Finding old patterns, ones that are often decades old that have not been used can be rare. The reason is that in past decades there were fewer patterns produced and when people purchased patterns, they most often used them. A used pattern is still desirable and can still produce wonderful garments and crafts. The vintage pattern envelopes often can show signs of wear and use such as creases, fading, tears, and writing on the envelope but often the instruction sheets and pattern tissue inside can be in excellent condition. Since patterns are made of paper and subject to handling and use, they often show signs of wear which don’t affect the overall use of the pattern.
Generally for the major pattern companies the patterns produced before 1967 had vintage sizing, meaning that the measurements for a size 12 can have smaller measurements if the pattern was produced before 1967.
In 1967 and 1968 all of the major pattern companies went to “new sizing” and the measurements for each size became larger. So keep this in mind as you choose your pattern. I include either the back of the pattern envelope especially from vintage patterns, or put the size chart in my listings, to help you quickly check the information and make you aware that is it vintage sizing or modern day sizing. However some of the boutique and cottage industry pattern makers can have their own size and measurement charts which can vary widely and it is best to be sure that you check to see if that information is listed to ensure that you are getting the pattern that will fit you.
Some of the very old patterns, such as those issued in the early 20th century or during wartime, may not have words or printing on the pattern pieces such as pattern number, size and the cutting lines as the modern ones do. The pattern tissue was often blank and usually had perforated dots punched into the tissue to identify the numbers or names on the pieces. These patterns are just as usable as those that had printing although the tissue and envelopes might be a little more delicate due to its age. It is a good suggestion if you purchase a pattern with blank pieces that have only the piece number or letter punched in that you write the pattern maker, pattern number and other details on the pieces to avoid those pieces becoming lost or misplaced with another similar pattern.
All of the patterns on Sewing Pattern Heaven are original patterns and not photocopies or downloaded to disc. If you buy from other sources and are not sure if the pattern is a photocopy, be sure to ask the buyer because reprinting on a copier can distort the size and pattern pieces causing the pieces to not fit together. Visit http://www.sewingpatternheaven.com to view a great selection of vintage and modern day patterns. Thank you!