OK, who’s curious like me? Have you ever wondered whether there are some top patterns that us home sewists would chose above all others if we were forced to pick a few? I’ve been mulling this over for a while & then this idea grew, it sounded a bit like Desert Island Discs, a BBC Radio 4 institution, where guests (famous in some way) are interviewed whilst they also chose their favorite music tracks. This is a great way to discover more about the guest beyond the celebrity, & can be really interesting. Now I am not a regular listener, but it can provide some fascinating perspectives. My favorite was Morrissey’s ( of course as I love his speaking voice and wryness as well as his music – his luxury if not allowed sleeping pills was a bed!).
So I’m applying this approach to sewing….and here starts “Desert Island Sewing“. I am lining up other sewing bloggers to participate in this game as part of my quest so that I can gather data and analyse for themes. There will be stats, charts & pies, promise! and we can see if there are any trends. Hopefully, like me you’d find it an interesting way to learn a little more about other sewing bloggers and you might see some inspiring choices!
To start it off I’d better be the one to set the ball rolling, let me describe the situation:
“You are stranded on a desert island, surrounded by beautiful crystal blue water populated by turtles & tropical fish (no sharks!). You have a comfy cosy shelter, an abundance of food & drinking water & a solar generator. Upon exploring the island you find a container that has fallen off a cargo ship & guess what? It is filled with what seems to be a never ending supply of fabrics of all descriptions, threads & notions!! What chance!
You are allowed to take your sewing machine & sewing box but which would be your 8 desert island patterns? (Note I will leave it up to my interviewees to imagine that their desert island’s climate & their adventures did not only require bikinis & sarongs but maybe more of a variety of clothing- but up to them! This is about designing their dream but limited wardrobe. The patterns might be practical choices, or maybe they have more sentimental meaning). So what will it be?
I have to chose 8 patterns
1. Simplicity 2154- a retro 1960s reprint
You know I love this blouse in all its fake pussy bow glory, it’s just TOO CUTE!
I adore that it is a 60s pattern (but with the luxury of modern tweaks & proportions) and that it also provides a stylish cardigan, jacket and pencil skirt. I can see a lot of mileage in this, being able to adapt the skirt as my basic block. This is a multi practical choice for warmth and cute style. Love love love love love.
2. Next up, if I had the chance, if it was warm enough, I would wear shorts to death, it’s the attraction of bare legs in the sun that I love, & this doesn’t happen that often in our climate. So, desert island = yes! Much as I was tempted by a 1960s sailor pattern, I’ve just gotta stick with the trouser love if my life, Sewaholic Thurlow, Tasia’s at Sewaholic shown below.
Canvas shorts, denim shorts, gingham suckers, the works. And that there are trousers too – bonus! No brainer. Tell you what I would perfect these pockets & become a welt-ninja.
3. Which would be my absolute basic top pattern do you think? I bet you can guess. Yes, another Sewaholic pattern, the mighty Renfrew.
It is so adaptable, making t shirts and jumper weight cosy sweater knits. I’d try adapting it to make tank/ vest tops too for wearing with my shorts ( with plenty of saucy nautical details )
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4. Ok, so that’s all the sensible practical choices. I can now let myself loose on my pattern collection and find that the rest of my choices are dresses! Whoop whoop! My top priority is another retro reprint – Butterick 5747.
I haven’t made this yet, but I swoon every time I see it. I’d make sailor dresses first of all, in all sorts of colours with both skirt variations, then mess around with all sorts of other fabrics, including a taffeta full skirted version. The skirt pieces also make good options for using on their own as cute skirts, different from the pencil skirt block above (oh, I am ever practical).
5. Next up a dress I still haven’t sewn but will this summer, promise. A 70s zip through with a MASSIVE collar.
I like the plain blue sleeveless version best and would make a stretchy elastic belt (made with rainbow elastic) , maybe trying to find one of those ‘s’ shaped buckles from the belts that boys used to wear in the 1970s. I could see this in all sorts of fabrics, spots, stripes, checks and plain. It would be perfect for bronzing those shoulders. Long sleeves for cooler times.
6. Simplicity 1880 is another pattern I’ve yet to sew, but I am a huge sucker for a shirt dress and as it also comes with a wrap dress I’ve got all sorts of styling options and a flirty skirt.
Sunni from a Fashionable Stitch led a double sewalong using this pattern and there are so many gorgeous versions I’ve seen.
I found two stunning dresses made by A SewingLife
Images from A Sewing Life, link as above.
Can you see why this features in my top patterns? Plus, I’d be able to use the bodice as a shirt block, the skirt is another style to,add to my repertoire…
7. To challenge myself I’d also finally have enough guts and time to finally tackle Gertie’s bombshell dress. Could you imagine a more perfect make for a desert island - a slower careful make, perfecting my fit? Hawaiian print would be my first version (I must have sub-consciously remembered Lladybird’s awesome version)
I’d then make one in turquoise Chinese brocade.
8. Finally I would opt for a Wearing History pattern, some 1930s beach trousers and halter top, because think of the style (G&T in hand) and they are described as for the beach after all!!
I do not own this pattern, but think it would fill the gap in this desert island set admirably.
But you may notice that I have not chosen a swimsuit. Let me tell you now, this is a desert island….having a plentiful supply of dress patterns is more important than covering up when sunbathing I’d say…;-)
Next, in desert island discs, you are allowed to take the Bible and the Complete Works of Shakespeare ( but don’t have to on my desert island if you don’t want!!) but I’m going to see which sewing related book people would choose.
This is hard, as before last week I would have taken one of my Japanese 1970s pattern drafting books as the idea of making a cool 1970s wardrobe whilst learning drafting appealed to me. However, I ordered Winifred Aldrich’s “Metric pattern cutting for women’s wear” and have to say that there is so much to learn, so many garment variations, style details I have never even conceived, let alone tried that it would have to be my sewing book. I can imagine turning to this book & it occupying me when contemplating version 21 of a Bombshell dress….
Just to spice things up a bit, I also would like to know which non sewing book would get chosen.
Mine would be One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, my favorite ever book. It’s one of the few books I’ve read more than once, & definitely the only one I would ever want to read lots of times.
I love getting lost in the magical descriptions and convoluted sentences, miraculous and tangential plot, so much so, it inspires me to write.
Which leads me on to my luxury…you are allowed one luxury,
Mine would be resources for writing/ journaling, having been inspired by One Hundred Years of Solitude I will want to write! I’d have lots of time to do it by hand and make it look lovely.
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Finally, music. This could provide unexpected insights. But which disc would I chose?
Well, for me this was a tricky one as I seem to survive on playlists, however, an album I would never tire of is “Always and Forever, the best of Louis and Ella“.
Not only is it 50 songs of velvety Ella and dulcet Louis , I’d be able to sing along, taking either Ella’s or Louis’ part and feel I wasn’t alone after all as I would be in duet with one of these greats (with no-one but the parrots to hear my creaking tones! Oh, just imagine the cacophony!!!). There are songs that are just so happy, (and Louis so makes me smile) and would have me swinging my hips, as well as gorgeous duets such as the awesome Summertime. There are so many artists that I listen to endlessly for three months, become my fave of the moment, but then I hardly listen to after that, moving on to the next. Ella & Louis are always there in my faves & do not wear with constant listening.
So please let me know what you think about this idea. Is it entertaining? Does it satisfy an inner curiosity? Have you ever wondered these questions yourself? I am hoping to post maybe every two or three weeks, a different blogger each time. Tell you what, I am Mega Excited by it!!!