Best Knit T and the Ship Of Theseus skirt


Here we have Simplicity 5185 MISSES SET OF TOPS (DESIGNED FOR KNIT FABRICS ONLY) from 1972, and Vogue 2476 MISSES JACKET AND SKIRT from 1949, reprinted in 2000.

And here’s what I did with them:


A little bit different maybe.

So the shirt pattern: great. Best knit shirt pattern I’ve ever used, mainly in that the shoulders are just plain right. The seam is in the right spot, there’s no ease from the cap to the armseye, it’s just great.

The sleeve stripes are added in because I wanted long sleeves but didn’t have the yardage. I feel like they add a sport vibe to this otherwise Power Puff get up and I love them for that.

The collar is a contrast V, because I first made the View 2 Henley placket and it was suuuuuuper bad. Really really looked like pajamas, like no way to dress them like day clothes, just really looked like I rolled out of bed. I like a Henley placket in general and would try again, but this fabric, being thermal knit and in this particular stars and rainbows print has too many pajama strikes against it already.

So I cut away the placket and just made up the V.


The skirt is further away from its original.

I’m calling it Ship Of Theseus because I eliminated the waistband and the skirt length, dropped the waistline, lost the darts, and then later went back in and changed the angle of side seams and the back seam, and went with an exposed back zip instead of the original lapped side seam. And lined it. So all of its original parts have been replaced. Is it still Vogue 2476? Well, there’s the thought experiment for ya.

Side note: according to Wikipedia, the Ship Of Theseus is both a fun philosophical question and an actual problem with real ships that the navy occasionally has to deal with.

Sew them or throw them?

Definitely sew the Simplicity shirts forever. I recently saw a photo of someone wearing a turtle neck with a back neck zipper, like View 1, and instead of looking insane like usual, this time it looked like a cute retro detail. So I might go for that at some point.

And the Vogue reprint, I mean, I haven’t even really given it a chance yet, so it’s a sew too for now. Or at least not a throw. Hard to imagine ever making the jacket, which is the entire reason for the patterns existence, but it sure is cool looking, with those magical front pockets appearing from the bodice seams.

Parting shot: here’s a close up of the border on the skirt. It’s made from a wool remnant, this crazy herringbone was the selvedge and I had basically enough to make exactly this size and shape of skirt, no more length or height even if I’d wanted it. And the selvedge is not an even width, which is why the border doesn’t match up at the back seam. Whatever! Hooray for supply limitations!



Folkwear 237: tango tango tango top

The pattern is Folkwear 237, published in 1986. 

This is not Eighties Does Twenties (although that does sound terribly entertaining), nor is a copy of an actual twenties dress. This is an original design, made in the 1980’s, but thoroughly researched to be evocative of the tango era. 

That’s pretty much what Folkwear is about. Evoking a time period. They’re worth checking out if you wanna get not just vintage, but historical. 

For example, above, research. Stuff about the tango! Wear it and know it!

I am the original owner of this pattern. It was pristine when I got it. I was pretty horrified when I opened it recently, to see the state I had left it in however many years ago. I had cut the paper at a size six. That is a couple sizes below my size. I’d also folded and taped out a bunch of the length through the bodice and had redrawn some lines. Like a maniac. I had used a stretch fabric (it was sheer black, with black polka dots), which I guess explains the sizing down, although not fully. I also remember that I looked awful in the dress, which confused me at the time, but now looking at the line-art I can see that this is not a style that would ever really work for me. 

One of the benefits of being older than you once were: the ability to look at line art and say “nope”. 

This dress would look great on a lady with broad shoulders and narrow hips, which, not coincidentally, was the fashionable body type of the time. 

Anyway, this time around I wasn’t sewing for me, I was sewing for a friend. Just for a nice surprise. After I finished this I stuffed it into a box and mailed it off to her. 

The pattern provides two back options, one with a deep V and a pair of streamers, the other plain. 

I thought the streamers were kind of dumb so I skipped those. 

And by dumb I mean unmotivated: they are sewn into the seam at the back neck. Just stuck right in there. They don’t appear to be the natural extension of anything, in the way that the bow in front is a natural extension of the collar. They look added on. I prefer my odd design elements to have a reason. I understand that the streamers are for dancing, and maybe in that contex they look organic, but I’m still not into them. 

