#VintagePledge Stash Interview: Zilredloh

Hello friends! I have October's #vintagepledge stash interview just in the knick of time and it's another fabulous one! I've been a fan of Zilredloh since forever, lusting over both Liz's vintage-inspired sewing and knitting projects. Although renovating her stunning 1885 house has slowed her crafting down a tad, she's making a exciting comeback (look at this insanely amazing faux leather Robson Trench)! And did I mention she's a fellow bunny mummy? Gotta love a bunny mummy!

How and when did you start collecting vintage sewing patterns?

A very short 7 months after I enrolled in my first sewing course, I was collecting vintage patterns. I wanted to learn how to sew, primarily to make Colette’s Macaron dress after seeing it on Gertie’s blog.  From there I made the Ceylon which is very 40’s inspired. After that it was all downhill as I quickly realised there were mountains of vintage sewing patterns to be had and were begging me to make them up.

How many patterns do you have, and how do you store them?

To be honest, I only went to count how many patterns I have in order to answer this very question.  

As I’m renovating my, new-to-me 1885 house, all of my patterns are safely boxed up in what will eventually be my mega sewing room. But for now it’s the storage room. My first inclination was to just say “Around 200” but then I wondered… “How many do I have???”

Elbow deep into my first box yielded a count of 180. I have about three boxes of patterns which makes around 540 patterns in total. I do have some non-vintage patterns mixed in with this bunch, so I’ll be generous and say 450-500 patterns that I own are vintage.  *Squeee*  

I love being organized and can’t abide all of the different sizes of pattern envelopes creating disorder on my shelves – where I used to store them.  

So for protection and my own sanity, I have them all in comic book sleeves (uv protection) and on a backing of acid free board so they're all the same size on my bookshelves.

Having the patterns in roomier cases means I can flip through my collection without fear of hurting the delicate envelopes. Plus the extra room gives me a place to put notes for next time and my altered, traced pattern.  

I trace all of my vintage patterns so that the next person can use them free of marks. While I feel very attached to my collection of patterns, I know that I'm only a temporary caretaker for these beauties.  I hope the next seamstress after me will appreciate them as much as I have.  

What attracts you to collect the patterns you have?

My love of vintage extends beyond vintage patterns into movies from the 40’s and 50’s along with home d├ęcor from the same eras. I often see garments on the screen that I want to recreate along with being inspired by the iconic actresses themselves and their daily attire.

One of my favorite patterns was worn by Katharine Hepburn in one of my favorite films, Desk Set – so naturally I made it my life’s purpose to hunt down that pattern for my very own.

Do you have any favourite style eras? 

Back in 2011 and 2012 I would have told you 1950’s beyond a doubt. The full skirts and accentuated waists seemed best suited to my pear-shaped physique.  

But as I’ve gotten a bit older, I’ve been leaning more towards 1940’s patterns. I’ve been able to fit them to my pear shape just as well as I did with patterns from the 50’s.

When I first started sewing vintage, the wide shoulders of the 40’s always turned me off. After sewing for 6 years, I’ve gotten better at modifying these patterns to fit my narrow shoulders and I love the challenge that the tailored styles and unusual style lines provide from patterns in the 40’s.

What’s the oldest pattern in your collection, and have you made it?

I have this beach pajama pattern from the 1930’s that I believe is the oldest in my collection, a New Deltor Butterick pattern #4297.

I had just watched Cheerful Day for the Wedding and I was hooked on the main character’s lounge set.  

So after searching for a few weeks, this pattern popped up on Etsy and I had to have it. I haven’t made it yet, but I hope to one of these summers.

Can you pick three favourites - and have you made them?

Picking a favourite pattern to me, is like trying to pick a favourite child – they’re all special and lovely for one reason or another.  Not to mention, my favourites are always changing from one season to the next.  

So for now, these are probably my favourites:

And this one is just the best:

I mean come on - a tuxedo apron with happy 70's 'gents?! It's so funny, it always makes me chuckle when I see it. One of these years I'm going to make it up for my dad.

Is there a pattern you think you’ll never make, but will never get rid of?

Hmm…. I’ve always tried to only purchase patterns that I will eventually make myself.  I have fallen out of love with certain patterns, but I know that one day I’ll fall in love with it again and will be reminded how much I loved it in the first place.  

I'd love to make this one day:

I think the odds are slim that I'll need to be this swanky for my Research Analyst 9-5 job, but a girl can dream. 

I also doubt I'll be making Bert & Ernie or Big Bird - but my mom made these for my sister and I when we were young and I have such fond memories of them - they'll never leave my stash.

The only patterns I get rid of are duplicates or if something doesn’t work out on me after trying to sew it up.  I know it’s still a great pattern – just not for me – so off to a better home it goes.

Where do you get your patterns from?

I’ve bought a great deal of patterns off ebay and Etsy when I first started collecting. But every time I go to the flea market or a vintage market I’m always on the hunt for new patterns.  Flea markets are THE best places to go for vintage patterns on the cheap – a lot of the vendors don’t realize the gems they have.  But if I’m looking for a particular pattern or style, Etsy is generally the place I go shop.

Thank you so much for sharing your precious collection with us Liz! I really appreciate you digging it all out of storage and I hope doing so has unearthed some hidden gems for you.

To all Vintage Pledgers out there, don't forget to enter our end-of-year competition to be in with a chance of winning awesome prizes!


  1. I love your vintage patterns. Most of all I love the illustrations, giving us a taste of the past, it was great to see them, It's a fab collection!

  2. Love these patterns. I am starting to lean more towards 1940's style just need to get my hands on the patterns!

  3. Wow! These patterns are wonderful!
    I love these stash interview posts!

  4. What a really interesting post - thank you. The artwork on some of those patterns is really beautiful.

  5. What fabulous patterns, I love having a snoop in our people's pattern stashtes. I love the Sesame Street ones. Xx

  6. The bags come in comic book to magazine sizes, prices vary wildly online for the same product, 2mil thick are good. Go meet your local comic book store and check out the bags and storage boxes; save yourself the shipping costs and give a local business some love. I skip the boards unless I'm storing the pattern separately from the envelope.

    It may seem like a lot of bother, but if you've used a pattern more than once, you've noticed how the envelope has already started to tear. The zipper on ziplock bags likes to shred envelopes and tissue. Preserving my investment so I can use it again.

  7. Interesting to read about someone else's pattern stash! 500+ sounds like a lot, but I know how easy it is to acquire a lot! Nice to see some 1940s and 1950s patterns, my favourite are 1960s and 1970s.

  8. Great post! I really love seeing all these vintage pattern collections, and this one was quite fun.