One of the things I love about collecting vintage patterns is discovering notes and other bits of ephemera that the original owners stashed in the envelope. It might be a note about pattern adjustments -- a shopping list gone astray -- a fabric sample tucked away. Whatever it is, it's a little window on the past of the pattern and the seamstress who used it.
Recently I was checking pattern pieces on Simplicity 4103 and discovered this newspaper ad tucked inside:
Here's the pattern itself:
I wonder -- was it a little girl who saw the Buffums (Buffums! Great name!) ad and pointed it out to her mom? Or did mom see it and decide that's what she wanted to make for her daughter? The pattern pieces are cut out, so I do hope the dream Buffums dress became a reality.
Whatever the story, it brings back fond memories for me. Back in the early 80s when I was an eighth grader, the Prairie Dress/Gunne Sax fad swept over Parker Junior High. I was at the age where I HAD to dress like my friends -- the dorky "Mork and Mindy" suspenders of earlier years had been tossed, and my era of hacking up men's pajamas to make suits and trolling thrift stores for vinyl coats was yet to come. A Gunne Sax dress was essential for my social survival -- and pearl buttons were absolutely crucial. Without pearl buttons, the dress would be nothing.
My mom decided to take on this project herself -- and in secret, no less. She surprised me with an absolutely gorgeous dress. Blue calico, cream calico, lace, ribbon and yes...pearl buttons. I have pictures of myself in it: I was thirteen, awkward, gawky and unsure of myself, but that dress made me feel great. And that had very little to do with the fact that it was "in" and everything to do with the fact that it was a labor of love, made with me and only me in mind. Thanks, Mom!