Vintage Sewing

Need Help Finding an OLD Pattern from Ladies’ Home Journal

August 6, 2010

Hi Everyone –
I work at a library, and while I don’t work in reference, a little bird told the head of reference that I “know a little” about vintage patterns, so this reference question has been referred to me. The reference folks have a patron who is looking for a very old pattern, from 1910. It was published in the Ladies’ Home Journal, and the pattern number is #4542.

I don’t know a lot about patterns from this period, but I get the sense that often during this time period the pattern was part of the magazine, and you had to remove pages and cut things out to use the pattern. This person is looking to find a copy of this pattern that they can actually use.

Can anyone suggest places to look? It would be so much easier if they just wanted an illustration (although I don’t have that yet either; we do have all of 1910 in the Rare Archives, so I’ll be able to look at it, but I won’t be able to scan the pattern.).

Thanks for your help!

  1. Hi Nancy – I don't know that era well, but I'm fairly certain that the LHJ patterns were mail-ordered from the magazine, not actually printed in it (although I suppose an apron could have been!) I looked at the CoPA archives and they do not have a copy of 4542, but they do place that pattern number in 1909, not in 1910, so you may want to expand your search. Good luck!

  2. Tall order, but try ebay and, etsy. Best of luck. I know how it is to have an elusive pattern you can't live without!

  3. The Monterey County Library has every issue of Ladies Home Journal back to the turn of the century. I believe the first commenter is correct that sewing patterns were mail order rather than printed in the magazine.

    I've been successful finding vintage patterns on e-bay and suggest that the person looking for this pattern do a search there and also enter the identifying information in the "looking for" section of e-bay.

  4. Try calling the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, they have a huge collection of vintage patterns, many of which were the mail-order kind. Ask for the library's special collections department, they're the people who work with the collection.

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