Stash Interview with Carol Ferraro for #vintagepledge

This month's pattern stash interview is a bit different. Carol from the blog The 4 Bushel Farm got in touch with me when I posted about co-hosting the Vintage Pledge challenge in January. She left a comment to say she'd been collecting and making patterns she had first made in the 1960s and 70s, and I wanted to find out more about her story. We exchanged emails and she kindly agreed to tell us more about her relationship with sewing and sewing patterns. Take it away Carol....

Hi Kerry!

Thank you for bringing together so many folks who share a love of vintage sewing patterns.  They are a very talented and creative group.

Carol in her Vogue 9212

Tell me about yourself
I was born in the 1950s and my first sewing-related memory is a fascination with my mother’s Singer treadle machine.  She made pretty play aprons and dirndl-style skirts for me.  When I showed an interest in sewing, she upgraded to a Brother machine in a cabinet, which she still has.
Carol's Home Ec skirt pattern

When did you begin sewing and who taught you?
Back in my day Home Economics was required for girls in junior high, which included one semester of sewing.  The curriculum for 7th grade was an A-line skirt and 8th grade was a jumper.  I still remember Mrs. Benham being very fussy about pattern placement on napped fabric (I had chosen mid-wale corduroy for my jumper).  My sewing took off from there and I was creating dresses with bell, puff, and straight sleeves from a plain A-line pattern.  I would further change the look by adding a stand-up collar or lace trim.  I sewed everything, including lingerie and my wedding dress
(Simplicity 6940).
Carol's wedding dress pattern – she made view 4 but changed it to cap sleeves with a train added from another pattern

My sewing needs changed while raising 3 sons, and my sewing machine pumped out Halloween costumes and mended ripped out pants knees.  Somewhere in those years I sent most of my original patterns to local thrift shops.  Vogue 7761 came with me on every move until about ten years ago, when I finally thought I would never sew another dress.
Carol's favourite Vogue 7761

Why did you start buying vintage patterns, and how?
Whether mid-life crisis or pure circumstance, I started noticing vintage patterns at thrift shops, rummage sales, and online.  Imagine my excitement when I found patterns that I had made way back when!  I have acquired not only the skirt and jumper patterns from Home Ec but many patterns that I had made as a young adult, including my wedding dress.  And best of all, the Vogue 7761 that I kept until last.

I remember making red corduroy bell-bottom hip huggers with a matching bolero for 10th grade Valentine’s dance, so I’m tickled that flare legged pants are coming back-  I’ve just bought a bell bottom pattern on Etsy that are next on my sewing machine for Spring!

How many patterns do you have, and how do you store them?
It’s almost embarrassing to admit that I have close to 300 vintage patterns.  My 23 “re-aquired” patterns are in a wicker case along with about 30 more that I want to keep and two very special mail-order apron patterns that belonged to my mother.  My “rotating” collection is currently around 225 patterns, and is kept in cardboard boxes.  These are ones I would sell on Etsy or trade online.
Do you have any favourite style eras, and why?
I admire the fashions of the 30s, 40s, and 50s but my era is definitely the mid-60s through mid-70s. My favorite designers were (and still hold a special place) Mary Quant, Jean Muir, the early years for Betsey Johnson, plus Daniel Hechter, and John Kloss.
Carol in her Daniel Hechter jacket - Butterick 3353
3 Favourite patterns:
My Vogue 7761, definitely.  I made view A in a mid-weight textured cotton weave in the same red as seen on the envelope.  It was comfortable and appropriate for work and social functions.  Loved it!
Simplicity 7493 - What great envelope graphics!  I made this 3 times in my teens.  I’m tempted to make it again.
Simplicity 7750 - This one also has great graphics.  I had a ready-to-wear drop-waist dress and enjoyed wearing it.  I think it’s time to bring the style back!


Thank you so much Carol! I love hearing different sewing stories and Carol's shows how evocative sewing patterns can be. Seeing a pattern you've made years ago can bring back memories of the garment and where you wore it. Although I haven't been sewing for too long (5 years), when I see an old photograph of myself wearing clothes I'd forgotten I ever had, it's enjoyable to cast my mind back to the past. I wonder if when I look at pictures of my handmade clothes in the future, I will remember the things I liked and disliked about them, and anything that went wrong when making up the pattern?

I love getting blog comments when you readers recognise a vintage pattern I've posted here. I wonder which contemporary patterns will be making us reminisce in 20 and 30 years time?

K x


  1. What a lovely post. I wonder if we will all still have our vintage patterns after all that time? V7761 and S7750 are fantastic. Xx

  2. It's so coll to hear from someone who made these patterns when they were released and continues to love and sew from them now! I think that speaks to quality and design of vintage pattern makers. A good classic never goes out of style. :-D

    1. Hi Michelle - yes, it does say a lot for the quality of these patterns doesn't it?

  3. Lovely interview, thank you to you both!

  4. This is such a cool idea, recollecting patterns! I totally want to see the old and recent makes side by side now :)

  5. Oh my gosh, what a fun post! Love seeing Carol in her now-vintage makes! :D

  6. Thank you to Kerry and everyone commenting! I hope you will all have fond memories of favorite patterns, and even of ones that may be a little "challenging" :)

    1. Thanks Carol for sharing your photos and story :-)

  7. Great post!
    I loved the photos of Carol wearing the clothes from the patterns!
    And I have to agree that Vogue 7761 does look wonderful!

  8. Such a nice (and enviable) collection of patterns! ;)


Thanks for reading and commenting - I love to hear what you have to say