Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Sew in Love with Vintage Sewing Patterns

I haven’t done any dressmaking for a long time, and I don’t suppose I will start again any time soon, but that didn't deter me from buying these. I saw them in a charity shop priced at £2.50 ($3.58US) for the four, and it was love at first sight. I've seen patterns for sale at vintage markets, but they can be quite pricey, and I've always felt I needed to know more about them before splashing out. However, these were so inexpensive I figured it was a good way to start a collection.  

Vintage Sewing Patterns

Vintage Sewing Patterns
Home economics was mandatory when I was at school, one week we cooked and the following week we sewed. I much preferred the sewing and continued to make my own clothes throughout my teens and early twenties.

There is something very satisfying about opening a pattern, pinning it to the fabric and watching as a new creation slowly takes shape. Mini dresses were easy and fun to make. Fitting zips was the most difficult bit, especially as all my sewing was done by hand. Mum had an ‘old fashioned’ sewing machine, but it and I never got on.

This is something completely new in the collecting line for me so I've been doing a little online browsing and found a super website called Vintage Stitching if you are into sewing or collecting patterns, you might like it too. 


Vintage Sewing Patterns

I have a lot to learn, but I'm eager to start collecting and these are at the very top of my ‘want’ list…








source


I also like some of the menswear ones like these sharp suits

and these bell-bottom slacks.

There is an interesting article at Collector’s Weekly for anyone wanting to find out more about vintage patterns. You might also like this blog post from Melly Sews; That pattern cost how much?

Thanks for your visit, your comments are always welcome. 

47 comments:

  1. ooooO! ooooO! I am so..so excited...! HeHe!
    Look at those suits...Yes! Barbara, have you
    been peeking into my wardrobe, well, my 60's
    one at least! :). The one on the right there!
    Dicky~bow and all....That's ME! And, the one
    in the middle..The flares! The flares! HaHa!
    As the song says...."Gimme Some More". :).

    I married first in 73...1973...Lets not get
    confused here! The lady l married was a seamstress,
    I designed my cloths, and she made them, and, l
    still have about 80% of them. The others were nicked,
    in one way or another. Usually from school kids,
    who wanted to borrow cloths for 60's or 70's night! :).
    Ah! Memories! Memories! I love cloths...As l always say..
    "Every street is a catwalk".
    But, then in 1980, we split up, l got custody of my daughter.
    who was then nearly five, we remained friends, still see her
    once a year...Christmas! And, she still makes me the odd thing,
    pink of course..! I dare'nt think how many patterns she has!
    The amazing thing is...The first thing l bought her on our
    return to this country, was a sewing machine...An Elna..!
    And, believe it of not, she still has, and uses to this day.
    43yrs old! I can just beat that with my Ronson hair dryer..
    That's 47yrs old...Except for an odd Sunday, used every day,
    it's been half way around the world with me...But, that's
    another story! :).

    HeHe! All the ladies look lovely to, all dressed up, and
    looking good! Love to see a 'good' looking lady!
    Oh! Flares! Love Flares! Need a lie down...!!! :0).

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    1. Hi Willie, I have to admit I was thinking of you when I put the post together. I just knew you would love those flares (as do I). But the dresses, oh the dresses, wish I was 20 – no, 40 years younger, so I could wear them again.

      I’m glad you cleared up the date issue. 1873 would have seen you dressing in an entirely different fashion! I was really interested to read about your life and family. That is the lovely thing about blogging you get to know people you would otherwise probably never meet.

      Things we bought years ago certainly lasted far longer than they do now. We’ve had three washing machines in the last six years, and I’m told two years is the most we can expect from the latest one! I swear they have time clocks in them now and as soon as two years is up they give up.

      Thanks as always for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it. Barbara x

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    2. Willie...

      Step away from the flares! :D

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    3. Ah! Ah! Forgot to say....I thing l don't
      possess...is a washing machine, never have,
      and never will. Horrid things. o.k. for quilt
      covers, pillow cases l suppose...But not cloths.
      I wash everything by hand...That's why, all my
      cloths from the 60's look as though they were
      bought yesterday! The colour, quality are still
      very much pristine...Even my daughter in her
      school days, was always turned out the best.
      Even mentioned in her reports. Just like her Dad,
      she's a leader...not a follower.."Hang on Willie,
      you follow Blogs". HeHe! "Yeah! O.K". :).

