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Possibly the best gift ever. Ever.

December 30, 2011

On Christmas Day my friend Pip texted me this

u want any 50s dress patterns? Think I may be hitting the mother-load tomorrow morning at my mum’s.

My Reply?

Oh Sweet Jesus, YES!!

Now, when i got this message I was not expecting to return to work on Wednesday morning to this:

Or this:

It was completely filled to the brim with old sewing and embroidery patterns! They range from the 50s to the 70s and most are on unprinted tissue. The even better thing is that all but two are in my size!

The real surprise was that in the whole box there are only two I probably won’t ever make. There are some absolute gems in here and I’m amazed at how well they have survived.

On to the goodies – these are the patterns I could immediately see. Many of the patterns were in envelopes so I couldn’t see them at first. Add to that the fact that I was in work and I couldn’t spend the time opening them all and you have one frustrated person! Here are the patterns I could see immediately.

And then there were the enveloped patterns. Pip’s grandmother must have subscribed to a pattern mailing club and had all these sent to her.

Look at this envelope in design alone. Isn’t it gorgeous? The postmark on this envelope is from 1949. It looks like it’s one of the oldest patterns in here. 

On to the patterns! Here are some of my favourites:

And this is my absolute favourite:

Isn’t it beautiful? There are so many patterns I don’t even know where to start!

In the bottom of the suitcase there were notions and a piece of beautifully drapey cherry red crepe, some buttons and some bias binding.

There is so much in this case I can’t even get it all on here without crashing computers! There are petticoats, coats, dresses, dressing gowns and underwear.  There are embroidery patterns, pins and  instruction books. It’s a little treasure trove!

I don’t even know where to begin with these! I have so much I want to do and so little time I have to make them in. Can someone just give me a few million so I don’t have to work again? That’d be great, thanks.

Finally, as a parting shot, check out the embroidery patterns in the book you can see right on the top of the case:

Ration book embroidery patterns! Check out the little tank trundling through the trees and the warship happily floating along.

Does anyone recognise any of these patterns? Has anyone made any of them?

  1. December 30, 2011 7:44 pm

    oh my! that is the best gift indeed – can’t wait to see what you make 🙂

    • December 30, 2011 10:52 pm

      I don’t know what to make first! I have a gorgeous vintage yellow print that would work really well with one of those full skirted dresses.

  2. December 30, 2011 8:06 pm

    Wow, what an amazing gift!

  3. December 30, 2011 8:38 pm

    Wow, that’s fantastic, you lucky thing!

    • December 30, 2011 10:54 pm

      I don’t think I’ll ever get through them all. I’m a bit scared by the unprinted patterns – I’ve never used one before! I’m sure I can figure it out, right?!

  4. December 30, 2011 8:42 pm

    Lucky lucky you! Those all look precious. The history nerd in me is totally smitten with the ration book patterns!

    • December 30, 2011 10:55 pm

      I really want to date them all but I don’t even know where to start. Any ideas?

  5. December 30, 2011 10:43 pm

    That truly is the motherload!! Exciting!
    I had the same experience with my friend’s mother who was clearing out her mother’s house and I must have been the only person she could think of who actually sewed… I got a massive bag in the mail! Have fun 🙂

    • December 30, 2011 10:56 pm

      I love how people become so generous when they find out you sew. A few people at work have brought me in bits and pieces that belonged to relatives or themselves that they’ve never got around to using.

      What did you get in your bag? Have you got pictures? I’m dying to see!

  6. December 30, 2011 11:10 pm

    Wowza! What an amazing treasure trove! I love all of those patterns but especially the practical pattern and style print patterns!

  7. anne permalink
    December 31, 2011 4:55 am

    Wow best sewing gift ever! I sent all my patterns from the 60s to a charity shop a few years ago but they were size 10- hahaha – I was back in the 60s!! An old style dept. store closed here last year (do you remember McKelly’s on the main street?) and I should have picked up lots of patterns for you then but I don’t think there are enough days/weeks/years in this century for you to make all those let alone have time to go out in them.

  8. Katharina permalink
    December 31, 2011 10:57 am

    Can Pip be my friend, too?

  9. tabathatweedie permalink*
    December 31, 2011 12:06 pm

    Wowee! Amazing!

  10. December 31, 2011 2:17 pm

    I can’t believe it! How many hours have you spent just touching them and turning them over? How I love sewing women, women who keep their patterns in beautiful condition, just waiting for the woman from the next generation to revere them.

  11. December 31, 2011 3:28 pm

    I’ve used Vintage Pattern Wiki to date some of my patterns, and it might help you figure some of yours out too. They’re truly beautiful. I know exactly what you mean about wishing you could just sew every day until you’ve worked your way through all those gorgeous patterns!

  12. December 31, 2011 6:16 pm

    OMG.!!! How amazing. It is like letting a child loose in a sweetshop. Jeez am so envious.

  13. January 1, 2012 11:31 am

    Wow – what an amazing haul! I am jealous but in a nice way. I am lookign forward to seeing what you make.

  14. January 1, 2012 1:08 pm

    I’m speechless!!! LOVE that Dubarry dress pattern and the red fabric, buttons, binding etc. A wonderful, wonderful gift. x

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