Sunday, November 4, 2012

P is for Vintage Patterns

I don't think it will come as any surprise to you that I have a serious weak spot for vintage sewing patterns.  I, um, *cough*, obsessively regularly troll vintage pattern websites for goodies.  So I thought I would put together an updated list of vintage pattern sellers building on the original list I posted last year.  I've purchased from nearly every single one of these pattern sellers!  My major weaknesses?  1940 McCall, 1950s Style and Style Print, 1927 McCall and Advance Import Adaptation patterns.

The two sites I check daily?  
  1. Ebay (including Ebay UK), and
  2. Etsy
I've had some really good luck lately on both Ebay and Etsy.  This pattern just came in the mail today bought off ebay:
It was $6 buy it now! $6!!!!! for a hooded 1940 jacket.  These sort of deals are few and far between but it's so much fun when they do pop up!  

Both Ebay and Etsy are great for buyers.  When I eventually open up a pattern shop (don't be fooled--this is not an income generating initiative but simply a way to support my own pattern buying habits, lol), I will definitely go with an Etsy shop.  Etsy is such a great community and it seems to me is also more seller friendly than Ebay.

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.).

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 PastSydcam123Selvedge ShopWearing HistoryKallieDesignsCherryBubblesVintageMidValeCottagePattern Peddler, Erika with a K, She'll Make You Flip, Sew Vintage Ladies, Atomic Redhead, HelaQ, PatternVault, Aunt Nonnies Nest, ZipZapKap and NewVintageLady to name a few.  There are loads more and oftentimes the best thing to do is to search by the specific pattern company or by decade to see what comes up!    

Here's a recent pattern I purchased from Sydcam123:

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 (and many ship to the UK and elsewhere).  
  • Wicked Lady Collectables: A UK online pattern shop! whoohooo!
  • Best Vintage Patterns: One of the best vintage pattern sites (no pun intended) 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!
Here's one of my recent purchases from Best Vintage Patterns (yes, I am planning one venturing into some late 20's patterns):

  • Woodland Farms Vintage:  This website is a treasure trove especially for early patterns. They ship internationally and you can also reserve items for 10 days (if you are an international customer) and they have layaway!
  • Vintage Martini:  I'm so happy they've recently revamped their website making it so much easier to buy patterns online.  I've always been very happy with the service given by Vintage Martini.
  • Main Street Mall Online, Vintage Patterns:  This includes several independent online stores including Stitches and LoopsMiss Helene's Vintage Sewing Shoppe and Pattern Gate.  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.
  • What-I-found shop has a great collection and Tina has a lovely blog as well.  
  • Patterns from the Past:  This website is great and just added a bunch of wonderful 1920 McCall patterns for sale!
  • Lanetz Living: This pattern seller has 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.  I bought my 1930s McCall pattern here that I made my Gatsby dress from last year:
  • Moms Patterns:  This is a great website and once you get on the mailing list, you'll receive lots of coupon codes for 10%, 20% and even 25% off patterns.  Plus, there is a point based system so that you can accrue points to be used for money off pattern purchases.  The website is updated daily and there is usually a note on the homepage about what patterns will be added to the site and when.  This is one of the websites that I check daily.  There is a great selection.
  • Out of the Ashes:  A great website that also has a blog so that you can keep up with additions to the shop.  Shipping prices are very reasonable.
  • Your Pattern Shop:  Good selection of patterns--prices are variable.  1st pattern ships for $5.50 to the UK (approx. £3.40)
  • 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 or free if within the U.S.
  • So Vintage Patterns: A load of patterns with lots of gowns and updated almost daily.  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).  I like to window shop at this website.
  • 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)!
  • Dandelion Vintage: International Shipping dependent on location and weight of item(s).  Several 1940's patterns.
  • 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.
  • Davenport and Co.: Not sure if they have international shipping but have several vintage patterns...located in New England.
  • 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.
  • Tangerine Boutique: Several lovely 1930's patterns (mid to higher price range..i.e. $30-40)
  • Hawk Crossing: Great selection of 1930's (and some reproduction patterns as well). Not sure about international shipping.
  • Ballyhoo Vintage:  Variable prices and shipping via global priority mail (I'm assuming this is weight-based).
  • Vintage British Style: A newly found vintage pattern website that I love!  Located in the UK with some fab-u-lous patterns.
  • Serendipity Vintage: Another new-to-me vintage pattern website that has some great 40s and 50s patterns.
  • Chantilly Dreams:  Another recently found website that sells vintage patterns (among other vintage goodies).  I recently bought this pattern from Chantilly Dreams:

