Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Pattern Nostalgia and a pattern giveaway

It's been over a year since I joined Instagram, mostly to do the Sew Photo Hop which is a lot of fun and a great way to discover some new stitchers to follow. I am still kind of lukewarm on IG, mostly because I like words. Yes, words, sentences, explanations, details. And a single picture is not going to cut it for me. I read far too many blogs and then lots of other web content, plus listen to a lot of podcasts and that seems to get to my maximum level of consumption. I fear doing any other internet based sewing stuff (like twitter, various forums etc) would just add to the screen time I already kind of regret. After all, that is not sewing time - or even life. Do you know what I mean?

Not to say I don't have fun with IG, in fact I have reconnected with some people and got great inspiration from others. But words are my thing. By the way - I did an interview with a now defunct sewing podcast so it never aired. So I'm not sure if I should be happy or sad about that. Hearing your own voice recorded is always a bit painful, but I was looking forward to sharing the link and having you hear my views on sewing. I recall it included a lot of my hard and fast opinions about things like: interfacing - use more! bias binding - not a fan! and pressing - do it! So if you are doing a podcast and want an opinionated and experienced sewer I am available:)

by the way - details on the pattern giveaway are at the bottom of the post if you want to skip ahead.

Back to Instagram, it is fun to see what people on the other side of the globe (and the season) are doing, sewing-wise. Recently Sew Busy Lizzy in Australia posted a vintage Style pattern  that she bought and she wondered about that pattern company. Which sent me to look in my old pattern storage boxes as I used to use those Style patterns. Were they bought by another pattern company? Maybe Simplicity? In any case they had some really nice patterns, I always thought they lived up to their name as very stylish.

In the box I found a couple that I made many versions of, and one that I never used but now think I might try next spring. I'm sure I sewed this one at least once, probably as a sarong style dress to wear on vacation. See - my catchphrase applies - no new patterns. Recognize the current versions of this dress?
Style 2526 Vintage

Here's the one that I never sewed up. I kept this one out of the storage box, maybe next spring I will find some nice woven rayon and sew it up. The sleeveless version is my perfect combo of dress features.

Style 2225

I both wanted to and didn't want to show you this one. Yes it is dated - look at the shoulders on that jacket. As I recall when I first started working and was maybe 22 ? I sewed up this pattern in a really soft crinkly fabric that was an ikat print in shades of blue. The unlined jacket was more like a big cardigan, albeit with shoulder pads (ha ha) but I think I had enough fabric to make a tank top so sometimes I wore the jacket and skirt with a white top and then also wore the skirt with the matching tank top for a dress look. But the thing to note is....Michael Kors !  Yes before he did patterns for Vogue this pattern company had him. I wonder what others I missed. And this skirt is so beautifully shaped, I made other versions as well. No fastenings, quick to make and very nice to wear.

Style 1061 MK

I found a few other goodies in my pattern storage box. My habits have never changed, if I bought a pattern and it resulted in a garment I liked then I kept it. If it was crummy or the garment turned out badly then I chucked it out. So these were keepers for a reason.

This Butterick dress I sewed up more than once, I think in a light blue linen for the V-neck version. Note the neckline of version C and E, it has a hint of curve and was so pretty. Made that in a printed rayon I think. Also I like skirts with pleats instead of darts.

Butterick 6389 Vintage

I have a lot of these Vogue designer patterns that I would classify as "business wear".  Well they say career in red type right there on the pattern :) I know I made that blouse in the top image more than once, it was really nice to wear under a suit jacket. I have another of these patterns with 3 more blouse variations. so quite a good value - you know I like Vogue patterns, especially when they give you lots of looks in one pattern envelope.

Vogue AK

Here's one I found that I haven't sewn, but it was also kept out of the storage box. I think this was a style that I didn't wear and wasn't all that popular when I bought the pattern, but now seems really current. Cute top huh? I will have to try this one.

Vogue 6990 vintage

And now for a giveaway. I found some patterns that were longing for a new home - to get out of the storage box and into the hands of someone who might use them.  So here are two patterns that I will do a drawing for and mail out to you.
The Catch: please tell me your Time Saving Sewing Tip. I'm writing a post for Craftsy so you might see it there, but if you are willing to share some timesaving tip, something that helps you to use your sewing time wisely, or cut down how long it takes to make something then I will be really grateful. Also tell me which pattern you would like to be in the drawing for. You can say both if they both interest you!

