Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s: Teen's Petal-Skirted Party Dress

If you need a 1920s-style party frock for a teen girl, this tip from Ruth Wyeth Spears describes how to whip up a lovely petal-skirted dress.  Just get a few yards of crepe de chine in a lovely color and in no time you can have your girl looking chic for a summer party! The simplicity of the design amazes me - Ruth's techniques require no pattern and allow you to fit the dress to wearer. Don't be held back by the idea that this is a young girl's dress - I think it would work for any age!

As an interesting aside, girls remained girls much longer in the 1920s. Note how Ruth Wyeth Spears refers to "young girl" and "young daughter" in this sewing tip, but defines that as 16 to 18 years! Of course, back then sizes were defined in "years" as well. :)

Miss Lillian's Vintage Postcards: With Affection From Lizzie

Postcard 36

Sender: Lizzie Mulvey
Addressee: Miss Lilian Maguire, 1902 G Terry Av, Seattle, Wash.
Postmark: St Louis, MO
Date: Aug 24, 1908
Image: Reproduction of painting - outdoor scene labeled "Late Fall"

You can just barely see the title of this scene at the center bottom of the postcard - "Late Fall". It certainly looks like winter. The small figure in the lower right corner is most likely a person bringing in the harvest. It is a chilly scene for a postcard sent in August. :)

Dear Lillian,
Your postal
was received and more
than glad to hear from you
hoping to hear from you real
soon again. We certainly 
did have nice times
together. With much love,
Lizzie Mulvey

This is the first time we have heard from Lizzie, who is apparently a long-time friend of Lillian's from St Louis. Lizzie penciled this message in reply to a postal from Lillian. She recalls the nice times they had together, and signs it affectionately. How very sweet. :)

Monday, June 8, 2015

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s: Upgrade a Plain Dress to a Plaited Frock

I just love the way Ruth's mind works! In this tip for her 1920s audience, she solves the problem of wanting a pleated (or should I say plaited?) frock when all one has is a plain dress pattern. The solution? Pleat the fabric first, and then lay the pattern pieces! So clever. :)

Ruth Wyeth Spears is such an inspiration!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Scraps from the Past: Sunny Summer Wartime Frock

The pattern: Du Barry 5791 (1944)

I love how the original owner wrote her name on the pattern, and drew an arrow to the version that she sewed. Someone also wrote in very faint pencil vertically next to "This view": "no geathers will bring back" - a somewhat mystifying statement, I can only guess at what was meant. The handwriting is different from the writing in ink, so it may have been someone else.

The scrap: This floral cotton print is just a smidgeon of a scrap that was tucked inside this vintage pattern from the war years. But it is still enough to let us envision this frock in a summery print of blue flowers with pink and green bits. It paints a very pretty and sunny picture!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

In Search of Style: Cute Mid-60s Swimsuit Fashion!

Are you ready for the water this summer with a cute vintage-inspired swimsuit? I recently posted a swimsuit pattern in my shop that had this page from the May '66 edition of Seventeen Magazine tucked inside.

Here is the pattern, Simplicity 5978! When comparing the two swimsuits in the ad with the pattern, I think the sewist had her eye on the lower suit, as it matches the swimsuit pattern the most closely.As you can see, the boy shorts-style trunks and the curved camisole bra top are not too far from the illustrated swimsuit (minus some ruffles) in the lower half of the ad. :) The only real difference is in the beach coverup - the pattern version actually resembles the bloused top of the upper swimsuit in the ad.

Any way you look at it, the suits are cute! (Not to mention their hair is cute too :) The nice bonus with Simplicity 5978 is that it includes a lovely slim dress with a lacy overblouse..

Simplicity 5978

Friday, May 8, 2015

Miss Lillian's Postcards: Vintage Tweet from Niagara Falls

Postcard 35

Sender: Nellie
Addressee: Miss Lilian Maguire, 1902 G Terry St, Seattle, Wash.
Postmark: Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Date: Aug 12, 1908
Image: General View of Falls, Niagara Falls

The fabulous Niagara Falls, looking fabulous in 1908. Comparing this image with a recent image on this page (which looks like it was taken from the same vantage point), it would appear that the structure in the lower right hand corner no longer exists.

Dear Lil,
Am having a
fine trip hope you
are enjoying yours
received you[r] cards.

Well how fun! Nellie is enjoying her summer trip to Niagara Falls, and is assuming that Lillian (misspelled as "Lilian" in the address) is on vacation too. This is the first we have heard from Nellie, who could be a friend or a family member. And evidently Lillian has sent her several post cards. In any case, lucky Nellie to be able to visit Niagara Falls, it was no doubt as thrilling then as it is now. From the postal stamp on the front of the postcard (Seattle, Aug 14), this postcard only took 2 days to reach Lillian!

And where will you be spending your summer vacation?

1907 Jabot Blouse

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s: Ribbon Accents for a Girl's Frock

So far the tips that I have posted from Ruth Wyeth Spears and the 1920s have been for women, but Ruth also wrote sewing tips for infants', children's, and men's clothing too! In this tip, a sunny summer frock for a girl is dressed up with some flower accents created with slim "baby" ribbon. Ruth describes the frock fabric as organdie, and the ribbon as two-toned or double-sided. I found several shops on Etsy that carry just this type of ribbon (for example, SewVictorianCrazy). I am sure that you could find more. It just depends on how true to Ruth's tip you want to be. :) Sweet tip!