Vintage sewing patterns help bring history to life. They allow previous fashions to be worn again, giving the wearer something unique and normally well designed. They’re also popular collector’s items because they represent a piece of history. Vintage sewing patterns can even be used as art - the envelopes look beautiful framed.
Paper patterns came into existence in the 1860s. Patterns were available in fashion magazines and by mail. Butterick also began to make tissue patterns around this time period. These patterns are difficult to find.
Collectors prefer patterns that are in very good condition - unused and with factory folds. Some wear is normal, such as fading or yellowing. A lot of collectors focus on certain pattern categories - such as 40s dresses or accessory patterns.
If you’re purchasing a pattern online, make sure all the pieces are included and find out if the pattern has been cut. Be sure you know exactly what you’re buying.
How rare a pattern is determines most of its selling price, but the popularity of the fashion in today’s styles also plays a role. For example, bias cut evening gown patterns have been popular recently. The majority of them sell for $25-$100, but some can be worth as much as $400.
Thrift stores are one of the best places to find vintage sewing pattern. Prices usually run from .25 to $1. You can also find patterns at estate auctions. Prices will depend on the amount of interest from other buyers.
If you’re looking for a hard to find pattern, online auctions are a great resource. There are also entire online stores dedicated to vintage sewing patterns.