The Selfish Seamstress was shuffling through some of her vintage sewing books last night and stumbled upon a nice old issue of “Vogue Sewing Book” from 1958, a great year for clothes.  It’s not the great big reference book (I have that one too though), but a slim paperback volume that has some neat tricks and tips, a fabric glossary, and some other handy articles.  Perhaps it is the predecessor to Vogue Patterns magazine? It does feature a lot of Vogue patterns. I’m not quite sure:

As I was flipping through it, I stumbled upon a photo story of a lovely young lady who spends a peaceful and serene weekend sewing a pretty dress for herself. Of course, everything goes off without a hitch for Mrs. Vogue, much like when the Selfish Seamstress sews. Or not! 

So finish up your juice and cookies and pull up your play mats, kiddies, because it’s story time! (Which I hope is not a violation of copyright.)  Naturally, I will insert my own occasionally snide commentary, namely in regards to how Mrs. Vogue and Ms. Selfish are so very truly not the same at all.

Once upon a time…

Note to self: “being completely feminine” = “no sense of restraint.” Got it.

This is ever so slightly different from modern practices of stalking patterns on the Vogue website, noting the numbers of the dozen patterns with which you are obsessed, making note of the $2.99 sale days at Jo-ann, showing up early on the first day of the sale and then ravaging the pattern drawers like a rabid dog. But similar right?

She decided to buy “it.” As in one pattern.  She went to the store to buy one pattern and she bought one pattern. In contrast, Ms. Selfish, being “completely feminine,” can always find room in her shopping bag for one more pretty pattern. And perhaps another after that.

Okay, another way in which Mrs. Vogue and Ms. Selfish differ?  When Ms. Selfish wants to shop for a versatile fabric that she can wear year round, the first words that come to mind are not “lightweight silk brocade”!

Another difference?  Ms. Selfish does not often leave the fabric store with a tiny little bag like that under her arm. I have a hard time imaging Mrs. Vogue lumbering out of Mood with two enormous shopping bags dragging along the ground, trying to wrestle herself and her packages through the subway turnstile.

 Nope.  Ms. Selfish does not change into business casual to sew. Usually I start off in sweats which can be easily tugged off if I need to try on my masterpiece in progress, and eventually this just turns into me sewing in my underwear.

Hey cool!  Ms. Selfish also uses her dining room table for sewing! Of course, Ms. Selfish does NOT use her dining room table for dining.  It’s always too covered with sewing crap, duh.

Oh my goodness!  I’m sure this is a best practice, but I have to say, I don’t know if I’ve ever done this.  Once or twice at most maybe. I have perhaps torn a straight edge in the past, but this seems like a step for a real stickler. Does anyone else still do this regularly? If so, my hat is off to you.

Of course it was perfect. I’m pretty sure Mrs. Vogue does not ever encounter imperfection in any aspect of her sewing. Not to ruin the suspense but guess whether her dress is going to fit on the first try or not. Guess.

Egad!  I just skipped a whole bunch of boring stuff about her pressing tissue paper and laying out the pattern pieces EXACTLY the way that pattern tells her to (she’s pretty much a slave to whatever the pattern says.) But look at Mrs. Vogue going right for her fashion fabric! For all of her thread pulling, edge straightening compulsiveness, Mrs. Vogue is one daredevil of a hobby seamstress! Brand new pattern, but no muslin, no tissue fitting, no measuring… yikes! Woman, that is SILK FRIGGIN’ BROCADE you’re about to cut into! Are you crazy?  What if it doesn’t fit?? I guess they don’t feature you in the Vogue Sewing Book if you aren’t a perfect Vogue size. Also, nothing ever goes wrong in Mrs. Vogue’s sewing world so I guess she can hack recklessly into pricey fabric like it’s newsprint!

Phew.  At least she’s got a little bit of sense here. Some nice safe basting.  Good choice. Of course, as it turns out…

… yep, she could have gotten by without the basting because (I’m sure you’ve all been on the edges of your seats in suspense), the dress fit perfectly on the first try!  Wow, Mrs. Vogue loves the word “perfect.”  She sure does use it a lot. Lucky lucky Mrs. Vogue and her industry standard figure.  [Or perhaps the takeaway message here is that Vogue patterns give you a great fit on the first try?  Why alter when you can buy a Vogue?]

Yes, Mrs. Vogue, I have to agree with you on that one.

Ah, what a gracious world, and what a luxury to have your helpful sister come and mark your hem while you stand straight and still.  No, the closest Ms. Selfish comes is standing in front of the bathroom mirror while barking instructions to Dan to pin various bits of half-finished garment together around her body or to her bra straps because she can’t reach her back without sticking her own fingers with pins.

Oh, no no no. Ms. Selfish does not put her pretty dress in a pretty basket and take her pretty dog to sit under a pretty tree full of cherry blossoms to finish her hems. First of all, by this point in the sewing process, her hair is crazy and unfit for the public to see. Moreover she’s probably still in her underwear, and it’s like 2:30AM or something.

Ms. Selfish does this too. It is often met with responses such as, “Haven’t I already seen that one?” and “Didn’t you make one just like that already?”

In the end, hubby is so pleased with the dress that he buys her some pearls and takes her dancing. Fair enough, Mrs. Vogue.  It all worked out for you in the end…. this time.

The end!

How about you? Do you sew like Mrs. Vogue?  Does anyone sew like Mrs. Vogue?

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