Sunday, March 19, 2023

Weekend Review: Blueprints of Fashion


Blueprints of Fashion: Home Sewing Patterns of the 1950s / Wade Laboissonniere
Atglen, PA: Schiffer, c1997.
176 p.

This was a fun discovery I made recently via OpenLibrary. It's a history of home sewing patterns, focused on the 50s, created by a man who was a collector and a costumer. It's so pleasing to look through! 

There's text for about half of it, and then images of patterns divided by types of clothing for the second half. It's so great to see all the examples, many of which were patterns I've never seen before. Looking at all the details was entertaining -- although only the front of the pattern envelopes are shown, without many examples of line drawings or pattern information. 

The text consists of some history of how paper patterns were used in schools and in the sewing world in general, specifically in the US. It's really only looking at the US, but still has lots of interesting info. The final bit is a little section on monetary values of patterns, but this book was written in the 90s and that info is now out of date and not very useful other than as historical data. 

I enjoyed reading this, with the details of different pattern brands and how they were marketed and sold to consumers. He goes over which patterns focused on designer knock-offs (the more expensive ones!) and which were more aimed at everyday wear, as well as those made for schools and home ec students. I thought the organization of the book was well done, and I learned about a couple of small, short-lived pattern companies I hadn't known about before. 

A good find and one that will entertain anyone interested in the history of paper patterns, or just in looking at LOTS of full colour pattern envelope images. 


  1. Oooh! I love Laboissonniere's books! I have the one with 1940s patterns and it is my favorite to just look at the hundreds of beautiful pattern images.

    1. :) I'm going to look up the 40s one, as I really enjoyed this volume!


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