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