Today I would love to take you on a Fashion Illustration Appreciation Journey to the 1940’s!
In this article we will be taking a close-up look at my personal "Home-Sewing" pattern collection, specifically the fashion illustrations found on the front of my Vintage Sewing Pattern envelopes! The patterns I have selected to share with you today are straight from the 1940’s!
Whenever I pull out these gems, I am in awe! The condition of these paper patterns alone amazes me! And then... the illustrations!
Just studying the lovely fashion illustrations that grace the covers of these vintage pattern envelopes are sure to inspire! Hence, my desire to scan, and archive these treasures to share with those that may not have access to such historical fashion illustrations!
As of yet, I have not used these patterns for sewing, merely for fashion inspiration. However, I do plan on creating a few blouses using my vintage sewing pattern, Simplicity Pattern 4864 soon! I will keep you, Dear Reader, updated on that endeavor!
Following are the 25 Vintage Sewing Patterns printed in the 1940's, that I hired my two teenagers to scan for me!
Printed in 1940-1949: Pattern Numbers 2348-5370
Printed in 1940: Pattern Numbers 1929-1998
1941-1949: Pattern Numbers 559-2170
McCall Printed Pattern
Printed in 1940-1949: Pattern Numbers 3505-7867
Simplicity Printed Pattern
Printed in 1940-1944: Pattern Numbers 3264-4999
1944-1949: Pattern Numbers 1000-2715
I hope that you have enjoyed viewing this photo collection of my Vintage Sewing Patterns from the 1940's! 1940's Fashion has always been an inspiration to me, and after studying these illustrations it is no wonder that 1940's Fashion has continued to inspire so many, for decades there after!
If seeing these lovely vintage fashion illustrations, from the 1940's, are intriguing to you, I have a few more fashion illustration resources to recommend:
From my fashion and sewing library, I have the lovely book of sewing pattern illustrations: Blueprints of Fashion, Home Sewing Patterns of the 1940's, by Wade Laboissonniere. This book is laid out in a similar fashion as this blog article, it features scanned archived photos of the original sewing pattern envelopes from the 1940's, with a large collection of over 550 images! I also have the 1950's Volume of Blueprints of Fashion, which is just as amazing.
The book, Dress Design: Draping and Flat Pattern Making by Hillhouse and Mansfield is a pattern drafting book from 1948! That is a book I could do a whole article on alone! If that is something you would like to see more of, let me know! I am privileged to have several vintage design books within my library!
Another fantastic fashion resource regarding 1940's Fashion is this video by Vogue, narrated by Sarah Jessica Parker:
Lastly, I'd love to share with you a fun 1940's relic within my Sewing Workroom: this lovely 1944 Singer, with the owner's manual and desk! I hope to fully restore, or at least clean her up, one day!
Thank you again for reading my blog! I hope 1940's Fashion has inspired you as much as it has me!
I have plans to continue this Blog Series with a photo collection of more of my vintage sewing patterns from other decades, as well as fashion illustrations from patterns that are vintage reproductions! Leave me a comment below on your thoughts, what you like or do not like about 1940's fashion, or what decade inspires you?
Now, I'm off to start sewing!
Have an Inspired Day!
The Mysterious Lives of Buttons
I once sifted through hundreds of vintage buttons, that a dear friend of mine had collected over the years. Gazing upon the uniqueness of each button, the art and craftsmanship of something so small, with a purpose so simple, had me wondering, "Where had these buttons been, and where will these buttons go?"
It seemed as if these precious buttons had such a long life before making it here, to this pile before me, and would continue to exist, long after my friend and I...
Taking this photo of my friend's buttons, I began to reflect on the mysterious lives of buttons...
Buttons are the oldest clothing fastener known to mankind! Ancient buttons, made of sea shells have been found that date back many centuries. In today’s clothing we have alternative clothing closures such as zippers, snaps, hooks & eyes, even elastic, but the classic button still prevails!
