Clovis Ruffin, Young Designer

It’s no secret that I love these Young Designer patterns published by Butterick in the 60s and 70s.  After all, I even have a web page devoted to them.  Some of the designers are well known –  Mary Quant, Betsey Johnson – but others have sort of fallen off the fashion history radar.

One doesn’t hear much about Clovis Ruffin these days, but he was a brief but shining star in the 1970s.  From the VFG Label Resource:

Clovis Ruffin started out to be a photographer, but realized he was more interested in the styles he was photographing than the photography.

His first designs were tee shirt dresses which he cut out himself, hiring a few ladies to do the sewing. He took his dresses to stores like Bloomingdales and before long, he had his own label. Established in 1972, he called it Ruffinwear. His forte continued to be tee shirt dresses, and other casual dresses made from jersey knit.

Eventually Ruffin included a dressier line of clothing, as well as loungewear and handbags. A Coty Award Designer who was at his peak in the 1970s, he died in 1992.

“I thought of clothes in the round, and I also thought of basic styles that would enable women to put the mark of their personality on them.” Clovis Ruffin, 1978.

I’m not sure how many patterns Ruffin did for Butterick.  I’ve only seen two different ones, but it appears that the patterns were in sets of four, so I’m hoping there are others.  Both of ones I’ve had were designed to be made of jersey knit.

I actually made this dress last spring, but it was too warm to wear it until now. I used a medium weight cotton/poly blend jersey to make it. I usually prefer vintage fabrics, but for some reason I’ve found vintage knits (except 100% poly doubleknits!) hard to find, so I used new fabric in a great dark teal color. It’s really soft, washes well, and is warm on a chilly fall day!

I made a tie belt, and then found some beautiful ribbon for a belt (which I have not yet made). I had already sewn the buttons on using red thread, but I’ll redo them in brown. The buttons are vintage; they are carved from wood, made in Czechoslovakia.


Posted by The Red Velvet Shoe:

If only I could sew like you! I had never heard of this designer, thanks for sharing the info.
Best wishes,

Monday, October 19th 2009 @ 6:26 AM

Posted by Joules:

Count me in on the Clovis Ruffin fan appreciation club. This dress came out so beautifully, and the buttons and belt add that certain extra appeal. Lovely, and it looks like the picture on the envelope too. That’s cool! Keeping my eyes open for the patterns, as always.

Monday, October 19th 2009 @ 9:45 AM

Posted by Miss Peelpants:

I’m still waiting to find my Clovis dress…I love his work but haven’t managed to acquire one yet!

Tuesday, October 20th 2009 @ 7:39 AM

Posted by Lizzie:

Michelle, you should take lessons. It really is not so hard. Honest.

I’m glad there are others who appreciate Clovis Ruffin.

Tuesday, October 20th 2009 @ 7:52 PM

Posted by Petite Main:

another pattern by Clovis Ruffin:

Wednesday, November 4th 2009 @ 7:59 AM

Posted by Lizzie:

Oh, my, but I love that one. And it is available at a very good price. I need a little larger size, but this one goes on the Lizzie Must Have List!

Wednesday, November 4th 2009 @ 8:24 AM

Posted by Vannie Ryanes:

As I type this, I am wearing an old Clovis Ruffin, red velour(sp?) lounge thingie. It is a favorite piece because it is comfortable. It always reminds me of a different time in my life. The early 70’s 😉 For some reason, A decided to seazch his name toneght, am delighted I found youv site. I will check out the sites you list. And definately, list your blog as a fav. on mine.

Friday, January 22nd 2010 @ 3:39 PM


Filed under Designers, Sewing

2 responses to “Clovis Ruffin, Young Designer

  1. Pingback: Designer Sewing Patterns | The Vintage Traveler

  2. Annette

    Whilst searching vintage dress patterns on Ebay I came across a few by Clovis Ruffin (and am bidding on one dress he designed for Butterick). Looking him up on Wiki I find he named his label after Clovis, New Mexico where he was born yet they don’t list him in their most famous people. I am a UK child of the 70’s and never stopped loving the fashion – so fresh, new and exciting.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.