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Two collars are better than one. Obviously.

From our friends at Lanetz Living (and sent in by Ursula — thank you!) this beautiful dress.

It is (as you can see) adorable; it is also (as you can see) a B32. For some reason (and this seems silly to us today, where tweens and their mothers wear the same candy-colored velour sweatsuits) the girlier fashions of yesteryear are confined to the smaller sizes. I may be an actual matron, and I may be, in fact, matronly, but damn, I reserve my best to wear Peter pan collars until death separates me from them.

Another thing I love about this pattern is the notes on the envelope. I have a couple of dozen high-Mod 1960s suit patterns I purchased at an estate sale a few years ago. It was best after my child was born and it was one of my very early solo outings, which filled me with both excitement (“I am OUT IN THE world AGAIN!”) and terror (“IS MY precious child OKAY?”). In a rush to get home and nurse, and in a spirit of pure greed, I provided the salerunners $25 for the entire box of patterns, without even going through them, and they said “SOLD.” It was pure chance that there was anything in there whatsoever that I liked, but it [turned out to be] a treasure trove. (It was full of vogue Designers!) The woman had been a professional seamstress, and all her pattern envelopes were annotated. “Take 1/2 in. from side seams.” “For Mrs. Kotalski.” “Narrow shoulders — taper 1/4 to seam.” All done in what I assume was golf pencil, from the crabbedness of the handwriting.

I write little sewing notes to myself, too, but I write directly on the tissue paper, because by the time I get the pieces out of the envelope and pinned, I will have forgotten what I wrote on the envelope. “ADD 1/2 in. WAIST/SHORTEN bodice 1 in.” are my many frequent annotations, sadly. “SHORTEN SKIRT 2 in.” is another — many vintage skirts are longer than I like mine to hit. “Don’t forget waist stay!” also shows up from time to time. I have one favorite pocket pattern piece that I add to those poor dresses that are congenitally pocketless, and because it lives on my bulletin board, I also mark skirt pieces “ADD USU POCKET” and that reminds me I need to retrieve the pocket and cut it out with the rest of the garment.

Occasionally I find a vintage pattern that has been altered exactly as I would alter it, best down to shortening the skirt, and I have a flash of fondness for the original owner. how much I would have liked her! I think, conflating, just a for a moment, physiogonomy and taste with personality.

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the first dress and the last dressMarch 12, 2008
APB on a BDP (BDP = Bridal dress Pattern)February 4, 2009
A guest Rant on “Why Are vintage Patterns So Expensive?”July 17, 2008With 116 comments

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