Vogue Patterns came late to the half size dress business. I’ve found offerings from McCall’s, Simplicity, and Butterick from the early fifties, but Vogue only decided to take this step at the beginning of 1960. Moreover, it was a very tentative step. Rather than providing current fashions in the new size range, the company offered a kind of master pattern, 3004, with popular basic designs.
“You can choose the silhouette most becoming to you, and make a muslin shell, experimenting with necklines and sleeve lengths, to find the best placement of seams to flatter your figure. Then transfer these adjustments to the tissue pattern to use as a guide in fitting any Vogue Pattern cut along similar lines.” (4)
In other words, the company expected you to make a half size dress at least twice—once in the basic pattern and then again with the standard size pattern, using the changes that you had made in the half size model.
Was this intended as a temporary solution? Apparently not. In the same issue, there was a letter to the editor begging for patterns “for the mature figure with a shorter-than-normal waistline.” The editors replied, “Beginning now, Vogue Patterns is issuing a basic dress pattern in half sizes 12 ½ to 24 ½. This basic pattern can be used to analyze and simplify adjustments for all other similar patterns.” (27)
I would love to know what Vogue pattern users made of this workaround.
Most likely the response wasn’t positive. By the following year the company started offering current styles in half sizes, following the lead of its competitors. The dress on the right above came in standard sizes 12 to 18 and half sizes 12 1/2 to 18 1/2, saving the shorter and wider woman a fitting step. Vogue half size patterns continued well into the 1980s.