Vintage Sewing

It is finished!

January 9, 2011

Not any sewing really, but the catalog of patterns. I was up until the wee hours this morning cataloging into a spreadsheet and fine tuning the tags. OMG. I had no idea I had that many patterns. Maybe I did know and didn’t want to face it.

Anyhow, I’ve got more details at my blog. 288 Unique patterns. I’m still in the process of capturing the images of each pattern envolope. That’s a more tedious job than trying to date a vintage pattern, trust me. And I haven’t EVEN gotten close to archiving all my vintage patterns in acid free sleeves with carboard backing.

My process for that is to use “silver” size bags and cardboard backers for comic books because they are designed for long-term archival. Then I use my labeler to make a sticker for the top of the backer that has the Pattern company name, pattern number and year or at least decade if I can’t get an accurate year.

On my honour, I will try…

  • To not buy more patterns than I can store
  • To catalog the ones I buy as soon as possible
  • To resell the ones I no longer adore and use

Yeah right. ;-D

  1. Hahah, I know how this feels. I had to write my own database eventually because excel gets a little clunky when you've got 6000 patterns. The day that was finally finished was such a relief!

    If you've got any questions over the dates, I'd be happy to try to help.

  2. I went about it slightly differently. I STARTED by making a scan of the front and back of each envelope, then I organized them into a file with sub-folders reflecting, more or less, their categories. The only problem was patterns with separates, so I gave them their own categorie and look in two places for, say, a skirt.

    I find it difficult to comply with the last part of your code. I can't easily part with any pattern… even if I can't imagine ever using it. Experience has taught me that styles change, my taste changes, and my daughter's taste is nothing like mine. I now have a 4-drawer filing cabinet full of patterns. The volume will only expand when I finish putting them into archival plastic bags. I bought 1000 from u-line. I think I'll have enough. I hope.

  3. That's a great achievement, I started doing that a year ago and am still only about 100 patterns through (not helped by the fact the computer it is stored on is not working at present).

    I opted for the database so I can pull up pages for each pattern with its photo on (but you can import a spreadsheet into a db easily).

    I'd be very interested to know how people categorise? At the moment mine goes by decade then by garment type.

    Also, Fairevergreen, do you find the filing cabinet a good storage system? I've been looking at them as a possible storage solution (rodent and fire resistant) but wondered if the drawers might be too deep to enable my much loved past-time of flicking through patterns!

  4. Oh and also agree to changing tastes. I used to have a wealth of 60's and 70's patterns in my teens which my preferred style then although I enjoy all eras before then too, in my 20's it devolved to a love of 50s and full skirts and in the last year I have just fell deeper and deeper in love with everything about the 30's, which just happens to co-incide with me turning 30 appropriately enough!

    But recently I have found myself buying '70s patterns again and selling off almost all of my 60s patterns!

    And I too have patterns I will probably never use but give me great pleasure to own and look at 🙂

  5. While it's currently in Excel, it will be migrating to a Windows 7/Windows Phone app in the near future for greater ease of access. I was going to do a standard database, but he who is my better half is working on something for me.

  6. I'm in the midst of inventorying my patterns (100+), I've got about half done. I've put them in an Access-type database and am scanning front/back for iPhoto/Flickr.

    That's a great code to live by, I'm hoping I'll get there someday! :^)

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