What We Wore | A history of fashion from 1720 to 1982

'Radio Times' Special Supplement on Dressmaking - Part One.

The first of a two-part, graphics-laden supplement to accompany the series 'Clothes That Count'.

BBC Archives Written Documents

Page 1 of 4

Supplement to Radio Times September 21. 1967

This is the first of two pull-out supplements to prepare viewers for a new
television series. The second will appear in Radio Times of November 9.

'Clothes that Count' is a series of ten programmes which will be shown on BBC-1
on Tuesdays-beginning on October 10-with repeats on BBC-2 on Wednesdays. It will
present home dressmaking in terms of fashion and is intended for women who
already have a little experience of dressmaking.

Each programme will be built around a printed paper pattern, which viewers can
buy in the shops. These patterns, ranging from a mini-dress with bloomers to a
cape, have been chosen because they are pacesetters, and can be made up in
different versions.

This supplement provides some hints on how to get a professional finish with
simple methods on the garments made in the first five programmes. (The second
supplement will deal with the remaining five.) And in the programmes Ann Ladhury
shows how to tackle some of the problems that may arise in making the garments-
though she will not show the elementary processes.

[Illustration of a dressmaker's dummy]

Page 2 of 4

Supplement to Radio Times September 21. 1957

This dress and jacket can be made in wool or jersey for day wear, in brocade or
silk for evening wear. With this style a good fit is important to achieving a
professional finish. One important factor in getting a good fit to the dress
and to the jacket is to get the bust dart in the right place and to the right

If, after a fitting, it appears necessary to raise or lower the bust dart point,
you can do this by marking the required point on the material. Redraw the dart
to the original base and this will give you your new sewing line (Fig. 5). The
bust dart point can be raised or lowered up to 3/4 inch either way, without
distortion to the pattern.

Another alteration which can be made after the garment has been cut out and
fitted will correct a slight tightness over the bust.

Increase the bust dart at the base and redraw to the original point (Fig. 6).
The increase need be only very slight, i.e. 1/8 inch (1/16 inch at each side)
will correspond to an increase of 2 inches in the bust measurement.

With this small alteration it is not usually necessary to alter the length of
the side seam as it will be taken out of the turning allowance.

It must be stressed, however, that this alteration corresponds only to altering
the pattern from a bra cup A to, say, a bra cup C.

More radical adaptations of the basic paper pattern for fit, i.e. enlarging
pattern for wider hips, larger bust, or waist, will be described in Programme
Six. Further details will be given in the second 'Clothes that Count'
supplement to be published in RADIO TIMES of November 9, 1967.

The special outfit supervised by Michael for this programme will be available
in the form or a commercial paper pattern. Details will be given during programme

[Illustration of dress]

This is a straightforward pattern, and a good one for the beginner. The dress
could be made in a washable fabric as an overall or house dress, in wool or
jersey, or in an exotic fabric for evening. THE MATERIAL MUST, HOWEVER, BE A

The one most important factor in giving this style a professional finish, is to
make sure the collar is even and stands firmly. To do this the collar must be
interfaced. First cut an interfacing and baste it in position on the under
piece of the collar. (See Basting, paragraph four, and Fig. 1.) Place this right
side down on the right side of the upper collar. Both sides of the finished
collar must be identical so, using the paper pattern, cut half the collar out of
cardboard. Using this as a template, tack the two collar pieces together,
turning the marker over to tack the second half (Fig. 2). The tacking gives the
stitching line.

In order to get the final stitching of the two sides of the collar identical,
mark off the corner with chalk, and then mark the centre of the curve (Fig. 3).
Machine straight to A, raise the foot and turn work, stitch very slowly to B,
raise foot and turn work again; stitch slowly to C, raise foot and turn work,
and machine straight on.

Basting is a stitch used for joining pieces of material together, which are then
treated as one fabric. The stitch is between 1/2 and 2 inches in length
depending on the nature of the fabric being handled. It is normally worked flat
on a table. It covers large areas quickly and forms a herringbone pattern (Fig.
1). Use tacking thread: begin with a knot and end with backstitch. In the case
of a dress collar, the basting stitches are removed when work is finished. Use
this method to hold layers of canvas together for coats, jackets, but in
this case the stitches are not removed

To avoid a bulky seam edge to the collar, trim the turnings thus: cut interfacing
close to the machining; trim next fabric turning to 1/8 inch, trim second fabric
turning to 1/4 inch. The widest one should be against the right side of the
garment, to prevent a ridge appearing after pressing. For a neat curve, trim the
seams by scooping out the turnings around the curve to within 1/10 inch of the
stitching (Fig. 4.)

