Sunday, 8 February 2015

Talk about old school

Patterns from when I first started sewing

I moved out of my parent's home over a year ago. I was pretty sure I had packed up all my belongings, but there are still items of mine that surface in their home from time to time, largely because my mother has misplaced them on me (her cleaning philosophy is out of sight out of mind, so things end up in drawers, cupboards, boxes and everywhere they shouldn't be; it made for a rather tumultuous relationship). When I was last visiting I was ordered to go through my things, again! It was a lot of stuff that I had already told my mom to throw away, and I was rather irked to see that these things were still there and I was getting the blame for it. Luckily, I rescued some sewing patterns that would have otherwise been tossed in the garbage. They had been misplaced since I was a child. You read that correctly, I haven't seen these patterns since I was fifteen!

I hadn't seen them in so long that I actually forgot I owned them. I just love how old school they are, some of which are from the 90's and early 00's. I thought I'd share them here because it's interesting to see what I was into when I first started to sew.

Simplicity 8839 and Simplicity 9300

When I was younger I was really into Medieval style stuff. I bought Simplicity 8839 because I liked the look of it, it's classy and a little whimsical. I think this was probably when I started getting into Gothic fashion, because I remember thinking that this dress looked witchy. Although it is a formal wear pattern, I think I intended to use it for making every day wear, which I still might do. I love the style of it and I would like to create look B some day. I'm really happy I didn't give this pattern away.

Second to my fascination with Medieval stuff, I was really into Asian culture. I loved Chinese and Japanese things. I remember when I was a kid I painted this ugly Chinese dragon with cherry blossoms on top of my dresser; my mom was so pissed. I always wanted a proper Chinese brocade Cheongsam, so I bought Simplicity 9300. This is the first of two Cheongsam patterns that I own, I bought a 1970's version sometime not long ago. Had I remembered I owned this pattern I probably wouldn't have bothered getting another one lol. I never used this pattern and I ended up buying two Cheongsams in my youth (I still have the one). As cute as I thought they looked then, I just don't know if I like the look of them on me any more. I might use aspects of the Cheongsam in the future (there's a Chinese style Hell Bunny dress that I plan on knocking off some day).

The first patterns I ever purchased were formal wear patterns. That's rather ambitious for a beginner and probably why I never even used them! 8839 requires five meters of fabric, I don't even like to work with that much material today lol. I'm glad that I didn't attempt either of these dresses in my beginner stage because it probably would have put me off of sewing entirely and I very likely would have ruined the patterns pieces. I threw out my very first patterns (a pajama pattern and a geisha costume) because I basically ruined them by mistreating them and losing pieces. I'm glad I'm more organized today. 

Butterick 4131 and McCall's 2058

Now I'm sure this seems odd, why on earth would I purchase bridal patterns at such a young age? I bought Butterick 4131 because I wanted to use the bodice for my prom dress, which I did and it looked awful but only because I lacked the skill to do it well lol. Back then, there weren't many formal wear dress patterns to choose from and I only liked certain styles. I was really attracted to the sheer sleeves in look C. I'm not even willing to post the photo of me wearing it on here lol, so I'll indirectly link it here. It's not that bad I guess, I mean it looks exactly how I planned it to look, it's just at the time I struggled so much with my personal fashion (being a tomboy and all) that I really grew to resent my prom dress. I also knew that the bodice had flaws in its construction and I felt embarrassed about it, I feared someone would notice but no one did.

I may have purchased McCall's 2058 for the purpose of creating gloves to go with my prom dress, but I ended up buying my gloves from a costume shop. It's more likely that I purchased this wedding accessories pattern because I liked the lace gauntlets (look H). This pattern features a lot of stuff, there are even more accessories pictured on the back of the envelope. There are at least twelve accessories included in this pattern. I'm happy I still have it because I still think the gauntlets are badass. I also love the gloves, they're super cute and there's a little purse pattern which I think could work well for a Gothic Lolita outfit. 

McCall's 6582 and Simplicity 5315

I didn't recognize McCall's 6582 when I found my other patterns. I asked my mom if it was her's and she told me she had once purchased it in hopes that I would make it for her some day. I find that funny because my mom does sew, not to the extent that I do, but she has sewn valances and small clothing items in the past. I'm not sure when she purchased this pattern, the copyright is 1993 but she might have bought it from a thrift store at any given point. It's cute and I might use it to make something for myself, it's very 90's. If I do make it I'd rather put boning into the faux underbust and give it some structure, and maybe make the sleeves out of a sheer material if I use Look C.

