I love finding vintage patterns, they are so easy to come by if you aren’t looking for anything specific and impossible to come by if you are.
Now what to do when you do find a super cute vintage pattern, make it of course!!!
Unless it is very, very, vintage, then you should strive to protect it. That means making a copy of the pattern to use.
I found this pattern a while back at a thrift store. It is a McCall’s pattern, #2916 circa 1971. Since that isn’t too far back yet (unfortunately I still think it was only 30 years ago) I went ahead and used it in its original form.
I found the cat yoga fabric on clearance at Jo-ann and eventually paired the two together.
I was very lucky, the pattern I had on hand was the exact size I needed for the snug! I made the knickers and the fabric is cotton, so technically these really aren’t true “yoga” pants.
Then again, is there such a thing as a true yoga pant?
Anyway, this is not really about the pants. This is about the pattern! The possibilities that lie within vintage patterns and how they are superior in detail compared to today’s patterns.
Just look at all the words! The details!!
Which way to stitch the seams! “Lengthwise of goods,” honestly, this is great!
Not only are the pattern pieces incredibly detailed, the instructions where fantastic. I mean this pattern is so simple you really don’t need instructions, but every single thing was worked out and labeled. So much information, yet put in such a way that everything was clear, simple, and fun.
I only wish I had known this before, I would have learned to sew with these patterns and been a ton less frustrated.
So what happened? Why are today’s patterns so hard? Here are the reasons I have worked out.
1. Today’s patterns are trying to do too much, this pattern has four different garment options, long vest, short vest, pants and knickers. It also only comes in one size, but can be adjusted easily. Patterns today have a plethora of options, they might be a similar style but many have three to eight different variations, also sizing is completely different, usually there are four sizes to each pattern.
2. In their attempt to become more encompassing the patterns of today have become more complicated, but unlabeled on complexity. I feel as though the attempt was to simplify the pattern, make it look cleaner/easier, by writing less, but what is written is almost in code, many of the terms unknown to new and sometimes seasoned sewers. Of course most of the patterns come with a key, but the definitions are typically vague.
3. The layout. The general layout for step by step instructions hasn’t changed much, but the layout for that first page. Where it shows all the garments and suggestions for cutting the pieces out, has changed. While attempting to give every possible example for layout depending on fabric width, today’s patterns seem extremely overwhelming. I don’t even look at the cutout instructions anymore. I just get confused and frustrated.
4. Typically when I first start a pattern I have to look at it for a good ten minutes to even understand what is going on. It makes me inspired to fully learn how to draft. With this vintage pattern, it was easy and relaxing the whole time.
While sewing should be challenging, it should be fun, relaxing, and rewarding. Unless you are trying to sew tulle, in a dry, dry winter full of static, patterns and fabric should not make you want to throw them across the room or threaten them with scissors. Not like I have done that.
On with the pants, before my digressions become as frequent as those of Jonathan Swift.
These little babies were easy peasey and sewn up in no time!
Comfortable enough to achieve even the most difficult of poses.