Thursday, February 4, 2016

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - A Pair of Beaded Shoe Buckles

Here we are in the last season of Downton Abbey and I am been very remiss in posting more of Ruth Wyeth Spear's wonderful tips from the 1920s for the home sewist! To remedy the situation, here is a wonderful post for making a pair of beaded shoe accents, which Ruth states that you can make "quite easily and very economically"! Do you have "some cut steel beads, a scrap of buckram, a half yard of fine hat wire, and a bit of black satin"? Then make a pair for yourself to wear with your vintage 1920s dresses. And then make another pair as a gift! :)


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Miss Lillian's Postcards - Vintage Tweet from Mother

Sender: Mother
Addressee: Miss Lilian Maguire, #1902 g Terry Ave, Seattle, Washington
Postmark: St Louis, MO
Date: November 6, 1908
Image: Merchants Bridge, St. Louis, MO.

According to Wikipedia, the Merchants Bridge is a rail bridge crossing the Mississippi River in St. Louis, MO. It opened in May 1889 and is over 4, 000 feet long. To experience crossing this bridge while on a train, check out this video on YouTube.


Dear Lilly
I have sent a package
by express today so
you can be on the look
out for it. Hope all
feel well we are 
all well.
Love to all from all
Your Mother

This is so lovely, to see a postcard to Lillian from her mother. I love her closing "Love to all from all". To all means Lillian, her sister Anne, and Anne's husband Ade, who all live at 1902 G Terry Avenue. I am guessing that "from all" means that Lillian has one or more siblings still at home with her parents. In time we will see postcards from these siblings. I wonder what is in the package that Lilly's mother sent. What merited sending it by express? All we can do is wonder!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Scraps from the Past: Cute 1950s Toddler Dresses

With the end of January, my thoughts are turning to spring and what better time to think about sewing a sunny party or play dress for a toddler? Two recent listings in my shop are the patterns listed below for toddlers, and each pattern had a fabric scrap! Each is from the early 1950s.

The pattern: Simplicity 1149 (size 1 is in my shop)

The scrap: The fabric scrap is the collar for view 2 and is a charming soft cotton, with teal polka dots. I can envision this fabric for view 3, myself - so cute with those scalloped edges.

The pattern: Simplicity 4136

The scrap: The fabric scrap looks like it might have been intended for the sash tie. It is a beautiful sateen cotton in soft aqua blue. I don't think the scan captures the shiny quality of the sateen, but it is lovely. I can visualize it for both views.
Are you inspired yet?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

In Search of Style - Apron Inspirations!

The pattern: Tucked inside this very charming apron pattern, Simplicity 1359, were a couple of large sheets of folded paper. What could they be?

What's inside: What a treasure - it's apron heaven! The sheets of paper (one extra large) were filled with images of hand-drawn aprons! They look like they were most likely traced from mail order pattern offerings in the newspapers. Isn't this a completely delightful and diverse collection? 

A couple of the aprons have the pattern number written next to them, and a few are identified as 1-yd aprons. It would be fun to find all the patterns for these aprons. I love how our mystery sewist focused on the ornamentation details and fabric choices. 

The extra large sheet required two scans to get all the images. There are so many cute aprons illustrated on these sheets, I don't think I could pick just one favorite, I would have to sew a full collection. Wouldn't you? :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Scraps from the Past: Toddler Coat in Sunny Corduroy

I so enjoy finding fabric scraps tucked into vintage sewing patterns. They provide a window into popular fabric trends to match the vintage pattern style itself.

The pattern: This pattern for an adorable dress, coat, and cap for a toddler just begs to be sewn. It is easy to imagine these fetching items from Simplicity 3807 and 1951 in any number of fabrics and colors. It's very inspiring!

The scrap: A small scrap of a very fine pinwale corduroy was included in this pattern. It is a soft fabric, and a warm color, perfect for spring. Certainly the fabric was used for the coat and hopefully for the hat. It does make one wonder, though - what fabric did they use for the dress? 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Vintage Christmas - A 1961 Seattle Dream

I wish everyone a heart-warming holiday, and all the best in the new year! Enjoy these photos that I took of  this year's vintage-themed holiday window display at the long-time jewelry store Fox's in downtown Seattle. The display features items from late 50s and early 60s, with a special nod to the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Scraps from the Past: 1960s A-line Skirts in Wool for the Winter

The pattern: This wonderful and easy-to-sew A-line skirt from 1962 was a wardrobe must-have in that decade. It was easy to sew and flattering to wear! And this pattern from Simplicity provides the A-line skirt proportioned for short, medium, and tall heights. Now that makes it easy to fit!

The original sewist left her notes on the envelope front. Beginning at the top of the envelope, she wrote "For Jan - Dec '64". So, do you think the skirt was sewn for January - December 1964? Or do you think Jan is the person who got the skirts? In any case, the sewist goes on to describe what was sewn:
"Made blk herringbone - 25-1/2" waist
Took 3/4" seams on side
Fin lgth 24-1/2
3/4 yd - 54" enuf
Made blue skirt - 25-1/4" waist

Simplicity 4466

The scraps: Two small snippets of wool in a herringbone weave were pinned to envelope. Here is the black fabric that she used, and the very pretty blue. Both are a comfortable, light weight wool. Yum, classic fabric for classic skirts! Looking at the pattern can you visualize the skirts in these fabrics?