I also made the back V much narrower and shallower than patterned. I wanted it to be a fun detail, not a struggle that involves bra decisions. 

The fabric is a bright lime colored silk for the tie, and a polka dot rayon for the body. Both the tie and the dress itself are patterned to be straight grain, so as a top this takes almost no yardage and is a great use of scraps like these. 

I really like these fabrics together. They are really bright and joyous, I’ve been pairing them up with potential projects for a while now and I’m glad they’ve landed together in this top, for my friend who is really bright and joyous. 

The ties are really long! 

For the size I guessed, while erring on the side of too big, while also making it very easy to take in. The armsceyes are finished with bias to the inside, with the side seams overlocked separately and sewn last of all. This way if she needs it taken in, it’s just a seam, no re-doing the bias. 

The shirt tail hem I drew. It’s not too far from the original lines of the bodice to skirt seam, just less angular. 

Sew It or Throw It:

Throw It! I made such a mess of this pattern, I never want to see it again. 

Good news though: making this top showed me how easy it is to make a tie-front on, like, anything. The last tie-front top I made was pretty involved, with a button front and facings and stuff. This one was simple. So simple I feel empowered to tie-front everything. Tie-fronts for all!!!!

And as far as throwing, there’s a perfectly good, untampered with knitting pattern in there, for the cardigan. So hopefully whoever picks this copy up next, knits. 

McCall’s 4387: a Halston and a stowaway 

Here we have McCall’s 4387, published in 1975. It’s a Halston.

Halston was, as you know, an American fashion designer highly associated with disco, Studio 54, and ultrasuede. Also pants, caftans, working in bias, and designing for the relaxed urban lifestyle of the American woman. Here’s a neat post on Pattern Vault, titled  Yves Saint Laurent + Halston; Fashioning The 70s. Lots of patterns to daydream about over there. 

With all that info in mind, I was pretty pumped when I saw this pattern as part of a miscellaneous lot for sale on eBay. Even more pumped when I won the lot. 

These are the pieces that are supposed to be in this envelope:

A skirt, pockets, waistband, a belt, a cape. You can see where this is going, right?

These are the pieces that are actually in the envelope:

Belt, Cape, as expected
What?! You are not a skirt?! What are you?!!!!

As you can see, that’s the cape and belt. But instead of the skirt, waistband, and pocket pieces that are supposed to be there, there is a pair of pants, waistband, and tunic belt belonging to a whole other pattern.

Which is just what happens sometimes. The seller clearly stated that the patterns were used and there may be pieces missing. The risk is part of the treasure-hunting element of inexpensive miscellaneous eBay lots. I’m fine with that. 

And, to be honest, I’d already been planning to change the skirt. Glancing at the cover art, I had thought it was a wrap skirt with a D-ring closure. But on closer inspection it’s just a regular old A-line type deal with a center back zipper and a completely separate belt. 

Here is the quick post-it doodle I made for myself for how to improve upon Halston:

Obviously I’m joking about improving upon Halston. Let’s say personalize, instead. 

My plan was to cut the back and front on the fold, then cut an extra half CF piece (actually 3/4 would be better), seam it into one side seam, leave an opening under that seam at the top for getting in and out, no zipper, the whole thing cinches closed with an attached belt and D-ring. A semi-faked wrap. Halston would not approve. He liked things that really work. Wraps that really wrap, etc. 

Sew It or Throw It:

Throw It all. 

The stowaway pants because I don’t have the envelope, and they are a size 8 which is very very tiny in pattern sizing, and they’re not exciting enough to size up. 

The rest of it (cape pattern, belt pattern, instruction sheet) I’m putting back in the envelope, writing Skirt Pattern Missing across the front, and throwing into the thrift shop donation bag. 

I was excited about the idea of a Halston outfit, but to be honest I figured I’d wear the cape and skirt to a few parties and then reuse the cape as fabric for something else after the holiday season. Big drapey things with no closures, requiring my awareness to keep them on my body, aren’t a good fit for my non-party-time lifestyle.

So hopefully someone else will find it, and now they’ll be forewarned about the skirt. 

