Thursday, January 19, 2017

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s: Smart Treatments for Pleats

In this tip from the 1920s for home sewists, Ruth Wyeth Spears provides some tips for adding smart details to box pleats. As usual, she provides wonderful illustrations that leave no doubt as to how to implement the tips.

 I especially like the second tip on creating extended points of the box pleats. Do you have a favorite? Would you ever use these tips?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Scraps from the Past: Sewing a Season's Worth of Girl's Blouses

The pattern: McCall's 9563, a set of classic blouses for a growing girl from 1953.

The scraps: Cut pattern pieces of the short sleeve and peter pan collar were the scraps inside this pattern envelope. The multiple cuttings in green and white plaid and pink and blue plaid tell me that this sewist was efficient! She was clearly cutting fabric for multiple versions of the blouse at the same time, as she prepared for spring and summer wardrobe needs of her young girl or girls. These scraps are a lightweight cotton, soft and yet durable for summertime fun. The big question is.... why didn't she sew these pieces? We will never know, but we can admire her efficient approach to sewing!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Miss Lillian's Postcards: A Christmas Postcard from Father

Sender: Henry Maguire, Lillian's father
Addressee: Miss Lill Maguire, 1902 G Terry Ave, Seattle, Washington
Postmark: Santa Barbara, Cal
Date: Dec 25, 1909
Image: Potter Hotel, Santa Barbara, California. Coast Line, S.P.R.R.

This amazing resort hotel no longer exists, alas. It was still rather new at the time of Mr. Maguire's visit to Santa Barbara, having been built in 1903. It was a veritable phenomenon, in size, luxury, and accommodations, and many families stayed a month or more. Along the front were sun, shaded and glassed-in porches. Above, roof gardens provided spectacular views of the ocean, islands, mountains and the city. The grounds were elaborately landscaped and included tennis courts, a zoo, a palm and fernery building, cactus gardens and enchanting pathways. The gardens were constantly renewed to astonish the winter guests with a showy variety of blooms.

The Potter had its own post office, water system, power plant and a railroad siding that led onto the grounds to allow the bulk shipment of fuel and groceries. Directly behind the Potter the Southern Pacific Railroad built their new station with a pathway leading directly to the Potter. Alas, the hotel burned down in 1921.

Dear Daughter
Package received.
Much oblidge[d].
your Father
H Maguire

Written and posted on December 25th, 1909, this postcard from Henry Maguire conveys his thanks to his daughter for a Christmas gift received. Very sweet in its brevity, it shows family reaching out to family at this special time of year.

Season's greetings and best wishes to all my readers!

Monday, December 19, 2016

1930s Ball Gowns Put the Accent on the Shoulders

These formal gowns from December 1936 feature extra-wide skirts, narrow waists and eye-catching sleeves. Such a thrilling and elegant movie-star quality! Enjoy this eye candy as a way to de-stress from any holiday madness you may be experiencing.

Friday, December 16, 2016

1960s Ball Gown with Chiffon

You could float through the evening in this dreamy strapless ball gown from 1965. It has a full circle skirt of chiffon, drifting from a tiny high bodice of satin .

You would make an unforgettable entrance at any holiday soiree!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Scraps from the Past: A Party-Pretty Dress in a Floral Print

The pattern: McCall's 5852 is a sunny, pretty dress from 1961 that is proportioned for your height.

The scrap: Tucked inside the envelope was this narrow strip of floral print cotton. I love how the colors are still bright. Can you visualize the dress in this fabric?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

1930s Frocks with Eye-Catching Gathers at Necklines

These three ladies are wearing such smartly styled frocks, and they know it! On the left, No. 9039 features a fan yoke, one-in-piece with the petite shawl collar, and all in satin. The middle dress, No. 9027, features a V-neckline with a white vestee adding a pop of brightness. The marvelous frock on the right, No.9048, features a square draped neckline. Such yummy fashion!

From McCall's Magazine, December 1936