I hope to inspire and entertain you with a lot of sewing and a little of everything else!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Why I Buy Vintage Patterns, part 5

Well, today will wrap up this little series of posts. This has been a fun subject.

Reason #8: The Pattern has been Re-Published

I was very surprised the first time I found a vintage pattern that I recognized as a published heirloom or smocking pattern. We don't have to ask which came first in this case! Today's pattern designers take inspiration from the patterns of yesterday- and why not? There are some awesome patterns out there waiting to be shared!
First up, this absolutely adorable romper pattern. A very similar design was published in Sew Beautiful as Suzanne & John's Bubble.

I have always wanted to make this pattern. I love the wrap front and it is a perfect canvas for embroidery.
Notice how the boy's opens on the left and the girl's on the right in both the vintage and modern versions?

 Here's a cute little sacque with sashiko quilted flowers. The original is a pretty rare pattern. 

 This is the picture of Petite Poche's Katie pattern. Even the bonnets are similar. What a cute set to keep baby cozy in the winter!

 This is a cute circular sundress pattern. It is "quick & easy" and can't you just picture a little one toddling around showing off their panties under that puffy skirt?


If you can't find the vintage pattern, don't worry. Kari Me Away has made it easy to make this cute dress with her "Sheri's Cherries" pattern. I have this pattern and it's another one that's waiting for a little girl to stitch it for! 

 Here's a really old McCall pattern. It is for a wrap around romper with pleats. The front and shorts are all cut in one piece, which goes between the legs and buttons on the sides and at the back waist. This is probably from around 1920. If you can't find this rare pattern, just check this out:

 Petite Poche's modern version of the "Wrap Around Romper". It is very whimsical in a polka dot print with solid collar and trim. This is meant for a boy and while some people wouldn't put this style on today's little man, I love rompers on boys and this is definitely one of my favorite ones! I think you'd be much happier with Wendy Schoen's precise directions than the original's few paragraphs of text!

Reason #9: Sentimental Attachment

This is a fun reason to hunt down an old pattern. Because your Mom, Grandma, Friend, Aunt or Teacher made it way back when. I have recently discovered a few patterns that have a history for me.
 This pattern has a fun story. Recently my friend Karen wanted to make an angel stocking (for her new baby)
exactly like the one her Mom made her when she was a baby. We talked about our stockings and found that our parents both had boots. Was I ever shocked when I found this pattern on etsy!? The ladies and mens boots are exactly the ones my parents had- even the colors are identical! To my greater surprise, the card holder is the one my Mom STILL uses for her Christmas cards every year! 
 Here is the pattern I learned to smock from. I made it for myself when I was 10- probably too old to wear it, but I loved old-fashioned things even then. I picked up the dots and did the smocking with only the pattern directions for guidance. I still have that pinafore somewhere!


Reason #10: It's a Transfer I'd Like to Digitize

There are many gorgeous transfers from the 1930s-1960s. They have inspired many digitizers to re-create the look of hand embroidery without all the work. Now that I know how to digitize, I love to look at old transfers for inspiration. Here are a few examples:
 The Vogart transfers are my favorites. The company started selling transfers to stamp on your own fabric in 1942. Before that, they sold designs already stamped on fabric.

 The Good Night and Kitty/Puppy designs are 2 of my favorite sets. I own both of these and just need to find the time to digitize and stitch them.

 This one is not a Vogart, but aren't these baby faces adorable? Perfect in one color to use on a quilt for baby!


So, I have shared with you MY TOP 10 LIST of reasons I love vintage patterns and choose the ones I do. What do you love about vintage patterns??

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Why I Buy Vintage Patterns, part 4

Reason #6: I Can't Resist a Sailor Suit

In 1846, the four-year-old Albert Edward, Prince of Wales was given a scaled-down version of the uniform worn by ratings on the Royal Yacht. He wore his miniature sailor suit during a cruise off the Channel Islands that September, delighting his mother and the public alike. Popular engravings spread the idea, and by the 1870s, the sailor suit had become normal dress for both boys and girls all over the world. Patterns for sailor suits and dresses can be found as early as the 1870s and are still popular today.
 This is a very early example, maybe from the 1890s. This tiny illustration and a few paragraphs of text were all the directions you got in a pattern of this era. And, of course, the pieces were unprinted tissue!

