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Gordon, Rosemary Ursula, 1923–2013

Rosemary Gordon fashion pattern book.

London, 1948.
Physical Description:
1 volume (120 pages) : ink drawings ; 28 x 37 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
Folio A 2019 29
Yale Center for British Art, Friends of British Art Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Related Content:
View catalog record for a similar pattern book compiled by Sylvia M. Harvey
Archives & Manuscripts
Madame Jeanne Trois Fontaines was the author of Dressmaking: designing, cutting, and fitting (London: Virtue, 1933) and the principal of the Paris Academy of Dressmaking in London (on Old Bond Street). An article published in the West Australian (Perth) newspaper on February 18, 1930 noted that the school had recently opened and that Mme. Trois Fontaines was an “experienced Parisienne teacher” and that “Students are perfected in the art of design and taught to reproduce models from sight.” Students had to be at least sixteen years of age and a full course (45 lessons of 3 hours each) cost 25 guineas. The school was a more genteel establishment that catered to middle-class women, rather than the trade schools or technical colleges that existed at the same time that also taught dressmaking skills (see: Amy de la Haye, The cutting edge: 50 years of British fashion 1947-1997. London: V. & A., 1996.)
The manuscript is very similar in form to a pattern book compiled by Sylvia M. Harvey when she was a student at the Paris Academy of Dressmaking, in 1934 (YCBA, Department of Rare Books & Manuscripts, Folio A 2019 30). See link herewith.
The volume is bound in (original) black cloth.
The volume includes 120 different fashion patterns, each set of patterns accompanied by detailed notes on measurements, steps for cutting and construction, tricks for giving the garment a “polished” appearance, and drawings of the finished garment. The patterns cover garments including day and evening skirts and bodices/blouses (many with intricate darts, gathers, and pleats), various kinds of collars and sleeves, coats, capes, pajamas, an evening hood, a divided skirt, undergarments, and children's clothing. There are also notes on adjusting measurements for garments that had been individually fitted in order to make patterns for mass production, and grading (adjusting the size of a pattern for bodies of differing measurements). Gordon appears to have compiled the volume as a final project or examination, in order to demonstrate her ability to create or copy and adjust patterns, and explain how to use them to make clothes. On the inside of the front cover, the volume is graded and dated: "Very Good 100%. J. Trois Fontaines, 21 April 1948."
On the inside of the front cover, Gordon notes what was presumably her address while living in London: “Miss R.U. Gordon. Danbury Hotel, 37-39 Inverness Terrace, Hyde Park W2.” This address was subsequently crossed out; beneath it a second address is noted: "Home address: St. Andrews Lodge, Hingham, Norfolk.” St. Andrews Lodge is a significant Grade II Listed Residence in Hingham; Gordon probably came from a family of some means.
Subject Terms:
Clothing and dress -- Great Britain.
Dressmaking -- Patterns.
Dressmaking -- Study and teaching.
Fashion -- Great Britain.
Fashion design -- Study and teaching.
Gordon, Rosemary Ursula, 1923-2013.
Needlework -- Patterns.
Needlework -- Study and teaching.
Paris Academy of Dressmaking (London, England)
Patternmaking -- Study and teaching.
Sewing -- Study and teaching.
Tailoring -- Patterns.
Trois Fontaines, Jeanne.
Pattern books.
Ink drawings.
Trois Fontaines, Jeanne.

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