Simplicity 6173 (1973) Part I: When Hobby Terminologies Collide

I posted a Facebook update on Friday that said:
"Messing with a sewing pattern. This one is a total chop job that will basically not look like the intended result at all."
Followed a minute later by:
". . . and I just realized that the image that popped into my head as I typed that was of a dismembered Family Stallion. I might as well start referring to my experimental sewing projects as "CM'ed" patterns."
If you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about, you're not a model horse hobbyist.

So . . . backstory.  I started collecting these when I was a very small child in the very early 1980's:

It started very innocently with a handful of two-inch plastic miniatures.  Breyer, the world's primary manufacturer of higher-end plastic horse figurines, calls them "Stablemates".  "Stablemate scale" is now generalized hobby parlance for approximately-1/32-scale.  Anyway, I was a horse-crazy little girl whose parents couldn't provide her regular access to actual horses, so the plastic-horse thing kind of snowballed.  I think I now have about 500.  That's not even a very big collection for someone who has been accumulating them for 30+ years (and a lot of them are miniatures). 

Nearly all of mine are "OF", which means "original finish", which means they are as the factory painted them.  All-OF collectors, I think, are sort of the old hippies of the hobby: Stubborn eccentrics resistant to new technologies.  For my part, I'm also cheap (ok, poor.  Not going-without-food poor but definitely going-without-expensive-horses poor).

The really desirable models are artist-sculpted, limited-release, resin-casts.  This is one of the weirdest phenomena ever: A fine-art-quality sculpture sold as a blank for you to paint yourself (or to commission someone to paint for you).  I'm not exaggerating: I've seen worse sculptures in museums. 

For more on resins, see Rose Studios, Resins by Randy, and the Equine Resin Directory, or Google "resin model horses" and hold onto your hat.

More on model horse lingo at Identify Your Breyer, which is an awesome website.

The other road to getting the perfect model horse is customization, or CM'ing.  This was called RR [remake, repaint] or RRH [remake, repaint, hair]  or RH [repaint, hair] when I was younger, but CM'ing is simpler.  It involves taking a model (usually plastic, but really good artists can do it do china or resin models), cutting it apart, bending and resculpting, and turning it into something different.  It can be anything from a minor change or basic resculpting needed to correct conformational flaws, to a total overhaul.

I don't have permission to use any real customizers' photos.  My teeny folder of badly-customized Stablemates can be seen here. Most are simple repaints, or horses with new manes and tails only, and then a new paint job, but one has a new left hip and upper hind leg; this girl got a new neck, mane, and tail.  This Spanish mustang got a new neck, mane, tail, had his back filled in slightly to follow the new neck position, and has a chalk-pastel and acrylic paint job.  This involved cutting his head off, mounting it on a piece of wire, and building up epoxy around it to make a new neck.  Yes, it was as disturbing as it sounds.  I keep meaning to make another similar model for myself because I love the way his position came out, but I haven't gotten around to it.

(The Family Stallion mentioned in the Facebook update is the iconic Breyer model.  The single solitary thing wrong with Toy Story II is that they didn't get the rights to include one of these.  This is from Identify Your Breyer.)

So, where was I going with this?  Oh, yeah--

I got Simplicity 6173 (1973) years ago to replace my comfortable-but-very-makeshift "flapper dress" pattern.  It has bust darts, which is good, but these shift-type dresses really don't work well on pear-shaped figures so I decided to resell it.

Later, I changed my mind and dug it out of the sale box.  I am desperately in love with that red dress on the left but I know it won't look anything like that on me.  However, I wonder if I can't make it look something like that if I cut it up enough and make it completely different.

Normally, when I sew, I try to, if not follow the pattern exactly, make changes that are within the bounds of period-correct and true-to-the-pattern.  This weekend, I was feeling rebellious.  I got in a mood to do something that felt no obligation to pay tribute to the original pattern.  I threw propriety over the fence and spent the weekend tracing, slashing, and taping.

The plan is to cut it off at a slightly-lowered waist; reduce the flare on the sleeves, which is charming but desperately impractical and very dated; and add a gathered skirt.  It has a zipper up the back but that's getting replaced by buttons, which is a completely impractical move (just because I like to be practical about sleeves doesn't mean I have to be practical about closures) but so what.  I blame that moment of insanity on the influence of the Amish dresses I blogged last week.  The wrists are supposed to have elastic in casings but I'm doing button cuffs instead.  I'm adding side-seam pockets

I was originally going to use the DS Quilts Daisy Mae but then decided it was too dark and more old-fashioned than I wanted, and changed to the Richloom Jacobean swirl:

With plain white iridescent buttons.

The facings are a beige floral that I got from . . . somewhere.  Probably my mother's quilter friend; it's not something I would have bought myself.  It looks kind of nice with the gray, though.  I like scrap-fabric facings.  Amber Jean and I say that it's a seamstress' "inside joke" (pun absolutely intended) to have facings made of something that doesn't match.

This is the neck facing.  It, the insides of the sleeve cuffs, and the skirt facing will be beige. The piping was makeshift but came out just right: It's commercial bias binding sewn over Sugar N Cream cotton yarn.  Worked great!

The plan is that I'll be able to wear this loose as a flapper-ish dress, or belted for a more . . . I don't know, gothic Lolita look?  I'm really not into gothic Lolita stuff, but I could still see this with black stockings and boots.

Anyway, the whole point of this rambling mess of a blog post was that my mind leapt instantly from cutting up sewing patterns and reassembling them into something unrecognizable, to cutting up horses and reassembling them into something unrecognizable.  Why, I was CM'ing a pattern, of course!


I went a little nuts. It made sense at the time?