Marry Bop Kill

I’m not a fabric stasher (#moralsuperiority #onlykiddingIjustdon’thaveanystoragespace) but I accumulate patterns like a ship accumulates barnacles. And like most ships, I don’t need quite as many barnacles as I have. I pulled out a few patterns I haven’t sewn yet to evaluate which ones to try, which ones to good-bye, and why. And I shall of course be rating them with the network-television-friendly standard, Marry Bop Kill!

1.  SOI Amelia bomber (OOS)

Pattern spend – $14.10

Requirements – ~2 yards shell fabric, ~1 yard lining, 16” metal separating zipper

Estimated cost of fabric/notions – $20?

Rating – Bop

I purchased this pattern in 2018, I think? Or more accurately, I purchased an unwanted magazine in 2018 in order to obtain this pattern. I smashed the buy button because I liked that the waistband elastic was concealed; having never sewn a bomber, I’m not sure how easy that is to change on any basic bomber pattern! My cost estimation is so low because I’ve actually already cut the shell from scrap fabric. The thing preventing me from moving forward is buying a zipper – I can’t find one locally and with shipping I won’t pay less than $8, which is apparently my pain point, even though I bought a $4 packet of culinary lavender the other day without a peep and that’s like a tablespoon of smelly plant heads. Money is weird. I think I’ll make this once, though probably not until fall. But if it goes well there’s a possibility this one might get bumped up to Marry.     

2. Colette Walden bag (OOS)

Pattern spend – $0

Requirements – ~2 yards main fabrics, ~1 yard lining, a whole buncha notions

Estimated cost of fabric/notions – $60 – 75

Rating – Marry

I got this pattern for free at an Artisan Asylum swap, and I can’t remember whether I cut out the pattern pieces or the previous owner did. Either way, it’s good to go! This is a perfectly nice bag pattern. I’m most likely to make Version 3, the satchel/bike pannier version. I have no current plans to make this but it’s a basic bag, so it’s not like it’s going to go stale; I just have to wait for bag fever to strike. I’ll hang on to this pattern indefinitely, so it can take awhile and that’s fine!

3. Butterick 5895 (OOS)

Pattern spend – $1

Requirements – ~1.5 yards fabric, 4 buttons

Estimated cost of fabric/notions – $20

Rating – Bop

This is an old Gertie pattern with good reviews. Do I have an urgent desire to dress like a rockabilly sweetheart? I do not. Can I picture a scenario where that specific desire rules me? Sure. I traced the blouse pattern ages ago, but I might trace the pants too; I didn’t want clamdiggers until I read the island-life memoir Onions in the Stew and saw the author photo of Betty MacDonald (not that one, but she’s adorable in all of them, which is so frustrating because her visual and written adorableness is ruined by plain racism. The non-racist parts of her memoirs are irresistible but I can only recommend them as proof that racism can cohabitate with charm, and it doesn’t excuse or eliminate the racism, gaddamn it Betty!!). Anyway, my copy cost $1 because I got it from the clearance bin at Winmill Fabrics, back when that existed. Now it goes online for over $30 in places, woof!

4. M7936

Pattern spend – $5.49

Requirements – ~2 – 4 yards of fabric, 22” invisible zipper

Estimated cost of fabric/notions – $25 – 60

Rating – Bop/kill? Black widow spider?

I pictured this full-length in denim with some hardware or maybe made from a dropcloth so I can wear it as a stylish coverall when I throw pottery* (*I have never thrown pottery and have no current plans to throw pottery. I have, however, watched The Great Pottery Throw Down). The short view is also a potential candidate for bicolor/vertical color blocking, whatever it’s called. There’s some v. v. cute versions to be found online but I remain reluctant. I’m not sure why! But there is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood leads on to jumpsuits, or omitted all the voyages of my life are bound in separates. I dunno.

5. M6993

Pattern spend – $12.79

Requirements – ~2 – 3 yards of fabric, 9” zipper

Estimated cost of fabric/notions – $20 – 70

Rating – Betrothed

I want to be a skirt person! Specifically, a vintage skirt person, i.e. a sensible but imperiled Agatha Christie brunette! It’s hard to picture wearing this while spotting students in and out of trees or arguing about yogurt, but maybe I’ll be weekend fancy. I really want this to suit me (hence Betrothed), but I’m unlikely to try until fall. I could see this in flannel or wool, hence the difference in estimated costs, because Gather Here stocks some pricey Merchant and Mills wools that are full cartoon-wolf-eye-pop beautiful. You know, this guy. But I have also rehomed nearly every skirt I own. I’m a leg isolationist! We will see.

