Minerva Style Book 39- Larger Sizes for Lovely Ladies

I enjoy perusing vintage patterns, but it became quickly apparent I’m fortunate enough to fit the tinier sizes of yesteryear with minimal, if any, alterations. Many people I’ve met with a similar interest in recreating vintage duds are often frustrated by the lack of larger sizes, giving them the choice of attempting to reshape a garment, potentially losing its vintage appeal, or doing the math and resizing, itself a time-consuming effort.

Ladies and gents in past years were generally shorter and trimmer overall, with bodies shaped by a variety of different undergarments to fit the popular forms of the time. Even during the free and easy ‘flapper’ era of the 20′s, garments were intended for the idealized ‘boy’ body- small chest, narrow hips, and slender overall. In my digging at the NYPL, I came across several volumes dedicated to larger sizes, sizes which translate to a modern size 8-14.

I must apologize in advance for the grainy photos and occasional thumb appearance- scans would have been far too costly for the volume of works I was rustling through, so I opted to take photos with my digital camera. This had its pros and cons, but at least all the text is legible. I hope. Also, does anyone know how to PDF this stuff? As much as I’m sure people enjoy clicking and waiting for a million photos to load, the ease of a PDF would be preferable.

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  1. Women back then seemed to know how to dress themselves better. All I see nowdays is plus size women wearing clothing too small or too clingy for their body types.

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    1. Ladies and gents of all shapes and sizes nowadays are wearing unflatteringly clingy clothes, to the point ‘mantyhose’ are somehow edging in to fashion as the next logical step forward from skintight jeans. And whoever started that low-cut jeans trend deserves a sound thrashing in general. Yeesh. I’m particularly fond of the mid-30′s, as it discarded the slim fit of the 20s while not yet succumbing to the linebacker shoulders of the 40s (though on occasion I like both styles on their own as well).

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    2. Help with PDF

      Hi there,

      I saw your comment about creating a pdf. If you do a google search for jpeg to pdf you will find heaps of converters – either with free trail periods or free. They are normally pretty easy. if you have any trouble and you have the jpgs in an accessible location on a photo site I can always do it for you as I have full Acrobat software at work.

      Susan (Schussan on Raverly)

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      1. Re: Help with PDF

        Many thanks! I realized recently I didn’t have a full version of Acrobat, hence most of my frustration. However, I’ll try one of the trial versions you mentioned; that should work.

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      2. Here from a link on Ravelry. I’d like to put this post in my memories; may I?

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        1. These are great patterns, thanks for posting them. I love the stately attitudes of the models. I notice that larger also mostly meant older

          I must admit I prefer tight jeans to those worn so low they have to be held at the crotch to stay up. I think we’ve crossed several lines in fashion, from casual to carefree to careless to just plain disgusting. I used to interview applicants for my department and you’d be surprised how many asked if we had casual Fridays, more than asked about dental plans or continuing education assistance.

          The Antique Pattern Library at http://www.antiquepatternlibrary.org/ would probably be interested in this book and may offer assistance or advice with the scanning. I use freeware called PrimoPDF which will “print” to a pdf file from your print menu. Good grief, I went to the site to get you the url and found out I’m two full releases behind, I’m using 3.1 and they’re up to 5.0. It’s been so reliable I never thought about updating it. http://www.primopdf.com/

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          1. Alas, they only appear to work for Windows OS. Waah.

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          2. I love these “normal lady” sized patterns! Thanks so much for sharing them with us!
            I was wondering if you could tell me, how old does a pattern have to be to be public domain? I have a lot of older & vintage patterns I would like to share, but I don’t want to break any laws. Do you know?

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            1. Hmm, well copyright’s always a sticky wicket, but the general rule of thumb is 75 years after publication/author’s death. If it’s something like a knitting pattern with no specific author attributed/copyright belonging to the company, then generally 75 years after publication. At this point that means anything before 1934 is probably ok. It’s never cut-and-dried because things from before that time have renewed copyright and are not in public domain, other items from later years were never renewed and fell into public domain, and so on and so forth. I definitely toe the line since some patterns I post don’t fall under the rule of thumb even, but my only goal is to keep these patterns around, not make a profit.

              I’ve noticed several sites where people sell patterns definitely not in the public domain for $5 dollars or more and so far I’ve seen no takedown notices- the likelihood of actually getting in trouble is probably slim. But if it’s just the lawbreaking you’d like to avoid, I’d stick with the pre-1934 stuff to post.

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            2. Hi

              I love what you have done here… I use Open office it is a free down load program similar to ms word… It has an automatic export to pdf..

              This is the nz site for it http://www.openoffice.org.nz/ but if you goggle it under your country you should find it works well. Let me know if you have any troubles.

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            3. Mainly needed to submit and want to know where you bought your template? I’m scouting for one for my current weblog and really appreciate yours. Many thanks.

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              1. Hello there. I didn’t buy my template; there are plenty of lovely free templates available for WordPress. I heavily modified the Tarski template to suit my needs, but Tarski is a nice, basic, two-colum fixed-width setup that encourages modification.

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