Simplicity 5315 was a home decor pattern I purchased back when I was a preteen. My mother and I were going to be redecorating my room with Moroccan and Indian themed items, yet it never happened. I still have the hot pink and orange paisley fabric we purchased to make the comforter out of. Maybe one day I might follow through with it when we have a spare bedroom, much to my fiancé's dissatisfaction lol.


Looking back I see that my interests were a bizarre mash up of fashions. I've certainly come a long way in skill and my preferences in style have changed somewhat, but it's fun to look back at my sewing roots and see where it all started. I'm going to hang on to these patterns and find new uses for them. Perhaps you will see one or two them reviewed this year!

Do you still have old school patterns lying around?


  1. those are patterns I would have loved at 15 too. I remember looking at all the medieval patterns, which were clearly for the ren fair and pseudo-ren faire ones like the ones you pictures. I think they were popular for mainstream fashion too. specially those peasant tops. Good for you for getting that 1970s pattern...seems like the 70s are coming back. I was just at an exhibit that was dedicated to 70s fashion and the powers that be seem to REALLY want to make it happen. I hope not...

    1. 70's fashion has definitely made a come back and I'm not sure how I feel about it lol. I find it interesting because 90's fashion was mostly rehashed styles from the 70's, and we've just come out of a 90's fashion revival. It gets confusing when current trends utilize fashions from decades that were borrowing fashions from *other* decades. It makes me wonder why we haven't revisited fashions of the early 20th and 19th centuries (I suppose maybe we have and they just weren't very popular).

      Speaking of the 90's revival (which wasn't very 90's at all) I miss all the weird art deco things that people were wearing 1990-1995. It was like a combination of arts and crafts meets medieval fashion... I see it in all of my old fashion books. Maybe I should revive it lol.

    2. yeah 90s rehashed the 70s. for the 90s art deco, are you talking about all those geometric prints and big ol' plastic things? I know that's what I wore. and my mom. Personally, I'd wish we didn't rehash things. I kind of feel like the "ironic" prints that are going on right now are unique to this decade, but I'd like to see some unique silhouettes...

    3. lol Yes! The geometric stuff, it was also a lot of abstract motifs using cording and sequins, and those giant polymer clay earrings. That was 90's but I haven't seen anyone do it again! I wouldn't mind revisiting fashions if the popular trends weren't so cyclical; I feel like we're running in fashion circles, like we only revisit certain aspects of certain decades. For example, in the 80's there was a resurgence of interest in 40's and 50's fashion, then again that occurred for some during the mid 90's, and we see that again in the late 00's. We'll probably experience this with 70's, 80's and 90's fashion over the next 30 years. I blame the mainstream designers for running out of ideas, but I also feel we might be limited in design due to materials. I've been seeing some fascinating structural pieces on Pinterest, much of which I could never afford to own, but if those materials were cheaper to produce and more accessible we could see a dramatic change in ready to wear fashion. Perhaps we might even develop new styles that define this decade! Which would be nice because I really haven't seen anything groundbreaking in a while.

  2. wow I think patterns 8839 and 9300 are timeless. I would hang onto those.

    1. They're definitely timeless! I gush over Look B from 8839, and I'll probably still feel that way ten years from now lol.

  3. You're lucky to have so many of your oldies but goldies!
    I only have 3 of my first patterns... Simplicity Costume 0512-- typical nurse dress, with other design choices. Simplicity 9255 Costume-- medieval dresses.Then finally Simplicity 3482 Vintage-- I remember finding it in a thrift store pattern bin and being attracted to the giant full skirts.

    I would totally rock 8839 of your collection! I still love that style dress lol

    1. Your costume patterns are rad! The nurse one has a punk tartan dress?! I would have loved to have that in high school lol. I have a very similar vintage 50's dress pattern in my stash, for the same reason, I adore full skirts! I like to browse through thrift store bins to see what I can find. I'm planning on hitting up this one thrift shop downtown that's always bursting at the seams with vintage patterns (usually 70's and 80's but sometimes you get lucky). Maybe I might find some cool 90's stuff. :)


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