1 February 2011

Something Old, Something New(ish)

It strikes me that pattern companies are onto something great with the retro/repro lines they are doing.  I recall reading on the Vogue website that they are always interested in suggestions for patterns to recreate from days gone by (and not just 40s and 50s but favoured 60s and 70s too). You must be willing to part with your pattern for a while so that it may be copied but it is returned and you get  a few freebie patterns in return, not a shabby deal. 

Quite what the criteria for selection is I am not sure, marketability is obviously a list topper, but the patterns all seem to be pretty samey, a selection of 1950's  full-skirts and wiggle dresses with minor bodice and finish differences. But as vintage pattern enthusiasts we know there is a plethora of much desired patterns out there that would surely have us running to pattern shops in droves if they were re-released.  Take this one for example that I was recently outbid on. I adore it, I am a self-confessed jumpsuit junkie. I could draft it myself from a dress jumper bodice and a pair of slacks but the idea of the trousered jumpsuit patten from the '50s, its such a rare item to see. Of course I am disappointed that it won't be gracing my collection, but with the winning bid coming at £36 (yes, that much!) it was never to be!

Simplicity seem to be the only pattern company going the slacks route and a sharp-eyed Debi (My Happy Sewing Place) recently discovered that their 3688 pattern is a bit of a fraud for the original didn't actually have a slacks pattern included, it has been incorporated on the re-release (click link for her post).  Hmm, naughty tactic but good on them, authentic slacks patterns are hard to find, or rather, not so hard to find if you are willing to part with a fair few pounds for them!  So BMV, lets have some slacks and gorgeous 30s louge pyjama pants pretty-please?

Who's drooling with me? Want it? Just £35!
Next on the wish list, 1940s/50s styles swimsuits.  Who wouldn't want to own that pattern? Incredibly feminine, figure flattering and with sufficient coverage to ensure the disguising of hips and thighs and any other bits we swear wobble too much!  The originals always sell well, again they are few and far between. A repro could be just what we need.

One of the most satisfying things as a vintage pattern collector must be coming across a reproduced pattern and thinking "I own that - the original!".  I hear that an original copy of the Walkaway dress (re-released as Butterick 4790) could earn you quite a lot of smackeroos if you came to part with it.  Last week I came across Butterick 6174, a 1999 release of a 50s pattern, it was familiar, I could swear I owned it but I would have remembered it being a retro pattern, so quick stash visit and hello Butterick 6001! Purchased for a bargain £3.11 plus shipping! Of course it is tiny and I will have to grade it up to use it but there-in lies the beauty of the repro pattern, modern multi-sizing! 

You look familiar...
Hello pretty bargain!

A quick visit to the Butterick website made me smile, I also own in original form this cutie:

And very nearly bought this original recently:

So over to you, dear reader.  Which patterns would you like to see in reprint?  Or would you prefer to own the original masterpiece?


  1. What a great pattern! Sorry you lost out. I love seeing the more unique vintage patterns out there. Since you're a jumpsuit junkie you might be interested in the current giveaway I have going on my blog. Stop over and have a look. giveaway is open to everyone - http://slmpetersen.blogspot.com/2011/01/vintage-pattern-giveaway.html

  2. Thank you for the kind comment. It's hard to put a price on patterns, I guess its like arts of work, it all depends what the highest bidder is prepared to pay and for the really rare ones, I think you have to be prepared for the high prices, I was still stunned though!

    Thank you for the giveaway link, how could I resist! I'm going to have to have a jumpsuit pattern count-up one of these days, I don't think I have an excessive amount but probably more than the next sewer!

  3. I'm really only just starting to collect vintage patterns. Sad that the jumpsuit didn't work out. I feel the same way you do about jumpsuits as I do overalls, though I've yet to buy a pattern for them. I'm working my way up that that level of sewing, slowly, slowly. :)

  4. Really nice collection of patterns - even if you don't own them they are wonderful inspiration. I myself am very endeared to Butterick from just a few uses of their children's patterns. Will keep an eye out for more of them now that you have shown me the 'repro' :)

  5. Oh, I would love to see BMV do an amazing 50's shelf bust number, one of those stunning prom dresses that are always size 11 or tiny!

  6. i love your pattern collection. I was bidding on a dress pattern once and when it got to £22 i bailed!

  7. Oh, that jump suit is divine, but seriously, how much?!

    I don't have a preference between reprint or original in terms of status, I think reprints are easier to use for modern sewers but vintage patterns aren't actually that hard to follow so long as you pay attention (which I don't) and do research if necessary (which I always forget)

  8. I love the way the old patterns look and enjoy looking through my collections. Although the new patterns give you all the sizes you may need and for a pear shaped gal, that's just really helpful. Good post!

  9. Molly - dropped you an email...check your junk folder ... waiting for an address.