This weekend I happened upon not one, but two large troves of patterns at the Chelsea flea market -- a rare thing.
Would you have turned down a mod Vogue Paris Original suit pattern for just $2? I couldn't.
Perhaps you'd have had more discipline when it came to the patterns below (also $2 each). I probably wouldn't have bought just one or two early Sixties doll patterns, but five is an instant collection!
And two Tammys -- did they make her 1/2" taller than Barbie just to sell more merchandise?
I look forward to inspecting these doll patterns more closely; I've never owned one before. I have a few vintage Barbies tucked away somewhere, along with a repro Midge, if I'm ever inspired to sew for them.
Finally, there was this $5 find, a Butterick women's pajama pattern dating back to the early Nineteen-Twenties.
For the dainty Grecian vase pose alone, I love it. It's also complete (minus the instructions, which I can figure out myself).
On Pinterest, I found a pic of what looks like an identical pajama -- check out Fanny, back row, second from the right.
Wouldn't it be cute in silk crepe de chine, like these?
Considering this pattern is roughly ninety years old, the condition isn't bad. The envelope is fragile and there were some rusty pins in a few of the pieces; otherwise it's fine.
Speaking of rusty pins, for an extra buck I got this ancient velvet pin cushion. I love these.
One by one, I ironed the pieces flat. They're all there.
I think what is true today was even truer years ago: most people stored
their patterns carefully and only rarely were pieces lost -- which
usually happened later when somebody else found the patterns and didn't handle them carefully. Of course, in
the Twenties, there were no plastic bags, so pattern envelopes were depended on to hold their contents intact. The envelope is much
more perishable than the acid-free pattern paper. ( The tissue paper on my
ninety-year-old Butterick is sturdier than what you'd find on a
Butterick pattern today, believe it or not.)
For me, a discovery like this pattern is probably what I love most about sewing. I imagine who might have sewn this pattern originally and where it might have been stored for almost a century; it's a piece of history.
If I make these pajamas -- and I might -- I think they need some sort of kimono cover-up, don't you? Just in case you have to answer the doorbell.
In closing, readers, what part of sewing do you enjoy the most: selecting the pattern, buying the fabric, stitching it all together, or something else entirely?
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!