1940s | 1950s | Vintage Sewing

When did Vintage Reproduction Patterns Start?

July 18, 2012

Well, there’s a first time for everything, right?  With all the posts I’ve written here I haven’t yet been asking for help, but this is an exception!

You see, after my recent foray into buying vintage patterns for sale on Ebay, I received some purchases in the mail that truly surprised me – there was a Vintage Vogue 1940s dress pattern that was published in 1998!!  I had absolutely no idea that Vintage Vogue designs had been around so long!  I had always assumed they started in my teenage years (within the last decade), but this one I just bought would have come out when I was eight years old!


This pattern, published in 1998, sold for $25 way back then!


I know that all the major pattern companies have sold poodle skirt/semi-1950s patterns in their costume section since I was a little girl, but when did actual vintage reproductions start?  Was there really any interest in it before 2006?  (That seems to be the year when Butterick and Vogue began reproducing them in earnest.)

In addition, RockabillyKitten just wrote a post involving Simplicity 3748, which I had never seen before but promptly purchased on Etsy.  I’ve had all the vintage designs memorized for the last five years or so, but did Simplicity have repro patterns before that?

Too many questions, I know, but I’m so curious to find out!  I’m only in my early twenties, so I would greatly appreciate the knowledge of seamstresses who have been around longer than I have!


Thanks a lot!


Edelweiss Patterns Blog

  1. You know what KILLS me? A lot of the best Vintage Vogue and Retro Buttericks came and went in the years before I learned to sew. 🙁 And buying them now on eBay, well, for those prices you might as well have the real thing.

    …So I am always stocking up when they have 0.99/3.99 sales! (But I didn’t start sewing until 2006 so I can’t really answer your question, sorry)

  2. I don’t know specifically, but I can say with confidence that they existed even in the early 80’s when I worked at a big box fabric store (the precursor to Jo-Anns) Clothworld.

    1. Thank you! This is helpful to know. Do you remember which pattern companies produced them? And did the models on the patterns look really vintage, or was it just a 1980s looking model in a vintage outfit?

      I really appreciate this info!

  3. I can’t remember when exactly the more recent vintage vogue pattern line started but I have quite a few. At the time (late 90s) all the big 4 were reprinting retro patterns. I have a hat pattern from Simplicity and dress from Butterick. Most of the best were reprinted by Vogue. For some reason I bought a bunch (probably in 2003/2004) that are all too big for me! And I’d really like to make up some of them. Maybe I can find someone online to swap with.

    Generally, the Vintage Vogue patterns are faithful reprints. Butterick however definitely added extra wearing ease and tweaked the pattern for a “modern” body – what ever that means.

  4. I’m sure I’m not alone in getting a big kick out of your reference to 1998 as if it were eons ago! 😉 Yes, 14 years seems like a long time when you’re in your early 20’s, but at 45, it just seems like yesterday. 🙂 There was quite an interest in vintage pattern reprints in the 90’s– the whole Rockabilly/retro 40’s/50’s/tattoos & frilly aprons thing that’s going on right now can be traced directly back to the 90’s.

  5. I have hosted a vintage sewing pattern yahoo group. I have a record of us discussing the new Vintage Vogue line of sewing patterns on Oct 26, 1998. I remember when Vogue patterns started to create this line. They where offering a copy of the pattern for a donation of original sewing patterns. I have compared many of the reproduction patterns with the original patterns. The instructions have been altered for the modern sewer and the sewing patterns themselves have been changed to match with the modern body shapes.

  6. As everyone says above some time for sure! And agree with Michelle as I’m 45 too and 1998 seems like yesterday ha ha!

    The thing is that vintage clothes were easier to come by in the 80s & 90s so I didn’t take full advantage of buying up the patterns, now the clothes are harder to find, I want to make more and the patterns are now more expensive! However back then I thought they were expensive as I could pick up vintage patterns for 20p, I know don’t hate me as I got rid of most of them as I was much smaller then!

  7. I’m interested to know too.
    It looks like all the good patterns were re released ages ago. I’m soo annoyed I didn’t take the opportunity when a local sewing shop moved premises and sold off all their stock for a £1 a pattern, to stock up (although I was still at school and my pocket money didn’t stretch further than £2 and I didn’t know I’d be sewing vintage/retro now).

  8. There was a huge swing revival in the late 1990s (when *I* was in high school), which I assume is what influenced the release of a bunch of vintage reprint patterns then. Anything 1940s especially you can assume is linked to that.

    I’ve seen Simplicity 9360 (linked above) that was published for their half centennial and I think maybe one or two other anniversary reprints. There is a Vogue redo of the Christian Dior New Look suit, for example. And I think I’ve seen a Butterick version too. These are not super faithful, generally. The more recent ones are better. I think the real influx and “lines” of vintage reprints started in the 1990s though.

  9. when I got married in ’96, vogue had already been selling the vintage patterns in their evening section, as one of my bridesmaids’ dresses was a vintage vogure pattern that I had seen in print for a few years prior to the wedding.

  10. Wow!!! Thank you for all this fabulous information!! I didn’t have the slightest idea that Vintage Vogue and other repro patterns started that early – so my next question is: Is there an archive online of the vintage sections of 1990s pattern books? I am usually pretty good at being able to find things online, but no such success with this project. I would really like to see a list of all the patterns that have been reproduced in the last 15 years or so.

    Thanks again so much, ladies!


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