This post has previously appeared on Kerry's blog, Kestrel Makes, as part of the Vintage Pattern Pledge month of July #vpjuly guest blogger extravaganza! Well, that's what I'm calling it, anyway. I was totally astounded at being asked! Anyhow, it lets me ramble on about my favourite vintage decade for sewing patterns, the 1980s.
One day I was just browsing through Ebay, as you do, when I came across a sewing pattern I’d used as a young sewist in the 1980s. I just had to buy it! I’ve found and bought other sewing patterns that I bought and sewed in the 1980s and this has led to me developing a love for 1980s sewing patterns. Perhaps this could be a new sub-category of the Vintage Pattern Pledge, ‘Blast from the Past’…patterns you’ve previously owned, sewn and re-discovered!
This particular pattern is Style 4824 with a copyright date of 1986. There are collar and sleeve or sleeveless options so it’s quite a versatile pattern. The first and only time I sewed it, I made View 2 in a rust coloured poly-cotton fabric that I also used for the self-covered buttons. The shirt did actually work well in a poly-cotton and I wore for quite a few years.
These 1980’s patterns make me think back to what was happening and what I was doing at that time. It was quite a decade of change for me growing up then. In 1986 I was in art college and having quite frankly, a rare old time. I remember going along to weekly art college discos wearing what I thought was a very cool combo of Doc Martens and (very) mini-skirts, dancing along to a varied and eclectic range of music, including The Communards ‘Don’t leave me this way’, Doctor and the Medics ‘Spirit in the sky’ and Farley Jackmaster Funk with ‘Love can’t turn around’. Alongside this chart music they also played much cooler non-chart stuff too, especially James Brown, Louis Prima and Stevie Wonder. What can I say? I was young! It was the 1980s!
So, back to the sewing in 2016. One thing about using vintage patterns is that sometimes they have been used before. This one had. The descriptions said the size 10 had been cut out but the cut off bits were there. They were…but not all of them! I pieced all the bits together that I could and did a ‘best guess-timate’ of the missing bits, which seemed to work out fine, thank goodness. Just something to be aware of but it’s all part of the charm and sometimes challenge of sewing used vintage patterns!
I cut out the size 14 and added 2 inches to the body length. I also did a 2 inch FBA. Next time I make this, and there will be a next time as this is a lovely fitting garment, I would add an inch or more to the length of the sleeves, they’re just a tiny bit shorter than I’d like. I’d also add some width to the sleeves as they are a shade too fitted for my liking (I blame my swimmer’s arms!).
The fabric is a John Kaldor print 100% polyester bought from John Lewis in Edinburgh. This was quite a risky purchase. I like the mix of subtle grey stripes in the background but yellow….that’s not a colour I’d put near my face but sometimes a ‘diluted risk’ is worth taking. I think it’s worked well in this case. Yellow and grey…a very 1980s colour combination too!
I was very surprised at how challenging this shirt pattern was, much more than I expected or remembered it to be. The shawl collar with its back neck seam and the gathered front is tricky to sew and get right. I have a new respect and admiration for the sewing skills of ‘young me’ in tackling such a deceptively complicated garment!
I wanted to make a more challenging pattern from my surprisingly favourite decade of the 1980’s (who’d have thought!), something just a bit different from the batwing sleeved tops I absolutely love, adore and can’t get enough of. This ‘Blast from the past’ has certainly lived up to that…and there’s another Vintage Pattern Pledge ‘Blast from the past’ from 1980 coming up soon on my blog. Love the music from that year!