The Vintage Pattern Lending Library

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I am working with a pattern a designer friend of mine loaned me that she bought from a site called The Vintage Pattern Lending Library. We're working on a production of Private Lives together for Cygnet Theatre here in San Diego. She's designing, and she's hired a handful of people to assemble the outfits for her. I'm doing a kimono dressing gown and a women's suit.

I'd heard of the VPLL in the past, but had never been to their site. They're in Oakland, California. They collect vintage patterns, scan them in and reproduce them, effectively archiving them for future makers so they won't be lost to posterity. So much of our rich cultural history is wrapped up in what we wear, and the average sewer has no effective way of reproducing these looks without having to develop skills which may be beyond their capabilities. Now, through services like VPLL, we can all recreate some wonderfully authentic clothing! I'm proud to share the link to their site with you today, in the hopes that it might turn out to be a good resource for you if you need it.

From their site: "The Vintage Pattern Lending Library is home to a growing collection of over 3,000 antique sewing and needlework patterns, vintage fashion publications, and other related historic print materials from the 1840s through the 1950s, from the United States and abroad. We offer high quality, user-friendly, historically accurate one-to-one digital reproductions of many of the patterns in our collection for purchase or loan. Because all patterns are printed on durable 15-pound semi-transparent bond paper, cutting and pinning pieces is easy."

You can join as a member, or simply purchase outright from their collection. If you join, you get to borrow 4 patterns each year for free. You simply send it back within a month when you're done. And that's just the basic level of membership!

The site's catalog has the patterns divided up into decade eras, and include items like hats and other accessories as well as children's wear from all eras. On top of that, they have needlework patterns! And tutorials! The pattern I'm working with is a 1930's suit, #1687. I'm making a mockup to try on the actress, and we'll need to modify it significantly to fit my friend's design and the contemporary size of the performer, but it's going to be exciting to see how it works!

They even have a blog!

Check out the site and enjoy browsing! It's really a remarkable idea! The Vintage Pattern Lending Library.

Until next time, Live Life with Relish!

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