Meet Birgit!

by Erin on November 11, 2009


Vogue 9347

If you've spent any time on the Vintage Pattern Wiki at all, you've met Birgit (she uses the name Tarna there). Birgit has made more than FORTY THOUSAND wiki edits, and is one of the main helpful elves who help maintain the wiki, keep it neat and tidy, and hold the hands of those who need help—and boy, do I appreciate it!

Here's a quick interview with Birgit:

How did you get involved in the pattern wiki?

One fortuitous day in early December of 2007, I read on your blog that a wiki for Vintage Sewing Patterns had been established. Finally, my hoarding of pattern pictures already sold was given a justification! I promptly proceeded to upload them, and start scannning in all the others, and have not stopped ever since. I format, add categories and descriptions, clean up redundant categories, track down listing duplicates, typos and broken or expired links – almost every day.

What do you like to do best in the pattern wiki?

I absolutely love doing a random search, and happening upon a treasure I had never seen before. It is a bittersweet thing, as most of them are not (immediately – hope springs eternal) available. Another delight is seeing what new pattern images have been uploaded, as well as discovering that one of the elusive wished-for patterns had a new vendor listing added. Seeing a picture of someone's finished work is the ultimate, though.

Generally, the idea of preserving the history of these patterns, making them approachable, searchable, and link to the ones you can buy is what I love about the wiki, and with over 22,000 pattern pages now up it is becoming more useful every day. I have even been contacted by magazine writers who were looking for a high resolution image for the article, based on their search of the wiki.

Do you have any favorite pages?

There are too many patterns to list – I am a serious addict – but when it comes to the special pages, New Files is among my favorites as a quick gallery of new additions. The Designer category pages also stand out.

How would you encourage other folks to get involved?

Just start by browsing around; get familiar with the Search feature (what it does and does not bring up) and with the general formats and the proper date ranges (no later than 1985). Then, get to uploading. If you have questions, ask one of the frequent contributors by going to the Community tab on the left, or use the forums. If you make mistakes, don't worry – most are completely and easily fixable.

And please, pretty please, upload pictures of your finished vintage creations. There are far too few (check out the Gallery Photos category). At least, add a link to your other online postings such as blogs, picture galleries and reviews. Petite Main, our busy admin, is doing an incredible job of hunting these down and linking them, but certainly, there must be more of you out there actually sewing and creating!

Are you active in any other wikis?

Um … no. I certainly hope nothing else I am seriously interested in comes around – housework and other necessities would end up completely neglected.

Birgit also runs the Stitches and Loops pattern store at Main Street Mall Online — the pattern at the top of this post is from her store, isn't it gorgeous? I also love this Incredible Stealth Pocket Dress and this Mollie Parnis designed shirtwaist. Sooo pretty.

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