Or, when opening a pattern envelope is like stepping into a time machine.
Today I received a pattern in the mail that I had bought from the lovely Midvale Cottage on Etsy. I’d been looking for a 1950’s princess coat pattern for ages and then this lovely specimen in my size turned up. Jackpot! It is Vogue 1588 from 1957. I thought that envelope was a little bulky when I got it, but look what came out when I opened it!
Clockwise from left:
1. Two instruction sheets, one for advanced sewers and one with ‘basic’ techniques such as bound buttonholes.
2. Advertisement for Vogue Pattern Book – “Vogue patterns and salted nuts are just alike! One calls for another…and another…and another…” Yes, I’m sure nuts and sewing are closely related.
3. “Attention! Cut, Mark, Sew!” Little instruction sheet on how to mark cut fabric correctly.
4. One receipt from The J.L Hudson Company, Detroit Michigan. The pattern cost $2.94 on March 4th, and the buyer was warned that ‘this recepit should be carefully preserved for the correction of errors and must accompany all goods for credit’. Well, that, or so that a seamstress in late 2009 can marvel at the remnants of another time.
One of my favourite parts of sewing from vintage patterns is the feeling of following in another sewer’s footsteps (or stitches!). Just like dressing in vintage clothes lets you imagine the ladies and gentlemen of decades ago, and what they were doing and dreaming when they wore those clothes, using a pattern that has been cut up and marked by someone else gives me a similar thrill. I’m not particular about using pre-loved patterns – as long as all the bits are there, I’ll give it a go! I have found pattern pieces tacked together with pins, notes written in pencil annotating instructions and little sketches of pattern adaptations. If the pattern is factory-folded, you might find advertisements or subscription sheets inside.
I love finding these scraps of the past and am grateful that they were preserved. Maybe one day, in 50 years or so, another sewer will make a new version of one of my favourite patterns?
As a side note, I was thinking of making a tutorial on how I covered the shoes I wore for the Christmas Ball. Would anyone be interested in this?