If anyone wants to approximate this cape at home: it’s a half circle, about three feet radius, with one rounded corner and a neck area scooped out. Lot of drama to wear, nice and simple in shape. 

A pattern I made: the backwards dress

the pattern: 

I made this pattern, here’s the story: 

One time I went to New York City and had drinks with a friend who was wearing this great dress. It was kind of vintage looking, in black. Very plain, sheath-type dress from the front, until she turned around, and then the back had this dramatic, generously open, collar surprise. 

Almost like she had her dress on backwards. I really liked it. So I went home and draped it up from memory and made this pattern, and then a dress. 

I don’t remember what year that was, and I didn’t put a date on my pattern. Let’s say 2006? Ten years ago? Maybe? 

Anyway, the dress is now too small. 

Hey, your dress is too small! Hey, yours too!

I mean, if I stand like this it’s fine:

But I can’t stand like that all day. 

Here’s the back.

I can’t remember if my friend’s dress had buttons, but mine sure does. I should have made them silver, then I could’ve called this my Miss Mary Mack dress. 

The dress has lots of seam allowance, so I could let it out, but I’m over it. Partly because of this: 

If you zoom in to the bust area in the photo above (wheeee!), you can see how I kept messing with this dress, practically like it was a muslin, way after it was done and I should’ve left it alone. It started out with french darts to shape the bust, then I added a sort of a princess dart, which I transferred to my pattern in green, then I added a curved under-bust seam that took up some excess at the midriff and then disappeared to nothing at the side seam where it met up with the French darts. 

Too much business. It’s so overworked that it bothers me. I don’t want to wear it now, let alone alter it and then wear it. Although I did like it and wear it back in 2006 or whenever it was that I made it. And I still think it’s cute.

So I offered it to my sister. She gets First Refusal when I get rid things I’ve made.

That’s our real text exchange. 

So, yay, happy ending, now it belongs to her! 

She’s cute, huh! The dress is cute with the belt too. Maybe I should’ve thought of that. Oh well, TOO LATE NOW! 

Sew It or Throw It:

Throw It. I’m over it. Pattern has got too many issues. Not least of which is the collar, which, while fun, should be more subtle and elegant. Maybe the collar could roll out more gradually from some kind of interesting center front detail. Or roll into the center back in a more voluptuous way. Less flat. Something.

Could be fun to keep the pattern, just in case I ever come across the original pattern that inspired my friends dress which inspired this dress. But then again, if that ever happened, and what would be the chances, I would most likely just compare photos rather than unfolding and comparing patterns. 

I made it once, I could make it again. So, Throw. 

Student work, from the “Why Do I Still Have This” file. 

Here we have a sack coat and a tail coat. I made these patterns, and suits from the patterns, as part of tailoring class in school in 1999. 

The NCSA you see above would now be UNCSA, or the University North Carolina School of the Arts, but it didn’t officially have its U back when I was a student, although it was part of the University of North Carolina system at that time. 


Last century you guys. Why do I still have these? Well, honestly because they’re small. Easier to keep on keeping them than to open them up and make a decision. Plus there was so much effort involved in these damned jackets. I guess it took sixteen years to feel secure that I really truly will never want these again. 

Let’s look inside. 

Ugggggg, all that tape and brown paper, ugggggg. Makes me feel anxious just looking at it. Let’s see what’s going on in here.

Uggg, god, nightmares. 

Wow, ok so October 4, 1999. That would’ve been fall of my senior year of school, which sounds about right, tailoring not being something you throw at the freshmen. Jason M. would’ve been an a opera student who they knew would have a role in the spring opera. His role wouldn’t have been assigned yet, but his teachers would’ve known he would be in it, so a costume tech student (me) could make him a suit, with fabric that the costume design student had bought in New York for the upcoming opera. 

It was all very symbiotic. Later, closer to the production, roles would be assigned, costumes for the ladies would be made, but for the men’s tailoring we had a whole semester of lead time to, you know, learn and then do tailoring. 

And this is the sack coat, for some dude named Andrew, who would’ve been a drama student with an unassigned role in an upcoming play. Looks like I worked on this one in December of 1999. Oh, man, all that business around the welt and the roll line. I want to text my past self some encouraging emojis or something. Kitten dangling from a tree branch, thumbs up, heart heart heart. 

