The vintage industrial pattern project
Those of us who’ve been around awhile are a bit nonplussed to see older styles we worked on being sold as “vintage” on eBay or wherever. Still, it’s good for a grin, you send the link to old friends you once worked with, reminiscence and go on with your day. You’ve done that too I’ll bet.
That’s what happened to me this week. I saw a bunch of styles I made the patterns for in the early 90′s -so we’re talking barely 20 years, not vintage in my opinion but whatever- on eBay. Some of them were going for good prices, the bidding was hot for the style you see at right.
And it got me thinking, today we have technologies we never had before. We can archive old industrial sewing patterns in ways we never could before. Previously, those patterns would have been thrown out, no one knowing what they were and later on once appreciation re-emerges, we have no way to recreate them other than by laborious and error prone methods. The East West Musical Company coats come to mind. Those jackets sell for insane amounts of money -such a tragedy those patterns were lost!- but if we had the patterns, we could recreate them more easily. How much better than with the original pattern?
All this is but a roundabout way of realizing I’ve figured out something to do when I retire. Such as, digitize any industrial sewing patterns people care to send and list them in a public database should anyone ever want to use them again.
But back to the style at upper right, that is style number 21245 (larger view) -and I happen to have it hanging on my pattern rack. It’s kind of strange how I ended up with it. This and quite a few other styles were stolen (long story) by this guy I won’t name who made leather coats. Anyway, when he went broke (he didn’t know how to sew these, there’s a trick to many of them ha ha), I went to the auction and bought every pattern in the place for $100. Sweet, no? As an aside, that guy has gone broke a few more times since then. He has a habit of not paying his vendors so every couple of years all his stuff gets auctioned off. But that’s a whole other story. What I meant to say is that I digitized the 21245 today and cleaned it up a little. I only have it in the one size (medium of course) but if I have time, I may sew up a sample and see if anyone is interested in buying a copy of it.
The second style at lower right is another one I saw on eBay. It is currently for sale ($148) if you’re interested. It is shown on a lady (larger view) but this is actually a man’s jacket, style number 11150. I also have this pattern as well as the ladies version which is identical but for sizing. The ladies style is numbered 21118. We sold these every year, year in, year out, maybe only changing the pocket fringe. Some years we had it fringed, other times not. Disney bought tons of these for their theme parks. A note on this jacket, I was never wild on the armholes. I thought they were too low but they wouldn’t let me fix them for a few years and even then, not much. Such is life.
So, hold on to your old patterns. As I said, with today’s technology we can keep the bones of them around for possible future distribution as long as we have electricity and a web.