Friends, you're no doubt familiar with the popular term "to jump the shark" but do you know its provenance? It's the 1970's sitcom Happy Days, and you can read more about it at your leisure here.
I use the term jump the shark today to describe those particular moments when a favorite blog -- and by extension, favorite sewing blogger -- shifts from relative normalcy to outright wackiness. It's happening a lot these days. And I think I know why.
With the new year come the inevitable sewing resolutions, many of them suggestive of -- if not quite neurosis, then mild-to-middling inner conflict. Do you recognize any of these? (No names please!)
I will only sew from my stash.
I will only sew from reclaimed fabric.
I will only sew clothes I will really wear (i.e., "cake")
I will only sew "frosting."
I will sew a dress a day (a week, an hour, etc.)
I will knit _____ pairs of socks.
There are so many more, most of which won't be remembered past March.
But the humdinger has to be our own dear Debi Fry, who has created what she calls her 1940 McCall Project. As if Debi's life wasn't full enough (Etsy store, career, social activism, weekly vintage photo shoots in verdant Scotland), Debi has decided that over the next decade, she will attempt to sew every pattern created that year by the McCall Pattern Company (currently called McCall's). That's right, the entire catalog from 1940. Do you recognize the scary mix of obsession, grandiosity, and challenge in Debi? Look in her eyes: it's all there!
Don't shoot the messenger, but let's remember that Debi never even finished her vintage sewing alphabet project, stopping somewhere around the letter S? Debi, how about T,U,V,W,X (good luck with that one),Y and Z?
To sum up, Debi -- whom I've met myself and comes across as an exceedingly warm, intelligent, and lovely young woman -- has decided to claim an entire year for herself, sucking up the world's supply of vintage McCall's patterns faster than an Electrolux canister vacuum cleaner. Which leaves the rest of us -- where? Out in the cold.
Now I happen to own a very rare 1940 McCall pattern, one that Debi would no doubt like to get her greedy mitts on post-haste. Do you think I'm going to trace it and share it with her? Perhaps, but let's see what she offers in return first.
Now, not to be outdone by devilish Debi, I hightailed it over to Etsy last week to pick among the scattered crumbs left in Debi's wake. And I found something fabulous. It's not from 1940 of course -- how could it be, Debi owns them all -- so I had to settle for 1939.
Behold, charming McCall 3338!
I purchased this pattern from Genny at studioGpatterns, my new favorite Etsy store. Genny has a ton of vintage patterns for under $15 (the vast majority, in fact) and many for much, much less. (This Marian Martin is a personal favorite and I hope someone will scoop it up fast and remove the temptation.)
Readers, three questions, one personal, two Debi-related:
1) Do you see the suggested materials for McCall 3338? What does the line "Made from silk, cotton, wool, rayon, and other synthetic fibers" refer to? All the fabrics listed above it?
2) What do you make of sewing bloggers and their often bizarre resolutions and goal-setting? Is Debi off her rocker or merely enthusiastic?
3) Have you set a sewing resolution for 2013? Don't be shy: share it with us. We will not laugh.
PS - You can view Debi's 1940 McCall's pattern collection on Pinterest here. Please put a Pinterest button on your blog, Debi!
I'm a native New Yorker and self-taught sewing fanatic! I've been sewing obsessively since 2009 and today make all my own clothes using mostly vintage patterns and vintage sewing machines. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!