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Topic: 1940s/50s Patterns?  (Read 1851 times)
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« on: July 03, 2008 10:12:57 PM »

Heyo, I'm trying to figure out where to find vintage patterns from the 40s and 50s that would fit me. Seems like all the actual vintage patterns I've come across (or actual dresses in thrift stores) were made for size 2 5foot girls. I'm 5'10" with 38" 30" 42" measurements, a long torso, and on average a size 12 - 14 in most stores (to fit my big booteh~lol). (Do I need to move this over to the plus size discussion?)

I don't have a good enough eye to look at a modern pattern and see how I could change it into a more vintage look, and I'm definitely not skilled enough to start de/reconstructing dresses I find that do fit. hahaha

Anyways, any help and suggestions would be awesome!


I tried doing a search, but after the 1st page the search function was disabled due to high traffic time! oh my! Shocked
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2008 09:22:05 PM »

People are bigger now than they used to be. Ever been in a museum looking at a real uniform from the Civil War that looked like a childs uniform? that was for a grown man! In 1900 the average height of an American woman was 5'0", in 1970 it had gone up to 5'3", I believe the agerage for 1990 was 5'5".

So, to answer, you will have to search really long & hard to find your size in vintage patterns. They do exist, but are far more rare than those tiny 32" bust ones you see frequently. Patterns of that era are harder to follow as well because they assumed you knew a lot more about sewing than patterns today. Some aren't even printed, they had a hole punch system, you had to know which holes marked darts, seam points, etc. I got really lucky a while back and have about 4 dozen patterns from the 40's & 50's, they are all fairly small (all from the same person) and fragiloe to boot.

That said, there are some specialty companies that make reproduction patterns & you can order any size you need. They are not cheap, usually in the $25- $35 range.
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2008 02:15:44 PM »

I know exactly what you mean! I can easily spend hours wistfully searching out patterns from the 30s and 40s but they're all so tiny - it really makes you realise how different things are today. I haven't been bold enough to buy any patterns yet because I'm still so new to this whole sewing lark (Smiley) but one day I will. I've seen bigger, more "modern" sizes on ebay so that may be worth a try?
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2008 06:02:25 PM »

I see patterns that size on eBay all the time! Of course there are more teeny patterns, but larger patterns certainly exist. I own several! I actually really like sewing with vintage patterns, they are mostly pre-cut, which I appreciate (being particularly lazy). They major pattern makers have also re-released a number of vintage patterns, which you can buy in more sizes. Check their websites or ebay for these as well.
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« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2008 12:47:28 PM »

There are several pattern companies that do reproduction vintage patterns, sized to fit modern bodies. This is a great resource:


There are quite a few more, check out this link for a complete listing of other links:


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« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2008 10:23:38 PM »

I'm a fan of the Lutterloh system.  So far I've only made 2 shirts but I'm pleased overall.  Granted it's a little more work as you have to draft your own pattern.  But drafting with this system is pretty much connect the dots.  I've found a bunch of the books on Ebay which are not cheap but now I have a whole collection of patterns from the 40s and 50s that I can make for any size.
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