I received an email from someone wanting to know how to value their deceased mother’s sewing patterns (50s, 60s, and 70s), where to take them and whether or not eBay was a good place to start.
This is part of my response:
If the pattern is in limited supply price is effected.
The age of a pattern effects value. Old patterns may get a higher price.
3. Condition of pattern pieces
Sewing patterns by nature of their purpose are meant to be used. Home sewers purchased patterns and believe it or not-actually used them to make clothing and other home accessories. I say that only to point out that if you’re new to vintage sewing you shouldn’t expect every sewing pattern you run across to be unused and in mint condition. Pattern pieces in the best condition: those free of markings (pen or pencil), lack of pins, rust, burn marks, tears, rips, chalk markings, stains, factory fold, uncut and those lacking tracing wheel markings are more desirable than used patterns for obvious reasons.
4. Presence and condition of instruction sheet
The greater majority of vintage sewing patterns you run across will have instruction sheets present, but not all. The presence and condition of an instruction sheet affects price.
5. Uniqueness of the pattern
At one time pattern manufacturers printed patterns in limited supply, reprinting only when demand warranted. Because of this–some pattern designs are rare. Scarcity effects price.
6. Type of pattern
For example, apron patterns are more collectible than children patterns.
7. Manufacturer rarity
Some pattern manufacturers only operated for a limited time period (DuBarry, Pictorial Review and Delinator), making patterns manufactured by particular makers rarer than others of more sought after by some.
8. Historical significance
Many people study and archive sewing patterns because of what sewing pattern represent as part of Americana. For example, wartime patterns.
Pattern sellers, buyers and collectors also effect price under the basic theories of supply and demand.
10. Pricing of other patterns of the same type
See No. 9.
11. Costs incurred by the seller
The sellers expenses, time and desired profit margin affect price.
Visit The High Class Kitty for an unbiased opinion on the value of your sewing patterns.