Friday Freebie: Gummed Tape Dress Form

I collect vintage sewing and pattern-making books*. I enjoy the quaint old worlde illustrations and outdated terminology and I feel strongly about rescuing vintage sewing ephemera and creating a permanent online repository of it, accessible to everyone to delight in and learn from, without having to suffer through epic ebay battles fuelled by rage (and a steady diet of Pringles and instant noodles because that’s all you can afford when you spend your grocery money on sewing books).

So I’m going to start posting things up here. Obviously I will only be uploading whole scans of items which are out of copyright or partial scans of copyrighted items as illustrative of techniques within what constitutes reasonable fair use.

Starting with this little gem here (pdf download) on making a sticky tape dress form (they’ve described a ‘gummed’ tape version but the technique will work for any kind of sticky tape that doesn’t stretch-because anything that gets stretched while it’s on you will recover back to its original dimensions when it’s off you). 

This little beauty is a sewing pamphlet issued by the Massachusetts State College back in 1943 and has no copyright information that I’m aware of. It is one of a set of disparate manuals relating to sewing that was bequeathed to me two years ago by a sweetheart of a seller on Etsy. Not being into sewing herself and having come across someone who was obviously enthused by the whole idea (me), she spontaneously added the entire set gratis to my order (a financially-debilitating illustrated sewing book from 1923).

I am of the opinion that technical knowledge belongs to everyone and should be made freely available to anyone that’s interested (I’m not talking about synthesising the bubonic plague from scratch here-just sewing techniques and the like). I understand that copyright law exists for a reason (protecting the author/ publishing company’s financial interests) and although I don’t always agree with the reasons behind it, I am a law abiding creature so please don’t contact me with requests to torrent everything I own. I have neither the time nor the inclination to cool my heels in jail at her Majesty’s behest.

That being said, I’m happy to take requests for specific drafting/ sewing techniques. Leave your suggestions in the comments during the week (or shoutout on Twitter) and I’ll try to have something relevant from my collection scanned and posted by Friday. I’m hoping to have some coat-related stuff scanned by next week to co-incide with velosewer’s trench sewalong but all suggestions are welcome.

So if you were interested in drafting that vintage Simplicity 6312 jacket I’d post this coat dress and suggest you draft only the top half of it. I’d also suggest you check out the version up for swap here and see if it’s in your size.


*Strangely Logically enough I don’t actually sew from vintage patterns. I find the excess ease, sizing inconsistencies, mutated silhouettes and massive seam allowances irritating. I have some vintage patterns that I bought in a fit of confusion back when I first started sewing here if you want to swap.

All images remain copyright of their original owners and are used here for purposes of illustration and discussion.

PS: It shits me to tears to see people (and I’m using that term loosely) selling crappy pdfs of copyright-expired vintage ephemera (and often, work that is still under copyright) on etsy (strangely enough, ebay is on the ball with kicking sellers like that in the privates but etsy only allows you to  report copyright violations if you are the original holder of the copyright or their legal representative). So if I find anyone selling anything I post I’ll just have to make do with humiliating pointing and laughing at anyone fool enough to pay for pdfs that are available online for free.

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