Johanson’s Show Celebrates Butterick Pattern Factory Heritage

Butterick Patterns now online
Butterick Patterns now sold in John Lewis and online, image credit: Google

Hampshire based designer Suzie Johanson created “Patterns of Life, Memory and Place” an exhibition now open at the popular south coast art centre The Spring, 56 East Street, Havant, Hampshire, PO9 1BS.

This gem of a show can be visited by the public for free Monday through to Saturday 10am to 4pm until 25th March 2023. (1)

Flyer for Patterns of Life, Memory and Place by Suzie Johanson
Flyer for Patterns of Life, Memory and Place by Suzie Johanson (detail)

The Butterick Factory

For 150 years Butterick has been selling printed patterns for sewers who want to make clothing and home furnishings at home for their families and friends of all ages.

In 1863 Ebenezer Butterick invented the home sewing pattern which was available in different sizes. In Havant in 1956 Butterick opened a modern factory in New Lane in Havant in order to print sewing patterns and this successful business employed many people in the area for several decades.

Textiles and printing are often associated with Havant as the Hampshire town was known historically for paper making and glove making.

Sadly for Hampshire manufacturing in 2019 the Butterick factory closed for the last time as this model of business was no longer commercially viable. Although home sewing is as popular as ever cheap fashion availability combined with new technology and digital patterns downloads and printing has transformed the competitive home textile making industry.

Today the Butterick company still designs, makes and sells dress making patterns all over the world.

“In 2001 Butterick Pattern Company was aquired by McCall Pattern Company. The McCall Pattern Company also own the Vogue pattern brand. As of February 2016 both Butterick and Vogue patterns are still being printed and sold on a worldwide basis. Customers can now “purchase directly from the website or third party sellers. McCalls patterns (who now own Butterick Vogue brand) are now printed in Wisconsin factory” along with other brands in the group Simplicity, New Look, Burda. (2)

Butterick building - image credit RIBA (detail)
Butterick building – image credit RIBA (detail)

Johanson’s artwork is inspired by memory

Suzie Johanson is an artist who was inspired to create this exhibition in honour of her mother who was an ‘avid home and dress maker’. Together Suzie and her mother made lots of wonderful memories on trips to the Butterick factory, choosing patterns and then creating unique fashion and interior crafts. This colourful display in the mezzanine gallery at the top of the arts centre is an interesting and fitting tribute to Suzie’s much loved and missed parent.

Johanson showcases beautifully her colourful and retro modern textile designs that reflect her own response to visiting the Butterick factory in its final weeks, that meant a lot to her family personally.

Memories and connections between sewing enthusiasts and makers are celebrated through the messages pinned to the pattern wall in a giant suitably themed tissue paper pin board.

Suzie Johanson is a graphic designer and textile artist whose fabric designs are available to license and purchase. Suzie also teaches pattern cutting and works with other creatives on a variety of projects.

Making the most of visiting The Spring

This exhibition is small but beautiful and can be viewed in combination with the permanent Havant Museum collection.

In addition, currently a photographic art exhibition ‘Portraits of Play’ around the ground floor Sadler Gallery can also be enjoyed. Local Play Artist Rachel Fullegar and photographer Jasmine Aurora have teamed up to present several images of Spring in-house team members and volunteers. Capturing moments of time in the Spring and conveying the centre’s vibe as a “vibrant and welcoming place”.

There are many lively cultural experiences, theatre and films, creative classes and evening events to attend this season at The Spring and more information can be seen on the website. The Spring’s excellent café and bar is open Monday through to Saturday between 10am and 3pm and also at performance event times.

The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre Co. Ltd. is a registered charity and donations are welcome at the Box Office or online using the link below.

(1) The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre Havant Hampshire, 2 March 2023 The Spring website

(2) Studio Johanson ‘Colour Rich Patterns Inspired by Memory, Life Object and Place’ Studio Johanson website

(3) ‘What Happened To McCall’s Patterns?’ Sewing Pattern, Wayne Arthur Gallery, 17 October 2022 ‘What Happened To McCall’s Patterns?’ Wayne Arthur Gallery

(4) ‘Support Us’ The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre, 2 March 2023 Support Us – The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre

(5) ‘Butterick Sewing Patterns’ John Lewis UK retailer, 2 March 2023 ‘Butterick Sewing Patterns’ John Lewis