Mar 31, 2010
I've made up my mind: my next project will be Simplicity 3873, a two-piece dress pattern from 1941. (Sorry, Maria -- it's back to the convent for now.)
I mentioned this pattern on Monday; I'd ordered it on Etsy and received it last week. I wanted something classic Forties, but simple. It cost only $5.99 with shipping; the somewhat ragged envelope no doubt kept the price low.
I'll be honest: I have some trepidation about this project. Maybe it's those bound buttonholes, which I may not even bother with. I've never sewn anything this old. Frankly, I think this crosses the border between vintage and antique.
I hunted for the right fabric but didn't find anything that felt appropriate to the period.
I've had this in my stash since the fall and badly want to use it:
It's cotton and definitely has a vintage feel but I don't think it would work. For one thing, the skirt has twelve separate panels and I don't think those roses would look good broken up that way. I'll save this for something more flowing (I think both Gertie and Elaine have picked up rose prints too -- spooky, huh?).
I tend to honor the pattern artwork: if a dress is shown in a solid, I'll go with solids. I did get some fabric on Monday -- four yards in fact -- of a purplish-blue cotton with a vertical stripe in the weave, but when I got it home I realized it was too heavy. I'd been thinking of this as a suit -- it looks like a suit -- but it's a dress. The skirt has to move and the cotton is too stiff. It would make a great summer men's suit and maybe that's what I'll do with it.
I've decided to use sheets again -- clean sheets. I'm going to use this yellow one for the top...
...and the black one pictured here with the yellow for the skirt:
I don't know; maybe if I have enough fabric, I'll do the whole thing in yellow. We'll see.
Yesterday I started to prepare my pattern pieces and imagine my surprise when I saw this:
This pattern pre-dates seam allowances printed on the pattern pieces! I recalled reading something about this on somebody's blog, I don't remember whose. The patterns of this period had no printed markings, but rather only different size punched holes. Here's how individual pieces are labeled:
This marking is for a dart in the top of the sleeve:
I should mention that straight out of the envelope, the pieces looked like wadded up Kleenex:
I managed to inventory and press everything yesterday and am happy to report that all the pieces are accounted for. Today I'll start cutting and we'll see how far I get.
My goal is to make this version:
Readers, have you ever sewn from one of these old unmarked patterns? Would you? What's the oldest pattern you've sewn?
Do you prefer contemporary vintage patterns to authentic ones? Is there a difference?
I'm in uncharted waters here. Wish me luck!