I’ve got a couple of vintage patterns in my stash. I’ve picked a few up on my travels around craft fairs and charity shops, been given some by friends or family members and most recently sought some out on Ebay. The above two, for example, were Ebay finds.
The great thing about using vintage patterns is how cheap they are – usually around £2/3 plus postage on top. But it’s important to know what you’re looking for and check the measurements. The pattern may say a certain size but with vintage it’s best to size up at least one size as vintage sizes are significantly smaller than our modern counterparts.
The first one I picked up was a suggested buy I think (Ebay knew I was on the lookout for vintage patterns) and it was soon in my shopping basket. I have all the heart eyes for the back of the dress too. It has no zips or buttons! I’ve actually made this one up in a Liberty fabric but it needs a few adjustments before I show it off.
After missing out on another vintage pinafore pattern, the second one – this sweet 70s number – came up on my feed and I couldn’t stop thinking about its pinafore style. This one was uncut, slightly too small and a bit pricier than the first one, but I eventually caved in and bought it and I’m glad I did. I made sure to adjust the skirt slightly on this one (it’s a 70s size 12 but the measurements were more like a modern 8) and it’s one I again have yet to show off, but will soon be on the blog.
And vintage need not mean an old pattern either. Some of the big four companies have reproduced some of their vintage patterns, like the below dress which was originally a 90s pattern I think. I’ve gone on about my love for the New Look 6866 many times before and now I have four different versions including this purple beauty and one I made in fabric that looks like it belongs in the 90s.
Have you worked with any vintage patterns lately? Which are your favourites?
Recently, I’ve been madly searching Ebay for new fabric. I do this quite often, I’ll admit, but there are times when finding the perfect vintage fabric is all I can think about.
A couple of days ago, I found this lovely fabric, which was originally a sheet from Liberty.
Though this fabric was ideal, I wasn’t prepared to pay this price for it
I literally dreamt up an outfit I could make with this (a 50s style short-sleeved summer dress) and the amount of fabric was perfect for what I needed. However, being on a budget, I knew I had to let this one go, as I simply couldn’t afford to pay the £62 it ended up going for. Sometimes, auctions go your way and sometimes you end up losing out. But that’s life and, conveniently, it made me think of a new blog feature, where I’ll share my tips on vintage hunting. This time, I’m focusing on searching Ebay for fabric and what you should look out for.
1. Make sure the fabric is exactly what you want
Check the measurements of the fabric carefully, as you don’t want to buy two metres when you really need three. Believe me, there’s nothing worse than running out of fabric when you’re making a garment and, with vintage, you might not be able to buy more of the same. So, it’s always better to buy bigger quantities in the first place and then you can always use the scraps to make some bunting or to go towards a quilt.
2. Check for any marks
Obviously, this is hard when you’re looking at a computer screen, but sellers should always disclose marks or damages in the description. If you’re not happy with your purchases, and you don’t feel that a mark or stain has been disclosed properly, then you’re well within your rights to contact the seller for a full refund. Be careful though, as some sellers clearly state that they don’t accept refunds and by buying the item, you may have agreed to these terms.
3. Do your research
Is what you want to buy worth it? Don’t ever pay over the odds for something that you could have bought cheaper elsewhere. Obviously, if it’s a one-off, limited edition, then it’s different, as you will be paying a lot for the product but make sure you search Ebay (and other websites) before you part with any money. When I recently bought a Laura Ashley dress, I did my research and found that the prices of dresses on Ebay varied from £10 to £150. I got mine for £30 in the end, which was about average.
The vintage Laura Ashley dress I bought on Ebay
5. Be prepared
That’s not to say that you can pick up something for next to nothing on Ebay. Sellers have to make their money too and some branded vintage fabric can go for about £30 for a metre or two. I’m not that surprised that the above Liberty fabric went for £62, but I just couldn’t afford to pay that much for it, which brings me to my next point.
6. Know your price (and your limits)
Ebay can be addictive and it can be hard to let go of something that you’ve set your heart on (same goes for real life auction houses by the way). But, it is important that you stick to your limits and are happy with what you’re buying for the price. Yes, you might not get the fabric that you really wanted, but you could also spend too much on something that you only wanted because of the name, then get it home and never use it because you wanted something a little brighter in colour. In the past, I’ve spent money on fabric or clothing that has just sat in my room, unused. Isn’t it better to make sure you really want the product before buying it?
7. Search the ‘buy it nows’
Relating to the above points, make sure you don’t get carried away with the initially cheaper bidding prices when the ‘buy it now’ section (although it can seem more expensive) actually offers a better deal. I’ve been guilty of this and was getting excited by the Liberty sheet when it was going for a mere £12. When you’ve researched how much you should be paying for a product, have a look at the ‘buy it now’ fabrics and see if there’s anything around the same price or cheaper there.
Of course, Ebay isn’t the only place to search for fabric and you can often pick up bargains elsewhere, in vintage fairs or jumble sales. The key is, though, to know what you’re looking for. I’m hoping to continue this ongoing feature, with some other vintage hunting tips. If there is anything in particular that you’d like to see, or something you feel I’ve forgotten to mention, then let me know in the comments.
I’ve mentioned before about how useful charity shops are for sourcing fabric and cheap clothing. Today I went on a fashion binge in one of my local shops. I hadn’t been for ages, so it was a nice treat for my meagre budget and I ended up buying quite a lot for a small amount of money.
Firstly, I bought two vintage floral pillowcases, in different patterns. Together, these were only £1 and I’m planning to make elastic skirts out of them. Once I’ve made one, I’ll put the DIY on the blog.
The pillowcases that I picked up for £1
I also bought a very nice purple stripy top, originally from H&M, a yellow floral Dorothy Perkins skirt that I’ve been wanting for ages and a Peter Pan collared polka dot dress.
This stripy top was originally from H&M
The Dorothy Perkins skirt
The Peter Pan collared dress I bought from a charity shop
Unfortunately, as is often the case when buying things from charity shops, the skirt is too big. But you have to take the bad with the good and I’ll probably just sell it on eBay or use the fabric to make something small.