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Vintage Sewing Patterns
Vintage Sewing Patterns - How to Find Them and What to do With Them
Sewing patterns are one of those things that tend to accumulate in closets, attics and basements over time. Nobody throws them away. People hang on to them, just in case they want to use them again, but they are inevitably forgotten.
If you have a horde of old sewing patterns, or wish you had one, this article is for you. I'll give you ideas for updating older fashions, finding vintage sewing patterns and tell you how to sell them for a profit.
Where to Find Vintage Sewing Patterns
FREE - Look around your house, or your grandma's house (with permission of course) to see if there are any old patterns tucked away in a closet somewhere. Old family hordes of patterns are the cheapest. You may discover some unpleasant reminders of what your young, svelte figure was like, but don't dwell on it too long. We get better with age, right?
CHEAP - Estate sales are a great place to find cheap vintage sewing patterns. I found the stack I've used in my photos at an estate sale and paid .25 cents each for them. Other good cheap sources are; garage sales, thrift shops, consignment shops, flea markets and auctions.
NOT so cheap - Online auctions offer the best way to find something specific that you want, in the size you want. Places like: eBay, Etsy, Bonanza, etc... You can buy a single pattern or buy a large lot, sometimes at a cheaper price than a single purchase. Desirable designs may cost you as much as $35 or more for one pattern.
OUCH! That Hurts! - Websites that are devoted to selling vintage sewing patterns are all over the web. Great patterns can sell for as much as $50, even higher for designer patterns. Do a search for "vintage sewing patterns" to find websites that sell them.
Vintage Apron Sewing Patterns
Find exactly what you need, in the size you need from eBay's huge selection. Check back often, as new listings are posted every day.
Sewing Used to Be a Manditory Skill for Ladies
In the early 1800's a young woman's skill with a needle and thread was an indicator of whether she was marriage material or not. Any lady who could not sew would not be able to clothe her family. With the invention of sewing machines before the turn of the century, and cheap Chinese labor today, fewer and fewer people sew anymore. I used to sew because it was cheaper to make my own, not to mention that I could make exactly what I wanted. With clothes costing less than the price of fabric these days, I don't sew as often anymore. How about you?
Do You Sew?
What to Do With a Vintage Sewing Pattern
STYLISH FASHIONS TO WEAR - "What's old is new" If you wait long enough, fashions from the past become hot again, well, maybe not the shoulder pad football-player looking dresses of the 80's, but everything else will surely come back into fashion. Wearing a stylish wrap-around dress from the 50's will make you look like you are wearing hot couture from right off the runway.
HALLOWEEN & PARTIES - Vintage patterns can be used to create stunning costumes for holidays and parties. Your costume will be exactly the way you want it, and much better made than the flimsy stuff you get at the costume store.
FASHIONS FOR THEATRICS - Every costume designer for school or community theaters and film production companies needs to have a library of vintage fashion patterns to choose from. These patterns become the research, as well as the method for making sure that the show's fashions are historically accurate.
SELL THEM - As you have already seen, some vintage sewing patterns can sell for pretty big money at places like eBay, Etsy and Bonanza. Even if you only make a few dollars on your sale, if you only paid a quarter for the pattern...like I did...you turn a nice profit. Read more about selling vintage patterns below.
Tips and Tricks for Updating Vintage Fashions
There are simple things you can do to change the look of a vintage fashion. You are only limited by your own imagination.
- Modify the hemline. Shorten or lengthen the hem to bring the outfit up to today's standards.
- Alter the fullness of the skirt. Dresses from the ;50s have very full skits. If you reduce the skirt, by taking the side seems in by a couple of inches, it will give a more streamlined, current look.
- Embellish a neckline. One current fashion trend is to add beads and baubles to a neckline. You can use almost anything: vintage buttons, old pearls from unused costume jewelry, lace, even shells. Use your imagination and make it pretty
How to Sell Vintage Sewing Patterns on eBay
eBay is one of the best places to sell your vintage patterns. You get worldwide exposure and no other site gets the traffic that eBay does. Here are a few tips to help you get the best price for your patterns.
BUY CHEAP - The cheaper you can buy your patterns the greater the potential earnings
ALL THE PIECES - Make sure that ALL of the pieces are present before you list.
CATEGORY - Choose the right category to get your listing seen. For vintage sewing patterns, list them in Crafts/Sewing & Fabrics/Sewing/Sewing Patterns/ and the specific category like: women's clothing, men's clothing, home décor and so on.
TITLE - Use the best words to describe your item, ex... "Vintage 50's Wrap Around Dress Pattern". Don't use superfluous adjectives like "fantastic", "fabulous", or kooky made up words like "L@@K". The title box is prime real estate for search keywords, and you can't afford to fill it up with words that people are not going to use in their search.
START PRICE - Start low. Even if you think you have a valuable pattern, start it low. I start at .99 cents. There is a psychology to bidding. If you start too high, nobody will even look at your listing, let alone bid on it. When you start low, you welcome people to bid. Once you have a few bids, others who see it say "Hey, this item looks hot" and they will jump in on the action.
FREE or LOW SHIPPING - A sewing pattern is very light. It can be mailed USPS First Class for the lowest possible rate. Even better, offer Free Shipping and you will avoid eBay's new charges on the shipping price.
PHOTOS & DESCRIPTION - Provide lots of photos and a complete description of your item.
How old where you when you began sewing? Who taught you? What is your favorite thing to sew?