As a little girl, I was forever fascinated with my mum’s sewing box. It was one of the iconic plastic Singer boxes, recognisable to any 90s kid with a sewing-inclined mother (or to the sewing mothers themselves!). My mum’s was a bright lime green – almost a memeworthy colour. “Tell me you sewed in the late 80s without telling you sewed in the late 80s”. That’s the green we are talking about. The top tray was a delight of haberdashery and notions, but the real magic was underneath.
The patten section.
I love flicking through them, and dreaming up different outfits. Then, of course, time in its relentless way, marched on. I outgrew the patterns in mum’s collection. I started sewing myself and added my own pattern choices to the stash. I fell out of sewing and into study and work and love and marriage and then out of work and study and into motherhood, and with it, a fall back into my crafty ways. I slowly started building a collection of boys patterns, and then, child number three arrived. A girl, unexpectedly. In the time I’d been falling back in to sewing, mum, now an empty nester, was falling into new hobbies and stages of life and a relentless desire to declutter her house in the direction of mine. As Miss Butterfly grew, so too did my pattern stash, and the more mum cleaned, the more I received. So many patterns. Everything from a monstrosity of a 90s adult jumpsuit with shoulder pads and bib collar (mum, I love you but what on EARTH were you thinking? The 90s were not kind to anyone, were they?), to an amazing vintage coat-dress that had actually been passed down to her from HER mum. That coat is one of my favourite “Sunday best” outfits now.
In between the disasters and the insanely epic, lay quite a bit of solid gold – funky vintage style girl’s basics. I will confess it stings to call 90s patterns “vintage”. I am, however, still partial to a middle part and a good pair of skinny jeans, which I’m led to believe firmly marks me as “old”, so if my childhood is vintage, well, so be it. I’ve used quite a few of the patterns, including to make a dress for myself. I’m not sure if I’m pleased to be able to fit in a dress designed for a 14yo girl, or depressed to have the figure of a 14yo girl…
This afternoon, my most recent finish came off the machine, courtesy of mum’s pattern stash, and the Spotlight clearance rack.
Miss Butterfly is quite long and lanky, so I sized the pattern based on her measurements, and then measured her length wise for bodice, pants gusset and pants leg, and added length to get the fit as she liked. It sewed up quite quickly, and sat in my basket for no other reason than I hate buttons and buttonholes with a passion, and have been avoiding doing them. This weekend though, the warm weather is here, and she needed something dressy ready for church tomorrow.
It’s such a sweet pattern, with tie detail at the shoulder and the ankle. I can see this pattern working with a waist tie as well for a bit of extra shape as she gets older too. The fabric is a beautiful light cotton, from my stash. I’d discovered it on the clearance rack during a “50% off 3m or more” sale, so it ended up costing only a couple of dollars a metre. It such a pretty fabric, and I think the drape of it works well with this pattern. There is quite a bit of 90s bulk to the gathered waist, but the light fabric stops it from overwhelming her slight frame. Miss is chuffed with it, Now just to hope she gets a bit of wear out of it before she has another growth spurt!