Friday, September 17, 2010

Advance 1686 - (Boy's Coat)

Latter part of the 1930's.  The yoke and lower back pattern pieces have been replaced with newspaper tracings from a Detroit paper that indicate a date of 1938 or '39.

I would describe this as a reefer or pea coat (the terms seem to be largely interchangeable.)  View 1 is a particularly elegant interpretation, having both hand-warmer and patch pockets.

With sixteen pieces and an expectation that it would be lined, this coat represents a lot of work for the maker.  As we did in the discussion of McCall 5327, we should consider the challenge to the maker in spending money on (remember that at this time the Great Depression is a recent memory for all and still a reality for many) and considerable time in constructing a garment that would be outgrown before it wore out.  Of course, if there was more than one boy in either the immediate or extended family, possibly the maker planned to make the coat for Older Brother who would hand it down to Next Younger Brother or Cousin.  It would be interesting to know if clothing was handled and maintained with greater care when it was planned to be handed down.  

Many of the pattern pieces are torn - something that often happens when you're working with thick fabrics - winters in Detroit are cold!

Although Advance is touting an improved step-by-step instruction guide, the entire set of instructions, including the layouts, is printed on one side of a 15" by 16" sheet of paper.  The written instructions are reasonably complete but necessarily very brief.  The maker is assumed to have good basic sewing skills such as basting, grading and finishing seams, pressing, etc.

Friday, September 3, 2010

McCall 5327 - Child's Jumpsuit and Hat


Children's clothing is a little tricky to talk about because its purposes are different from clothing for adults.  Most important with regard to the time and effort involved in home sewing, children's clothes are more or less disposable because children grow out of them.  It's unlikely that a child will wear out an article of clothing before they outgrow it, so while a home-made garment may have been intended for one particular child, its lifespan will probably extend to that child's siblings, extended family, or even to the larger community as part of a clothing exchange.

How children's clothing is used is also a little different.  There is the clothing children are required to wear for what are essentially adult functions; little suits for boys and dresses for girls that are worn to church, to Christmas parties, and weddings and the like, and which almost always itch or pinch in one way or another.   Pajamas and bathrobes, sometimes sewn annually at Christmas time combine a labor of love with deep practicality, though the recipients may not appreciate this.  Clothing that is appropriate for school (at least during the elementary grades when parents still have some control!) is essentially occupational clothing that conforms to current styles.

And then there are play clothes.  Play, I think, is the truest occupation of children, particularly young children, so it makes sense to provide them with appropriate occupational clothing.

What makes this pattern so attractive is the matching hat - an occupational necessity for all railroaders, regardless of the size of their rail operations.

This pattern does not appear to have been used.

This one is for Jim and Olen.