Not so vintage...

While visiting my mom post-Xmas we traipsed down to the trusty local Mennonite thrift shop. I just happened to be wearing the dress from Simplicity 6023 , made from fabric purchased at this same store during my last visit.

I was good about the fabrics—there was nothing screamingly spectacular. It helped that it was New Year’s Eve and they were closing early so I only had half an hour; just time enough for a good rummage through the chest of patterns.

I was not so good about the patterns.

Moreso vintage

I must now pause at this moment to say a sincere thank you to Darlene Ratzlaff (or her heirs), as nine or so of the sixteen patterns I nabbed bear her name (click through to see the full size). Whether or not she is any relation to my high school drama teacher of the same surname, she had good taste in patterns (and was close to my size). The Ratzlaff Collection all date from the latest 60s to mid 70s. I think my fave is the Style 3060 with the Wednesday Addams look in the middle.

Jalie Potpourri

My mom, (who, as I have mentioned before, is a bit of an enabler) had some other goodies to contribute: she was gracious enough to lend me several Jalie patterns: the famous twist-neck and sweetheart-neckline patterns, a really cute jacket, and the slit-neck sweatery thing. I really like the jacket pattern. Because, y’know, I need another jacket project…

Patternmaking in 1908

She had also acquired several vintage sewing books which I have absconded with, and which we shall have to discuss more as I have the leisure to peruse them adequately (how’s that for some excessive verbiage?). The niftiest, perhaps, is a 1908 book on pattern drafting. Sadly the curves and rulers that originally accompanied it (kit price $5) have long since wandered away. Still, pretty neat. I am really curious to find out how it compares with the “Modern block” method of Harriet Pepin and all the more recent pattern-drafting books I’ve read. Unlike some of the other early 1900s sewing books I’ve found online, this one has illustrations, which means I may actually have some idea what they’re talking about.

Butterick Sewing

There’s also a Butterick sewing book, of 50s vintage, which I shall have to compare and contrast with the 70s Simplicity one I nabbed a while back. /sigh. I’m so behind on my sewing-related reading. Someday, over the thesis…


My favourite, though, is the blue-covered book simply titled “Tailoring”. It claims to want to be “an advanced tailoring text that even a beginner can use”, and from my reading of the first few chapters it’s doing a pretty good job. It’s got a REALLY comprehensive section on pattern measurement and ease calculations, too, including a chart I will have to scan and upload…

Oh, and I suppose I should be doing some kind of New Year wrap up/retrospective, but I don’t really feel like it. Maybe if I’m bored later this week, or sometime in the next month when I have nothing actually sewn. I’d rather spend what precious free time I have actually sewing, though. Speaking of which, coming soon: machine darning! (It may be a sign of sewing withdrawal that this was actually really, really fun.)



Filed under Sewing

24 responses to “Splurge

  1. Oh what a score! I love the vintage patterns and often score those but the more current ones are great too. Aren’t craft enabling Moms great, mine has definitely found some treasures.

  2. Awesome! Can’t wait to see whats in the old sewing books – those look fascinating.

  3. I am really excited to see those sewing books! Please do share what goodies you find inside!

  4. JACKPOT! Don’t you love when the thrifting gamble pays off like that! And what a mom to find those great books. I’m really interested in an ease chart as I am realizing that is my biggest problem in clothes I draft myself.

    • This particular thrift store is pretty reliable in the patterns/fabric department (those Mennonites πŸ˜‰ )… the ease chart is focused on pattern alteration, but I found it really thorough. A lot of emphasis on pattern measuring, too, as you might expect in a book of this age.

  5. Great stuff! I like the look of the vintage patterns, and those books too! I’ve read Bane (1974 orange edition has more content) and I think she’s great.

  6. Wow, quite a haul, I’d so love to live near one of your thrift shops! πŸ™‚ Happy New Year and Happy Stitching in 2012!

    • Hmm, this seems to call for a crack about why the Mennonites left Germany in the first place… but I’m a bit fuzzy on my history so I shan’t attempt it. Except to say that while I was in there several ladies were chatting in (and about) German. My stylish sister-in-law’s husband is Mennonite (by family, anyway) and didn’t speak English until he started school…

  7. Nice score! I’ve wanted that McCall’s peasant dress pattern for a while but haven’t ponied up the cash on Ebay yet — mainly because I’m uncertain if I’m a peasant dress kind of person.

    I love those Jalie tops — I keep cringing away because of the prices, but I just bought some Kwik Sew so…I suspect the slippery slope to fancy patterns has begun.

    • Yea, it’s amazing what kind of iffy patterns become buys when the price is two bits ;).

      The nice thing for me about the Jalie patterns is that they include the full size range, so I can make stuff for my kids and myself. This is great for basics like jeans. Although if you don’t sew for anyone else, it’s less of a draw.

  8. Ali

    Oooh, look at all those 70s patterns and Jalie patterns. Just made my first Jalie pattern and love it love it. Another year of jealousy over your dresses and knit goodness. πŸ™‚ Happy new year!

  9. Oh my goodness! I would love to bury myself in those sewing books for a few weeks!

  10. So if all the vintage 60-70s patterns you just bought suddenly go missing you will know that I drove across the border in the middle of the night to steal them from you, I love ALL of them and wouldn’t have been able to resist either.

  11. I’m jealous of just about everything in this post. You’re lucky those patterns aren’t my size, or I’d come steal them!

    Those books, on the other hand…*looks up bus tickets across the prairies*

  12. Joy

    I love pretty much any old book, but sewing+old book is a sure win. And all the “moreso vintage” patterns are great!

  13. Ooh – hours of fun! Just looking at the pictures is enough!

  14. Darn it – I read about the Tailoring book you got, the next thin I know, my fingers have typed into Amazon and I bought a copy for the cheapo price of Β£4.34. If I make a single New Year’s resolution for 2012, it must be to stop buying every book I read on the blog that catches my fancy! (LOL ;)!)

    P.S. Nice pattern haul!

  15. Now this is what I call an eye candy post for sewing peeps. SO many wonderful patterns!! Abd the vintage books look fascinating.

  16. Pingback: The New Dressmaker | Tanit-Isis Sews

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