|We made this Music Video Just
Because It Was Fun To Do!
CHIC WEEKLY ARTICLES
a new article every
Monday about Sewing & Fashion
DRESS MAKING &
By Jessica Lynn
Even if you are an experienced sewer, there are a few important
differences to note when starting to make a project from a
vintage sewing pattern to create a successful look. This article
will help you understand the nuances of vintage patterns, as
well as give you tips for purchasing them.
when you purchase a contemporary patterns from one of the
leading companies (Simplicity, McCall’s, Butterick, Vogue), one
pattern envelope contains a wide range of sizes, either covering
every size from 6-20, or half of the sizes (6-12 and 14-20).
This is not so with vintage patterns.
patterns were usually purchased in one size. Sometimes, the
sizing was listed on the front of an envelope using the pattern
sizing system we see now (ex. Size 6). Otherwise, the bust
measurement was printed on the front of the envelope (ex. Bust
32”) and customers were expected to know the standard
measurements for waist and hips that corresponded.
This one per
envelope sizing system can be difficult for alterations for
women who are different sizes in their bust, waist, and hips.
With contemporary patterns, sewers can simply cut at one size
and gradually move to a different size along the gradation
lines. With vintage patterns, you will have to wing it. Keep
this in mind when purchasing vintage patterns. It may be best to
begin with separates (as opposed to dresses) wherein size
changing is less necessary.
Where to Buy Vintage Patterns:
patterns can be sometimes found at yard sales, antique shops,
and thrift shops at a very minimal expense. If you are not lucky
enough to have found a steal in those places, online shopping is
the way to go. Websites like ebay and etsy are wonderful places
to start. There are many vendors, and you can search for
specific needs (ex. 1940s night robe pattern) and receive a wide
variety of results. If you’re not a fan of online bidding, many
patterns on ebay can be purchased at a “Buy It Now” standard
there are websites specifically for vintage patterns, like So
Vintage Patterns, which I feel is highly overpriced (with
patterns generally priced $55-$75 USD).
patterns are a great way to go if you’re worried about the
sizing issues--many times, companies that reproduce patterns
print them with our current size model. A great website for
reprinted patterns is Decades of Style, which has a range of
beautiful options from the 1920s-1950s.
vintage patterns can vary greatly depending on the decade the
pattern was printed, the style of the garment, the rarity of the
pattern, and the place purchased. Oftentimes, the older the
pattern, the rarer it is and the more the price goes up.
the late 1960s and newer are in such high abundance that I would
be very reluctant to spend more than $15 or $20 on them. This
pricing is more commonplace for 1950s and 1940s patterns, but
you can find even better deals if you search well.
How to date
a vintage pattern:
unlike books, inconveniently don’t have a publication page.
Therefore, we can only make an educated guess as to the time
period the look represents. Judge by silhouette and the fashion
pre-1920s are usually very different, because the 1920s were the
beginnings of modernism in fashion design and daywear. You can
find e-book like productions of Victorian, Edwardian, and
earlier patterns here, but this is considered more historic
costuming than vintage.
vintage patterns are even more delicate than the translucent
pattern paper of today, because they are aged. Be sure to be
very careful when taking the pattern out of the envelope and
pointed out rather than in. Sometime during the 1980s,
triangular notches (which help sewers align fabric correctly)
started to be printed inwards to save space on the pattern
paper, but they should always be cut out. This is one of the few
things that I found easier about using vintage patterns.
|Chic Weekly: on-line Fashion & Sewing Magazine
|Founder & Publisher: Judi Harris
|Editor in Chief: Jessica Lynn Harris
|Art & Photo Editor: Andrew DiMaio
copyright 2010 - 2011 Love To Sew Studio
|See Our Etsy Shop: Because we can't keep
everything we make!