Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thoughts on Vintage Pattern Instructions

Hey, everybody! It's BurdaStyle Thursday! That means that my weekly guest post on sewing vintage is up for your reading pleasure. This week I discuss the evolution of sewing pattern instructions - from the 30's until today. I also derive some harebrained theories based upon the lovely "Lady's Overall" pattern shown above.

So please come by and check it out - and present some theories of your own!


  1. Great article. One of the problems now is that even though we have access to wonderful sewing books, often people don't want to take the time to research before they sit down to sew. It's that "instant gratification" need.

  2. Absolutely, Gwen! We live in a fast paced society and expect everything to be quick and easy. I also think that the older patterns contained brief instructions due to rationing in the 40's, and general thriftiness. Besides, for some,a pattern was a jumping-off point, the seamstress may have made several variations of a pattern so that each dress appeared different,which was determined by imagination and sewing knowledge (or access to it) was implied.

  3. My advice for people is usually to throw away the instructions because they rarely help. I tell bare beginners to use Kwik Sew because they have clear instructions, and get books to figure out other brand patterns. For me, following instructions is a rare thing, because they don't work well...

  4. I believe using the instruction is very important, but more importantly is vital to start of collection of really good sewing book resources prior to attempting a vintage pattern. Plus, the books are fun to read and browse. Great article. Thanks!


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

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