Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Tale of Yesterday. . . and Today - Part 3

I am now at the climax of my story. Could I be going to tell you that. . .

I lost so much weight, having become a mere shadow of my former self, that I can now fit into the pattern, and that at long last I am going to make it for myself. (Oh I wish, but FAT CHANCE. I’m writing a memoir here, not a fantasy!!!)

Okay, on to the actual account. I pick up at our thought from last post.

That is until several weeks ago when my youngest daughter, Orangeblossom, had been rummaging around in my bedroom and found my old treasure for herself. The scene from forty-five years ago again began to unfold. Only this time there was a twist in the plot, this mama loves to sew, and she would love to sew THIS pattern. When Orangeblossom came running excitedly up to me and, in that same pleading voice that I had used so many years ago with my own mother, asked me to make the pattern into a dress for her, I melted. I steadied myself before answering and said, “Let’s check your measurements first to see if the pattern will actually fit you.” And it did fit!!!

“We need to see if all the pattern pieces are here. You know, Honey, it’s a very old pattern, there might be some missing,” I added hesitantly, fearful of getting up her hopes, as well as MINE. Strange as it might seem, I had never thought to look at the actual pattern before; I had never taken out the contents of the envelope to check them. In that torn and tattered envelope, somehow the pieces of the pattern were still in good condition. In fact, they were in VERY good condition. BUT were they all there; had some been lost? We counted and compared. YES, ALL THE PIECES WERE THERE!!!

I’m not sure who was more excited, my own little girl or the little girl from long ago that still resides somewhere deep inside me. Now I needed to know when exactly this pattern was published, because that would determine the fabric that we would choose. I wanted this dress to be as authentic to the time period as we would make it. I emailed Simplicity giving the number of the pattern in question and added that it was priced at 25¢ on the pattern. I was astonished to get a reply that very afternoon. While they did not still have the actual pattern to check, the price of the pattern was helpful in determining that the approximate date of the pattern was around 1940 – maybe a little earlier.

Armed with that information, we could now go and select fabric. The fabric had to be just the right design. With all the retro fabric that is manufactured now days, I was certain that we could find just the right fabric for the style. After much searching and deliberation, Orangeblossom finally decided upon a simple cotton fabric with only four colors in the palette. The design was rosebuds on a light blue background. Now all that was left was to take it home and begin.

I was especially excited about making this dress for several reasons.

Out of the four vintage patterns, my own daughter had fallen in love with the very same pattern that I had so long ago.

My mom had worn a dress like this, and now my daughter would.
I was actually making a garment from a vintage pattern, something I have wanted to do for such a long, long time.

It was such fun to see some of the differences in this pattern and the patterns that are produced today. For example, the darts were marked only by perforations where they started, ended and changed width (think of paper punch holes). Actually, I liked this method much better. I used a water-soluble marking pen that made the whole process quick, easy, and accurate. In the day when the pattern had been made, it would have been a little more difficult. Seamstresses in that day would have to make “tailor tacks” for the markings. Another thing that made me chuckle was that zippers were called “slide fasteners.” The directions were a “little sketchy”, but I had enough knowledge of garment construction to keep myself out of trouble.

I’m always pretty particular about my sewing projects, but I have to admit I might have gone a little overboard on this one. I wanted it to be “just right”. I really took my time sewing. I even did some hand basting (something that nearly never happens), and I probably re-sewed a few things that would have been fine. But in the end, Orangeblossom and I were BOTH pleased.

The only thing left was the photo-shoot. So here are the results. . .

Y And that's the end of my tale,



sunshine princess said...

awww, that's SO neat! I love the sepia toned pictured - it's perfect :)
Glad you got to make your dream dress... my mom has a vintage pattern like that (well, I mean it's an old but lovely pattern - the style isn't the same). The pattern is complete with the directions even for a little pillbox hat with a fishnet veil :)

Wonder where it ever got to?

Bonnie said...

What a great story! And Orangeblossom even LOOKS the part (vintage I mean)- I LOVE the dress!
Beautiful! Now, you must type out the story and save it, so that if one day, she should grow to tall for the dress, it can be carefully packed away with the tale of a mama's love, and brought out again some day for her to share with her own children, because THIS IS AN HEIRLOOM!

momawake said...

It's very nice. It give me hope that I may be able to sew from a vintage pattern. I have lots of them, but have been to scared to try.

Linda said...

What a beautiful pattern, and a beautiful dress. Good job!

Rebecca said...

I admired...and admired...and admired---but then must not have left a comment! Which is a shame because I think you MUST know how much I loved this story and how BEAUTIFUL C is, and how wonderful I think you are to have taken the time to "change history" with your own girl and to see how much she turns out like you.

That dress is just exquisite as is the model. Oh MY she looks grown up, doesn't she?!?!

Nanci said...


Yes, she truly is growing up. I've seen so many changes in her this past year or two. It's quite unnerving for Mama to see her vacillate between a goofy little girl and a poised young lady. Though I think she will always have that fresh "little girl" way about her -- even when she's ninety. She's truly a blessing.

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