Giveaway | Vintage Sewing

GIVEAWAY: $35 to Spend at Bessie Miller Vintage

February 22, 2013

I’ve come to realize that it is no longer appropriate for me to visit ebay without adult supervision.

It was bad enough when I had to call into service overflow boxes for the patterns that wouldn’t fit in my enormous pattern cabinet, but now even my overflow boxes have their own overflow boxes. I am on a complete, utter and total pattern buying hiatus until I a) have a clear-out or b) find a second pattern cabinet (know of one for sale within a four hour drive of Southwestern Indiana? Get in touch!)

I’ll be taking some time this weekend to sort out my own personal pattern chaos, so while I’m trying to impose order onto the madness, here’s a treat for you: $35 to spend at Bessie Miller Vintage.

Bessie has all manner of vintage in her etsy shop, but I think you’ll be particularly interested in her super affordable patterns.

When I say they’re affordable, I mean 1947-pattern-in-factory-folds-for-$7.99 affordable, like this:

Bessie is also a long-time contributor to WeSewRetro. You might remember seeing her fab forties swimsuit

To Enter:

To enter the giveaway, leave me a comment below: you can tell me your favorite item from Bessie’s store or leave me some pattern storage/organization advice. The winner will be chosen on Friday, February 28th to receive $35 to spend on whatsoever their heart chooseth from Bessie Miller Vintage. This giveaway is open worldwide 🙂

Over on our facebook page, we’re discussing where these pattern ladies store their kidneys:


  1. I store my patterns is plastic envelopes in a chest of drawers that have deep drawers. it is the same one my mum used so has sentimental value

  2. I cast my bid for Vintage Simplicity 3397! Love the raglan sleeves, they’re great for broad shoulders!
    I store my patterns in plastic bins, each one holding skirts, blouses, dresses etc… I can stack them on top of each other and bring out only the bin needed for a project. I keep my super vintage 1900-1930’s separate so they don’t get smushed! I probably have 500+ stored this way.

    1. I wish I had an amazing tip to share, I just keep my patterns in a ‘to be used soon’ and ‘patterns I love and can’t give up’ stash.

      I have tried various systems, like dress, skirt, suits etc. but I like to get to them easy and try ideas..

  3. A storage tip. I have found it near impossible to fit patterns back into their envelopes once I cutthem so I usually put the pieces back in ziploc bags with the envelope on top. This preserves the envelope and is much neater.

  4. I’m loving the Vintage McCall’s 3183 Knit Dress Sewing Pattern. Hw cute is that. And, I’m almost positive I sewed that same pattern when I was young!

  5. I love the Simplicity 2085, but there are so many great (and affordable) patterns. I’m starting to think I need adult supervision anytime I’m on the computer – from all the wonderful patterns available on Etsy and eBay, and all the inspiration from WeSewRetro, it’s getting to be dangerous to my wallet! 🙂

  6. I have, at last count, 4 underbed storage boxes stuffed with patterns but they still seem to be everywhere (my husband is always asking if I am actually going to make up the ones sat on the living room table to which I reply “eventually but are they not beautiful just to look at as is” – I am always sewing by the way I do not just buy patterns to look at (honestly)). So, Ive popped over to have a look at Bessies and my where to begin. Vogue 4121 is the epitome of style, Simplicity 1322 quirky and fun, Butterick 5294 needs no explanation, Simplicity 4253 I just want, Butterick 6891 to die for. Do I sound fanatical! Have fun all.

  7. Her patterns are great and affordable! I suspect they will all be snapped up before the giveaway! But just in case they are not: for all but the vintage oversized patterns, the perfect solution is comic book long boxes. (The oversized ones — think 50s Vogue Couturier — all go in a magazine box, which you can get from the same place the comic boxes came from). I personally like the new plastic ones, they’re much more durable. But the cardboard ones work perfectly, and you can even get boxes that function as drawers if you have so many you want to avoid stacking and unstacking them. Any comic shop should carry them, and they’re easy to find online as well.

