Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sew Western! McCall 1332 -- spotted in the wild!

I've been collecting (and occasionally sewing) vintage patterns since I was about 15, and with an overly large collection I've got some really cute Western patterns I'd like to share here -- but today I want to show you a pattern I do not actually own. It's McCall 1332, from 1947. This image of it is from the Commercial Patterns Archive:

view B shows the clear Rogers influence with squinty eyes and all --  
although really he'd be wearing one of the flashier versions, I think!

It's one of my favorites, but I've never seen it at an affordable price (especially since I doubt I'd ever actually make it up) -- and yesterday I saw the actual product of this pattern! Taking a break to rest my eyes while working, I turned to ebay and stumbled across this vintage gabardine shirt, which looked familiar to me.....

It's view A from the pattern above, copied down to the piping color!

It took me a few minutes but then I realized, it's actually a handmade shirt, made from McCall's 1332, probably not long after it came out. (The seller dates it to the 1940s.) I was flabbergasted -- while I've come across plenty of hand-made vintage clothing over the years, I've never been able to actually match anything up to its original pattern myself -- and to see something this spectacular in real life? Amazing.

The embroidery is seriously impressive. I can't imagine how long it took -- 
but I can understand why the maker quit before embroidering the collar!

I've never done embroidery like this on clothing, but now I want to!

 That cuff is just....splendiferous.

My personal guess is that this shirt was either for square dancing or for a musician who performed locally and wanted to emulate the flashy "Hollywood Hillbilly" style of musicians like the Maddox Brothers and Rose. I don't think anyone would put this much work into something worn once a year at a dude ranch. But who knows? Maybe someone just loved dressing up this way. McCall started putting out patterns like this in 1946, adding this one in 1947, and they put out quite a few over the years, so they have to have been popular enough.

Wouldn't you love to know this shirt's backstory?

Big thanks to Mark of  Dead 'n Gone Vintage (Firefly Vintage on ebay) for letting me use his images! You can see the shirt in more detail here until it sells.


  1. Oh my gosh! When we were in Katy-Ks they had shirts like this and they were so awesome! You so need to embroider one! (or if time is crazy short, send me a design and the fabric and i'll have the machine do it:P)

  2. Your grandmother made western shirts for your grandfather and western dresses for herself that they wore square dancing. Your grandfather was a square dance caller for many years.

  3. It's funny, I remembered that he was a caller but I never realized that of course she made the outfits for that! Too bad she didn't save them all!


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