Thursday, April 28, 2011

Vintage Goodness

Sometimes when you're just walking down the street, good things come your way out of nowhere.

This is not my story.  This stroke of sewing good luck belongs to my friend Mimi (non-blogging sewist, so you'll have to take my word for her existence; she was at PR Philly so some of you might remember her).  Mimi was walking around Philadelphia recently and spotted a pile of trash at the curb.  (Anybody wonder why we're friends?  I'd have raced her to the pile).  In the trash was a huge bunch of vintage patterns.

Be still my heart!  Vintage patterns in the trash?  Not even in the recycling bin!  But they weren't in the trash for long, and Tuesay, they came to my office to visit.

Mimi's eventual intention for these patterns is to list them for sale on Etsy, but in the meantime, she brought a bag in for me to look through, kindly saying I could borrow any of them if I wanted to copy them.  Did I?  Yes, ma'am!

I held myself to 9, and trust me, I could have loaded myself up with twice as many, but I know me.  It's going to be hard enough to trace off the details of these 9 patterns.  Conveniently, almost all of them are sized for a 36" bust, so there won't even be much maneuvering.  Most of the patterns were late 50s and early 60s, which is a good era for me.  It's not necessarily my favorite - I love 30s and 40s - but a lot of the shifty, A-line 60s dresses look good on me, and it's hard to argue with a compliment.

On to the pretties:  there were 3 Advance patterns, which I've never tried before.  There were also 2 Butterick, 2 McCall's and 2 Simplicity.  I like all of them for various reasons, but I think my favorite is B2996.  I love the princess seamed front with the in-seam pockets and the back belt.  I'll lower the neckline just a smidge - that looks a little choky - but otherwise, I think it's nearly perfect.  And I have a black-and-white houndstooth silk suiting (ancient) that might look really pretty.  

Let's look at McCall's 9853.  Who has a waist like that?  Who wants one?  Even though the pattern drawing is unrealistic (and delicious) I think there's a lot to be said for the design.  I love the multiple darts and the under-bust gathers in the bodice.  It's worth a try, anyway.

Two of the patterns I chose just for their collars.   I love a good collar, and Simplicity 2971 and Advance 9546 certainly have good collars.  The collar on A9546 is even removable. 

Jackets are also good things.  Advance 9989 looks like it'll be a dream to fit - princess seamed with a bust dart and a fitting dart.  I love the bracelet length sleeves with gloves in the pattern drawing.  And I chose Simplicity 3887 specifically for its jacket.  It looks like a great little basic piece for covering up a dress, and I can always use oneof those.  Kimono sleeves just make it a better multi-purpose pattern.

Nearly last, and definitely smallest (the only non-36" patterns in the bunch) are the 2 shift dresses, McCall's 7419 and Butterick 3419.  Not like I don't have shift dress patterns, but the McCall's one has an  interesting French dart and Butterick's is a dress/jumper combination that I actually think just grabbed me because of the ridiculous clown ruffles (which I wouldn't make).

One final pattern: Advance 9927.  Now that's a suit.  I love the contrast satin running from the collar down the jacket and the skirt.  Yummy.  Though the black is divine, I'm seeing this in a color.  Raspberry?  Unwearable by me, but it would be pretty.

I'd like to say I'm going to jump in and sew one of these patterns soon, but don't forget, I still have to press them and trace them off.  So you won't be seeing one of these emerge from the machine right away, but they will come.

I'm not sure what it is with me and vintage.  It's not love/hate, certainly.  I love the styles, I love the details, I love that the instructions are usually still worth reading for technical bits that pattern companies now don't seem to think we need - one of these patterns, the Advance with detachable collar, even notes on the envelope that it uses the "Bishop Sewing Method" from one of my favorite vintage sewing books.  

I think my love of vintage yet lack of sewing vintage has something to do with laziness.  While there are quick and easy vintage patterns, those aren't the ones that set my pulse to racing.  Quick and easy comes right out of the pattern folders behind my sewing chair.  A good vintage pattern is a project that is worked on over days, paused, pondered, and returned to until all those details are perfect.  Vintage sewing the way I want to do it requires more focus than I have right now. 

At least I've diagnosed the problem.  Now to find a cure.  Everyone is only too happy to share a good fabric sale.  Anybody know where I can get a large dose of concentration, cheap?

When Mimi lists these babies on Etsy, along with their friends (including a few wedding gowns and some full-skirted 50s goodness), I'll be sure to provide a link.


Unknown said...

What a stroke of luck! Some lovely patterns there :)
Ashley x

Reethi said...

So envious! Why does this never happen to me? Really, why?

Claire (aka Seemane) said...

Ahhh.. and the sewing gods have smiled upon Mimi and you :)!

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

One man's trash is another one's treasure...and this is a true example of that! Great pattern choices.

lsaspacey said...

Hey, I just received some inherited patterns from a friend, same vintage as yours. I even got five mail order patterns still in their envelopes with the $.03 stamps.