Magazine of the Week

Hi, everyone! The magazine of the last two weeks (sorry about that!) is:

This week’s (and last week’s) magazine of the week is Vogue Patterns. This is something we have subscribed to for quite a long time.

Both the title and its parent companies have changed several times, and it’s difficult to figure out which was when. The earliest title we have is Vogue Pattern Book, which we have going back into the 1930s. Our holdings are sporadic until the 1940s, and from then on our run is complete with only small gaps. These are in Special Collections & College Archives (SPARC).


With the Dec 1968/Jan 1969 issue the title changed to Vogue Pattern Book International. These are in the Periodicals and Electronic Resource Services area, soon to be on the 4th floor. The title changed to the current Vogue Patterns beginning with theJune/July 1972 issue.






American Vogue magazine published a pattern with each issue from early in its history. These developed into a home sewing patterns department by 1899. When Conde Nast bought the magazine in 1909, the number of patterns sold had reached item #334. The Vogue Pattern Company was set up in 1914* and by 1916 the patterns were being sold in department stores. Nast promoted Vogue Patterns ernestly, aiming them “not merely to women of great wealth, but fundamentally, to women of taste.”





In 1961, Vogue’s parent company, Conde Nast, sold both Vogue Magazine publication and the pattern company to Butterick Publications company, which licenses the Vogue name. As the home sewing market shrank in the late-twentieth century, the company was sold several times, and reorganized into the Butterick Fashion Marketing Company. In 2001, McCall Pattern Company, a less-expensive competitor, bought the Butterick and Vogue Pattern divisions and the Vogue Patterns magazine.





The company has changed it’s pattern lines repeatedly to keep in touch with the sewing market. The patterns to the right show relationships built with contemporary designers. Other partnerships include pattern lines with sewing mavens such as Pati Palmer and Susan Pletsch or blogger Gertie Hirsch. The magazine itself has changed to keep up with trends in home sewing interest as well. I love this image advertising fresh spring prints from an NYC fabric company (Feb/March 1969 issue).






In more recent years, the title has responded to competition from both sewing blogs and other DIY sites and picked up it’s How-To game somewhat. While it has always included instructional details to help the reader refine his or her work, the current issue combines excellent photography and sharp writing to present such instruction especially well.







I love that this is showing fitting using the paper pattern instead of with a muslin. Because I’m always sewing in a hurry, I rarely take time for the muslin step, and this is a helpful layout.







Another interesting detail I came across is this lovely image featuring Beverly Johnson, who was the first African-American model to ever get a Vogue magazine cover. That cover was in 1974. Here, Johnson models a Calvin Klein dress in the July/August 1977 issue of Vogue Patterns.







Joy Emery of the Rhode Island School of Design recently wrote a history of sewing pattern companies which we have.

The PERS department will be closing May 30th, but please come see us in our new home on the 4th floor in the fall!

*Conde Nast bought Vogue Magazine in 1909. Interestingly, he had begun the Home Pattern Company, whose patterns were distributed by the Ladies’ Home Journal (a popular middle class magazine at the time) as early as 1905, so he was obviously interested in the commercial patterns industry.

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Fashion’s Fanciest Night Out

I nearly forgot! Amongst all the reference questions and magazine research today, I nearly forgot that this evening is the Met Gala! This year the party is in honor of Rei Kawakubo, one of our Word-Worthy Women. That guarantees that the red carpet for this event will display some unusual and challenging treasures, as well as the usual collection of brilliant near-misses. In order that we be able to discuss this together tomorrow, I bring back our red carpet bingo card. Stream it tonight, let’s snark about it tomorrow! (You can see it here, too. And here.)

(You can also read the Costume Institute’s conservator, Sarah Scaturro’s interview about the show here. She’s a grad of the FIT Museum Studies program in the Graduate Division.)


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Fashion’s FIT Future

Guests judges from the Fashion Industry judge Senior Projects in the Great Hall on Tuesday, April 19, 2016 for the 2016 Senior Fashion Show.

Hurry up and come over! Today is that brief window: 11am-3pm, where the FIT Fashion Design graduating class’ work is on display for the public to take a look. The work is lined up in the John Reeves Great Hall, which is behind the Pomerantz Center and the Haft Auditorium on 28th street. You can read more about the 2017 Future of Fashion Show here.

Come take a look! I’ll try to get over there and write more about it later.

Future of Fashion Judging Day notice

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