[Sketch of sewing machine]

BBC-1, October 10
repeated on BBC-2, October 11
Raglan Sleeve Dress
Simplicity Pattern No. 7284, price 5s. 0d. Sizes, Bust 31, 32, 34, 36

Page 3 of 4

Supplement to Radio Times September 21. 1967

Once you can assemble the neckline of a shirtwaister dress, you will then be
able to tackle many other patterns; like a classic blouse or a safari type
jacket, which is basically a classic shirt pattern with shoulder tabs and patch
pockets added.

There is more than one method of attaching a collar. Some paper patterns include
a facing, some suggest neatening with a crossway binding, some designs use the
top collar for neatening the join.

Whatever method suggested in the pattern, here is a way to ensure that the collar
rolls correctly and falls naturally.

After attaching the collar by whatever method recommended in the pattern, hold
the collar upright and smooth down the interfacing and the fabric of the garment.

Then holding the neck join, tack just below it all round the join. Leave these
tacking stitches in position until the work is complete and has been given its
final press.

This style could be made up in a brocade or lamé for evening wear. In wool
barathea or suiting it makes an attractive street dress. Hints on pressing
suitweight fabrics will be given in Programme 8.

The special dress supervised by Mattli for this programme will be available in
the form of a commercial paper pattern. Details will be given during programme.

[Illustration of clothes and pattern]:

BBC-1, October 17
repeated on BBC-2, October 18

Dress and Jacket
Vogue Pattern No 7158, price 7s 6d.
Sizes, Bust 32, 34, 36,38,40,42

[Illustration of dress]
BBC-1, October 24
repeated on BBC-2, October 25

Shirtwaister Dress
Vogue Pattern No. 1772, price 6s. 6d. Sizes, Bust 31, 32, 34, 36, 38

Additional shirtwaister styles to be shown on the programme include:
Practical Fashion No. 5892, price 2s. 6d.
Maudella No. 5332, price 3s. 6d.
Blackmore No. 4275, price 3s. 1d.
Butterick No. 4456, price 4s. 6d
Simplicity No. 7258, price Ss,

Page 4 of 4

Supplement to Radio Times September 27. I967

[Illustrations of capes]

BBC-1 October 31
repeated on BBC-2, November 1

Style pattern No. 1992, price 4s. 6d.
Sizes, Bust
Additional pattern to be shown in this programme:
Le Roy 3157, price 3s. Gd.

A cape is much easier to make than a coat, and fortunately capes are in fashion
this year. The cape can be made to many lengths-short to be worn with trousers
by a youngster, longer in tweed for the fuller figure.

A tip here about getting a good finish to the hem. Before pressing the hem,
remove all tackings as otherwise they will leave indentations in the fabric.
Take care not to stretch the hem while pressing. Press only short sections at a
time. The best method is to use a sleeve board, placed on a table. The weight of
the garment is then supported while you press the section on the sleeve
To prevent an imprint being made on the right side of the garment due to the
uneven thickness, press the hem firmly up to but not over the sewn hem edge. Now
place a spare piece of fabric along-side the turned up hem, to make up the double
thickness on the main body of the garment and press the whole hem lightly.

As a bonus each week one viewer, specially chosen to represent a figure type or
common fashion problem. will model an outfit designed for her by a top
international designer. For those viewers who are filled with envy, most of
these outfits will be available in paper pattern form shortly after the programme.

[Illustration of dress]

BBC-l, November 7

Short Evening Dress

McCall pattern No. 8805, price Ss. Od.
repeated on BBC-2, November B Sizes. Bust 31, 32, 34, 36, 38 and half sizes

THIS is a versatile pattern which could be adapted in several ways. For those
who prefer a not-too-short hem-line and yet still want a contemporary line, the
sheer overdress could be made 1 1/2"-2" shorter than the underdress as

Choosing the right weight zip fastener can make a great difference to the look
of the finished garment. There are several weights and types of zip- the standard
metal zip, a heavier metal zip for skirts, etc.; an 'invisible' zip, so called
because when inserted, no stitching shows on the right side; and for lightweight
fabrics a nylon spiral zip.

When putting in a zip, the difficulty is that the teeth of the fastener are
bulky and rigid and therefore the pressure of the machine foot tends to draw
the fabric off the teeth, thereby making them show. To prevent this, stitch up
the part of the seam where the zip is to go, before starting to put the zip in.
The most satisfactory way to do this is to machine on the fitting line with a
large machine stitch, when making the seam. This stitching is easily removed
after inserting the zip. Alternatively, you can tack the zip in position and
oversew the seam edge together with large stitches before stitching in the zip.

Rouleau buttonholes and self-covered buttons might be neater than a zip for this

A tip for keeping rouleau buttonholes even and evenly spaced is to make one
continuous strip of rouleau, long enough to make all the buttonholes required.
Tack the rouleau on to paper, using the squares to position the buttonhole loops
accurately. Place popper on the garment, stitch down centre.

