Thursday, April 2, 2009

Yes, We Have No Bandanas: McCall 6185

About four years ago I deserted my collection of vintage sewing patterns and old cotton fabrics for the exciting world of new patterns and modern jerseys. I made the switch after I bought my Viking Husqvarna. This machine changed my life. Finally, I had a machine that would tell me how to set the tension, what kind of needle to use, all the stuff I found hard to do on my own. What's even better, my new acquisition wouldn't eat my fabric. I cannot tell you how frustrating it was to pull (really, yank) my sewing project out of the bobbin case again and again. This happened enough that it killed my love for sewing. If my Singer was going to single-handedly destroy my work, why bother? I only reconsidered when I got the new machine. It was like I was going on an adventure to someplace I hadn't visited before. Somehow, sewing became a 'new' skill to learn, and once I got beyond the fear of fabric being swallowed up by my machine, I jumped into the abyss, and the (home-sewn) parachute followed, lifting me aloft. I discovered knits. Pre-Viking, my collection was mostly old cottons acquired on eBay. Now? It's mostly jerseys, with the cottons still unsewn.

Anyhow, I've donated more than a few patterns since I started collecting to the Columbia College Study Collection. I still have a few, and I studied them recently after I decided to enter the vintage contest. It was refreshing to look at them again after sewing so much with modern fabrics, instructions, accessories, etc. What was previously viewed as "hard" doesn't look so intimidating after all the projects completed in the past few years. Now what's looks merely complicated. For example, I've one 1930s bolero jacket that has all this embroidery on it. That's the 'hard' part. The construction? Doable. Ditto the princess-style housecoat. The fit, not so hard, just time-consuming. And the zipper (new at that time) would make the dress easy to complete.

Even so, for competition purposes I opted for something cute, fairly easy to finish on short notice, but still challenging. Hence McCall 6185, which was intended for a teenager, which boggles my mind in a way. I don't know a 16-year-old who could tackle this pattern. I mean, even mature adults might struggle with the lapped zipper. But I've learned how to insert a zipper on a blouse, I thought this might be a good project to work that skill. Since this pattern actually suggests using two big scarves, I kept thinking about the bandana prints you see above. There are actually marks on this print to show where you would cut if you want to make a kerchief. I don't, so I'd leave them alone and consider them as part of what makes my blouse-to-be charming and cute.

Now, the next few weeks are busy. Easter, next week. A leggings class, the following, a quick trip to New York City for a conference, the last...all of which brings me to the end of April and this contest. So. I.Must.Get.To.Work. Wish me well.

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