Saturday, August 02, 2008

Sybil Connolly - I'm a Fan

Several months ago, I really got into this vintage pattern state of mind because I was looking for distinctive details for my garments that modern RTW is just not offering. I started out innocently enough on Ebay and have progressed to quite a few vintage online pattern sites.

I was originally attracted to 60's styles and Jackie Kennedy's White House years look because these looks translate so well into my corporate lifestyle. Being a young girl in the 60's, I wasn't yet sewing...learned when I was 11...and I didn't have a mother who sewed. So, this has been a hunt and a learning process for me.

One of the designers that I have become enamored of is Sybil Connolly.


I like clean cut minimalist clothing with detailing that enhances the garment...that's not just there for show or to bring attention. The patterns she designed for Vogue Patterns during the 60's and early 70's fit the look I'm trying to achieve...so now I'm stalking the internet's pattern sites and auctions trying to purchase all of the patterns that I like!

But more on Sybil Connolly...she was born Sybil Veronica Connolly in Swansea, Ireland, on January 1921. She was educated at the Sisters of Mercy Convent. Her career spanned many decades and she began as an apprentice dress designer, Bradley's, London, 1938-40, an apprentice to Jack Clarke at Richard Alan, 1940-43, a director, Richard Alan, 1943-57. In 1957 she opened her own Dublin Fashion House where she continued to design until her death in 1998. She was also a consultant and designer for Tiffany's, New York, 1984-98, and an author and editor, 1986-98.

Her book, Irish Hands: The Tradition of Beautiful Crafts, New York, 1994, is winging its way to me now. And I presently own these patterns:

From BestVintagePatterns.com


Vogue 2183

From LanetzLiving.com


Vogue 2533

From Silversnow Antiques and More: Vogue 2919.

I currently have bids out on several more...so please don't bid against me! *LOL* And a listing of some of her patterns can be found here on Wikia. This listing is not complete but it was a good starting point for me.

I found this quote of hers and believe it is so apropo of today's fashion scene:

There comes a moment in everyone's life as a designer when you have to decide whether you want to create the beautiful or the merely fashionable. Sadly, there can be a conflict between the two.

Sybil Connolly

Of course you will see some of her design elements featured in my upcoming fall wardrobe. I am a fan and I hope that you will be too!

18 comments:

  1. AWESOME blog entry! I love learning new designers!

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  2. I have a few of her pattern, too. I love the sophisticated lines of her garments - classic, clean clothing at its best!

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  3. Carolyn: thanks for this post, if I knew of her I have forgotten LOL and it's lovely to see her patterns. I definitely agree she's someone to collect. I hope you win all your bids!

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  4. I agree with -e. Blogging has thankfully put the spotlight on some designers who are long-overdue for proper recognition. Thank you.

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  5. Carolyn, so glad you like Sybil. I have several of her dress patterns and a great coat pattern that you would love. It is right up to date with the empire look. Those 60's Vogue Designer patterns are wonderful. I was just having this conversation with the saleslady at JoAnns this morning. We were discussing the complexity and couture like details that were common place in the vintage patterns. (and in rtw at that time too) It's amazing to think of the sewing skills that were much more widespread than they are today to support all those patterns. She (the saleslady) attributed it to the "throw away society" She went on to say that those one of a kind couture garments would last for years. Most people today (not sewers though) don't keep their clothes more than a season.
    Marguerite

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  6. Ooooooh :-o and I don't even care for 60s clothes. These change my mind. I really like the two you have with the asymmetrical elements.

    Thanks!

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  7. I'm not really a big fan of vintage, but I really like her designs. I've been noticing them a lot on eBay. Don't be surprised if you see vintage pop up on my site... if I can find my size.

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  8. Interesting designer! I had not heard of her before. Some really nice details.

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  9. This is too weird! I'm staying at VickiW's house this weekend and the book I picked out for bedtime reading was (drumroll, please!) "Irish Hands"!!! Those are some beautiful patterns with great details that will incorporate nicely into fall designs.

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  10. Thanks for introduction... I absolutely love the patterns you've posted.

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  11. Her patterns are clearly great investments - 40 years later those styles are still wearable!

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  12. Thanks for this lesson! Love your pattern choices and good luck.

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  13. Good find Carolyn - those dresses are beautiful in their simplicity. Can't wait to see them turned into living creations by your skilful hands!

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  14. Thanks for this great entry. I didn't know anything about Sybil Connoly before. Very interesting read!

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  15. Thanks for the intro to a wonderful designer. I love how the pocket and button placard (sorry no sure if thats right terminology) work on 2183- so cool and unlike anything out there today!

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  16. Thanks for looking up her history and writing about it. I have several of her patterns too, and love her design aesthetic.

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  17. hi my aunt was sybils pattern cutter until she died and worked on jackie kennedys dresses when you admire the designs please remember the ladies who hand stitched most of those extraordinary garments

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  18. Hi I would just like to correct an error in Sybil's biog. She was born in Swansea Wales to an Irish father and Welsh mother and after her fathers death when she was 15 she moved to Waterford Ireland : the home of the iconic Waterford Crystal.

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Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! It is so appreciated.

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