Sewing pattern envelopes are generally mullets in reverse: party in the front, business in the back. Oh, those illustrations! Chock full of eye candy calling out to you: "Buy me. Sew me. With me your life will be joyous, glamourous, carefree." But flip them over and it's time for Serious Business: bust measurements, yardage specifications and descriptions that are little more than a checklist. "Raglan sleeves, center back zipper, waist tucks. Choice of collar."
There are exceptions, however. Take the Butterick pattern descriptions of the 1950s: they're things of fanciful beauty, little bonbons of prose that make my heart go pitter pat. I first became aware of them when I bought this pattern, Butterick 7348:
How great is this description? "Gentle mannered dress has a fitted bodice with faced sleeves, a stand-up collar and a bouffant skirt that's spiced with two great slanting tucks on either side." I've been trying to work "great slanting tucks" into my vocabulary ever since -- ie, "Great slanting tucks, Batman! The Joker is at it again!"
Then, of course, there's Butterick 7162 -- the Blouse of Many Moods. But it doesn't stop there! Search for "Butterick" and "1950s" on the Vintage Pattern Wiki and a whole bevy of delights await. Want more examples? I'm happy to oblige.
Butterick 6153 has a bit of an attitude problem. This "daytimer" dress "moves easily in city or suburbs." What about the country? 6153 strikes me as a bit of a snob.
Butterick 6946, meanwhile, declares itself a "seven day wonder - the dress to reach for - feel just right on any day." Not to be outdone, Butterick 8939 ("a "bevy of important jackets") promises to "cover all your needs." I'm assuming they mean all your jacket needs -- I can't imagine it paying rent or anything -- but perhaps "needs" was a synonym of "breasts" back then.
Finally, here's Butterick 6903. The description declares it to be "exciting news in jacket-dresses - versatility plus smart fashion" -- but I think the truly exciting news comes later in the description, when we learn that the "skirt takes a fling with oversized pockets." The skirt and the pockets are having a fling? How did they meet? Will these (three) crazy kids make it work? What happens to the dress if the skirt and pockets break up?
Great slanting tucks, that'd be a problem!