I not only remember my first pattern, I still have them. I was taught hand sewing and embroidery and then dressmaking at school. I enjoyed it, but I didn't like the Dressmaking teacher!
I got my parents to buy me an Elna Lotus for my 16th birthday (1972), as it only weighed 14 pounds and folded up to carry. I wanted to be able to take it to school to use, as their machines were horrible. My dad took some persuading as both my mum and my elder sister had sewing machines and didn't use them.
I had it for 16 years before I traded it in for a Riccar Reliant which I had for a further 22 years, then traded that in 3 years ago for my Janome DC3050.
Anyway here are my first patterns. The halter neck tops could be made up from a yard of fabric, which you could pick up as a remnant then. I was sorry to see no-one sells remnants any more as they are all cut up for patchwork now. I used to make the maxi skirt up on a Friday night and wear it Saturday!
It was so simple, as you can see here, the skirt front and back and a waistband. Style patterns don't exist any more, but I have quite a few in my pattern drawer.
Somewhere in the loft are phots of me wearing one I had made on our school trip to Russia. We caused quite a stir with our Western fashions!
I made this blouse in a beautiful Viyella fabric, a brushed cotton print, with matching self covered buttons. I really wanted to make the waistcoat, but it never happened.
My sister helped me make the full length tiered skirt, as there was so much gathering to do. With a matching halter neck top it looked like a dress. I seem to remember a very unflattering photos of me wearing it - such a pity they are in the loft!
Once I finished school I switched to sewing dolls and soft toys. After my first divorce I tried to get back into dressmaking, but never liked anything I made, so my sewing dropped to taking up hems and sewing on buttons.
I started sewing again when I moved in with my present partner 7 years ago, and made myself a dressing gown, and haven't looked back since!
Like riding a bike, you never forget how!
My very first pattern that I made was a white long sleeve tailored blouse. I still remember it to this day (50 yrs. ago)
My first pattern was a Simplicity with a round neck, bust darts, bell sleeves, and a-line. I used an avocado green polished cotton fabric, center back zipper, and wide black rickrack around the sleeves and the hem. I was in 8th grade Home Ec and 13yrs old when I made this dress around 1965. I wore it in a fashion show. I had been making doll clothes before then by tracing around my dolls on newspaper for patterns. This was the first time that I has used a sewing machine. I learned hand embroidery and took Home Ec every year from 7th grade to 12th grade. I always skipped the cooking sessions as I hated to cook & bake. When I got to college, I took a tailoring course and since then, I have purchased books, VHS tapes, as well as DVDs to improve my sewing skills. Now, I'm learning to smock and have never stopped sewing.
You obviously have lots of experience to help others with then! It did occur to me that if everyone who joined "Beginners" was a beginner, there wouldn't be anyone to help them!
So are you still sewing? Or teaching it to another generation?
Since we are reviving a thread from before I was an active member of the community, why not. I hope I'm not speaking out of turn here.
I've never worked from proper patterns they don't exist for what I do and that's a good thing or I would be out a job :). My method of madness involves polyfilm, sharpies and a yardstick.dozens of dragon scales later I might be going mad. I should add that I knew absolutely nothing about making patterns before I started; completely self taught.
I will make a post about them soon* I am swamped with projects and the glass keeps filling up. I'm sure no one on here has any idea what that feels like. :)
I, too, still have my some of my original sewing patterns. I am much too lazy to dig them out of the bin to show you though. One I patterned I used often was what was referred to at that time "a shift". The dress part was gathered into a yoke front and back. You could add sleeves or go sleeveless. I must have made a dozen such dresses as we weren't allowed to wear pants to class. One dress, I remember particularly, was red with white pin dots. The patterns were much more simple and easier to use because there was just one size printed on the flimsy tissue paper, I saved these patterns because I thought I would have a girl in the family someday that might be interested in sewing. No such luck! My daughters in law certainly aren't. Now my kids can laugh at all the "stuff" Mom saved when I take the dirt nap!
Hi Mary Ellen
I believe you may find that 'vintage' patterns will be collectable! I just wish they had used good quality paper instead of tissue!
May you have many more years to enjoy sewing before you take that dirt nap!
We are talking sewing so there is no talking out of turn, anyway it's my fault as I only joined in January 2012, a year after Patricia's post, and it took me another 12 months to read it and reply!
Anyway I'm intrigued. I did go visit your page and see the cloak with dragon scales, but what's the glass that keeps filling up? Your projects are obviously very creative. Have you seen this costume here on SWN?
Just beautiful. My first pattern was nothing so complicated. I was in home ec class and made an a-line skirt from wide wale corderoy. I got an A and was so proud of myself. Tickles me to remember it...lol.