust 32, but there is also (on one of my patterns, at least) an eight-inch bust/waist hip difference; I believe one pattern may even have a ten-inch bust/waist/hip difference, but I have to check, because I might be fibbing. However, by and large, the six-inch/nine-inch difference seems to have been, and still is, the most common proportion for which patterns are made. (And remember, that “six-inch bust/waist difference” is for a B-cup bosom!)Gail, I hear you! Why is it that once upon a time, before we had all the advantages of Modern Improvements, designers could make dresses with real shapes for larger ladies? In the meantime, you may want to check here: Ill hold her while you smack her. Its absolutely true. In the 1970s, the bust point was dropped (about a half-inch, I think) across all the pattern companies, to accommodate all the women who were no longer wearing bras. Speaking as someone with a fair amount of acreage, Im not comfortable without a bra on; too much opportunity to injure myself or innocent passersby! However … Im willing to bypass the girdles, on the grounds that I already have more than that nine-inch waist/hip difference! (Although its true that if your support garments are properly fitted to you, then they should be reasonably comfortable.)Sarah, if Im looking at patterns in a hurry, and I really want to know what the thing looks like, I go straight to the line drawing on the envelope. Ive often found that the wonderfully full swirling skirt on a princess-line dress turns out not to be as full as something I already own!CMC, sometimes it really is a matter of Your Mileage May Vary; I actually have the same posture as those ladies in the vintage pattern (I actually have the same long neck and type of waist, too, which probably explains why I like these patterns so much!). Their heads are actually in good proportion to their bodies, but they do have some Big Hair going on there, dont they? Even the hair looks more alert, somehow, than in the modern versions.

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  33. Erin, I like the wiki idea, though I’m not sure how that would work. I had been thinking of suggesting that you start a discussion group, like on Yahoo Groups, so we could continue conversations over several days, search for topics and threads, etc.

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  34. I think that it is interesting that anyone considers the modern illustration to be more accurate that the vintage one. In America, the average woman is about five feet four inches tall and is a size 14. To be accurate, the modern illustration would need to depict a significantly shorter and heavier model. So, really, the only difference between the nodern illustration and the vintage one is the difference in what is considered an *ideal* figure.Amy

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  35. Carol,One company that makes vintage-reproduction undergarments is They have pointy bras, stockings, garters, and girdles of various sorts. Also, you can frequently find deadstock girdles & etc. in the vintage clothing sections of ebay.

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  36. I try always to look at the line drawing to see what its really like. Even in a photograph, the model might have a bunch of clothes pins holding the garment more snugly to her. And the fabric seems to have an influence as well. And fabric can make all the difference!

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  37. I think both the vintage and modern illustrations are exaggerated, but in different ways. The vitange ladies are drawn to have impossibly tiny waists. If you measured Miss B-32 and her waist was as proportionately small as it is in the pattern picture, it’d be about 19″. Shyeah, right. The modern models, if the B-32 or 34 is accurate, would be about 6’4″ tall. In the 1950’s, the hourglass was in vogue. Today, the slouchy giraffe is preferred. Where does that leave the modern 36-25-33 at 5’2.5″? Looking for flattering clothes, that’s where!

