The bubble has popped.
The furvor is over and all that remains are a bunch of mediocre patterns and the novice sellers who think they are worth more than they are.
For the time being, let's remove supply and demand from the pattern selling equation. We all know that panic bidding is really what drives up the prices in our little world. Sans that, drove up the prices. You see, actual demand has gone to the side and been replaced with laughable price tags from someone looking to gouge because, "I found a pattern and it has to be worth something!"
It's not as if I long for the heyday of 6 years ago when vintage sewing patterns were their most expensive. I long for those times because of the ample variety. Oh, so many types of patterns in all price ranges were available to those shoppers just starting out all the way to the super serious collector dropping $400 on a 20s hat pattern (it happened!).
That's what made me start selling to tell you the truth. I'd buy a pattern, feel like a glutton for having so many and sell off a few to spread the wealth. That snowballed into a nice little side business that I was actually able to pay rent with for a time.
But over the last few years not only did the supply diminish, the quality did as well, as new "insta" collectors came on buying patterns based on the pattern envelopes (you know what I mean-the obsession with evening gowns), other collectors saw the prices drop and stopped listing their choice pieces. Also, repros shot in like gang busters, shaving off those sewists who really just wanted to make the garment over owning a piece of history. Soon the major pattern makers go into the repro game (with wishy washy success) and the retro styles became sub mainstream, so people were soon able to find looks that mimicked the vintage aesthetic in their local malls.
All of this added to the bubble popping, only, like every popped bubble, many don't get the message.
This is my pattern. It's in my possession and I just sold it in a lot for a little over $100. So in that bulk, it sold for a little over $1.
This same pattern is listed here, on ebay at these two insanely different prices. Not only is this pattern late 60s, it's a costume pattern and not rare in the least. It's a left over, as are most that are listed these days. Decent enough to notice, but not desired enough to acquire.
And that's where the patten selling market is now. A niche that either will list an average 30s pattern for $250 that no one will buy, a 60s "Mad Men" dress pattern for $50, or $5 (I mean really, do these sellers search listings before they post!?), or mis-catagorize a patten in order to carry more views. I mean have you seen the "1930s" pattern category? It's laughable.
Where does this leave those of us who still troll the sites and places and regular haunts looking for that beautiful pattern discovery? I guess in the same places were were always known to be. I don't think those people will ever stop collecting, or ever think that the hey day will return, but part of it is the hunt.
For me now, I look for nice designs that may often get overlooked because they are plain or some other collector may not see their potential.
This is my newest one, in my size and only $5. I've always had a soft spot for plain patterns.
It's the discovery, that treasure that can be yours and the story of finding it that you will attach to the pattern, any vintage find really. It's what we often live for, and as long as I have legs, antique malls and a decent amount of disposable income, I'll be a vintage pattern collector for life!