Pattern Hoarding….who’s in?


So this was going to be a little rant post about how I suffered thru another bout of sewing for other people….BUT, I have to admit, Gaudy-Scouts honor, I totally enjoyed making Mommy and Me and Bitty Twin outfits for my friends little girl, the adorable Maggie. Here’s a look at my awwwww-someness. DSC08520

First up is actually the bonus outfit. I was supposed to make sleepwear, but I couldn’t resist this- especially with matching-ish doll overalls. DSC08521

I know, I know, I wish they were leopard too, but I had to go with the kids taste….sigh….DSC08523

I am goofily proud of this one- I created the pattern for the dolls top to match the tucks in the ‘Mommy’ top. Skills I have mastered on this scale, but not on me! I skipped the elastic on the dolls sleeves- because I’ve noticed the leading cause of real mom frustration with doll wear is the child not being able to dress dolly herself. Why do they make these doll hands so spraddly??

Ready for the last one, the Buffet homage? Yes, while Mommy and baby girl read Proust and do their taxes, baby boy attends a singles Lualua… you do. Look, you may have played differently than I did as a kid, but hey, we all had fun, right? DSC08525

Now. All fun aside. It’s time for the Public Service Announcement about pattern hoarding. When I was asked to do this, I went digging thru the kid pattern box (yes, I have one just for goats and small children) and was able to pull out 6 girly patterns for 6-8 and 5 doll patterns for this doll. People, I Don’t have any children?!  This isn’t even the size the dogs wear! It is one thing to be buying potential Anniewear patterns until the house goes up like a torch from one spark off my roller skates, but I’ve discovered I’m hoarding patterns I don’t even plan to use!? This is normal right? I’m just like you, right? Lucy-Therapist

Now, while I’m sharing my deep, meaningful thoughts, I’d like to direct you to the lovely Beajay– a lady who is fired up about the crappiness of plus sized Butterick this week and planning to do what they won’t- resize a stylish pattern collection to fit more than a small demographic. Yay Beajay- fight the sizist man!


She’s also been kind enough to throw a Versatile Blogger award to me. I thank thee kindly!typewriter

photo credits: little me, google images- all images remain the property of their original owners

65 thoughts on “Pattern Hoarding….who’s in?

  1. ParisGrrl says:

    This form of pattern hoarding is completely normal, as evidenced from my own weird and wooly stash. And the moment you get rid of one of these where-did-they-come-from wonders, that’s the moment you’ll need it.


  2. Yes, completely normal. I own patterns that are way too big for me that I’ll never grade down, and I have loads of really really bad 80s patterns that I will never sew because they are so ugly, yet I cannot bring myself to bin them!


  3. I too, have patterns for children’s clothes in my stash and I have no idea where they came from. I can only assume that the two or three men’s patterns I possess have been sneaking around the misses patterns having their way with them, and making babies. No other reasonable explanation.

    The matching outfits are totally adorable. So cute.


  4. Marsha says:

    I don’t know about normal, but I’m odd about patterns, too. I’ve been sewing for more than 30 years and have never gotten rid of a pattern. I must have at least 500 of them now. I have ugly 80s patterns that I didn’t sew then, and can’t see myself ever sewing. I have my maternity clothes patterns from the 90s (my sons are 20 and 17), I have little girl patterns from clothes I made my now 31-year-old niece, boy patterns from infants on up, doll patterns in case either of my sons give me a granddaughter one day, vintage patterns I bought at garage sales or thrift stores, costume patterns for any age in history, etc.

    I keep my pattern envelopes in clear sleeves in 3-ring binders, and the patterns are in file folders in three 4-drawer filing cabinets. The rest of the house might be falling down about my ears, but the patterns are always well organized.

    That’s perfectly normal, right?


  5. mrsmole says:

    For years I have bought huge collections of old patterns from Ebay and then put them in the correct boxes I store pattern in by category…being a child of the 50’s and teen of the 60’s I find myself drawn to those memories when I could make a dress right out of the envelope and look good. So my pattern stash reflects things I made back then but will never make again…sad I can be stuck there but I see some gals make an art form out of this and sell vintage patterns on their websites and etsy.
    I troll through those sites and am relieved to see my favorites that remind me of Jacqueline Kennedy and the mod styles of the swinging 60’s and when polyester double knit hit the scene. I also buy old patterns from thrift stores when I escape my sewing studio…wouldn’t it be fun to have a pattern party and browse through everyone else’s stash with some wine and cheese?


