Monday, August 20, 2012

What I wish I knew about vintage sewing books and patterns before I bought them!

Like many of us, I buy my books and patterns online. This is great for pattern collectors and those who love to create retro inspired designs. But often I don't know exactly what it is I'm buying. If I could find a review, I couldn’t find a good overview of the content.


Similarly with patterns, often all I can find is the front cover. Kudos, though, to Sheila Savell of Out of the Ashes Collectibles who thoughtfully shows the back of the pattern envelope on her website. That way my online experience is exactly like in a physical shop. There can be no regrets when the unused pattern lies buried in shame under a pile of sewing encyclopaedias. I knew what I was getting into. I had seen the back of the pattern and knew it had  twenty pieces, bias cut with multiple bound pockets, using 50 metres of Dupion silk  (not including nap or one-way designs).

Despite the ever-mounting pile, I kept collecting books and patterns and staring at them wistfully deep into the night. I realised this aimless collecting and dreaming of projects never attempted had to stop. It was time to stop searching for the perfect fail-safe yet wearable project. Time to dust off my intermediate sewing skills and put those books and patterns to use.

All the books vintage sewing books I’ve collected so far include instructions for  block pattern drafting. I’ll post about block patterns tomorrow. 


  1. I agree wholeheartedly about the difficulty in finding comprehensive reviews of vintage sewing books. I have a massive pile of them, all overlapping to a lesser or greater extent and I plan to blog them all with proper reviews as soon as I am able to find the time so hopefully between us we might be able to make a difference! :-) x

  2. Great! Looking forward to reading them. I have just enlarged my "to-do" pile a little. I should ban myself from secondhand bookshops for a while so I can actually review and sew.