Readers, do you ever lie? I mean, do you ever say something without really thinking and then, later, realize that what you said doesn't reflect your honest opinion?
On this blog, from time to time, I've opined that such-and-such pattern company should reissue this-or-that pattern. Usually I say this because I think it would make good business sense for them to do so. But my true opinion is that I find vintage pattern repros about as compelling as a faux-limestone Nefertiti bust for sale at the Metropolitan Museum of Art gift shop.
Call me a snob, but unless you're making costumes for a high school production of Mame, why would you bother with a repro when there are so many wonderful authentic vintage patterns out there -- true pieces of the past, crying out to be given a second life?
To be honest, I do get the vintage reissue thing. Among their benefits:
1) Vintage repro patterns are more readily available, and come in a wider range of sizes: you can trace the size you need and still have access to other sizes, as opposed to the old patterns which came in one size per pattern purchased.
2) Vintage repro patterns have often been resized to reflect modern sizing/ease requirements -- though this is a point I've never understood since most people aren't a standard size anyway and will have to make adjustments.
3) Vintage repro patterns are often (though not always) cheaper than the originals.
4) It can be fun to sew (and blog about) the latest repro pattern reissues, and helpful to read reviews on sites like Pattern Review. You're unlikely to find a review of an authentic vintage pattern, though they do exist (I've written some).
5) Repro pattern paper is printed in ink. Many original vintage patterns were not printed, and all the little perforations and cuts can be confusing to interpret if you don't have any experience with them. Seam allowances are sometimes different (1/2" rather than 5/8") too.
Have I missed anything?
Last week I almost bought Vogue Special Design 4623 above, which I found for sale on Etsy. The only copy was in the UK, but I nearly jumped -- that is until, on the Vintage Pattern Wiki, I read that the pattern had been reissued. I took one look at the reissue, and decided to pass. I can't put my finger on what it was about the reissue -- or merely that it was a reissue -- that turned me off, but the charm was gone.
Parenthetically, can I make an embarrassing confession? For years, I've looked at those Vogue vintage patterns and wondered, who is this Dessin person they keep referring to? Was he the original designer of the patterns? And then the other day it hit me: Dessin Original is just the translation of original design. Duh.
Reissues also (I suspect) kill the market for the originals. Why would you pay $50+ for this...
When you can get this for $5?
There are a wide range of vintage pattern reissues; everyone's doing it these days. There are the costume types, which may or may not be based on original designs from the particular pattern company.
There are small pattern companies like Folkwear, which seem to be more theater-oriented than fashion-oriented. I'm not sure if their patterns are drafted from scratch, but I find their illustrations charming.
Then there are retro style patterns, designed for "modern" bodies. Gertie's book is full of these.
Wearing History, another small independent, also sells vintage-style patterns. The beautifully photographed pattern envelopes are very inspiring.
My biggest gripe about the big pattern companies' retro reissues is how often they look like they've been done up in cheap fabrics -- poly charmeuse being the biggest offender. I suspect they want to use fabrics most sewers will be able to find at their local Joanne's, but still.
The best reissues look like they've been chosen and styled with care -- and accuracy.
The worst seem to be trying to evoke a period rather than creating a line-for-line copy.
|I'm sorry, but what period is this trying to evoke?|
Once we're talking about the 1960's, I don't think we need retro reissues, do you? The ones I've seen look wrong to me, and the originals can still be had for a buck or two on sites like Etsy or at flea markets/thrift stores.
In conclusion, readers, do you ever sew vintage reissues?
Do you prefer reissues to original patterns for any of the reasons I listed above, or are you -- like me -- a purist at heart, and avoid them?
Is there anything you don't like about reisses -- their ubiquity perhaps, or something else?
Are there any pattern reissues (or pattern reissue lines) that you truly love?