      I also say jokingly of course....I live just 200yds
      from the river Stour, so, who needs a washing machine!
      Bless!x

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    4. I never doubted your daughter would be the best turned out Willie. Just reading your comments is enough to know how much you care about her and about so many other things. Now do as Yvonne says and step away from the flares!

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  2. Barbara!!! Good morning and happy Tuesday!

    If only I had kept all of these vintage patterns that my mother bought at 10 cents, 25 cents...and then when the prices rose to $1.25 and up, we thought "MY, how things are getting so expensive!"

    These patterns are very familiar to me. In high school, my mother made all my clothing and of course since I had started school. My Barbie dolls also had ample wardrobes and all due to my mother's skills. Vogue, McCalls and Butterick were our favorites.

    Thank you for the memories my friend!

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    1. Good morning and a very happy Tuesday to you Anita!
      I wish I had all my old patterns, along with so many other things. If only we could go back and pack a few boxes to bring into the here and now!
      I didn’t have a Barbie doll, but I did have some that could walk and talk. Mum knitted cardigans & jumpers for them. The jumper I remember most was in a lurid shade of green (I loved it) with a teeny zip down the back and a pink bow on the front. Hugs.

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  3. Oh gosh! Keep Willie away from those bell-bottoms!

    I LOVE sewing patterns and can't resist buying them whenever I see them in charity shops or car-boot sales. My grandmother made all her own clothes, and taught my sister and I to do the same (without patterns). I trained as a seamstress in my teens and learned how to use and create my own patterns. I love making clothes, you can be sure that you're always unique, that way. Amber's baby dresses were all handmade, too.

    Thank you for sharing these. I love the Vogue patterns, they always seem to be the most collectable (and most expensive).

    I need to reacquaint myself with my sewing machine again, soon. xx

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    1. It’s too late Yvonne; Willie has already tried them on for size (in a virtual kind of way)!

      I’ve seen so many patterns over the years, but this is the first time I’ve come home with them. I’m kicking myself now because I might have missed some good ones. The Vogue patterns have the edge for me too although I love the McCall’s one I shared here.

      I had no idea you trained as a seamstress but seeing how artistic you are I’m not at all surprised.

      Have a lovely rest of the week. xx

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    2. Ha! I was just rereading all these comments...
      Came to Yvonnes again...AND...A song came to
      mind! Yes! A song from 1954...Bell Bottom Blues,
      by Alma Cogan...! :). Well! Well! Well!

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    3. Hi Willie, I have Bell Bottom Blues playing in the background as I type... brilliant! I don’t remember it from the first time around, but I’m enjoying it now. I only remember her singing Sugar in the morning, but I would probably know more of her songs if I heard them playing. I’ve been reading about her and John Lennon it seems he had quite a thing for her. Well I never.
      Michael Holliday – the story of my life came on You Tube when Bell Bottom Blues finished, I’ve not heard it for years and years. So many memories...

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  4. "But the dresses, oh the dresses, wish I was 20 – no, 40 years younger, so I could wear them again." Go ahead and WEAR them! You will look fabulous as you express yourself. You can make them to fit or have a dressmaker to help you. Life is too short not to enjoy what we LOVE !

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    1. Bless your heart Colleen, you are quite right of course, why shouldn't I wear them? In fact, perhaps I will!

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    2. You have inspired me! I will shoot some videos soon while wearing some of my ancient vintage dresses or at least write a blog and post some photos about wearing what we love.

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    3. How exciting! I must call back and follow your blog, so I don’t miss any post. I’m looking forward to your videos.

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    4. Hi Barbara! I have been following you for awhile.Today I was finally brave enough to comment. I can hardly wait to see you in one of your favorite vintage dresses. I am inspired to make some videos wearing some of mine. I have a lovely ancient Laura Ashley...I still have the hat I bought at Biba... I was once a bookseller as well! I have been a collector of books since I was a child. I love your blog!I have re-collected so many of my childhood favorites as well as many more. Please share your story about the fox on your blog! People will LOVE it! Have you always had an affinity for foxes? I live in the country as well. I had to give up my grape arbor because the foxes would come and eat the grapes- they even brought their cubs. I wish I had taken a photo. Now that we are acquainted, I will comment more often. Thank you so much for looking at my blog!I will enjoy getting better acquainted.Now i am going to look at some of the vintage pattern links you posted!

