When does a pattern become vintage? As that same question for fashion. Is something retro? Revived? Reinterpreted? Reimagined? Is there anything new in fashion? I often say there are no new patterns, by that I mean that clothing styles and shapes come and go with the designs and details traceable through the ages. We can see fashions that reappear in our own lifetime or across the centuries.
What brought on this philosophical musing? Recently I unearthed some older Vogue designer patterns which I had stored in a box in a spare bedroom, tucked away on the shelf where things like that stay because I can't let them go. Looking through most of these not quite vintage patterns I could see a lot of details and silhouettes I just saw in the most recent designer collections shown in NY. Also I bought a couple of patterns on eBay this year, which are not new but less than 10 years old. I'm always on the lookout for interesting details these days, a shirt with an unusual collar or neckline, or a dress with some clever pockets. Basic patterns have their place but I hope that pattern companies continue to provide the more complex and interesting ones as well.
Which brings me to my latest sewing project. I got a pattern sometime last year, probably at an ASG sale or maybe at a swap. I can't really remember, but it's a pattern that I took out and looked over at least once a month, thinking about making it. Also I had some fabric that was not at all what the pattern called for, but I really liked it, so I gave it a try and now I love the result.
It is a bit of an odd one so I will give you the dress form view first, but I do have plenty of pictures of me wearing it. Check out that interesting darting, and the seaming is unusual as well, although it is really hard to see it.
The main jacket fabric is wool (I definitely recall buying this for $3 at a sewing group sale, score!) It behaves like wool and presses really well, crisply, almost like denim which is kind of odd for wool. Perhaps that gave me the idea to make it into something that is more casual. AND I only had 2 yards and it was 45" wide so no possibility of getting the sleeves on the solid blue. I had that idea in the back of my mind to change it up and do contrast sleeves (due to my success with this favorite jacket). So I carried a little swatch of this solid blue wool around with me for ages, knowing that whatever jacket I used it for it would need another piece of some fabric. What I found was the proverbial needle in the haystack as this sweater knit is pretty much the best possible color match. And was at Joann's, and is thick and soft and exactly what I had in mind. The selection there is uniformly terrible and then every once in a while I find a gem.
Now we get to the not quite vintage part of the pattern. It's a Vogue Marc Jacobs pattern, copyright 1999. So almost 20 years old. By the way - I have plenty of sewing and fitting details which I was going to post first - but since I have been wearing this jacket already I decided to show the jacket first and then in the next week I will do a post on fitting and sewing.
Maybe I liked it because the model has short hair 😊.
No, not because of the short hair. Look at these details - I just thought the darts and seaming were really interesting. There is no seam at the top of the shoulder, the front wraps around to create the diamond shaped seaming in the back.
I do think this jacket looks best when closed. But then when closed it also has a slight Star Trek vibe - not a look I typically go for. Also it calls for the large snaps as closures, as opposed to buttons or a zipper, which is interesting. I don't think I've ever made something with the large snaps. Certainly fast to sew.
I think it is a bit broad in the shoulders - and I already narrowed it a bit when sewing. But I might do another adjustment. Details in the upcoming post.
This is one of those fabrics that looks a different color in every photo and in every light. The outdoor pictures are more accurate. I put the sweater knit on the inside of the collar so there would be no possibility of itchiness on the neckline -my achilles heel in winter wear.
The pattern envelope specifically mentions these "invisible patch pockets." I didn't think they were anything super unique - but the instructions were good and they came out perfectly. And add to the sleek shaping of the jacket body, the pockets kind of wrap around the side seam.
This is one of those blue jackets that I think - does it go with jeans? what color denim? darker denim or close in color? Oh well, I will probably throw it on with any old jeans as the knit sleeves make it super comfortable and the whole thing is lightweight yet warm.
In a post a few years ago I posed the question of what to call these patterns that are not new, but not really old. I think I called them recent-retro which seems as good a name as any. I think we need a name for this category. Think about it and let me know if you have an idea.
I keep thinking spring is about to be declared around here, the trees are blossoming and the bees are all over my citrus trees. But today we had hail, LOTS! and snow on some nearby mountains. What? Check back with me in a couple of weeks - all will be different and I might be planting my tomatoes.
Up next, no idea. I'll see where the weather and my mood take me.
Happy almost spring sewing,
today's garden photo - the first tulip!