Wednesday, January 13, 2010

ZipZapKap: Featured Sponsor - and a Giveaway!

Readers, I am so excited to introduce my first sponsor, pattern shop ZipZapKap. A one-woman show who sells on Etsy, Katherine of ZipZapKap is just the type of partner I had in mind for this blog: smart, funny, and a fellow fashion-history geek. Her answers to my interview questions below reveal a kindred spirit, and I'm very proud to have her as a sponsor. Plus, she's generous - read to the bottom of the post for an awesome giveaway from ZipZapKap!

But first, just a little interview to get to know Katherine better.
Gertie: I love your "found objects" section of your website, where you post unexpected souvenirs you find inside pattern envelopes. What's your favorite thing you've ever found in a vintage pattern?

ZipZapKap: I've come across handwritten letters, scraps of fabric, receipts and even the label from a tin of beans with a handwritten note detailing when they were eaten (?!). My absolute favorite has to be an envelope of about 50 negatives. I haven't had a chance to have them developed yet but I scanned one and inverted the colors in Photoshop for a quick and dirty preview. This is the result:

Anyone want to take a stab at dating that car?

G: As a self-proclaimed pattern history nerd, do you have any special research methods? It seems like the information online and in books is fairly limited. Any secrets you can share with us?

ZZK: You’re right, there isn’t much information online and what there is seems to be largely recycled from the same source: Wade Laboissonniere’s Blueprints of Fashion. They are great books - a must-buy for the pattern geek - but there is so much left unsaid. When I’m not riffling through boxes of fashions past, I work at a university and this gives me access to academic databases like ProjectMuse and JSTOR.

But my absolute favorite is the Google patent archive. Reading old patents is such a convenient way to bring yourself up to speed on a subject because by their very nature patents must be concise and carefully worded summaries of both the status quo and a new invention. Everyone assumes previous generations of seamstresses were so much more competent than we are today, but the major sewing pattern patents suggest otherwise. Pattern companies had to set up entire departments to deal with correspondence from confused seamstresses and the push behind every major innovation in pattern design was to disseminate patterns from the professional dressmakers to the average woman. You can find a guide to searching the patent archives and some sewing related patents at ZipZapKap.com.

G: Besides the infamous apron-chaps, are there any other patterns you've come across that are amazingly, awesomely bad?

ZZK: The apron-chaps remain undefeated champion, but I get a kick out of this one. Although the pattern itself is fine here, the horrendously sexist envelope art just cracks me up. Men are clearly only interested in newspapers, smoking and golf in patternland. Why would anyone be brandishing a golf club in pajamas? It just looks like a threat.


Isn't she charming, readers? Now get a load of this: ZipZapKap is also sponsoring a fantastic giveaway right here. A $15 voucher to her fabulous Etsy shop! All you have to do to enter is to leave a comment here by midnight EST this Friday, January 15th. The winner will be announced in a post shortly thereafter, so make sure you check back. (Hey, while you're at it, why not become a follower of this blog? I'm going to be hosting another fantastic giveaway when I reach 500 followers!)

Wondering what you can get for $15 at ZipZapKap? How about these lovelies!

A fabulous cowl-neck wiggle dress:

Or perhaps this amazing weekend wardrobe? (If you don't buy it, I'm going to.)

But I'm sure you want to pick for yourself. So, go! Browse ZipZapKap for some fantastic pattern finds. And be sure to comment here for your chance to win the giveaway.

125 comments:

  1. I think the men's pattern cover art mimics the catalog and advertising art of the period as well. I remember (ahem) Sears and Monkey Wards catalogs during that period and the men's stuff was always advertised that way, even men's underwear - the golf club went everywhere!

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  2. Count me in! I have found some cool things in pattern envelopes as well - it really is like openng a mini time- machine! I blogged about a rather cool pattern envelope find here: Following in another's Footsteps (Or stitches!)

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  3. I'm so glad you found such a fabulous sponsor. And I'm so glad to have found her site through your blog. Mmmm... pattern shopping...

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  4. Fore! Very funny, and I like the negatives as well. As it happens I've already been over to ZZK's shop, and I like the way she does her pattern covers - very nice!

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  5. I have been looking at her web site for a while now. My daughter has her Jr. prom coming up this spring and we are franticly trying to pick a pattern. She is a little quirky, always has been, and today's fashions just don't do it for her. After looking through the 4 major pattern books she was less then impressed. Now we dive into the world of vintage patterns. I am sure her dress will be stunning I just hope she decides on a pattern soon so I can get started on making a muslin etc. I am sure the search for fabric will take just as long.
    Thanks for the great post.

