The idea for this post, which will perhaps be the first of a series, is my husband's. He found me wasting time on the www trolling for vintage patterns. It's all Carolyn's fault... well, for today, that is. I have several "vintage" pattern websites bookmarked which I look at compulsively. I'm searching for the patterns from my past, you see.
I made my first garment (a dress, pattern lost) in grade 8 which was many decades ago. Through high school, I sewed and sewed. At the very beginning, I favored Simplicity patterns. It was the late 60s and they were fresh and cute. Later on into the early 70s I made Butterick patterns - the ones designed by Betsey Johnson and Kenzo were my favorites but I continued with Simplicity, especially the "Young Contemporary" ones. Only later, in university and beyond, would I graduate to the occasional Vogue. I can only remember ever making a couple of McCalls patterns and I don't know why they didn't grab me. That was my entire world of possible sewing patterns, then.
I have many of my patterns from the university days but unfortunately, most of the ones I made before then were lost when my parents moved (sniff, Mom & Dad, maybe I'll forgive you someday...). They would have been gone forever but the internet gave us all a way to reacquire the ephemera of our past lives.
Here's a little dip into my sewing memories and my collection.
I'm still looking for the very first dress pattern I ever made. It was ca1968 and it was (natch) a mini dress. I made it out of a lurid cotton print featuring hot pink flowers, which had a nice substantial weight and texture. It was A line with puffed sleeves, a square faced neckline and big patch pockets. But the most astonishing feature of the design (I can hardly credit that I chose, and successfully made this pattern for my FIRST EVER garment project) was the bust darts. They originated in the side seams, charged out horizontally at a level just below the bust and then took a hard (square) turn upwards. CUTE! But DIFFICULT for a beginner, no? My Home Ec teacher must have sighed deeply when she saw it, but kudos to her for not insisting that we all make the same boring and ugly navy blue cotton top with back zipper and V neck that would never be worn. I wore that dress a lot, and the positive charge I got out of making it set me on my way as a lifelong sewer.
While I can't show you the 1968 dress, I can show you another pattern which was perhaps the 2nd or 3rd one I made, and has the same kind of darting.
My memory of the cute girls in grade 9 has had a serious boost recently as my mother found and returned to me my yearbook of that ancient day, only this Christmas. She gave it to me along with my report card from grade 1 (where is the museum conservator for this ancient paper?). I got a huge laugh from the report card when I read as follows:
Shows self-expression ... yes
Evidence of particular talent or unusual ability ... no
Enjoys musical activities ... yes
Evidence of particular talent ... no
Since I am reminiscing about grade 1, there I am, sitting nicely in the front row of my class picture in regulation navy box pleated tunic and white shirt, complete with skinned knee. I didn't realize I was doomed to have no artistic or musical talent!
Anyhow, Simplicity 8805 was lost to me until I acquired it from one of my favorite vintage pattern sites, Lantez Living. I have considered making it again, though a bit longer. What do you think?
One more for today, accompanied by a photo of yours truly wearing it at her high school graduation (with BF of the day).
OKAY YOU CAN STOP LAUGHING NOW!
For your information, the dress was made from a soft and beefy but seriously synthetic knit fabric in shades of off-white and dusty rose. One side was a check, and the other was a heathery solid. I used the contrast for the collar and cuffs. Looking at the photo, I believe I would have thought the dress a little on the long/modest side. I used to measure the "right length" in those days by whether the tips of my fingers brushed the hem, and I have short arms(!).
I didn't like this pattern enough to buy it again (and it was the wrong size by a mile) but I saved the image.
Tell me if you found this post (a) illuminating or inspiring, (b) amusing, or (c) embarrassing. Based on your responses, I'll decide whether to share more of my ancient sewing history, or sulk and keep it all to myself.