Interview with Anna from Mrs Depew Vintage

Wow, vintage pattern month is almost over! I hope you’ve had as much fun as I have seeing all the pretty creations! I have a final interview for you today from the one and only Anna of Mrs Depew Vintage. Anna not only sells vintage originals but also has a line of vintage inspired and vintage reproduction patterns – very clever. I’m dying to have a look at her grading e-book as well, looks super informative!

So Anna, tell us about yourself and your patterns:

How did you discover vintage sewing patterns?
–My first true love is vintage. I quite literally grew up in my mother’s antique shop. And when I wasn’t there, I was probably near at hand when my mother sewed amazing custom items for a few of her clients, using her vintage pattern stash. I still remember the box, almost too high to reach, full to brimming with 1930’s evening gown patterns peaking over the top. I sometimes still dream about that box… my own version of a treasure trove.

Pictoral Review Printed Pattern Pajama Set

How long have you been collecting?
— It wasn’t until I was 23 and wanting to really sew my own clothes that I started looking for my own vintage sewing patterns… and now that I’ve been collecting for 5 years, my current estimate is in the thousands!

How do you define ‘vintage’?
–For me, at least, it’s not just about the age of something. The 1980’s are considered vintage by most now… and being a child of the 80’s I can’t wrap my head around possibly being vintage myself… I refuse to. So I like to think of vintage as more of a mindset. The word conjures images of large telephones in bright colors, the smell of old wood, rust and dust, the crinkle of old pattern pieces, the feel of delicate, hand-loomed French lace on your skin, and the bouquet of a good ‘vintage’ wine. Vintage is all of these things, encapsulated in just one word.


Mrs Depew Vintage 1940’s Wrap blouse PDF pattern

You have your own line of reproduction and vintage-inspired patterns available; what motivated you to do this?
— This was really the logical next step for my collection. I recently moved from Norway to California. I was in Norway for four years with my husband, and I was unable to find any steady work so I sewed, and sewed and sewed to stay busy. One day I was working with an incredibly rare pattern, tracing the pieces before I sewed my own version, and it hit me that this might be the only remaining copy of that pattern (it was from an old magazine). The thought horrified me, that only I might enjoy it. I made a simple, digital copy of it the same day and eventually found to sell it on… and the rest is history!

With your vintage-inspired patterns, how do you go about finding inspiration and translating it into a pattern that reflects the era?
— It’s a long process! It usually starts with a vintage style icon. For example, I was obsessed with an image of Marilyn Monroe in this amazing white bathing suit. I searched high and low for a pattern and found nothing. I studied the other vintage bathing suit patterns in my collection, then studied a few actual vintage bathing suits, and then drew and drafted my little heart out until eventually, Depew 1001 was born. It’s still my favorite pattern and my most popular.

Marilyn Munroe in her gorgeous white bathing suit

Do you have any advice for seamstresses who are relatively inexperienced with sewing vintage patterns?
–Absolutely! Don’t be intimidated by vintage patterns and don’t ever give up on a pattern! Google how to do everything you get stuck on and I guarantee that you’ll find a tutorial from someone who is passionate about sewing and they’ll walk you right through it. Its how I did things. How I still do things. Hooray for the internet sewing community!

Also, add a few vintage sewing books to your library. I like “The Art of Dressmaking” published by Butterick in the 1920’s, not too hard to find, and still crazy helpful for the modern seamstress. Another great one is “The Complete Guide to Sewing” by Reader’s Digest. You can find used copies of it all over the internet for very affordable prices.


1950’s McCall’s Ladies Slip

Do you have any tips for storage and care of vintage patterns?
— Always trace a copy of a vintage pattern and sew with that instead. You can make adjustments without harming your pattern and keep the original safe for future generations to enjoy. I store all of my vintage patterns in cello sleeves. I buy mine here.
And most importantly, enjoy your patterns! If they’re fragile and falling apart, don’t be afraid! Carefully iron them flat, make a copy, and get some use out of that baby! Remember that they were made to be used, not to be hidden away in a dark box, never to see the light of day!


Mrs Depew Vintage 1950’s Kimono Sleeve Blouse

Thanks so much for talking to us Anna! Your reproductions are to die for, and you have saved my pattern collection with your suggestion for the cello sleeves – I’ve looked high and low with no luck, so thank you! It’s wonderful to know that there are people out there who are so passionate about preserving the past and also happy to breathe new life into it…. make it up, don’t hide it away… I like that.



4 thoughts on “Interview with Anna from Mrs Depew Vintage

  1. Pingback: Vintage Sewing and Dressmaking Advice | Great Blog Round-Up - Vintage Patterns Dazespast Blog

  2. Pingback: Vintage Sewing and Dressmaking Advice | Great Blog Round-Up « Vintage Patterns Dazespast Blog

  3. Ooooh, your mom had an antique shoppe!! That would definitely put you into the vintage love spirit at an early age. I didn’t start appreciating vintage patterns and clothes until I began sewing last year. However, I did always admire my grandparent’s clothing, that were always very dressy and from their youth, but we did not call it ‘vintage’ back then. p.s., I love your haircut!


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