  8. I use half-size copy boxes from Office Max. They come in a six pack for around $12, so they’re easily affordable, and they’re the perfect size for patterns!

  9. I’m job hunting right now and will be needing new “work” clothes, so I’m loving Simplicity 4550! And I’ll give a pattern storage tip too: I totally use comic book storage supplies for my rarest patterns. Some of my 1910s-1920s patterns are quite fragile, so having that acid-free backing helps preserve and protect them!

  10. Butterick 9752. I love the neck line and the back.

    I keep meaning to get some nice boxes from Ikea for my patterns. Right now they’re in cardboard bankers boxes. It’s not very fancy, but honestly, it does the trick as much as anything else.

  11. I should be put on a pattern buying hiatus too (my boyfriend keeps saying this) but since it’s a giveaway I can’t see the harm =] I think the Pouch Pocket Belt should be great for dresses that don’t have pockets but my favorite is Hollywood 1428 because I lack a good 1940’s slacks pattern in my collection.

  12. I love this one:

    I have a couple of patterns with attached “suspenders” and this one is really adorable.

    As far as storage/organization–I use those photo boxes you find in craft stores and I just don’t use the lid so I can stand my patterns up in each box. I organize them by dresses, tops, bottoms, etc. I also try to use a “new” pattern every time I make something. I only have a few that I have used more than once.

  13. First off, it’s so cool to hear of another sewing/vintage enthusiasts from South Western Indiana. {Terre Hautian, here!} Second, what about a small filing cabinet?? Maybe one with two drawers or something, depending how many you want to put in there. :::shrugs:::

    The Fictionista

  14. Oh gosh, look at all the pretties! I’ll take every thing in a B36-38. I just don’t have it in me to try and do any more resizing after the alterations I have to do as it is.

  15. I like McCall’s 4119 very much. The collar is nice and the matching sweater is such a nice touch. But Butterick 8662 is my close second favorite. It has an unusual design for a sheath dress.

  16. Mccalls 2702 Wedding bridesmaid evening dress – trying to just pick one but the prize would mean more than one favourite phew! I have a summer wedding next year to sew dresses for and can envision View B on my eldest daughter.

  17. Wow! That was 19 pages of heaven… The hats, purses, shoes… and lovely patterns on top of that!!… I wanted no less than 5 or 6 items per page… Clearly I need adult supervision on the internet!..

    As for storage… I am about where you are…Way too many and no place to put them… At the moment I am using pretty photo boxes with no lids, like Christina, and keeping them in a bookcase.

  18. OOOOH! I’m pretty sure I need adult supervision when shopping for retro patterns too (although I’m fairly new to the genre, having been primarily a quilter for the last decade or so). Favorites? It’s hard to decide but definitely, Butterick 3519, Vogue 6400, Simplicity 1818, 3591, 2085 and 7953.

    My patterns primarily live in pattern boxes but I’ve reached the overflow stage too. Looking forward to hearing about your reorganization.

  19. I am in process of organizing my sewing patterns. How I’m doing it is this:
    Patterns and instructions go in archival zipper bags. Those filled bags are put in hanging files labeled with the manufacturer name, and they are ordered by pattern number. The envelopes are placed in page protectors in binders so they are like catalogs. That way I can browse to find inspiration of things I want to make. I’m very visually oriented and this is working really well for me so far.

  20. I look forward each week to receiving the email of all the lovely outfits that people have sewn. Life is a little busy now but hopefully soon will be picking up the needle and thread.

  21. After Christmas and Halloween Joann Fabrics had plastic totes that were PERFECT for storing patterns. They are clear, rectangular, about 10 inches high and wide enough for two rows of patterns. Also, much easier to move around than a pattern filing cabinet and good for the various stages of checking, scanning, listing, etc. I don’t know if they carry them year round though.

