27 Aug 2009

Remember my favourite childhood pattern.

It is a Helen Lee design.

Who was Helen Lee you ask, or maybe you know already.

I did a little research and found that she was indeed a well recognised and awarded children's fashion designer.

According to the New York Times:

"In 1953 she became the first children's designer to win the Coty American Fashion Critics Award, for her designs for Youngland Inc. The award cited her "significant influence in the development of good taste and charm in children's fashions." Clothes for Girls and Boys

For the next three decades, Miss Lee designed clothes for infants, girls, boys and teen-agers. She also created designs for Sears, Roebuck & Company; Saks Fifth Avenue; Alyssa, a children's fashion concern, and for her own company, Designs by Helen Lee Inc.

Despite the reputation of English children's clothes as the best in the world, her designs won accolades from critics at a London fashion show in 1962. "

Helen Lee died in 1991 aged 82.

You can find a whole wonderful catalogue of her pattern designs at the Vintage Pattern Wikia.

Most of the pictures I have used here are from that catalogue.

I'm sure there are many more.

What I found interesting and most attractive was her colour use, she was happy to use black for her designs and also there seems to be minimal use of fabric pattern apart from occasional dots, spots and plaids and stripes.

I like the minimalist lines and lack of frou frou, even when she is using pastel shades and designing for very young children.
From what I have seen , the pattern above seems to be as sugary as she gets.

Helen Lee did design through the 1970s and 80s but I really don't like the pattern envelopes with photos on them so these images are from the 50s and 60s.

If you get the chance to watch some episodes of Bewitched you can see that sweet little Tabitha wore very similar clothes to those shown here. ( I think we have up to Season 6)

And wasn't Tabitha so cute.

Also if you watch episodes through the various series it is great to see how Samantha's clothes change with the fashions as well, what the well dressed housewife wore. Some of her outfits remind me so much of my own mother.