The special outfit supervised by John Cavanagh For this programme will be
available in the form of a commercial paper pattern. Details will be given during

[Bottom right-hand column]:
Jo Mattli [pictured]
member of the Incorporated Society of London Fashion Designers. He says: 'Many
women are extremely clever dressmakers. The mistake they tend to make is before
they start - in choosing the fabric.'

Michael of Carlos Place [pictured]
member of the Incorporated Society of London Fashion Designers. 'The principles
of fashion,' says Michael. 'are the same whether you pay £500 or £5.' He will
be giving his advice on clothes for larger figures in the second programme in
the series.

The BBC Archive - sharing pictures, documents and programmes from the last 75 years
of the BBC's broadcasting history. To find out more visit the BBC Archive portal.

Document Type | Magazine

21 September 1967

Document version




Hints, tips and an outline of the delights to come in the forthcoming series, which will feature specially commissioned designs, 'how to' guides, on-screen advice and style gems from some of London's most prestigious couturiers.

Image and article courtesy of Victor Reinganum/'Radio Times' Magazine'

Read part two of the supplement.

Did you know?

The couturiers who featured throughout the series 'Clothes That Count' were all members of the Incorporated Society of London Fashion Designers, a body set up in 1942 to promote British fashion abroad and to position London as a leading international centre of the industry. It was backed by the government, who were keen to increase exports in order to raise much-needed foreign revenue in the financially straitened times immediately after the Second World War.



Associated subjects

More like this...

A row of women dressed in frocks from different periods in history.

Men, Women and Clothes | How Fashions Come and Go


The BBC's first ever series in colour explores the history of fashion.

A stylish woman wearing a wide-brimmed hat.

Men, Women and Clothes | Sense and Nonsense in Fashion


Irrational clothes - a look at why we wear things we can't function in.

A woman applies lipstick while looking into a compact mirror.

Men, Women and Clothes | Fashions in Faces and Figures


How fashion dictates body shape and facial decoration.

Close up on woman in frilly cape.

Men, Women and Clothes | Formal Clothes


From christenings to funerals - how clothes signify important occasions.

A woman sunbathing under a large parasol.

Men, Women and Clothes | Informal Clothes


Everyday wear from the last 200 years.

A woman smiles from behind a fan.

Men, Women and Clothes | Facing the Elements


'The purpose of most fashion is to be ostentatiously non-functional.'

Presenter, guest and rolls of fabric.

Clothes That Count | Shirt Waister


Keep up to the minute by making this attractive and versatile dress.

Three fashion models wearing suits in 1955.

Clothes That Count | Suit


Suits for women of all shapes, sizes and postcodes.

Back view of two girls in different length skirts.

Clothes That Count | A Double-Breasted Coat


Solve your outer-wear problems with a fashionable and functional coat.

Presenter at desk and fashion model in minidress.

New Clothes That Count | Suit


Look smart and stylish with this trendy suit.

Fashion model in striped jumper holding an umbrella.

Knitting Fashion | Setting the Style


Making fashionable garments at a fraction of the retail cost.

Male and female fashion models in knitwear at picnic.

Knitting Fashion | Design for Yourself


In fashion 'all designers should be obsolete'.

A close shot of two reels of thread.

Weekend Wardrobe | One


How to make your own Caroline Charles outfit.


Letter from Clarence House about 'Men, Women and Clothes'

Letter from Clarence House about 'Men, Women and Clothes'

1 Page

The Queen Mother sends her appreciation of 'Men, Women and Clothes'.

Audience Research Report into the first episode of 'Men, Women and Clothes'.

Audience Research Report on Men, Women and Clothes

2 Pages

The BBC's report into what audiences thought about the first episode of 'Men, Women and Clothes'

A document from a 1967 issue of the 'Radio Times

'Radio Times' Special Supplement on Dressmaking - Part One.

4 Pages

The first of a two-part, graphics-laden supplement to accompany the series 'Clothes That Count'.

A document from a 1967 issue of the 'Radio Times'.

'Radio Times' Special Supplement on Dressmaking - Part Two.

4 Pages

The second of a two-part, graphics-laden supplement to accompany the series 'Clothes That Count'.

A document from the BBC archives about the television series 'New Clothes That Count'

Audience Reaction to 'New Clothes That Count'

2 Pages

Viewing figures for the programme and responses from members of the public.

Document on knitting

A BBC memo about a book tie-in.

1 Page

Suggestions for ways of extending the popularity of the television series on knitting.

A document about knitting from the BBC Archive

A forthright memo replying to a publications executive.

1 Page

A no-holds-barred rejection of suggested ideas for books to accompany the TV series.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.