I’m participating in the Vintage Sewalong 2011. If you want to join, it’s not too late. I like reading and copiously commenting.
A few days ago, a commenter in the sewalong raised qualms about working with unmarked vintage patterns. I used to avoid them. Not fear, “avoidance.” I’d buy them and still avoid them, shoving my pretties into a special unmarked box.
Eventually the unique cuts and darling drawings on my unmarked patterns overcame my avoidance issues and I learned to work with these gems.
I want to make the paler blue jacket (in ivory hemp/silk) for sun protection. My other sun jacket sees constant wear, I’d like to have another to rotate.
Most patterns have a key at the beginning of the instruction sheet. This shows each pattern piece, along with its number (or letter), and an explanation of which part of the garment the piece represents. Helpfully, this pattern also labels each pattern piece on the schematic drawing. Additionally, it explains the pattern perforations.
The first piece I traced (I always trace):
I press crumpled tissue pieces with a warm, dry iron. Steam will distort the paper. In my experience, vintage tissue itself is less fragile than the instruction sheet or the pattern envelope. I laid this piece with the “K” facing me and scratched my head because it doesn’t look like it belonged to the pattern.
I traced the piece with a regular pen and marked the dots. Referring to the pattern instructions, I turned it the right way up and “connected the dots.” This looks more like a workable pattern piece. I re-traced with a dark marker to photograph.
Piece B, the upper front, riddled with holes because fronts need so many markings- darts, tucks, buttonholes, and in this case a roll line.
It has more and better markings than the usual printed jacket front pattern.
Weird little bits of paper, odd perforations.
Breast pocket, hip pocket, and collar pieces. I labeled the collars according to my own habits. Note the under collar: cut in two pieces on the bias. Again, a first for me. Usually I must convert the under collar to a two piece bias cut. The dotted line marks the collar stand.
Before pinning and cutting, I like to cut out the holes in my pattern pieces in order to easily mark darts and tucks directly on the fabric. I mark one side, upin, flip the fabric, and mark the other fabric piece.
When I traced the back piece, I also traced the neck curve and shoulder to make a back facing piece. I won’t line this jacket so it needs a back facing. Note the gently curving shoulder seam.
For imagination and detail, I can’t go past unmarked patterns- they’re often easier to sew than conventional printed patterns once you get past the yips.
Now to go chop up the pieces so they fit…