Readers, a confession: While I'm not the type of person who would ever wish anybody ill, neither am I thrilled to hear that better things are happening to other people than to me. It's a character flaw, I know it.
It's not like I'm never excited for somebody when something good happens to them, it just depends on how good. If they find $10 in the street, say, or stumble up fabulous designer fabric for a mere $2 a yard, fantastic! But if they tell me they were just cast opposite Matt Damon in an upcoming feature film, or were chosen as the new face of Revlon, or were invited to Monaco for Princess Stephanie's 46th birthday, while I might look really happy for them on the outside, on the inside I'm thinking, Why not me?
The trouble with being this way is that when something exciting happens to me, I'm not quite sure how to share it: I just assume everybody's going to react the way I would (hello, projection!) and resent me. I want people to be happy for me and to share my good fortune, but I assume they're thinking, Idontwannnahearaboutit!
That's the price one pays for being an envious person, I guess. I think that's why it's one of the seven deadly sins. So what's my point?
Friends, yesterday I received a treasure trove of vintage patterns in the mail. I'm not authorized to share too many details about their origin, but I will say that these patterns have been in storage for many, many decades. Roughly half have been used, the other half are still factory folded.
You already know that I love 30s and 40s dress patterns (actually, I love most pre-Eighties dress patterns), and while I wouldn't call myself a collector -- I only purchase patterns I intend to make -- I have become something of an accumulator, as patterns seem to find me as often as I find them, and when it comes to donations, I Cain't Say No.
With the exception of Cathy's late-Twenties flapper dress, I've never made anything earlier than the mid-to-late Thirties. The early Thirties patterns, however, are charming, and feature all kinds of dainty details like flutter sleeves, ruffles, and gathered yokes.
The lot in question included four wonderful Thirties Simplicity patterns from 1932-1935, and here is my favorite -- a lounging pajama outfit with three unique variations. It's even in a size 36" -- perfect!
One version shows Peter Pan collar and matching jacket...
Another has a removable apron -- how cool is that? A third has shirred flutter sleeves! Heaven.
I adore the pattern artwork from this period, too. Doesn't this outfit scream early Ginger Rogers?
Here are two patterns with the de rigueur late-Thirties puffy sleeves and flared skirt that show up everywhere during this period -- even the Emerald City!
Note the charming details on the red bodice of the Simplicity pattern.
Dig the dainty ruffles on the collar and cuffs of this Hollywood pattern. I call it the milkmaid look -- or maybe I read that somewhere. And who didn't love Maureen O'Sullivan in the Tarzan movies? (She played Jane, not Tarzan.)
The Forties patterns in the lot are more austere -- no surprise, given the times -- but still charming. I love this ruffled (via drawstring) blouse and tailored slacks pattern. Are you familiar with Superior patterns? I wasn't.
And what young Forties femme wouldn't have wanted to wear this smart striped top?
Tennis, anyone? (And who is "AB"? Anne Baxter? Anita Bryant?)
You can see more pics of these vintage patterns here.
How do you feel about those early Thirties patterns -- are they too remote in style and age to work today? Are flutter sleeves and satin lounging pajamas due for a comeback? Would you include the apron?
In closing, friends, do you hate me for my incredible good fortune, or are you a) a more mature person who recognizes that, sure, sometimes good things happen, but behind every silver lining lies another cloud, don't think it doesn't; or b) someone who believes that, as nice as those patterns are, they're not exactly equivalent to a birthday invitation from Princess Stephanie. All is forgiven!
I'm a native New Yorker and self-taught sewing fanatic! I've been sewing obsessively since 2009 and today make all my own clothes using mostly vintage patterns and vintage sewing machines. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!