I have recently acquired the following, something I had never heard of before. What at first glance looks just like a standard McCall's pattern from the 1951 promotion with Indian Head Cotton, is in fact something pretty unusual - and quite cool.
This is a pattern for a display minikin. What is a display minikin you may ask? That is a very good question, something that I did not know myself until I found this item and received some assistance from people in the know sewing-wise.
Once you know what it is, it makes perfect sense. A minikin is a miniature mannequin. These were used in fabric stores to display finished clothing made from the featured patterns. These were of course smaller versions of the regular pattern, presumably to save money on fabric and time to sew them together. My wife actually has a minikin, it looks like a miniture dress form. We did not know that it had this special name until we found this pattern.
Apparently there were LOTS of these patterns made for use in stores, conceivably there are minikin versions of EVERY pattern, but that is probably unlikely, probably only those patterns that were thought to be big sellers got a minikin version. I would love to see photos of minikins in action with these Alice clothes...there must be some out there somewhere!
UPDATE: Sandra commented that the photo of my wife's 'minikin' is in fact just a miniature dress form. I'm on the hunt for a photo of a real minikin, if anyone out there has one, I'd love to see it!
UPDATE #2: Thanks again to Sandra, she provided me with this fantastic photo of a real minikin. I think she looks like Scarlett Johansson.
Apparently minikins are about 30 inches tall, and are essentially big (sometimes) articulated dolls. The ultimate Barbie ;-)