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Vintage Pattern vs. Modern Pattern Prices

September 27, 2010

Why would somebody choose a vintage sewing pattern when they can drive down the street to their local JoAnn Fabrics? Or, if you are like me, ride on your motor scooter about 15 minutes. After all, you get to sit down, open the Simplicity catalog, pick a pattern you want, and have instant gratification as you walk up to the counter, pay, and go home. But are you really satisfied with your pattern selection? Sure, it seems like you have many patterns to choose from but, in all honesty, you are extremely limited.

For starters, most of what you see will be modern styles for the year 2010. Of course, things are inspired and ripped off from earlier times, as fashion always does, but you really have the trends for the previous few years up to now to choose from. By searching online for vintage and out of print patterns, you instantly open up your world of choices. And, what most people do not realize is that most vintage patterns are affordable! There are patterns that will demand a higher price, but a majority you find will be $10 or less per pattern.

You can save even more money by buying a pattern that is already cut. I will say that you need to make sure the seller checks for completeness on cut patterns. Some people do not check patterns or know a pattern is incomplete and will simply sell it ‘as is’ in order to cover their backs. Never buy a cut pattern ‘as is’ because they seller will be able to point back to that in the listing and you will not get your money back. I even saw once where a seller said they were selling a lot of 5 patterns but they didn’t check them so they listed them ‘as is’ and I saw where the buyer left negative feedback because two of the envelopes were completely empty and the seller would not give a refund.

Anyways, if you buy patterns, there are 4 ‘main player’ companies: Simplicity, McCall’s, Butterick, and Vogue. Of course, the last three companies are actually under McCall. So most people really buy from only two companies. There are other players such as Burda but I won’t really go into that.

Let’s first take a look at ‘Out of Print.’ Almost every single vintage pattern is out of print. There are some patterns that have been re-released in modern times but for the most part, you are getting something you cannot get again when shopping for vintage patterns. If you look here at the Butterick out of print dress patterns you will see some steep prices. It looks like the average price is $16! I would never pay $16 for a modern pattern and would only shell out $16 for a special vintage pattern. For $16 you can get more than one uncut vintage pattern. If you add cut ones into the mix, you can get two, three…or more all depending on condition and completeness.

As for prices of patterns still being made and vintage patterns, you’ll see they line up pretty evenly in some cases or cheaper in others. Take a look around for yourself to see what I mean!

Here are just some examples of great prices on sewing patterns:

OOP Modern

Vogue 8048

Vogue V8469

McCall’s 7079

McCall’s M6133

Simplicity 6730

Simplicity 2586

Butterick 4496


Of course, sometimes modern patterns are on sale (I love when they are 99¢ and stock up) but for the most part, you get a good deal on the vintage/out of print patterns you can buy on various places (like my Etsy store, haha). Add in shipping and you still will be saving money or hitting around even in my provided examples. However, I’d prefer to have something authentic to the era I wish to replicate, especially since I love 70s and 80s day dresses!

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