Who Will Love My Vintage Patterns When I’m Gone?

 Posted by on Feb 23, 2013 at 8:41 AM
Feb 232013
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Vintage Sewing Circle Pin Keeper 1930s 1940s

~ Vintage Patterns ~

My vintage patterns are organized by era and style, mixing the Hollywood and Butterick, McCalls with Vogue, and strange envelopes with New York returns: Ann Adams and Marian Martin. On rainy afternoons or cool winter mornings I peruse and dream of all the lovely dresses and outfits I will make. I imagine how they will look in vintage rayon picked up at the swap meet, or the gorgeous floral found at the by the pound fabric warehouse. I think about the women who sewed them before me. What fabric did they use? How many times did they wear the dress? Did it turn out how they hoped? Did they have their first kiss in it, find their true love, lose him, or marry in the dress? Did they turn heads at a dance? Did their new creation make them feel just a little bit prettier?

40s sewing businessA quiet mystery insinuates itself when working with old patterns. Un-creasing the yellowed folds, finding old notes in the directions and sometimes hand-made pattern pieces cut from old newspaper. The thought of another’s fingers handling the patterns thrills and connects me to the past. I love the idea of taking a flat piece of fabric and turning it into a three dimensional object that can live on its own in the world, outlive me. The small act of creating is an inspiring thing. I fear I will never sew all the patterns in my collection. Already my children have outgrown the lovelies I collected for them, so many little girl dresses unsewn, so many overalls and Ike Jackets pushed to the back of the drawer.

Who will continue the custodianship and preservation of the past. I believe I could sew the rest of my life and not be able to finish them all. It’s unsettling, yet comforting, too; the open ended possibility of what “could be.”


Do you have a vintage pattern collection? How many vintage patterns have you sewn? What’s your favorite era or vintage pattern? Do you have an sewing tricks or advice?

Tam Francis, authorTam Francis is writer, blogger, swing dance teacher, avid vintage collector, and seamstress. She  shares her love of this genre through her novels, blog, and short stories. She enjoys hearing from you, sharing ideas, forging friendships, and exchanging guest blogs. For all the Girl in the Jitterbug Dress news, give-aways, events, and excitement, make sure to join her list and like her FB page! Join my list ~ Facebook page

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  4 Responses to “Who Will Love My Vintage Patterns When I’m Gone?”

Comments (4)
  1. Tam! i absolutely loved your article regarding the vintage patterns! Will love to get your contact details so we can discuss a bit more about a business details that i have for you.

  2. What a lovely article! I wish I could sew. I remember being a young girl and seeing my granda, my grandma’s sister and nieces, my mom, one of my mom’s friends, often with patterns and fabrics and what not, always so busy, always so attentive to the tiniest detail. All I could do to help was trace some pattern when I was a bit older, or not move as they were trying on me something I would later wear. And what a pleasure it was when it was finally finished! I still have some garments they sewed for me when I was a young girl. I really treasure those clothes even when the fabric is a little worn out.
    I can knit but I always wanted to sew. I know it’s never late to get some lessons.
    Thank you for the lovely memories you brought with your article.

    • Thank you for your kind words. It’s never too late to learn to sew! It’s such a wonderful skill to have and I really do feel there’s a little magic in it! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


  3. This reminds me of all the sewing patterns I grew up around. There were dozens, if not more, of all different styles and sizes. Seeing a pattern & material stretched out on the dining room table, or living room floor was so commonplace that we didn’t blink an eye. We just had to be careful not to STEP on them! I was too young to sew then, so they weren’t mine, unfortunately.

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