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Jan 13, 2014

The Mystery of Vogue 4742



Readers, I have an unfortunate habit.  When I'm not deeply immersed in a sewing project, my attention wanders to sites like eBay.

Yesterday I won the pattern up top.  It's Vogue 4742 and I'm guessing it dates from the mid-to-late 1940's.  Given the fullness of the gown, maybe 1947?

The seller didn't have the envelope but the pattern is complete.  The seller also didn't know the exact size, but given the very basic bodice shape, I'm not sure it matters much.  What drew me to the pattern was the skirt, and in particular, those wide pannier-like hips.

I've always been intrigued by padding. and hip padding intrigues me most of all.

One of my favorite looks, though I've never recreated it, is the 1920's robe de style gown, with its pannier-shaped sides.





Women have been padding their hips for centuries of course, in all sorts of interesting ways and with all sorts of interesting results.









I'm very curious to know what's being used in Vogue 4742 and if whatever-it-is is included in the pattern itself.  I haven't been able to find any information about this Vogue pattern anywhere, nor have I seen anything quite like anywhere else.

I did find a photo of the Lanvin gown from the mid-40's, however.



There was definitely a renewed interest in the female hip in the fashions of the late 1940's, though in commercial sewing patterns this is usually expressed as a ruffle or peplum.  In couture, there's a lot of interior padding -- or what looks like it.

Balenciaga

Dior "Bar" suit

Charles James

I hope to get the pattern and solve the mystery by the weekend and solve the mystery.

Any insights?

Have a great day, everybody!

Gallano

26 comments:

  1. http://www.blogforbettersewing.com/2010/08/when-women-padded-their-hips.html?m=1

    Maybe?

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  2. It's amusing how one's tastes run in fashion. Some people like structured hip padding and others flowing pantdresses. For me, I would take the pant dress .

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  3. I think the padding for 4742 might just be layers of ruffles, don't think it needs more structure than that.

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  4. I like the Balenciaga gown, but other than that not much of a padded hip fan.

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  5. Threads July 2012 (no. 161) has an article on this on p 28, also the back cover.

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  6. I think the idea of hip padding is to give the impression of child bearing qualities. Will be interested to see what the pattern is like.

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  7. Interesting post. Looking forward to seeing what the pattern beholds.

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  8. Oh God, I have the same Ebay pattern problem. Are we bidding against each other?
    I know the "Bar" suit was part of the New Look, which was a reaction to the end of WWII rationing, when women could get large quantities of fabric again. Big skirts equaled freedom.
    There are loads of studies about how, in terms of evolution, women in different cultures are judged for mating suitability through a large waist-hip ratio. Women with small waists and big hips look healthy and fertile. The exception is our over-saturated culture, where everyone's gone thin crazy. I blame Anna Wintour.

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  9. When I did costuming, I used a bum roll (your photo 6) for that shape. We also used a lot of hoop skirts and petticoats. One of my pet peeves is seeing a production where they put the dress right over the hoops with no petticoats, so you can see the hoops. Ack! Very unattractive.

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  10. My guess is post-1947 New Look, given the volume of fabric--any earlier would have been subject to rationing and the pattern would be stamped something like "not suitable for rationing as per the U.S. government blah-blah-blah." Also, the strict lines of the dress, with the corseted-look bodice and nipped in waist with padded hips suggests New Look. It's hard to tell from the hair style, but I'd say 1948-1950 would be the range (since it takes about 6-12 months for a "look" to hit the patterns.

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  11. Maybe something like this?
    http://www.pinupgirlclothing.com/white-canvas-underskirt.html
    It works like a petticoat/crinoline, except it only gives support to the dress fabric, rather than an overall fullness. When worn with a dress it gives that bell shape that allows the skirt to stand away from the body but doesn't have the added problem of excess fabric from a crinoline.

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  12. those 1940's styles are definitely post WWII because of fabric scarcity. no one could afford or obtain enough fabric to produce those styles. and, as for moi, i've always had enough padding to obviate the necessity of paniers...

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  13. I've got plenty of my own natural padding, can't imagine a woman wanting to add hips to her clothing. :)

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    Replies
    1. Same here - I'm well supplied thank you!

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  14. My very slim mother got married in 1950, in a custom made satin gown which had the same skirt as your pattern. Underneath the dress was a separate "hoop skirt" kind of a sideways hoop that was shaped like the white one tied on the dress form. the shape was made with very stiff horsehair braid ? and sewn onto a base, it did fasten around the waist as the one in the photo. Her dressmaker designed the gown to give her a bit more presence since she was so tiny and satin gowns were the style but the fabric is so drapey. in a pale blush gold, long sleeves with a juliet cap and veil. so of the period and gorgeous, although we only have black and white photos to see it!

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  15. I think Kate Middleton's wedding dress is a great example of successful hip padding in the modern day.

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  16. Hi Peter, I think this was a Special Design pattern - I know it seems early but circa 1946.

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  17. Scientific studies have recently proven one of the female form attraction to males is waist to hip ratio. I would suggest that even before this attraction was quantified, it was instinctively enhanced.

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  18. Interesting. I have an original 20s sewing patter for a robe de style frock, and have constructed it. It calls for hooping inserted into bias strips that are hung by tape and sewn into the garment sides. They are side hoops really.

    The pattern in question may have something similar, but I would think crinoline is added somewhere as well. The plain side hoop without any other type of padding shows through the garment - which doesn't look acceptable for a garment of this design.

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  19. Are you sure it's really padded and not some terrible artists interpretation of a normal dress? I wouldn't put it past them.

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    1. I guess I'll find out soon enough. But it's SO flat in front and back and stands out so far on the sides, I don 't think so.

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  20. Mostly unrelated: I read your blog daily, and one of the things I enjoy most about it is your extensive blogroll on the side nav bar. I can check in on so many other bloggers right from your site, that you're my first read in the morning, with chasers of ClubOrlov, GeneBlack, and others

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  21. This sort of reminds me of the Balenciaga "Infanta" dress from 1939, although it does look flatter in front and back. If it's a Vogue Special Design, the Blueprints of Fashion books claim #4742 was used in 1946 and again in 1956. I'd agree with the commenter above about the earlier date.

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  22. Some of the 1920s robe de style's had mini pocket hoops (like the white ones) sewn into the garment, and others had them seperately

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  23. Check out Elie Saab's 2014 couture collection for some very recent examples :)
    http://fashionista.com/2014/01/elie-saab-couture-spring-2014/

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