I'm writing about this because I was looking for a pattern recently amongst the piles of patterns in the sewing cave searching high and low in drawers, containers and the plastic file cabinets. I would say that patterns are the second most abundant item in the sewing cave, right after fabric!
Anyway during the search, I found my stash of vintage patterns. They are stored in several out of the way drawers, probably because I rarely think about them now that they've been bought, received and admired. I know that it was mostly the hunt for them that gave me joy because I only sewed a couple of the patterns.
The pattern used the most was this jacket pattern ~ Vogue 2285:
I loved this pattern so much that I made it in 2008 as an Easter Suit and then again in 2013 and would love to figure out a way to add it to my wardrobe now. Can you imagine this in a great denim?
Another pattern that I used and would love to make again is Vogue 5265.
I made this dress in 2008 and wore it quite a few times that year even with the belt! It was an interesting learning experience. The journey is detailed here.
So the trip down memory lane made me realize that there are still an abundance of Vogue Couturier, Vogue Paris Original, Vogue Americana, Simplicity, Butterick, McCall's and by no surprise Donna Karan patterns on eBay. It's the wonders of the Internet's Greatest Garage Sale. This is not meant to omit other older patterns of every era. If you're willing to look, they can be found. I did start a Flickr album of some of the vintage patterns in my possession. You can see them here.
Why am I discussing this? Because patterns have been around for decades! Indie designers are nothing new. I found loads of indie patterns in my collection from the 80s & 90s, Purrfection (now Dana Marie Design Co.), Lois Ericson, LaFred, Loes Hinse Design, L.J. Designs - shown below.
Patterns like fabric, needle & thread, scissors and a sewing machine are all essential to making an item...whether it be a garment, a quilt, a toy or an accessory. Being an active member of the online sewing community, I'm often amazed at how "in the present" we are and how we seldom look back at what came before.
Yes, there is an active vintage sewing community who focus on certain eras that they admire and sew from but that's just a portion of the community. What about the majority of the community? Do we look back and recognize the past? Do we realize that some of those cool boho looks that indie designers are selling now have already been around? And that those patterns can still be found at the great internet garage sale?
Sometimes as someone who's been sewing for over 46 years, its hard to reconcile. It's also hard not to sound like a dinosaur or the old lady under the tree telling history lessons in the middle of the village. Many times I just want to say if we love this artform so much, why don't we take the time to learn the history of it. To appreciate the journey of those who've come before...to recognize the transformation of the pattern companies and how they've made the journey through the eras to still be here today providing inspiration for us?!
This post isn't to bash anyone or to praise the Big 4 pattern companies ~ though I do believe they are doing an admirable job these days reaching out to their customers ~ it's more to say, recognize the past. Honor it and realize that we are standing on the shoulders of the sewists/sewers/seamstresses that have gone before. Don't be so quick to dismiss the past in your enthusiasm and realize that we ARE rooting for you to succeed and to carry our combined love of sewing forward to the next generation!
I would hate for 100 years from now that a sewing machine (in all it's forms) along with patterns and fabric are relics in a museum highlighting a dead artform.
...as always more later!