This site is dedicated to the love of patterns from the past. I enjoy the styles, history, artwork and unique fashion.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Kim Novak in Bell Book & Candle.

I recently had a lovely Sunday afternoon watching this gorgeous old movie; Bell Book & Candle (1958)starring Kim Novak, James Stuart & Jack Lemmon.
A modern-day witch likes her neighbor but despises his fiancee, so she enchants him to love her instead... only to fall in love with him for real.
It inspired me to take a closer look at some patterns to conjour up some pattern magic, to match some of those bewitching fashions from the movie.

This was my favorite fashion of the movie. A unique black dress with attached pull over - draped hood. 
It was at times difficult to make out detail of the dress but the above screen shot shows it best.
Long sleeve knit fabric, darted at waist, with front midline bust seam.
How sweet the small detail of the trim bow ribbon at hip height.
Note the 1950's bullet bra !
She wore this with a fabulous cape, which I will get to next.

Simplicity 9500. 1971.

So I had to have this dress and rushed out (I mean onto the PC) and bought this.
I am going to make it in the black "slinky" knit style so the hood can sit folded in gorgeous layers.

 McCalls 2301 - 1970's.

This could be an alternative pattern. It has a thicker, larger hood with a more loose fit.


Here Kim wears the bewitching black hooded dress with her reversible, leopard lined cape (top).
Later she wears red with the cape reversed.
I wish more people wore capes in winter. They are an adorable piece - from designer haute couture to kids wear.

Vogue Couturier Design 2231 - Pucci.
Typically 1960's design. Zip front cape - remember those circular zipper grips !

   Vogue 6032.
I really like the medium length with the side pleats and top stitching.

Simplicity 7858.

The short and long length are so stylish and go so well with the movie fashion.
Kim does wear a long length cape, in the snow with attached hood and hand fur warmer.

Butterick 5897.

McCalls 4276.


Simple yet classic sleek black dress. Note the strap detail in pic (above).
Simply dressed up with a scarf and opera gloves.

McCalls 6033

Butterick 5878 - Donna Ricco.

A seductive backless black dress. Plunging back with bateau neckline.

Butterick 2488.
 A gorgeous pattern that can be sleek & sexy or more formalised with added train.

Vogue 5886.

Kim in a Kimono style dressing gown with Pyewacket the cat.
Looks like chiffon, possibly silk or satin?
Simplicity 2467.

There isn't a lot of retro sewing patterns with a Kimono style, but this one is particularly nice.

In the story Kim's wardrobe brightens to lighter colours and fabrics and her shop changes from dark native voodoo styled artifacts to flower arrangements and sea shells.
Simplicity 3039.

McCalls 3043.

Typically 1950s full gore skirted dresses. An image of sweetness and innocence.

I couldn't focus just on the female fashion. Jimmy Stuart character always the well dressed
man of the 1950's.
Vogue 9445.
 For the suave man of the 1950's this classic suit can also be used for the "sports" jacket
version for weekend casual wear.


  1. I know this is an old post, but I just thought I should mention that the gorgeous back-plunging dress Ms.Novak wears in her spell-casting scene is actually a deep rich bordeaux, not black. It's my favorite movie gown. I've been looking everywhere for a similar pattern for myself.

    1. Thank you! I too love this dress. I see so many errors on fashion blogs that I sometimes wonder if they ever saw the film. I commented below.