Tag Archives: vintage sewing patterns

Remember Those Sewing Pattern Books?

Since old sewing patterns were always the leftovers at my guild’s sales, I was surprised to find that some people actually buy and sell them. I came across the Vintage Pattern Wiki that has 83,500+ patterns you can browse by garment type, decade, or designer. Their definition of vintage – 1992 and older – took me aback as my definition starts a few decades before 1992.

I haven’t actually used a paper pattern for sewing for a long while. No, I’m wrong. I used a paper pattern to make my silk vest. But, with that one exception, I can’t remember the last time I sat down at the fabric store and whiled away an hour or so looking through the Butterwick, McCalls, Simplicity, and Vogue pattern books.  So, it was quite the memory lane experience to look through this wiki.

I can’t believe the wiki has 92 pages of jumpsuit patterns. That’s right, jumpsuits – those impossible to use the bathroom without getting undressed “liberated” items of female clothing. I remember a nifty knee length number I made with a back zipper.

Stretch knit, held up with one tie. Figure flattering, I’m sure.

How could any seamstress go wrong with that bias cut large plaid?

For the devoted 1970s couple, his and her jumpsuits. Love his turtleneck.

Continuing with fashions that should never see the light of day again, here are my choices for best of the worst.

Nothing says the 1960s like a dashiki pattern.

If you want to make a fool of a man, sew up this intrepid explorer number.


That romper seems to be right off the “Three’s Company” set.

What was with those enormously oversized jackets?

This military inspired jacket looks great for smuggling small animals through customs.

I did find some I actually liked. In fact, it was hard to restrain myself from showing countless more. None are from the 1980s.

Deep pleated high waist trousers from 1937. Don’t know about the head gear, though.


A 1957 cocktail dress with deep shawl collar, back bow and burst of pleats.

Another 1950s full skirted dress. Check out the tiny waist and gored pleats.

A 1934 confection that would be wonderful in silk chiffon.

A wedding gown straight from 1963.

Pattern companies have been using celebrities to lend glamour to their work for decades.

An Edith Head suit complete with 3/4 length, fur trimmed jacket sleeves.

You could look like Claudette Colbert with this pattern. I see that a size 16 had a 34 inch bust in those days. The wedding gown pattern from 1963 shows a size 14 with a 34 inch bust. The fashion industry has been working for decades to convince us we’re a smaller size than we really are.

I should point out that the Vintage Pattern Wiki is designed to help sell old patterns, not to amuse the likes of me. If you want to buy old patterns, you can also find many on Etsy, which is where I came across this quintessential 1980s gem.




Filed under Commentary