The Inescapable, Unavoidable Cape: Past and Present Patterns

Capes and ponchos sewing patterns through the decades. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.

Capes: You either adore their casual chicness or consider them an unflattering waste of good fabric. Like culottes, capes and ponchos seem to resurface every decade in fashion. Let’s take a look at some of the cape patterns we’ve offered through the years:

Decades of capes and poncho sewing patterns from the McCall Pattern Company.
1930s: Capes were often paired with suits like this. Very Katharine Hepburn.
Decades of capes and poncho sewing patterns from the McCall Pattern Company.
1940s: If padded shoulders were big in the ’40s, then again in the ’80s, does this mean the 2020s will be all about looking like linebackers again?
Decades of capes and poncho sewing patterns from the McCall Pattern Company.
1950s: Capes were utterly ladylike and often paired with gloves.
Decades of capes and poncho sewing patterns from the McCall Pattern Company.
1960s: Poncho time! This doesn’t look very different from the ponchos of today. Except we don’t wear a fez with our ponchos.
Decades of capes and poncho sewing patterns from the McCall Pattern Company.
1970s: Amazing how everything from the ’70s fits right in with today’s styles.
Decades of capes and poncho sewing patterns from the McCall Pattern Company.
1980s: Oh the drama. You can feel Donna Karan’s influence on the decade just looking at this pattern illustration.
Cape inspiration F/W 2015
RTW cape inspiration: l-r, Joseph Lina, Missoni, Thakoon. Images from Net-a-Porter.
cape patterns
Cape pattern options. Clockwise from top left: Kwik Sew K4031, Vogue Patterns V8959, McCall’s M7202, and Butterick B6250.

Ok, so have we convinced you to sew a cape this season? Where do you stand on capes? Leave a comment and let us know!

The Inescapable, Unavoidable Culotte—Past and Present Patterns

Decades of culotte sewing patterns. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.

Culottes are the zombies of fashion. We say we hate them and won’t wear them, but every decade culottes rise from the dead and it’s yet another culotte moment in fashion history. Despite declaring them “torso-truncating, leg-bisecting, billowing,” New York Magazine recently defended the culotte:

“Culottes are aggressively unsexy. Which is perhaps why men tend to hate them. But that’s kind of the point. Culottes are about women more than men, about what it feels like to wear them rather than how people respond to them. From their earliest associations with suffragists and female athletes to their newfound popularity, these breezy pants are about liberation, and, really, what could be more sexy than that?” —New York Magazine (check out the fun historical slide show that goes along with the article)

On that note, let’s take a look at some of the culotte patterns Butterick has brought you over the years:

Decades of culotte sewing patterns. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.
1930’s culottes: Let’s go ride a bike!
Decades of culotte sewing patterns. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.
1940’s culottes: Easier to help with the war effort when you wear culottes.
Decades of culotte sewing patterns. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.
1950’s culottes: Beatnik chic.
Decades of culotte sewing patterns. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.
1960’s culottes: Playsuits for grownups.
Decades of culotte sewing patterns. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.
1970’s culottes: All about the wrap-and-go look.
Decades of culotte sewing patterns. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.
1980’s culottes: The sporty look. Culottes, or just really long shorts?
Decades of culotte sewing patterns. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.
1990’s culottes: Fitting right in with the soft and unstructured looks of the decade.

Here are some 2015 culotte pattern options:

Culotte patterns from McCall's, Butterick and Vogue Patterns
Butterick B6223 in plus sizes, McCall’s M7131, Vogue Patterns V9075.

So, are you ready to give culottes a try this season, or would you rather wait another ten years for their next time in the sun?

 

Decades of culotte sewing patterns. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.

Another Look at the New McCall’s Archive Collection Gown

McCall's Archive Collection reissue of a 1930's gown pattern. M7154 sewing pattern

McCall's Archive Collection reissue of a 1930's gown pattern. M7154 sewing pattern

McCall's Archive Collection reissue of a 1930's gown pattern. M7154 sewing pattern

McCall's Archive Collection reissue of a 1930's gown pattern. M7154 sewing pattern

McCall's Archive Collection reissue of a 1930's gown pattern. M7154 sewing pattern

I think this is one of the most beautiful patterns I’ve ever seen. McCall’s Archive Collection pattern M7154 is a reissue of a 1930’s McCall’s pattern. It’s a current bestseller and we can’t wait to see your versions of it.

The key to this pattern is using the right fabric. It needs to be lightweight and have incredible drape. If you dropped it on the floor it should puddle. Silk charmeuse, silk crepe, crepe-back satin—or quality poly versions of these—would be perfect. If I were sewing this gown I’d most definitely hand-baste first before I machine-stitched. Oh, and I’d make a muslin as Step 1. The bodice should be blousy but the dress needs to softly hug your hips—not too tight or too loose here.

Karen Duffy, McCall Pattern Company associate art director/associate fashion editor, agreed to model this dress (and two more patterns you’ll also see here soon). When she first put this gown on everyone in the office swarmed around her and gushed over how magnificent it looked on her. I told her she has to buy it when we have one of our sample sales for employees.

These photos were taken across the street from our office in downtown NYC. We hope you like seeing this pattern photographed street-style. As I mentioned above, we’ve got two more street-style posts coming soon. Let us know what you think about this in the comments section.

Is it crazy that I want to make this gown—not to actually wear in public to a fabulous event—but just to swan around in at home? Pretending I’m Carole Lombard and my husband is Clark Gable? Where would you wear it?