*Note: because of this post, I often get emails asking me to help appraise old patterns for estates. This is not something I can do, nor something I can help with. I am very sorry if you’ve lost a loved one and are now seeking help dispersing of their belongings, but this is not help I can provide.
Have you ever heard the story of the $800 sewing pattern? It’s one of those things I’ve heard floating around the sewosphere before, but I’m not convinced that it isn’t an urban legend. UPDATE: thanks to a reader, I think I have found two patterns that what I thought was an urban legend could be based on. The first was a 1940s mail order pattern that sold for $2025.00 in 2013 and you can see it here.
The second is this Vogue Paris Original Patou design that sold for $580.
I love to research just to research so I also found these 10 sewing patterns that sold for over $100 EACH. Want to take a closer look at the most expensive sewing patterns?
The discussion has to start with the Diane Von Furstenberg Wrap Dresses, Vogue 1548 and 1549. These are the ones that come to mind when I think of the topic “expensive sewing patterns”. Both patterns came out in 1976, and are much sought after on eBay.
1548 is the basic wrap dress, and can be worn forwards or backwards.
This one sold on eBay for $127.50
1549 appears to be even more sought after. Some copies of this pattern sold for as low as $44.99, depending on the size (larger sizes seemed to go for more $) and condition of the pattern (uncut patterns obviously sold for more than cut ones). This is the version with collar and cuffs, and this one sold on eBay for $222.50.
Like other areas of antiques, rarity contributes to the value of a pattern. Which is my guess as to why this Butterick Delineator Style Cape sold for $160.27 – it’s from the 1930s, and 80+ year old paper in decent condition isn’t something that’s around in abundance.
If 80+ year old paper is rare, I know 90+ year old paper is more so. Hence the $124.49 selling price on this cloche hat pattern from the 1920s. Had it come in more sizes I bet it might have been worth more.
Many of the most expensive patterns are Vogue Patterns – probably because of their strategy of pairing with up and coming fashion designers throughout the ages. For instance, who doesn’t now recognize the name Christian Dior on this pattern that sold for $127.50?
More examples – this Issey Miyake pattern sold for $114.32.
This Robert Piguet (this is the guy who trained Dior and Givenchy) pattern sold for $189.50.
And this Nina Ricci pattern sold for $192.50.
So in summary, if your pattern is old, rare, in good condition and has a designer name attached, it may be worth a pretty penny.
But the real question on these patterns is why? In some cases there are much less expensive and fairly equivalent newer patterns, so is it the thrill of the chase or the satisfaction of owning the original? Do you think the buyers even intend to sew from these? Would you ever spend over $100 for a sewing pattern?