Space to Sew UpdateBlog

15 November 2012

Late 1940s "New Look" Pattern

You can't imagine the excitement when I opened the post to find some of my new 1940s patterns therein! First up an original late 1940s skirt, blouse & bolero jacket pattern (featured in the photo) bought online from Rainbow Valley Vintage.

For those of you vintage lovers out there not familiar with Rainbow Valley Vintage, though coming across them purely by googling for 1940s skirt patterns, I was very impressed by the great service given by Tessa Richards, the owner. Am I the only one who expects sites I've googled to be unfriendly and impersonal? Well Tessa was anything but, responding promptly to my email queries and even writing personally to let me know when she had dispatched the pattern & by what post... It would seem the world of vintage provides customer service with a human face (I had a similar experience while ordering my other Retro 1940s patterns from the U.S., subject of a future blog!) . How wonderfully uplifting & refreshing. Thank you Tessa! And how great to discover you re in Shropshire! Hope we can meet one day soon...

The biggest excitement of all came when opening the pattern itself, though (normally!) lovely tutor Kate has since heard many expletives (all polite of course!). The reason for my outbursts? It is a 60-something year old original and so beautifully made that I am hardly allowed to touch it! In fact Kate 'kindly' suggested I frame some of its pieces when I have finished "tracing it off"... I don't mind the framing concept: it'll look great alongside some of the vintage prints we already have on Space to Sew walls. However, for the innocent & uninitiated (i.e. me), 'tracing this pattern off' has entailed following a ' hardly any pins' instruction from Kate - and, I don't know about you, but tracing around a moving paper LONG skirt pattern (because of course I can't cut it!) is not my idea of fun! However despite my Mediterranean moaning &muttering - under & over my breath - the skirt pattern is now fully traced and ready for grading (did you know that 1940s sizes are smaller than today's? I didn't).

In passing, I have to concede to being quite astounded by the beauty of the original pattern pieces. If you ve never seen one of these, the usual tailor tack black dots are perfect round machine bored holes and the notches are all pre cut, as are the pattern pieces themselves (though one size only). We re not sure how other grain lines would originally have been marked as, after much poring over the pattern instructions, we finally noticed the grain was thankfully along one edge of the skirt pieces. There are however more perforated holes where the shorter hemline begins (did I mention that I m not allowed to cut there...?...) and each piece is 'numbered' by a beautifully perforated letter. Stunning.

So yes, Kate, if you want the original skirt pattern framed I have to grudgingly agree it's worth doing, though I suspect that due to the skirt pieces' size, I have another pain-filled tracing experience to come: the bolero & /or blouse (did I hear Kate say 'both'?!) are likely to make much more sensible wall art...

Thus stage one of my 40s journey is complete. As always it looks like its going to be a much longer one than expected - but that seems to always be the case in my sewing life! Stage 2, " the skirt size "Up grade" is soon to come, so watch this space as, no doubt, designer Kate will turn it into a fitting dream...

Post script:

I cannot close without extending an apology to remarkable fellow Club mate Jodie (featured in Jodie's Placket Nightmare). I have been known to comment somewhat on some of the extraordinary & unusual patterns she brings in to Club at least one of which has been completely devoid of pattern markings. Jodie, if you're reading, eat your heart out: this pattern journey is right up there with one of yours - and I m not even allowed to touch my original! I just hope my sewing skills and determination will be half as good as yours. Then I have a hope of something worth wearing...

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