Vintage Patterns

As a sewer, I’ve always been a big fan of vintage patterns. I like to play a little game with them…first I examine the fashions, accessories, hair and make up and secondly judge from the style of illustration. Then I try to guess the date. Lastly, I turn the package over and look for the date of printing on the reverse – and see how accurate I was.

Vintage clothing never comes with a date, so paper patterns are a great way to test your skill. I’m going to make it easy for you though as I’ve already read the dates on these and can confirm that they’re all from the 1950s. They’re from the selection we have in the shop, dating from the ’40s to the ’80s. Prices vary from $8 to $25. Brands include Simplicity, Vogue, McCalls, Butterick, Pauline (based locally in Smith St Collingwood), Style and Weigels.

We also have some vintage haberdashery: trims, braids, ribbons and sequins from the ’20s to the ’70s. Might have to take some photos sometime so you can see how pretty they are.

UPDATE: Vintage patterns are now available in Circa’s Online Emporium.


  1. I’ve still got a couple in a box somewhere, and it amuses me that the waist size on patterns from the 1950s are 1 inch less than the waist size for today. Oh boy those girdles!

  2. Gods, I wish I could sew! I know I’ve seen the pattern for the black dress with the white satin bow before somewhere…

  3. Yes, it’s beautiful isn’t it? The black one reminds me of Dovima and her elephants (you can see that one here). The sash treatment is similar although the shape of the dress differs.

  4. Ladies – a gentle reminder that you don’t need to sew to benefit from vintage patterns. Just a good dressmaker!

  5. I have been collecting vintage patterns for about 20 years and have two big boxes of them in my water and weather proof garage. My earliest are a ton of 1940’s patterns that my Mum bought me. My most recent find was a Vogue Couturier Pucci pantsuit pattern. The image photographed in Rome is not dated and looks like early 70’s.

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