My handwriting has changed. So rounded back then. Also, why did I write “corrected” in such a quiet yellow? Seems like I would’ve been shouting it from the rooftops. 

Look how adorable, I wrote “dart” inside the dart. As if I wouldn’t know. 

Ok so obviously these two patterns are a Throw It. I would never try and work from these now. I mean, for one thing, let’s get real snobby here: I don’t work with brown paper, not since my student days. White pattern-paper, printed with a grid for me please, brown paper is for Crafts and Theater. It’s not that I’m too fancy for brown paper anymore, grid paper is just easier. 

Looking at these patterns though, makes me think of sugar cookies: 

Those were long days at school. Thursday’s in particular. 

Academic classes from 8am-12, then I think I had Costume History, and then a life-drawing lab for three hours, then my work/study job, then crew from 7pm to 11pm. Crew meant building costumes for upcoming productions, but not including class work like tailoring. We had 20 hours of mandatory scheduled crew per week, show up a minute late and you were dropped a full letter grade, and we were in charge of teams of freshman stitchers. 

After all that my friend Tara and I would drive to the 24 hour grocery to stock up for the week. Neither of us lived on campus so we were in charge of feeding ourselves. The bakery section of this particular grocery store had a box with a sign saying Please Enjoy A Cookie, and inside would be these big flat sugar cookies, with rough edges and soft centers and crystals of sugar on top. It sometimes amazed me that there were any left in the box at 11:30 at night. I wonder now if someone had caught on to our schedule and was making sure a few were in there for us. I remember those free cookies as, like, a moment of kindness.

Fourteen patterns I haven’t got time for: Simplicity {4534, 7231, 8410, 8710, 8778} Butterick {4933, B5688, 6650, 6729} McCall’s {3432, M5856, M6480, 7287} and Style 1723

Sometimes a pattern is beautiful, in design and in presentation, and I buy it because I like beautiful things and I want to make something beautiful. 

Sometimes a pattern is hideous, in design and in styling/artwork, but I still buy it because I want to see what I can do with it. 

Sometimes I go through my pattern box and pull out a bunch of stuff that just isn’t hideous enough to be interesting. Stuff I collect in a box until the box is full and then either eBay or thrift shop the whole mess.

In the spirit of Fall Cleaning and planning, here is such a box.  

Consider this a Planning To Not Do post. 

McCall’s 7287 from 1980. I like how sad the kids look. Seriously, sometimes kids look like that. This is good illustration. 

However, the clothes are BORING. 

I have a boy, and this pattern is for girls, which means if I used it I would be sewing for a friend, which means I’d be showing off at least a little bit, but this pattern is too basic to really satisfy my showing-off needs. 

So this girls’ pattern is useless to me. 

Which is actually not true, the vest doesn’t close at the front, which avoids the issue of closing right-over-left for girls, left-over-right for boys. So really, this pattern could be for boys, it just appears to be for girls only. Which is an unfortunate choice in cover art. Maybe there’s a reason? Maybe they ran the same pattern for boys that year, but with a different embroidery transfer included? Who knows. 

Easy McCall’s M5856 from 2009. At first I was into this, but then noticed how it’s strangely unflattering on both the model and the illustration. How did it even do that? 

Simplicity 7231 Blah. Better shirts, pants, and bikinis exist in the world, and in my pattern box. Strange styling too, it’s got such a cold look for a beach vacation type pattern group. 

Also, button-up shirt with sarong. For me that would only happen if I’d forgotten to re-pack my beach bag and had no choice but to wear whatever mixed-up stuff was in there. Not a look I’d build on purpose. 

McCall’s M6468 from 2011. I am tempted to actually throw this one, like into the recycling, because: 

If you ask pattern makers and designers and seamstresses and people interested in fashion and people who sew for themselves, “what got you into sewing,” a huge percentile will say, “When I was little I started making clothes for my dolls and it was fun,” and I hate to think of some kid being overwhelmed by the complexity of these doll patterns and being turned off, or worse, taking it to their mom to sew and never having the experience of playing around with making stuff themselves. 

Ok I’m being dramatic. I won’t really put it in the recycling. But I do consider playing around with doll clothes as a real, legitimate gateway into sewing. Halloween costumes, same thing. Don’t make them for your kids, help your kids make their own.

