Friday, April 23, 2010

More Vintage Pattern Stashing & Destashing: 1940s edition!

My recently acquired crayon-colored assortment of 40s pattern gorgeousness


OK, I think I have a problem. Perhaps stemming from a frustrating deficit of actual sewing progress lately? (I do have my machine working again, though and promise to have several finished objects for you this weekend!).

But when I spied the above lot of eight early 1940s DuBarry patterns on eBay, I couldn't resist putting in an eensy little bid, even though they will all require grading up a size or two. And to my surprise, I "won." (If you can really call adding to my over-squeezed pattern drawer "winning").

Really, could YOU say no to a princess-seamed button-backed peplum two-piece dress like DuBarry 5505?

Note how the lines of the bodice seams continue in the gored skirt. And I love the gathering coming from the yoked neckline (though I'd probably make it a very narrow band--it's too high for me as is). Yellow isn't my color, but I love the red.

And how about DuBarry 5525? Isn't it wonderful how the sweetheart neckline is mirrored in the hip yoke?

On the more nursing-friendly front, there's DuBarry 5613--it's technically a "beach/brunch coat", but it looks like a wrap dress to me:

And button fronts provide far better access than button backs:

Is it just me, or are these 1940s DuBarry illustrations particularly lovely? I'm just crazy about the style and styling of these envelopes... well, aside from the fact that they exclusively feature tall skinny white ladies--but that's a blog post for another time.

So yes, I am a bad, bad girl.


HOWEVER! As promised in my previous pattern stashing/destashing post, I have made excellent progress towards destashing any and all patterns that I am 75% certain I will never sew, either for style or size reasons. No matter HOW enticing their seductive little illustrations!

The first step was donating a box of 24 patterns to Pattern Rescue (which I discovered via Color Kitten). They were mostly 70s and 80s patterns that while fun, would be too much trouble to sell, but I tried to put in a few nicer ones as well.

The second was setting up a Polka Dot Overload Etsy shop and photographing and inspecting all the more saleable 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s patterns. I'm still working on this--I've only managed to list 7 so far (though I've already sold one! hurrah!). Some of the ones I've managed to get up so far:

Simplicity 2876. It's a glamourous 1949 V-Neck gown... but despite my grading ambitions, there is no way I'm doing the work to get a 30" bust pattern over my 41" bust -- that would involve going up three sizes to my 36" high bust, and THEN doing a major FBA.

Simplicity 2309. Lovely 1948 pleated bias-cut skirt with side pockets. But even before my waist vanished under my uterus, it was nowhere near 26 inches.

Mail Order 1447. This 1960s shirtwaist was featured in my "A Life in (Mail-Order) Patterns" post--the tabs and pockets are SO cute, and it's in a 35-inch bust... but it's a half-size, I have MANY other shirtwaist patterns, and I'm a relatively tall girl.

Style 2876, 1970. This was HARD--it's a 38-inch bust and I LOVE the seaming (and these hairstyles--almost a Princess Leia look, no?)... on someone else. Repeated dressing-room experimentation in vintage stores has proven that these clean-lined high-necked mod dresses just Do Not Work on my curvy figure.

Photographing the envelopes is quick... but assessing the condition, determining whether all pieces are present and cut/uncut, setting a fair price, writing descriptions and adding tags? Not so quick. Now I know why so many vintage patterns seem to be so pricy! That's real work!

But I figure if I can list them all now, it'll be relatively quick to ship them if they sell while I'm on maternity leave. And any extra cash will certainly come in handy for laundry money to wash all those cloth diapers...


  1. Your keepers are great! Love the two-piece dresses and the wrap dress that's supposed to be a coat, I can see why you didn't let go of these :)

  2. oh I wish that 60s pattern you're de-stashing was a couple sizes smaller, I would totally snatch it up!

  3. You don't have to convince me: I love those Du Barry pattern envelopes. All those old drawings are great, SO much more interesting than the photographs of today. Good for you for de-stashing. Yes, it sounds like a lot of work to me, too.

  4. Wow, we're both doing the same thing, if you seen my post about the 155 patterns I just got. Unfortunately, mine are mostly 1980s and 90s, so the daunting task of listing them in my shop may not reap many $ rewards. But a little money would be nice. By the way, I'm scanning in my patterns, front and back. Too much?

  5. That sounds like a lot of work (scanning both sides)--I find taking camera pictures is quicker. I've been trying to calculate if I'm even making a profit by selling them, if I factor in the time it takes to list them...

  6. Wow, those DuBarry's are so pretty - I'd have been tempted too, even though I don't think I'd tackle them either!

    Yeah, listing patterns is more work that you'd think - in retrospect after selling all the ones I did, I don't think it was worth it. If I'd just cherry picked the really nice/old ones and donated the rest maybe it would have been worth my time. Or if I had the space and time to list them on etsy and wait as long as it took to get more for them. But in the future....I may just donate everything, or try to find someone to swap with.

  7. Hiya, I'm afraid I had to edit your post slightly on Sew Retro as we don't allow advertising for businesses by our members.

    If you'd like me to add a link for your shop to the sidebar please let me know at the usual email address.




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