  22. I love the Vintage Butterick 6038 Swing Coat, but gosh, so many tiny sizes in old patterns…guess I’d better learn to draft larger sizes from smaller originals!

    Thanks for the giveaway op, and good luck with your organizing!!

  23. I have my patterns in a vintage Samsonite suitcase. Probably not the best storage method, but I’ve only very recently started using patterns again (I drafted everything myself for several years), so I haven’t really needed a god way to store them. My mom used to store her patterns in a wood box with a sliding lid that a carpenter friend built just for her.

  24. What a great store! So many wonderful things! I added the Advance 4724 to my cart and may go back to add a few more that grabbed me. Sigh. I really need to learn how to resize patterns!

  25. omg how cute would this be? Vintage Advance 4258 Sundress and Bolero Jacket Sewing Pattern Bust 34
    As for organization, my stuff is all over the place so I can’t help haha

  26. I’m afraid I don’t have any ‘good’ storage solutions as I keep my patterns in cardboard boxes lined with thick plastic. I really like several of the patterns listed in the shop, especially Mail Order 9027 Sun Dress. Thanks for offering the giveaway!

  27. I completely understand the pain of self imposed pattern probation! I’ve been there. I keep mine in vintage metal file cabinets. The drawers a very deep, perfectly fit two rows of standard sized patterns, and it so easy to keep everybody organized with labeled tabs (jumpsuits, dresses by era etc.). Bessie has a lovely swing coat pattern I might have to swoop up giveaway or no!

  28. I love the Simplicity 7288 embroidery transfers. I think that really adds a retro touch to outfits. Also, I am glad to hear that I am not the only with with pattern overflow problems. I hope you will post your storage solution when you find one!

  29. I just love finding new pattern shops! Vogue 4118 is lovely, along with all of the others!

    And I wish I had a solution for pattern storage, because not only are they taking over my sewing room, but they are starting to move into the living room. And yet I keep finding more that I cannot do without, go figure . . .

  30. There are just so many cool things in this shop, it’s so hard to choose which is my favorite! I really like the neck details on Vintage Simplicity 6459 Dress Sewing Pattern and the crisp,clean lines of the dress

  31. I just happened to be birthday shopping for fabric and found a wonderful one over at Ditto Fabrics that would just be divine for this dress pattern:

    As for storage, I have all my unopened patterns stored in a plastic 3 drawer chest. I have little dividers for day planners (I use the Martha Stewart ones because they match my sewing room colors) and section out by style of pattern, IE Skirts, Blouses, etc. For opened patterns I fold them up and store them in the acid free comic book bags, and section out the same way. It’s made life so much easier!

  32. McCall’s 7993 Coat is so classy! I know spring is almost here but there is always another winter coming and wools will be on sale soon. Here’s hoping…

    As for pattern organizing, I have separated my pattern envelopes (front and back) then taped the front of the pattern envelope to the front of a large yellow envelope with clasps. Then taped the back of the pattern envelope to the back of the yellow envelope. This way I don’t have to fold my pattern pieces so many times to get them to fit in there. I then write in the upper corner of the yellow envelope what size the pattern was cut so that I can see my sizes right away. I stand these envelopes upright in a two-drawer file cabinet. A plastic file bin with a lid also works well if you have a large collection and want to stack them.

  33. Simplicity 5239, that’s for me! As for organization. I have always kept my patterns upright in shoe boxes, by size, family member or type.

  34. My advice isn’t so much a storage suggestion, but a bit more on the organizational side. I use a note app on my phone (I prefer to use Catch, but there are others out there) to keep track of patterns that I own. With the app, I’m able to take a picture, organize patterns by catagories ( dress, skirts, shirts, patterns owned, vintage, etc…) Between patterns that I’ve bought and inherited, there are too many for me to remember whether or not I already have a pattern that may fit a need that I have (I keep buying shirtdress patterns, I have a ton, how many could I possibly need). So before I buy a pattern, I’ll scroll through patterns that I already own to see if I really need it, if not, I try to excercise some will power. This might help you from having to add a 3rd overflow box.

