Readers, I have a confession to make: I haven't been very good about caring for my vintage patterns. I pin them to my fabric, Scotch-tape any holes or tears, and make alterations directly on the tissue. (I can just see all you preservationists cringing as I write this!) According to many enthusiasts, the correct way to care for vintage patterns is to trace them off immediately and then neatly store them in a dry environment.
I'm coming around to seeing their point. I do want these patterns to be around for others to appreciate in the decades to come. I used to cavalierly proclaim that vintage patterns should be used and enjoyed, not stuffed away in a drawer. But the truth is that even if you're tracing them off, you're still using them and enjoying them. It's just an extra step that lazy seamstresses like myself would rather avoid.
I do still have one concern about simply storing patterns away for future generations. I think we need to be working towards having a digital archive of vintage patterns that would include pdfs of each of the pattern pieces. Because sooner or later, the tissue paper is going to disintegrate and no one will be able to use the patterns, even just to trace off of them. I've decided on my personal contribution to this digital archive, which is very exciting but in a secretive stage so I can't tell you anything about it. (Sorry! But trust me . . . it's going to be good.)
Anyway, what are your thoughts on the matter? How do you care for your vintage patterns? Are you an avid preservationist or a devil-may-care type?