Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Viking's take on Valentine's Day

Ah, Valentine's Day. The day to stress out about what box of chocolate best says I-am-so-not-buying-this-at-the-last-minute-really! How's it going for you? Around here, my husband and I are working opposite shifts and won't be seeing one another at all, outside of passing in the hallways at work. So to make up for our lack of actual Valentine's Day romance, we went out on Sunday afternoon.

We had a fine lunch out at this place, then we drove to this antique store. It's MASSIVE. Room after room, two floors. Doodads up the wazoo. We are not antiquers, but we thought it would be fun (and ever so romantic) to wander around with a mission: find a Valentine's Day gift for the other with a $10 budget.

Can I show you what he found me after nearly an hour of searching (and a stern warning that I did not under any circumstances want anything in the "figurine" category)?

I have to say, I was impressed. This is right up my alley, of course. And why wouldn't it be? Written and published in the early 1960s, it's a 16-chapter Bible of sewing. And of course, there are many lessons the McCall's editors want to pass on to me to make sure I am as prim and well-put together as I should be in my hand-sewn duds.

Let's take a look!

Here I get to learn about the appropriate attire for different functions. If I'm going to a "Club Activity," I should wear "Dressmaker suits, simple dresses, such as the sheath, shirtwaist and coast dress are always appropriate. They may have soft touches, but avoid fussy styles." Luckily for the McCall's editors, I almost always avoid the fussy styles, so no issue there!

I also get to learn how to dress myself according to my body type. Like if I'm the "Tall and Heavy" type, I'm told: "Lines for the 'viking' type are a problem." Wow, McCall's, really? A Viking? Seems very unladylike of you.

Here's a handy guide to female body types. It seems back in 1960, the top size --a  misses' -- was for a woman 5-foot-5 or 5-foot-6 and "average" waist and bust. A size 6 would be a 22-inch waist. Me, with my size 30-waist, which fits me into a size 6 or 8 in today's clothes? According to McCall's, I'd be a size 16 or 18, the largest size on their chart. (In other words, Vikingesque!) I guess this just shows the pattern-makers have been crazy all along.

 But all kidding aside, I think this book is great reference material. It covers everything from how to read a pattern to how to construct full garments. I'll use it, of that I'm sure. I'd still really like to make myself a dress someday. So, to my wonderful husband, a big thanks. I love my Valentine's Day sewing book, even if it is a teensy bit insulting in some sections. You clearly get me. And makes a girl feel good.

Happy Valentine's Day friends!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I've heard that pattern sizing has never changed since the 50s on either side of the Atlantic. I got really annoyed at a UK magazine that gives a 'free' pattern (with their $9 magazine) and proudly announces it goes up to a size 16. In UK OTR clothing sizes, that actually translates to a size 8-10, which in US sizes is about a 4-6. Err, yeah, so given that the average UK woman is apparently an OTR size 16 (US 12), you can imagine how many will fit into the ruddy free patterns!