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  6. So glad you have your first sponsor! Very exciting! I am in for the drawing!

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  7. Noticed you had a sponsor yesterday (congratulations!) and immediately clicked onto the link. Haven't bought anything yet, but there are several very lovely patterns and she wasn't a seller I had come across before. Love the dates on the patterns (I wish more sellers would put dates in the headings). I'll certainly be visiting her Etsy store again.

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  8. Count me in! I have yet to find a reliable Swedish source of vintage patterns (It's almost impossible to find here in Sweden, people just don't know there are people interested in bying them so they're still lost in attics and what not) and I am always thrilled to find new sellers I can buy from.

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  9. Congrats on such a great sponsor! I wait with bated breath for every pattern scan she puts up on Flickr. : ) I love them. I am on a pattern buying hiatus right now--with the exception of 25 cent thrifted ones, of course. I could get into a lot of trouble there at Chez ZZK.

    BTW, I would be interested in knowing how she scanned the negatives. I have gobs of old ones that I would love to be able to see. Thx! Chrys in KS

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  10. Oh, I love her patterns. I have a few on my wishlist already.

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  11. Hey! I have that wiggle dress pattern! lol

    I am also a pattern history, and just plain history geek, not to mention a museum geek so I also love finding tidbits in vintage pattern envelopes. Little glimpses into lives past.

    I was very interested by the patent database mention. I've been mulling over the idea of writing an article on the evolution of commercial sewing patterns (inspired by the year or two volunteering in my university's costume collection and working on pattern accessions). The revelation takes a bit of the wind out of my sails regarding the popular theory that dressmakers of the past were more accomplished, but adds a very interesting nuance to the subject. So thanks for that!

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  12. Congrats on your first sponsor, Gertie! I'm just venturing into vintage sewing (although I've been sewing since the '60s, so some of my patterns probably qualify as vintage, lol). Glad to find another place to look for good, old patterns ... seeing the envelope back on ZZK is so helpful!

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  13. What a wonderful first sponsor! I love the way she does her pattern covers as well.

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  14. Amen about the men's pattern envelope world!!

    If I could have another go on earth I would come back as a 1950's husband.

    I could read the paper in my duck-egg blue kitchen every morning over coffee and pancakes. I'd smoke a pipe, and be safe in the knowledge that I was smarter than my pretty little wife while I ran my hand through her pincurled hair, and eyed her pointy bossom.

    Sigh...where are my golf clubs?...

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  15. great sponsor choice! i love zipzap and am glad to see that you are partnering up with such a great business.

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  16. this is a perfect sponsor for you. I already have a list of patterns that I'm intrested in.

    ~Sewjourner

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  17. I just recently found a letter between sisters in an envelope in a pattern.

    I've visited ZZK's shop and drooled at her amazing patterns.

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  18. Thanks so much for the tip about patents. Every time I read a vintage pattern, I bemoan my own sewing heritage. THanks for the chance to win too!

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  19. I'm pretty sure the car is a 37 or so oldsmobile.

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  20. Oh exciting! I just bought my very first vintage pattern ever from ZZK last week.

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  21. Ooh, I'm drooling over the "Found Objects" section -- I love the little pieces that show up in pattern envelopes, too! Notes, bits of fabric, newspaper clippings -- it's all so fascinating!

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  22. Free pattern giveaway: $15.
    Golf-club wielding pyjama man: priceless.

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  23. I love found objects - I frequently discover them in the vintage cookbooks which I collect as well. And it's not just handwritten recipes or snippets from magazines or newspapers - I've found camera booth photos, letters, and other nifty stuff as well. It's a neat connection to the item's past. :)

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  24. Congratulations on the first blog sponsor! I liked learning more in the interview. The Vintage Pattern Wiki http://vintagepatterns.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page has over 700 patterns listed and could be a resource. ZipZapKap could participate by entering patterns, too!

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  25. ooh! so many great new [old] patterns! sponsorships of this sort are wonderful - I'm glad you decided to do it.

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  26. i love the found objects. i inherited all my great grandmothers sewing patterns and books. the notes alone in her handwriting always makes me happy to see. sometimes i find clippings from the newspaper and try to figure why she stuck it in the envelope.

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  27. i've been following your blog for a few weeks now (and loved it enough to read allllll the way back to the beginning!), but this is my first comment :)

    i'm jealous that y'all find neat things in your patterns... i have a smallish collection of vintage patterns (>20) and i've yet to find anything interesting folded in the pieces. oh well, guess that means i should buy more patterns until i find something :P

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  28. I would definitely love $15 to help me purchase a beautiful pattern from ZipZapKap! Your interview with Katherine was great!