Style 1723 from 1990, I made it, I did a blog post, it’s a Throw. 

Butterick 6650 from 2000, I made this too, must’ve been in 2000, as a surprise for a friend. Did it up in a galloping horses print in brown and white, with a contrasting pink handkerchief-print yoke, collar, and cuffs, and pearl buttons. It was meant to be kind of terrible and kind of great. Nailed it! 

Not keeping it because I now have better (more fun, vintage) patterns for men’s and for women’s western shirts. 

Simplicity 8710 is so sweet. And so costume-y looking. Maybe would look ok with just the under-dress but without the collar? Meh, pass. Love the hair on the girl in the middle though. 

Simplicity 4534 from 2005 is kind of a weird one. Lingerie inspired outerwear, but with a high, modest, closed-in sweetheart neckline. It’s like it wants to be sexy but is afraid. I thought about how this would look as sleepwear, or extended into a dress, and decided: not awesome. Some of the style lines are cute? Someone else can love this. 

Butterick 6729 from 1988, I love the illustrations here. I really really love how View B at the top right is obviously talking into her super spy-tech earring-phone to her spy handler back at some covert agency. And all the other ladies are looking around suspiciously. 

This one would fall into the category of So Ugly I Want To Fix It, except that there’s a handwritten note on the envelope that says “no back yoke pieces,” and I don’t want to work that hard on my ugliness challenges. 

Also interesting to me that this one cost $2 at the Goodwill. That seems like a lot for an old ugly pattern, especially one that clearly says it’s incomplete. I got this as part of an eBay lot, which included many patterns with thrift store stickers. I wonder if that’s something that people do, buy up crummy patterns at the thrift, resell them for an extremely slim profit as part of a miscellaneous pattern lot. 

Simplicity 8410 from 1987. I love this pattern art. Look at the guy in red. With those reflective sunglasses. Both these 80’s patterns are so smoldering! 

I would keep this and make it for me if it was a men’s XS, but it is a men’s XL, with who knows how much ease. I fear it would take over the entire house. 

McCalls’s 3432 from 2001. I bought this on sale thinking pjs are a fun gift for a teenager, but with no particular teenager in mind. Didn’t notice at the time that this junior sized pattern envelope is sized for the larger range, which is basically the same as regular women’s sizes, which I have some cute vintage pj patterns of, so this one is redundant. Throw!

Butterick B5688 from 2011 is not my size or my style. Also it smells like floral scented laundry detergent. Outta here! 

Simplicity 8778 from 1970. Love the artwork. I get a medical vibe from View 1, like if her white necklace was actually a stethoscope I’d totally believe it. Maybe she’s a  veterinarian! Maybe she keeps doggie biscuits in those pockets! 

I think it’s the raglan sleeves and the V neck. Pretty common combo for scrubs. Maybe that’s why I’m not into it. It’s also large, resizing would be more trouble than I’m interested in.

Butterick 4933 is, like, so close! So close to being a great pattern! If that bizarre yoke were set like three inches lower! Like the yoke on harem pants! As is, it’s just weird! Plus the pattern is very small! 

Also, the zip is in the back, and the front looks like the back yoke on jeans. I would put these on backwards every single time. And be enraged. 

There. Done. All throws. Feels good. 

Style 1723: a sundress for a windy day

{I don’t believe in fabric regrets. I think it’s always better —when I’m sewing at home for my own entertainment— to use a fabric rather than hold it for some unknown future perfect use. But with this project, as soon as I’d finished and was editing photos I realized what the perfect use would’ve been. Now I have fabric regrets. 
So let’s play a fun game: as you read, think about what you would’ve made instead of what I made, and then let’s get together at the end of the post and see if our ideas match up.}

The Pattern:
Style 1723, Misses’ Dress and Jacket (or, Robes et Veste Jeune Femme) copyright 1990 Style Patterns. Ltd. 
I found this one at a thrift. What sold me was the View 1 illustration, the one where she’s facing front and the skirt is billowing billowing billowing. 
Also the photo reminds me of Daryl Hannah in Splash!, although when I went and did a search to confirm that Daryl Hannah was actually in Splash!, I saw that she didn’t look like this at all, instead of long soft hair, she had bangs and that amazing white-blonde crimped mermaid hair that inspired a world of unfortunate crimped copy-cattery.
Also, Splash! came out in 1984. What?! That is much much earlier than I would’ve guessed, and six years earlier than this pattern. 
Also let’s take a moment to laugh at that jacket. Hahahhahahahaha.Ok done. 

