Madame Weigel's Patterns: 1878-1950

A history of Madame Weigel’s paper pattern series from 1878 to 1950, a companion volume to my biography of Madame Weigel published in 2015.

Title: Madame Weigel’s Patterns: 1878-1950

Author: Veronica R. Lampkin

Publication: Privately published, 2020: print consulting by Inscope Media, Sydney; printed by Ligare Book Printers, Sydney

Format: Hardback, saddle stitched spine; 320p text + 24p images (black & white); 245 x 180mm; references, list of patterns used with dates, index; each book individually shrink wrapped by the printer



This book presents a unique history of Madame Weigel’s paper pattern series for sewing, from her first pattern in 1878 to the last to feature in her fashion journal, Madame Weigel’s Journal of Fashion, in 1950.

As Madame’s patterns were widely distributed across both Australia and New Zealand, this book adds a significant contribution to the history of fashion and clothing in Australasia. Weigel’s patterns covered the entire lifecycle from birth to mourning, for every member of the family, encompassed high fashion and everyday clothing, the latter often repeated in her journal for years, even decades, as high value patterns achieved longevity.

As Madame Weigel’s patterns were interwoven with the Australasian climate, each season is examined to chart the bathing suits, sunhats, dust protection, and holiday wear of Summer; the furs and warm fabrics of Winter; and the in-between seasons of Spring and Autumn. International influence in Weigel’s pattern series is also detailed.

Chapters examine Madame’s pattern series decade by decade in fashion, and by style, from draped to tailored. Dame Fashion’s decrees tell of this mysterious fashion force, with summaries on the cost of fashion; fashions in revival; fads and eccentricities; good taste, bad taste, and personal style for Madame’s loyal followers across the colonies. For each section, a focus on the terms of the day gives the contemporary description of the time.

Madame Weigel’s strong link with Australasian women, those who sewed at home to clothe themselves and their often large families, tell a unique story not only of women’s skills with fabric and the sewing machine, but of the breadth and depth of their creative work. Madame had a keen empathy with the women she served, knowing of their occasional extravagance but more importantly their thrift.


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AN EVENING OF BRIDGE: Pattern 5821: Lady's & Maid's Evening or Bridge Jacket (1932)22 Jun 2016 1:19 PMAN EVENING OF BRIDGE: Pattern 5821: Lady's & Maid's Evening or Bridge Jacket (1932)These stylish outfits were made up of three of Madame Weigel's patterns: Pattern 5821: Lady's & Maid's Evening or Bridge Jacket (1932); Pattern 5695: Lady's & Maid's Evening Dress (1931); and Pattern 5730: Lady's & Maid's Evening Frock (1931). Such cross-promotion of three patterns in one illustration was typical of how Madame marketed her patterns. Great fashion illustration!

Suggested fabrics were fur fabric, astrakhan, velvet, crepe de chine, or satin.
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PROMENADING POLONAISE: Pattern 1068: Lady's Polonaise (1888)11 Apr 2015 8:56 AMPROMENADING POLONAISE: Pattern 1068: Lady's Polonaise (1888)Pattern 1068: Lady's Polonaise from Weigel's Journal of Fashion, October 1888, was teamed with Pattern 644: Lady's Plain Skirt from March 1884. This made a up a lady's costume.

The pattern text emphasised the approaching summer, and light summer fabrics were recommended. A style seen as suitable for the slender or the 'stout' (the larger figure!), the draperies of the polonaise were a principal feature, gathered in 'uneven puffs' and covering the skirt beneath.
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Feature Product

SUMMER BATHING: Six Madame Weigel's bathing suit patterns (1928-45)11 Apr 2015 10:28 AMSUMMER BATHING: Six Madame Weigel's bathing suit patterns (1928-45)A fabulous set of 6 postcards, DL in size (210x99mm), printed on quality 350gsm card with a glossy finish. The reverse side is printed with a pattern description.More...9.00 AUDAdd to Cart