Unexpected delight

I didn’t think I was one of the people who got excited about vintage patterns. Oh, sure I liked peeking at A Dress A Day, but it wasn’t a passion. Then my Oma gave me two boxes of patterns.

Oma's pattern box

Early 60s to mid 70s is my guess. Clothes made by my Oma for herself and for my mother. I am like a child in a toy shoppe. (See that? I am so delighted it must be ‘shoppe’ and not boring old ‘shop’.)

Oma's pattern box

Size 14 -18, bust 36″. Pants, pantsuits, skirts, dresses, pajamas(!) blouses…oh, the patterns are magnificent. Sure, some veer towards horrid, but even they have their charm. I’ve even worn a few of the dresses – one in burgundy velvet from Mom’s closet featured in a high school date with Rainer.


I love it. I love the connection to two women so important in my life. I love the peek into their past. I love the illustrations (the hair!) on the envelopes. I love reading the shop names stamped onto them. I love looking at them and wondering which will be the pattern I try this winter. After all, I’ve only to leave out a single word in my 101 list and “sew a retro chic dress” becomes “sew a retro dress”. I love wondering what hopsacking is.

I didn’t think I was a vintage pattern person. But then again, I also didn’t think I was a runner…or an artist…or a knitter…or a homeschooler. Sheesh! I’d better stop thinking about labels that don’t apply to me since they almost seem like I’m daring the Fates to show me I’m wrong.


6 thoughts on “Unexpected delight

  1. Nicole says:

    What a wonderful gift! I would be so disheartened – in a way – to receive it, though, because I have no patience for sewing. *sigh* Many a day I have gone into fabric stores and poured over cool pattern after pattern and felt great ENVY of those other women in there who actually knew what they were doing!

    How I would love creating my own wardrobe. When I was in high school my favorite movie was “Pretty in Pink” because of the way the main character, Andi, refashioned anything she wanted into her own funky style. I did the same thing with thrifted clothes, but my alterations were limited to what I could tape or staple (seriously!). My skills have not improved much since, though I have tried.

    It’s okay – I have plenty, plenty, plenty of knitting projects or embroidering embellishing to keep me busy. Still… I look forward to seeing what you’ll do with one of those!

  2. catalinakel says:

    Sarah, I get so nostalgic when I see patterns like this because I learned to sew in 1974 jr. high home ec class and remember some of these patterns myself. That time seems so far away…back when sewing was very economical. I can hardly believe that new patterns now cost upwards to $20.

    When one chooses a pattern from a book of hundreds, then chooses the fabric and cuts and sews it, the pattern and the fabrics become part of one’s memory. I have such good memories surrounding these old patterns and have a hard time not stopping to look when I see such as these at thrift stores. And even though most of the clothing I made for myself never got worn much due to my poor skills and also poor fabric choices, sewing has always been a comforting way for me to be creative and myself. Thanks for sharing. Again.

  3. Amy says:

    Wow – Sarah! I don’t know that i’d be a vintage pattern person either… but I love the way it ties you to the history of the two… that’s a wonderful circle of meaning and symbolism. Love it!

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