This girl's Sailor Dress pattern is from about 1910. It was common to attach the skirt to a sleeveless top and wear the Middy over it.

This May Manton's boy's pattern is from 1913. The size range for a boy's sailor suit went from about 2 to 14 years of age, so this was a style that boys could wear from babyhood to their teens.
 This pattern is a very classic Sailor Suit from about 1920. This Middy top was worn loose over the knee trousers. The trousers usually had buttonholes at the waist which would attach to the child's undergarment to keep them up in the days before elastic.

This McCall pattern has such a nice color illustration. It is probably from the early 1930s. The saffron color is not very traditional for a Sailor Suit. I wonder if that was a popular color back then?
 I first saw this pattern selling for $30 and didn't buy it even though I loved it. I recently found one for only $6, a much nicer price! The detail I love on this one is the button-flap pants. Oliver+S makes a modern pattern with pants like this that I've been wanting to try. It will be interesting to see if the sewing methods are the same.

 Here's a nice New York pattern from the 1940s. I love the nautical toys the boys are playing with. Notice the embroidery on the arm. I've noticed that in most vintage photos of boys in Sailor Suits, there is a military emblem on the arm. Occasionally, I have seen a nautical/military transfer come up for sale. I wonder how the Moms chose what design to embroider?

This girl's dress is probably from the late 50s or early 60s. Advance was the proprietary pattern brand of JC Penney from 1933-1966. Sears had the Superior pattern brand in the 30s and 40s. I wish department stores still had patterns and fabric for sale!

Though I mainly collect children's patterns, there were many dresses and blouses for women in Sailor style as well.

 And now, for a lovely segue between reasons #6 and #7, we have these adorable brother-sister sailor suits!

Reason #7: What Could Be Cuter than Matching Brother-Sister Outfits?

I am a matchy-matchy girl. I love the "Family Collections" of holiday clothing at Gymboree. I like to find a fabric line with 8 coordinates for a quilt. I adore sewing patterns with girl and boy versions!
Isn't this set sweet? For the boy, a button-on suit (love that nautical collar!). For the girl, a coordinating dress with opposite side button-front. I wouldn't have thought of plaid for this type of outfit, but I like it.
 This set is subtle in its matching details. The yokes both have that princess seam with tab at the shoulder. This probably isn't one I'd make, but aren't the kids cute?
 These little blouses with smocking at the yoke are so cute. A button-on skirt for her. For him, button-on shorts. This is a classic that is still in style today.
 Again, the only difference between "his" and "hers" is the shorts vs. skirt and straight sleeve vs. puffy. The Eton jacket is a classic look.
I was thrilled to find this pattern in an antique store. This is such an unusual coverall. It is on my "to do" list. I like the gathered blouse. Isn't his beanie cute? My vintage patterns often came with adorable hats or bonnets.

 I think that many Mommies must have made winter coats for their little ones, because dress coat patterns are quite common. It is a shame that not many children wear these today, because they are so elegant. I love the various legging patterns that often accompany the coats. The very old ones have buttons all the way down the leg. That must have taken a lot of time to put on.

 For my last pattern tonight, I will share what I consider to be the "last word" in brother-sister patterns. I haven't found this one at a reasonable price yet, but I LOVE the pictures on it! The title at the top of this pattern is, "Infants' and Toddlers' Twin Nightwear". I think it's the only instance of "twin" clothing I've ever seen on a pattern. I would definitely make these little nighties for boys or girls!!

Back tomorrow with my final installment.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Why I Buy Vintage Patterns, part 3

Reason #5: Collecting the Unusual

When I say unusual, there are several reasons I might call it so. The pattern may be for something you don't often see a pattern for, it may be a patterns that's rare or hard to find, or it may just tickle my funnybone! Here are some examples (and remember, these are not all from my collection!):
 This hostess apron is wonderful. I can imagine myself dressed to the nines, throwing a dinner party in my 30s attire, wearing high heels, even make up. But I CANNOT imagine wearing those little sleeves to match the apron. It is a remnant of a different time.

