Sunday, June 05, 2011

*new* vintage patterns & a ponderance...

For once the stars aligned and I got to be the one who "stumbles across" a brilliant batch of vintage patterns that are my size, great price, and "Buy it Now"!!  Seriously.  This never happens to me!

I limited myself to four...which was difficult.  I'm on a budget now that I'm paying a car payment again!

Let's just start with the best first, OK?  Overalls!  Ack!    AND it's Betty Grable!  I get outbid on Betty Grable *ugly* patterns, much less OVERALLS!  Which normally go way above my budget/price range.  AND they're floral!  Be still my heart.

Next, Betty Grable AGAIN! This time in 40s trousers and a "work shirt"!  All of these were from the same seller, (not a "vintage pattern seller", just a regular ebayer)  and they're all within one size of each other.  I'm going to imagine these all belonged to the same young woman.  Do you think she had to go to work in a factory during the war?

A mid-late 1930s 2-piece dress.  I love the tailored short sleeve, and the interesting inverted placket.  The deep collar matches Kay Francis' collar in the actress photo. 

Last, a Joan Blondell (who I love!) pajama pattern.  Both pieces are more like lounge wear, don't you think?

So if our 1940s factory girl was approximately the same size and sewing in the mid-late 1930s, then she might have been around 30 years old when the war broke out.  Maybe she was a wife and mother, and had to go to work.  Maybe a poster like this one called her to duty:

She would need the freedom of movement provided by the pants and overalls.  Like these women at work in US factories during WWII...

Love the hair ties!  And the oxford shoes in the last photo.

On a personal is finally out for summer!  Our last day was yesterday (yup, a Saturday).  I'm ready for a little break and some quality time with my stash.  This morning I had a comment from an anonymous person who was a wee bit aggravated by a vintage top I had sewn up last year.  Apparently it didn't "appear" vintage enough to count as vintage (I think that pattern dates to 1946 if I remember right).  She posed the question, "Why bother to sew from vintage patterns if the garment isn't going to look vintage?"

Now to be fair, I did leave off one element of the finished top that is shown on the pattern front; the original pattern has gathered puffed sleeves with elastic in the hem.  I hate elastic on my (not as slim as they used to be) arms.  It annoys me, all day.  So I just left it out and ended up with a sweet fluttery sleeve.  But no, dear Anon, I did not change the pattern or alter it to make it appear more modern.  In fact, I followed every single step of construction as written in 1946.  Even all the hand sewing.  It's a beautiful top and one of my very favorites (people who know me can attest to the fact that I wear it regularly). 

Here is the pattern:

I still think anon's main beef is worth an answer though.  Why sew vintage patterns if the final garment doesn't scream vintage?   The simple answer might be... because I like them.  Lord knows they're not cheaper or easier to come by, and typically they require much more prep time.

And no, I'm not afraid of the "costume" effect some vintage-lovers lament about.  I don't care much if it does announce VINTAGE to the world.

The more complicated answer is... I think many vintage patterns have a classic, timeless appeal.  They are still beautiful and wearable today, and no, they do not announce "I'm wearing a vintage garment!" I also regularly achieve a better fit with  vintage patterns.  Something about the draft from the late 30s-50s fits my shape better. 

But those things alone wouldn't feed the hunger for *new* vintage patterns (even though I have more than I will ever be able to sew up).  No, the simple answer really is the best, most truthful. 

I just love them.  Do what you love.  That's my advice.


  1. Wow! I didn't realize that everything that we sewed was supposed to look just like the front cover.

  2. seriously, I LOL'd on a peasant blouse not looking like anything but... a peasant blouse. I mean, they've been around since, what, the 1500's? At least. I'm not sure how much more vintage you want to get.

    ha, that post just made me laugh. thanks.

    word verification: "porph". That is the best word. I don't know what it is (something dolphin related?) but it just makes me smile. PORPH!

  3. Wow!! What a great haul!! Which one are you making first?? I too sew things I love. I have a collection of vintage patterns I haven't used yet, only 'cause I'm not sure my skills are up to it yet, but they are so beautiful I can't always resist them....

  4. You scored well with your patterns...I like the PJ's pattern. Which one are you sewing first?

  5. Such a great haul of patterns! I don't see the problem in a garment not looking "exactly" like the vintage drawing on the cover. Sometimes its fun to take a vintage pattern and modernize it, that's part of the fun of sewing. :]

  6. I love your 'new' vintage patterns - and I'm looking forward to seeing what you make from them. I thought your answer to the comment from Anonymous was spot on, and I love your blouse - it's beautiful!

  7. It seems we go through waves of snarky anonymous commenters. Sigh. That's the fun of sewing, make it as you wish. Are obvious tattoos and piercings vintage (not to offend those that have them, could really care less, to each his/her own), but just pointing that out. Tats were mostly on sailors in the old days from whence these patterns come from.

  8. vintagekitchenkitsch7:11 PM

    I get so frustrated hearing about people making comments about someone's vintage whatever not being authentic or not looking vintage enough. It's ridiculous. We'd all better sew on an old machine to really achieve authenticity. Just imagine if we cared about looking authentic in our 1960s/1970s patterns. Oh, the polyester!

    Who cares as long as you have made something that you love that fits nicely and makes you feel good about yourself and the world in general. That could be a pattern from 1943 or 2003. Everything "retro' is in style now so what's the difference?

    BTW my word verification was funny also. "squisses" I am thinking it's when you are giving hugs and kisses at the same time.

  9. Personally I can't stand how 'costumey'some vintage sewing is. I do admire taking an old pattern - which are often very well cut with great instructions - and using it to create a stylish but contemporary look.

  10. What great finds! Style is such a personal thing. You can't take other people's opinions too seriously.

  11. Hi Angie, just found your blog. Great reading. Not many vintage looks in my wardrobe, however I do use many vintage details to enhance more current styling. I have been sewing a while and I am more comfortable in my clothes now. Anyway, one comment about anonymous posters...tsk, tsk, tsk. We all know that there are a few stinkers out there trying to contaminate our blogs. How sad is that? Oh, well, keep sewing what you like, keep posting and sharing your projects so we can all enjoy. Thank you very much:)

  12. Nice pattern finds and also I like your cool and breezy top from the peasant blouse pattern. Many current style details are echoes of the past. Another enjoyable blog post.


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