06 September 2017

Sewing Patterns … Not just nostalgia and a way of life for over a century!


Sewing Patterns … Not just nostalgia and a way of life for over a century!

I learned how to sew as a child. I still have some of the items I made decades (though I won't reveal how many!) ago. My mom used to make us matching outfits!  I talk a bit about this and more in a post last year celebrating Happy National Sewing Machine Day! Raise Your Hand if You "Still" Sew ... Now, Raise Your Hand if You "Ever" Sewed ... Now, Raise Your Hand if You "Remember" Your Mom, Aunt, Grandmother, etc., Sewing ... #‎NationalSewingMachineDay.

I was reminded of this when I stumbled across a post titled This collection of vintage bikini patterns will have you wishing for more summer.

Remember, that until sometime in the later 19th century, people sewed their own clothes, household accouterments and more or purchased handmade clothing in stores.  Mass-produced ready-made clothing was not yet a “thing!”
The previously mentioned post on this blog was focused on sewing machines and their advent, now let’s look a bit further at sewing patterns!

Here are a few archives you might want to check out to explore what clothes your ancestors might have been creating using their “new” sewing machine!

·        Commercial Pattern Archive (CoPA) [University of Rhode Island] (not viewable on Google Chrome) “Commercial patterns are full-scale tissue paper clothing patterns used by the home-sewer to create garments and accessories issued in the States as early as 1854. Originally full-scale patterns were included as supplements in fashion periodicals such as Frank Leslie's Illustrated Magazine and sold through by mail order.” Read about the archive via Love of sewing patterns leads to world-class collection.
·        The Archive Collection – McCall’s [not an archive and some older-style patterns getting a reboot]
·        Vintage Pattern Lending Library “your source for reproduction vintage patterns from the 1860s through the 1950s. Since 1998, VPLL has been THE place to go for reenactment and costuming needs.”
·        Vintage Patterns Wikia [you will need to turn your add-blocker off] “We are a collaborative Wikia dedicated to documenting Vintage Sewing Patterns (25 years old or older) that anyone can edit! Browse vintage dress patterns and completed vintage sewing projects, explore amusing illustrations and ogle classic movie stars.”
·        Vintage Sewing Pattern Archive (UK) Facebook Page





Who was the seamstress in your family?

Do you have any heirloom sewing patterns in your personal archive?

What sewing stories have been passed down from your ancestors?

What is your all-time favorite clothing item made by you or a family member?

What source for vintage clothing patterns have we missed?








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