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    5. Thank you so much for taking the time to return to my blog. Commenting becomes addictive once you start and it's a lovely way to get to know people. I’m pretty sure I’ve got some vintage dresses in the loft. I must get up there and have a hunt around. I’m a bit of a coward about spiders, so I always have to give myself a good talking to before I go up there. I look forward to seeing you in your Laura Ashley dress and Biba hat!
      I did wonder about sharing the fox story, but I wasn’t sure I would be able to tell it in a way to make it interesting. I don’t know about an affinity with foxes. I did see them from time to time when I was a child (my dad was a farmer, and I was always out in the fields and woods). I’ve had lots of encounters with deer, and I’ve always felt an affinity with them. I even came face to face with a red deer on a visit to Scotland. It was magical! You were so lucky to have the foxes and their cubs visiting you – maybe not so lucky that you had to give up on the grape arbor.
      It will be lovely to see you on my blog as often as you like and please feel free to comment. I’ve followed you by email so I should get notifications of all your new posts. I look forward to finding out more about you. It’s interesting that we both used to be booksellers. I started out collecting all my favourite childhood books, and it led to a full time book selling business – funny how life turns out.

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  5. Oh my goodness, that last pattern for the ladies dress .... beautiful.

    They say that kept long enough ALL fashions will make a comeback. I'm not so sure about those flowery men's trousers in that last pattern though.

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    1. I agree Tracy that last dress is stunningly beautiful. But I can’t agree about the flowery trousers – I love them and might even wear them myself! :)

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  6. These patterns are adorable! What a find. I love vintage items.

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    1. They are great aren't they! I wanted to visit your blog Donna, but I can't find it - have you moved?

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  7. I am pretty sure I owned Vogue 1147 at one time. I sewed most of my own clothes from aged 13 until about 6 years ago when I began writing in earnest. I had quite a collection of patterns but gave them to the charity shop when we moved to Spain. What a cool thing to collect. I should have sent some of my patterns to you!

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    1. Hi Darlene, It’s very nice of you to say you should have sent me some of your patterns, but I would have wondered why at the time. If you still had them now I would be rushing to Spain to collect them – such is my obsession with them! Plus I would quite like a holiday in Spain. :-)

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  8. These look like such fun! I took home economics when I was in school, but they got rid of it about 8 years ago in my school system. I learned to cook and sew and I thought it was pretty fun- though I don't really cook or sew now (though I do make salad many nights). :) Glad you found these at such a great price!

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    1. Hi Stephanie, they are fun! I found a few more yesterday so my collection has already grown a little. There is never enough time for cooking or sewing when you are busy working, I’m lucky to have more time now I’ve retired. Not that I’ve taken up sewing again, but I just might. I love that you make salad – I’m good at that too!

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  9. All those tiny waists! It all brings back memories of going with my mum to Harvey's, the local department store and looking through those big pattern catalogues, picking something out, then choosing the material, getting home and hearing the sewing machine whirring away. I wonder if we still have the patterns?

    The most ambitious thing I remember my mum making was a trouser suit for me when I was 8 - it was green background with pink flowers. Groovy indeed. I loved it!

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    1. Hello Sue, lovely to hear about your memories. You must have looked incredibly groovy in that trouser suit. I remember a skirt suit I wore to a wedding it was green and blue with really big flowers. I thought I looked gorgeous but looking back at the photos I can see I didn’t!
      It must have been very exciting to hear the sewing machine knowing you were going to end up with a lovely new outfit.

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  10. Hi Barbara , thank you for your visit to my blog.
    The old sewing patterns are wonderful, and some from my time as little girl, and as young . Back then I sewed many of my dresses even jackets and all, but it is long time ago, I made myself something, lol,- now I prefer to sew collages, dolls, and all kinbd of smaller things.
    Greetings, Dorthe

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    1. Hello Dorthe, thank you so much for your return visit.
      I gave up making anything, but now I’m retired I want to be a little more creative. I will probably start with something small and work up to bigger things.
      All the best, Barbara

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  11. These patterns are beautiful--great find! I find it interesting that the green gown on the Barbie doll pattern is exactly like a gown I had for my doll, same green and blue colors and fabrics, but mine was store bought. I did a lot of sewing as a teenager, bell bottoms, dresses, etc. Nice post!

