September is Vintage Pattern Month!

And may I add that your capes were all stunning, as well? I was so excited to see all of your contributions – and I hope you wear them often and enjoy them!

We’re now in September, and you voted for our monthly challenge to be vintage patterns.

Whether you’ve never sewn vintage before or are a true aficionado, vintage patterns offer something unique to a sewist. I adore the styling, the illustrations, and the history of the patterns that now clutter my sewing room.

The biggest part of the history that I love is not so much the symbolism of what people wore, but more the personal side.

I’m talking about the who of vintage patterns. What was the original owners name? How old were they? Were they tall or short, blonde or brunette? How accomplished a seamstress were they? What did they make the garment for? Was it a one-off, or a garment made to be worn regularly as part of the daily routine? What fabric did they use? What colour? What alterations did they make to get the perfect fit? Was it made more than once? Did they love the garment when it was finished, or did it become a UFO?

Most of the answers to these questions have slipped into the mist of history, but sometimes a few hints remain. Some of my vintage patterns have a name on them – is that the name of the person they were making it for, or their own? – and others have more quirky hints; a rusted pin shortening the centre back seam, or notes scrawled on the pattern piece.

I’m a chronic daydreamer (and a bit of a nosey parker) and these questions often bring out tall stories in my mind of the original person who purchased the pattern. This is what I enjoy about vintage patterns – the aura they have around them. They are a reminder of an era, yes, but also an aspect of someone’s life that has since been consigned to charity stores, passed on, forgotten about. Do they remember the garment fondly when they see photos of themselves wearing it? And even more intriguingly, when my vintage pattern moves on to a new owner, if they do wonder, what will they wonder about me?

I’m looking forward to seeing the creations that come up this month – and maybe, just maybe, reading your imaginary (or true!) story about your pattern’s previous owner.

What do you love about vintage patterns? What’s your favourite era and why? OR, do you not like them (and this is ok too)? Why not?

15 thoughts on “September is Vintage Pattern Month!

  1. So excited to have found this site-only wishing I had last month because a cape is on my to-do list…but now I have a chance to pull out one of my many vintage patterns that I’ve stumbled across. I’m thinking maybe a 60’s sheath dress, maybe something I can wear in the fall!


  2. I have really been enjoying posting for and following everbodys makes on the Monthly Stitch. I love vintage (or old) patterns for the envelope diagrams and for the sometimes goodies I find in them. Vintage lace, newspaper clippings and once an addressed Christmas card from 1954!!


  3. I have enjoyed following all the seamstresses and their capes. But I can’t wait to see the vintage! I love the 50’s era… or maybe it’s the 40’s – 50’s. It’s a shame we don’t have the support garments available today they had then…Not that I would want to wear them all the time! But they did help to make for some trim designs. Not to mention the smaller frames … if only (sigh).


  4. Oh my, all the capes were amazing! I am so excited for vintage patterns, can not wait to see the amazing creations. I love when I find vintage clues in or on my pattern envelopes of yesteryear. Fabric swatches are my favorite finds they are so insightful of the previous owner.


  5. That is one of the reasons I collect vintage patterns, the history behind them. Half of the ones I owe aren’t even in the ball park to ever fit me, but just the “I wonder” story behind them is what makes them more exciting.

    Now that I have finished my cape, I will sit down over the weekend and decide which one to make. Oh the possibilities….(and challenges).



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