Saturday, February 24, 2018

See it Sewn - Simplicity 3630 from a 1960 Catalog

Today for you, my talented sewists, I'd like to introduce a new feature that I'd like to include in our regularly scheduled blog-casting.

Today for See it Sewn, I'd like to show you how fun it can be to take a peak at a vintage pattern catalog that had a revolutionary idea: Photographs of patterns sewn!
What is this madness? At sometime in the late 1950s (this is a loose estimate, as I do not have a lot of catalogs to reference) someone finally had the brilliant idea of sewing up and photographing sewing patterns to make pattern counter catalogs look more like fashion magazines.

In today's particular instance, the models were styled flawlessly and provide a snap-shot of how these garments were meant to look. The pattern illustrations alone could often make some styles look boring or dated.

That is the case with Simplicity 3630.

Image courtesy of the Vintage Patterns Wikia.
This could look like just another early 60s coat to most pattern sellers and collectors. It's ok, sure, but not cutting edge, not wildly chic.
Or is it?

Simplicity 3630 as featured in my October 1960 Counter Catalog.
This model, sporting the same Simplicity 3630 in "Highland Grape" wool plaid, accessorized with long, leather gloves and a fur hat with her makeup done to the nines, could not be more stylish.
Note the large buttons, and the massive pockets with the plaid matched perfectly.
This is a COAT and seeing it sewn took it from drab to fab in seconds.

A few pages later in the same catalog, we see Simplicity 3642. Here is the original pattern envelope.

Image courtesy of the Vintage Patterns Wikia.
Not bad, a bit more stylish in illustration.
And here it is, sewn in a "Winter Plum" plaid similar to the coat above.

Simplicity 3642 as shown in the October 1960 Counter Catalog.
Note again her stylish hat, the semi-long gloves, her choice of belt and brooch. Notice how the upper seamed panels over her bust have been cut on the bias to give the plaid a different effect? It's sheer brilliance!

It makes me look with fresh eyes at patterns that I would normally pass right by.

How about you? Have you ever seen something sewn that made you look at a pattern in a different light?

Happy sewing!

Copies of both of these patterns can usually be found from your favorite pattern sellers on Etsy.
Below are links to searches for each of these that will show you who currently has them for sale.

Simplicity 3630 Coat

Simplicity 3642 Dress


  1. This is fab! I can't wait to share this with my sewing students.

    Drusilla Barron

  2. OMG! Simplicity 3630 is the coat I just finished a couple of weeks ago (haven't blogged, but have had pics on Instagram)! I would have to say mine looks pretty similar on me as the model's does on her, but without that awesome plaid. ;)

  3. Very stylish photos, and very tempting. Have a lovely weekend. :)

  4. Darling Mrs. Depew,
    Have you read Linda Przybyszewski's amazing book, published in 2014 THE LOST ART OF DRESS? I give it my highest recommendation. It speaks to the one time "Home Ec" teachers who taught young seamstresses, not only how to sew, but also what to expect of fiber content, weave, color, and drape. I am old enough that I did take Home Ec in school, as was expected of every young woman at the time, Yet I still find THE LOST ART OF DRESS to be fascinating enough, that I am reading now for the third time.

  5. Those side panels over the bust are also pockets! How strange but it works.