If there’s one thing Jennfier Knox loves more than wearing vintage it’s making her own clothes using vintage patterns. Here she has a fantastic guide on how to use a pattern sheet to re-create your favourite looks.

It took me a while to discover them, but pattern magazines have become absolutely necessary when I sew.  They give you so many different looks and pieces, in many different styles, and very often even include patterns for accessories too.  What else is great is that, if you have friends who sew vintage too, it’s really easy to trace out and trade patterns for each other as they  aren’t cut up when used.

However, there are two main issues you need to be aware of if you want to dive in and get started. First, neither I nor anyone I’ve talked to has managed to find any in English.  The easiest ones to find are from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and there are many different ones up on eBay ranging from the Twenties to the Seventies.  Some titles you can find are Das Blatt der Hausfrau, Beyers Modenblatt, Bunte Mode, Wiener Mode, and lots more.

A search on German eBay for ‘Schnittmusterbogen’ (pattern sheet) will get you the results you’re looking for. If you’re really lucky, you can find French pattern magazines (like La Petit Echo de la Mode).  Other than one person on eBay selling photocopies of the originals, I haven’t been able to dig up many of the French pattern magazines with the pattern sheet still in them, so you really have to keep your eyes open.

The Swedish Alles Mönster-Tidningis also up from time to time, though I’ve only found them from the Twenties to the Thirties.  Even if you don’t speak German, French or Swedish, anyone with an internet connection and a translation engine should be good to go.  Do keep in mind that the older German script can be near impossible to read, though this is only a problem for the ones before the Fifties.

Also, when you buy a pattern magazine, make absolutely sure that the matching pattern sheet will be included, and that what you are bidding on is the original one!  There are a lot of people selling digitized magazines, which are basically useless.

The second and biggest problem is that once you get your first magazine and are ready to start sewing, you realize that the pattern sheet looks like it was designed by a mechanical engineer after a hard night of absinthe.  But, once you know what you’re doing it not only is really easy, but – if you’re like me – you’ll never go back to single patterns.

Read on!

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