I have what could be considered a fairly substantial collection of vintage sewing patterns.  I wouldn’t say I had a problem, or that I’m a hoarder by nature (although my yarn collection is fairly colossal) but these beauties are so easy to pick up.

So how do you shop for the perfect vintage pattern?

McCalls & Vogue patterns

Tip #1 – Don’t buy tat
There are a lot of incomplete or ripped patterns out there, especially in charity shops. If you don’t have the time or inclination to get out all the pieces before you buy, then stick to antique centres, vintage shops or ebay as they tend to check the patterns before selling.  Don’t discount a pattern for it’s outward appearance alone though, even the tattiest of envelopes could be concealing a hidden gem.

Here is your dress pattern

 Tip #2 – Check your size
Sizes in old patterns are VERY misleading so don’t get duped by the size 10 or 12 on the front of the pattern, it’s not the modern day 10 or 12 – it’s much MUCH smaller.  Always go on the bust, waist and hip measurements.

Tip #3 – Buy for fun too
Sometimes there is a wonderful pattern but it’s nowhere near your size, or it’s so outrageous that you’d never been caught dead wearing it, but you have to buy it anyway.  Allow yourself to indulge once in a while and buy a pattern or two for fun.


Tip # – Collect future gems
There are so many wonderful patterns now that will become classics in years to come. I’m a huge fan of Colette patterns, these are great modern patterns with a vintage twist, there are also reissued vintage patterns by companies such as Vogue which are worth getting your hands on.  Look after them now though, always copy the pattern (don’t cut it) and don’t pin, trace.  This will make your pattern last and last and you’ll get lots of joy out of it for years to come.

Reissued Vogue patterns

Written by Sarah



Vogue 5558 is amazing! The woman in the orange collared blouse could be Joan Holloway from Mad Men!

I try to restrict my pattern buying to one size either side of my current size as I only buy patterns I might actually use. I like your tip about “dont buy tat”. I have picked up some dirt cheap patterns in the past and found them unusable due to missing pieces. But then recently i bought several cheap patterns where the envelopes were in quite a state, only to find the pieces inside where complete and in good condition. If they are cheap enough, sometimes I’ll take the risk!

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