Sunday, 28 April 2013

Letting Go

These little girls in bikinis were very daring for the 1970's.

I have been collecting patterns, pattern books and catalogues for most of my life.  I love them.  Can't get enough of them, but the time has come to let some things go.  These in particular are hard to part with.  I bought them in Paris, in some little haberdashery shop near Montmartre in the 1970's.  I needed inspiration for a small mail order business I had then, making and selling children's clothes.   
Two weeks ago, Hubby and I braved the loft, with the intention of clearing it out.  We are both hoarders, so it was hard to do.  We lasted two hours and I made several trips to the tip and local charity shops, feeling very virtuous when I had finished. We will  need to do it again, but your back gives up after two hours of being bent double under the beams.
I threw away a large dustbin bag of patterns that I knew I would never use again, nor would anyone else.  I saved some of the better ones to sell on ebay. I would happily donate the good ones to a charity shop, but I have seen them wrap china and breakables in old patterns.  They do not sell them on. 
I will be sad to see these go, but hopefully someone will use them or put them in a museum.  
And in a way, letting go is very liberating.  Now for the fabrics...

Does anyone remember kids in jumpsuits?

These little denim jackets are almost fashionable now.

Very French.  I love the side closing on this dress.

Chic little raincoats.

How about these duffle coats?

Monday, 8 April 2013

Awkward Patterns - A Monday Moan

 Occasionally I run into difficulty with a pattern because the instructions are incomprehensible or incomplete.  When I chose this pattern, I thought it would be okay because:
It is a Simplicity pattern.
It is a costume.
How hard can that be?
Let me tell you, it can be quite hard.  When I got to the sleeves, the instructions might just as well be written in Greek. For one thing, I did not want to line the sleeves because that would make the garment bulky.  For another thing, although there was a view with ordinary sleeves, there was not a pattern piece for them. I had no choice but to make the split sleeves.

Fine.  I remembered that I had a real kimono somewhere in the back of the wardrobe and was able to work out the pattern by looking at the construction of a traditional one.

The drawings looked like this:

 See what I mean?  What are all these triangles???
At least this one had a happy ending.  I finished the kimono and it looked good.  See below:

The next story did not have a happy ending.  Admittedly, I chose an Advanced Vogue pattern, but as I am quite experienced in sewing, I expected to be able to figure it out.  Somewhere along the way it all went wrong.

This is the pattern.  It really doesn't look that difficult. The coat is a work of art and I had three different furnishing fabrics to make it in.  Beautiful fabrics.  Expensive.  All went well until I got to the collar.  The neckline was much smaller that the collar.  Help.  I tried everything,  but eventually gave up. The fabrics are probably still languishing in the attic.  They may become bags or cushion covers. Maybe some time...

 You may be able to just see what I mean although this is not a clear photo.  More incomprehensible instructions.

Note to pattern makers.  Put in more details.  Show more views.  I'm willing to have a go, but I want a good result. At the moment I am making a very simple capsule wardrobe for a trip to Rome in August. Easy patterns.  No problems. But that doesn't mean I won't tackle something more difficult again. In fact I am really inspired by 'The Great British Sewing Bee'.