Sunday, January 23, 2011

Resources for 1930's and early 40's patterns

Several people have asked me where I find my patterns.  So I thought I would put together a list of resources that I go to for 1930's and early 1940's patterns.  I thought it would also be good to highlight the resources that are good for those living outside the U.S. as well!

The best places to get really good deals are:

  1. Ebay (including Ebay UK), and
  2. Etsy
Ebay tends to be the luck of the draw.  Sometimes you find a really good deal that doesn't include a lot of competition.  Ebay UK has less 1930's and early 40's patterns but I have still managed to find a few (my 1935 cape pattern for example) for a really good price.  Interestingly enough, there tends to be loads of competition on Ebay UK for patterns that start out at really low prices (i.e. 0.99) but not a lot of competition for patterns that start at £7 or more (which is where the 1930's and early 40's ones usually start).  Again, it depends on the luck of the draw.

I often buy from the Ebay U.S. site because there are LOTS of patterns and many sellers mail to the UK for very reasonable rates.  PLUS, it's in U.S. dollars so there is a bit of an advantage (though it's becoming less nowadays).

Here are several U.S. Ebay sellers that have fantastic shipping to the UK:
  1. Vintage4Me2:  This ebay seller often has 'buy it now' and 'make an offer' for patterns.  Most patterns are listed for under $20 (sometimes for very early patterns as well--great selection of 1920's, 1930's and 1940's).  The shipping costs are really good and shipping is very quick.
  2. Oncillakat: A tremendous selection of patterns.  Mostly 40's and 50's though I occasionally stumble across a late 1930's pattern.  Again, really good shipping to the UK.
An invaluable resource for Ebay is Collector's Weekly.  They have a vintage pattern section that lists the most popular patterns currently listed on ebay by highest price but also by most watched.  This is a great resource because if there is a pattern you are watching you can look at this list and see if it is on it AND you can tell how many other people are watching it!!  It changes daily.  You can also check lots of other ebay listings (they have a section for vintage sewing machines, 1940's hats, etc.).

On Ebay UK some of the vintage pattern sellers include:
  1. Lookingforabargains: Great patterns (mostly 40's and 50's) but the starting bid is low.  Sometimes lots of competition depending on the pattern.
  2. *butterfly*vintage: Another great vintage pattern seller on Ebay UK.  Sometimes there are patterns that start at low prices and othertimes they start at a specific price.  Oftentimes there is free shipping.  I have found quite a few 1940 patterns from this seller--all for really good prices!!
Etsy is a treasure trove of patterns and it has the added benefit of not having bidding.  That said, if you see something for a really good price you have to act quick (especially for 1930's and early 40's patterns).  Oftentimes sellers won't have the option for shipping to the UK.  I have found most sellers are willing to ship and will add that option after I contact them to find out how much it will be.  If you really love a pattern and it's for a good price, ask the seller to reserve the pattern for you while they add the UK or overseas shipping option.  Just be sure if you do ask a seller to reserve a pattern for you that you go and buy it in a short timeframe (I would say within 24 hours if it is a cheaper item--you can ask for longer if it is a seller you know or the item is more expensive).

There aren't many 1930's or earlier patterns on etsy for cheap--but occasionally you'll find a gem and then you have to act quickly!  There are lots of etsy sellers that I love for patterns: Patterns from the Past, Sydcam123, Selvedge Shop, Wearing History, KallieDesigns, CherryBubblesVintage, MidValeCottage, Pattern Peddler, and NewVintageLady to name a few.  There are loads more and oftentimes the best thing to do is to search by '1930 pattern' to see what comes up!   

There aren't many sellers for the UK, but Top Tottie's Vintage has fabulous vintage clothes and sometimes has 1930's patterns!

