Lonely patterns

I’m not going to lie to you; I have a lot of sewing patterns.  I generally don’t feel bad about that – I like having a library that I can go to at any time and pull out the perfect pattern.  I usually buy the patterns I like from a new collection when they go on sale for the first time (I got the new Vogue and Simplicity patterns this week!)  Of course, this means I wind up with a few patterns that are duds – the sort of pattern that looks ok until someone , ie me, actually tries to make it (as in Vogue 1192, an Anne Klein pattern that has since garnered five “would not recommend” ratings on Patternreview.  I never got around to reviewing it, but I consider the public well warned by those ratings.)

I always check for reviews.  I think reviews are the best thing about the internet sewing community – it must have been much harder to decide if the patterns were decent in the pre internet age!  Occasionally though, I end up with a pattern that no one ever seems to make.  The longer they go without any reviews, the more I become convinced the pattern is cursed!  Sometimes there will be a few reviews, but the pattern is so altered, or the purpose is so different that I can’t tell.   Most are discontinued, which makes sense when you consider that I am clearly the only person on earth to have bought a copy. I’ve been weeding through my pattern collection this week, and I thought I’d ask – can anyone vouch for these patterns?  Should I make them, or is it a lost cause?  Let’s get to the sad contestants:

Vogue 8231:

This was discontinued when I bought it.  I literally can’t find anyone who has made this online.  I was disappointed when I got it to realize that it’s actually 2 pieces, rather than a dress with peplum.    Still, I rather like the cap sleeved version.   Maybe it was just too early for the peplum trend?  I think this could be really cute in a fun suiting.

Vogue 8595:

I love a tunic and the pockets are cute.  For that matter, so it the version with full sleeves and no collar.  Image it in a cotton voile!  I found one of these completed on a blog, but as she made it to be a beach coverup I still can’t tell.  I think the Very Easy Vogue patterns suffer a bit from their drawings.  Lord knows I’m not opposed to illustrations – I have bought many a vintage pattern because of adorable drawings.  These just seem to oddly proportioned – they always look so broad shouldered.

Vogue 8612:

This has been on my list forever.  I found one completed, but no reviews.  Actually, I doubt I would make this one, as I’ve learned over time that patterns without waist seams do not always suit me.  It’s also one of those patterns that calls for knits or stretch wovens.  And it’s lined, which again is not an advantage for me.

Vogue 8610

Honestly, I think I just have 80s nostalgia sometimes.  Again, one review, which is mixed.  I don’t know if I’ll ever make it, because I’m just not sure about how flattering that silhouette is for people without 7 foot long legs.  And yet I keep pulling it out, wondering if it might be cute in a sweatshirt knit.

Vogue 8768

This pattern isn’t all that old, but I’m surprised I haven’t seen one yet – usually the vintage patterns are popular!  If I made this I would have to shorten the skirt, but I can’t tell if that would work or not.    This is pictured on the website in shiny, stiff dupioni, several sizes too large for the model – Vogue seemed to make every vintage dress in dupioni for awhile there.  I don’t like dupioni much at all – it reminds me of curtains, and doesn’t drape well.  Someone should make this so that I can decide if I like it or not!

New Look 6092

Again, not that old, but I don’t feel like I can judge it if I can’t see one.  I think I like it, but maybe the sleeves will be strange, or the dress will fit oddly due to the lack of a waist.  Also, I applaud the idea of bringing in Project Runway designers to design for Simplicity and New look, but Suede?  Couldn’t stand him on the show, and I don’t really love his patterns, with the possible exception of this one.  On the other hand, Simplicity has some designs from Leanne (season 3 or 4 winner I think?) which I love, and have already purchased.  I can’t make this dress without more feedback!


Is it spring yet?

It hardly seems fair for me to be pining for spring; after all, we’ve barely had any winter weather!  But Valentine’s day is here (we stayed in, and I made chocolate espresso waffles with raspberries for dinner… I love breakfast for dinner!)  Valentine’s day is usually when I make the end of winter sewing.  I had grand plans to sew this past week, but instead I took the time to build a new website for my chamber ensemble.  And write a term paper.

