Do you have a pattern from the past that you would love to find? Do you have a favorite pattern that is becoming tattered but you want to keep using it?
I often get “wanting to find this pattern” requests but as you will read, there is more information that I need to find your match. When searching for patterns, remember that the pattern companies all reuse their pattern numbers over and over. And often the number from one year to the next will be for an item totally unrelated to the first issue.
Most of the major pattern companies use four digit numbers and they have used those numbers for decades.
As a pattern seller, it helps me a great deal to help match a person with the pattern they are seeking if they let me know what type of pattern it is, the pattern number, what decade it was issued and the size. For example, Simplicity 2556 when issued in 1969 might have been misses bell bottom pants but when it was issued in 1986, it could be a child’s dress. Being as specific as possible helps you find the exact pattern you need.
Another issue with vintage pattern is condition. Buyers should be aware that most patterns are lightweight paper and can yellow, tear or fade with time, especially those that are 30, 40 or more years old. Patter tissue is very lightweight and can easily sustain damage. Even the pattern envelopes that are a bit heavier weight paper often shows signs of what some sellers call “shelf wear” which can be as minor as crinkles in the paper to tears, rips, yellowing and creasing. It is always beneficial to take a moment and ask the seller more questions about an old pattern before purchasing, if you feel the description or pictures are not clear. Even current patterns can show wear from handling or just storage in tight file drawers, so often finding “mint condition” patterns is not always easy or reasonable. If you want only patterns in excellent condition be sure to get clear pictures and ask for complete descriptions.
Since fewer patterns were issued in past days, more of these patterns were used. The home sewer had to stretch her budget during times like the depression or war time, so they often would buy a pattern and use it over and over. These well loved patterns have a history of their own and a special character.