I sometimes am asked the question, “is it Ok to buy a pattern where the pieces are already cut out or should I only buy uncut patterns?” The answer is that it is entirely up the you – some people will not buy a pattern unless it is uncut and factory folded. But others are very comfortable buying a precut pattern and the big advantage here is that if the pieces are neatly cut out, that it can save you lots of valuable sewing time if the pieces are cut and ready to go. So I do encourage people to consider buying patterns with precut pieces just for the time saving value.
With that said, it is always important to know the seller and to be sure that they have taken the time to check the pattern and ensure that all pieces are present and in good condition. Some sellers will actually state that the pattern is unchecked and sold as is, and if that is the case then you might run into the problem of buying the pattern and then finding essential pieces missing. I can assure you that any pattern I sell that is marked as being pre-cut has been checked for completeness by me.
If it is says that the pattern is cut out, but the buyer does not directly state that it has been checked and is complete, I would encourage you to ask before purchasing.
Even with uncut patterns, I have even found that somewhere along the way, someone has switched out a pattern and instructions from another pattern and put it in another envelope. This could possibly happen at the factory or it could also happen with the last person who owned the pattern. So even with uncut patterns, I do carefully check to make sure that the pattern number agrees with what is shown on the envelope.
Often vintage pattern pieces will come with the pieces cut out and for a while, some of the pattern manufacturers actually cut out each piece before inserting into the envelope. And back in previous decades, there were fewer patterns offered so those that were purchased were most often cut out and used. This means that it is often hard to find a vintage pattern with a pristine envelope and pieces that are uncut.
Another issue with vintage pattern is condition. Buyers should be aware that most patterns are lightweight paper and can yellow, tear or fade with time, especially those that are 30, 40 or more years old. Pattern tissue is very lightweight and can easily sustain damage. Even the pattern envelopes that are a bit heavier weight paper often shows signs of what some sellers call “shelf wear” which can be as minor as crinkles in the paper to tears, rips, yellowing and creasing. It is always beneficial to take a moment and ask the seller more questions about an old pattern before purchasing, if you feel the description or pictures are not clear. Even current patterns can show wear from handling or just storage in tight file drawers, so often finding “mint condition” patterns is not always easy or reasonable. If you want only patterns in excellent condition be sure to get clear pictures and ask for complete descriptions.
Since fewer patterns were issued in past days, more of these patterns were used. The home sewer had to stretch her budget during times like the depression or war time, so they often would buy a pattern and use it over and over. These well loved patterns have a history of their own and a special character. Visit my website at http:www.sewingpatternheaven.com for vintage and modern pattern selections.
Thanks for your comments. It is fun to remember what we have sewn. I made my wedding gown on my Mom's old White Domestic straight stich machine. It is a great machine and I even found an identical one in the thrift store, in the wooden cabinet, for only $20! I need to get it tuned up and look forward to sewing on it. I have a Pfaff electronic machine and a Pfaff serger but those old machines are such fun to sew on. This one also has the knee control on it.
We do tend to put off sewing, but I think all you have to do is to make some time to do it and you will be off and sewing again. Nancy Zieman wrote a great book called 5-10-20 minutes to sew and it has great tips for how to sew even just a little each day and you will be surprised how much you can get done.
I have my first grandchild coming in December and right now have to make a few maternity things for my daughter and then some baby sewing going. I am really looking forward to it. My daughter asked if I could sew a few things. She said even the better priced maternity clothes are often not made very well or made from cheaper fabrics. So I will be busy doing some sewing!
Thanks for the compliments and letting me know, I'll check my blog settings ;) I got the shoes in Toronto...aside from lace, I have a bit of shoe fetish LOL ;)
I sew used vintage patterns all the time, as long as all the pieces are there it's really not a problem ;) I have been sewing since I'm 7, and learned from my Mom & Grandma on a Singer with a treadle...miss those times!