Thursday, June 7, 2012

Please reissue more...

I shouldn't be complaining, really.

Us vintage fans are lucky that the big four pattern companies re-issue patterns at all. But I've noticed a certain... propensity... of said pattern companies to mostly stick to the slight variations of the same full-skirted 50's dress. Even the ones they label circa the forties seem to have the same silhouette.

Don't get me wrong, I love the full-skirted 50s dress as much as the next gal. And clearly, so do most other sewers, as they're pretty much the most popular pattern reissue I see sewn up again and again.

Or is the 50s dress sewn up so much because that's the most easily obtained vintage/retro pattern re-issue? It's like the chicken or the egg question.

So I'm calling on the big four to add more variety to their pattern re-issues. Something besides dresses, jackets, dresses, suits, and oh yeah, dresses. And something more than a bunch of 50s, with a couple of 30s, 40s, and 60s thrown in for good measure.

I suppose you're wondering why I just don't do like everyone else in the online sewing world wander on down to my local thrift shop and pick up a vintage pattern. That's all well and good if I'm looking for a 90s patterns fit for Elaine Benes (I complain a LOT about my local thrift stores, in case you're not a regular reader). Or you may be wondering why I don't buy what I'm looking for on eBay or Etsy. And I tell you because they either don't have my size, or the pattern costs too much, or both. In some cases, the pattern maker didn't even originally make my size. And as for grading-- I don't want to spend 15 bucks on a pattern only to have to adjust it.

And as long as I'm on the subject, why doesn't McCall's have any reissues? Two others under the McCall's umbrella do (Vintage Vogue and Butterick Retro). And while Simplicity is the only one who's at least provided us with some fun pants and tops in it's Simplicity Retro reissues (in fact, they currently only have one 50s pattern and it's not a full-skirted one), it's total number of retro offerings are scarce at best.

Of course, I'm not talking about the indy brands. There are a few indy brands that specialize in new patterns modeled after vintage looks, including Wearing History and Decades of Style. And it's widely accepted that Colette Patterns are contemporary clothes with vintage flair. If you're new to sewing, the "Big Four" I've been referring to are McCall's, Vogue, Butterick, (Kwik Sew is under their umbrella as well), and Simplicity (which includes New Look and Burda). Burda does have a small handful of reissues as well.

So, at the risk of sounding like I'm giving a 4-H presentation... in summary, the major pattern conglomerates should include more variety in their re-issues because of...

  • Cost - Hey, it's no secret that Simplicity, McCall's, and Butterick can be nabbed for $.99 to $1.99 a piece during sales at a certain chain, while sale Vogues can run you $3.99. Real vintage patterns, on the other hand, can sometimes command a hefty price on eBay, Etsy, flea markets, and other outlets.
  • Size availability - Am I the only one who can never find vintage patterns in my size? Seems like they're mostly in the 32-36 bust range. Petite girls and fuller girls alike enjoy vintage styles too. Not to mention, we're larger than we were back then. And I don't mean fatter. Each generation gets taller as well.
  • Availabilty in general - There were only so many patterns made back in the day-- before they became "vintage". There isn't an endless supply of patterns from the 40s, 50s, and 60s, and they're bound to become more and more scarce. Re-issues are like history books come to life, enabling individuals to experience fashion from the past.
So, I had planned on making this a single post with a list of specific patterns and styles I wished the biggies would reissue. But I just kept thinking of more and more patterns, and decided to make this a series on my blog. There's one specific pattern I'll be discussing at length, that when I asked Simplicity's Facebook (that's a hint) to about reissuing it, tons of people chimed in and agreed.

Are there any specific patterns, styles, or eras you'd like to see reissued? Remember, if you go too far back in time, some of those patterns are available in the costume section as opposed to the various "Retro" or Vintage" sections.
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