The Fabric:
It’s taffeta, in pink and tan plaid on a white background. It was an end-of-bolt sale remnant, and there was just enough (about 5 yards) of it to cut out this dress while avoiding the big fade stripes along the fold lines, which totally happened on my watch during the dozen or so years I’ve had this stuff. 
I washed it before cutting, to get that crinkly texture, and so that I could wash the eventual dress. 
Here below is the best part of the dress: the skirt is so full and the washed taffeta is so light, that it catches every breeze.

Here below is the worst bummer of the dress: it does not look good on me. 
It’s the waistline. I think if the waistline hit about three inches lower, and had a more dramatic curve up at the sides and down at the front and back, it would look about a million times better. As is, it’s chopping me at a bad place and makes everything look broad and childish yet frumpy. And the girly plaid isn’t helping. 

I tell ya what though: if you want to learn what lines look good on your figure, just take pictures. I’ve been wearing clothes most of my life, but have learned more in the past couple weeks about what I look good in, just from looking at the difference between how that red and purple Donna Karan looks and how this pink thing looks, than, like, ever. I mean, it’s the difference between hot damn and regular damn. 
So that’s good. 
Here’s the back. 

Ok no really, here’s the back. 

Hard to get a good photo of this dress, because of how fun the skirt is.  

Time and Changes:
6 hours. I skipped the center back zipper, and I cut the bodice on bias instead of straight, in (unfulfilled) hopes of a more slinky bias fit. 
Speaking of photos being helpful, I’m realizing that I should be giving myself more length in the upper bodice, front and back, like on all patterns across the board from now on. Like draw a horizontal line at mid-armsceye level and make a note to cut out the garment above the line, then drop the pattern piece maybe an inch, then cut from the line down. This would lower bust darts and give me more room in the armsceye, which are two things it seems like I’m always doing, especially the older the pattern. 
This is the kind of thing I can see on another person in a fitting room, but it’s taken over a year of blog photos to see it on myself. If only I’d heeded the advice of Cher Horowitz all those years ago: dress yourself with photos, not the mirror. 

The Regrets:
My fabric regret is this: I was looking at these photos and thinking how this is the weirdest fabric. It’s taffeta, so it’s all shiny rustle-y party-time, it’s pink, and pink and shiny equal princess overload, but it’s a small scale plaid, like you’d see in a hardworking daytime cotton, like…shirting. 
This fabric would’ve made a great shirtdress. Polished, lightweight, unassuming. Understated but fancy. Aaaaaaaaaaargh. After having this stupid fabric for years, the perfect idea came like two weeks too late. 
What would you have made out of this stuff? Shirtdress? It’s shirtdress right? Everyone saw it but me? 

Sew It or Throw it: 
Throw it. The pattern, because it’s not right for me, and the dress because it can’t be saved. Even the easy save of put-a-T-shirt-on-overtop isn’t working. It’s ok though, I am pretty happy at having finally made something with this fabric, it feels good to have produced something, even if I’m just producing it right outta my life. 

McCall’s M6707: some kind of cummerbunded, tuxedo-striped capris 

The Pattern:
McCall’s M6707, MISSES’ PANTS, copyright 2013 The McCall Pattern Co.
This pattern is inspired by NBC’s Fashion Star. Whatever that is. 

The Fabric: 
The main fabric is black canvas, the contrast stripe and waist band are a very dark irredescent green. Like a beetle. Which is cool in real life, but does not photograph at all. 
Seriously, after trying a bunch of different photo-adjusting, black and white is the only option that showed the seamlines. And I think the seamlines are the entire reason for these pants? Because other than a stripe/yoke combo they’re just kinda regular pants with an awkward, tapered, loose fit and a dorky length? 
Why did I even buy this pattern? 
I always think capris are going to be great and then, there it is. 
Actually, I know why I bought this pattern. It was on sale, back before I had the JoAnn’s app, when the pattern sale was this phenomenon that not even store employees could predict. For reals, I asked a lady once if the pattern sale was on some kind of seasonal schedule and she was like, “oh no, we never know when it’s going to be.” So whenever I stumbled into it, I would just buy all kinds of crazy mess. 

