Right around the time of the Laurel pattern’s release, I started spending some time exploring Vintage Patterns Wiki. I love to explore the patterns year by year. It’s remarkable to really see what was trendy – and when.
I couldn’t help but look at the shift dress patterns. In the years I’ve browsed through, 1965 through 1967, there are plenty of shifts. In general, I’m really surprised by how much repetition there was in pattern offerings (my vintage pattern pinterest board has a wealth of jacket w/dress patterns). New Look’s current wealth of shift dress patterns pales in comparison.
I was also really struck by the dart placement. While the bust darts on contemporary patterns often come in horizontally from the side seam, in the examples below, you’ll see that the bust darts are French darts, coming up diagonally from nearer the waist. According to Gertie, French darts are a little trickier to sew. I wonder if they are more flattering, as they would seem to take volume out from the waist.
What I really wonder is why and when we see this change from French to horizontal bust dart.