Thursday, December 26, 2013


Featured Seller: Fancywork

Hello, I'm Marjie. The snow is fluttering down here in Minnesota.  Last year we still had snow in May!  Living up here is a good excuse to have an extensive collection of vintage winter hats.  Hat patterns are my favorite kind of pattern to collect and sell right now.  They're hard to find and sought out.  I opened my Etsy store, Fancywork, in May of 2009. It’s evolution into a vintage pattern store happened gradually.  I started by selling vintage clothes and a few sewing patterns which sold quickly.  I found more patterns at a garage sale and my store began to take shape. 

I've always been a gleaner and have had hours of fun with friends rummaging through thrift stores. One year we gathered so many vintage 60's evening gowns that on New Year's Eve we had costume changes for each party we attended that night!  We brought suitcases and changed in the bathroom before we left for the next party.  We also had our hair done up circa 1966 by stylists who were old enough to remember how to do it right.  As time goes by it's getting harder and harder to find a fantastic vintage dress at a thrift store.  That's a good reason to learn to sew!
Vogue 5669 1940's

I'm in graduate school now as well as working as an art teacher.  Like most people, my life is much too busy.  Sewing is a way of slowing down and getting centered.  I find it can be meditative like making art.  I'm a    beginner seamstress and am gradually gaining courage to try more challenging sewing projects.  I often think of my sister when I sew.  I remember my older sister Rita sewing constantly when I was a little kid.  She had the foxiest teen wardrobe on the block.  She sewed passionately all of her life, making intricate quilts as well as clothes.  Rita passed away a few years ago.  For me being around sewing patterns is, in a small way, being with my sister.  

My mother showed me an old photo of her and my sister pointing out Rita's toddler bonnet and coat.  My Mom sewed the outfit out of my Dad's old Navy uniform.  That's such a sweet fact.  I'm glad she mentioned it to me.  It's cool to think that because sewing is becoming popular again, people might be sharing sweet sewing memories like this with their kids in the future.

Fancywork patterns are 10 percent off this month with the coupon code: 10Fancywork

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Focus On: Scarves

By Sherri from sewbettyanddot

The snow is snowing, the wind is blowing
But I can weather the storm!
What do I care how much it may storm?
I've got my love to keep me warm.

I can't remember a worse December
Just watch those icicles form!
What do I care if icicles form?
I've got my love to keep me warm.

"I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" (Irving Berlin)

Even if you have love to keep you warm, you still might want to don a scarf. And even if you don't need to be warm, you might want to wear one as a fashion accessory!

As practical garments, scarves have their origin in ancient Rome, where they were often a cloth strip tied around the neck and used to wipe sweat or food from the face (ewww!). Originally worn by men, scarves were soon adopted by women--and they've been in fashion, in one form or another, ever since. Throughout history, scarves have had many purposes--as head coverings (for cleanliness, for instance, in a dusty climate, or for modesty); as indicators of rank (Chinese warriors could be identified by the color and material of their scarves), or, of course, to cover the neck and chest for warmth. In the twentieth century, iconic scarf wearers included Isadora Duncan, Audrey Hepburn [couldn't find a photo that I could use here, but we all know what Audrey looks like!], and Dr. Who.
Left: Isadora  Duncan; Right: Fourth Doctor (Dr. Who). Both images from Wikipedia
Of course, many scarves have very little practical purpose. Printed scarves tied around the neck or fastened with brooches reached their pinnacle as accessories in the 1960s and 1970s (think Vera's lovely prints, or the coveted Hermes scarf, for example).

Let's have a look at some vintage scarf patterns from the Pattern Patter team. In some cases, you could have that scarf built in to the dress chance of losing it! (This post is only looking at scarves worn around the neck, not headscarves.)  As always, please click on the images to enlarge them.

Top row, left to right: Advance 2995: Sandritocat;
Butterick 4680: PrettyPatternShop

Top row, left to right: McCall’s 6681: Denisecraft

Top row, left to right: Simplicity 5184: patternshop

If you were going to tie one on, which of these beauties would YOU choose? Tell us in the comments!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Black Friday Blitz and SALE Alert!!

Hello All My Fellow Pattern Addicts!
  Instead of all the hustle and bustle, cold air and crazy crowds; we, the Pattern Patter Team would like to invite you to a much swankier and cozy event!

We are also getting in on all the sale frenzy, some even offering discounts through Cyber Monday. Check out all the stores participating below. If you just want to see all the amazing patterns as soon as they are listed you should bookmark this thread! If you've been stalking a specific pattern now's the time to see if it's on sale!
  63. ***
  64. BLITZ
  65. SALE
  66.  NEVER

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Focus On: Formal Outerwear

By Sherri of Sew Betty and Dot

In keeping with the Pattern Patter team's festive treasury focus this month--Holiday Cocktail Party-let's take a look at all the ways you can cover up--and MAYBE stay warm--on the way to your party. I say "maybe" stay warm because some of these are really more decorative than practical. Doesn't that define fashion, in a certain sense?

