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September 02, 2010


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I love the 1953 skirt and jacket.

BTW, the women in the WAVES and WAC were not "quasi-military". The women who enlisted in those services were really *in* the military, just the woman's branch of their service, and there was nothing "quasi" about it. In those days, the only way for a woman to serve was to join the woman's only branch of the Navy, the WAVES or for the Army, the WAC.

A bit of history for you, WAVES in WWII, http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/prs-tpic/females/wave-ww2.htm

FIDM Museum

Thanks for the correction, Marion. The link you provided has some great photos; I especially like the image of the WAVES on liberty and the WAVE cleaning her barracks.

Katrina Andrews

I love seeing vintage patterns, probably more than I love seeing vintage garments. Maybe it's the potential of being able to make something vintage-inspired with an old pattern. I think I'd like to make myself the first one. ^_^

FIDM Museum


Your point about the potential of patterns is right on the mark! The potential of an uncut, unmade pattern is in many ways greater than that of an extant garment, with all of it's limitations regarding fragility, price, size, textile, etc. It's easier to relate to the garment pattern because it doesn't yet exist with all of its sewing mistakes. (Or maybe I'm speaking only for myself regarding that last bit!)

Patricia Todman

I have a collection of my mothers toy knitting and doll clothes patterns. Also a selection of embriodery stencils from roughly 1950 - 1960's. Is this of any interest to you or can you advise me who would be please. I am not looking for money but I would like them to go where they would be appreciated and cared for as I am not getting any younger myself.

FIDM Museum

Hi Patricia, thanks for your interest in donating your old sewing patterns. Please contact me directly at rharris@fidmmuseum.org and I can forward your inquiry to our curatorial team. Again, thank you!

Teresa Nealon

Hi, Rachel-

Does the museum have the pattern for Charles James' Incroyable suit? Do you know of any other sources I could ask, beside the Metropolitan Museum of Art? (I asked and they don't have it).

Thank you!

FIDM Museum


Unfortunately, we don't have a pattern for the Incroyable suit. As to who you might contact, I'd suggest researching museums that have costume or pattern holdings and sending inquiries. Of course, the Met has probably the largest collection of Charles James garments and patterns, but you never know what might be tucked away in another collection! Consider contacting LACMA, the Phoenix Museum of Art, and the Indianapolis Museum. All of these institutions have substantial costume collections. Good luck!


Hi, I am a bit confused here, is it possible for me to view the patterns online or do you simply display the packaging?
I am wanting to sew the simplicity 4104 pattern for my wife, how do we go about aquiring the patterns?


Hi Josh,

The FIDM Museum patterns are not available online; however, there are a number of vintage patterns for purchase online. Try Ebay, Etsy, or even the Simplicity website for vintage patterns (http://www.simplicity.com/c-390-vintage.aspx). I hope this helps!

Stella Kelly

Would love to have a few of the Charles James patterns, like the Scarf Evening Dress and La Sirene. Any ideas where I can purchase them?

FIDM Museum

Hi Stella,

I'd suggest looking around online and keeping your eyes open. Charles James patterns are rare, but you might be able to find some on Ebay, Etsy or the Simplicity website for vintage patterns (http://www.simplicity.com/c-390-vintage.aspx). I hope this helps!

Vanessa Manwaring

You may be interested to know that I am releasing this pattern from my collection and it is for sale on etsy (Starlet Patterns). Best regards

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