Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts

Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts
Visit Our Store!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Vintage Patterns

The current Sew News magazine (May 2005) has an interesting article on Vintage Patterns written by Kristina Seleshanko. Although by virtue of the fact that it is a magazine article, it does not go into great depth about vintage patterns. The article does give a broad review of what to look for in vintage patterns, vintage being defined as “anything that’s at least a decade but less than a century old”.

We get so used to our current patterns with their lines, markings, and instructions that it is hard to imagine patterns, which were marked only with perforations and no instruction sheets. Thankfully, the author provides a timeline of the history of patterns to give you some insight as to what you can expect for certain vintage patterns depending on which decade they were produced. As sewing has evolved in the last century so too has the terminology. If you are planning on sewing with vintage patterns frequently, it might pay to get a sewing instruction book from the same era so you have greater understanding of terminology and sewing methods of the time. These books can frequently be found at thrift stores, yard sales, through Internet book sites such as Amazon, and through eBay.

Bodies have also changed throughout the years and along with that came sizing changes in the pattern companies. Being a size 12 now doesn’t mean the same as being a size 12 60-70 years ago when every pattern envelope showed women with what appeared to be 20-inch waistlines. I know I sure haven’t seen too many women looking like that recently! If you plan to buy a vintage pattern to make a garment for yourself, double-check your own body measurements against the pattern, especially if you aren’t very good at altering patterns.

There are many sources of vintage patterns: yard sales, thrift stores and via the Internet. In my eBay Store, I sell sewing patterns from the four major pattern companies: Vogue, Butterick, McCall’s and Simplicity. I do have a selection of vintage patterns throughout my store, although because I chanced upon a great deal, the majority of my patterns are current McCall’s patterns. I enjoy rooting through the patterns myself, comparing them to days and sewing memories of years ago and also to current fashions as they repeat the fashions of my teens. For example, even though ponchos can be a warm and comfortable garment, who would have thought that they would make such a huge come back?

If you have never considered sewing with a vintage pattern or have considered but were scared to try, this article can be a springboard to help you start to navigate the unknown or unfamiliar waters of vintage patterns. To learn more about Kristina Seleshanko you can visit her at her website

No comments: