I recently bought some vintage patterns that I would like to sew. (Not the
bell bottoms I mentioned in another post.) Some of them I purchased w/ full
intention of making the garment. Others are just for the collection, which
is enormous. The Q is, should I cut them? Seems vintage uncut patterns can
be valuable, and I feel guilty cutting a pattern that has survived for so
many yrs uncut. I am thinking of tracing the patterns, though I have never
bothered w. this before. Advice on this dilemma?
I received several vintage patterns from a friend. She had cut them for
her children and they had been in her stash. I recently decided to
reuse one for my DD...had to cut it down. I guess, my feeling is if it
is something that you would actually wear, why not cut it? Or you could
always tape tissue paper together and trace over the pattern pieces,
thus keeping the pattern intact yet giving you workable pieces.
If you bought the patterns with the intention of sewing then sew, that
is my opinion. If you think there is the remotest possibility the
pattern may appreciate (and there is no promise that it will), go back
and purchase another to keep in your stash for future. One quick look on
eBay will show there is no rhyme or reason to sewing pattern prices,
vintage or otherwise, and why put yourself through all the trouble of
finding work around solutions for some thing you do not even know has a
Speaking of vintage patterns, have bags full, some from "Past Patterns",
many from when Vogue Patterns was running "buy one get one free" offers.
All sit unused and uncut, really should sort them out.
Best of luck,
All good points. I have watched some patterns on ebay. Some are ridiculously
priced to begin w/, hence my desire to draft my own bell bottom pattern out
of a modern pattern I can get for $1 at Joanne's. I will probably cut some
of them unless *I* decide I want the pattern for my collection in new
Trace! They won't fit straight out of the packet anyway, and will need
to be altered, so you might as well trace. Then you still have the
original to go back to should you need to. I do this all the time when
using vintage patterns.
I have found over the years most patterns do not fit "straight out of the
envelope" anyway, so most of mine are traced off on doctor's examing table
paper. I asked the nurse about the ends of rolls of it, and she gave me one
and I've gotten several since, all for free(mind you the doctor's fees are
not free). It is stronger than tissue paper and afterwards, I fold and keep
in a manila envelope with the directions. Sometimes, I scan & copy the
pattern envelope to glue on the manila, but often I just mark the name of
co. & number on it. They are stored in a file cabinet drawer where I have
them sorted by name of co., then by adult or children.
In article ,
You might want to do a bit of research on ephemera collections. I never
cut vintage patterns because they are already delicate and yes, they
have a value if properly maintained. And, of course, that's the
problem with all ephemera. I trace mine off, carefully refold them, and
store them in zippered polypropylene bags with the pattern envelope.
Pattern sizing has changed a great deal so they almost always have to be
I've found my sliding glass door to be the best light box ever for tracing a
pattern. You can hang the entire piece on a flat surface and then tape
whatever you are tracing on over the top. The window is flat and smooth and
you don't have to move anything while you are working on a piece. I've even
used the window at night by placing the floor lamp outside to throw light
through the pattern pieces. Works great!
I use either the exam table paper or the Swedish tracing paper that has a
grid printed on it and is sort of like medium weight interfacing stuff. Be
careful what you use to trace. Some felt marker ink NEVER dry and can cause
problems later. Some papers have a wax or silicone on them so whatever you
are using can rub off........this usually only happens if you are sewing
something white and not washable.
In article ,
I use tracing paper ("canary yellow") that comes on a large roll and
trace the pattern off freehand using indelible pens (they don't bleed
thru canary yellow). That is the standard tracing paper used in every
architectural and engineering office and it come in various widths from
12" to 36". It's cheap and makes a decent pattern paper. I often do it
right on my gridded cutting table mat so I also can make any necessary
alterations. Flatten out the pattern piece or carefully press it with a
warm iron and then tear off a length of tracing paper, cover the pattern
piece, and secure it with small pieces of drafting tape (not masking or
scotch tape which will adhere too much). You can use a straightedge for
Sometimes. Sometimes I use a miniature tracing wheel called a
"roulette". Sometimes I use a high-quality ball-point pen that is
absolutely positootly empty. Sometimes I use a stylus left over from
when the Bikeabout was typed on stencils. Sometimes I grab a knitting
needle. Sometimes I use a #2 pencil. Sometimes I trace around the
pattern and mark dashes outside the cutting line, to use later with a
ruler. If I'm duplicating a pattern I've used a lot, there will be
holes -- sometimes cut, sometimes worn -- where the interior marks
Way back when, I used a lot of "copysets". Whenever I spoiled one, I
peeled off the almost-untouched sheet of carbon paper and threw it
back into the box. I'm still using those to copy my patterns. They
were meant for a single use, but for sewing, the only limitation on
the life of a sheet is that eventually it gets rumpled.
(laughing) I had forgotten about copysets... They used to come in all
sorts of colours.... You are more brave than I .. I would fear getting
that carbon on the fabric, and not being able to get it all back out..
The things we used to go through to get multiple copies.... I found a
box of unused mimeograph sheets a few days ago (left over from who
knows how many years ago when I used to mimeograph nursing exams..)
... But the really frightening fact is that this box has survived many
a house move..
The kind I'm speaking of came only in black. The paper came in white
or yellow. The carbon is a very thin coat on tissue paper, and the
marks don't rub off any more than pencil marks do.
"All sorts of colors" sounds like ditto masters -- like a copyset in
construction, but thick high-quality paper and a carbon with a thick
layer of color. I don't recall seeing any black, but I think it
existed. Only the purple would give you a reasonable run. I remember
using blue and red when I made ditto masters for the covers for the
(An honor I earned by being lousy at typing: the teacher assigned me
a page with almost no typing on it. The school paper was part of the
lessons then; the content was generated under the supervision of
various teachers (or, in the case of reports on the first six grades,
by the teachers) and the second-year typing class laid it out and
copied it on office machines.) (We also addressed a bunch of
envelopes for the school board once. A valuable lesson: we had been
taught to use "R.D." as an abbreviation for "Rural Route" -- but the
recipients of the letters would have thought that an insulting typo,
so when typing real envelopes, we used "R.R.")
The purple ones were called Gstetener. There was a master, and then the
copies came out with purple type and pictures, etc. I can still smell
the aroma of the purple mimeographed sheets they handed out for tests.
I remember writing on those bloody things... Type? Coo, there's posh!
We could never get the office staff to type them for us! I thought it
was dead posh when I got to a school where the office would type up your
worksheets, and the Gstetner machine was ELECTRIC! No more tennis elbow
and strained wrists from producing 500 exam papers!
Gstetner sheets came in lots of colours: I remember producing
multi-coloured sheets and drawings for worksheets by mix and match
playing with those things. And the copy stuff would get on your clothes
and stain FOREVER.
And then we got computers and the world was a whole nother shape...
Didn't smell the same, though.