can you really download 83,500 free vintage sewing patterns on wiki?

For some, its the excitement of those beautiful dress that you could make at home. For others, it's the chain e-mail of Facebook. Your friends send it, its in every sewing group. I won't link to it because it doesn't need to be shared anywhere else, you've already seen it 20 times this month. It's the article about wiki releasing all of those vintage sewing patterns ripe for downloading!

Let's talk about what the Vintage Sewing Patterns Wikia is and isn't. Even though you can't download 83,500 patterns from it (bummer, right?!), how you can use it and even get patterns from it...because it really is a cool thing!

The Vintage Sewing Patterns Wikia is a collaborative effort from sewing pattern collectors over the globe to categorize and document patterns that are 25 years and older. They upload images of the covers and descriptions. Each entry has spots for blog posts reviewing the patterns so you can see what they look like when sewn and if the person who made it has any tips for you as you navigate sewing the garment. Some entries also have links to purchase the original paper patterns from various sellers online. The people who have contributed their time, knowledge and effort to this project are amazing!

What the Vintage Sewing Patterns Wikia isnt:

It is not a source to download a massive collection of vintage sewing patterns.
Someone wrote an article with a very misleading headline and it has spread like wildfire all over social media.  Many patterns are still under copyright (I'm looking at you, Vogue) and scanning/remastering these delicate paper patterns for the general public would be an unbelievably big undertaking.  Sorry, you can't download the patterns. There's just photos of the pattern covers.

There are loads of downloadable and even free vintage sewing patterns online, just check out my free patterns page but you won't find them on Wikia.

What the Vintage Sewing Patterns Wikia is:

An amazing resource to date your sewing patterns. Search by the pattern maker and number and you can easily find the date of your sewing pattern. If you need something for a very specific event such as reenacting, this is a wonderful tool to make sure your dress is accurate to a specific time period.

A massive database of style inspiration. I love to look at vintage magazines and patterns to help me put together outfits. Use the database to find outfit ideas for vintage events, your vacation ensembles or just daily wear.  Sewing a swimsuit this summer? Just type the decade and swimsuit into the search bar!

Build your pattern collection. If your're looking for rare sewing patterns or something out of print, you can often find a link to buy the paper pattern through the wikia. You can even add patterns to your wishlist so users can contact you if they have a copy that they're ready to sell. These are original vintage paper copies of the patterns although you may occasionally find a vendor who has some downloads but most of them are not.

If you're looking primarily for PDF download patterns, check out Mrs. Depew VintageWearing HistoryCharm Patterns by Gertie

Connect with others. Check out the comments and forums to connect with other vintage sewing enthusiasts and get help with navigating the site or searching for a particular pattern and size. You can also find new sewing blogs to follow through the blog post reviews of each pattern.

So while that original headline wasn't true, the Vintage Sewing Patterns Wikia is a fantastic tool. Many people have been working for years to build the database.  Please do share the site with long term and newbie sewists. And if you see that silly article circulating again, that's a great opportunity to showcase how awesome our sewing community is and how willing they are to share their knowledge and time with us.