|From male pattern boldness|
I was recently asked where I find my vintage patterns and if I have any favorite sellers. I'd like to share some of my shopping strategies and recommend my favorite resources.
Most of the patterns in my collection I've purchased online. The sites I use most often are (no surprise) eBay, Etsy, and the less popular Bonanzie and eCrater. With few exceptions, sellers accept Paypal.
Of all these sites, only eBay is auction-oriented. When I'm shopping for patterns on eBay, however, I always narrow my search to "Buy it Now." I'm simply not willing to wait days to know whether I'm going to be able to buy a pattern or not. (By the way, if you feel like you absolutely MUST win an auction, I highly recommend using esnipe. It costs hardly anything to use, you set your top bid, and you don't have to think about the auction again -- until you win!)
I generally search "Lowest to Highest" or "Price: Low to High." This is because I am a frugal person (read, cheap) and am reluctant to spend more than a few dollars on a pattern. I try to keep the cost to $5, including shipping. The same pattern is often for sale from many different sellers at dramatically different prices and it pays to shop around. You'd be surprised how much great stuff is priced at $3 or less.
On Etsy, I make sure the search is set to "All Items" (as opposed to "Handmade" which I believe is the default search category).
There are no particular sellers I follow, though I might look at what else a seller I'm purchasing from is offering on the odd chance I could combine shipping for more than one item.
Below are the search words I use most frequently. Yours will depend on what you're looking for and your size.
"vintage dress pattern 14" (the "new sizing" that came out in the late 60s meant that a 14 has a 36" chest; that's what I need. If I want an earlier era, say 50s or early 60s, I look for a size 16.)
"dress pattern 70s"
"sewing pattern 36" (the chest size)
I might also limit the search to "Vogue," "Simplicity," and so on. Or even narrower, to "Vogue Paris Original" or "Designer Original" or "Yves Saint Laurent."
It usually pays to try a few different searches because you never know how a seller might list an item. Someone who doesn't know much about patterns is less likely to list the size, or label it "vintage."
More savvy sellers might include a word like "groovy," "mod," "Austin Powers" or "Mad Men." The patterns could be great but the prices will usually be higher. I generally write down the name of a pattern I like and see if I can find it cheaper elsewhere. (If you're one of these savvy sellers, forgive me; I'm on a budget!)
Mens patterns are easier to search for because the selection is much, much smaller. There are probably 25 womens patterns out there for every mens pattern. Search words I'll use include:
"mens pattern 36" (again my chest size)
"mens pattern small" (depending on the pattern, this could be anywhere from a 34" to a 36")
"men's 30" (this is the waist size)
Many mens patterns include both shirt and pants. Be careful that if you're looking for a small shirt pattern and the pattern is listed as 36" that it's the CHEST size and not the waist size. Otherwise you're going to be making pretty big pants (and an even bigger shirt). I've made this mistake myself. If you're not sure, ask the seller first.
It's amazing how the Internet has allowed us to find just what we're looking for. But it pays to know how to look.
I have also found patterns at the Chelsea Flea Market, open every Saturday and Sunday from around 8 am to 5 pm, on 25th St. off 6th Ave., just blocks from where I live. (Call me and we can go together!)
I recently found a pile of complete Vogue Paris Originals (pic below) in good shape, five for $5! One of them was even a sloper (i.e. fitting) pattern. Unfortunately, four of the five are a size 12 (the sloper included) and don't fit me. They're still nice to have for research purposes and who knows when I might be sewing for a size 12? Plus, you can't beat the price.
Since I started sewing, I've been surprised to discover how many vendors have patterns from time to time. Last week I almost picked up a great Butterick 50s sheath dress pattern, but changed my mind at the last minute. That's not really my look right now.
I have never found patterns at thrift stores but I haven't been looking that long. How about you?
I'd love to hear about others' strategies and great finds!
|From male pattern boldness|