6. M7726

Pattern spend – $3.49

Requirements – ~1.5 – 4 yards of fabric, 9” zipper

Estimated cost of fabric/notions – $20 – 45

Rating – Kill

New rule: I can’t Google this!! Every time I look at this pattern my heart shrugs, then I see other peoples’ versions and I think I want it again. I don’t! Kill! Kill kill kill!! I think what I’m trying to say is, is there 12-step support system for giving away pants patterns?

7. Lisette B6296

Pattern spend – $1

Requirements – ~3 – 6 yards main fabric, ~1/2 yard binding fabric, 4 – 5 buttons, ~1 yard of 1” elastic

Estimated cost of fabric/notions – $30 – 80

Rating – Marry

I haven’t sewn this yet because even the bittiest version (short sleeves and shorts) is a pretty big time investment. I can reliably find 100% cotton and cotton/linen blends at Sewfisticated for $5 – 6 a yard, so it really is time more than money. Though I’d like to make a winter flannel version someday, and since I’m a big Kaufman Mammoth flannel fan, that could get expensive. Owning this $1 pattern has already saved me at least $16, though, because it inoculated me against buying the CC Carolyn pajamas.

I haven’t traced this yet, which is a blessing in disguise, because it’s another throwback Winmill find. I have absolutely flourished in the years since then and that flourishment = nourishment; retracing it would be a pain in my ever-improving booty, so my past laziness is my present reward. Moral!!   

8. Thread Theory Comox trunks – click through for wilderness-flavored French postcards (I mean, it’s the official photos, but eyebrow waggle)

Pattern spend – $5.87

Requirements – ~1 yard of fabric, ~1 yard of elastic

Estimated cost of fabric/notions – $15

Rating – Marry

Embarrassingly I bought the PDF of this a couple years ago, and have yet to even print the pattern. It’ll be, what? 6 pages of paper? Next to no fabric? I’m happy to make this for Professor Boyfriend (clearly theoretically since I haven’t touched it), but it is my secret heart-hope that I can make this pattern work for me. There’s a tutorial on the Thread Theory blog for a low-front-volume version but I’d like to try eliminating the pouch entirely. Again, so, so theoretically. I will now cheerfully forget I own this pattern for another year. Anyway, Marry. Is this a good system??

9. Peppermint patterns, generally

Pattern spend – $0

Requirements – as many yards of linen as you desire

Estimated cost of fabric/notions – $20 – infinity

Rating – Kill

Wait!! Listen! These are beautiful patterns. I want to love them. But I’ve printed and assembled the playsuit, the jumpsuit (twice, because my size changed!), the harvest top, and the button-up dress, and then I just tucked them into plastic sleeves and ignored them. Why? I don’t know why! But I am experiencing an outsize amount of guilt for ignoring these and if I don’t care enough to reprint a pattern why would I spent my time and money making the garment? I downloaded but haven’t printed the pocket skirt, and I feel much more interested in that pattern, I think because unprinted PDFs don’t judge. I did make the wide-leg pants twice, though! Also this should in no way be taken as a criticism of linen. Linen and I are very happy together. Even in-love substrates fight sometimes.

I’m sure I have more unused patterns lingering here and there, but these are officially on my watch list. If I don’t make these by the end of the year, blammo! They’re outta here! Given that I just make jeans over and over, there’s a real chance this is the last time you’ll see any of them. Except the pajamas. They’re timeless. And the bag, obviously. And maybe the Gertie outfit…okay fine! I stash patterns. YOU GOT ME! See you soon!

15 thoughts on “Marry Bop Kill

  1. Make the pajamas!!!!!! Nothing like lounging around in a fancy pajama set. Truly. I spent those $16 sweet dollars on the CC Carolyns and made a summer version and a winter version and I feel luxurious every night I wear them.

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    1. Excellent advice! I hope this summer is the one I get it done (I work in a school and we’ve got two and a half weeks left in the school year so it’s a bit helter-skelter, but I look forward to running towards my sewing machine in romantic slow-mo soon).

