Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Research Tools: Vintage Catalog - Sewing Patterns

Vintage catalogs are a valuable resource often overlooked when building a reference library. Take this Ideal Patterns catalog, for example. It showcases sewing patterns for Spring & Summer, 1918.

The obvious value of the information in this catalog would be for collectors of sewing patterns. Early patterns were not all dated when issued. A complete collection of pattern catalogs would allow the collector to reference the date of issue.

Vintage catalogs added to your library are useful in other ways. Using the example of this pattern catalog, we get valuable insight into the fashion trends of 1918. We can see that skirt lengths were rising, baring the ankle a bit. Collars tended to be wide, and proportions were generous. Hair was swept up providing support for the hats which were still an important element of Edwardian style. French heels were popular. The cover of the catalog even shows us what sort of vehicles were driven in 1918. It's easy to see that this catalog has value far beyond researching pattern dates.

Furniture, clothing, hardware, toys, farm equipment and more were all sold via catalog. When you are on the hunt for antiques & collectibles pick up old catalogs when you find them. You'll get a glimpse into history, further your understanding of an era and have one more tool at your fingertips for future research.

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