To kickstart the monthly pattern stash interviews Kestrel Makes and I have planned for the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge, I'm sharing my own collection today. But first, I want to thank the 120+ of you who have already signed up! What really excites me is the interesting mix of pledges unfolding. You've made ambitious plans like sewing a vintage pattern each month, transforming sketches from historical costume books into patterns, sewing your first ever vintage pattern, and exploring a range of decades. You've also made some wonderfully specific and personal pledges like sewing a 1990s jumpsuit, using a pattern passed down to you by your grandmother, sewing your wedding dress using a 1963 pattern, and plucking up the courage to use the pattern your dad bought you when you were 15. Some of you even sell patterns or make clothes for a living and have pledged to make more time for personal sewing. And best of all, some of you are bringing a new dimension to the pledge by knitting along! So thank you all again for making #vintagepledge so special and let's coerce even more people to join us!
Anyway...less gushing, more stash-sharing!
Anyway...less gushing, more stash-sharing!
HOW AND WHEN I STARTED COLLECTING VINTAGE SEWING PATTERNS
I can't pinpoint exactly when I started collecting vintage patterns, but it was around the same time I started blogging, so almost five years ago. I blame it all on We Sew Retro, of course! I'd only just started exploring the online sewing community and when I stumbled across We Sew Retro, seeing everyone's lovely creations was like love at first sight...much to my bankcard's distress!
VOLUME OF PATTERNS AND HOW I STORE THEM
For the purpose of this post I actually counted my vintage patterns for the first time ever. I got to 213, but I'm pretty sure I have a few more squirrelled away in my pile of UFOs. I knew I had a lot, but I've been in denial...maybe it's time for a spring clean! I store my patterns exactly how you can see them in the picture at the top of this post - in cardboard storage boxes with the more fragile ones in plastic sleeves. The boxes live on a bookshelf in my sewing room, which I'm guessing isn't too hot/cold, light/dark or humid/dry as they all seem to be doing just fine. However, if you'd like to take better care of your vintage patterns, these two posts seem pretty helpful.
WHAT ATTRACTS ME TO THE PATTERNS I COLLECT
Call me shallow, but when choosing patterns it's all about the artwork! I rarely look at a line drawing and get excited, but if I like what I see on the envelope then I'm sold. I know I miss the potential of loads of patterns and get swayed by pretty pictures even when I know a design won't suit me, but you can't dispute the beauty of vintage sewing patterns. So much detail went into the envelope artwork back then, especially ones from the 1930s and 1940s, including hair and make-up, jewellery, accessories and shoes! If you look at later patterns, shoes are often unfinished or just a bland sketch...but look at the detail in the beauties above!
MY FAVOURITE STYLE ERAS
When I first started collecting vintage patterns I was quite literally obsessed by the late 1930s and 1940s. I found the elegant designs alluring and nostalgic in a way I can't even explain. Although I still have a soft-spot for patterns from those decades, I was wary of creating a 'costumey' wardrobe, so I looked to the 1950s and early 1960s for simpler and more wearable designs. I do think, however, that carefully considered fabric choices and simple adjustments can help integrate patterns from all four decades into a wardrobe suitable for my modern lifestyle.
THE OLDEST PATTERN IN MY STASH
Ironically, the oldest pattern in my stash (as far as I know) is also one of the best preserved. Simplicity 3296 was released in 1930, but I originally bought it thinking it looked very 1940s! Either way it's absolutely stunnning, but I've yet to make it...perhaps this year's #vintagepledge will be the push I need!?!
MY THREE FAVOURITE VINTAGE PATTERNS
With so many gorgeous patterns in my stash, it's actually impossible to pick just three favourites and I think my choices would change depending on my mood, the weather and so on. However, I do adore the ones pictured above, partly because they're beautifully illustrated, but mostly because they combine simple lines with really interesting details. Now to find identical fabric prints...especially that leaf print...swoon!
THE PATTERN I'LL NEVER MAKE, BUT WON'T GET RID OF
After banging on about how much I love 1930s styles, this pattern is just too 1930s and would never fit in with my casual lifestyle. Yet, I don't think I can part with it. Does anyone else hoard patterns like this in their stash? Can you explain why we become so attached?
WHERE I GET MY VINTAGE PATTERNS FROM
At first I bought a lot of my vintage patterns on ebay, which was fun until I got stung in vicious bidding wars. Discovering Etsy was a game-changer and is probably the sole reason I now have so many vintage patterns! There are so many sellers listing what seems to be an abundance of patterns, often at reasonable prices. Just some of the shops I've tried and loved are: Sew Unique Classique, One More Cup Of Tea, Studio G Patterns, She'll Make You Flip, anne8865, Sydcam123, Adele Bee Ann Sewing Patterns, Grey Dog Vintage, Viennas Grace, Vintage Pattern Drawer, Aunt Nonnies Nest and Yard of Goods. There are many, many more though that you can discover by using the search box to find patterns from specific decades, companies, etc. I've also had some luck in local charity and vintage shops, but for me Etsy has been my favourite source of vintage sewing patterns.
I hope you enjoyed this whistle-stop tour of my vintage sewing pattern stash! Kerry will be sharing hers this coming week, so don't forget to check out her blog. From February we'll be sharing monthly vintage pattern collections, as well as discount codes and giveaways...all in the name of #vintagepledge!