As I began to create clothing myself, I also began collecting buttons. If ever I am in a fabric shop purchasing fabric or notions, and I find some interesting buttons, I will most certainly buy them, even if I do not have an immediate use for them. In addition to solid colors of every sort and size, I now have a few jars full of buttons, both unique, and standard. Having this unique and quirky stash has proven fun when I need to fulfil the task of a button!
Children too take delight in buttons! How fun it is to sit with my daughters and look through a poured out pile of color, design, and texture! My children love exploring the treasures stored within my button jars just as much as I do!
A few years ago, my dear Aunt Patty sent me a box of Sewing Notions that belonged to my Grandma Marcia. To a sewing enthusiast such as myself, it was exciting to find so many Vintage Buttons, still on their original packaging cards! Not only are the buttons delightful, but so are the lovely illustrations and graphics found on the cards!
Here are a few of my favorites:
Do you enjoy the unique designs of buttons too? How do you store or organize your button stash? I’d love to hear your experiences or button memories!
Leave me a comment below!
Thank you for reading my Blog!
I began my full-time college career in the Fall of 2012, when I enrolled in the Fashion Design and Merchandising Bachelorette Program at The International Academy of Design and Technology, located in Sacramento, California. Years prior, I had attended a few semesters of college courses at Modesto Junior College, when I was a young lady, fresh out of high-school. Back then, I had no idea what I wanted to focus my studies on. At MJC, my listed major was Veterinary Science, yet I found myself loathing Math and Science courses. I soon found myself dropping what wasn't General Education, and adding several Art Classes instead.
I recall, my guidance counselor called me into his office one afternoon, asking if I would like to change my major to Art. I was, after all, getting all A's in these classes, and not working at all towards completing required Veterinary Science courses. However, at the time I couldn't imagine any interesting career as an Art Major. When I expressed this to my guidance counselor, he replied, "I am an Art Major!" I am no fine artist, and becoming an Art Teacher, or a Junior College Guidance Counselor, did not sound very appealing. I soon dropped out of junior college, and began to work full-time instead.
In the year 2011, at the age of 29, I unexpectedly lost my job at the Credit Union I had been working at for the past 9 years. Around the same time, I was gifted a brand new sewing machine, along with Sewing Lessons, from my Step-Mother, Kathy.
As I began to learn sewing techniques and how to read a commercial patterns, I fell in love with creating clothing. I wanted to learn more and more. I also found that sewing was an unexpected creative arts outlet that satisfied and challenged my artistic abilities. I had temporary employment with a construction company, and decided, maybe I should go back to school to start a career in a field that I actually would enjoy.
I thought to myself, "Could there be such a thing as 'Sewing College'?" I Googled 'Sewing College', and (silly me!) Fashion Design popped up! This was the first time I ever thought of a career in Fashion.
After researching Fashion Design programs available in the Northern California Area (there isn't many), I decided to attend IADT, in Sacramento. I attended this school full-time, taking an accelerated pace of courses, for the next three years. In May 2015, I graduated college with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising. I was also honored as Class of 2015 Salutatorian, earning the second highest GPA of my graduating class, a 3.95 GPA. In 2015, I was the first person in my family to earn a Bachelors Degree.
During the three years I attended college full-time, I learned more than I could have imagined regarding Sewing Construction, Pattern Making, Fashion Research, Trend Forecasting, Apparel Manufacturing, Global Sourcing, Marketing, Visual Merchandising, Fashion Illustration, starting my own business, creating my first clothing line, and more! The professors I learned from where truly amazing, and either were, or had been professionals in one of these fields.
As a student, I took many photos on campus, as I worked on, and completed my assigned projects. Recently, I was looking though the photos that I had taken during this time, and I wanted to share some of my favorite photos with you, my dear reader!
I hope that you will enjoy visualizing the life of a fashion design student by viewing the following photos!
I hope you enjoyed this photo collection glimpse into my daily life attending college as a fashion design student! Tell me which photo or photos you enjoyed the most by sending me a comment!
To see what I've been creating since college, check out, and follow, my Official Instagram by clicking HERE.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!
Growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, in an impoverished neighborhood, attending college never seemed like a realistic option for me. My parents only attended a few community college courses prior to my birth, and no one in my family had ever finished a college program. While I was in grade school, education didn’t interest me much, and despite my later proven potential, I was not a kid who excelled in academics or sports, and I had no hope of obtaining a college scholarship.
I recall during my high school years, occasionally, various professionals would visit my class and present the details of their career path. I remember one such individual who told the classroom that regardless of the career we might hope to pursue, and even if we receive training or education in preparation for that career, many times, an individual will find that they will have many careers throughout their lives. Someone can change careers due to many factors; job loss, a networking opportunity, or just accepting a job that is available at the time they are searching for employment.
I found that interesting, since many people will ask children and young adults, “What would you like to be when you grow up?” As if we only have one choice.
Right now, as I write this, I am 33 years old. I have worked many jobs, some longer than others. I have worked as an animal shelter employee, a tele-marketer selling magazine subscriptions, a retail customer service representative, a bank teller, a call center representative, a waitress, a voter register, a hotel front desk receptionist, a dress maker, a fashion designer, a tailor shop administrator, a lip-balm crafter, and an insurance agent! I have even once worked as a construction worker!
Traditionally, a woman working on the construction worksite is a rarity. Now-a- days, with the progression of women’s rights, it seems as if there is no job that a man can do that a woman cannot. However, construction work can be very physical, and although there are many strong women, not many seem to enjoy carrying 4x4’s, tools, and climbing roofs. Maybe some do, but I am sure there are not many.
In the fall of 2011, I had un-expectantly lost my job at the local credit union, and was offered a position at my father’s construction company. It was a very different work environment from what I had been used to up to that point. My previous job at the credit union was with a team of all women. My new job at the construction work site was on a crew of all men. The jokes were more crude and perverted, but I am not one to easily take offence. I am also certain, that the fella’s held back, due to the fact I was the boss’s daughter.
My work duties primarily included administrative paperwork: typing workman’s comp reports, and payroll, as well as keeping an inventory of all of my father’s tools. I cleaned the wallpaper machine, I moved furniture, installed curtains, and carried 4 x 4 beams of wood from one location to another. I got muscle tone. I learned to use some power tools. I re-upholstered benches. During that time, my step-mother surprised me with a gift: a sewing machine and sewing lessons.
Wearing my pink construction boots daily, I decided that when the job we were working on, a remodel project of a hotel that my dad had built 10 years prior, was completed, I would enroll in a college program and get training in a field that I enjoyed. I did enjoy learning about construction, and the process of how buildings are constructed. I also loved learning sewing techniques, and how to read commercial patterns. I knew for a certainty that going back to a career in the financial industry was not what I wanted, nor did I want a career in a medical field like many of my college-going peers were pursuing.
Eventually, I decided that if there was such a thing as a sewing college out there somewhere, that is where I would enroll. I Googled “Sewing College” and, slap my head, it was called… Fashion Design School! I enrolled, and started my courses immediately.
During my year as a construction worker, I took hundreds of photos of the crew and job site. Perhaps because I grew up having very little, or perhaps because I have always loved and appreciated art, I tend to see the artistic beauty in many every day scenes. I appreciate a cool breeze on a hot day, a fresh rose blooming in the rain, and a hot fresh baked pastry. I appreciate the luxurious beauty in simple things; such as the contrast of color and shadow as the sun beams down on an ordinary object. As I would walk briskly around the job site doing this, or doing that, I would see intriguing images that I could not help but snap a picture of. I have sifted through these images and compiled my favorite photos for your viewing pleasure. I hope you enjoy the photos I have taken documenting my experience as a construction worker!
Today, I am taking a trip down Memory Lane, to share with you my experience entering a Rubber Chicken Photo Contest, and surprisingly taking home the coveted Third Place Prize...
Although slightly bizarre, this is my Award Winning Photo:
I am not a professional photographer, but I love taking photographs.
