One day you're happily traversing the web, looking at eco-friendly craft projects, when you stumble upon THIS:
Sewing patterns as WRAPPING PAPER? Vintage envelopes torn asunder and fashioned into GIFT TAGS?! All to end up mixed in with bows, Scotch tape and half-eaten candies in a big black plastic trash bag come Christmas Day?
Granted, the author of the article specifies that she uses incomplete patterns that would otherwise never make it to the thrift store shelf. But my obsessive side needs to know: did they get cataloged in the Vintage Sewing Patterns Wiki first? Did no one think of sending them to Pattern Rescue? Look at the great sleeve ruffles on the blouse on the left! I need to see those!
Heart in my throat, I clicked on a link to another article, which provided EIGHT more crafty ways to use sewing patterns. Horror of horrors! It didn't advise crafters to use incomplete patterns! My mind reeled, imagining the treasures that had fallen victim to hot glue guns and pipe cleaners.
It's not that I'm against being green. Here at Pattern Junkie Headquarters I have an extremely eco-friendly approach to vintage sewing patterns, based on the classic guidelines of "Reduce, Recycle & Reuse:"
1) REDUCE the number of sewing patterns on the market by buying them by the boxload on eBay
2) RECYCLE a small percentage via actual sewing or via selling in my etsy shop (proceeds which are used to fund activity #1)
3) REUSE them by storing them and dreaming over them, occasionally mounting a snarling defense when Mr. Pattern Junkie suggests that "maybe we could get rid of this junk."
I'm a big fan of creativity and re-use, and have to admit that these projects are clever. It's better than sending them to the landfill (though you could stop by my house on the way to the landfill. I'm just saying.) There's also a good argument to be made that it's better to use these old patterns in creative ways instead of just letting them sit in a garage or attic somewhere. Isn't it better for them to see the light of day as a bookmark than sit in a box for years?
I say no. For me, vintage sewing patterns don't need to be anything than what they are. I know I'll never make all of the hundreds I own. I'm fine with that. A reader once wrote to me that she loved patterns because they allowed her to imagine different "selves" for herself, and that's true for me, too. I suppose all fashion does this, but I find it to be more visceral with patterns. I go through my collection, matching pattern and fabric. Will I evoke mod London in a dandy-style coat and dress, or 50s Paris in a "Vogue Paris Original" pattern? Even the instructions fascinate me: the changes in technique, the new things I can learn by scanning those pages.
So I'll say it loud and proud: KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF MY SEWING PATTERNS!