The focus here is on capes, capelets, shawls, stoles, boleros, and long or opera coats. I'll look at more practical outerwear in a future post.

A (very) brief history of capes: everyone, men and women, used to wear cloaks, long (to the feet) and shapeless garments with slits for one's arms--in early days, these cloaks often doubled as people's blankets. Cloaks began to be more structured garments, and they developed collars and a piece that draped over the shoulders: the cape.

As women's fashions became more exuberant--especially the sleeves and the skirt shape--the cloak began to be shorter. Think of the bustle: cloaks would have hidden that feature (and made women look even more odd, with a bustle causing the cloak to protrude in the back).

Left: Man's cloak, French, 1580-1600, V&A Museum, from
Center: Spanish cloaks from 1848 English tailoring guide, from
Right: Woman's cape, English, 1830. Courtesy LACMA, from

What patterns are available for YOU to use to make your own formalwear cover-up? Check it out!

As always, please click on the images to enlarge them to see more detail.

Captivating capes and capelets:

Top row: Simplicity 3986: PinkPolkaDotButton

Stunning stoles and shawls:

Beautiful boleros:

And finally, some fascinating formal coats (and let's not forget the dolls!):

How do YOU stay warm when you're dressed in your party frock? Tell us in the comments! 

I have to admit that I did once go to the L.A. Opera in a Max Studio long dress, Doc Martens, and a black motorcycle jacket. Ahem. It WAS the early 1980s!

Please be sure to shop with the team on Black Friday...lots of shops will be having smokin' sales, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Featured Shop: Vintage Needle Finds

Hello, my name is Debora and my shop is VintageNeedleFinds, which I opened June 6, 2012. I have been married for over 3 decades to a very wonderful soul mate. We have a son and I have three wonderful step children (adults actually) who have given me a growing extended family with 7 grandchildren and two wonderful great grandchildren. We live in North West Georgia at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I started sewing as a child in my grandmother’s interior design business, which helped me to develop the discipline and focus needed to sew. However, I did not share the love of interior design and I eventually moved toward fashion.

The area of Georgia where we live is rich in history and has many local historical events. I started creating costumes about 10 years ago for local clients who attend the many historical events in the area. I am semi-retired but still do work with a few clients throughout the year. My personal focus in sewing is the Art Deco era from around 1920 though the 1940's.
I created my shop to find loving homes for my rather large collection of vintage and
antique patterns.  I love having them but knew that I wouldn't be able to take them with me! I was drawn to Etsy because of the vast amounts of beautiful patterns available from sellers from all over the world and I knew this was where I wanted to be. There are times when I love being the teacher and then there are times I rather be the student.  If I had to offer any advice to someone interested in sewing vintage it would be to try it. You can find reference material at your local library, many vintage sewing blogs on the web and there are many wonderful shops here on Etsy that offer everything you could need from fabrics to buttons and patterns and of course have fun!

Visit my shop through November 30th and use Coupon Code -  VNEEDLENOV for 20% OFF any purchase.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Hi my name is Amy and I am the owner of ViennasGrace. This coming January I will be celebrating 3 years as a vintage pattern seller on Etsy.  I am married, my husband Jim and I share the love of all things vintage. From classic cars to furniture, we love it all! My obsession is, you guessed it, sewing patterns! We have two kids, Tanner our son is 6, and Vienna, my shop’s name sake, is 8. I never planned on naming my shop after my daughter, it just happened and stuck. We live in a very rural mountain area in California very near Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
            I’ve been sewing since the 4th Grade, a country girl and member of 4-H. I continued to sew as a teenager in the 1980’s I found that having the ability to sew could come in handy. I could buy the boring clothes off the rack and alter them to mimic Seventeen Magazine and fashions from MTV. I used every tool available to me to make my clothing unique. I used bleach, fabric dyes, and of course my sewing machine. My mother stood watching shaking her head and dismayed at my choice of alterations. Even today, in my 40’s, I still use my sewing skills and love of vintage to create a mix of vintage and modern fashions for my daily wardrobe.
            When my grandparent’s home was being cleaned out after they had both passed, I found a box of my grandmother’s sewing patterns in the dumpster. They were patterns dating from the 1930’s to the 1950’s. I rescued that box and my collection was started. I saw in vintage patterns so many possibilities of glamour and high fashion. My love affair with vintage fashion had begun. My collection continued to grow as did my desire to share them with others. I wanted to inspire others to create their own personal style.
 McCall's 4414