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    1. Hello Marcia, I really like the doll pattern and keep thinking I should have a go at making some of the dresses for my granddaughters. I’m not sure my fingers are nimble enough, but I might just try. Have a lovely weekend. x

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  12. Hi Barbara,

    Lovely post and I can relate to you buying the patterns. I have two boxes of all my old patterns that I have kept as I used to do all my sewing for myself and then for our children.
    When we went to a friends wedding I went looking for a pattern to make an outfit. I was happy to see a section with vintage outfits and bought a pattern and made a pink dress with jacket.
    Have a great weekend
    Hugs
    Carolyn

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    1. Hello Carolyn, I’m sure you were the best-dressed guest at the wedding, and you had the added bonus of knowing nobody else would turn up in the same outfit.

      I went into a vintage shop the other day and fell in love with a pink 50s necklace. I didn’t buy it, but I’m going back next week, and if it’s still there I might just get it.

      Have a lovely weekend, Barbara x

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  13. Oh Barbara, Wish you had started collecting these a few months ago - I took my lovely vintage patterns up to the local charity shop. I was always going to make some of them, but once we realised how much work we have here it was just not going to happen. Loved the blog and all the comments xx

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    1. Hello Sue, what a shame you took them to the charity shop, but you weren’t to know I would like them. I didn’t even know myself!
      I found another six in a charity shop in Salisbury when I went to get my hair done on Wednesday. Two of them are from the 60s so I am very happy about that. They are not as pretty as the ones in this blog post, but I will keep searching and I’m sure some will turn up. I hope to go to a car boot on Bank Holiday Monday so keep your fingers crossed for me. Don’t work too hard this weekend. See you soon. xx

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  14. Mum probably had/has some of these (one or two of them look familiar anyway!). She used to make her own clothes before she married Dad, and I'm pretty sure she made some of mine when I was very little.

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    1. Hi Nikki-ann, I’m pretty sure most young girls were taught to sew, to knit and to cook. Most of my schooling was about getting ready to be a wife and mother. My dad said I didn’t need an education because I would have a husband to take care of me! How times have changed (thank goodness) :-)

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  15. I really love these patterns, Barbara - you bring out the best in everything... I shall look out for patterns next time I'm at a vintage fair, and I'll know where to send them!

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    1. Thank you for those sweet words Marilyn!! I will be very grateful (and happy to pay postage) for any patterns you find and don’t want. xx

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  16. I'd say you have a nice collection there Barbara! Love those illustrations!

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  17. I can browse through fashion illustrations for hours. In fact there are a couple of such books at the library and I know one day I'll give in and pick them up! Confession time: I broke my mom's traditional sewing machine ~ the rope that connected the spinning wheel to the machine twang under my furious concentration on a Home Economics project when I was in my teens.

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    1. I would have to pick those books up if I saw them in the library – there is no way I would be able to resist!
      If you believe in the old Scottish proverb about confession being good for the soul, you should be feeling very good today.
      :-)

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  18. Barbara, I used to make everything I wore apart from the odd thing and coats, until I was about 35, I loved nice patterns and used good fabric, as if you're spending time making something, you may as well have a lovely fabric as well. I don't make things any more but do alter items and have plans and fabric in the cupboard - will I ever make them?

    I wonder if your husband will love the flowery flares?

    I bought a pattern recently, saw it on a Facebook Group, I think without going to look at it, it is called Dotty Angels. Then I realised I have a book with some of her ideas in. The dress/tunic is a mixed fabric one, I love that type of thing.

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    1. I’m pretty sure Terry would hate the flowery flares – not his thing at all! 

      I don’t know why I stopped making clothes. I suppose it was just easier to go to a shop once Steven was born. It would be nice to make something for Zoe and Lilly, but I should practice on something first (maybe the flowery flares!!) Actually having said that I made them both a dressing up cloak when they came at Christmas, I enjoyed making them, but they were very amateurish.

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  19. I have visited your collection and its really adorable .These patterns are lovely,i love vintage clothing

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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