Grainy black&whites! Wheeeee!

Here below is the point of this whole pattern: my butt. No wait I mean the tuxedo stripe and back yoke, which are cut in one piece and have a corner you have to reinforce and clip, and which is just not cool enough looking for all the trouble involved. 

And here below is the part that I find most interesting. Changes!
Rather than describe all the changes, I took a photo of the pattern piece diagram and drew in red the changes I made. 

Ok a little description. The main changes are that I made a fly,
—this is the second modern McCall’s pants pattern I’ve done up that had no fly. It has a fly facing cut in one with the front, but no separate fly. Why no fly, McCall’s, why no fly???—
I made the waistband higher and more like a cummerbund, which is more comfortable for me than the mid-low rise of this pattern,
And I reshaped the crotch seam. Which I had a fun time thinking about, how when you let the seam out at the center back, as per the top blue arrow, you give more room for your body, but as the seam continues under, letting out means you are actually going higher into the crotch and giving your body less room, so instead you have to drop down as if you are taking in but you’re really letting out, as per the lower blue arrow. So crazy!
And I made the crotch shape more of a rounded square than a U. 
And some other things. Slits at the ankles. Took in the back inseam more than the front. Would’ve taken the whole thing in even more but this fabric has no give and I need to bend my knees sometimes. 


13 and a half hours. Mostly checking fit, reshaping, checking fit, changing, checking fit. The pattern calls itself easy, and it really is if you just do it as is: the zipper is the biggest construction challenge on pants, and these pattern instructions are nice and succinct. 
My only beef with the zipper, other than the no fly weirdness, is that the zipper and waistband close right-over-left. Technically correct as these are women’s pants and women’s closures are supposed to go right-over-left, but a front zip is traditionally a menswear detail, and I wish the pattern had just bowed to tradition on that one. You know, like how womens jeans open the man way, because jeans were menswear long before women started wearing them. 

Sew It or Throw It:

Throw it. 
This pattern was not made for my body. All those changes, just, lord. I mean good practice, but lord.  I think I could achieve this sort of cummerbund tuxedo stripe look better if I started with a heavy stretch fabric and a high waisted leggings pattern and cut them as is from the knee up and straight and stove-pipey from the knee down. 

Simplicity 8468: confirmation that I am no milliner. 

The Pattern:
Simplicity 8468, HAT, MINI-BAG, SHOULDER BAG, BERET, SCARF, KNITTED BERET AND KNITTED SCARF, copyright 1969 Simplicity Pattern Co. Inc. 
Maybe you remember this pattern? From that time when I decided to give it a second chance and not Throw it? 
When it was knitted for me by my friend HRM who suggested I, 

Throw this thing, and toss a lit match in after.

Well. She was right. 
The original post is here, complete with HRM’s notes on the knitting process, and here below is the hat she made.  

It’s cute. I still like the version she made me. However, here below are bad versions, which I made in an optimistic, hugs&rainbows, this’ll-totally-work haze. 

This one above is the beret, which I thought was going to be floppier? More flat on top? More standing away from the head, less like something I might wear in a kitchen? Or a convent? 
Maybe I don’t understand what a beret is supposed to be. 
This one was made from a cashmere sweater from the thrift shop. I used the ribbed hem of the sweater for the edge, instead of elastic in a channel like the patterns says. 
I find the seam across the crown really visible and distracting, and yet it doesn’t add shape or style. So I’m not a fan. I prefer the more typical darts-at-the-top method for rounding out a hat. 

And here above is the hat. 
This hat hurts my head. And I don’t mean like in a “math is tough!” kind of way, I mean it physically hurts my head. 
Which is my fault. 
Totally my fault.
I used a really thick fabric for this, some kind of industrial synthetic felt. I think it was actually a packing material, like it came to the house in a box to protect the contents and instead of throwing it out I was like, “ooh! This is almost like fabric!!!” 
All that fat seam allowance turns to the inside and tourniquets my head and it’s awful. 
So this one is going to the thrift shop. It would be great for a kids dress-up box. Just not my kid, because I am Over It. 