There are lots of independent websites for vintage patterns and some have really good deals. 
  1.  Wicked Lady Collectables: A UK online pattern shop! whoohooo!
  2. Best Vintage Patterns: One of the best vintage pattern sites I have seen, unfortunately, they don't ship internationally.  But if you know someone in the states that you can have the pattern mailed to--then it's perfect!
  3. Woodland Farms Vintage:  I just found this website yesterday and what a treasure trove especially for early patterns! It looks like they ship internationally (not sure how much), you can also reserve items for 10 days (if you are an international customer) and they have layaway!
  4. Vintage Martini:  They ship to the UK but it's in a flatrate envelope (which isn't that cheap: $13 or so)
  5. Main Street Mall Online, Vintage Patterns:  This includes several independent online stores including Stitches and Loops, Miss Helene's Vintage Sewing Shoppe and the lovely What-I-found shop (Tina has a lovely blog as well).  I just use the mall's homepage search engine to search all the shops at once.  It takes a while as all the pattern photos have to load but I like looking at all of them at once.
  6. Patterns from the Past:  Though limited for 1930's and earlier, this shop has a great list of 1941 McCall patterns and other early 1940's at very reasonable prices (not sure about their international shipping).
  7. Lanetz Living: Lots of variety! Some weeks it's early 40's and 1930's, other weeks there are 50's and 60's gems.  Definitely add the Lanetz Living blog to your RSS feed as new patterns are featured once they go into the store! And they get snapped up pretty quickly as the prices are so reasonable!  Reasonable shipping as well.
  8. Moms Patterns:  The patterns start at the 1940's and the cheapest shipping option is $6 for one pattern (but cheaper if you buy more patterns because then they ship with a flat rate box).
  9. Out of the Ashes:  Again better for 1940's patterns.   Shipping prices are very similar to Moms patterns.
  10. Your Pattern Shop:  Some 1930's patterns--prices are variable.  1st pattern ships for $5.50 to the UK (approx. £3.40)
  11. The Blue Gardenia: Denise has an amazing selection of 1930's and early 40's patterns--plus lots of gowns.  Denise also has a blog (with lots of giveaways) and good sales.  Shipping usually via flat rate envelope.
  12. So Vintage Patterns: A load of patterns with lots of gowns.  I believe this site also has layaways and pretty affordable international shipping (though the patterns tend to be pricier--but you'll find lots of unique patterns here).
  13. Echo Vintage:  A handful of 1930's patterns and international shipping is based on your location. 
  14. Mystique Vintage: Some really nice 1930's/40's patterns at reasonable prices. Both domestic and international shipping is included in the price!
  15. Vintage Stitching: Patterns start in the 1940's, good prices AND shipping is included in the prices of the pattern (for both domestic and international)!
  16. Dandelion Vintage: International Shipping dependent on location and weight of item(s).  Several 1940's patterns.
  17. Heavens to Betsy: Lots of vintage patterns starting at the 1940's, tend to be a bit more expensive, flat rate shipping of $6.00 and then will adjust according to actual cost.
  18. Davenport and Co.: Not sure if they have international shipping but have several vintage patterns...located in New England.
  19. Cemetarian: Lots of vintage patterns.  I've gotten a few 1940 patterns from them and I seem to remember the shipping being very reasonable.  Great section on dating vintage patterns.
  20. DeWitt and Co.:  They've just added lots of 1930's patterns.  Not sure how much international shipping is...
  21. The Cupid and the Swan:  A few 1930's beauties (tend to be more expensive then their early 40's counterparts).  Not sure about international shipping.
  22. Tangerine Boutique: Several lovely 1930's patterns (mid to higher price range..i.e. $30-40)
  23. Hawk Crossing: Great selection of 1930's (and some reproduction patterns as well). Not sure about international shipping.
  24. Ballyhoo Vintage:  I just found this site and I am swooning over the patterns.  Variable prices and shipping via global priority mail (I'm assuming this is weight-based).
  25. Stonehill Collectables:  Vintage sewing patterns by decade (with 1930's and much earlier as well).  International shipping (not sure of the rates). 
Another EXCELLENT resource for dating vintage patterns but also for finding vintage pattern sellers is the Vintage Pattern Wiki.  I LOVE this wiki and can spend hours browsing the patterns!  Sometimes the patterns will have a link to a place where you can buy it.  I find many new sellers this way.  In fact, that's how I found the Woodland Farms Vintage (#3 above)!
    Probably the BEST way of getting a 1930's pattern is by purchasing a reproduction pattern.  The great thing is that you get the pattern but on new stock paper (so it's not as fragile).  Plus, the repro pattern sellers are fantastic and often have great deals, competitions and discounts!  The only downside for international customers is that the shipping is often more (because they are a bit heavier).  Usually you can buy 2-3 repro patterns in a flat rate box BUT then you may get stuck with paying customs on the UK side because you've spent more (you are supposed to pay customs on anything over £18 which the post office will flag up and won't let you have your package until you pay---though it's not very consistent).  We just need a UK-based reproduction pattern seller!!

