Sunday, March 9, 2014

Retro Simplicity Patterns

Pattern companies, most notably Simplicity or McCall's, often produce a short run of a pattern based on a popular movie or play.  There have been many of these through the years including everything from 'Wizard of Oz' to 'Brave'.  I tend to snatch these up whenever I see them for future use at Beauty and the Beast.  Frequently, that pattern hording tenancy pays off.

While many people might know that the Titanic sank in 1912, you may not make the connection that the Broadway plays "Music Man" and "My Fair Lady" were both set in the same year.  "Mary Poppins" was set only 2 years prior in 1910.   Since "Music Man" is returning as a popular High School play, I'm very happy that I collected many of the patterns produced along the way as most are currently out of print.  It is always a challenge to have a large  enough variety of costumes on stage to keep a large chorus from looking like a series of twins or triplets, yet still look like they all go together.

Currently, the "My Fair Lady" pattern shown above is being adapted into costumes for the society ladies, most noted for their song "Pick a Little, Talk a Little".  The sharp eyed observer might also see where the patterns below were used for the other town's people in an up coming performance at a local school or around the shop for other projects.  But don't go rushing to the store to pick up a copy for yourself, if you didn't buy them when they first came out, they are long gone now.

So what should the well meaning, forward thinking costumer do?  Always watch for sales on patterns at your local fabric or hobby shop.  When you see anything that might be interesting, pick it up in all the available sizes. You never know when they might be useful, and you never know what SIZE you will need for yourself or someone else in a group.  

Personally, I've very excited about Simplicity producing a line of  "Retro" patterns.  They even gave the Retro Patterns their own category heading in the new catalogs so they are easier to find.  Historical character costumes are always in demand.  If you wait until you actually need one to purchase it, you may not be able to find a suitable pattern, or if you do, it may be at an exorbitant price, or only available in "used" condition.  So shop smart and shop often to build up your own stock pile of patterns for future use.

Pro Tip:  When you have a lot of patterns, it's difficult to find the one you want in your stash.  Photo copy the Black and White sketch on the instructions and file them in a binder.  Then store your patterns in numerical order.  You can quickly find the pattern you need in your binder, then look it up in your storage bins or drawers by the number, just like at the store.

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