Tag Archives: Clovis Ruffin

Variations on a Theme

I had to make up for my short-sightedness in leaving some Vera Neumann matchstick cocktail napkins behind, and here is what I settled on.  This Vera scarf featured Italian tickets; I especially love the Capri one.  This is a late 1950s Vera, before the copyright symbol was added in 1960, but after the “V” became capitalized in the mid 50s.

On a similar note is this great scarf I found at the Goodwill Clearance.  It’s modern, but I’m not a vintage snob.  I’ll wear something made yesterday if I love it.  And it is the perfect belt for that knit Clovis Ruffin dress I made.  I wore this the other day and actually got compliments from strangers in stores.  I’m thinking they were just in shock at seeing a woman out shopping  in a dress!

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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: http://vintagepatterns.wikia.com/wiki/Butterick_3800

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

Butterick Young Designers – Clovis Ruffin

For someone who’s been selling vintage patterns for over 20 years, you’d think that I would have a large personal collection.  But I don’t, really.  Until just recently, I’d all but stopped sewing for myself, but being retired and having the time for lots of fun stuff, I’ve picked it back up.

I started sewing in the mid 1960s, when I was about ten.  By the time I was in high school, I was sewing pretty much all my clothes except jeans and sweaters and such, and I continued to do so until I got my first “real” job in 1977.  I love looking through an old box of patterns and running across one I used from the 60s or 70s; it’s like finding a long lost friend. As a young woman, I loved the Butterick Young Designers patterns, especially those by Betsey Johnson and Jane Tise.  There is a particular Tise pattern that I must have used ten or so times!

But I had never used a Clovis Ruffin pattern, probably because his were produced at the very end of my sewing days in the mid to late 70s.  But a couple of months ago I ran across two, and it was love at first sight!  I bought some dark blue-green “moderately stretch knit”, aka as cotton jersey, and I’ve finally gotten around to making this one.  It’s not quite finished, but the dress is super-flattering, very comfortable, and, as the envelope promised, fast and easy.

The pattern is for sell on my site, but I did make myself a copy of it and of the other one I found.  Good thing, because the other one sold this week, and now I’m really primed to make it too.

If you don’t know the name Clovis Ruffin, don’t feel too bad.  He had a brief moment in the fashion sun starting in 1972.  He produced a small but well-received line called RuffinWear, where he specialized in versions of the tee-shirt dress.  Ruffinwear was closed  in 1979,  but he continued to design for other companies, making mainly loungewear and evening dresses.  Ruffin died of AIDS in 1992.


Posted by Shay:

I started sewing for myself in 1967 or so, when I was about twelve. I used to love the Jane Tise and Clovis Ruffin patterns. So many of Jane’s patterns had a real 1940’s vibe to them. 

Tuesday, January 13th 2009 @ 8:37 PM

Posted by Lizzie:

40s vibe, definitely! That’s why I loved that particular blouse pattern so very much. 

Tuesday, January 20th 2009 @ 3:23 PM

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Filed under Designers, Sewing