Does anyone remember Style patterns? I miss them. They were really great. My wedding dress was a Style, and many, many of the dresses I made for myself in college and beyond were from that pattern line. They always fit me well, and their photos of the dresses were always styled (no pun) in progressive, not-lame ways. I look at patterns a lot, and I sew for myself a lot, and I swear, for me, much of the creativity in sewing is just in the imagining that what you're looking at in the pattern book could be something not-lame -- because the fabrics and the photo-styling they use for those books are generally so scary. Man. It's painful. But that's okay, we like a challenge.
Nevertheless, when I sew clothes for myself, or when I make almost anything for myself that I don't intend to sell, I like to follow patterns to a tee. I don't want to have to make changes or alter things significantly, or fuss too much -- I just wanna make it, not think about how to change it. It seems that most people aren't actually like this, from what I'm gathering -- but I think they must have more natural aptitude than I do! I wish I was better at altering! I've even taken a class in flat-pattern design, but I'm still spatially challenged enough that I'm thrilled when I find something I like, just the way it is. Alleluia! Something that helps is to always look at the pattern drawings. They give you a lot better idea of where the waistline sits, how full the skirt is, where the darts are, and of course what the back looks like -- stuff you don't necessarily see in a photo.
I picked out this pattern yesterday. It's Simplicity 4116. You don't see a lot of contemporary dress patterns with little Peter Pan collars like this, and I love a nice Peter Pan collar. Strangely, the dresses that seemed the freshest to me were the reissued vintage ones that were fifty years old. I don't know a thing about the pattern industry, but it must be a little tough to mobilize -- dresses hang out in the pattern book for years, and new styles don't seem to overwhelm the offerings! I also remember when I was in Europe about fifteen years ago. I was very excited to look at dress patterns there, but lo and behold -- they had (at least at that time) pretty much the same thing we did here in the U.S. Is it the same in Australia? Butterick, Simplicity, McCalls, Vogue, Burda, New Look? Did I forget anything? Aren't several of those companies actually the same company, as well? Hmmm. An opportunity there, for someone illustrious?
This time I think I'm gonna go with view C -- the one on the right, with the little eyelet ruffle sleeve and the strips of tiny eyelet running down the front (what looks like vertical stripes on the drawing). I also, ultimately, decided against the grayish stripes (though I really like that one, I thought three yards of it might be a little much) and the red polka dots and settled on this sort of cameo-pink gingham and the eyelet. It seemed like such an unusual color for gingham, and reminded me of this vintage wallpaper I had just been looking at in my studio. And I love those old-fashioned, flat, starched eyelets. It'll be my Thimble Summer dress, the one I wear to the county fair.