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  29. This interview makes me want to collect vintage patterns for the opportunity to find random personal items inside - I know things get shoved into my pattern envelopes when I'm having a frantic tidy up / storage dilemma! Congratulations on your first sponsor, will definitely check this site out.

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  30. Congratulations on getting such a cool sponsor! And please enter me in the giveaway - I've got my eye on that cowl-necked wiggle dress. :)

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  31. Throw my name in that hat! What a great sponsor!! I love that cowl-necked wiggle dress but see some other things on her site that I would love to have.

    Found you just a month or two ago and am now a following loyal fan!

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  32. I love this, I've only just found your blog but you've introduced me to so many great things, now I must go back and drool over lovely wriggle dresses that aren't in my size

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  33. yay! your first sponsor! i have several patterns from zipzapkap favorited on etsy because of your blog! The weekend wardrobes are my farvorite but they get snatched up fast especially the summer ones!

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  34. I love ZipZapKap! I've been browsing through the patterns for a while trying to pick out the perfect dress.

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  35. Yay! I poked around ZipZapKap the other day and drooled over her lovely patterns, then sadly didn't buy any because I already have so many projects in the works. My husband would probably think I lost my mind if I bought another vintage pattern now, but if I won it, what could he say? Then I'd have to buy the appropriate fabric too, right?

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  36. What a great choice in a sponsor! I already have drooled over her patterns in her shop, and worked my way over to her blog.....

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  37. Whoa! Holy expensive patterns, Batman! They are very nice, but I don't "get" some of the pricing. A nice place to have a browse.

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  38. Congrats on your first sponsor! I love your blog and your new coat.

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  39. Great interview! I'll definitely check out her site!

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  40. Gertie, what is the following thing?
    Do you mean RSS or this google thingy on the left?
    The car picture is so cool, I'm quite curious about the other pics!
    I'll go and check out the etsy shop now :)

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  41. I'm looking forward to checking out ZipZapKap!

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  42. What a fun little shop! Count me in...I could always shop for a few more patterns!!! mdeeter@hotmail.com

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  43. What a charming shop! (Or charming ship, as I initially typed.)

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  44. What a great find--I get so overwhelmed on ebay with vintage patterns, this is perfect. More inspiration to improve my sewing skills! (I'm still too chicken to make clothes for myself...)

    Visions of Mad Men...

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  45. Oh man, great sponsor. Count me in for the contest, I'd love to get my greedy paws on some of those patterns...

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  46. Oh awesome! I'm a newbie to vintage patterns and I've been looking for a place buy!

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  47. i love your blog and i love her shop! i hope i win! :)

    (i follow you in google reader!)

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  48. I'd love to add to the handful of vintage patterns that I have. Great interview, thanks!

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  49. What a neat find in a pattern envelope! I've never found anything interesting, but the only vintage patterns I ever seem to find around these parts are from the 80s, and that's so not my era. That being said, i love to buy them online!

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  50. Great Interview, love her patterns

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  51. I'm going to have to check out ZipZapKap's etsy now!

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  52. Just found your blog and its already made my week...month...a great start to a new year!
    Brilliant new sponsor! I adore the beautiful patterns over at ZipZapKap.

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  53. her "finds" remind me of a box i found at the bottom of a box of notions i purchased from an estate sale. there was all sorts of trims and remnants, zippers and lace - but at the bottom of the box with some WWII-era first aid kit army bags, was this box of photos, letters, sympathy cards, graduation announcements and a peculiar plastic bag all wrapped up. i was a bit worried about opening it, as all the notes and photos were dated from the 1960s and it looked like something was flaking off inside. upon further inspection it was a ribbon from a funeral arrangement, pressed flowers from said arrangements and a lock of a dead woman's hair. it was a striking discovery.

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  54. Great giveaway with a great sponsor! Thanks for the opportunity! :D

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  55. What a great vintage pattern shop! I love all the ways provided to search and back of the pattern view. It makes shopping so much more convenient.

    Count me in for the giveaway.
    kyd11kyd(at)yahoo(dot)com

    Thanks and love your blog Gertie!

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  56. I added ZipZapKap to my Etsy favorites as well as my feed reader. This is so exciting!

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  57. Congrats on your first sponsor! And did you know - you will probably reach 1000 google reader subscribers very soon?

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  58. I just added ZipZapKap to my favorites too!! Got my eye on a few things! A great new source, thanks!!

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  59. I'm drooling over that weekend wardrobe

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  60. What a wonderful first sponsor! I'm looking forward to checking out her store. I bought a vintage pattern for a slip with a note on the pattern instructions that said, "I don't know what I'm doing wrong with the bust here...maybe I'm just not that busty!" Too funny!

