Yes, I this is my quest. About 20 years ago I gave away. Yes, where was my brain? But I did it. I gave away all of my sewing patterns including my Vogue Paris Original Patterns – size 14. From the 70s and 80s – yes from the fabulously creative decades of London Street Fashion, the time of women initially wearing pant suits, motorcycle-style jackets, mini-skirts, safari suits, le smoking. The time when Yves Saint Laurent opened Rive Gauche – his Pres a Porter - Ready-To-Wear shop and placed couture design within the reach of millions of us.
I didn’t shop the Rive Gauche stores, but I snooped around them whenever I visited New York or San Francisco. I studied the seams, the hems, the stitching. I touched the gorgeous fabrics and appreciated the self-assured designs. I yearned. I couldn’t begin to afford the garments, but I could sew them. Those wonderful designs still look great today. The sewing patterns I used - my old patterns – are most likely in landfills, or have been recycled into amazon.com shipping boxes. Makes my heart shrink inside. I feel guilty, and worse than that, I feel really stupid.
The designers I love are Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Christian Aujard, Claude Montana, Nina Ricci, Givenchy, and an occasional Valentino. For the past year, I’ve been buying up as many of my old favorites as I can find on eBay and Etsy. Even Amazon.com has them for sale once in a while.
To my utter delight, I just learned how to grade patterns, as in take a size 10 and change it into a size 14. It’s changed my life!!!. Now I can buy any size of my favorite designer patterns. Finding the style I want in a size 14 is often impossible, as the supply is highly limited. An important side note here: in ready-to-wear, my size is a 4. But in sewing patterns, it’s a size 14. Go figure. It’s all about size inflation, and the modern desire of women to never need “double-digit” sizes.
The Pattern Grading system I use is from www.fashionpatterns.com. The set has a grading ruler and instruction book and is very easy to use. In a sense I feel liberated. However, I’m still cruising the Internet looking for the YSL evening dress that Jerry Hall modeled, and a Nina Ricci safari pant suit. They are no where to be found.
To be fair to our American Designers, I also collect Calvin Klein, Anne Klein, and Donna Karan.
I’ve written to the Vogue Pattern folks many times and they simply ignore my request to re-issue these patterns. But, perhaps you have some in the attic or basement. If so, let me know. I’ll copy them and return them if you like. I’ll buy them if you like. Let me know.