Trend prediction for 2012: Unnecessary skirts

I’ve been slowing down my vintage pattern buying lately. When I do buy it’s exclusively online – old patterns in London vintage shops are usually hideously marked up, and when you’re used to Etsy prices, forking out a tenner for an 70s dungarees pattern stings a bit.

(reminds me of a late 60s/early 70s shift dress I saw at a fair in East London.Extremely ‘distressed’, unlined, and made from polyester. The price? £75, because, as the woman solemnly said to me “This is a very, very rare piece. It’s actually from the 1960s. It’s old!”. Er, thanks love. I’ll stick to online vintage shopping then)

Anyway, I had to break both of my self-imposed rules to buy Blackmore So-Easy 9422, because I’ve never seen a British-made sewing pattern for sale before.

Blackmore 9422 vintage sewing pattern

It’s a very simple shift dress, but I love the slim overskirt which buckles up at the front, or can be held casually over the arm if you… I don’t know, get too hot? Where would you wear an overskirt, anyway? I guess it would be handy for the Railway Children/runaway train situation recently discussed on this blog.

Some super chic accessorising going on as well. A flicky bouffant, long white gloves, pointy stilettoes, AND chunky jewellery? Nice.

I did a bit of online sleuthing on Blackmore, which was set up in 1845 by 8 siblings, who sound extremely interesting to say the least. 4 of them were deaf, one was a chemist, one managed a dress-shop, one was a ‘Professor of Shorthand’, and one was a mannequin for a fashion house (anticipating the work of Tom Cruise by over 100 years)

Anyway, it looks like my pattern is from the late 50s, as that’s when Blackmore were bought by the Associated British Paper Patterns Limited, the name written on the back of the envelope.

The tissue is marked with holes rather than printed on, and the instruction sheet is rather short and sweet. I assume that the phrase ‘Turnings are allowed on this pattern’ means that the hem allowance is included?

It’s a shame that there isn’t a home-grown British pattern industry operating at the moment. Even all the awesome new start-ups seem to be across the pond (Colette patterns, Sewaholic, etc).

I did find a few more Blackmore patterns on Etsy – click on the picture to see the listing.

Demonic Pippi Longstocking in a tweed cape, anyone? No?

Vintage Blackmore Cape Pattern from vintageblondedesign on Etsy
Vintage Blackmore Cape Pattern from vintageblondedesign on Etsy

This voluminous nightgown is actually rather sweet (and suitable for newspaper reading, apparently)

Vintage Nightdress Pattern from TheBrightonEmporium on Etsy

Shirtdress patterns are two a penny, but I really like the inverted pleat on this one (more redheads as well – are they related to the evil cape-wearing child, perhaps?)

Shirtwaister dress from kt3 on Etsy
Shirtwaister dress from kt3 on Etsy

That’s about it really, there’s doesn’t seem to be that many of these patterns out there.

Have you heard of Blackmore before? Do you know of any British sewing companies? And most importantly, would you wear a buckled-on overskirt, and if so, in what situation would you remove it?

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9 thoughts on “Trend prediction for 2012: Unnecessary skirts

  1. carol caswell February 27, 2013 / 9:33 PM

    hi just reading bout your interest in blackmore patterns i have 650 patterns le roy weldons and blackmore with everything from bikinis ball gowns wedding dresses tennis dresses capes anoraks suits pencil skirts maternity wear etc would you be intersted in buying them regards carol caswell

  2. brhowto0 January 20, 2012 / 6:46 PM

    WoW did not know that ,I learned some thing today Thank you for shareing

  3. Jane January 20, 2012 / 6:46 PM

    I’ve got a couple of Style Print patterns and another by Economy Patterns (same address). Also one by Weldons, which appears to be a Brit company. That demonic, cape-wearing Pippi Longstocking picture will torment my dreams for nights to come – just horrible! An overskirt would definitely come in handy if you were a railway child, it would have to be red though! x

  4. Nicole January 20, 2012 / 5:12 PM

    I have quite a few Blackmore patterns that I’ve picked up over the years. In fact, I made a version of the inverted pleat dress for work. If you’re looking for other English pattern companies, look out for Maudella – I have a number of ‘swinging 60’s’ shift dress patterns by them.

    • yesilikethat January 20, 2012 / 5:22 PM

      Wow thanks, good tip. I love those 60s dress patterns.

  5. Roobeedoo January 20, 2012 / 4:42 PM

    I’m pretty sure that “Style” patterns were British.
    My cousin used to work as a pattern-tracer in Yorkshire in the 1970’s, but I can’t remember which company she worked for. She isn’t alive to ask.
    Buckled-on overskirts alarm me – they make me think they were for covering up stains – so only put them on after an accident occurred. Ooh no! The imagery!

    • yesilikethat January 20, 2012 / 4:50 PM

      Yes you’re right, I forgot about Style! I have a few Style patterns, mine have both South African and British addresses on the envelope.

  6. didyoumakethat January 20, 2012 / 4:42 PM

    Fascinating and hilarious blog post. When would I wear an overskirt? When I wanted to valiantly whip it off and lay it in the mud so that a timid gentleman could tip toe into the waiting coach.

    • yesilikethat January 20, 2012 / 4:49 PM

      Karen, I like your thinking!

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