Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Separate Piece

Dear Doris,

You know I love you. I feel we have a special bond. After all, you were the original owner of several of my vintage patterns from Vogue's New Book for Better Sewing. I think about you often. Yes, I know you're a figment of my imagination. But still, I have a bone to pick with you: I'm peeved that you lost the crucial pattern piece to make view C of the bolero.

Doris, I know how excited you were to make this version of the bolero. You even had strong opinions on the design, feeling that it would be much stronger with long sleeves rather than short. I appreciated your pluck at drawing in the sleeves on the pattern envelope. I do stuff like that all the time too! I like how emphatic you were about it; you even wrote long sleeves on the envelope back, as if your re-working of the illustration didn't say it all.

I hope your long-sleeved version was everything you hoped it would be. I'm sure you looked ravishing in it. But Doris, really. What did you do with the front pattern piece? Why did you put the long sleeve piece back in the envelope, but not the front pattern piece? That piece is the key to the bonus bolero project in Vogue's New Book for Better Sewing! Didn't you know that 57 years after you made your bolero, a slightly obsessive gal would buy your old pattern on the internet and need to make version C of the bolero and blog about it? Hmm. I can see I've lost you here, Doris.

Oh, well. Anyway, who am I to cast aspersions? Good lord, if someone comes across my sewing patterns in 57 years, I think it's a fair guess that they won't be in a pretty state. I can barely keep all the pieces together when I'm actually making a damn pattern, much less 57 years later.

Maybe I'll make view A instead, since you were kind enough to leave me all the pieces for that version. And it's quite cute, with its double buttons and Peter Pan collar.

Anyway, Doris, what I really should be saying now is this: Thanks for everything. Really. I'm sad that this is the last of your patterns that I own. It's been real.




  1. Noooooo! How disappointing.

    Gertie, I am excited because I just bought a copy of VONBBS. I want you to know this is your fault.

  2. Oh, Doris, I can relate! Hard to keep those little pieces all together but secretely I am glad you misplaced it so long ago- I think that View A is fabulously cute and can't wait to see it made up by Gertie!

  3. I bought a great 70's shirt pattern with fold back cuffs only to discover when I went to cut it out that the previous owner had thought so little of the cuffs that she cut them off the sleeve pattern piece and haedn't bothered putting what she removed back in the envelope... Luckily it was an easy to fix problem but I did have a few choice words to say about that lady at the time!

    Hope you're happy with View A when you've sewn it!

  4. I think A is actually nicer than C... It would be lovely in a tweed!

  5. oh dear! View A is rather lovely though!
    BTW, So happy I found your blog Gertie I love reading your posts

  6. I love view C. Have you tried http://patternrescue.com/ ?

  7. Gertie, I love both boleros. They are both very nice. I'm glad you can make the other version, but it would still be nice to make this one, too. Maybe you'll find the pattern again somewhere else.

  8. view a is really quite cute and makes and excellent consolation prize in my opinion

  9. So sorry Doris did that! I know how it is when you have your heart set on something like that. I have a hard time getting all the pieces back in the envelope too. I'm missing a pocket pattern piece as we speak.

  10. Well, I am glad you have forgiven Doris for her indiscretion!!! I hate trying to get patterns back in the envelopes. She probably got disgusted because the pieces wouldn't fit back in there!! I have started using gallon size zippered plastic bags. The pieces fit into those! Of course, Doris didn't have such an option back in her day.
    I think the view you are going to make is adorable. Can't wait to see it!

  11. I'm with you, Gertie (and Doris, too), that View C with the long sleeves is awesome. I don't care for view A at all, sorry.

    If I were you I'd attempt to redraft the bolero front pieces for that lovely fold-back shawl collar and front, perhaps using the back part of the View C collar.

    Unfortunately, given the sorry state of my sewing and pattern drafting skills, I don't see that effort ending well for me. I have confidence in you, though, and have crossed my fingers you might give it a go so I can feel a vicarious thrill of triumph when you show off the finished product....?

    BTW, re pattern pieces: I bought a box of white 9x12 catalog envelopes at OfficeMax. When I sew a new pattern, I cut the "seams" off the original pattern envelope and paste the front and back side-by-side to the front of a catalog envelope with glue stick. Then as I progress with the garment I write notes to myself on the back of the large envelope of all the tailoring adjustments made. And all the pattern pieces (plus my new redrafted ones) fit back in easily. I keep all the large envelopes in a file crate, where it is easy to flip through them.

  12. so sorry. A is fine but it's no C

  13. Oh dear! I always lament the missing pieces in a vintage pattern. Usually they just seem to be the easy, small pieces (e.g. the ones I tend to loose too!), but I wonder sometimes what causes the larger ones to go missing? Putting it back in the wrong envelope? Accidently ruining it (it happens)? Maybe it fell to the floor and got balled up in the scrap pile, never to be seen again?

    I do like the other view though (but then again, I am partial to peter pan collars! ;)--I can't wait to see your version, Gertie!

    (I also wanted to apologize for not having commented in so long on your delightful blog! :p Life has been crazy here lately, and my commenting has gotten awful. Yikes!)

  14. Nooooo! Doris, how could you?

  15. Okay, Venus, now you've put the idea in my little pea brain to try to draft it myself. If anything, the disaster I create will make an interesting post!

    ejvc, where did you buy your copy? I've seen a few cropping up on eBay lately.

    Casey, nice to see you! :)

    ClaireBee, thank you. It's so nice to have you all come visit me every day. :)

  16. I concur with all the others, I think view A is very nice. Especially in red velvet.

    For Christmas it would be lovely, with a bit of holly or mistletoe pinned to the collar and a white fur collar or hat. And a muff, naturally.

  17. I never cut a pattern. I ALWAYS trace it on new tissue paper, fold it neatly and put it back in the envelope. Hopefully, someone will appreciate that in 57 years.

  18. Hi Gertie,

    Mine was listed on Amazon, and I'm pretty sure it was only there for a few minutes - I just searched for it on the off-chance, and there it was, so I snapped it up.

    It might be a difficult piece to draft, but why not. You have a pattern drafting book, as I recall, and VoNBBS probably has a small picture of the piece in question (or does it?) If not, does the instruction/layout sheet have a tiny diagram of it? Those would help, I think.

    Regarding care of patterns etc -- last year someone suggested I keep a sewing journal, and it is really brilliant. Mine is a hardbound journal and I staple in swatches and glue in finished pictures of garments, as well as noting plans, dreams, alterations and other things. Some people have looseleaf sheets they print out and fill with information and keep in a 3-ring binder. I love it, anyway, it's like building a portfolio of my workm plus with a lot of useful information. I also keep measurements in there to refer to (mine, doll, husband, mom), charts of ease (how much ease does a "loose-fitting" garment have?), my croquis-sketch bases, some sketches... you get the idea. It has been so good for me. It might work for you.

    I also trace my patterns, but that's mostly because I prefer them without seam allowances and I mostly use Burda and Ottobre magazine patterns.

  19. oh i like your blog and this fantastic dresses :]

  20. I've somehow become obsessed with your blog and your progress, so thankyou for all your hard work and inspiration.

    Just wanted to say though drafting a new View C front pattern piece would be quite straightforward as you still have the View A piece, which for most multi-style commercial patterns mean the patterns were based on one base style.

  21. I love your blog and your obvious fondness for Doris. Your creations are stunning.
    That's all.


Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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