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 and find that sellers are very active in listing patterns in the Wiki.  Best way to find new uploads to the Wiki?  Go to the homepage and then click on any of the pattern brands (i.e. McCall).  Doing that will take you to a page that has a side bar that says "Latest photos" and "Recent Wiki Activity".  These two areas will list the most recent Wiki activity.  I usually look by photos and then check to see if any of them have associated vendor listings.  I usually check the Wiki daily (but again, we've already established that I'm a bit obsessed with vintage patterns :)
    One of the best ways of getting a vintage pattern (especially 1930s) 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.  

    But these reproduction and vintage-inspired pattern sellers are fantastic:
    1. Decades of Style: Some really cute 1930's patterns.
    2. EvaDress:  EvaDress also has a blog and a yearly competition using one of their repro patterns. I've made two dress suits from 1930s EvaDress patterns.
    3. Sense and Sensibility:  Mostly early regency patterns but they have an early 1940s swing dress pattern.
    4. Vintage Fashion Library: This website sells both reproduction and original patterns. 
    5. Vintage Pattern Lending Library:  A great selection of reproduction patterns from virtually every era.  Janyce is also organising the VPLL 1912 Project which is reproducing the patterns from 1912 La Mode Illustree (the premiere French fashion journal of it's time) patterns and coordinating a year-long community of sewers around the project.
    6. Edelweiss Patterns: offers 30s and 40s Sound of Music inspired patterns.  Katrina also has a blog where she writes about her vintage sewing projects.
    7. Wearing History:  Lauren from Wearing History (who also has a fabulous blog) sells both original vintage-inspired patterns and reproduction patterns.  I've made a 1930s gown pattern from a Wearing History pattern!
    8. The Tailor's Apprentice: A newly found website with some wonderful vintage-inspired patterns.  Definitely check out the 1940s Sailor Suit and the Women's Land Army Overalls.
    Phew! Sorry for all the text!  I'm sure I'm missing LOTS of links/resources!  What are your favorite vintage pattern sites and tips?  Are there other reproduction and/or vintage-inspired 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. May I mention my own site? I have There are thousands of patterns, many ways to search and shipping is figured automatically, even for international orders. Come visit!

    2. Wickedlady CollectablesNovember 04, 2012 6:52 PM

      Thank you for the mention

    3. Pardon me while I spend the next several hours perusing these links! Thanks for sharing!

    4. This post is wonderful--thank you! I've just gotten into sewing recently, so my obsession with vintage patterns is new but very passionate! I couldn't possibly think up any other places to add to your list, as the few I've found thus far are already there. I would say though, have you tried looking through thrift/antique stores? I have yet to buy any vintage patterns online because I have had such luck in those places--I got an Advance 1960 pyjama ( for $4! I also got a whole box of 40s, 50s and 60s patterns (a little over 20 of them) for $15 at an antique fair, which included this gorgeous 40s dress ( and this 50s ball gown ('s_3399)!! I also found boxes (boxes!) of patterns at a thrift store in town which they sell at .25 cents apiece; none of these are pre-1970s for the most part, but I think if I sift through them every so often I might have some luck! I know I probably had some kind of incredible luck so far, but you may as well if you check next time you're in a thrift/antique store.

      I know this comment is like an essay, but I have a question for you: one of the patterns I found was a Hollywood 1564, I can't find it online anywhere, but it a late 40s playsuit & pinafore, and it's missing the instructions. Do you have any advice in this situation? I'm not experienced enough in sewing to look at the pieces and just figure it out, but I hate to just sell it! x

    5. Thank you for mentioning Edelweiss, Debi!  I have recently been finding a ton of vintage patterns on Ebay & Etsy as well, some of which I've purchased for a few dollars or less.  It's really amazing all the resources that are out there.  Thank you so much for compiling this wonderful list!

