Saturday, October 18, 2008

Now all I need is a sewing machine . . .

A representative example.

One of the few things I salvaged from my parents' house was a collection of about 100 vintage patterns. I packed them in a box, mailed them to my home address, and then let the box sit in a corner of my spare room, unopened, for about 8 months. Then, for some reason, the urge to open the box came upon me about three weeks ago, but all I did was remove a few of the uncut patterns before I pushed the opened box back into its corner. A few days later I was standing outside of that room when I heard a very suggestive crinkling, rustling notes. One of my female cats was happily shredding the top patterns to make a nest in the box. I tossed her out, and, without resealing the box, shut it in a closet where I assumed it would be safe from the brooding habits of the domestic feline. I should know better than to assume anything about cats.

Last week a friend was staying over in my spare room. She was awaked in the middle of the night by a spooky rustling noise coming from the closet. Not having learned the lesson of a million horror movies, she went to investigate, opened the closet door (which, as far as we both knew, had been closed since my friend arrived and, indeed, since I had put the box away) my other female cat jumped out of its bed among the patterns. That tissue must be more addictive than catnip.

Obviously I need to do something about those patterns.

Alas, I didn't check for pockets

I did send one -- Simplicity 5022, to Erin at A Dress A Day, knowing her attachment to both shirtdresses and Peter Pan collars. That only leaves me 99 more to deal with.

I considered selling some of them, but most have been opened and cut, and to be a responsible seller I would have to look through each pattern piece by piece to make sure it was all there. I tried this on one pattern and couldn't refold it to fit back in its envelope. Soooo . . . selling doesn't look like an easy solution.

Curses, HP!

I'd like to post pictures of some of the patterns here, but after an hour-long battle with my combined printer/fax/alleged scanner for one image, that's not going to be as easy or entertaining (for me, at least) as I hoped.

It would also be nice to sew up some of the patterns to see how 60's styles would look in modern fabrics. Back in the day my mother and I would whip up a dress a weekend, mostly, heaven help us, out of polyester double-knit. That staple of the 60s and 70s was a great fabric for the home sewer: it was easy to use, washable, and had the body for those stiff mod shift dresses. All the scraps we threw away will probably outlast the pyramids among the other plastic trash in their overflowing landfill. Anyway, I think an entirely new, and much improved, look would be achieved if, for example, I made Simplicity 7268's jacket in a fun boucle and the dress in a coordinating wool, assuming I could find anything suitable at the local JoAnn's, which, alas, is the only convenient fabric store.

Then there's the sewing machine problem: I donated my ancient Singer and Necchi to the Salvation Army, then I was scared off by the $3000 fully computerized monsters when I went shopping for a replacement. I must gird my loins and try again.

Yesterday's visit to a local department store, however, has inspired me to sew. There I was, surrounded by acres of clothing (but no other shoppers; I was practically run over by eager sales staff) and almost every item I looked at, including a $450.00 Ellen Tracy jacket, was made in China. The one exception was a top made in the Marianas, where the women in the garment trades have been called "the most exploited women in the world." And there is a connection between the dearth of shoppers and the fact that very little is made in the U.S. Oy. Depressing.

Anyway, what did I finally do?

Why, I bought another vintage pattern, of course! Ain't it a beauty? And sooner or later I'll have a garment that's Made in the U.S.A., I just have to do it my own damn self.

Click on the pictures for links to patterns for sale, except Simplicity 7268.