The thing about collecting, is that the idea of ever parting with that which you collect is… well… mortifying! I read a book years ago called The Orchid Thief about a man who was totally obsessed with a certain species of orchid that only grew in the deep dark swamps of Florida. (Incidentally, orchids can live for hundreds of years, did you know)? The point is, as a collector, that which he collected became an obsession. I am not quite at the level, but I can appreciate the desire to hunt out and find what you’re looking for…
As time passes I am beginning to wonder what kind of patterns I like best, if there is a particular designer or style etc etc. Some art collections are purely assembled on the taste of the individual. Right now, my collection seems to gravitate towards the Vogue Couturier, Vogue Americana and Vogue Paris Original patterns of the fifties, sixties and seventies.
This week I splurged and got myself an advance Happy-Birthay-to-me and a Good-Luck-In-Labour pressie (why not)??? Some people go buy a dress or get some earrings. I put in a bid on eBay for a particular pattern and won (a bargain, no less).
I now own a Schiaparelli. A Vogue Paris Original Model Schiaparelli which in my mind is not only a beautiful dress pattern, my size and rare, but museum worthy… An italian designer on par with Chanel, Schiaparelli was one of the first couturiers to sign up with Vogue post World War II. These patterns are as rare as hens teeth and a pattern dealer can charge a small fortune when they surface… I will be sending up prayers that the pattern arrives safely in my cloying hands! I will have to think seriously about preservation!
Belinda Bellville’s Couturier Design evening gown 2112 finally arrived in the post this afternoon (blogged about it a few weeks ago). So pretty a dress. As baby has not arrived as yet I will have time this afternoon to copy the pattern for use.
I am far from an expert seamstress but this is the way I handle my vintage patterns. Open to any other ideas for pattern care from more seasoned and experienced vintage pattern lovers on the web…?
1. Copy the pattern, particularly if there are deteriorating pieces, as a back up. This can be a time consuming process. I use butcher’s paper and do most of it freehand, I also transfer some of the instructions onto the pieces, particularly if the original pattern is not a more recent “printed” pattern but perforated. Note: always label the pieces in case at some point in the future they get mixed up- I have a few projects on the go at any one time and it is possible;
2. Use weights, not pins if you decide to just use the original pattern during the cutting process- this helps keep a double layer of fabric more steady in most cases when you cut anyway; I don’t use dressmaker’s weights, which you can buy, I use regular paperweights;
3. If sewing a 1950s pattern, it doesn’t hurt to take a look at a 1950s sewing reference book. Sewing books vary depending on the fashion of the time, I find some are more elaborate about styles and techniques that were contextually relevant to the period the pattern was made/ the garment was designed.
So thats it for todays installment. Miss Bellville awaits. And I await baby still!