Sunday, July 4, 2021

Weekend Review: The Vintage Pattern Selector


The Vintage Pattern Selector / Jo Barnfield
Hove, UK: Barron Educational, c2013.
192 p.

I picked this up in the library -- the cover and the concept were appealing. You can tell it's a little old now -- patterns are included on a cd in the back of the book. I haven't tried one yet, but I am planning to printat least one off to test the sizing and drafting. 

I found the book's concept interesting; it's laid out by garment type - dresses, skirts, blouses, coats, pants, lingerie, and accessories. Each section highlights a couple of examples of different eras and what the original items would include, and then shows images of a modern interpretation plus pattern. There really isn't much content, though, for what I might expect from a book like this. A lot of it is about the modern take on the vintage concept, there's not very much detail on the vintage itself. It's kind of a page or two of bullet points on both ends, and lots of pictures of current outfits. 

The book ends with a section on basic dress construction, and also includes some vintage specific sewing instructions like making a side placket for a snap closure, or creating nice flat bows for belts and trim, or even making shell trims. But overall I wasn't sure who the intended reader was. The information given on the vintagey topics is pretty elementary, but the sewing instructions seem to assume a bit of knowledge in the reader. 

The primary issue I have with this book is the sizing. According to the measurement chart at the back, standard sizing here runs from S - XL (or B/H of 32/35" to 38.5/41"). But I am sized out at XL. My bust measurement corresponds to somewhere between a L and XL but my waist and hip are bigger than the biggest size on offer. I don't think there are many sewists who would find this tiny size range useful or appropriate. 

I am going to print and measure one of the patterns, and try it out so I've actually tested one of the designs here -- likely the 20s slip as it's simple and straightforward and will be a good test case. There are a couple of cute patterns included, but with the sizing issues and the scant instructions, most readers will likely just move on to one of the many vintage inspired pattern lines out there these days. Charm Patterns, Decades of Style, or even actual vintage patterns, will have more to offer, I think. 

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