    • I love the sewing community for that sense of an international coffee clutch we get- the ‘come over and look at what I made and have some pie feeling. I hope Mothers Day was industrious for you!


  6. Ummm…I will use this as my confessional. I have thousands of patterns. All under the guise of “business expense”. And don’t let me near any pattern older than 1969. I cannot leave it abandoned and unappreciated. I confine my collecting to vintage patterns now. In another 10-15 years all of my used to be modern patterns will be retro/vintage – yay for me!


  7. FabricKate says:

    Basically those children’s and dolls clothes are amazing and beautiful. I wanted the Mummy and Daddy versions too!


  8. Those little outfits are so cute, I love them! I confess, I’m not a pattern hoarder – but only because I forget which patterns I want to make if I have too many (I’ll be announcing a parcel of patterns giveaway at the beginning of next month!).


  9. I have patterns that my grandmother used for my mother when she was a child. Yes, my name is a Rhonda and I hoard patterns!!!! The truth of the matter is that I buy so few patterns these days. I like having the old patterns around as they can offer a great base for what I want to do and I can actually save loads of time not having to completely draft a pattern. I saw, power to the hoarder:-)
    BTW, those little outfits, well, I wish I could squeeze into them!!


    • I’ve been blessed with alot of vintage patterns this year and they are like little art/time capsules- so pretty- I want my more talented friends to sew them up so I can admire them!


  10. Cute little outfits. I hear ya on the sewing for other people dilemma. It’s much more fun to sew for yourself! I’m just starting to get back into using patterns when I sew, so I bet, if other areas of my life are any indication, the hoarding will commence. Where did you find that sexy typewriter picture? Super cool!


  11. Art Attack says:

    Adorable outfits! Kudos to you for sewing unselfishly. I am soooo relieved. Children’s patterns are one of the few categories I don’t buy! I did make Christmas robes for my neice and nephew last year, and a matching one for Olivia’s doll, but I gave the patterns to their mom for her stash. I must say, now I have a reason to be oh, so proud of myself. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  12. Leigh Ann says:

    Those little clothes are very cute! I’m pretty new to this sewing thing, but have noticed a tendency towards buying doll clothes patterns. I love them! I also almost bought a baby pattern one day. I don’t have any children, either.


  13. Awwwwww (long one) those outfits are simply adorable. Love how you matched the little dolly clothes to them. A very lucky girl! I don’t have human children either, so any ‘little people’ patterns I hoard will be for… guessed it….lucky Kitty!! 🙂


  14. I checked – I have a pattern for a sheep, two teddy bears (and clothing), and a donkey in addition to all the menswear (not a chance) and childrens patterns I wont ever use. Me thinks a clear out may be in order.


  15. Anne – those kiddies and doll clothes are sooooo GD gorgeous, one can’t fault you for hoarding these patterns!!!! Beautiful.

    Thanks for the shout out.


  16. Reading all the comments makes me feel better about my pattern stash, it’s not so big after all. The outfits you made are so cute and remind me of my mum making me and my dolls matching dresses when I was little.


  17. You’re not alone – take heart! My pattern stash is growing along with my fabric stash. My husband actually thinks I’m buying these things to (snicker) MAKE STUFF WITH in a timely fashion! LOL…

    LOVE the Bitty Baby clothes, btw…! Super cute! When the girls had their $$$$$ of American Girl dolls, my sewing was limited to costumes 😉


  18. I prefer to refer to it as *collecting*! I’m childless but have a good number of 1920s children’s patterns—for research, of course. And now to sew for our little niece. I’ve noticed people seem to save kids’ patterns especially, maybe since the styles don’t change that much, or maybe because they’re just so cute.


  19. Kathryn Barnhill says:

    Of course its normal and so innocent and inexpensive really compared to say, vintage cars, or my own herd of vintage sewing machines which take up way more room. I’m going to try catch and release with them but the patterns stay. Period


  20. It’s ok, I have a kid pattern or three lurking in my collection, and no children, and those friends of mine who have small human beings, well, they didn’t get busy earlier so my patterns just won’t fit if made up!


