I have a lot of pattern pics stored on my computer in files with titles like "Doll Terror," "What's On Her Head?," "International Superspy" and "Dress of Evil" -- but one of the biggest categories by far is "Up To No Good." What is it about groups of women that suggest that they are, well, up to no good? Perhaps we all have memories of being the targets of mean girls in elementary school, junior high and high school. (Or was that just me?)
Say hello to just a few of the dastardly women of Patternland -- there are many more to come:
Simplicity 1181, 1951
Don't tell me that the women in Simplicity 3559 aren't plotting! White Halter is beckoning with one pointed finger, while Stripes is enjoying the show. Flowers, however, clearly thinks they should have gone with her plan.
Simplicity 3559, 1955
What is it about Pink's expression and body language in Simplicity 1181 that makes it seem like she's about to snatch the viewer's very soul away? Go ahead, White -- laugh, laugh, laugh!
McCall's 4535, 1959
McCall's 4535 is a tough one to categorize -- clearly Yellow and Print Dress are conspiring about something. But the sunglasses and big hats give this a dose of International Superspy as well. My theory is White just handed off that purse to Print Dress. Expect a high-speed scooter chase to follow.
"But what about the children?!," you cry. Rest assured, it's not all innocence and light there, either -- check out McCall's 3228:
McCall's 3228, 1987
This one puzzled me for a while, but I think I finally figured it out. Blue Suit Boy is exhibiting Carrie/Firestarter-like psychic powers and wreaking devastation -- perhaps on us! Red Skirt is fascinated by him, while all the other kids are laughing at our coming demise. Quick, look away!
Finally, McCall's 3722 -- or, as I prefer to call it, "Caught In The Act:"
McCall's 3722, 1956
Have you ever seen such a blatant example of "Who, me? I'm not doing anything!" It's the equivalent of hitting Microsoft Word to cover up your solitaire game when the boss walks by -- everyone is pretending nothing is going on. Even the poodle is in on it!
Squee! Today's eye candy, McCall 1541, thrilled me so much when I spotted it on the Vintage Wiki that I had to search it out from Jen at Mom's Patterns and make it mine. The rose applique! The leaves! The band! The felt hat!
McCall 1541, 1950
The pattern calls for 72" wide felt, and I'm not sure how I feel about the prospect of a felt skirt. Will it be charmingly retro, or -- even in non-acrylic felt -- will it evoke kindergarten cutouts? Has anyone done any apparel sewing with felt lately? Do tell!
One of the things I love finding on vintage patterns are notations made by prior owners. Sometimes they're as mysterious as a secret message. Other times they offer a glimpse of a seamstress' well-laid plans. Yet other times they're the final trace of that rage that comes with a failed sewing project.
McCall's 9780 belonged to a "Verna Stein," according to the name one the envelope. At first I assumed that Verna was a very exacting child and this pattern was part of a careful negotiation with her mother. The note reads:
I would like this one, but with a big sash tie in back & lace around the neck and sleeves. How does that sound?
McCall's 9780, 1969
But the writing is so neat, so precise -- this isn't a child's scrawl. I think Verna hired a seamstress, and these were her written instructions to her.
Still, I prefer to think of Verna as a precocious little girl, mouth twisted in concentration as she consults her penmanship book and underlines all the important words in her oh-so-polite fashion note to Mother. I wonder what kind of fabric she chose.
Start your week with a peek with this beautiful number: Modes Royale 1014, a slinky asymmetrical 1940s dress. The skirt is, of course, the first thing that catches my eye, but I also love the collar detailing.
You can find it on eBay right now for the admittedly steep price of $50. If you buy it and make it, send pics! (Just follow the link above to go to the listing.)
I've been getting a lot of new visitors from my recent post on Gertie's blog: welcome! Thanks for stopping by!
For old and new readers alike, I've been doing a bit of blog maintenance...I've finally set up a Facebook page since Google Friend Connect no longer works on non-Blogger blogs. You can also follow the blog on Twitter here, but I really only use that to notify followers of new blog posts. Interacting and discussing things on FB makes more sense to me: when I try to read a Twitter feed, I feel like I'm looking at lines of code in THE MATRIX.
I don't think I need to explain why I threw McCall's 3442 into the "unfortunate fashion" pile:
McCall's 3442, 1972
To be fair, the actual pattern -- the pants and "shirt-jacket" -- are fine. But the (entirely fictional) fabric is a terrifying example of 1970s double-knit wonder.
Red Plaid Pants is actually the best-dressed one of the bunch. I think he and Green Boots -- green boots! -- are congratulating each other on Green Boots' fashion choices. (Really? A red lumberjack shirt-jacket with key lime boots?) Meanwhile poor Navy Plaid looks on...whether in disdain for his compatriots' fashion choices or sadness that they have not noticed his white webbing belt, I cannot say.
Happy Valentine's Day! For those of you in the mood for romance, I have a guest post up over at Gertie's blog on heart pockets. (Want even more heart-shaped pockets? Check out my earlier post on them, or take a look at the category in the Vintage Wiki.)
But for those of you feeling grumpy this Valentine's Day, I present Aunt Martha's 9351, "Kittens -- Tell of Romance." Check out the unintentionally brilliant note scrawled on the envelope: "used up."
In keeping with the romance theme for Valentine's Week, here's a pattern from the 1930s, Pictorial Review 9051:
What's so romantic about this windbreaker? Ah, I'll let the pattern description do the talking:
A sure way to any man's or boy's heart is by making this windbreaker.
He'll like either the one- or two-piece back and slide fastener closing.
Why didn't anyone tell me that a way to a man's heart was through a windbreaker?!
But don't worry, ladies...this pattern is SNEAKY. Your target will never know that you aim to rule his heart...because as the insightful post on this pattern over at Unsung Sewing Patterns points out, the illustration goes out of its way to show Men Doing Manly Things. Checking a compass, throwing a stick for a fox terrier much like the famed fox terrier of the time, Asta...the instructions even show someone fishing.
Junkies young and old, you now know the secret to hooking a man's heart...sew, sew, sew away!
Valentine's Day is coming, so it's time to go over-the-top on the romance front here at Pattern Junkie. Look no further than Modes Royale 1321, which advises you to "Look romantic and walk in a whisper." (Try doing that before your morning coffee!)