Simplicity 1783: crazy on the inside

The pattern: Simplicity 1783, GIRLS’ SET OF SKIRTS, copyright 1956 Simplicity Pattern. Co. 

I think this pattern art is really interesting, in that it’s expressing two powerful messages. 

Message One: being a girl is a fun and super active time full of fresh air and outdoor play. The littlest girl, View 2, is putting on roller skates. Slightly older View 4 is playing with a spool on a string. View 1, oldest of the younger girls, has got her bike. 

I think these are really interesting choices, because all that’s being advertised here is a skirt, right? The artist could’ve gone for still, solitary  playtimes, like book reading, bird watching, painting. Hell, just standing still doing nothing. Being seen but not heard. But instead the artist chose activities for these girls that imply a shouty time running around, with friends. Way to empower girlhood, 1956.

But then Message Two: The oldest girl, View 3, does not have a toy and is not playing. She’s standing, elegantly, in white gloves. Her posture is closed. Her skirt is slim. She’s wearing stockings, not socks. She looks poised and happy, but she’s definitely crossed over into another realm. A less shouty running-around realm. 

I also think it’s interesting that her face is the only one we see. The little girls are kind of nebulous but the oldest girl is coming more fully into view. 

Just for fun, I looked up what $0.35, the original price of this pattern in 1956, would be now, and the online inflation calculator says it would be $3.09. That’s totally reasonable. I’d just about pay that. 

I made View 1, for those excellent big pockets. Think of all the frogs and leaves and pieces of string a girl could keep in those pockets! 

They’re less gigantic and bucket-like in real life, I think because the tiny waist on the illustration is throwing off the visual proportions a little. 

The fabric: The fabric was the entire reason for this project. It was a table runner, which was one of a dozen or so that I made for friends’ wedding. The bride encouraged me to take one home at the end of the night, so I did, probably wrapped around me scarf-like for warmth. Recently I cut up the table runner to make this quilt, and then decided there would pretty much be nothing awesomer in the world than making something for my friends’ kids out of the table runner from their wedding. 

It even has red wine stains. From their wedding! Which I mostly cut around, but there’s one faint one in there still. Which I think is great. Kids get to wear a skirt made from fabric that partied with their parents the day they were married. 

My pattern is a size 8, which I think corresponds to age, but I’m guessing age eight in 1956 was different than age eight, now, so I made it as is and sent it off with hopes that it’ll fit one or the other daughter now, or maybe both later, who knows. 

But here’s the Crazy On The Inside part: 

Because it was a narrow runner to begin with, and then most of it was used up for a quilt, and then there were the wine stains to cut around, this thing is totally pieced. 

Above is the inside of the front, below is the inside of the back. I love using every little bit like this. 

Sew It or Throw It: 

Sew It. Think of all the frogs and leaves and pieces of string! 


11 thoughts on “Simplicity 1783: crazy on the inside

  1. What a sweet skirt with a lovely back story. I especially appreciated your analysis of the pattern envelope themes. I feel like this should be a bigger thing. Some pattern envelopes really tell a story!


    1. Thanks, I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner. Like before I used up most of the fabric in a quilt. Although the quilt was worth it, I’m glad I made that quilt. But still, it’s pretty silly to suddenly realize the perfect use for a fabric while staring at a pile of scraps.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right! I googled “old fashioned yoyo” just now, after reading your comment, and got pictures of what I’m more familiar with as a yo-yo (round, flat, cylindrical, groove around the edge for the string, no sticks, string attached at one end, other end with a loop goes on the player’s finger). So then I googled “yo yo with two sticks”, and found the diabolo, or Chinese yo-yo. Neat! Thanks for bringing that up. Today I learned!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s