"You Can’t Judge An Ugly Vintage Pattern By Its Cover" Party

Elizabeth and I both love vintage patterns.  In fact, if we are using a pattern it is a rare occasion for us NOT to be using a vintage pattern.  We just love them.
Most of my early sewing was limited strictly to vintage patterns.  I just think they are the best—the pieces, the instructions, the illustrations, the styles…..
However, sometimes to see the potential waiting inside the envelope you have to look past the photo on the cover.  Take this beauty for instance:
That girl in the photo looks like she just said, “Oh, you mean this shirt?  Yes it’s the one I mugged 4 different Easter bunnies to make….their dandy ties worked up nicely don’t you think?  Now to find one more bunny…I need a matching belt….”
It’s pretty bad.
lose the tie, change up the fabric, and possibly trim up the collar and you’ve got something!
That’s how it is with a lot of vintage patterns.  They have good, solid bases and just need some different styling or fabric choices and maybe a tweek here and there and you’ve got something wonderful. 
The other great part about vintage patterns is that they are easy to find (just check your local thrift store) .  I usually only pay about 50 cents per pattern!  And it’s a great way to sew through new techniques that you have been wanting to try.
The next two weeks here at Simple Simon are dedicated to Ugly Patterns everywhere (and what can be done with them). 

You see, a couple months ago we sent out some emails to talented and amazing sewing bloggers and asked them if they would be on board with sewing up some “ugly” patterns with us.  Then, we went through our pattern stashes, pulled out some really ugly patterns and sent them off to those adventurous sew-ers that wanted to join in on our crazy idea of a series.

Now every day for the next two weeks you will get to see the masterful magic that these ladies pulled out with some “bad cover shot” patterns.  It’s going to be so much fun!!!!

We seriously can’t wait.


We need you all too.  We want to see your “ugly duckling” patterns. We even have some prizes for the ugliest pattern.  (Who would have ever thought that we would be giving away prizes for that?)

See….we told you it was going to be fun!  Who celebrates ugly?  Um….we do, because we know that there are swans in there!!! 

So, start digging through your vintage pattern stashes, your mother’s stashes, or even grandma’s attic to find some “ugly ducklings” and link them up below.

We will be featuring some of them throughout the series and then crowing a winner of the “Simple Simon’s First-Ever-Ugly-Pattern-Contest.”

Please limit it to vintage ugly patterns (the 90′s are a great start).  We are certainly not here to offend someone’s recent work ;) 

After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder…..
(Oh—and just to clarify:  You only need to link up a photo of the pattern cover, you DON’T need to sew up the pattern!  Can’t wait to see what you all have lurking in your stashes!)



24 thoughts on “"You Can’t Judge An Ugly Vintage Pattern By Its Cover" Party

  1. Ha HA! That is one impressive example of why fabric choice is important. I managed to make a perfectly adorable pattern into a fantastically ugly clown suit. Does that count?

  2. This is going to be so fun. I recently bought two large lots of vintages patterns from online auctions and of course, there are some ugly patterns along with the cute. I’m off to go digging through boxes.

  3. This is going to be so much fun. I should not be surprised that you two ladies came up with this idea–you keep me chuckling! I want to see that “Easter” shirt redone though!!!

  4. My favorite bit on that Easter FrankenBunny Shirt pattern is the little para that says, “Including A Tissue Paper Chart on How to Mix Fabrics.” (you have to click on the pic to enlarge it to read it). Fun. So we can get a shirt that looks exactly like the cover. No. Mercy, no.

  5. This will be great! I have a bunch of patterns that my mom gave me that I can’t bring myself to part with for some reason. They are awful! I think it will be hard to choose just 1!

  6. Oh this sounds like it is going to be so much fun!!! That top pattern is CUTE.. I TOTALLY would have loved that Gingham blouse.. It actually reminds of a shirt I had, I think it was an Esprit or Hang Ten shirt..:)

  7. Oh this sounds like it is going to be so much fun!!! That top pattern is CUTE.. I TOTALLY would have loved that Gingham blouse.. It actually reminds of a shirt I had, I think it was an Esprit or Hang Ten shirt..:)

  8. What a fun idea for a series!! i can’t wait to see what people did with the patterns you sent out. I love my vintage patterns and sewing them up; i don’t think i have any ugly ones but will have to check :)

  9. Girls-shut the front door. I just threw out the beyond ugly, monstrosity of fashion patterns that I have been hoarding. Luckily, I still kept all the patterns that are only slightly hideous. The ones I kept have some virtue…I read this post and immediately went digging through my newly organized patterns. I’m going to post 4 tomorrow, I have a couple 80s prom dresses that are too ugly to throw away. I CANNOT WAIT to link them up tomorrow, and I’m dying to see what gets linked. Btw- I get tons of patterns at thrift stores and I was thinking I needed an intervention. I snagged about 30 this weekend. Thank goodness you have validated my addiction and I now get to show off my little ugly gems.

  10. I realize that I already linked up my *awesome* bubble romper, but I may have to whip out a pair of amazing Hammer Pants for my husband…. I bought the pattern years ago with the intention of “surprising” him with a way cool pair of pants :)

  11. Reminds me of the two boxes of vintage patterns that I had at my mothers house that she decided to “clean up” for me. When I found out I was gutted. 30′s, 40′s-80′s-so sad. I’ve been building up a new box ever since. I’ll have to see if I have any ugly ones :)

  12. Although the 90′s do feel old now, it makes me cringe when 90′s is referred to as vintage. Vintage is something 50 years old or older, antique 100 years or older. Yeah, stick in the mud here *raising hand. Don’t shoot me! I may or may not have had parachute pants and Elaine (from Seinfield) look-a-like gems in my wardrobe. And bunny for a belt? Ha! That knit maternity pattern is fab ;)

  13. Does it have to be patterns that you *actually* own? The worst patterns that I know of off the top of my head aren’t in my wall-of-patterns. Rather, they’re ones I’ve found trawling for vintage patterns elsewhere on the ‘net. I mean, Gracie’s latest round of begging came from patterns that I know where to get them, but I refuse to make her dresses or rompers with decapitated animal head bibs and pockets–or to obtain copies of the patterns! And then there’s the giant flower/strawberry/apple jumper that I think even with different fabrics would still be hideous. Again, I don’t own it. These are patterns that I’ve found and wondered what they were smoking when they designed those!

  14. LOL!!! I wore blouses complete with ties, just like in your pattern!!! Yeah, they had puffy sleeves at the wrists, too. I think my saving grace is that mine weren’t multi coloured. I’ll have to dig through photos and see if I have any… if I’m game to show them that is. In the meantime, I’ve linked up a pattern. This is a FABULOUS idea!!! Looking forward to the series.

  15. I just wanted to say thank you for the giggle (that part with the Easter Rabbit…). My eyes are crying from laughing too hard and I keep on going back to it… just to laugh again! I must be really tired… or you’re really funny! :P

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