About Unsung Sewing Patterns

Unsung Sewing Patterns was established to document an ongoing experiment in sewing new clothes from old patterns.  It is hoped that this will add some richness to our understanding of the history of home sewing.

While the pattern companies almost always marketed themselves as representing the most current fashions, the patterns featured here were chosen to represent a side of sewing that wasn't primarily about being fashionable.  Patterns for utilitarian items are featured, as well as costume patterns, and patterns that have popular culture references that may be obscure today.

Sewing patterns are only slightly less ephemeral than fashions themselves, and while pattern tissue is remarkably strong, it can't survive being used as tinder, packing material, or bird cage liner.  It's also subject to damage from dampness and excessive heat.  The patterns that remain to be found in antique shops, garage sales, or on-line auctions represent both intentional and chance preservation.

Most of the patterns featured here were purchased on-line.  While this is convenient "arm chair shopping," scrolling through listings of hundreds of sewing patterns can be terrifically time-consuming, particularly because many sellers don't have any experience with sewing or clothing history and thus don't necessarily describe attributes of the patterns that are of the most interest to the collector.

On average, each post takes a couple of hours to write and lay out.

The links to the left of the posts allow you to filter the posts in a variety of ways, though unfortunately by only one key word at a time.  That is, you can filter to see all apron patterns, or all Butterick patterns, or all patterns from the 1930s, but at this time it's not possible to see just 1930's Butterick apron patterns.

To see the made garments, click the "made garment" tag.

None of the patterns is for sale, and tracings are not available (unless, of course, you're willing to donate a digitizing system, in which case, let's talk!)  However, I'm happy to provide high resolution scans, or more complete scans of images that I've cropped.

I am unable to take orders for custom garments.

If you're a student with a term paper deadline, I would like to remind you of the following:
  1. A lack of planning on your part does not necessarily indicate an emergency on my part.  My ability to answer your email or provide scans is based on my schedule, not yours.
  2. Consider (and cite) the source!  This is a blog, not an academic work.  I would strongly recommend that you consider everything on this site as my opinion.  You are well-advised to validate my opinions with your own primary source research.