I really needed to clean my apartment, but I didn’t want to clean my apartment…so I went out vintage browsing instead. I was sort of looking for a nightstand, but was open to finding something else…and did I ever! I came across this box:
It was labeled at $10. I knew they were patterns. Old patterns. The box said 40’s and 50’s and the few I pulled fit that time period. In this condition, I usually expect to spend a couple of bucks per pattern. There were obviously more than ten, so the cost was more than reasonable. Normally, I only collect Vogue patterns (because it would be a never-ending hunt if I didn’t narrow it down and I prefer the Vogue illustrations), and the box didn’t have any that I could quickly see but, still, a whole box…what costumer in her sort-of right mind could pass it up? Not this one!
I got home just a bit ago and started gingerly removing the patterns from the box. The envelopes are delicate and can crumble or rip if handled with anything but the utmost of care. I started laying them out and was awestruck by what I found:
40 Patterns! 40! And they span quite a range. There are ballgowns, everyday dresses, skirts, blouses, nightgowns and nighties, a majorette pattern, even one for slippers made from felt! I’m so thrilled. The patterns are tiny (as is bound to happen with items from before McDonald’s was everywhere), and all but a few have been cut, which makes them less valuable, but, to me, the invaluable part are the illustrations. Unlike fashion illustrations, the illustrations from patterns are a pretty reliable way of gauging what women from this time period would be wearing. Popular colors, patterns, shoes, and so forth are easy to see. Also, and this is vital, hair and sometimes hats are illustrated as well. I like having the patterns because they give me a way of accessing the visuals for a period from a primary source. I’m intrigued by several drop-waist dress patterns from the mid-fifties…I’ve not seen any like it before. And, yes, there are some Vogue patterns after all. One is for a pencil skirt, the other for a sleeveless blouse with a really interesting neckline, both are ©1952.