My first pattern


Butterick 6206

Long and long ago (I’m guessing I was about sixteen), I found this pattern kicking around the house. It was, presumably, my mother’s, and I was (just barely) able to look past the 70s styling to the romance of a sweet peasant blouse.

Being me at sixteen, I turned it into a crop top and made it sheer. Subtle, I was not.

The only thing I didn’t do was lengthen the sleeves. My congenital arm-length abnormality hadn’t really sunk in yet, so it didn’t even occur to me that the pattern drafter wouldn’t magically know that my family has ape arms*.


Pattern pieces

I’m pretty sure I had some help from my mother, if only of the “this is a grain line—you know what grain is, right? Yes, that bit goes on the fold” variety. I had been sewing (Barbie clothes) for years at this point, but this was probably my first commercial pattern. I know I did no seam finishing, but it wasn’t a ravelly fabric. Not that that would’ve made a difference.

It was not a terribly practical garment, but it looked pretty much how I had hoped and served whatever costumey goal I had in mind. So when I found the pattern the other day while digging around my mom’s sewing stuff (she has a surprisingly large stash for someone who “doesn’t sew”) I had to throw it up here, for old time’s sake.

In hind-sight, this was actually a pretty damn good choice for a beginner project. Not that I thought of that.


*This is the spot where I stop and point out that humans are apes because you can’t construct a natural group that includes all apes but excludes humans. For the same reason, although much further removed in time, birds are also dinosaurs. Dontcha love cladistics? πŸ˜€



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20 responses to “My first pattern

  1. I was aware of the birds = dinosaurs things, but all of a sudden I’ve realized that all over the world people have pet dinosaurs, are eating them, are watching them in parks, and I am giggling madly.

  2. I think aside from whatever patterns they created for a pair of gym shorts we did in grade 8 Home Ec., the first pattern I attempted was a pair of cropped flat front pants. It’s also the pattern that I learned the lesson: Choose your pattern size based on your measurements, not what you buy at the store. I also think that disaster is what I behind most of my pants adversion.

    That and the truely awful pair I made for that first wardrobe contest. I didn’t know my bum could look that bad!

    • Ooo that sounds traumatic! I’m pretty glad my first “pants” were all of the costume/”pantaloon” variety. It’s harder to get wrong. Not impossible, but harder.

  3. Oooh! Do you still have the top? Now that would be fun to see.

  4. What fun finding this pattern! I honestly cannot remember the first thing I sewed for myself, and I know most definitely whatever the pattern was, it’s not hiding in anyone’s stash.

    • Well, it probably helps that my mom wasn’t a “serious” stitcher—she never had many patterns, so those she had, she’s held on to. (She’s also not one to get rid of something she might want to use again someday…)

  5. Zena

    Cladistics reminds me of Latin stirps, pl. stirpes ( There is also a sense of “branch”, but in the case of stirps, it means a branch of a family, not of an actual tree.

    Per stirpes is a legal term that’s found in wills. If you leave something to your children per stirpes, then if one of the children predeceases you, that person’s share goes to their children. So if there are 3 children, and each of them have 2 children (so 6 grandchildren), the 2 surviving children each get 1/3, and the deceased child’s kids split that third and each take 1/6. And this is why the term “per stirpes” is used – it’s a lot shorter!

  6. Birds = dinosaurs? Had no idea. But my favourite featherey friends just got way. much. cooler!
    As for the pattern, its just so sweet! You ought to make one again!

  7. This is definitely a great beginning pattern! Do you still have the top? I think it would be fabulous in a sheer fabric – definitely something I would have worn myself πŸ™‚

  8. I do love cladistics! I am a fellow systematist πŸ™‚ how were you such a confident teen? I sewed a full length flared skirt when I was 16. I didn’t move on to fitted tshirts until my early twenties. Every photo of me as I teenager I am wearing a sloppy Tshirt or jumper(sweater).

    • AHAHAHA! That is too hilarious. What area/kind?

      As for the teen body image, can’t really say. Insulation from pop culture? Lots of positive reinforcement? I wore plenty of sloppy tees and oversized blazers in the winter, but as soon as summer rolled around it was crop tops and short shorts all the way. Ah, the 90s. I had the body for it, I guess.

      Which is not to say that most of the photos are that flattering, either… pre-digital photography when you couldn’t just delete all the wonky ones. πŸ˜‰

      • I’m a botanist, Australian plants. But I’m currently kid wrangling full time.

        I was also a teen of the 90s, I think I’ll always love grunge and the hippy look. πŸ™‚ I look at photos of teenage me and think how gorgeous (and slim) I was and I just didn’t know it!

  9. Pingback: Hallowe’en 2017: Interview with the Steampunker | Tanit-Isis Sews

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