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  61. Very exciting. Getting sponsors and running a full time blog was what I thought you ought to do. I love reading your blog and miss it when there is anything less than one post a day! I wish you many more cool sponsors just like ZipZapKap.

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  62. I really enjoyed reading the interview! And that's the first look I've had at the apron chaps. Yikes!

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  63. After going through ZipZapKap site yesterday (after seeing the sponsorship but BEFORE your post), I decided that my favorite year for fashion was 1956. This sponsorship is a good match!

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  64. I love that we get to know your sponsors, and that they are not merely nameless, personalityless advertisers! This one is a gem! I need to go check out her shop!

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  65. I loved browsing through ZipZapKap's store today. Brought back so many memories of the things I wore in high-school. I even remembered making a few of the patterns. Now if only I was the same size I was in high-school.....

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  66. I have been reading you for a while now, but am an official "follower" now! I just bought my first vintage pattern from Ebay, but haven't made it yet. Thanks for the great blog. I look forward to it each day.

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  67. ZZK is one of my "hearted" shops! I love it, I've bought patterns from her. That's a perfect sponsor for you, and I hope I win the pattern!

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  68. Very cool. I would love to add to my pattern collection with a couple of vintage patterns.

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  69. wow how great is that news??? well done both of you. sadly i seem to be the only person who has never found anything inside a vintage pattern..........boo hoo! Hold on maybe thats a sign i need to shop more, Happy days x

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  70. Congratulations on your first sponsor!

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  71. congratulations on finding a sponsor. I suspect I'll be looking carefully at her etsy shop!

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  72. Yea! ZipZapKap. A perfect sponsor!

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  73. ZipZapKap is a great name. Yay for sponsors!

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  74. Yay! I'm in. Just bought a vintage pattern from an Etsy shop last month. So glad to find out about this one. Considering that I actually AM vintage, it is fun to recognize patterns I had and loved back in the day. hehehe Fun to buy them back too.

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  75. Gorgeous cowl wiggle dress!

    I found this blog a few weeks ago when I googled "How to fit pencil skirt Joan Madmen." I didn't find the fit advice, but indeed so much more. Thank you, Gertie!

    I never "found" any objects either, and I have a pretty respectable pattern stash. Or rather, plenty of them go through my hands. Oh well.

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  76. What really concerns me about that golf-club weilding fiend is that he already has his shoes on...ready to run down his prey perhaps?

    Congrats on your very first sponsor Gertie! She sounds like the perfect fit. Please be sure to include me in the drawing~

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  77. number 489! And commenter number a gazillion! Though I've been reading your blog through Google Reader for some time and regularly recommend it to other friends and enthusiasts, this is my very first comment. But I hope to add more in the future, I am building plans for dresses to make and patterns to follow all thanks to you! Kepp up the fabulous work, and ZipZapKap sounds fantastic, i shall be visiting her Etsty soon (oh i'm going to lose so much money to Etsy once I let myself loose there, I've been resisting all this time).

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  78. That guy with the golf club looks like he is getting out of bed at 3 a.m. to investigate a suspicious noise in the kitchen.

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  79. Congrats on your first sponsers gertie!

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  80. Hey Gertie,

    I have been reading your blog regularly now and this is my first comment and all i can say is Wow your sponsor is interesting. Im not a pattern history person but this interview with Katherine has stirred my interest! Even though i dont know how to sew (as yet) im lusting over many of the patterns she have. You have a really awesome sponsor congrats! :)

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  81. I do read your blog every day, so I became a follower!

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  82. So cute the way she organizes her shop!

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  83. Poor guys - they never do seems to get nice patterns.

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  84. Count me in as well! You sound very well suited. Congrats!

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  85. Please count me in, too! Thank you.

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  86. Count me in! Glad you got your first sponsor! I love your blog:)

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  87. Love your blog and so great you got your first sponsor! The cowl neck green dress is fantastic!!

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  88. Oh goodness. Love the post and giveaway! I am going to blog about this right now!

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  89. I have over 100 vintage patterns and I love when I find things inside the envelopes. Sometimes I find the cool Vogue Couturier labels that used to come with Vogue patterns, but usually I only find someone's measurements along with a swatch of fabric.

    I'll have to check out your sponsor's shop...I'm always on the prowl for new patterns!

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  90. I am going to have to go through my vintage patterns to see if I find anything. What an awesome site she has. Thanks for sharing!

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  91. The golf club is part of the "uniform". ;) He couldn't find his baseball bat, and his wife heard a funny noise...

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  92. congrats gertie! love your blog and love zzk. i've already found some treasures there. i'll link you to my blog!...as soon as i start one...

