Singer Showcase, Issue 1

Fall-Winter 66

Fall-Winter, 1966

We all know that Singer makes sewing machines. But were you aware the company also ventured into the pattern business? I discovered this by chance (a favorite research method) when I came across the first issue of Singer Showcase from Fall 1966. Here’s a quote from the opening editorial: “Singer Showcase Magazine is excited about sewing. Somehow, slowly but surely in the last few years, sewing has ceased to be a necessity and has emerged as a joyous, creative activity. This magazine begins—not accidentally—at the propitious time.”(11)

Singer2_66The magazine offered something for most people who sewed: an interview with a well known designer, an overview of fabric trends, advice on fitting techniques, sewing projects for the home, and patterns for women, men and children. Most surprising was the “Singer World Designer Collection” of original sewing patterns from Paris, Rome, London, and New York. Most of the featured designers are now obscure–Hilary Huckstepp and Ann Howard of London, and Thomas Haderer of Paris. One, however, lasted in the big way—Calvin Klein of New York.

Singer3_66While Singer patterns only came in sizes 8 to 18, older and wider women were not forgotten. There was a two page spread of half size patterns from Vogue and Butterick offered in sizes 12 ½ to 22 ½, “designed especially for those who wear women’s and half-size patterns. And, all help to prove that ‘fashion’ does not mean a size range—fashion is a point of view.”(32)

I’m guessing that the company’s venture into pattern making wasn’t very lucrative. In the next issue of the magazine I found, Spring 1972, Singer patterns had already disappeared.


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5 Responses to Singer Showcase, Issue 1

  1. Lizzie says:

    I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen a Singer pattern. Didn’t Singer have their own stores back in the day? I bet they wanted to expand beyond machines and hardware.

    • Lynn says:

      As far as I can tell, Singer Sewing Centers sold machines, fabric, patterns and notions. But for a brief period around 1966, the patterns on offer were from other companies. It’s interesting that even when they launched their own pattern line the company never saw it as replacing other pattern companies.

  2. eimear says:

    I have a singer sewing machine from 1980s and its so reliable – and I often think they get bad press – so I would like to think their patterns are equally reliable! I wonder where the patterns stood on skill level. The Allyne Bane books I have discusses various pattern companies but no mention of singer so must have been short lived – I have found some on etsy just now (there goes next months ‘pocket money’)

  3. I’ve never seen any of their patterns, either, so it must not have gone on that long. That’s around the time I think the moms were really losing interest in sewing…I loved it, but my mom clearly thought it was a chore. I wonder if their machine business was losing steam by then.

  4. Fabrickated says:

    I did read somewhere (maybe on this blog?) that you could have lessons in the Singer shop and take your sewing to be checked by an expert.

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