Monday, July 20, 2009

Helen Lee and her Granddaughter

This is Helen Lee...her designs for children are so very charming...I always have liked her patterns and was delighted to find this article about her...and her granddaughter.

The doting grandmother at the left is our own Helen Lee, dean of children's wear designers and creator of most of McCall's children's patterns. The enchanting fur-hatted cherub is her granddaughter, Hilary Ball. Last winter Hilary went to Russia, and the clothes you see here went with her with all of her grandmother's love, creativity and tender care. When Hilary's father, an English newspaper correspondent, was sent to Russia on assignment, Helen Lee and Hilary's mother pondered the question of appropriate clothes for an active 20-month-old moppet in Russia's intemperate climate. They wanted clothes that were suitable for Hilary's tender year s but definitely not babyish. And above all-her clothes had to be warm. A complete young wardrobe had to be made on very short notice, so the designs had to be simplified and easy to sew. Helen Lee went to work ... then went to Russia to supervise photography of the charming result.
All three coats were made from one pattern: a simple, basic cut with easy unmounted sleeves. Searching for fabrics not usually found in toddlers' clothes, Miss Lee settled on bright red chinchilla for one coat, red-bound black and white wool checks for another, and furry beige mohair for the toasty "Teddy Bear" coat. Matching tapered pants to be tucked into high boots accompanied each version. A two-piece play outfit in plaid and plain corduroy, and long-sleeved school and party dresses with matching panties were other parts of the wardrobe. Everything was carefully accessorized for a complete young-fashion look - down to matching hats and mittens. Here, a brief description of the three patterns you see photographed below:
7355: Toddler's back-buttoned top and suspender pants. 6 months, 1-3. 50¢
7470: Child's coat in two versions with matching pants. Sizes 1-6. 50¢.
79717 Toddler's long-sleeve dress with matching bloomers. 6 mos., 1-3. 50¢

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this. What a treasure. I wonder what Hilary Ball is doing now. I googled her and found a short story in the NY Times about her wedding in 1986.