I believe I have an eye for an aesthetically pleasing photo, and have used my skill to photograph my own work, my life, and most recently, as the Creative Director for OFW Art & Style Magazine.
I purchased my first camera in 1994, when I was around 12 years old. Back in those days, when digital photography didn't exist (at least to the mainstream public), I was thrilled to have a small camera that used a roll of 110 Film, and had clip on flash bulbs. Do you remember those? Truly a relic of antiquity!
Technology sure has advanced at a surprisingly quick rate over the last 24 years. Now, everyone has a camera in their pocket, equipped with high resolution, filters, and different lens options. I heard comedian Dave Chapelle say on TV recently, "Do you remember when people used to say, 'I wish I had a camera!'" No one says that anymore.
Living in California, where picturesque landscapes abound, I found myself exploring the local region in my early to mid 20's, when I finally owned a somewhat reliable car... During my road trip travels, I found a fantastic little Gold Rush mountain town, called Murphys. In Murphys, the historic downtown still looks very much like an 1800's frontier town, with wooden storefronts, and a tranquil creek streaming under Main Street through a delightfully peaceful public park. On the outskirts of town, vineyard after vineyard can be found, each with a modestly priced tasting room. If you love wine, as I do, Murphys is a fabulous destination.
Leave me a comment about your thoughts on my article, or on my photo!
Have a Remarkable Day!!
In 2014, I ventured into a wholesale display store in Sacramento, California called Continental Display, located at 525 Display Way, Sacramento, California. I had heard of this store, that has been in business for well over 35 years, while I was in fashion design college. Although I myself do not own a store front location, as a Fashion Designer, I sometimes may need display materials for Tradeshows, Pop-Ups, or Vender Booths. As I arrived, I was surprised that Continental Display had so many items for sale. Display Cases, Hat Racks, Garment Racks, Shelving, formed huge rows in a warehouse building.
I walked through the rows and came to a separate area full of used mannequins. Hundreds of mannequins were pilled on top of one another, or arranged neatly on shelves or on the floor. Mannequin parts were organized by body type. It was all visually jarring. The human-like realness of many of the mannequins gave me an unshakable eerie feeling. Some of the mannequins have very realistic features, and are even decorated in what appears to be professional cosmetic make-up. Some of the mannequins are generic in appearance, with cartoonish faces and blunt hair styles. I couldn't help but see a grim beauty in the composition of these lifeless forms.
With camera in hand, I took a few pictures of what I was seeing. I hope you enjoy this bizarre photo collection as much as I do!
Thank you for reading my Blog, and viewing my photo collection!
Leave me a comment! I'd love to hear your thoughts on my post or on my photos!
Have a great day!
High Style at the Legion of Honor
Last week, my Fiancé, Step-Children, and I, took a day trip from Hayward, and journeyed across the bay, to The Legion of Honor, located on Land’s End in the beautiful city of San Francisco. Although I grew up in the East Bay Area, I relocated to the Central Valley as a teen, limiting my exposure to historical sites of the Bay. I had never visited this museum previously, and was happily surprised to find a tranquil palace atop rolling hills veiled by a curtain of cloud-like fog.
The building itself is a large Neo-Classical structure, a three quarter scaled replica of Palais de la Légion d’Honneur in Paris (1788), and was completed in 1924. When walking up to the museum entrance, I felt like I was walking back in time, as a colonnade of large Ionic Columns peered down upon myself and the other lowly human visitors staring up in awe. Although I adore architectural design, the reason for our visit, was not to study the architecture of the building, but to “ooo” and “ahh” over another type of human design… The “High Style” Fashion Exhibit, which had traveled all the way from the East Coast, to make its appearance here, in the West!
