Sunday, 13 May 2012

Take A Stroll Around My Hoard of Patterns...

Pattern tower! patterns...where would I be without them?
I've been collecting sewing patterns steadily since the mid 80's, and now have just under 200, the majority of them from the 1950's and 60's. Almost all of them were found in charity shops and junk shops, mostly in the 1990's, before anyone had any real interest in them; as a result, I paid pennies for most of them. 

They are my pride and joy - if I had to rescue one thing if my house was on fire, after Mr Needles, I'd try to carry out as many of these as could manage! They provide so much inspiration, and have taught me so much about cut and fit; and I LOVE a good diagram. They also represent something deeper - they give what I feel is a true representation of what the masses wore, rather than the high fashion, luxury representations we see in costume history books and museum collections. This was the main reason I became so obsessed with amassing them. As part of my degree, I studied Fashion History, and got mightily fed up with looking at the clothes of the wealthy. It seemed to me that we were being peddled a false idea of what our ancestors wore, as the only fashions documented were those of the privileged, and the only pieces that survived were those that were worn little.

But hey - enough seriousness! Lets look at some of my favourites - 

I'm pretty sure this was the first one I bought, from a charity shop in Cambridge:

This was the first 'vintage' dress I ever made, in about 1987; I made the one on the right, minus the collar, out of some plain black cotton.

These are some of my oldest ones, from the 1930's:

As you can imagine, there aren't many around from wartime, but I do like this one, with its special instructions for coupons, etc.:

'Professional dressmakers are reminded that they must comply with the making of civilian clothing (restrictions) orders'

Here's one I've always wanted to make, from the more conservative part of the 1960's:

And then representing the 'Swinging' part of the 60's is this Blackmore Le Roy pattern:

Is that Jean Shrimpton with a small furry creature resting on her head? -

I rarely buy anything from the 80's, but I have one or two. If I threaten to make this one, make sure I get barred from Blogger:

Penguins and Martians! I love this collection of boys' and mens' fancy dress outfits:

And I wonder if there was much call for a Kimono Pattern Service:

Every now and then you come across a promotional insert, like this one for a measuring device/instrument of torture:

Finally, here's one I bought recently from Jaycotts - it's actually new! I'm thinking of making this one sometime soon -

That was a tour around my just a few of my patterns - hope you enjoyed it!


  1. Love the 30s peplum blouse, I have a fatal fondness for dubarry patterns.
    I made the short cape jacket last year, its a good cut.

  2. Oh I so share your love of patterns. I've got just over 100 and I love your choices. I also bought that jacket pattern from Jaycotts too!! lol... great minds think alike!!

  3. Oh so many patterns amor!
    Wish i knew how to sew.
    That cape one is fabuloso.

  4. Love the 1930's patterns - just beautiful! Looking forward to the Jubilee Swap :o)

  5. Woah! I can't believe you have ones from the 30s let alone 50s!! Jealous! That is a rare collection. Loved it :) xo

  6. What a fabulous collection of patterns- I am ever so jealous! I have a few 50's and 60's ones (and ever a 70's one), but as those are not my era's of choice I doubt I'll ever make them. I am just desperate to get hold of some 30's and 40's ones!

    The pictures of the adjustoform insert- i actually have one of those adjustoform dressmaking dummies that my parents picked up for me from a carboot for £1.50!

    Need to get it up to my flat now I have the space and start playing around with it! xx

    1. WOW! You need to do a post on the Adjustoform - I'd love to know if it actually works.


I love comments!