Pattern 1: Vogue 9246 corset type top and ballgown skirt. I think I bought this to use to make a formal dress but ended up designing something else - so this one is unused. Note the pattern size is 6-8-10. I love the square neckline on the top.

V 9246

Pattern 2: McCalls top, designed for leather or suede. Size 12. Don't laugh - despite the shoulders this pattern is a wealth of information. I seem to have more than one copy of this pattern so I must have liked it. The other copy was used and I made at least 3 suede t-shirts which I thought were the epitome of casual+luxury. Also I made a suit - all of these items are now languishing in a closet somewhere and candidates for being cut up and refashioned into something else.

McCalls leather top

Lest you scoff at this funny looking pattern  - here is a peek at the instruction sheet. It includes a complete lesson on working with leather. How to determine how much to buy, piecing, machine tips and techniques, seam finishes etc. This is in addition to the regular pattern instruction sheet. Rather clever and using this the info all my stuff turned out really well. Leather is really easy to sew, the tricky part is the cutting layout.

suede top instructions

So that's the pattern scoop. I hope someone is interested in these patterns, as I said they need to get out into the world and be sewn up!
Remember to tell me your timesaving sewing tip, and I look forward to seeing the Sew Photo Hop in September, is it happening? I hope so.

And remember, today's skinny jeans will be the oversized shoulder pad of yesteryear. I guarantee it! Perhaps they already are :)

Happy nostalgic sewing, Beth

today's garden photo, this rose bush was not thriving so I pulled it out. Stuck it in the no man's land which is behind the garden shed. And it kept growing. Thus I took pity on it and planted it in a pot. I guess it just didn't like it's original spot because the blooms are beautiful. Now I just have to find a better permanent home for it.



  1. I find that I sew more productively when I cut out 2 or three items when I have more time, like on the weekend, and then sew when I have shorter blocks of time. Since I don't have a 'sewing room', this also keeps the mess to a minimum as I take over the kitchen counter and DR table for cutting. Also, I try to work it so that I the items use the same thread on the serger to cut down on thread changes. Please enter me for the V9246 pattern drawing. I always enjoy your blog...I am also a word girl! Thanks.

  2. I also love words but some weeks I only have time for pictures, so I like having both options available to me (as both a consumer and producer of posts). My time-saving tip is one that I think I first read on the Grainline blog, and I think Jen called it "chain-stitching" - I pin together as many piece as I can (eg., back to front neckline facings, side front to center front, side back to center back, skirt side seams) and stitch one piece right after another, all connected by the same thread (I backstitch or dial down between pieces). I then cut all the threads, press all the seams and start the process again with a new set. I find this both saves me time and gets me into a production mindset. Please enter me for the V9246 pattern - I love the waist and neckline!

  3. fun :-) and I just don't like the design of the Kielo dress! I sewed one similar from Neue Mode a couple years ago, and it just doesn't work!

    Fun to look at stashed patterns. I'm sewing one now that I forgot I had...

  4. I have some Style patterns from the 80s.
    Sewing tip - take time to read instructions and check measurements etc. Might seem just to add time but saves a lot of unpicking and redoing.
    I'm interested in the leather pattern. The other dress would suit my youngest daughter, size too. So I'm interested in that, too.
    This year, I have had to dig up roses that were never comfortable in their position. I still have some that aren't happy. I just don't think this garden works for roses, sadly

  5. I have some Style patterns from the 80s.
    Sewing tip - take time to read instructions and check measurements etc. Might seem just to add time but saves a lot of unpicking and redoing.
    I'm interested in the leather pattern. The other dress would suit my youngest daughter, size too. So I'm interested in that, too.
    This year, I have had to dig up roses that were never comfortable in their position. I still have some that aren't happy. I just don't think this garden works for roses, sadly

  6. Wow it's unbelievable how close that first one is to the Kielo 😊 Just goes to show fashion is cyclical.

    No fast sewing tip from me, I like to take my time with sewing.

  7. I like to make bias strips to use at necklines, armholes for sleeveless garments, and interior seams on unlined jackets. These look so much sharper than becky-home-ecky facings. I have interest in the Michael Kors pattern. Such fun looking at old patterns. I have several Vogue designer patterns saved from the 60s - yum! Karen

  8. this barely counts as a tip but i recently switched from pinning patterns to fabric and cutting with shears to using wieghts and a rotary cutter... and i can't believe how much quicker cutting goes! also if i start to feel that i need a break for any reason while sewing, i take it, no matter how much i want to get to a certain step or point. otherwise my concentration starts to waver or i rush and that is when i do silly things that cost me time in reversing and redoing them, or even just needing to restitch sloppy topstitching. so having snack time is my big advice! i enjoy pattern 1, thank you for the giveaway!

