Help Me Find This Pattern…
If you know the pattern company and pattern number:
– search the usual suspects (google, etsy, amazon…yes, they totally have vintage patterns…, ebay)
– search the vintage patterns wiki If there is a wiki page for your pattern, you should scroll down to the ‘Sources/Vendors’ section to look for links to where pattern sellers have it for sale. If no-one has it for sale currently, add yourself under the ‘Wishlist’ section so that anyone selling that pattern can find you. The vintage patterns wiki drives quite a lot of traffic for pattern sellers, so keeping an eye on the page for your pattern is a good way to know when that pattern hits the market.
– go to the WeSewRetro Buy/Sell/Trade facebook group and make an ISO (in search of) post so the sellers in there can let you know if they have it. Nobody is more motivated to find a pattern for you than someone who has it for sale, so it makes more sense to ask for pattern suggestions in a sales group than a Sew & Tell group.
If you are working from just a picture of an existing garment:
Figure out which garment feature is the thing that’s appealing to you and search for that. Do you love the neckline, the straps, where the gathers are, what kind of darts it has, how many gores are in the skirt….what’s the dealbreaker item about this garment? This is where knowing the names of garments, silhouettes, necklines etc becomes really useful.
If you don’t know what the feature you’re looking for is called, you can find tons of helpful guides by googling ‘fashion vocabulary’. Look for a pictorial guide that shows you, for example, all the different styles of neckline with their proper names and use those terms in your searching, like these ones from the 1970s edition of the Vogue Sewing Book. This is not anywhere close to an exhaustive list – do a little googling and you’ll find tons of resources to learn garment vocabulary.