The first is this two piece skirt suit from Maudella patterns of Bradford. I really don’t know anything about this Company but it interests me that there were sewing companies aswell as knitting and spinning companies in Bradford at this time. The pattern offers one jacket with two skirt styles. The pattern pieces are unprinted, marked only with large and small punch holes to denote straight grain positioning and cutting lines only.
The front cover of the pattern envelope gives yardage for four sizes of suit but the pattern pieces themselves are for one size only which in this case is bust 34 inches and hip 38 inches.
The illustration as is always the case with vintage patterns is beautifully drawn with a slightly more mature lady in an elegant dog tooth check version of the suit, with the pencil skirt version and a more relaxed, youthful version alongside her, coordinating the suit with a Grace Kelly/Audrey Hepburn style headscarf. Note that both women are wearing the obligatory white gloves.
Surprisingly both jacket and skirt are unlined and less surprisingly the instructions are quite compact, although beautifully drawn.
The second is a 1940s shirt dress printed in the US by the sewing pattern giant, McCalls. This is a completely unused pattern with the pattern pieces not even cut out as yet. Unlike the UK pattern from several years later, the pattern pieces are all fully printed with many of the details we expect from our dressmaking patterns today.
And one final pattern for today is this quite stunning sports dress from Silver Patterns - again a Company I haven’t heard of other than on this pattern. The pattern itself doesn’t come in a proper envelope. The colour illustration is printed on a heavy weight piece of paper which is simply folded around the pattern pieces and instruction sheet.
The pattern pieces have notches, piece numbers, grain line arrows, stitching lines and some other basic information which is just as well as the actual construction instructions are the briefest I have seen on any pattern.
Quite a challenge, no? Amazingly, out of the three patterns I’ve shared this is the only one which has actually been used. One the frontispiece, the sewer has written some notes for fitting adjustments needed.
The lack of instruction did not presumably put ‘her’ off this particular project. I continue to be intrigued by how little explanation both knitters and sewers of this period needed from the patterns they used. Where they really so much better than we crafters of today who have access to online tutorials for every technique imaginable? Where they simply satisfied with a poorer finished product and would have preferred more comprehensive instructions if they had been available? Or where they more prepared to jump in, confident that they would be able to work out how to do something? What do you think?