            When people ask me about my job, I say, “Oh this is never a job, it is something I treasure. I enjoy every minute.” I do truly enjoy and love what I do. The whole process of finding, researching, and even checking to make sure that each pattern has all of its pieces. Every pattern I pick up and hold in my hands has a history. My goal is to make sure it has a future.  I enjoy the patterns so much that that sometimes I forget to take the time to create fashions for myself. I think that every era of fashion has value. I don’t have an era that I focus on. Right now I’m drawn to the 1930’s and the 1960’s. Someone once said that my personal style was an even mix of Jimi Hendrix and Veronica Lake.
            I share my personal style and viewpoint on current fashion trends and mixing vintage and modern, as well as vintage sewing patterns every month on the Pattern Patter Team Blog.  I write about fashion trends and the history of the style. My most recent contribution can be found by clicking HERE .

            Viennas Grace  is offering blog readers a special coupon code for readers! RUFFLES2RUBIES for 20% off exp. 11-15-13

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Focus On: Skirt Styles

By Sherri of Sew Betty and Dot

Skirts, in some version or other, have been a part of the human wardrobe for millennia--prehistoric cave paintings show male and female figures wearing a type of skirt. Roman and Greek men also wore a form of skirt (as well as tunics and togas, more like a draped dress). In Western cultures, men  stopped wearing skirts by about the Middle Ages (14th century)--with the exception of kilts, of course--but in hot climates, they continue to wear skirt-like garments (the Indian dhoti, the sarong).

Women's skirts--and we're talking about the "skirt" part of a dress at the moment, not necessarily a separate garment--quickly evolved into elaborate constructions with elaborate underpinnings--crinolines, petticoats, and hoops, reaching a pinnacle in the 18th century: hoop skirts during the Civil War era were often an astonishing six feet across.

A brief history of the skirt in the twentieth century: French designer Paul Poiret introduced the hobble skirt, which was as it sounds: a skirt that was tight around women's legs, substantially altering her gait.
A hobble skirt: 1911 postcard. Image from Wikipedia
By the 1920s, Coco Chanel and Jean Patou helped raise hemlines to the knee--think Flapper dress--and then in the 1930s Patou reversed course and introduced longer, mid-calf-length skirts. World War II fabric rationing meant that skirts were fairly streamlined and tailored. In 1947, Christian Dior introduced the New Look: yards and yards of fabric to make a very full skirt (with a VERY nipped-in waist). In the 1950s, slim and full skirts were in fashion (and patterns from this era often offer a choice of skirts). Of course, the 1960s saw mini skirts arrive--thank you, Mary Quant and André Courrèges--and in the seventies, women could choose maxi, midi, mini, or micro-mini. In the 1980s, designer Christian Lacroix introduced "Le Pouf," a bubble skirt seen on socialites everywhere. All of these styles have made a comeback over the years, and in the anything-goes twenty-first century, we're free to wear any one of these that strikes our fancy (well, there aren't too many hoop skirts walking down the street!).

Let's go! Skirt styles, some practical, some fantasitc--and again, some are attached to bodices and are thus part of a dress--currently on offer from the Pattern Patter team. 

(As always, please click on the images to make them larger.)

Top row, left to right: 4-gored skirt from 1939: McCall 3188: She’ll Make You Flip
Accordion pleats: Vogue S-4832: RetroMonkeys
Middle row: Knife pleats: Simplicity 1279: JFerrariDesigns
Inverted pleats: Vogue 8668: Redcurlz
Bottom row: Pencil/straight skirt: Butterick 5594: VioletCrownEmporium
Modern hobble (1960): McCall 5320: SoVintageOnEtsy

Top row, left to right: Exaggerated full circle skirt: McCall's 4357: SewBetty and Dot
Two gores, inverted pleat/two gores, underlay, slot seam: McCall's5048: MidvaleCottage
Middle row: Tiered skirt: McCall 7258: PrettyPatternShop
Top row, left to right: 1920s wrap skirt: Butterick 1480: Vintage Needle Finds
Wrapped and buttoned: McCall’s 3887: EmSewCrazy
Middle row: Flounce in back pleat: Style 4859: All the Precious Things
Bottom row: Sarong style: Advance 8634: pinkpolkadotbutton

Left to right: Pouf/bubble/“harem”: McCall’s 4690: Frisky Scissors
High/low hem: Vogue 1686: SelvedgeShop

That wraps up--pun intended--this quick (and gorgeous!) trip through Skirt Land...there are so many variations and combinations of these styles available. Just search "vintage skirt pattern patter" and see what treasures you'll uncover! Tell us in the comments about YOUR  favorite skirt style!