Thursday, June 26, 2014

What Kind of Vintage Pattern Should I Buy?

You love Vintage Sewing patterns! The fashions appeal to you, the era is "yours".  You don't like the designs are in the store, or they don't work for your body size.  If you have been shopping for vintage patterns for a while, you will notice there are many different types of patterns out there.   Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a Misses pattern and a Half size pattern? Do you choose a Teen pattern or a Junior Miss? You have see there are patterns for: Girls, Teens, Juniors, Misses, Chubby, Half Size and Fuller Figure. What are these different types of patterns?  How do I pick the one that is right for me?

Some Vintage Sewing Patterns Websites tell you to buy the pattern you like/love and offer you some advice on how to alter it. Altering pattern sizes is hard to do if you are a beginner sewer or haven't worked with vintage patterns.  It is much easier to work with the correct style of pattern in the right measurements.    Maybe you won't find a pattern that is exactly what you want when you start working with them, but once you know how to work with vintage patterns, then you can get the one you love, and make it work for you.

Here is a helpful guide to sewing pattern shopping for a 1950's sewing pattern from the Advance Pattern Company.  Please also look at the handy dandy measurement chart below the pattern descriptions!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Boxtops for McCall's Sewing Patterns c. 1970s

What kind of cereal would have a mail in form for a sewing pattern?  Would it be aimed at an adult, like Raisin Bran or maybe Alpha-Bits?

How many boxtops did you have to save to get these patterns?  Some are "Pounds Thinner Patterns" which are designed to make you look taller or thinner.

They also included standard dress and pants patterns.

If you didn't want to eat cereal to get free sewing patterns you could use Baggies plastic bags and Punch laundry detergent to get some different sewing patterns.

Did you order any of these patterns?  What cereal eat to get them?  Have you made these patterns? Are they groovy enough to wear today?  I think they are a better prize then what you get in the cereal now!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown!

There are  a variety of things you can do with vintage sewing patterns.  One of the many uses of the sewing patterns is as a costumes for theatre.  Often the ones that make it onto the stage are not designed as costumes, but are clothing patterns.

I recently came across some dresses that reminded me of the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, a musical  based on the cartoons of Charles M. Schulz.  The show premiered in 1967.  Which would account for the drop waist dresses in the show.    It looks more realistic to me when you use period sewing patterns rather then a costume sewing pattern.  Even if the period is the 1960s.

Lucy is the height of 1960's fashion in a drop waist dress

So is Sally Brown

These are the dresses that reminded me of the cartoons and the musical.

Simplicity 6783

Simplicity 7848

Simplicity 8523

This is a costume pattern inspired by the comic. 

Simplicity 7506
Simplicity 7516

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Vera Maxwell's Four Way Pattern

In my business you never know what you are going to find when you acquire a new lot of patterns.  I always wonder who the person was who had the patterns before me.  Did she sew for herself or for her family?  Where some of these patterns her moms or her friends? You often get an idea of the size of the person over time as the eras change - so do the styles and sizes of the patterns.

Inside a very plain envelope came a really cool surprise for me.

Not only was there a really great sewing pattern in it.

The envelope also included a magazine article about the sewing pattern from This Week Magazine from March 2, 1947.  Notice on the last image from the article there is a section torn out, I'm sure that was the coupon that was mailed in for the sewing pattern. It is great to see models wearing the pattern rather then just illustrations!   Here is another version of the same article with the coupon included 

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Dr. Denton PJ's

Do you remember wearing Dr. Denton's as a kid?  I have been seeing a lot blanket sleepers for the whole family lately.

In the late 1980's  the Simplicity pattern company produced Dr. Denton brand sewing patterns.

Simplicity 8882

Simplicity 8886

You can use the pattern to make one or two in the fabric of your choice!   Check the pattern out at

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

As Seen on TV!

Over the summer I was contacted by the costume department from the TV show: American Horror Story.

I waited with baited breath to see if the pattern would show up in the first show.  Sure enough it did.  It was for Sarah Paulson's character Lana Winters.  The only thing they changed on the pattern was the back of the collar on the coat!  

The dress is very simple (only 4 pieces). The coat is only 2 main pieces, using a kimono sleeves. A kimono sleeve pattern doesn't use a set in sleeve and jacket and the sleeve are one large pattern piece.  I love square neckline with the cut out on the front of the dress.  It is wonderful that they kept the bow detail.

It is wonderful when the costume department uses vintage sewing patterns to get the correct era clothing.

Please check out my website (Patterns from the Past) for some more fun fashions from the 1960's and other eras!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

British Sewing Patterns During WW2

Time: the late 1940's early 50's.  The world is at war.  How did it effect sewing patterns in England?

I had the opportunity to obtain several British WW2 era sewing patterns.  They reminded me of Pevensie kids in the recent Narnia Movies.

What did the pattern companies do to support the war effort?  They dropped color printing.

Vogue 2456

I have patterns that are printed in the US at the same time.  They are using color.
Vogue 2445

Vogue dropped diagrams, pattern sizing, and descriptions from the back for the pattern envelope.

Vogue children's pattern late 1940s early 1950s

McCall's, who had a patent on printing on their pattern tissue paper  used pre-cut pattern paper.  The printed tissue sewing pattern was fairly new at the time.  In the US - McCall's still printed on their tissue paper patterns, and so did Simplicity.  TheUS Butterick patterns I have from those years are still using pre-cut tissue paper patterns.

The patterns were taxed.

Vogue 2163
Butterick reminded people of the civilian clothing restriction orders.

The designed used limited fabric.  These patterns were present in both the US and British market.  Everyone was conserving fabric. 

The paper that the patterns are printed on (at least the patterns I have) are of good quality for the pattern tissue and the instruction paper, perhaps this is a difference between British paper and US paper. I have quite a few instructions sheets from that era printed in the US, who have seen better days.

I enjoy the images, history and stories that come to me with each package of patterns that come my way.  I  enjoyed going through the  wardrobe to see this different world.