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  38. Aggiebot5, if you happen to be the aforementioned 36-25-33 woman, it leaves you scrolling back to the post I left for one of the Anonymous ladies, who was also an Upside-Down Triangle (aka Athletic Figure). The post is at November 3 (I think): ;.intl=usYou absolutely have the Upside-Down Triangle shape, and the same advice applies to you. And remember that the fact that you’re 5″2.5 is irrelevant; so were a lot of the ladies who wore those styles originally. It means you’re a half-inch TALLER than Claudette Colbert, for instance, and she was a very stylish lady. Your figure, in fact, is not far from hers; you have rather more bosom, but you would look fabulous in the same things she wore. Do take a look at the books that feature Hollywood: The Glamour Years, and that sort of thing, for ideas. Yours is the ideal figure for those lovely clothes. My own figure is much more 50’s, and I LOVE the clothes from the 30’s. Not that I don’t love the 50’s clothes, but as I whined the other day (the apple shape aside) the hourglass shape is one of the most limited, and limiting, shape. Why do I say this? Because the other body shapes can use illusion to achieve other proportions when they are in vogue. Consider:The Ruler:1) Can wear garments that suit her shape, when a 20’s figure, “boyish” figure, or “waif” figure is in vogue (and the 70’s, too, for that matter);2) Can wear garments that emphasize her upper half, when a 30’s Upside-Down Triangle is in vogue, and can extend it into the 40’s;3) Can emphasize her lower half, when the Pear-shape is in vogue (and really, it is sometimes – the A-line is one of those shapes);4) Can wear garments that are loose on top, and flare at the bottom, and cinch her waist to achieve an Hourglass shape.The Upside-Down Triangle1) Can emphasize her natural shape, when the 30’s and 40’s clothing is in vogue – and the 80’s, now that those are coming back; she can even wear the bellbottoms of the 70’s successfully;2) If she chooses judiciously, she can wear clothes that de-emphasize her bust when 20’s styles are in vogue, approximating the Ruler;3) She can easily balance her narrow lower half to create the illusion of the Hourglass shape.It is very difficult for the Upside-Down Triangle to achieve a Pear, or A-Line, Shape. No A-Line dresses for you! And you may find that, without a good petticoat, an A-line skirt collapses at your hips. If you wear a good petticoat and an A-line skirt, it is one of the ways you will create an Hourglass shape for yourself – but you are not creating a Pear.The Pear1) With some work, depending on how extreme her figure is, the Pear can simulate the Ruler, to the extent that she can wear clothes from the 20s if she is very, very careful in her choice of 20s patterns (looking for 20s patterns that have gores or pleats inserted in the skirt, rather than being straight up-and-down-);2) She can, of course, dress for her own Pear shape the A-line dress, anything described as trapeze-shaped, the balloon skirt all these are silhouettes that deliberately create a Pear shape. (All of these ladies, BTW, have other historical periods available to them this is just an overview of the 20th Century shapes/timelines). Anything that has a very small, fitted top and a full skirt is, by definition, a Pear shape. Many, many 50s patterns, and a goodly number of early 60s patterns, are shaped for the pear.3) She can create the illusion of an Hourglass shape, by putting emphasis on the upper half, creating the illusion of more mass and broader shoulders. Again, 50s patterns are very good for the Pear.It is very difficult for the Pear to create an Upside-Down Triangle Shape. This means that if you love the clothes of the 30s and 40s, you will need to be very careful in your choice of pattern, because the silhouette is diametrically opposed to yours. The good news is that its not entirely impossible; look at the pattern measurements as they are listed on patterns from those periods. The Bust is usually six inches bigger than the Waist; the Hips are usually nine inches bigger than the Waist. And what is that shape? Why, a Pear, of course! It does mean looking for 30s or 40s patterns that put the emphasis on the upper body, but that actually have pattern features that leave room for the lower body, with gores, etc. Beware the skirt with pleats all around, if you are trying to de-emphasize the lower half of the body!The HourglassThis gets very tough. Anything that obliterates the waist of the Hourglass turns her into a cylinder. It is very difficult for the Hourglass to create a Ruler Shape. Mostly, you will manage to create an overall look of Largeness without Shapeliness. The New Look of the 1950s is a godsend to the Hourglass. Some of the clothes of the 80s are also wearable, because the jackets that flare over the hips give us some place to put those hips. Some of the outfits from the 40s can be flattering also the Hourglass needs to look for a shaped waist, and she should look for gored, rather than straight, skirts in 40s patterns; this is a style feature that will help her keep the look 40s. If she tries to wear a straight skirt, her full hips will pop the silhouette over into 1950s wiggle skirt. It is very difficult for the Hourglass to create a Pear Shape. The A-Line tent dress is an abomination on the Hourglass; it will not work. The reason it will not work is because the A-Line is supposed to start out narrow, then flare; since the bust of the Hourglass is as wide as her hips, it means that the top of the dress is now at the widest, rather than the narrowest, part of her body (the A-Line tent skims the waist, so the waist measurement doesnt count here). It will look miserable. Period. The Hourglass, when she wears a jacket, must wear a fitted jacket; she will otherwise look the same width all the way down, and it will be the width of her widest part. There are a lot advice books that tell the hourglass, or the bosomy female, or the wide-hipped female, to avoid double-breasted jackets. I have three, and they look fierce on me. The look good because they are tailored to go in at the waist. The Hourglass looks good in a fitted bolero-length jacket (despite what some experts have said about bolero jackets not being appropriate because they emphasize the bust). A fitted bolero jacket will show off the trim waist of the Hourglass, and help de-emphasize the hips a bit. Many, many coats will look like hell on the Hourglass, who will stare at her reflection while trying them on and wonder where the Hindenburg came from. All the steamer style, all the reefer style, all the man-tailored overcoats will make her look like a great big block. Any coats that hug the top of the figure and flare out to the hem in an A-line will make her look like a great big block.The AppleThe Apple is a body shape that is not that easy to categorize, curiously. It is a shape that results from having enough excess padding accumulated around the middle so that the original body shape has been distorted. This is not a value judgment; this is an explanation, assessment, and analysis of the physical build. Part of dressing an Apple is seeing what the optimum shape of the body will be; as I said in an earlier post, seeking out quality maternity wear is a good option for the Apple, because it is the only time that the Apple shape is considered the norm. It is possible, depending on the individual Apple, to create an illusion of a Pear shape; it is possible to define a high waist below the bosom, and then flare out. It is possible, even, to create a straighter line through judicious cuts and layered garm
    ents. Diagonal lines help to break up the mass, and can even create the illusion of a waist (think wrap dress). The worst silhouette for the Apple is the T-Shirt and Leggings – which is, fairly often, the choice that many Apples make. The tight lower garments emphasize the narrowness of the lower body, and the baggy upper garment emphasizes the bulk of upper body. This is why the Apple is better off not trying to create the silhouette of the Upside-Down Triangle even if it was her original body shape. In point of fact, it is often the Upside-Down Triangle who may become something of an Apple as she gains weight; the Upside-Down Triangle is the body type least likely to accumulate weight on her lower body, which pretty much leaves the upper part of the body and the middle of the body (i.e., the waist) as the area where weight accumulates, and voila! The Apple is the result. When the Ruler puts weight on, if she puts weight on all over, she remains a Ruler; shes just a larger version. The Ruler is, in fact, more likely to put weight on evenly, or to put it on at her waist, than she is likely to accumulate it all in her bust, or all in her hips. If the Ruler puts the weight on at her middle, she dresses as if she were a Pear fitted where she is narrow (upper body), and flaring out. The Apple has more trial-and-error going for her than the others; she needs to experiment with the shapes from the 20s, and the A-Line shapes that have been suggested for the Pear. The Salwar Kameez, in fact, is a good direction for the Apple to explore, as is the Empire Line suggested to Well-Rounded Dresser in my post to her on November 9, 2006. It is very, very important for the Apple to have her clothes fit her well through the shoulders and upper body.

