Claire McCardell

In honor of the Charles James exhibit “now playing” at the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute in NYC, I made a Charles James skirt from a 1950s mail order pattern.


As you can see from the side view, the skirt wraps forward from the back, and the waistband starts low in the back and arcs up in the front. It’s a very elegant design. I’m wearing it with a wool jersey shrug from a 1951 pattern by Claire McCardell.
The multicolored top is made of vintage 50s wool challis, lined with silk crepe de chine. It’s made from a “frankenpattern” of a 60s “crushed boatneck” design that I created. Details are on my blog JetSetSewing.com.

{ 0 comments }

I’ve been a fan of designer Claire McCardell and her sportswear aesthetic for years.  I was lucky enough to run across one of the few designs she did for McCall patterns in 1957 and 58, just before she died.  I recently got around to finally making some of the pieces in the pattern, a halter top and shorts, and I tried to make them as authentically McCardell as I could.

Before starting my project, I studied similar garments by Claire McCardell that are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute collection.  This was made easy by the Met’s on-line gallery of their collections.

I chose a cotton kettlecloth in indigo blue because she often worked in cotton using a textured dark fabric.  She was also a fan of top-stitching and metal buttons which I also used.  Note that the pieces were cut on the bias, another McCardellism.

I have a few more  photos of the project and of the inspiration pieces on my blog, The Vintage Traveler.

{ 8 comments }