Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Thrift Store Finds: Vintage Sewing Patterns!

While I was in Tucson, I got to do more than just shamble around like a zombie; I also got to visit several large used book stores and a fabric discount store. I know neither of those really fall into the category of thrift stores, but I figure that the books are still used, and the fabric was sent over from some other place... Anyway, I was looking for sewing books, specifically ones on vintage fashion, couture methods, or pattern-making/-drafting. Well, I didn't find any of the above, but I found a great collection of Victorian fashion, a compilation entitled Victorian Fashions and Costumes from Harper's Bazaar: 1867-1898. Also known as, a collection of steampunk fashion without the gears. It's chock full of gorgeous reproductions of actual fashions of the day, all rendered in astonishing detail.
Underthings! Handkerchiefs!

Love the trims and stripes.

Not a huge fan of fans, but those boots are something else.

This book was already pretty exciting...then I found something even better and totally unexpected: four early 1960s patterns! And, get this, THEY'RE IN MY SIZE. More or less. But really, that's super exciting. Especially since these were the only four they had! What are the chances? They're even patterns I would actually sew! Anyway, at a dollar each, they were a nice addition to my vintage pattern collection.

First up, the sole McCall's, 5781, from 1961. It's actually a teen pattern, although I'm not quite sure what makes it teen. Maybe the fluffy overskirt? "Slim dress with three-gore skirt, contrast collar with applied bow at back, tie-on overskirt and open front lined jacket. Dress has bateau front neck, V-neck at back; short unmounted sleeves, back pleat, left side zipper. Waistband of four-piece overskirt ties at front. Jacket has set-in sleeves; collar, fronts, lower edge and sleeves bound with braid." I love love love the V in the back with the contrast collar and bow. I'm curious about the jacket, although I don't know about that whole bound with braid thing. 

Then there were three Buttericks. Gosh, I do love their retro patterns. Butterick 4126, circa 1966: "Semi fitted double breasted pea jacket has epaulets; wide notched collar and wrist length sleeves. Overblouse has bateau neckline; sleeveless or three quarter length sleeves. A line skirt. Bell bottom pants." I don't know if I would ever make the pants, but this does officially mark the only pants pattern I own. The sleeveless top looks intriguing, especially since the Sorbetto blouse doesn't really work for me. I'm most excited about the coat!

And here's Butterick 9569, estimated early 1960s, based on the placement of the word "Butterick" and the price. I am in love with the bateau neckline (although I always thought they were called boat necks), as evidenced by how many of my previous dresses have had them! Good thing two of these patterns have bateau necklines. I also like the "business in front, party in the back" low backline, complete with bow detail. Wow, I think I'm repeating myself. While I'm not generally a fan of sheath dresses, that 3/4 sleeve LBD looks absolutely fetching. Of course, white gloves, perfect hair, and a 16-inch waist wouldn't have anything to do with that.

I also picked up Butterick 8509, from 1960. The pattern describes itself as a "Short-sleeved party-goer with low scooped neckline that plunges to a deep V in back, worn with ribbon belt. View B cap-sleeved version with sissy-front bodice and contrastic crushed cummerbund." Wow. I didn't realize that I could make an entire party-goer from the directions in the envelope! Apparently this amazing dress will go to my husband's business school events for me, leaving me more time to sew at home. Also, what the heck is a sissy front? I mean, based on the envelope it's gathered lace trim in vertical lines, but why call that a sissy front?!

Have you ever run into totally inexplicable terms in vintage pattern descriptions?

1 comment:

  1. A bateau neckline is the same as a boat neck: bateau is French for 'boat'.

    (I've just been rooting around in your archive, hence the lateness of this comment, which is my first here. Nice to meet you on teh interwebs :-))


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