 This one sold on ebay just a few days ago and I really wanted it. I have always been interested in medicine and in college thought about becoming a doctor, nurse, or midwife. This is a very rare "Surgical Gown and Cap" pattern from the 1920s. Don't you love the artwork with the metal cart and beakers? I am wondering if the doctor's wives were responsible for making their surgical attire? Maybe so if patterns for home sewers were available for this type of garment.
 You can't tell from the picture, but the unusual thing about this pattern is its size. The envelope is only 4" tall. It was a free sample to make a doll outfit. I have seen only a few sample patterns this tiny. This one comes up for sale quite often.

 I own this pattern, too, and it was also a free give away (around 1910). This one is also fairly common. Vanta was a company that made baby and children's garments, mostly underwear. Maybe this pattern was free with a purchase or maybe just a gimmick to get people into the store. At the bottom it says, "Presented with the good wishes of (store name)". I like it because it shows how people sewed their own cloth diapers and one way of fastening them without pins. "Use Vanta tapes...they never shrink or twist"!

This one is also terrific. Like the first pattern I showed, I find it humorous that a woman would wear a dress with a potholder attached to the pocket! I am very old-fashioned, but even to me, this seems like wearing a chain attaching you to the stove!

This is the only pattern I've ever seen to make garments for the Infant of Prague statue. I think it is quite uncommon. I don't own this one, but I'd like to. It brings back memories of visits to my paternal grandparents and their "Jesus Doll" as I called it. 

Isn't this a beauty? It is rare because of the beautiful fagoting detail shown on the yoke. I am impressed by the talent of home sewers of the past who could make a difficult pattern like this with minimal instructions.

 Tune in tomorrow for more neat vintage patterns!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Why I Buy Vintage Patterns...part 2

Reason #3: The Artwork is Special

A very good reason to collect a pattern is because of its beautiful artwork. I bet there are people who have no intention of sewing but collect patterns for their beauty. I don't think today's patterns can compare with the colorful drawings on the old patterns. The people shown often give a clue to the year of the pattern, too. For instance, the 1960s features a lot of "big head" kids. The hairstyles can also give a clue to date.

 Isn't this a beautiful 1930s dress? I love the kick pleats. The women in the 30s were apparently all very tall and thin if the pattern covers are to be believed!
 This illustration is so adorable. I love the frilly bonnets and the sweet baby faces wearing them!
 These McCall patterns were some of the earliest with a color illustration. They almost always sell for a lot- often over $30, more if they are for ladies. I love the styles. They were the prettiest baby clothes! These weren't made for too many years, so they are rather rare, but so lovely.
This Pictorial Review pattern is quite unusual, since it is one of very few of the 1930s patterns with a color photo as well as illustrations. I love these, but they are quite rare and expensive. Isn't that little girl a doll?

Reason #4: Antique Patterns of Historical Interest

When I first started collecting patterns, I looked for the really old ones, from 1900-1920 mainly. I love the Edwardian period: not just the fashions, but everything about it. It seems like such an elegant, graceful time. When I find a really old antique that is also appealing, I like to buy it. It is interesting to see the names of the old pattern makers. You will see McCall and Butterick in very old patterns, but before Simplicity or Vogue, there were: Peerless, Standard, May Manton's, and Madame Demorest. Very rarely, you can find a pattern from the 1870s. It is much easier to find them from 1900 on.
 This McCall pattern for a pleated dress is very pretty. Notice the yo yo the little girl is playing with.
 This is a very old pattern from the 1870s. It is for a Boy's Percy Suit, which appears to be a kilt-like pleated skirt with jacket. This pattern is by Madame Demorest.
 Here is a nice Peerless Pattern for a little girl's dress. Beautiful lace work adorns the collar. This is probably from the 1890s.
 Here is a May Manton's pattern for a child's waist with drawers. I am always amazed by the amount of work involved in buttoning on toddler's underwear!
See you tomorrow!