Thursday, October 29, 2009

Classic Patterns


I made this dress over the summer using a "vintage" pattern.  I am not where the pattern is, so I have no idea of the # or details, but here is a picture anyway.  I used a very fun stretch twill and it zips up the back.  You can't tell from this photo, but it actually has a bit of an A-frame shape.
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Interesting how lines change over the years.  I liked this dress because the pattern pieces are long and simple with darts.  And an A-frame is so flattering on just about anyone, a real classic cut!  How can you go wrong?  Ummm, forgot that when this dress pattern was put out - it was fashionable to have the under arm way up into your armpit.  Yuck.
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So, eventually I will take it apart and scoop it out a bit and then re-sew it.  Shouldn't really take too long and then I will have a fun, servicable dress.  And it only cost me a few dollars to make too.
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Actually, the whole point of me making this particular dress is because I am looking for the perfect "work uniform" dress.  I want an A-frame, simple to wash, and would like pockets (this dress doesn't have any, but it was just a "test").  I'm still looking for the perfect pattern - and when I find it, it will probably be a used vintage pattern.  Because those classic lines - they are timeless, you know?  And once I find that perfect pattern, I am going to cut out several dresses all at once, get them sewn, hang them in my closet and not have to wonder what to wear all summer!
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Lately I have been interested in really old patterns.  There are many excellent references on the internet and full schematics of old patterns from the 1800's.  All these patterns were very practical, had to be made in a fairly short amount of time because they were needed, and made use of a measuring tape for individual size differences.  Little reference books included everything from house dress, Sunday dress, girls school dress, work coat, apple-picking apron (don't you love it!), kitchen apron, boys & mens pants and shirt, PJ's, nightgowns, baby layette, mittens, muffs and hats, and even general household items.  A women would only need this 1 book and be able to sew most anything for her family and household.  And she would be able to follow those directions and know that the item would fit. 
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If you think you want to sew a pattern, a good resource is http://www.patternreview.com/ - because chances are that several people have already made the pattern you are considering and they have reviewed the pattern.  If there are serious fit issues, or confusing instructions, you will know by other people's reviews. 
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Once I find a pattern I like, I usually use it over and over and over again.  Like my son's PJ's and pants.  Those patterns fit him and since he is still only 6, he does not mind the same pattern all the time.  Fabric choices changes everything.  I know that in a few years I will have to start looking for a zipper pant for him, but for now, he is happy with his elastic waist pants.
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There is something very satisfying in reaching for a pattern, making the garmet and knowing that it is going to fit perfectly when you are done.  All the other patterns out there are "dessert", but when it comes to sewing clothes, because of the time and investment, your core wardrobe items need to be meat and potatoes!  To me, the classic patterns are the ones you use so much that eventually you trace them out onto a cheap vinyl tablecloth from the Dollar Store because they are getting so worn! 

1 comment:

paula, the quilter said...

I have a couple of 'go to' patterns that I love. Purchased when new, they are still in circulation in my pattern library. Mainly tops since I don't wear dresses anymore.