  9. Thanks for sharing. I enjoy your blog posts. I'm not interested in the giveaway. My tip is not original. I xerox small pattern pieces that I have to cut more than once for a garment.

  10. I bought V2069 (AK) blouses on the recommendation of a roommate who had made View A multiple times. I haven't made any of them yet. But, I also bought the other AK 3-blouse combo and made 2/3 of them. That counts of 2 uses out of 2 patterns, right? ;-)

    I don't really want any of the patterns. I just enjoy reminiscing along with you. I posted a series of cutting tips on my IG feed recently. You might have seen them already. @bmgmlax

    This week, I'm in LAX, so that's not false advertising!

  11. Those are some absolutely great patterns! I really really love the second Style one, such a divinely feminine skirt. And that Anne Klein Vogue top pattern is truly lovely. I wish they still made them like that. I've inherited a lot of old patterns from various people, I really should go and dig through them all again. You've inspired me :)

  12. I really like Style patterns too and have some lovely ones. I wonder what happened to the company?

  13. V9660 is so current! I love that top. I'm not entering but my top sewing tip is "Make time".

    If you want to sew, make time to sew. Today I had 15 minutes before getting ready for work. I set my timer and in that time I pressed 3 seams, sewed the shoulder seams (didn't press those) and unpicked an inseam pocket that was attached incorrectly.

    My other time saving tip - which works for me as a technical vs creative type - I mentally walk through construction of a garment before I start sewing it. And that way I can be methodical and efficient when the time comes to work on it.

  14. My sewing tip is to ALWAYS follow thru with a garment until it is finished! That means hems!! I have been sewing for 40+ years and can honestly say I have not made myself a victim of any UFO's, even if I did not like the look on me when it was done. However, my fabric stash is enormous, I used to work at Hancock's part time and I accumulated many treasures I simply cannot give up!

  15. My tip : read blogs like yours!
    I'd like the leather pattern.
    All the patterns look current to me- THAT'S how old I am......

  16. I love 2526. My favourite pattern line was Style when I was young and they were around. What every happened to them I wonder?

  17. I love to share tips.

    To save time, use patterns with few pieces. Select fibers that you have worked with many times before, so there are no surprises. Wool works especially well because you can press out or over small errors. The less slinky the better also. Avoid set in sleeves and other seams requiring careful gathering and stitching of gathers - you will have fewer corrections to make. Pretreat fabrics and iron out wrinkles to avoid struggling with smoothing down fabric before cutting. If you are really pressed for time and have to wear the item, selectively finish hems and waistbands - perhaps you can cover them with another item of clothing. Finally, there are always pinking shears, and while I'm not fond f the finish, it does work and no one else will know but you.

    I would love to win the leather top pattern - I would immediately put it to use!

    Thanks for the opportunity.

  18. I'm trying to do small blocks of time at the sewing machine. When I end a short session, I jot down what the next few steps are. Then when I have another 15 minutes, I can pick right up.

  19. Oh I made top image of Vogue 2069 too in beautiful silk for my sisters wedding. I used to love Vogue patterns, they were the only one I would make then. Now I tend to prfer the fit of Burda patterns;

  20. OOOoohh those look so great!! I love the Anne Klein blouse and the Michael Kors skirt. If you have the chance I'd love to see a quick snap of the skirt front pattern to try to do something similar...

  21. I made that Michael Kors skirt and the Butterick dress! So fun to see them again. ~Martina

  22. Beth, even before I read your complete post, I was thinking how grateful I was for your thoughtful, interesting posts. The number of sewing bloggers who include solid content is shrinking every day, so what you do is greatly appreciated!

    I've got my own faves for the deep armscye/shoulder pad decade so I will watch with interest as you share the best ways to get a more current armhole depth. My only thought on this is to pull a Frankenpattern operation.

  23. Opps! Here's mine: 1. Always use an old file folder template to turn up and press a hem of less than one inch. 2. Place a nice generous piece of silk organza underneath your fabric on the ironing board with about 3" extra extending beyond the raw edge of the fabric 3. Place your paper template over the top, secure it with a couple of pins on either end 4. Use the silk organza as a "handle" to pull the fashion fabric over the template and press. Voila, no burned fingertips.