An Exploration into the World of Designer Sewing Patterns

Month: August, 2012

‘From The Yves Saint Laurent Fabric Boutique’.

Here’s an interesting piece of home-sewing history.

I first became aware of ‘The Yves Saint Laurent Fabric Boutique’ when I discovered an old newspaper wire-photo on eBay, which I bought. The photo was originally printed in the Chicago Daily News and is dated March 2, 1970 on the back side. It shows YSL fabric bolts, a YSL Vogue pattern (2216) and a sew-in label pinned to one of the fabric bolts. The photograph is pictured below.

I have since searched for more information online regarding the YSL Fabric Boutique but haven’t had much success apart from a couple of articles and advertisements from 1970 newspapers on a ‘google news’ search.

From what I‘ve read, It seems that the fabrics were sold in fabric stores and fabric counters in department stores beginning in late 1969 or early 1970, and as far as I can tell, only within the United States. Fabric bolts were displayed on and around chrome steel and glass tables in, it seems, an island display concept within existing fabric stores. A ‘pattern book’ released with the fabrics by YSL was a guide recommending how to mix and match certain sewing patterns with the fabrics from the range. Each purchase of fabric came with a cloth label to sew into your new creation. What a novel idea! You could buy a YSL Vogue Paris Original pattern and make it up in a YSL approved fabric, and then insert a YSL cloth label into your creation. In one article, not included here (Fort Pierce News Tribune, December 03 1969, page 7), it states that the fabrics are made by Burlington Industries.

I wonder how long the business operation lasted and whether it was an  over-all success?

Click on the images to enlarge them and read the articles for yourself. I would absolutely LOVE to get my hands on one of the original YSL sketch/pattern books!

If anyone out there has further information on this topic then please share!

A wire photo originally published in The Chicago Daily News on March 2, 1970.

The newspaper clipping attached to the reverse of the wire photo reads:
“Destined to be one of the most popular selections from the boutique, this brown-and-beige plaid with subtle orange stripes is visualized by St. Laurent as a versatile double-breasted coat, the pattern No. 2216. A washable blend of 50 per cent polyester and 50 per cent cotton, it has an invisible vinyl coating and sells for $4 per yard.”


Vogue Paris Original 2216, the same pattern pictured in the black and white photograph above.

Below are the promotional news articles and advertisements that were published to anounce the release of the Yves Saint Laurent Fabric Boutique.

Cape Giradeau Southeast Missourian News Article.

A news article about the YSL Fabric Boutique, published in The Cape Giradeau Southeast Missourian newspaper, December 11, 1969. Notice the plaid coat on the model, it’s made from the same fabric as pictured on the fabric bolt in the wire photo above, second image down from the top. Also, the coat seems to be of the same design as Vogue pattern 2216, and was likely made from the pattern for promotional purposes.

Another article about the release of the Yves Saint Laurent Fabric Boutique, published in The Los Angeles Times newspaper, May 17, 1970.

YSL Fabric Boutique at Gimbels

Part of a full-page ad for Gimbels department store, published in The Milwaukee Journal newspaper, February 3, 1970.

An advertisement for The YSL Fabric Boutique at The Chandlers, does anyone know if this was a fabric store or a department store? Published in The San Mateo Times, February 3, 1970.

 …And just for fun, a while ago while on a google images search, I found these images of a vintage home-made dress that was for sale at Swank Vintage. Because the dress has the label sewn inside, I’m assuming that the fabric is from the YSL Fabric Boutique (thanks to Swank Vintage for approving the use of their images).

I can’t identify the pattern used (and if it’s a Vogue designer pattern, then usually I’m quite good at picking them!), can you?

YSL Fabric Boutique Garment from 'Swank Vintage'.

If you’re interested in Yves Saint Laurent, Vogue Patterns, or sewing then I recommend these blogs which I follow:


Welcome, Pattern Enthusiasts…


Well, this is my very first entry on my very first blog.

I have a fascination with the world of designer sewing patterns. I just love the way that they correlate with the fashion you find in the history books, because they were the actual fashions! When you flick through a vintage Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar magazine you can come across divine clothing which you can only dream about ever wearing, but with sewing patterns you can bring your favourite vintage designs by your favourite designers and couturiers back to life! It is amazing to me to think that a woman, especially one who was living in a rural area far from the fashion capitols and existing on a modest income, could go to their local fabric store and pick up a pattern and go home to make themselves a Dior (or at least a good imitation).

First and foremost I love the clothing designs and learning how the pattern is cut and constructed. But to me what gives the pattern allure and charm is the image on the envelope. Fashion is all about selling an image and, back in the day, Vogue Patterns took their image as seriously as the best fashion magazines and employed some of the best photographers and models to market their patterns, which was only appropriate to a company that licensed their designs from the best designers in the world.

There are already several blogs out there which I admire and follow that are based around sewing patterns, and I thought that I have something that I could add to the discussion, so that’s why I started this blog.

Finding information regarding vintage sewing patterns can be very difficult. Usually, if one can’t find the information they’re after on the Internet then the information has to be sourced from vintage magazines and books, which can be hard to find and very expensive, but even then there can be many questions left unanswered.

I’ve been collecting vintage, and new, designer sewing patterns (mostly Vogue) for just over two years now. I’ve acquired quite lot of knowledge and information regarding patterns and sewing culture from throughout the years. It wasn’t always easy to get that information, however I must admit that the hunt was part of the fun, but not being able to find what I was after was frustrating at times. Therefore, I thought that sharing this information may be appreciated by other pattern enthusiasts with the same insatiable appetite for those paper packets of fashion history!

Stay tuned…