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Jun 11, 2014

Things I Don't Get, Vol. 14 -- McCall's "Annie,Too" Pattern Line



Friends, it has always seemed strange to me that there weren't more movie and/or celebrity tie-in pattern lines over the years.

I mean, sure, there were a few celebrity pattern lines, primarily in the Seventies.  Here are the ones I'm aware of and please tell me if I missed any:

Marie Osmond for Butterick.



Marlo Thomas's "Marlo's Corner" for McCall's.



Lauren Hutton for Simplicity.



Joan Collins for McCall's (Of course, Joan, along with Dynasty co-stars Linda Evans and Diahann Carroll, also modeled the McCall's Nolan Miller designer line.).



Brooke Shields for McCall's -- That girl never stops working!



Diana Ross for Simplicity. 



Christie Brinkley for Simplicity.



UPDATE:  Reader Lynn B. has reminded me of two more:  Dorothy Hamill for Butterick and Jayne Kennedy, also for Butterick.  Thanks, Lynn!





I'm not including the long-defunct Hollywood pattern line, since the stars on the pattern envelopes presumably had nothing to do with the patterns themselves.



I can only come up with one true movie tie-in pattern line: The Sound of Music (mainly dirndls) in the Sixties.  And then, in the Seventies, the Broadway musical (and, later, Hollywood movie), Annie.  

Now, I get that little girls might want to wear outfits inspired by everyone's favorite Depression-era comic strip orphan, or their mothers might want to dress them that way.  A lot of these patterns are relatively classic.



 



Evidently children's patterns weren't enough for the powers-the-be at McCalls.   Say hello to the Annie, Too pattern line!  The tag line: "Fun Clothes For a Grown-up Annie."  What does that even mean?   And what is the aesthetic here?  It's all over the place.  (Perhaps they were leftovers discovered upon sweeping out Marlo's Corner.)















Readers, I just don't get it.

So this is where you come in: I need you to explain to me the Annie, Too pattern line.

What was the meeting where this idea was pitched and how did they sell it?  

Seriously, how do you make sense of Annie, Too?

Enlightenment needed!

37 comments:

  1. SeamsterEast at aol dot comJune 11, 2014 at 6:55 PM

    The "Smartest Girls In The Room" at McCall's had a meeting one day, and each girl smarter than the rest tried to come up with "Cree AYE tive" ideas, and sell boatloads of stuff. They probably printed 1,000 copies of each pattern, such was their enthusiasm, and sold them off two a month for years.

    BTDT, Got The T-shirt. "There Is Nothing So Powerful As An Idea Whose Time Has Come."

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  2. It seems like, with the exception of the swim suit and futuristic pant suit, that it could be called "the little house on the prairie collection" just as easily. There's no 1930's vibe to this collection at all.

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  3. pattern 6337? I don't recall any swimming in the musical.

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  4. I don't know what the aesthetic is, but I want that red romper!!

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  5. I made 6315 in a wonderful wool crepe, my favorite "important day" suit for ages. Didn't realize it had the depression connection, that might have worried me a bit.....

    Ceci

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  6. I think Annie too is supposed to be for a grown up Annie. Number 6337 she grew up to be in the oldest profession.
    Joan Collins is so elegant! I am sure her pattern sold millions.

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  7. I hate to say it but I actually like the raglan sleeve hoodie in 5975, I need to find me that pattern!

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    Replies
    1. Me too! It's different but in a good way :)

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    2. Me three! And the red romper. Super cute.

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  8. The hoodie's not too bad. As for the rest "tomorrow tomorrow, I'll love them tomorrow"...

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  9. Well, there is a new Annie movie coming. Wonder if they'll jump on that wagon for girls clothes? In the meantime, you can see what Daddy Warbucks and Annie are up to on Dick Tracy at GoComics.

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  10. I'd say that McCalls paid a lot for the privilege of slapping "Annie" on the front of their patterns, hoping to jump on the Annie bandwagon. Annie Too just allowed them to expand the number of patterns with that familiar logo.

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  11. I think that pasting "Annie, too!" onto patterns was just a marketing ploy to sell contemporary patterns in the 70s.

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    Replies
    1. I was just going to say the same thing: It's just marketing.

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    2. Yeah, anything to (try to) make a buck.

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  12. My older sister had a pattern with Susan Dey from The Partridge Family on the cover but I don't know whether it was an entire line with her name or not.

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    1. I was recently researching how many pattern envelopes Susan Dey modeled on, and all I can come up with is two - the wrap skirt (I bought that at a thrift in the last two weeks) and the little dress that has the two part sleeves. She modeled for the pattern catalogs, but I couldn't find any other examples of her on actual pattern envelopes. Her name didn't appear on them as an endorsement or designer.

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  13. I have absolutely no memory of the Annie, too patterns. I wonder where I was (or if I blocked them out)? I remember the others you mentioned.

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  14. I have the 5975 hoodie pattern and made the jumper version. I made it up in a boucle and people always ask me where I purchased it from.

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  15. You didn't even mention that McCalls gave Annie a dye job! She's blond, now?

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  16. It seems a stretch to think anyone wanted to dress like a alcoholic orphanage matron circa 1930s...or that lady who works for Daddy Warbucks (What was her name? I see her in a few of those patterns)

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    Replies
    1. The secretary's name is Grace. Miss Hannigan ran the orphanage.

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  17. OMG, I have one of those dolls! My mother bought it for me in the mid-eighties. (Shortly after the 2012 Annie movie release.)

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  18. pattern companies still use shows/celebrities for patterns, but mostly for childrens patterns. Simplicity has Hanna Montana, Lizzie McQuire, Shake It Up, in addition to all the Disney fairies and princesses. McCalls tried that Hillary Duff line for "contemporary looking" patterns (or was she the designer on those, not too sure). Maybe they think that adults are more inspired by fashion designers and sewing bloggers (Gertie has a sewing line now).
    I thought the Annie,too line as going to be more around Warbuck's secretary, but some of those do kind of look like grown up Annie outfits.

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    Replies
    1. You're right, Brandy -- I forgot about all those kids lines!

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  19. Has nobody noticed the two Annie Too patterns that attempt to diversify, but in a wholly segregated way. OH, hey, let's put all the white girls on one pattern, and all the brown girls on another.

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  20. Diahann Caroll McCall's Patterns by Nolan Miller. I had pattern 9484 bought in the 1980's.

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  21. Yep. I've got a Diahann Carroll, too -- a whole wardrobe of separates that I made up in solid-colored linen. They're looking more and more stylish as the years go by ... might have to revisit that camisole, jacket, skirt and trews.

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  22. Vogue Patterns has done some celebrity designed/endorsed patterns, Arlene Dahl springs to mind, in the 1980s from what I can recall.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kate! I'd forgotten about Arlene Dahl.

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  23. My goodness! It wasn't an evil plot. Rather the popularity of all things Annie.
    McCall's had paid for the license, so created patterns informed by the Annie Bdway show/film + just general 70's influence.

    Susan Dey was a model long before appearing on television and was photographed on sewing patterns and in craft publications. She didn't create the designs, just posed in them.

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  24. There was also a line with Shari Belafonte-Harper! That one was a head scratcher because besides being in the late night 80s soap Hotel, I don't remember her being big at all. Yup, she's Harry's daughter,

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  25. The Annie too range was developed to put a branding umbrella over all the orphan patterns that nobody wanted!

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