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      1. Yes! Cheering you on as you slow-mo run to the machine. Good luck with the rest of the school year and may your summer include lots of lounging in a “vacation outfit” (which is what my partner calls my floral Carolyns. He claims they look like something a Japanese ryokan would give its guests to wear).

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  2. Love your detailed and amusing posts!

    I’ve managed to downsize my paper pattern collection to a handful of TNT’s (tried ‘n true) that I sew over and over. PLUS a dozen oddball patterns that I can’t seem to give up, even if I never sew them.

    Not even counting the computer folder chock full of PDF’s that could be printed out and assembled. Although, lately, I would choose to go the Print Shop route – the letter size paper assembling is a killer. Plus, mine always seem to end up somewhat skewed!

    🙂 Chris

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    1. I have a few patterns not appearing in this roundup for just that oddball reason! They’re not meant to sew, they’re meant to own! Plus I can’t help feeling (despite being 100% childless) that someday my bratty future child will yell at me for donating Vogue 9253, so I don’t. What a brat. ; )

      My self-assembled PDFs are often a bit rumply and bumpy. I’m not quite sure how I can take two identical pieces of paper and tape them so one is magically longer than the other now, but what can’t sewists do I guess? 😂

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  3. This article was great fun to read! Jumpsuits are for people who don’t mind undressing every time they want to use the facilities. Create the look using the same fabrics in separate pants & top. Having sewn for about 70 years and seldom discarding any patterns, I have banker boxes full of them I want to de-access. Where will you relieve yourself of unwanted patterns and do you have any advice for me?

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    1. Thank you so much! I live in a dense city so it’s very easy to rehome patterns – practically, if not emotionally. There’s a multi-artist facility and a gallery that both host fiber/notion swaps, and also a very active Buy Nothing, which is what I usually rely on! I recommend looking for a Buy Nothing group first since many cities have them and participants are almost always willing to come pick up from you (or during Covid times, from your porch/front yard). And if I was your neighbor you’d call me and I’d add to my problem but taking a lot of them! 😂

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  4. Love your inventory evaluation. A new world awaits 😱. I gasped inwardly the other day when I realized that I could put my large collection of mask patterns, directions, fabric, and a template away. Holy caramba Isabel! I should have a feather duster for the ever-expanding pattern basket. Here I come after-times sewing!

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    1. WOOHOO! My ‘omigosh it’s really going to end’ moment was two-fold – first was walking down the street and not hearing one person discussing anything related to Covid, and second was not being able to attend a brunch, not because of plague, but because of OTHER PLANS! I work at a school so I’m still sewing masks though (I hope to join you in the after-times for the summer, anyway)!

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  5. I really enjoyed reading this,
    although I’m afraid you’re an amateur at pattern stashing compared to me. I am working my way up to rehoming the ones I know I will never, ever make, but that still leaves a huge box. But hey, I sometimes read pattern instructions for entertainment, so maybe it’s like books.

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    1. Like books is a good way to look at it (and definitely gives permission to stack them two deep on a shelf)! I think I have the desires of a collector but in an apartment with a grand total of one closet and one cupboard (also no counters, but that’s neither here nor there).

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      1. But do you still get visits from the neighbor’s beautiful cat? That’s a plus! (Definitely worth a closet…or counter…)

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      2. I wish!! Sadly the cat moved when one-half of the landlord couple did. He was a furry little despot and I miss him!

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  6. I collected so many patterns it was discouraging looking through them when it was time to sew up some new fabric purchases: I couldn’t make up my mind! SoI went through them all and managed to weed out a full bankers box worth, so proud of myself. Many were just too similar to one another, often purchased on sale or at thrift store because they seemed too good a deal to pass up. I also have a tendency to purchase cheap patterns that have an interesting feature I imagine adding to another pattern. I did just finish making my4 yr old granddaughter a really cute sundress from a pattern I picked up years ago at the Sally Ann. It’s hard to find the right balance, but sometimes you need to clear the space and in my case, the mind!

    As always, I love your sewing room tales…

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    1. Well done! Hooray, clearing out unneeded and unwanted things!

      I feel similarly about owning lots – the pressure of an unused pattern makes it less fun to reuse one of my favorites (or buy a new one, a true tragedy 😂). I have a few “collected” patterns that somehow avoid making me feel that way – I’m not sure what the distinction is, but even if I never make the 80s beachwear from this vintage magazine I have hiding in a drawer, I won’t regret owning it!

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