What To Do With Old Sewing Patterns

Are you wondering what to do with old sewing patterns?

Decided what to do with old sewing patterns isn’t always easy. You can be attached to them emotionally as they may have been your parents or grandparents. They might have been your first ever sewing project and you just have fond memories.

Whatever the reason there is nothing wrong with collecting them together and giving them a new home.

If you are looking at buying a couple of vintage sewing patterns there are a number of resources to try and gather supplies. This is one of the reasons I like to encourage selling or donating sewing patterns as there is always someone who could be looking for that pattern or style.

What To Do With Old Sewing Patterns

Deciding what to do with old sewing patterns depends on a few things. These things can change whether a pattern is worth selling, giving away, or destined to be completely upcycled into another project.

I always like to think that sewing patterns can be saved as some of them aren’t printed or easy to find. I like to think of sewing patterns as a little piece of history and who would throw history away?

what to do with old sewing patterns

Some of the things you will want to look into and check before deciding what to do with your old sewing patterns;

  • The condition of the pattern – if the pattern has been cut and used it will be less valuable as the size is specific and it is used. Are the pattern pieces in good condition?
  • The brand – some brands and styles specially made for special events, costumes, or designers are worth quite a bit of money.
  • Is it complete? – there is no point selling or donating the pattern if it has pieces and components missing. Some very talented people out there may be able to revive the pattern and draft the missing pieces but not many people could do it.
  • Are the instructions available? – One key element to a sewing pattern is the instructions.
  • Does it have the original packaging? – Having patterns with all the pieces unused, instructions intact and the original packaging is great for selling on.

One of the most obvious choices for many is to donate them. I often find sewing patterns and sewing supplies in charity shops and I love it! It isn’t just a bargain for me but also means the charity gets some money too.

Charity shops will often take sewing patterns but make sure that they are in good condition, have all the components, pieces and instructions.

This is a good idea if you don’t want any monetary value back for the sewing patterns and just wish them to a new home. This is also a great idea if you have tried to sell some but they haven’t soldd and they are just taking up space.


If you are looking to sell your old sewing patterns (so you can buy more right?) There are a number of places you can sell your sewing patterns from online to in person.

My first choice would be to sell in sewing groups on Facebook, I am part of a couple and they host a market day one day a week for fellow sewers to swap, trade and sell their sewing supplies.

Selling in sewing groups is one of the best places as you already have a captive audience, people who use sewing patterns and will more than likely buy more. The sense of community and trust is a great way to ensure you are selling to nice people and getting the money’s worth for the pattern.

Alternatively, you can sell through Facebook marketplace, this is more local and you wouldn’t have to worry about posting the item. It can be collected the same day and it is fairly straight forward and hassle-free.

Another choice is to sell on eBay, personally I would only sell patterns that are vintage, branded and in very good condition.

An alternative to selling online is to sell at auctions if you have a lot of patterns you are looking to sell as a job lot. Many local auction houses put on sales weekly or monthly and some even do theme sales like furniture, vintage and old items and books.

Never underestimate the excitement of a sewer at a car boot finding a box of sewing patters…Yes, that person is me. One of my biggest hauls of sewing patterns was at a small almost empty car boot. I found 2 fair size boxes full of packet patterns and magazine patterns.

I was over the moon and the girls were happy I was so passionate about them, they were selling them after their mother sadly passed away and were happy to see them going to a good home.

You may not get eBay prices at a carboot but if you are already going you might as well take them and try your look. You would be surprised how fast they will sell!


I wanted to add this in as I think this is a really fun way of keeping your beloved pattern but revitalising it into something new. If you have a pattern that you have a copy of and the original pieces are well and truly torn to pieces, don’t jus throw them out… repurpose them!

Ever wanted to try decoupage? Well, why not give it a go. Spruce up and old tabletop with your sewing pattern pieces using mod podge to create a nice and exciting look.

Decoupage isn’t the only way to repurpose your old sewing patterns. There are a number of different tasks such as scrapbooking, decorate a sewing book or gift box to gift to a fellow sewer. Use them to cover plain gift bags.

There are a mountain of ideas to use old sewing patterns to make something new. I love the idea of layering up the patterns and using them as a cover for a table or cardboard box.

Make New Sewing Patterns

People use sewing patterns to adapt them into something slightly different everyday. So if you want to keep the pattern simply make a copy of everything there is to the pattern.

Create new pattern pieces to your chosen size or even to the largest size and mark on the measurements for the smaller. You can store them in a new envelope or folder and photocopy the instructions and front and back cover.

If you no longer want the pattern but you like an element to it, play around and keep that element but create a new pattern for yourself. Change up thr dart position. Add a collar or change the shape, make a shirt into a dress or make a dress into a playsuit!

There are so many opportunities and the sizing is already done for you! There are a number of courses and online resources to help with pattern drafting and altering if you need it.

Give To Friends & Family

I have a couple of friends who also like sewing and crafts like me so I have someone to bounce off of. One of the bonus’s about sharing your passion for sewing within your friends and family is having other people to share your excitement and fabric stash.

I often share pdf patterns with them, send them home made gifts and even trade sewing patterns. I often go through my stash of sewing patterns ( I don’t have that many, honest!) and I pull out the ones I no longer want or have a copy of.

I send them pictures of the patterns and they can choose if they would like them. If they don’t want them I have both my Auntie and my mum who like to sew so I can always ask them too.

That is everything for what to do with old sewing patterns. I hope you have found this useful and helped you decide the best way to use your old sewing patterns.

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