    6. Thank you for the killer list!!
      I dont have any new shops to add but I can mention that you can add your favourite Etsy sellers to your RSS reader (I use good ol' Google Reader). All you have to do is go to the Shop Home (all items) section and copy paste the link into your feed subscription box.
      Its the best way to stay on top of your fave seller's listings. I've nabbed some patterns pretty quick that way.

    7. Late '30s and early '40s patterns are my personal weakness. As for other places to shop for patterns, i may be biased, since i (ahem) run the place, but i'm partial to Fripperie on Etsy...

    8. Debi_myhappysewingplaceNovember 05, 2012 12:12 AM

      Oh yipppeee! Love Fripperie!!

    9. Debi_myhappysewingplaceNovember 05, 2012 12:12 AM

      What a BRILLIANT idea! Thanks so much for sharing....I am definitely going to do this!

    10. Debi_myhappysewingplaceNovember 05, 2012 12:13 AM

      I love your shop!!

    11. Debi_myhappysewingplaceNovember 05, 2012 12:13 AM

      Definitely! I love seeing your creations!!

    12. Amazing post!!
      I am now looking for 50s patterns, so hope this will be very helpful!! 

    13. I absolutely adore that vintage hoodie pattern, it's a hoodie I would actually wear! I'm pretty lucky at my work ( a historical park) we get old patterns donated to us so I get first dibs and i 've found some real treasures!

    14. That's my afternoon gone!! ;-)  What a fantastic resource, I will bookmark this too.  I don't have anything to add as I think you have covered it all.

    15. OMG, don't get me started! I think even more of my outstanding debt is due to patterns than to fabric! The pattern art is so alluring, so intriguing, with all of the romance of those historical times without the struggles and unpleasantness. And for some reason the darn things fit better than modern patterns!

      Thank you for this amazingly comprehensive list. I've bookmarked it, just in case I really need to add to my collection.

      I have also nominated you for an award, which you can see here:

    16. This post is going to be DANGEROUS for lots of peoples' wallets! :) I love that hooded jacket too, what a steal.

    17. This is EPIC.  I've already bought two patterns and bookmarked a ton of websites.  My wallet cries tears of sadness while my heart sings for the lovelies being sent to me!!!  Marvelous post, my dear!

    18. OH man thanks for that! I just hopped onto the Collectors Weekly list, and nabbed a 1945 swimsuit for $22!!!! Crazy!

    19. Debi_myhappysewingplaceNovember 08, 2012 10:52 PM

      That is amazing! I bet you've found some really great vintage patterns!

    20. Debi_myhappysewingplaceNovember 08, 2012 10:52 PM

      Thanks so much Katrina!!! That is so sweet!  And I'm with you in that more of my income goes to patterns than fabric... they are so fabulous!

    21. Debi_myhappysewingplaceNovember 08, 2012 10:52 PM


    22. Debi_myhappysewingplaceNovember 08, 2012 10:52 PM

      Thanks Meg!  I love your comment :)  It's so true!

    23. Debi_myhappysewingplaceNovember 08, 2012 10:52 PM

      Absolutely BRILLIANT!  I think I saw the picture of that swimsuit--so very 40s and what a steal!! YAY!

    24. What a great collection of pattern sites!  You mentioned a few that I'll have to add to my own list.
      is another resource - I've found some lovely patterns there, including a
      few from the 1940's that I'm really excited about trying.

      Both eBay and Etsy have hidden gems, you just have to be patient, as well as creative in your searching.  I have 

    25. I love the hooded jacket pattern! Very cute and practical.

    26. This is a great list! I've purchased patterns from about 1/3 of these sellers and have always had good experiences.  I've also had good luck with Honeymoon Bus and Adele Bee Ann on Etsy. Ebay used to have a lot more good deals than it does now.

    27. Thank you for sharing ! Your blog is amazing !

      Home made couture at :


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

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