Items posted on the main page are available for purchase unless otherwise indicated. If you'd like to purchase an item shown, send me a message indicating which country you live in and I'll quote you a shipping price. All payments are processed through Paypal only. If you're looking for a custom item, let me know the specifics and I'll quote you a total price. Custom items typically take 6 weeks to produce after payment is received. Keep this in mind when asking for custom orders.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Vintage Patterns: Following Dated Directions

Vintage patterns are very like modern patterns in one way -- some are easier than others, and some are downright difficult even for an accomplished sewer. But there is one important difference that should be addressed before attempting a vintage sewing pattern. Vintage patterns as a whole assume that you have a greater degree of sewing knowledge that most modern patters do. Most vintage patterns will have less detailed instructions and will merely say things like "insert zipper" without telling you how to do it. This can create confusion when it comes to completing a vintage sewing project.

There's yet another problem with vintage patterns. Many of the earliest patterns are perforated rather than printed on the paper, meaning that it becomes necessary to basically guess how the pattern pieces go together based on the perforated holes. This problem can be averted in the future by first tracing the pattern onto tracing paper and writing notes on the pattern pieces for future reference.

If you're new to sewing, get yourself a basic sewing manual before attempting a vintage pattern. I like The Sewing Bible: A Modern Manual of Practical and Decorative Sewing Techniques or even Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing, but you may have your own preference. If you can find an older sewing book, you will have a greater chance of deciphering vintage techniques. Even an experienced seamstress may benefit from having a book around to help explain unusual construction techniques, such as gussets, that can be found in vintage patterns.

When you're looking for vintage patterns, try to avoid those created by well-known designers. They're incredibly complicated and difficult to complete even for an experienced sewer. Instead, look for patterns by Butterick or Simplicity which are marked "Quick" or "Easy." These will typically be easier to complete than more complex patterns.

If you purchase a pattern and find it has missing or damaged pieces of instructions, try Pattern Rescue. This site is dedicated to preserving and restoring vintage sewing patterns and can be a great resource for anyone having difficulties with vintage sewing patterns.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Vintage Patterns: Preserving Your Vintage Patterns

Vintage patterns can be great fun, but they're also incredibly fragile and usually difficult to replace if damaged. You may not want to use the original pattern for fear of destroying it. Instead, trace a copy of the pattern before using it. You can do this on tracing paper, but if you're hoping for a durable copy of the pattern, use interfacing or speciality gridded tracing paper. These are a little more expensive, however, so you might want to stick with tracing paper, butcher's paper, clean paper bags, or even easel paper. All of these will work.

When tracing your vintage pattern, copy all marks and symbols exactly as you see them. You can make adjustments after you've copied the original pattern as it appears. You can also write specific notes about adjustments or ease on the copied pattern itself without risking damage to your original vintage pattern.

Once you've copied your vintage pattern, store the original in a cool, dry place that is far away from any direct light. While it's tempting to put your patterns in plastic bins, don't. Plastic bins trap moisture and can degrade the paper the pattern is printed on. If you're looking for storage options, look at bags and boxes designed to store books and other paper items for long periods of time. These are created to allow airflow and will help keep your vintage patterns in top condition.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Vintage Patterns: Sizing a Vintage Pattern

Vintage patterns are much in demand. Something about them attracts the novice and the expert alike. But when you look at vintage patterns, you'll notice that the sizes are not anything close to what we wear today. This makes it difficult to buy a pattern in your size. There's more to sizing a vintage pattern than simply looking at a number, so do your homework first.

Sizes are not the same today as they were 80 or even 40 years ago. So the safest way to pick the right sie is to ignore the size number completely. It's just a number and means nothing. When looking at a vintage pattern, first measure your chest or bust. Measure the largest point on your chest or bust and compare it to the measurements for the pattern you'd like to get. Then purchase the pattern that is right for your measurements. That's what's important.

But you also have to understand wearing ease. This is the difference between the garment measurements and the body measurements. To give an example of this, a pair of pants with a 32" waist might actually be designed for someone with a 30" waist to allow for comfort and movement. Vintage patterns have less wearing ease than their modern counterparts. You may have to add ease to make the garment comfortable. Consider sewing a test garment out of a cheap fabric to see if you'll have to make some adjustements (or even use a larger size).

Friday, November 2, 2012

Vintage Patterns: Purchasing Vintage Patterns

There's been a lot of interest in vintage clothing over the last few years. This interest has extended into the world of sewing. People with a sewing machine stashed in their basement are gathering their supplies and hunting for vintage patterns. But before you grab any old pattern from any old seller, there are some things you should know about purchasing these vintage sewing patterns.

First of all, if you've never used vintage patterns before, or are unsure what exactly makes a pattern vintage, buy only from a vendor who sells only (or at least mostly) vintage patterns. This person should be able to answer any questions you might have and can give you important information about bust measurements and other specifics.

Ask if the pattern is uncut. An uncut pattern is easier to work with because you won't have to deal with the alternations made by another sewer. If the pattern has been cut, ensure that all the pieces are there and relatively undamaged. Using a pattern that has been cut is fine, but you don't want to get it home only to realize that you're missing several key pieces.

Finally, if you have no familiarity with vintage patterns, start with something cheap and easy. Aim for a pattern that costs you between $7 and $15 dollars. The fewer number of pieces the better. Once you have some experience with vintage sewing patterns, you can venture into more complicated styles.