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  39. Huh, from bella’s post I’m guessing I’m an hourglass. I’ve tried buying a few vintage dresses on ebay, and they always end up looking terrible on me, so I’ve given up. I had the (current) vogue pattern on my list to buy for a few months, but never saw the fabric to inspire me. It’s a very wearable pattern, more so than the old one. Alas, its not for petite’s though. 😦

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  40. Anonymous 7:14 If you like the pattern, it most certainly is for petites. Even if it isn’t SIZED for petites, the design itself will be as flattering to the petite figure as to the average or tall figure.Depressing Fact of Life: If you are a petite person, you will spend a lot of time altering patterns to a petite size. Now, not all patterns – some patterns are offered as petite sizes – but most of them. It’s a pretty standard set of alterations, though, and that’s just the way life is. I’ll spend my entire life shortening every pattern I buy through the back, and making full bust alterations, and enlarging and lengthening any sleeves. That’s just the way life, and my build, happen to be. You are better off arming yourself with Palmer & Alto’s Fit for Real People, which shows how to do the standard, across-the-board alterations so that a petite can use any ordinary pattern. And if you like the pattern, buy it, so you’re not haunting the internet 10 years from now trying to pick it up! The fabric will come to you in time.General Note: If you see it and you love it, and you can get it without harming yourself financially, get it! If it’s a pattern, the fabric will come. If it’s fabric, you either have the right pattern at home, or you will eventually find the right pattern for it. Life’s too short to spend regretting the little things that could have brought us pleasure.

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  41. I own a copy of the modern Vogue pattern, which I’d been intending to “get around” to doing… funny how much more motivated I feel after viewing the vintage illustrations of what is essentially the same dress – I find the swayback pose, glamour girl smiles and less fussy materials FAR more appealing!

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