It’s no secret that the Selfish Seamstress has a weakness for vintage patterns. She has a huge stash of treasures and goodies under her bed which she occasionally takes out and stares at wistfully, wondering how it came to pass that her waist is not the same circumference as her neck, as would be necessary to do these garments justice:

Today I’m going to show you some of my favorites from the formalwear collection. It’s time to wake up your inner girlie girl! (Click on the images to see them in detail.)

First up, some marvelous masses of tulle to satisfy the fairy princess prom queen in you (top L. to R.: Vogue Special Design S-4606, Simplicity 1770, Simplicity 2231; bottom L. to R.: Simplicity 3503, Advance 8952):

Then some brilliantly jewel-colored cocktail, bridesmaid, and garden party dresses for a little romantic fanciness (top L. to R.: McCall’s 4425, McCall’s 3537, Simplicity 1153, McCall’s 3933; bottom l. to r.: Simplicity 1610, Simplicity 2766, Simplicity 1795):

Some large format extravagance, by which I mean the envelopes for these patterns are gigantic (L. Vogue Young Fashionables E-11, R. Vogue Couturier Design 883):

An absolutely smashing strapless top for the diva in you (Simplicity 4320):

And lastly my absolute favorites- the full on gala gowns that pull out all the stops (top L. to R. McCall’s 3466, Vogue Special Design S-4795, McCall’s 3399; bottom L. to R. McCall’s 3439, Simplicity 4440, Advance 6291):

Jealous yet?  The Selfish Seamstress grows ever more powerful as she feeds on your envy. And she’s got a lot more patterns under the bed that you haven’t seen.

In all seriousness though, does anyone know how copyright on these things work?  They’re all from the 1950s and early 60s.  If I wanted to, could I make them freely available for download on my website? Or would a 97-year old pattern designer from Advance come after me with her cane shrieking, “You take my ball gown pattern off your web computer internet e-site right now or I’ll sue, you sassy digital age strumpet!”? Ha. Sorry, I’m still working on my little old lady impression.

UPDATE: I just got this from McCall’s customer service (in response to my inquiry, that is.  They’re not just randomly surfing my blog):

Thank you for your email concerning McCall Patterns.  Whenever possible we try to provide our home sewers with the information they request.  The copyright is still held.

Meg Carter,
Consumer Services

Bummer!  Oh well, feel free to draft from scratch as you see fit.