Friday, January 23, 2015

Miss Lillian's Postcards: Vintage Tweet from Tillie, May 26, 1908

Postcard 027

Sender:  Tillie
Addressee: Miss Lillian Maguire, c/0 Mrs. Mueller, 1902 G" Terry Ave., Seattle, Wash.
Postmark: St. Louis, MO
Date: May 26, 1908
Image: Los Banos (The Baths) San Diego, Cal.

This postcard from Lillian's co-worker in St Louis, Tillie, shows a photograph of Los Banos (The Baths), located in San Diego, California. I don't think this building exists anymore. At least, I could not find it on the internet.


Hello, Lillian; -
I received your pretty
card, was very glad to hear
from you, also glad you 
liked the photo. We are having
warm weather, give me the good 
old summer time. Hoping to hear
from you soon again. Tillie.


So Tillie loves the summer weather. :) Of course, in May it was probably still pleasant. I was searching for information on the climate for St. Louis, to see just how bad it could be, bad enough that a person would have to move elsewhere for their health. And it seems to be essentially very hot & humid in the summer (sub-tropical almost) and freezing in the winter. So a move to Seattle for Lillian would have meant a move to a much more moderate climate, not too hot in the summer and not too cold in the winter. :) Smart move.

A beautiful afternoon dress 1907

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Trimming a Satin Frock

Reverse pin tucks! AND hand-embroidered panels! This is a win-win tip from Ruth Wyeth Spears for her 1920s audience. Can you visualize it - a black satin frock with panels embroidered in peacock blue and gold? I simply love Ruth's ideas.

Do you think it's better to embroider the panels and then stitch them to the dress, or complete the sewing of the dress and then embroider it? My guess is the former, but I could be wrong. :)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sewists Use Tip to Sew Lovely 1920s Dresses!

About a year ago, I posted this tip from Ruth Wyeth Spears and the 1920s:

This tip has inspired more than one sewist. I was thrilled to hear from Gabriela of the Pour La Victoire blog, who had recently created a 1920s frock and added a cascading drape using Ruth's tip. I think her results are absolutely wonderful and a fabulous testament to the 1920s. In the following images, borrowed from her blog, you can see how much the cascading drape adds to her evening frock. 

I   absolutely love the color of her frock, the beading is simply exquisite, and the total effect is simply elegant. I can't imagine the careful effort and amount of time it took to add the beautiful beading to the frock.

To read all the details of how Gabriela constructed this dress, check out her blog, Pour La Victoire. In her blog, Gabriela also mentions Lorna, who had also used this tip to accent her 1920s dress (along with a friend). Lorna kept in touch me when she was sewing her dress, so be sure to follow the links to her blog, Loran's World. Loran has sewn other wonderful 1920s dresses, and loves to knit too! So be sure to browse her blog and be inspired.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Before and After: 1950s Shortie Pyjamas Become Delightful Dance Costume!

This is a happy story to relate, in which a professional dance costume sewist (name: Helen) is asked to create a vintage pyjama costume for a dance contest. Happily for me, she turned to my shop on Etsy, Midvale Cottage,  and purchased this charming pattern, Advance 7803 from the mid-1950s.

The drama was in the shipping. She lives in the UK, I live in Seattle. It was New Year's Eve and she needed it ASAP but without costing more than she could charge for the finished product! Needless to say, she got it in time to sew it for her client. Hurray!

And here is the absolutely adorable costume that she sewed for her client. You can see that she sewed view 2. I love the choice of fabric, it is perfect for this vintage outfit. And the pom-pom trim makes it super-cute!

To see more photos of these pyjamas, her client's feedback, and more of her costumes for dance recitals and performances, visit her website: Dance Festival Costumes. Kudos to Helen on a wonderful result, and many thanks for sharing her pictures!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

1946 Originator Sketch: Artful Gathers Create Beautiful Frocks

While I am tempted to call it smocking, I suspect these frocks illustrate the use of shirring to artfully gather fabric, for a front peplum in one case and a side cascading drape in the other. Regardless, such clever, creative ideas result in beautiful frocks. Delicious!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Spadina Museum Staff Sew Ruth Wyeth Spear's Cloche

Almost a year ago, I posted this tip from Ruth Wyeth Spears for sewing a charming cloche:

Last week I was totally delighted to hear from the staff at Spadina Museum, a 1920s house museum located in Toronto. They created this hat, using Ruth's instructions, and then posted the results (complete with steps) on their Facebook page. Now is this cute or what? What a success! :D Be sure to visit their post on FB and look at all the pictures. Spadina Museum looks like a must-see if ever I can make it to Toronto!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Spotted in a Shop Window: Diagonal Details Make the Dress

Simple yet elegant sheath, spotted in the window of Nordstrom in downtown Seattle. I love all the diagonal folds, with the skirt mirroring the bodice. I am not sure why putting the mannequin in a cage was considered creative, but it doesn't diminish the eye-catching style of this elegant little dress. That is a beautiful blue, too.