Friday, May 4, 2007

flipping through j. peterman, dreaming

I have been ogling pages of the J. Peterman catalog, reading and rereading the romantic descriptions, imagining which beautiful things I would select if I had such a budget, and admiring the lovely drawings.

More than anything, it's the drawings.

It reminds me of when my sisters and I were young and our mother made most of our clothes. We'd take an afternoon stroll to Leggett's downtown, up those green rubbery wide stairs to where the patterns were. There was a hush like a library. At least another lady, probably without three active girls in tow, was there perusing the pattern books. It seems she always had the one I wanted to look through.

We'd sit high on the perilous stools that swiveled like a carnival ride and help Momma find a pattern.

What I really looked at, I must confess, was how cute the drawing of a girl with pigtails and rosy cheeks looked.

I suspect that as I look through the J. Peterman catalog, what I'm responding to most is the beauty and pattern-picture-simplicity of the drawings. When I'm imagining our trip and what I'll wear, I'm picturing me as a J. Peterman drawing with a romantic narration.

Something like: "San Francisco. I heard her laugh through the fog and fell in love. I followed it to find her sitting at a cafe across from a dashing young man who held her full devotion. My heart broke instantly."

"She wore a full, sweeping skirt and shaped bodice, with artful emphasis on legs, hips, waist, and bust. It was pure cotton, with a swinging sweep and sash ties, darts at bust and waist and a notched collar which stood up pertly."


Tammy said...

Love this post, Amy! I remember those scary chairs!

Korie B. said...

What a fantastic recollection. I, too, remember sitting on plastic chairs, pouring over pattern books with my mom. Great memories! Thanks for bringing them back to me.

Erin Earls said...

Beautiful post! I would go with my Grandmother to get the patterns and fabric. I loved the smell of the dime store, and pictures! I loved the Pictures!

lainakay said...

gotta love j.peterman! and oh, how i loved the pretty little pictures in the pattern books, too! ahh... memories : )

Jill said...

I remember the pattern books (which seemed SO large!), the hush as ladies concentrated on their decisions, the fingering of fabric, and those measuring machines at the cutting table where the edge of the fabric would be inserted and a lever clicked, then the clerk would pull the fabric through with a whirring sound. Ah, memories!

Carol said...

Amy, I love j.peterman!We had an outlet in Chattanooga anumber of years ago, great fun to go and look!
Come visit me!

One Crabapple said...

That is SO find the Peterman illustrations here.. I have not looked at a Peterman catalog in eons and was on Friday night ! ha. So were YOU !

Cupcake said...

Oh my gosh your pattern store story brought back so many memories. My grandparents owned a fabric shop and the old pattern books become my own personal GIANT paperdoll book. I would spend countless hours going through those books, tearing out pages and meticulously cutting out the dolls. I still get comments about my cutting skills :-) The worst was if there was a "doll" I really wanted and part of her was covered up by another "doll". No partial part dolls allowed. Only totally whole dolls permisable! I loved those patterns books and my paper dolls. The Vogue books with the hard covers were the best. They had the most elegant dolls!