Recently I shared a post on my stash of vintage patterns. I just finished sewing up my first one and let me tell you it was an EXPERIENCE. Luckily I was at home for the holiday so Donna and I could tag team through it. Both of us totally baffled how anyone ever learned how to sew. I suppose though they were in neighborhoods full of experienced seamstresses, and didn’t need to take to the internet to find some sage knowledge in pattern decoding. Because this pattern needed some serious decoding.
I started with these-
I got them for nearly nothing on clearance at Kohls. They are denim with a slight stretch. And while they didn’t appeal to me at all as pants something screamed vintage dress pattern at me when I walked past them. If you are looking for a reference these are size 18 capris and the dress I sewed up fit a child who typically wears a 2T (we won’t talk about the pattern’s take on sizes). It was pretty tight, but we were creative and it worked.
We emptied out the pattern envelope and compared the suggested layout and needed pieces to what came tumbling out. Victory we had all of our pieces! We should not have been so confident….
After cutting I began reading instructions on the first step, adding that little inset. Two things became very clear right away.
1. They were going to be calling the pattern pieces by all different names, these names would change without warning, none of these names would be what the actual pattern piece was labeled.
2. The instructions were going to reference lines and markings that didn’t exist and the diagrams were ….well what comes right after not at all helpful?
I’m not too proud to admit after approximately three and a half minutes minutes of rereading and staring at the pieces I was ready to call it a day. Donna came to my rescue. She took what we had and entirely made up her own set of directions.
It looks great, just like the picture. We never did figure out what exactly they wanted us to do.
Remember the creative cutting? This front is made up of two pattern pieces. I’ve marked the stitching line that was actually the old side seam of my starting pants. In order to keep a consistent look we added a line of top stitching next to the inset. While it isn’t perfectly symmetrical your eye is tricked and we were both really happy with the look we ended up with. Here is to unplanned wins!
Back to that lovely pattern. Now it was time to add facings. This is a picture of the instructions.
Fun fact- those facing pieces don’t exist. Anywhere. Nope not in the pattern, not in the layout where you cut your fabric. The facings that come with this pattern and are shown in the layout look like this.
…..Because the directions completely neglected to mention setting the sleeve. It just wasn’t there. This is a MCCALLS pattern people! I suspect though maybe Donna can confirm since she now has the pattern, the versions may have gotten swapped around and the sleeveless directions talk about setting a sleeve.
Since that was simply not enough the sleeve was HUGE. I didn’t really want a gathered sleeve so I ended up improvising a pleat up at the shoulder to take in all the extra sleeve. It worked, but if I did it again I would redraw the sleeve from scratch. The whole thing closed up with a zipper in back.
Anyone else have a crazy pattern experience like this? We can’t be the only ones…..
Rachel and Donna
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