Where to Find Vintage Sewing Patterns

This article provides a list of places to look for vintage sewing patterns.

If you’d like to create your own vintage inspired clothing, a few vintage sewing patterns can prove very useful. There are many places you can find both original vintage sewing patterns and reproductions. This article provides several suggestions.

Mainstream pattern companies

As vintage fashion has been experiencing a revival recently, many of the big pattern companies offer patterns in this category. For example, the Vogue pattern company has a special range called Vintage Vogue that offers several vintage reproduction patterns. This range includes jackets, skirts, hats, dresses and even the odd evening gown. The designs tend to have quite a 1950s flavor. They also have out of print vintage vogue designs on their website. Simplicity and New Look often sell popular out of print patterns on their websites. Sometimes they also do vintage style patterns from time to time. Also look through the costumes section as you will typically find styles from the early 1900s through to 1950s style outfits.  

Dedicated vintage pattern websites

There are many websites that specialize in offering vintage patterns for sale. Some examples include:

-Patterns from the past- this store sells original patterns from the 1920s to the present.

-So vintage patterns- this site sells true vintage patterns, not copies and they feature designs from the 1900s onwards.

-Moms patterns.com- this site showcases patterns from the 1940s onwards. There is a men’s selection, and you can shop by trends, or special category, such as rockabilly.

Secondhand stores

Trawl through secondhand stores and you may come across a stash of old patterns.

Your grandmother’s house

Many women over 60 have a few patterns lying around from decades long since passed. They will most likely be keen to show them off, but remember that they could be sentimental about them so it’s best to go armed with your own supplies to make a copy rather than except to acquire them. Take some tracing paper and a pencil for copying the actual pattern pieces and some paper for making notes. A camera could also come in handy, because it allows you to photograph the front of the pattern packet and any illustrated instructions.

Garage and estate sales

Garage sales and estate sales can also yield pattern finds.

eBay

Search for vintage sewing patterns on eBay and you will typically find thousands of products advertised.

Lending libraries

Some libraries have pattern libraries you can borrow from. For example, the Vintage pattern lending library in Oakland, California prints republications of historic fashion patterns from the 1840s through to the 1950s. Guests can purchase these patterns and members can purchase or loan them.

Markets

Some market stalls have patterns for sale from time to time.

A few extra tips:

Original patterns are becoming collectors’ items so they are great finds, but if you want to sew with them you need to be aware of a few practical considerations. Firstly remember to take a look at the sizing; a size 8 in the 1940s can be very different to today’s size 8. Check to see if you will fit the size range. Secondly you need to make sure that all the pattern pieces and the size you require are still in the pack.

Typically you will find the cheapest buys at garage sales, estate sales and charity based second hand stores as they aren’t as profit driven as specialized pattern stores. However be prepared to do lots of searching if you want to go this route.

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