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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 hope to have several new finished objects by 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.

These are patterns I will be getting rid of.

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

(Crossposted to my blog!)

About the author: Cartoonist, illustrator and graphic designer with delusions of making as many of my own clothes as possible and an obsession with bright colors, bold prints, retro and vintage styles and sewing projects far out of my skill set. I live in Brooklyn with my cartoonist husband Masheka and our sleep-averse toddler Ms. Z.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Jenna April 24, 2010, 8:36 am

    So pretty – both the "stash" and the "destash" piles! I think I'd love to go through your drawers – is that something you can say to a stranger?

  • slmpetersen April 24, 2010, 9:05 am

    I just popped over and checked out your shop on Etsy! Will be marking and visiting often!

  • Katherine @ ZipZapKap April 24, 2010, 12:57 pm

    "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!"

    Hahah, isn't it though? When I see someone selling vintage patterns for two or three dollars I get a little nervous about how much care they are taking with them.

    Welcome to the etsy vintage pattern fold ; )

  • Anonymous April 24, 2010, 9:19 pm

    I enjoy your posts to this blog so much- lots of thoughts about the women who went before us and the sewing they did for themselves and their families. Susan

  • Miranda @ Howdy Stranger April 24, 2010, 9:19 pm

    Hi there,

    Have just discovered your shop from a link on a friends blog! Wowie! thanks for a great informative blog on vintage… I have a a big vintage fabric stash i'm just starting to archive.. come and have a look if you get some spare time.



    Miranda =)

  • Linda April 25, 2010, 10:01 am

    Oh I am so envious of the Dubarry patterns. Found your shop at Etsy will visit again.

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