Maudella patterns from the 60s and 70s

Fun fact of the day: Did you know that New Look patterns actually started out as Maudella, a British company? It was set up in 1937 in Yorkshire. Now owned by Simplicity, of course. I’ve never sewn a New Look pattern, but I love Maudella.

maudella new look

You can still find super-old Maudella patterns on Ebay, but my favourites are from the 60s/70s era. They mostly put out simple separates and dresses, and they’re so go-ahead, so peppy, so Helen Gurley Brown-era Cosmopolitan reader.

I’ve got two in my collection. Firstly this sweetheart dress with puffed sleeves, which I got for 99p on Ebay. 70s patterns are still going cheap at the moment, but I think more people are looking for them.

Will the same thing ever happen to those 80s monstrosities all over Etsy, I wonder? Who will rehabilitate the immense puffed sleeve?
maudella dress front

This pattern may actually be from the late 60s, not 70s at all. I love the dolly shoes. Clarks are doing a similar vintage style at the moment that I’m coveting.

My other Maudella find is this one, which Kerrie kindly sent me. This is a hard-working pattern: you get a double-darted pencil skirt for weekdays in the typing pool, and a long floral a-line number for relaxing in at the weekend, crocheting a new afghan perhaps. The woman on the left has some extreme pointy nails going on.

maudella skirt

Maudella patterns don’t pop up that much on Ebay and Etsy.  I’m kind of in love with this ‘Ship n Shore Leave’ beauty that’s currently available.


These people don’t seem to belong to the same pattern, with Ms. Flower Power on the right, a homage to Chairman Mao at the back, and God-knows-what on the left. Funky chef’s uniform?

The illustrations are nearly always great on Maudella envelopes. I’ll leave you with this beauty, which is rather risque for a vintage pattern. Check out the lady in pink at the bottom, going for some tan-line-free sunbathing…


New 60s dress – Style 2472

I have a problem, and I don’t think there are any support groups that can help me.  I can’t stop buying vintage patterns on ebay and etsy.

It’s amazing how cheap they are – for the price of two pints or less you can get a pattern that’s 50 or 60 years old, often ones that have never even been used or unfolded.

This is a problem because I never get round to making half of the patterns I buy. There’s always another more exciting one just about to arrive in the post (I’d like to name and shame Miss Betty’s Attic on Etsy, for having far too many nice patterns, and very reasonable postage to the UK).

Anyway I did get around to making this one, Style 2472. It’s a mid to late 60s style, originally retailing for the bargain price of 30p. It’s a simple empire line dress, with a nice 3 panelled front skirt which matches up with the darts in the bodice.

Style 2472

I particularly enjoy the model in the middle, for wearing her hair in bunches on her wedding day, and stroking the knee of one of her friends (bridesmaids?) in a slightly inappropriate fashion.

Style 2472 retro 60s dressI made this dress out of some retina-searingly bright cotton from Dalston Mill Fabrics. It has a really nice soft feel and is a good weight – not stiff but not too flimsy. Dalston Mill Fabrics is definitely an interesting shopping experience, if you’ve never been. The fabric is all either squashed tightly together and reached by incredibly narrow aisles you have to inch along sideways, or resting on shelves 10 feet above your head. If you ask for one of these fabrics, they get a big pole with a hook on the end, and pull it down on to the floor, not really checking to see if the fabric could end up on top of your head/on top of another shopper’s head/on any small children that may be toddling around.

The print is probably a bit of an acquired taste. It was one of those fabrics you love in the shop, and then you get it home and think ‘Hmmm, this could either be nice, or really really hideous.” I actually used it with the wrong side outwards just to try and calm down the brightness a bit, not that you can tell in these photos.

The only problem with this print is that you can’t see the seam lines at all. I sewed on a length of black grosgrain ribbon to emphasise the empire line, otherwise it was totally invisible. Here’s me wearing it at a wedding – I’ve had to crop off my face as I was making a rather imbecilic expression.

Here’s the back of it. I actually fully lined it with black cotton AND did a facing which I sewed on top, as per the instructions in this brilliant book, which I found in Oxfam in Edinburgh for £2.50.

back of Style 2472

Here’s some beautifully shot (ahem)  photos of the dress hanging on the back of my bedroom door. I probably should have ironed it first, but anyway you can see that I put an exposed zip in the back, using a combination of this technique on the Burdastyle site, and this one on the Husqvarna site. You can also see that I didn’t exactly match up the ribbon perfectly either side of the zip, but the beauty of the exposed zipper is that it doesn’t really matter, as the seamlines don’t meet! (As long as it’s not about 10cm out, although you could probably pass that off as an innovative new style).

I didn’t make any other huge changes apart from lowering the neckline and making the bodice longer. I did actually draft up and sew a peter pan collar in black cotton, but it looked a bit odd.

Finished dress

The colours do look better in real life, honest. They remind me of this fruit-stand photo. Water-melon pink, oranges, and yellow apples.

Fruit stand