Ah, the vintage Vogue Paris Original patterns. There's nothing like them to inspire delight and pattern lust. They're so elegant, so stylish, so...French!
Except...wait a minute. What is that sophisticated French couple in Vogue 1213 up to? Dressed in their elegant suits, chawing down on...is he shoving a chicken bone into his maw? Or is it a pork knuckle? Is she enjoying corn on the cob?
First of all...hello again! It's been too long (over a year since posting?! Bad blogger! Bad blogger!) I won't bore you with the story of lack of work, a plethora of work, etc. For too long patterns have gone unadmired and unmocked.
But first...a digression. To me one of the interesting questions artists who work for others face is how to put their own spin on work-for-hire projects. I grew up in Denver, and in the natural history museum there, you can find about eight elves hidden in the painted dioramas. According to museum lore, diorama Kent R. Pendleton wasn't allowed to sign his work -- so the hidden elves serve as his "signature." I love his solution to the work-for-hire dilemma.
What about pattern illustrators? How did they sneak bits of themselves into their work? Are the little quirks in illustrations -- like a random chair or a floating mini-helper -- actually an artists' way of saying "hey, this is me!"?
Or were the illustrators just drunk?
Imagine, if you will, the bar across from Simplicity headquarters. It's 1968 -- but while free love reigns outside, in here it's whiskey and cigars. Two grizzled pattern illustrators are delaying returning home.
"Joe," says the first. "I got one you'll never get past management."
The second chuckles. "You mean like 8806 when I made two of the girls float and lost one of their legs?"
"Child's play," Frank tells him. "This is even tougher than those girls we made look possessed."
"2971 and 2995, yeah. They never could figure out why those didn't sell well."
"They didn't sell 'cause those girls looked like they were gonna eat your soul. A pretty notched collar can't undo that."
Oh, Vogue. You've come out with some scrumptious dresses for spring...and then there's your new pattern for men, 8720. This goes straight into the Department of WWTT (What Were They Thinking?):
Was it really necessary for the coat to be buttoned all the way to the neck? Did the model need to shove his hands forearm-deep into the pockets? And why, in the name of all that is holy, did someone decide to throw sunglasses into the mix?
I don't see this and think, "My goodness, there's a stylish man!" I think "That guy's getting ready to expose his junk. Remind me not to look his way."
Well, it now has a rival in the "Inexplicable Illustration Detail I Just Can't Get Past" Department. Behold Butterick 5246:
Is that a light switch on the wall? If so, what made the illustrator go "I know just what this drawing needs to sell this dress -- a light switch!" Yes, because I always plan my outfits around the momentous occasion of turning on the lights.
But...is the switch in the shape of of a triangle?! Why? Is Green in her smock dress actually flipping The Switch That Will Destroy The World? Is Stripes hiding the key to unlock the missile codes in her little red purselet? If so, they seem pretty casual about the whole thing. They're not super-villains or heroines -- just two laidback gals in smock dresses who stumbled into the war room one afternoon.
I have to say, if this is the depiction of The End of The World, I could use a bit more drama.
Wowza! Look at this recent addition to the Vintage Pattern Wiki, McCall's 2255:
Those monogram letters are six inches tall! And View E, the super-long scarf? 108 INCHES OF SCARF FUN, BABY!!
You know what this needs, don't you? Wait for it...
Yes! It needs GIANT EYES and a GIANT ZIPPER! It must be paired with that other 1970s pattern of legend, McCall's 3057! (Readers, accept now that I'm going to refer back to 3057 constantly -- it's one of those things that will always make me laugh, much like BIRDEMIC and C.W. McCall's "Convoy.")
If you want to see the back of the fabulous giant scarf pattern, check out Patternaholic's post about it! But please, if you make one of these, no riding in convertibles -- I don't want any of you meeting Isadora Duncan's tragic demise.
"Quick tricks"? Well, I guess the outfits do provide easy access.
A big thank you to Phyllis, who found this gem at Mom's Patterns! She suggested we file it in the Department of What Were They Thinking, an idea so inspired that I am creating a new tag, "Dept of WWTT," in her honor.