The Legion of Honor
I love visiting museums. I have always enjoyed not only creating art, but admiring the masters of art of times past, for as long as I can remember. My family and I arrived at The Legion of Honor with sketchbooks in hand, eager to draw out any inspiration we might glean from our trip. Before making our way to the "High Style" Exhibit, we leisurely walked through the large rooms of historical paintings, sculpture, and other artifacts currently on display. Check out a few of the photos that I took:
One of my favorite exhibits we came to, were the mammoth tapestries on display from The Triumph of the Seven Virtues Series, 1535. They were so intricate in detail, and beautiful in color. I could only image how vibrant the colors would have looked when these tapestries were first woven almost 500 years ago!
And now, for the real treat! The "High Style" Exhibit!
The “High Style” Exhibit is composed of selected Masterworks from the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. When I first heard of this exhibit’s arrival, I knew I had to, (absolutely, positively, had to) see it for myself. Can you imagine, my fellow fashion lovers, being in the same room as vintage pieces designed by the masters we have all studied and loved? Worth, Dior, St. Laurent, Schiaparelli, and James, just to name a few! And to think, their gowns were right before me, in pristine condition, decades after their construction!
Here are some of the photos I took of this lovely exhibit, along with more in depth information I learned about the some of the designers.
The House of Worth
Charles Worth is often known as the man who started it all, the “Grandfather of Couture”. When Charles Worth, an Englishmen, started his dressmaking business in Paris, in 1858, he applied innovative concepts and artistic elements to dressmaking that had never been done before. Worth’s clientele were royalty, and other wealthy citizens of the day. The Brooklyn Museum obtained their first dresses that were made by The House of Worth in 1926, and continued to grow in their collection of Worth pieces. What I found most interesting is that Charles Worth, was the first designer for his design house. Following in his footsteps, was his son, Jean-Philippe Worth. Then, in the following generation after Jean-Philippe, was Charles' grandson, Roger. Fascinating how all three generations of Worth's were master couture dress makers.
Since her debut in 1927, Elsa Schiaparelli, an Italian born designer, captured the imagination of the fashion audience with her bold visual designs and uniquely surreal artistic qualities. Often, her designs include one-of-a-kind embellishments, such as piano shaped buttons, bright metallic threaded embroidery, or unique textile combinations. It is obvious that Elsa loved to push boundaries and create garments that were both functional, one of a kind, and, at times, bizarre. Her love of art, and great talent led to much collaboration with Surrealists artists such as Jean Cocteau, and Salvador Dali. Elsa Schiaparelli extended her talents not only to dress making, but Elsa also designed jewelry, shoes, and hats. Elsa Schiaparelli is one of my personal all-time favorites, and I find that she and myself have similar design aesthetics, as I too enjoy creating garments with bold unique designs and interesting color and textile combinations, as she once did.
"The Essence of Fashion is Change."
While exploring the displays presented in the "High Style' Exhibit, I could see clearly, the change in both silhouettes, use of textiles, and the progression of innovative concepts used by the designers over the course of the century. I loved that many of the costumes were free standing and not in any enclosures, which allowed viewers to lean over and see each stitch and design detail clearly. Following, are pictures that I took, in the museum, of Couture Designer pieces from the 1920's through the 1970's. I hope you gain as much inspiration from this beautiful collection as I did. Enjoy!
Charles James is by far one of the most fascinating designers I have ever viewed the creations of. His construction techniques are awe-inspiring. Interestingly the book, High Style, describes James as "not having had formal dressmaking training, he developed his own methodology based on mathematical, architectural, and sculptural concepts as they related to the human body."
I was able to capture a few of his stunning works of art in the following photos: Enjoy!
I hope that you enjoyed this article about my recent visit to the Legion of Honor! Be sure to subscribe to my blog by clicking the "RSS Feed" Button to the right-hand side of your screen, under my Author Bio!
Reeder, Jan G. High Style: Masterworks from the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 4th Printing, 2014.
Tortora and Eubank. Survey of Historic Costume. Fairchild Brooks Publishing. 4th Printing, 2011.
Hello Readers! Welcome to my Blog! I am Roxanne Rodriguez Rangel, a Fashion Designer from Northern California. I love all things Fashion, particularly historical fashion! Join me, as I take you around Northern California, covering fashion events and related topics!