I know – it’s bizarre.  I’ve been out of school so long that I didn’t even remember what the professor was talking about when he told us to bring blue books to our midterm next week!  While being in class with students 10 years my junior is a bit odd, I do find that I had forgotten how much I enjoy a good debate.  I guess this isn’t shocking if you read my blog, but I got so interested in my analysis of  Wilfred Owen‘s  poetry that I went out to the library and got a copy of The Great War and Modern Memory by Paul Fussell.  It’s highly recommended if you are interested in World War I (and in particular what we can learn about it from the literature of the time.)  I don’t know about any other Americans, but I know that I never learned much about that war in my history classes (and if you are interested in learning why history in the US is taught in this haphazard way, I highly recommend Lies my teacher told me by James Loewen… it’s an eyeopener.  I read it several years ago, and it completely changed the way I think about history.)

Moving along to sewing topics… I’ve been giving some thought to my spring wardrobe.  I feel a bit unsettled about it – did we ever actually have winter?  It doesn’t seem like it!  We have yet to have any snow that lasts for more than a few hours.  I think winter is a lost cause at this point.  Luckily, I do prefer warm weather sewing.  I’ve noticed that there have been some pattern company changes – namely that Kwik Sew is now with BMV, and Burda is now carried on Simplicity’s website.  Seeing them there made me realize that there are quite a few lines that I have never made a pattern from, including several great independent designers.  That changes now!  I’m picking a pattern from several new-to-me lines to work on this Spring!

Over the next few days I plan to get started… first comes the semi-annual closet purge, so that I can decide what I actually need.  I’m going to do some posts about it, as well as my planning process.  I seem to manage maybe 60% of my ideas making it through, which isn’t bad I think, especially with my general lack of time right now!

I hope you all had a great Valentine’s day!  I’m still here, and I’m going to try to get back to more regular posting.



A thank you

Simple words cannot express how touched I was by the outpouring of support on my last post.  All day long (and well into the next) I read your kind words about my blog, and your advice towards dealing with negativity and criticism.

Criticism is a difficult topic.  I deal with it on a daily basis – I am constantly critiqued in my own lessons, performances, and auditions, and it isn’t always easy.    I also believe that one of the most valuable lessons I can impart to my own music students is how to gracefully deal with constructive criticism.  I hesitated to even post the comment, because I didn’t want to be “that blogger.”  But… I also knew that I couldn’t ignore it, as I have ignored plenty of comments in the past.

You see… I’ve always been the quiet one.  Growing up, I learned that running away from anger was the best way to avoid being hurt.  And so I did.  I ran from criticism, from conflict, and even from difficult relationships.  None of that made me happy, and it never made me feel as though I had any power.  I spent a good portion of my 20s trapped in a bubble of silence, unable to state my real views and opinions, and unable to ask for what I really wanted out of life.    I know this is not an uncommon feeling for women, as many of my female friends have expressed this fear – we must always be nice, because there is no other alternative, lest we be called nasty names.

I reached a point where enough was enough.  If I wasn’t happy, it was because I wasn’t expecting enough out of life, and I wasn’t standing up for myself to get it.  I started stating my beliefs and allowing myself to present my true face to the world. To my surprise, rather than my life falling apart it began to blossom!   As it turns out, people respect genuineness, though they might not be able to give a name to their response.

When I saw the comment I felt sad, but mostly I felt powerless.  It reminded me that while I have come far, I am still the same 10 year old girl who came back from recess to an anonymous letter on my desk assuring me of how ugly my hair was.  I don’t like to feel that way, as it takes me back to an ugly place.  So I posted my frustration with the state of interactions online.

The internet has long been a place where civil discourse is lacking (as I found out in 1998, posting on X-files fansites  about my belief that Mulder and Scully should be together 4eva! which was apparently a controversial subject.)  Even so, I find that the crafting community is absolutely the most supportive I have ever been involved with.

This blog has meant so much more to me than I ever thought it would.  In 2006 I started a blog on a whim, shortly after I took up knitting.  It has seen me through many hobbies and obsessions, two jobs, starting my own business, getting married, and going back to school.  I have had many ups and downs, but I have never failed to be cheered by the support and comments of your all – those in the crafting community, and even those who don’t do either yet continue to read (I didn’t know there were any – and I’m glad to meet you all!)

So… nothing to see here, move along.  I had a great day today – I sewed on Simplicity 2406, taught 5 lessons, made a berry/jasmine green tea smoothie, went to an excellent rehearsal, and then went out for dessert with my friends.  I know that were it not for the support of you all I would still be upset about the comment (though I know I shouldn’t be!) and instead I can only think of how many wonderful friends I have.  Thank you all!