    But these repro pattern sellers are fantastic:
    1. Decades of Style: Some really cute 1930's patterns.
    2. EvaDress:  EvaDress is currently having a competition! The prize is that you win $100 worth of their patterns!
    3. Sense and Sensibility:  Mostly early regency patterns but they have an early 1940's pattern that Casey is using for the swing dress sewalong!  Also Lisette from What Would Nancy Drew Wear is doing a sewalong using the S&S patterns for a regency dress (I am seriously considering joining this as there are tons of Jane Austen events in the UK in the Autumn!)
    4. Vintage Fashion Library: They also sell original patterns
    5. Vintage Pattern Lending Library:  If you review or provide a picture of one of their patterns that you've sewn up then you get another pattern free! Whoohooo....they are also on Ebay.
    6. Wearing History:  Don't forget you get a 10% discount until the end of January by entering 'sewinghappyblog' in the comments box!
    Phew! Sorry for all the text!  I'm sure I'm missing LOTS of links/resources!  Especially for 1950's and later patterns (I only included resources for 30's and 40's here).  What are your favorite vintage pattern sites?  Are there other repro pattern sites?  What are your experiences of buying vintage patterns (especially if you live outside the U.S.)?  Any good resources for 1930's and early 1940's patterns you would like to share?


    1. THIS IS SO HELPFUL THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH!!!! i literally woke up this morning wondering about this!! you are the best!!


    2. what a wonderful database you came up with. Thank you :D

    3. What a wonderful post! Thanks for all the links. I favorite nearly all of the etsy sellers you listed, but there was one new to me!

      I just bought 2 patterns from Woodland Farms. They were a bit slow to respond to my original inquiry, but their website was up-to-date (my worry when I didn't hear back for a few days) and the transaction went well. They've been my little 'hidden' gem, so you just outed me! :D

    4. Thanks Debi this has been a great help thanks again.

    5. Thanks for sharing that's very generous of you!!!!

    6. Wow! What a terrific post! Thank you so much, Debi! :)

    7. This is fabulous, thank you. I'd found some of these sites, but certainly not all! I live in Australia, and the sites I've shopped from ship internationally: Wearing History and Vintage Fashion Library mainly. In Australia we don't have to pay any extra customs or tax... not until it's over AU$1000 or something like that. With the strength of the Aussie dollar now, it's very difficult to reign in my spending!

    8. So many new links! You are a good bad influence! ; )

    9. Great list! Thanks so much for including me :)

    10. I cannot express how helpful this post is. Thank you so much!

    11. I shop (window shop) at a few of the Main Street Mall sellers too but I didn't know you could search them all at one time. THANK YOU for this information!

    12. Wow - what an amazing list of places. There's so much in this post, I know I'll be coming back in the future to reference it. Thanks for sharing - I'm sure some people are quite secretive about their pattern sources.

    13. Thank you so much for this, that´s so nice of you! :-)

    14. Thank you so much for taking the time to round up all these resources! I get asked this question so often and shall be directing inquiries to this list in addition to my usual links. Fantastic!!! :)

      ♥ Casey | blog

    15. Thanks for the made my day!
      If folks are looking for something special, just ask. Several of us pattern sellers talk to each other and will try to find mystery patterns. I love the hunt!

    16. Wow, thank you so much for this. I'd found quite a few of these, but there's some amazing sites there I'd not heard of, much appreciated!

    17. How did I miss this post?? I'm so glad you did it so I don't have to. ;) Really really great post. :) Thanks!

    18. I am wondering if I can submit my etsy shop fabricpatternsonline for you to include in this wonderful resource? I am new!

    19. I found your amazing detailed post while I was googling for Vintage Sewing Patterns and I just had to say thanks for so much detailed information. Now what I'd like to know is where these shops find their pattens!!!


    I read each and every comment--thank you so much!

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