    Other than that, I also love using Catch, because I can note on each pattern how much yardage I need for a pattern, along with pictures for inspriation. I also use it to track what fabric, and how much, I have in my fabric stash. And patterns I want to buy in the future (prevents me from having to look through the pattern books at the store when they have a sale).

    It took a while to organize it all, but it’s so convienent to have.

  35. Honestly, I headed right for the 50s patterns…but then I was lured away by the gorgeous felt cloche with the nose-tickling feather! I have sorely missed out on my dose of nose-tickling this winter. Must have it.

  36. I can’t really help with the pattern organization, I don’t have that many so they’re just on the corner of a shelf, piled on top of each other… ^^;
    I think my favourite pattern would be one of the little girls ones, they’re just adorable! For the ladies, I quite like this one (Simplicity 3397) :
    I like the raglan sleeve and square neckline, I think it’s really cute and spring-like (plus, dotted fabric!). They also have some nice dresses from the 70s.

  37. With the spring coming in a few months I’m dreaming about making one of the 5410 Advance pattern.
    Smart pattern designed with three different cute collars. So simple, and so effective!
    I found a floral fabric in a little shop in my town that would match perfectly!
    It would definitely be the perfect dress for the rockabilly spring festival I’m goin’ to in april, and a marvelous first post on the website 🙂 !
    Arf so many other beautiful patterns…

  38. I love the Advance 7992. It’s a little girl’s jumper that could become an adorable sundress with a scalloped neckline. Adorable!!!

  39. Vintage Simplicity 4705 Dress Sewing Pattern Bust 32

    I love this one! And the bias gusset it super cute! I would love to see what you do with the storage too, I’m facing the same dilemma. My overflow boxes are overflowing. I have almost everything sorted by bust size though, so it’s not a total wash.

  40. Affordable and adorable for sure! I love the Bill Blass jacket and dress, so mod! And the little white flats would go perfectly with it.

  41. IT’s hard to choose a favorite, but i think I like the Butterick 4612 Shirt Dress the best. I’m kind of a sucker for shirt dresses. I store my fabric in dresser drawers. It keeps them fairly neat and tidy, and even if it’s not, you only have to close the drawer and pretend that it is. If I keep the fabric neatly folded, I keep it stacked like library filing cards so that I can see everything at once.
    My favorite thing that I’ve done is create a Google docs spreadsheet of fabric type and general description, yardage and width, and maybe a note for what I plan to use it for. Lastly, I use a post-it note, or card or something like that to stick to the fabric so that I don’t have to measure it every time I look at it.

  42. I love the Vintage Butterick 4612 Shirt Dress, I keep my patterns in comic book bags, in cardboard boxes from ikea.

  43. I don’t have too many patterns, but I keep mine in plastic wallets in folders? My mum did that with the patterns she had from magazines from the 70’s-90’s, and it’s a system that works quite nicely for me. Even if I do have 20 lever arch files on a bookshelf!

    Also, I love the McCall’s 9163 Shirt Waist and I really can’t ignore their hats! Gorgeous!

  44. What a great etsy site. I’ve added it to my favorites. I like the Vintage Mail Order Dress Pattern 1968. Simple and flattering.

  45. I’ve fallen in love with Simplicity 3929. Bit obsessed with the 60’s. I’m afraid I’m new to sewing so for what little patterns I do have I keep them in a zip lock bag in a paper folder. I store them along with my fabric stash in old vintage suitcase’s which are stacked so its kind of a feature/decoration, and my darling children can’t figure out how to open them so it’s safe…for now!

  46. Love the Vintage Butterick 6038 Swing Coat pattern; it is cool outside today so looking at the pattern makes me think “warm”.

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