  21. Oooo! I love the little sundress and I’m all fired up and tempted to go searching for that fabric to make something for myself in spite of the fact that those are not especially flattering on me.

    Pattern hoarding – guilty. I have a lot of old size 8 and 10 patterns that I keep hanging on to even though I have pretty much given up ever being that size again. More recently I have impulsively purchased a few patterns and then realized that they are not ME at all. I keep thinking about trying to unload them on eBay but somehow I “never get around to it.”


  22. I have kid patterns and no kids, as well. Worse than that, though, I have enough me-sized patterns to sew for years…I’ll never get around to all of them, but I keep seeing new, sparkly patterns that I obviously need to acquire.


  23. Sitting here at work, trying to each lunch and LAUGHING : ) I own thousands of patterns (still) and here’s how I acquired my ‘hoard’. I used to be a costume designer and spent many years at a community college. We did 6 shows a year with a usual build time of 5-6 weeks. Sometimes we’d do easy shows, under a dozen characters with only a few changes each. Sometimes we’d do full on Shakespeare with 40-50 kids and each needing several outfits. I collected both the major pattern companies and the independant patterns so I’d have sufficient stash to do my job. Someone getting rid of mom/grandma’s pattern collection? They’d give them to me : ) When I stopped working there I had a garage full of just patterns, not to mention the notions and my own collection…it was madness. I worked for another theater briefly and then stopped altogether. I’d contemplate my collection and say “I have to do something” but had no time. Then my husband got cancer and the bills piled up, the income disappeared so what to do…ebay. I sold hundreds, if not thousands of patterns and kept us afloat. I STILL have at least 4 dozen boxes of patterns and made sure I saved the really cool vintage ones, the highly unusual, the what-were-we-thinking ones and most of the period patterns. Some I gave to fellow costumers who were still working. Do I regret it? Not really, once in a while I’ll think “did I have something like _______?” but if I REALLY want something I can ebay/etsy or just draft the thing myself. I did join the Pattern Lending Library for some of their 30’s and 40’s stuff which is what I want to focus on for me. I have WAY too many 60’s and 70’s that I’d love to send to a new home so back to ebay I may go. Hoarder? Yes, but I justified it for years as needing them for my job. And there is always that little voice in the back of my brain that says “But what if you need it for….” I try to ignore that voice and like you I love a pattern sale! Now I’m off to read Beejay’s size rant (I have a feeling I’m going to love it).


  24. Approximately 5 years ago I dumped quite a few patterns- and I wish I had NEVER done such a thing! I miss them and I want them back and now feel like I need to buy buy buy and hoard hoard hoard MORE just to make up for it… So, never again will I do such a thing again. If I feel like I need to toss stuff I’ll go through the pots and pans and silverware instead… Super Mommy and Me clothes- I used to make dolly clothes to match my daughters dresses. One year for Christmas I made 6 velvet dresses and white blouses. 3 girls- 3 American girls dolls… I WAS a little overwhelmed in “what the heck am I doing” feelings but now I am rather proud of myself! LOL ~Laurie


  25. Konnie Kapow! says:

    Those are some gorgeous pocket sized polka dots!

    With regard to the hoarding though – Honey I feel you! (through the internet and not in a way you might not have been prepared for). I too have no children and have a full section of my pattern swap devoted to diddy dresses and cute onesies because well, I have no real use for them. That’s kind of acceptable but I also have a WHOLE box of mostly New Look patterns I can’t bring myself to part with! I can’t even list them on the swap incase someone wants them!

    Shameless plug I know but all you pattern hoarders should get involved!


  26. Aw those little and even littler outfits are adorable – such patience, so jealous I didn’t have you for an “aunt”.

    I’m not too bad with patterns as I draft them onto brown paper – I know, a bit of an anorak !- which means I can give them away; except special ones like my wedding dress and daughter’s christening gown.

    You are a sane as any woman I know who makes miniature clothes!


  27. All I can say is that I have thousands of patterns. People mail them to me, bring them to me, throw them at me at yard sales…
    If you count all the lace and crochet and sewing and doll and apron…ooooo my.
    I guess I do have a problem.


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