Friday, January 9, 2009

Best volunteer response for 2008

I'll try to avoid using the terms "pit bull" and "lipstick" in the same thought, but it's amazing how tenaciously many members hunt down requests for sewing patterns on the Post page. I've read cheery emails from people who view the Post page as an online treasure hunt, and rather grumpy emails from bleary-eyed surfers who seem in danger of holding a personal grudge because the pattern eludes them.

Advance Paris 113 sewing patternYou guys have even managed to find some rarely-seen patterns that I would have bet would never show up -- like this extravagant Advance Import pattern from the 1950s. But sure enough -- about a week after it posted someone spotted it. We wrote to the owner, our member got the needed instruction sheet, and another new member was signed up. (Dontcha just love a happy ending?)

The sheer number of sewing patterns produced over the years does make finding any particular pattern -- especially in some specific size -- quite a challenge. But we now have well over a thousand incomplete patterns on hand. And many, many thousands more vintage sewing patterns are available for the odd pattern piece copy thanks to our informal (and generally harmless) army of volunteers who've agreed to check their collections.

All new volunteers get a form letter lovingly crafted welcome notice explaining the program and requesting a bit of information about themselves, their pattern collections, and their reasons for becoming a volunteer. The answers are always fascinating and with permission I'll be sharing some of them with you throughout the year. But first, here's my selection for Best Volunteer Response of 2008. The honors go to Naomi.

Seems Naomi has been sewing since she was old enough to thread a needle and still has every piece of every pattern she's ever laid hands on. No instruction-sheet-needed posts or pattern quests for a fondly remembered oldie are forthcoming from this gal -- she's got 'em all. Definitely not someone who volunteers to give back while looking for missing pieces of her own.

So is she taking pity on those of us with less foresight or poorer organizational skills? Is she simply happy to help those who have come to the unhappy realization that a vintage sewing pattern that "appears complete" and a vintage sewing pattern that actually IS complete aren't necessarily the same thing? Noooo.

Naomi volunteered, she says, because she's deeply attached to her collection and being a Pattern Rescue volunteer gives her "a valid excuse to hang on to all those patterns".

Amen to that, sister! (In fact, it sounds a lot like the basic reasoning behind starting up Pattern Rescue in the first place. Oh no, that's right -- I was trying to help people.)

Well, congratulations, Naomi -- and may I say that I am not all ashamed to be enabling you in this obsession with sewing patterns. If someone hints that perhaps my collection has grown a bit too large, I find that a cold stare accompanied by "These are valuable pieces of the history of fashion and women's role in society" brings about a rapid change of subject. But we're honored to be your excuse of choice :-)

Speaking of enabling obsessions...

January's first Recycle pattern group will go up at 12:01 a.m. EST on January 11th. Really. Honest. No, this time I'm sure. The second group will go up at 12:01 a.m. EST on January 21st -- and by that time all the other pages should be fully up-to-date, too.

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