Remember That Dress. Remember That Pattern.
My not-so-silent partner, Bob Evans, found a wiki for vintage sewing patterns. Vintage is defined as 25 years or older. The vintage sewing pattern wiki is an open source information website, not a place to buy patterns. It is a little cumbersome to navigate. Once I found the images section, pictures of more than 100,000 patterns, I was hooked. Bob thinks I'm channeling Jack Nicholson in "The Shining;" I know its simply remembering the hours spent at fabric stores thumbing through pattern books. It has me thinking about rearranging our small downtown Santa Barbara store to include a table with pattern books. Let me know what you think by comment below.
I was, I am obsessed. Thumbing through page after page of images of sewing patterns. I found a picture of a sewing pattern I remember using, or dreaming about using. I had to find that one sewing pattern. The one that I made with pleats, a square banded neckline popular in the late 1960's, and long shirt sleeves with placket and cuffs.
I remember That Dress because it was one of my first forays into couture sewing techniques. If it turns out to be a Vogue pattern, it may have been first leap out of Simplicity patterns and Butterick patterns into sewing patterns for more advanced sewers. I made it out of white cotton kettle cloth, bravely top stitched in black. The pleats kicked open as I walked. I remember the top stitching as straight and precise. That may be the root of my pride, my remembering that dress, its sewing pattern, and my quest.
Kettle cloth is a woven cotton fabric. Many of my first garments were made using kettle cloth. It was inexpensive and was available at the local TG&Y Five&Dime Store. It was easy to sew and available in many colors and prints. I don't see kettle cloth around much any longer. It does look as cheap and stiff as it cost. It has a simple weave, but with fibers of varying weights. This creates a look like slubs, an uneven texture in the weave like duoppioni or linen. Silk Duoppioni or linen both would make up beautifully in the pleated dress, and look infinitely more elegant than made out of kettle cloth.
During my frenzy of pattern gazing, I did find a picture of Butterick sewing pattern 6167. I remember that as a favorite I made using a bold, bright cotton kettle cloth print.