Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A draft from the past - Carrying Coat

We were at a charity sale on the weekend (I know, how unusual!) where I found a small pile of vintage sewing patterns.

a selection of vintage sewing patterns from the bargain bundle

The price was low for the bundle, so they all came home with me.

I adore vintage textiles and their patterns, and thought I might have a go at sewing some of the children's patterns.

Vintage garments often have such beautiful details which I would love to be better at. Practicing on child sized garments seams a good way of acquiring skills while not investing in a large-woman sized garment's worth of fabric and time.

These old ones are single-sized, so it doesn't matter too much if they are cut.  With more modern multi-sized patterns, I'm less likely to buy cut patterns unless they are cut to the largest size.

The  first task when dealing with vintage or other second hand sewing patterns is to check that all the pieces are there.  This can be challenging as very old patterns do not have the pieces marked, you have to check them against the instruction sheet, if there is an instruction sheet.

This first one, an infant's carrying coat, is incomplete.  It is missing the sleeve which I may or may not choose to attempt to draft.

The pattern illustration gives two suggestions for construction - a smocked front and back below the bodice or a simple gather.  There is no for smocking design provided.  The instruction sheet says "Smock or shirr as desired".  Madame Weigel assumes a lot of skill.  The instructions for the hemming are "Turn hem on collar ... and spoke-stitch, - or it may be a faggoted band of rouleau."

Madame Weigel's pattern for and infant's carrying coat

The illustration also suggests either a peter pan collar or a pointed one, but there is only one pattern piece provided, the peter pan.

Now these patterns are delightful remnants of the past in themselves, but sometimes there are added joys.

There was, though, an added bonus - a pattern piece drafted on brown paper with hand notation.

Madame Weigel's pattern for and infant's carrying coat with hand drafted pattern piece

The piece does not belong to this pattern.  I could tell that by it's size, and by the shape of the piece which did not match the schema on the instruction sheet.  I could also tell by reading the notation:

Handwritten instructions on hand-drafted pattern piece

Bodice for pleated shirt
for Melva 4 years opening down back
1" 2" pleats face right to left
stitch down back of pleat

I get a thrill when I find these whispers from past sewers.  Was it Melva's mother who drafted this piece and wrote these instructions in fountain pen?  The paper from which the piece is cut has been crumpled ironed flat before drafting.  What did the paper wrap before it became Melva's bodice pattern?  There are only a few pinholes in the paper.  Was Melva growing so fast she only had one or two blouses from this pattern? Was the new baby so demanding Mum didn't have as much time to sew?

Yes, I can let my imagination get away with me at times.


2paw said...

Oh, what a find. I love the handwritten note on the pattern piece. Old patterns for most crafts assume we know what we are doing!!!

Kuka said...

Wow this is gorgeous! I love the patterns and to get handwritten notes too is just a bit magical isn't it?! X

Taphophile said...

Cindy and Bron - they are just lovely. And indeed magical.

Nettie said...

I love acquiring vintage patterns, too - isn't it just like a surreptitious peek into someone's former life!

Brenda said...

I enjoyed reading this. I used to sew many years ago, so these would really take me back...