Sew It or Throw It:
Throwing it! 
Here’s the thing though: I still believe this could be done well. Just not by me. By some other person. A person who has:

  1. Experience manipulating felt
  2. A free-arm sewing machine
  3. A nice wooden head-block 
  4. Education in millinery, and the patience that comes with that education. 

Millinery is a skill. I respect milliners, I’m not one, I don’t want to put in the time to become one. I want to make a dorky hat, complain about it, and send it off to a new home.

Fly away, dorky hat!

Anne Adams 4695: tiny giraffes, giant collar

the pattern: 
Anne Adams 4695
Not dated, but when I posted this on Instagram and asked what decade people thought it might be, Fabric Tragic pointed out that the postmark reads 1974. I had not noticed! That Sarah. She is smart. 

Anne Adams was a mail-order pattern company, The Googles more or less confirm that it was operational from the 1940’s-1970’s. 
I’ve had this pattern for about ten years (yard sale find), and every time I have flipped past it in my pattern box, I glance at the outer envelope and think, “wow, totally boring dress,” and keep flipping. Forgetting completely that the illustration on the outer envelope is the generic mailing-envelope art, and that the real dress is illustrated on the information page inside. 
Therefor, now when I am pattern-lurking on eBay and I see a vintage pattern without it’s envelope, instead of thinking Ew Gross Do Not Want, I reserve judgment for a second to see if it’s just that it’s an Anne Adams and the original owner threw away the boring mailing envelope. 


No recommended fabrics list. Kinda odd. I usually ignore the recommended fabrics anyway, and make whatever out of whatever, but it is helpful to at least know what the pattern was aiming for. Was this supposed to be a light-weight shirt dress or a heavier coat-dress? I don’t know! It has pleats like a shirt, but horizontal buttonholes like a coat. It’s a mystery. 


the fabric: 
Light-weight cotton with giraffe print. The giraffes are all oriented in the same direction, which meant I had to cut the collar with a center back seam so both collar points would have an upright giraffe. 

Look at that collar though.

No really, look at it.


It is way past the shoulder seam. It is galloping right outta there. 
On an unrelated note: see those Rose Quartz earrings? Some girl told me they looked like a lump, and I totally ignored her and was annoyed, but looking at the earrings now in photos I can see that they match my skin too closely in color. Dang it. Gonna throw them. 

Back to the dress: it’s not the greatest. 


The back is boring.
The front is boxy. On me. Square Zone.  Box City. Unflatter Town.
As shown below, even posing in that classic Child’s-Idea-Of-What-Fashion-Looks-Like can’t fix it. 



Leaving the skirt unbuttoned kind of helps, I was almost sold on keeping it that way, but then, after I had changed and put away the photo backdrop and the ladder and was about to go run an errand, I thought, “should I wear my new dress?” And then I answered myself, “no,” and then I thought, “ok that’s a bad sign.” 

So I cut it into a shirt.

That’s better.    
And look! 
Sophie Giraffe photo bomb! 

14.25 hours. I had estimated 12.
I flat felled the sleeves instead of setting them in, and the side seams are French. Sleeve placket is faced! That’s what the pattern told me to do!  Faster and easier than a lapped placket, and not bad looking, but So Weird! 

I made the skirt a little shorter than called for, but the button placement is exactly following the pattern. Which seems a little risqué in the skirt department there. The pattern doesn’t exactly say “hey girl, go ahead and show the world about eight inches of your slip”, but it doesn’t say to stitch the center front shut below the last button either.

Sew It or Throw It:
Throw it. Keeping the shirt, throwing the pattern. 
To make this look good on me, as a dress, I would need to give it a waist seam, make the skirt flare out, talk sense into that collar, and what would be the point. That is too much work and obliterates the original design. There are other shirt-dresses in the sea.
So I am going to carefully place this pattern and envelope in a plastic Baggie, with the dress illustration facing outward, and all the pieces safely kept together, and send it off to the thrift. 


Oh hey, Vintage Pledge! I know, I pledged to do one pattern from each vintage decade that I own, and I’ve already done the 70’s, but it seems like the spirit of the pledge is to sew more vintage patterns, so in that spirit I am tagging it.