Saturday, December 31, 2011

German Pattern Experiment


German pattern magazine from May 1936.

Hello dear readers!  I hope this day finds you doing well.  I want to share with you something new that I wanted to try with the new year: The German Pattern Experiment.  What exactly is this?  I suppose it's best to start at the beginning.

A while back I fell in love with a few blogs that were dedicated to vintage style, and being a lover of history, I was immediately intrigued by the idea of sewing from the same pattern that someone else may have used 50, 60 or even 70 years ago.  I scoured eBay for vintage patterns and my first two purchases were won without a fight and for a very modest price.  Then I came across some German pattern magazine from the 1930's.  The patterns were very appealing, so I put in my $10 bid and carefully watched the bidding through the last day, satisfied that I was again the only bidder.  Well, the bidding on this particular  item was open until the wee hours of the night, so I bumped my bid up to $15 and went to bed confident in my winning.

The next morning, to my disappointment, I noticed I had been outbid - that darling had sold for over $50! Despite my sour feelings, I moved on and forgot all about the incident until three weeks later when I noticed the seller was again listing some similar items.  I quickly placed another modest bid and waited until the final evening of the bidding.  Hubby and I were enjoying a bottle of raspberry wine and relaxing on the couch as I sat with the laptop close by.  Again, I noticed these pattern magazines were a hot item and the bidding continued to climb.  Let me just say that after one glass of wine, the price didn't seem so outrageous, so I joined in the bidding war.  It wasn't too long before I found out that no one else was dumb enough to outbid me (doesn't anyone else drink wine while bidding on eBay?).

After the magazine arrived, I was in outright shock.  How was I going to sew from these patterns when I couldn't read a lick of German?  I turned to the internet to see if there was anyone sharing their experiences with these patterns - none (I do not claim to be any sort of research expert).  Well, I've decided that with this new year, I am ready to tackle this project.

German pattern magazine from December 1936.
Are you interested in joining me?  You can follow along as I attempt to sew my way through as many of these patterns that I can.  I'm hoping to even convert a few of these into PDFs - available to you!

Of course, these will not be the only things I sew up this year.  I will be participating in Tasia's Minoru sew along and am planning to make the Cynthia Steffe dress that you helped me decide on.

I would love it if you followed along.  Leave a note if you are interested in having me create free PDFs of these patterns  (as I'm sure it will be a lot of work, so I'll only take the time if there is expressed interest).

Live in this moment and love life!

Annabelle

19 comments:

  1. TOTALLY interested!!! I'm SUPER interested in German (and French) pattern magazines!!!! I can't wait to see your progress and maybe jump in too! Great idea!!!

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  2. Yay Debi, I am so glad you are interested! I'm curious to see where this project takes me, but having the support of an accomplished seamstress like yourself can only mean good things.

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  3. I just found your blog, and I'm enjoying all your posts! I would love to try my hand at the German patterns, particularly the vintage ones! I do hope you can share the pdfs!

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  4. I found you too recently, and am interested. I dug my machine out when I found some fabric that I just needed to use, and realised it was rusty and skipped stitches, when sewing up a new skirt. I have a new one now for Christmas and intend to have a hand made a la mode wardrobe of clothes by this time next year, so yes I'm interested, and will be watching.

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  5. Hello Jennifer Gregory Miller, and thanks for stopping by my blog! It's great to see that there is an expressed interest, so I will surely be working on creating some PDF's for you!

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  6. Teresa, I'm delighted that you found my blog and that you're looking forward to joining in! It's wonderful that you received a new sewing machine for Christmas. I want to wish you the best of luck with creating your new wardrobe. Hopefully some of my German patterns will be part of that wardrobe :)

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  7. I have just found your blog and think this is a great idea. I have amassed quite a collection of these magazines recently (they're addictive) and have been trying to muster the energy to make a few PDFs free for anyone on my blog. I have made a toile/muslin of a 1930s dress from one of these magazines and despite the few brief sentences in GERMAN (which I don't speak) about construction, it went together really quite easily, so hopefully you will not find it as difficult as you think! Here are a couple of links to blogs which have posts on these:
    http://youngjeninspats.wordpress.com/2010/05/29/vintage-sewing-using-a-pattern-sheet/

    http://afewthreadsloose.blogspot.com/2010/11/german-pattern-paper-porn.html

    Also I have some scans on my blog:
    http://sew-something-vintage.blogspot.com/

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  8. Hi Claire, I'm glad you found my blog and are supportive of my German Pattern Experiment. I've already gotten more positive responses than I was expecting, so I will surely be provided PDFs for everyone.

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  9. You're not alone - I think I've let a little wine increase my ebay competitiveness a time or two as well :-). What an interesting challenge for the new year. I can't wait to see what you make from your unique new patterns!

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  10. I am interested in how you proceed with these as well. I found a website not too long ago that has a good amount (10 or 12 maybe) of wonderful patterns that I am dying to try. The only problem is that the site and the patterns are in German. So, being all resourceful, I decided to use google translate to translate the whole webpage and was embarrassed at the result. The words were fine (but google can't translate from a pdf I don't think), but the pictures were replaced with an older German woman flipping me off. I typed the text in Google translate that was on the picture with the German lady and it said something to the tune of "no direct links". So I don't think that anyone was mad at me changing the language, but they thought google (or other website) was linking the images directly. It still threw me a bit. Kind of funny now though. LOL

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  11. Oops, forgot the most important part. The link http://www.return2style.de/duesenberg/schnitte/schnitte.htm
    I feel bad that I debated on whether to keep it to myself or not before posting it to pinterest (and then here), but someone posted it online for everyone (at least German everyones LOL) and I feel you ladies deserve the chance at these great dresses. That and I may never figure out the patterns

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  12. These patterns are beautiful, Annabelle! I bet with a little trial and error you could figure it out without needing to read a bit of German. Sewing is sewing no matter what the language, right? I look forward to seeing your results!

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  13. Ha ha Jennifer, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who has allowed a beverage to influence my eBay purchases!

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  14. Brandy, (yay!) I am glad to see more interest in this project. It will be exciting to see how this progresses and watch as others get involved. Thanks for sharing that link. Those are some amazing dresses (I would have contemplated keeping the joy to myself like you, but I'm glad generosity got the best of you!).

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  15. ConstantlyAlice, I wish it it was as easy as you say - sometimes I still biff a project even with written instructions and diagrams. I think I will start with some of the smaller projects, and once I get the hang of those I will move on to the more advanced patterns. Thanks for your support as always.

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  16. Ohhh , fun. I don't have a ton of interest in vintage patterns for myself, but it is so fun to see what others do with it. I love the bodice in the first photo. I don't think I'd do shorts with it, maybe a full skirted dress?

    And your story about the wine and ebay bidding was hilarious. I am warned for sure. :)

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    1. I completely understand about not being interested in vintage patterns, especially when there are so many fantastic modern patterns - like Sewaholic. Yes, the wine incident - well that was a year ago and I am happy to report that I have not consumed alcoholic beverages prior to eBay bidding since.

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  17. Just now found your blog. I, too, have a collection of 1930's German pattern magazines (the German ones seem to have more patterns than the French ones from the era. Even at the $60+ they can go for, it seems such a bargain!). I've traced a couple of patterns (have dreams for many, many more), have one cut out and have begun construction. It will be lovely to learn from your experience as I go along!

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    1. How exciting that you have a collection of patterns from the 1930's! Please do share when you have finished them, I would love to see what you have made.

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