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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #1 
As if VSM collectors don't have enough to keep in mind when we're out on the chase... I've been informed that the single most difficult sewing pattern to find is a mail order pattern.

A what?

Sewing patterns are often found in close proximity to vintage sewing machines. Many patterns may have a collectors value. From what I've been told, the older the pattern - the higher the desirability. Patterns made by such companies as McCalls, Butterick, Simplicity & Vogue (listed in order of difficulty, lol) are the usual when flipping through a box of patterns at a sale. Although most of what is readily available today is from the 50s through the 80s... most of those pattern companies had their beginnings in the late 1800s! Finding patterns that old is crazy difficult. The 1940s is the beginning of the slow climbing curve of collector's value.

All that being said, there's another rarity; mail order patterns. These are the sewing patterns that were available from a company that advertised in magazines and newspapers. You mailed your order to them and they mailed the pattern to you. Companies that sold patterns that way were often much smaller companies, and scattered across the country. 

This weekend, knowing full well that my Mom and Sis have quite nearly filled the two Butterick cabinets, I hesitated to buy another box stuffed with really cool 1960s patterns, but I did have to leaf through the offerings. Among the normal fare, I found these:

IMG_4595.jpg  IMG_4596.jpg 

Four mail-in patterns in envelopes form "Patterns by Millie" 407 South Wacker Drive, Chicago, Ill.
These are really young, post marked 1968, and oddly I can't find a single reference for them online.
There-in lies the rarity. No matter how old, finding a mail-in pattern is really unusual. Taking a few minutes to flip through that box at the yard sale might pay off. I can't find a value on these yet because no one else has apparently found one! I like those odds. These might have an interesting value. =)

If anyone else has even seen one, do let me know.


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It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
There is grace within forgiveness, but it's so hard for me to find - Ben Gibbard
My adventures with VSM's: http://steelsewing.blogspot.com
*QuiltnNan and asshat may be synonymous...
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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #2 
Yepper.  We found this Domestic catalog of mail order patterns and even found this one pattern folder, but no pattern in it... Still looking for one...

Domestic Catalog - 01 Cover.jpg 
Domestic Catalog - 03 Page 1.jpg


Domestic Pattern #873.jpg 


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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #3 
From what I have seen in vintage pattern collections, many of the "generic" mail order patterns were from newspaper ads where one sent in 50 cents (or there around) for a pattern - these had many different names but were common styles sent in the envelop types you pictured.  I don't find them so rare as I have several that were in other vintage pattern lots that I've picked up over time.  It's like different newspapers distributed the same pattern under different names.

What I think is rare and with value is the Spadea and Modes Royale patterns.  These were both mail order but high end using distinguished designers.  I believe Spadea used several different designers and Modes Royale used one French designer.  The catalogs from these brands are also quite valuable and very interesting from a design and fashion view point.
If you run across one of these - grab it up!


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Phyllis1115

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Reply with quote  #4 
My mother taught me to sew on her Free Westinghouse electric when I was 9 or 10 which is a loooong time ago. I have her first elelctric sewing machine and cabinet, but have not used it in many years.

I remember the Spadea patterns, but not the Modes Royale patterns. Perhaps tomorrow. [smile]  Unfortunately, my father destroyed/burned my mother's old sewing patterns after she died in 1972. I collected a few interesting patterns when they were inexpensive.

Chaly is correct that most of the mail order pattern advertizements appeared in newspapers. My family and neighbors read Capper's Weekly and other farm related magazines which contained sewing patterns and needlecraft advertizements. The ads also appeared in old needlecraft magazines. The weekly small town newpapers in north central Iowa during the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s did not include pattern advertizements. The Waterloo (Iowa) Courier, a daily newspaper, contained a garment sewing weekly column and perhaps garment pattern advertizements.

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WI Lori

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Reply with quote  #5 
Phyllis, very interesting. I wonder if Farm Journal was one of those magazines that included pattern ads. They published cookbooks.
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Phyllis1115

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Reply with quote  #6 
Farm Journal arrived at our farm each month. I don't remember whether sewing patterns were included. These advertizements may have been in the back classified ad pages which I did not read. 

Incidentally, my mother and her mother crocheted doilies without a pattern. They "read" the engravings in the advertizements used to sell patterns. I have not picked up a crochet hook in years, but could probably do the same. Doing so would require a lot of time and energy and I don't use doilies. I do display a few complex and interesting ones.

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"Is this Heaven?"  "No, it's Iowa."   (Field of Dreams)
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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #7 
I dug into the ones I found a little further and indeed, they were sold by different places all over the country. The patterns I have were made by Patt-O-Rama. Not exactly rare and copies can still be purchased online. What makes these special (to me anyways) are the hand written addressed envelopes and the postal dates. Rare or not-so-rare, they're really super cool. I'm still annoyed at myself for not picking up that entire box because of the era it covered.

IMG_4601.jpg 

Besides the 1920s.. those over-elongated, pill-box-hat wearing, Jackie-O type late 50s early 60s pattern cover drawings are a hoot.
Might have to find a way to mat & frame them and put 'em on the wall of the sewing room. Perfect complement to the era of sewing machines
that I seem to gravitate toward.


__________________
It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
There is grace within forgiveness, but it's so hard for me to find - Ben Gibbard
My adventures with VSM's: http://steelsewing.blogspot.com
*QuiltnNan and asshat may be synonymous...
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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #8 
Been doing some research. I think I might just decoupage one wall of the sewing room, or at least a part of the wall. Will let you know. =)
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It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
There is grace within forgiveness, but it's so hard for me to find - Ben Gibbard
My adventures with VSM's: http://steelsewing.blogspot.com
*QuiltnNan and asshat may be synonymous...
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Phyllis1115

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Reply with quote  #9 
Jim-  I pinned a few vintage pattern envelopes to my studio walls. Unlike decoupage, nothing is harmed, except for a couple pin holes.
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-Phyllis in Iowa
"Is this Heaven?"  "No, it's Iowa."   (Field of Dreams)
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pocoellie

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Reply with quote  #10 
I have several of the mail order patterns that I've picked up here and there.
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