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Passion for Preservation

After deciding to go with McCall’s 9040 for my 1951 project, I googled the pattern number to see if I could find out more about the pattern, and stumbled across the Vintage Patterns wiki.  I discovered this site a while ago when I first started out sewing and thought it was a wonderful resource, both for those interested in dressmaking and those history buffs out there.  I fall into both those categories, as I suspect most vintage sewists are.  I was mildly surprised to find that McCall’s 9040 wasn’t there.  I looked up a couple more of the patterns I had on hand and found that half of them weren’t listed either.  I’ve since cross-referenced all my vintage patterns, found which aren’t listed (heaps of them!) and am in the process of adding them to the wiki.  I’m massively into preserving elements of history for the future, and love that so many dressmakers/pattern collectors have dedicated their time and effort to creating this fantastic wiki.

Onto another, slightly related, topic – I took out the pattern pieces of McCall’s 9040 to trace off the pieces (another preservation technique – told you it was related) and found that all the skirt pieces are missing.  Boo!  But, as it’s really just another full, gathered skirt (for which I own literally dozens of patterns) I could either pinch some pieces from another dress, or just draft my own.  I’m just thankful that all the bodice pieces are present and accounted for – there is no way I’m talented enough to draft any of those.  I was also amazed at the condition of the pattern pieces.  Given that the envelope is so worn and looks so…old (it is 60 years old) the pieces inside look almost brand new.  It’s incredible that they’ve lasted this well.  I’ll just have to take extra care of them to ensure they last another 60 years!


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