Sunday, June 7, 2009

Trade or not?

Added a few patterns to the Trade area last night, so today I'll be babbling on about what goes into the Trade area -- and why.

No matter what the style, condition often makes the difference between the Trade and Recycle area. Incomplete patterns are automatically disqualified as are most multi-size patterns that have been cut to one of the smaller sizes. Unless newer patterns are unused, they'll need a pretty special plus to make the Trade cut. After that, it's a combination of my opinion and my understanding of your preferences.

Lingerie patterns from any era are likely to end up in the Trade area. "Lingerie" includes slips, bras and panties, and the lacy range of nightwear. Your very basic flannel pajamas and fleece robe patterns probably won't make it.

McCall's 2496 was a lingerie no-brainer. It cover the 3 basic styles (baby dolls, pjs and nightgown) and a rather unusual use (in home sewing patterns anyway) of lace side seams which are lapped and stitched along the torso. The UPC code on the front came as a surprise because the pattern dates from 1986. Must have been one of the first examples!

I usually view camisole patterns as lingerie, so unless it's really b-o-r-i-n-g or in bad shape, it goes in the Trade area. Simplicity 5352 had one view cut out, but the rest was unused and the combination of 2 camisoles and 3 jackets in very different styles won the day.

Vogue 7254 is my idea of the classic lingerie pattern. Can't you just feel the satin? Shaped shoulder straps are always a nice option, and the short dolman sleeves give you lots of drape. Between the style and the graphics, this one just needed to be complete to qualify.

Fashion Designers, I must admit, are not my strong point. Yes -- I have heard of most of them -- but while I can evaluate a 1940s pattern in a heartbeat, the relative merit of designer patterns is much tougher. To some extent, I simply go by your response to various patterns we've listed, and sometimes a little market research helps too. The end result is that some designer patterns DO end up in the Recycle area, but there are 2 pages in the Trade area dedicated to designer patterns, too.

Butterick 6371 is by John Kloss, and the donation included 4 of these patterns in 3 sizes. Can't say the style does a whole lot for me, but I do know that John Kloss has a loyal following. So in they went....

Laura Ashley is another designer name that automatically gets tossed into the Trade pile. This didn't strike me as being one of the most compelling of her patterns, but the envelope art is usually a treat for the eye.

Erm... this is embarassing. Obviously the red squiggles on Simplicity 9712 are a designer signature, but for some reason it took me forever to read. The style didn't ring any bells, either. And then there was that "Ah Hah!" moment. Pauline Trigere. How could I not have seen that? Fortunately no one was around...

Very Vintage patterns (and reproductions thereof) are highly likely to go into the Trade area. We don't get too many modern reproductions (such as the Vintage Vogue line) but they always disappear quickly.

Simplicity 9360 (factory folded) was another no-brainer for the Trade area. The 60th anniversary special pattern is not particularly hard to find (or expensive), but the Art Deco logo and the 1930s dress style (and your little dog, too) are hard to resist. In fact, we had 4 requests for this one within a few hours...

Sixties to Eighties Most of the complete patterns donated to us come from this era, so there's always something to include in the Trade area. Condition is quite important, but a gently used complete pattern may make the grade if it's interesting enough.

Yes, yes -- tiered skirts are not too popular. But McCall's 5648 also features 5 little summer tops that are not just your usual tank tops. I'm pretty sure you could wear them with jeans, too. :-) Factory folds? Sold!

The first time I saw McCall's 8325, I looked for the Laura Ashley label. It's not an Ashley design, but the full-length floral print certainly has the same feel. I also like the way the pleats are held down by a top-stiched belt band that complements the top-stitched yoke.

Unusual Details are my favorite reasons for including a pattern in the Trade area. It's always a joy to find something a style with a unique twist or construction details that takes it beyond the ordinary. And if it's special enough, I'll cut a little slack on the condition, too.

I loved the neckline on Butterick 6962. At first glance it appears to be a standard notched lapel style, but a closer look reveals that there's no collar -- just the wing lapel. The tuck pleats are on the back too -- another detail I liked -- and it's a wrap dress to boot! All fine points, and the final decision maker was that it's still factory folded. (Too bad it's a size 10....)

Butterick 3426 is front wrap skirt pattern. Although wrap skirts are very popular, they're also quite common and you'll often find them in the Recycle area. This actually isn't one of my favorites, but the highly unusual asymmetrical closure shown on the red model -- plus the pattern's factory-folded condition -- elevated this to the Trade area.

Simplicity 6491 includes a front wrap skirt pattern, but I hardly noticed it. What did catch my eye -- and keep it -- was the figure-eight effect of the waistband and pocket on the slim skirt. I liked it well enough that this would have gone into the Trade area even if it had been used.

Decisions, Decisions.
Sometimes I just can't make up my mind -- and the decision of Trade vs. Recycle could go either way. This is where I've learned a lot from you guys. When I've put an "on-the-fence" pattern in the Recycle area that should have gone into Trade, you usually let me know by the number of requests for that pattern :-) These days, I'm more likely to include these in the Trade area from the start.

Butterick 3850, from 1986, makes a lacy nightshirt with flutter sleeves or a plain v-neck nightshirt with pull-on pants. It struck me as being right on the line between pajamas and lingerie, and very nearly went into the Recycle area. Again, the factory-folded condition won out.

Pants patterns rarely make it into the Trade area. But I liked I liked the waistband options offered by McCall's 8471, and the unusual side hem pleats shown on the brown model. A larger size would have been nice, but at least it's factory folded.

Maybe it's just something about the short sleeves, but the photo on Simplicity 9338 made me pass right over this. It wasn't until I took a closer look at the line drawings that I began to appreciate the charm of this pattern. Probably not for the beginning sewer, though :-)

Well, that's the tour for today. Let's do it again soon!


  1. That was a great blog post - very informative to us Pattern Recycle lovers! :) Thanks, and keep up the good work!

  2. thanks, I always enjoy look at your site!