Stash Interview with Akram of Akram's Ideas

Today I'm bringing you an interview with Akram Taghavi-Burris of Akram's Ideas as part of #vintagepledge. Marie is hosting for the month at A Stitching Odyssey, so make sure you enter the giveaway from our monthly sponsor Remnant Kings on her blog. Remnant Kings also have a 10% discount code just for our readers, which you can find on the ad in the sidebar. (p.s they now have Liberty fabrics!)

Back to the interview - Akram has been sewing since 2012 and is a lover of vintage styles with an enviable pattern collection covering many decades, as you will see. She is a lover of many crafts, and while her pictures of cakes look delicious, I know you're all here for the patterns....

Akram - How and when did you start collecting vintage sewing patterns? 

I learned to sew in 2012 and not long after I decided that what I wanted to sew the most was vintage fashion. So, by early 2013 I was on a mission to start looking for vintage patterns. One of the first patterns I got was Simplicity 3580 and I was super excited because it was also one of the first I found in my size. Sadly I still haven't sewed this pattern yet, and hope to remedy that with this year's vintage pledge.
Where did you get your patterns from?

I'm pretty lucky when it comes to getting vintage patterns, there are a lot of vintage/antique store and flea markets in my area and within one to two hour driving distance. When I first started collecting vintage patterns I thought hey wouldn't it be great if I could find vintage patterns at one of these antique stores. As it turned out I started not only finding them but boxes of them. At first I would go through the box and try to see which patterns I wanted, then after fawning over so many my hubby would take it upon himself to find a clerk and ask how much would it be to just buy the whole box. As it would turn out buying in bulk was always a better deal and I would end up with 10 - 20 patterns a box for $20 to $30 dollars.

Most recently I even got luckier when I happen to meet a lady at a work event who was in the process of getting rid of her mother-in-law's pattern stash. I started talking to her and few days later I was given three totes full of patterns.
How many patterns do you have and how do you store them?

Since I come across vintage patterns frequently and buy in bulk I have quite a few in my collection. I wouldn't consider myself a hoarder per-say but after counting my patterns I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 vintage patterns. The majority of my vintage patterns are from 1960's through the 1980's, with Simplicity and McCall's being the most frequent brands.
As far as storing them they pretty much have been in totes. Currently I'm in the process of placing all my patterns in comic book plastic sleeves and storing them in some file cabinets I got last summer. I'm also going through the process of cataloging my patterns so I know what all I have.
What's the oldest patterns in your collection, and have you made it?

The oldest patterns in my stash are from the 1930's and I have about 10-15 patterns from that era.
While I said earlier that I typically find Simplicity and McCall's patterns the older patterns come from many forgotten brands such as DuBarry and Advance patterns, sometimes even from brands I'd never heard of.
What attracts you to collect the patterns you have?

After learning to sew I realized that I could have that vintage wardrobe I had only ever dreamed about, by making my own clothes from vintage patterns. This of course is why I buy and collect vintage patterns. I also love the history behind each and every pattern.

I love seeing the writing on patterns, where the original owner jotted down measurement notes or names of who the pattern was to be sewn for. Sometimes the coolest thing about the pattern is what you find stored with it.

For example this Mariam Martian mail order pattern from the 1930's had the original newspaper clipping of the the pattern in the paper tucked within the pattern envelope.
Do you have any favourite style eras?

My vintage pattern stash is quite diverse in range of years, dating form 1930 to 1980's and even some 90's patterns. The truth is I'm not too picky when shopping for vintage patterns, as I said before I tend to buy in bulk so I might end up with all sorts of styles and decades.

As far as my own fashion choices I tend to have an eclectic taste. Just take a look at the patterns I've chosen for my vintage pledge. I have everything from a 1940's day dress, 1950's full skirt dress, 1960's suit and even a 1970's shirt pattern.
Can you pick three favorites and have you made them?

With such a large collection of vintage patterns it's hard to pick three favorite. However, I can pick three favorites out of the ones I have actually sewn.

The first is mail order Anne Adams pattern 4746 a wrap dress from the 1960's. It's one of the first vintage patterns I made and I absolutely just love how the dress turned out. The second is 1956 Simplicity pattern 1691. This pattern is an 8 gored skirt and made version 1 using a similar fabric and even added all 40 accent buttons to the skirt, I just love it. Finally my all time favorite pattern I made is Simplicity 1649 a simple day dress from 1946. I adore how this dress came out and the pattern was both simple and full of cool features like the tabbed pockets for instance.

Is there a pattern you think you'll never make, but will never get rid of? 

I can't say for sure. When I first started collecting I ended up with a lot of children patterns, which I wasn't sure what I would do with. Then last year my sister had a baby and so, now I find myself sewing all these cute vintage little girl patterns and even some vintage toy patterns I thought I'd never use.

Perhaps, this is why it's so hard for me to part with any of my patterns, simply because I might one day find a need to sew each and everyone of them.

I hope you enjoyed taking a look at my vintage pattern stash :)

Thanks for sharing your stash with us, Akram! Those three boxes of patterns you were given - amazing! I would have loved to dive into those, it must have been really exciting. 

One day I will organise my patterns properly too, in comic book storage....

K x


  1. This stash is amazing, what a selection! And very lucky with all the finds :)

    1. I know! I haven't seen a good selection of charity shop patterns in so long

  2. What a great pattern stash - especially those 1930s ones. I have to admit that Akram's storage and cataloging puts me to shame with my unorganised stash!

    1. I'd never thought I was particularly a fan of 30s patterns but those do look lovely, especially the Du Barry evening dress.

    2. Thanks, but in must admit I only have just started organizing my patterns and am still in the process.

  3. Great pattern stash! I thought I had a lot of patterns, but you have about twice as many as me. I love finding things in the envelopes. I've found scraps of fabric, ads for the pattern and store receipts. It's fun getting a little glimpse into the past. And I love that last Simplicity pattern that you made.

    1. 400 patterns is still a lot! :-) It's lovely finding little snippets of the past in pattern envelopes, sometimes I've found little bits of fabric, which is cool

  4. Replies
    1. I know! I thought I had a lot but that is incredible, I bet you could spend hours looking through them all


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