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  93. Nice choice of sponsor Gertie! I recently came across your blog, and i can't help but check it everyday. Every topic is so interesting, and i must say zipzapkap's patterns are GORGEOUS

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  94. Congratulations on the new sponsor! I'd love to get one of these patterns!

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  95. I love that cowl neck wiggle dress too! The pattern envelopes on ZZK are wonderful - I love how they become little posters for the year the pattern is from. I knew this sponsorship thing would turn out well. Congratulations on finishing the coat, too.

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  96. Please count me in too! I love both those patterns and many more in her lovely shop. I've found so many fun things too -- drafted pattern pieces (e.g., a facing) from a newspaper sheet -- complete with date, and part of an article on rowing.

    I also found two buttons in a blouse pattern once - but the blouse need four buttons!! I still have them in my stash though. They'll definitely be used one day.

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  97. Wow the found things section is amazingly interesting. I desperately want to get some vintage patterns from her store but I just can't choose.

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  98. I'm really pleased ZZK is your sponsor - it looks like a great shop with a huge range of patterns.

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  99. Great new sponsor! & great give-away!

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  100. I love your work gertie. I love to sew a little retro. Irritating sometimes but rewarding in the end!

    And that's a great etsy shop.

    I'd pick up this one

    Simplicity 1631 from 1956:

    Lore

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  101. Oooh, she does have a lot of pretty patterns! I've never found a pattern with things inside it yet, though I'm still hoping!

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  102. That pattern art sure is hilarious! I know I always get a good laugh out of the ones I run across, or those posted on sites like A Dress a Day! lol.

    Please enter me in the giveaway! :D

    ♥ Casey
    blog | elegantmusings.com

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  103. I've read through many blog giveaway posts and this one would have to be my favorite. What an interesting interview and Gertie, you ask the PERFECT questions!

    Thanks!
    Rebekah

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  104. what a treasure of pattern! cant keep my eyes of them ...
    Its a great sponsor for your blog!

    Zuzsa

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  105. I would love to be entered in the giveaway, Gretchen. Thanks so much.

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  106. I've purchased from her site before and it was an easy, hassle-free experience. The patterns came in a timely manner.

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  107. Oh! Awesome! It's always good to have good sources to find vintage patterns!

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  108. Another history geek here, this just speaks to my heart. And I already know which pattern I'd choose! :)

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  109. Congrats on finding such s great sponsor. Sadly the most interesting found object I have come across is traced pattern pieces, and an old, faded receipt. On the up side, I was going though my pattern stash this morning and discovered I have one of the much coveted Hollywood patterns. I thought I did, now I just need to find time to sew it!

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  110. Wow, I wasn't thinking I would enter but I love that wiggle dress!

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  111. I've mostly made dresses from the major pattern company's reprints of vintage dresses, but after reading some discussions of the differences in fit, etc., I've been really interested to try out a real vintage pattern. Thanks so much for hosting this giveaway!

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  112. Each time I look at the old vintage patterns of any era, I'm always saddened when I look at modern ones. There was so much attention to detail back then and no thing was too little to add. Nowadays we're so used to having everything NOW NOW NOW, that we forget the small details and things just don't seem as special.

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  113. You have found a wonderful first sponsor! This should show those who were sceptical about the sponsorship that you were right: It does indeed enhance your blogg. (If that's even possible...)

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  114. Super pattern lust ACTIVATED!

    I think this sponsor is a great fit for your blog!

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  115. ooh ooh! I'm in! I've been following your blog for many months now and adoring it- and you- and telling my friends irl about your courage and humor and smarts and elegance. Congratulations and thank you for everything.
    Love it!

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  116. The vintage patterns are wonderful reminders of our forward moving fashions. So far I've not found any bits of the past inside any of the vintage patterns that I've collected. More often I've discovered missing pattern pieces and wondered where they might have drifted off to.

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  117. Maybe he's going to use that golf club to get a cat that's due to be thrown outdoors for night from under his bed...
    Speaking from experience here. Except that I had to use my own hand to grab aforementioned cat and pull her out.

    I love unexpected finds. Anywhere. A lot of negatives waiting to be developped - that must be an awesome find.

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  118. Vintage pattern art is always fun!

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  119. I just discovered your blog and it's exactly what I've been searching for! I recently became interested in vintage clothing and have a strong desire to learn how to sew. I can tell this blog is going to be great inspiration and those patterns at ZipZapKap are AMAZING. I need to save my pennies.

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  120. Lovely sponsor! I could spend hours looking at vintage patters--thinking of what they have turned out and what they will make in the future!

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

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