Friday, July 17, 2009

Searching for Vintage Patterns: a VoNBBS Update

I have made so much progress locating the patterns from Vogue's New Book for Better Sewing this past week!

I found the full skirt, the bolero, the sheath dress, the raglan sleeve coat, and the evening gown (see the fab illustration above). Can you believe it?! That leaves only five left to find.

The full skirt, bolero, and sheath dress patterns were all from one eBay seller. She also has the portrait neckline blouse and the chemise dress! (Click here and here if you're interested in either of those patterns; they're both a size 36" bust.) Tamara, the seller, said that all the patterns came from one estate sale. I figure the lady of the house must have also owned VoNBBS, right? When I asked Tamara if she could give us any more info, here's what she said:

I bought these a few years ago; they either came from a house in Hinsdale, Illinois, or Brookfield, Illinois. Both houses were big sewing people. I love clothing from this time frame and is why I bought them and also because they were larger sizes. One was a designer and I have some of her art work that she drew of the clothing and sample material. She was a buyer for a store as well.

Interesting look into the life of a VoNBBS devotee, isn't it?

My next project from the book is the chemise dress. I'm a little worried about the shape of it for my figure--it's really just a simple shift meant to be belted at the waist. No darts, nothing. I just hope the gathering doesn't add too much bulk. I figure I can always add dart tucks or elastic shirring at the waist if it's too shapeless, don't you think? I found a beautiful polka dot silk for it, but it was too expensive for a dress I wasn't sure I would like anyway. So I compromised with a fun polka dot cotton.

I'm excited about this one since it's the first project in the book. Back to basics!


  1. That is good detective work!So glad to hear. I have a wishlist of old patterns that I check for once in awhile through google/ebay/etsy. Is there a better way to track down these patterns? It is time consuming!

    Can't wait for you to make the formal!

  2. Cindy, my handy little trick is that I set up google alerts for all the patterns I'm searching for. You get an e-mail anytime a search brings up a new item with that term. It's pretty awesome, though it does bring in a lot of unrelated stuff too. But overall, I've found a bunch of patterns that way.

    The formal is pretty amazing, huh? Do you think I could get away with shortening it to knee length? Or woudl that be straying too far from the original? I just have absolutely no need for a floor length gown in my life!

  3. And her prices are INcrediblly decent! Maybe too much so. She has a (Madame) Gres coat pattern there but she has it listed as Gies. That one would be priced A LOT higher somewhere else but no one's going to find it there.

  4. Wow thanks for the google alert tip! I was wondering how you managed to find all these patterns so quickly.

    Oh and you must check out this post about 'The Best of Everything' movie. Lots of lovely shots of the clothes...mmmm.


  5. Gertie-- thanks for the handy tip! I am a total techno-nerd...would never have figured the google alert!


Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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