Call out the word “Simplicity” and the first thing that comes to my mind is sewing. Sewing? I am sure many of you are scratching your head in puzzlement. But those of you who are sewers will know what I am thinking of.

Simplicity is the name of a set of patterns I have used frequently when making my own clothing. I recall the first dress I made: a simple one with pockets sewn on the outside. I remember the large pink buttons down the front and the short sleeves. I was so proud when I had finished making it. Simple to make and simple to wear. Since then I have progressed with my sewing skills but Simplicity patterns still reside in my pattern box.

I enjoy wearing simple clothes with not too many frills and lace. Basic cut dresses, straight cut skirts (long or to the knees), well fitted trousers (with the waistband fitting snugly on my waist!), and easy to get into shirts and blouses. In these clothes I am able to get around quickly; and do not spend hours a day worrying about the way I look. The outfits I choose to wear are matched with the appropriate shoes: shoes that can walk long distances; that that do not hurt my feet; shoes that do not make my feet ache at the end of the day.

My favourite outfit of all time has been blue jeans and a t-shirt. To my mom’s horror, this was my uniform when I studied at university: I exchanged my black and red school uniform for blue faded denim and cotton t-shirts. I reverted to this go-to outfit when I was a stay-at-home mom. No thought went into my attire as I automatically reached for my trusty uniform. Wearing this, I was never concerned about the dirt that may transfer itself from sticky hands to me; or worry about what would be seen as I crawled on the floor with my little ones. Its hardy fabric lasted for years rendering it unnecessary to go frequent clothes shopping with two young ones in tow.

Now I am back to work, I still wear the simple as I mix and match what I have in my closet. After all, I still spend my day with young children!

What does the word “simplicity” bring to your mind?

(This post was inspired by Jake’s prompt: simplicity)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013


49 thoughts on “Simplicity

  1. Oh how I love the simplicity patterns. It also was the first pattern I used when taking home ed classes in school. I loved how simple the designs were for a beginner. I also made a lot of my own clothes from them and then when I had my daughter I made all here clothes until she didn’t want home made clothes any more. The last thing I made for her was her high school prom grown. Thanks for bringing back these memories for me.



  2. Wow! I remember these patterns too. I loved looking through the drawers at the fabric store and imagining myself making the dress or pictured clothing on the envelope. ….Only imagined because I was, and still am, a terrible sewer 🙂


  3. Colline, this is a terrific post! I remember these so well — not because I was much of a seamstress, but my mother was an extremely talented one. She made many of our clothes for years — including clothes for my dad. And she had a treasure chest full of the loveliest sewn and crocheted baby clothes that provided many grandbabies, nieces, and nephews with lovely outfits even after she left us for Heaven.

    I was never good at sewing and didn’t like it much, but I did learn the basics of hemming and sewing on buttons, etc. I dreaded the thought of taking Home-Ec in high school. Instead, I opted for Latin classes (which actually fit me much better, considering the fact that I have lived my life as an English teacher and a writer.) However, I was determined to make myself learn to sew well-enough to be able to make myself clothes — just for the discipline of it. With my mom’s help and encouragement, I bought Simplicity patters for a simple dress and a jumpsuit. I made one of each for myself and was proud enough of them to wear them both for years. But that was it for me. I said, “Okay. I’ve learned to sew and have made myself two outfits. I’ve proven I can do it. I’m done now.” And I put away the sewing machine for good.

    Thanks so much for bringing back these happy memories.


    1. Sewing is not for all but your example has shown that these patterns have helped many learn the rudiments of sewing. I am hoping that one day I am able to use them to teach my own girls just as your mom taught you 🙂


  4. I smiled at the memories this brought. My grandmother sewed a lot and I remember seeing these Simplicity envelopes scattered around her work area.


  5. I remember those patterns, but I don’t know why. I have never been fortunate enough to learn to sew. I think it would be a rewarding talent. I wish I could remember why Simplicity stands out to me. Well, just another memory that eludes me 😉


  6. So it looks like we all used Simplicity in the past. My sister got me involved. ” Mom cannot afford the clothes you want to wear!!” This before I even asked for a thing! Pattern cutting classes came next, but Simplicity was always TOPS!!


  7. Brilliant! I wouldn’t have even thought if you hadn’t mentioned it, Colline, but now that you have…the memories come flooding back. Oh, but I was a rubbish sewer. (still am, of course)


    1. Your comment makes me smile as I remember the hours spent unpicking when I sewed something incorrectly (my mom was always insistent that the sewing should match at the correct points 🙂 )


  8. 🙂 I have encountered a lot of SImplicity catalouges not because I made clothes but because my mother did and still does. She is a great seamstress, one art that I failed to learn.


  9. I have such fond memories of sewing patterns – Simplicity, McCalls and for a challenge – Vogue. I actually scored a real pattern cabinet from a store going out of business. Now it sits in my garage – still full of patterns. I want to start using the tissue and the envelopes in art projects, but I’m always afraid it might be one I want to sew. If I had a couple more lifetimes….


    1. I have used many “old” patterns as the fashions do come back don’t they? Unfortunately when I moved countries I had to give most of what I had collected away. My collection made someone else very happy 🙂


  10. Great post … I was nodding my head all the way through. Not only did I make quite a few outfits using Simplicity patterns but I prefer the same style of clothes as you.


  11. I can remember my mother buying dress patterns like these when I was a child! She used to get them from John Lewis’ in Oxford Street – I don’t doubt you can still get them there. I remember the table covered with cloth carefully pinned to tracing paper and the zig-zag edged pinking shears that she used to cut things out. Thanks for the memories 🙂


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