Sunday, August 31, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Refashion a Smart Jacket

As long as we are on the subject of refashioning old clothes into new, this post from Ruth Wyeth Spears and the 1920s is very timely! In this article, Ruth describes how to make a new "mannish" jacket for yourself from an old jacket of your husband or brother or dad. She describes two ways to go about it, depending on the size of the old jacket you are working with and the size you need.

Autumn is the perfect time for tailored jackets and blazers, so definitely give this a try!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Mid-50s Refashion - From Robe to Lounging Jacket

Did you ever want a lounging jacket? Here is an inspiring re-fashion story from the 1950s, in which a robe is converted into a elegant lounging jacket. By replacing frayed sections and adding new fabric, you have a smartly re-styled garment!

Before: a "too short, red flannel robe with worn-out elbows"

After: a smartly-styled lounging jacket

The How: The sleeves, collar, and pocket facings of the robe were removed and the sleeve seams opened. Each sleeve was cut in two lengthwise, to use as a pattern for new sleeves. The robe was cut shorter, to finger-tip length. From the cut-off fabric, new sleeves were cut. One yard of black velveteen was used to make new facings (using the old as a cutting guide). New patterns were worked out for the collar and cuffs (diagram below). Patch pockets and a breast patch pocket were made.

Now if I only had enough time to lounge, and in such style!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Back to School: High School Fashion from 1949

In an earlier post, we got to see a vintage collection back-to-school fashion from 1949 and Woman's Day magazine. From that same source, today we get to look at the high school back-to-school fashion!

I am totally in love with this ensemble - love the blouse with its pin tucks and long bishop sleeves. And that skirt with the high waist - wow! 

Here it looks all together - tea length skirt with midriff-high waist, bolero, and blouse.

This is a one-piece dress that combines the skirt and blouse, short puff sleeved version.

Here is a "date dress" in corduroy: Jumper with midriff, blouse with puff sleeves. Do her bangs look too short to you?

And here is my favorite position - relaxed and reading a book! She looks so studious. :) This plaid wool skirt and matching stole is perfect with a sweater. Love it!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Originator Sketch - Bows and Cut-Aways

This is a great concept, and one that I see from time to time in vintage patterns from other decades. A jacket has the hemline or neckline cut-away so that the garment underneath (skirt, blouse, or dress) is exposed, with a bow or other detail that appears to be one with the outer garment. It always adds chic sophistication.

I love those extra deep, wide cuffs on the bolero. And while both skirts are cute, I love the one on the left, with its shaped high waist above the bow. Fabulous!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Back to School - College Fashion from 1949

Check out this wonderful back-to-school fashion for the college-bound, straight from 1949 and Woman's Day magazine. This gal is starting the school year with a fine collegiate wardrobe of tea-length skirts, snug jackets with weskit points, and fun boxy toppers.

This boxy topper (with a belt or not) has a wind-breaking collar and useful big pockets.  I love that pose. :)

Perfect for all uses - a suit made of a jacket with weskit points and a trouser-pleated skirt in wool.

Here is the same jacket & skirt in cotton velveteen, making the perfect "date suit". Her college date is wearing a suit too. ;)

This fabulous, sporty jerkin of bright wool felt  is made by leaving the sleeves out of the boxy topper pattern and adding a martingale belt in back. It makes a great warm addition to layer over sweaters and a wool skirt.

This shirtwaist dress in rayon is a "campus classic" for every day. So demure! Note the flash of color with the handkerchief in the breast pocket - nice touch!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Scalloped Trim for Summer Silks

This very charming frock is trimmed with scalloped edging - a very wonderful tip well illustrated and clearly explained by Ruth Wyeth Spears for her 1920s audience. The contrast fabric make this technique especially distinctive and appealing. Kudos for a great tip, Ruth!

And if you need a template for the scallops, just check this earlier Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s post on adding scalloped trim.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Miss Lillian's Postcards - Vintage Tweets from the 1900s - Boonville MO

Postcard 015

Sender: Gertrude C. Felten
Addressee: Miss Lillian M. Maguire,  3004 Vine Grove Ave., St. Louis, Mi.
Postmark: Boonville, MO
Date: July 11, 1907
Image: Hotel Frederick, Boonville, Mo.
Gertrude C. Felten, Boonville, Mo.

Sent from Booneville, MO, this postcard depicts the Hotel Frederick, built just two years before, in 1905. Considered a significant local landmark, this hotel is still serving guests and drawing great reviews. Just reading about the hotel's restoration and the fine reviews makes me want to visit it!

This postcard to Lillian has no message and is simply signed by Gertrude C. Felten, in Boonville Mo. Note that the address to Miss Lillian M. Maguire is written in a different hand. So one person addressed the postcard, and another signed it. Hmmmmm. I'll have to watch the postcards to see if that handwriting shows up again.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

1930s - Back Wrap Sun Dress

I don't know about you, but I want this sun dress. Make it sleeveless with bows on the shoulders or add cap sleeves and accent the front with buttons. Either way, it looks super to me!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

1960s Mother - Daughter Mod Hats

Here in Seattle, we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first performance in our city. What fun!! Special exhibits, performances by cover bands that specialize in the Beatles' music, and the like are going on all week.

So in honor of the Fab Four, and the Mod fashions that spread as fast as their music (aka the "British Invasion"), here are two hat patterns that I recently posted in my shop, one for girls and the other for ladies. Looking like Mother-Daughter patterns, they date from 1965 and typify the Mod style of that day. Totally groovy!

Simplicity 6274

Simplicity 6191

And here's a Beatles tune to add a little energy to your day. :)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Originator Sketch - Gowns That Drape and Dazzle

This Originator sketch from Spring 1946 features two beautiful concepts for evening wear, each featuring draping.

On the left is a full-skirted evening gown with a cowl-like drape just left of center front and below the knees in the skirt. A bit subtle, I think! The skirt is also accented with flowing sequins or bead embroidery.

On the right, a cascading drape on the right hip and small cowl-like drape above the right knee add elegance to this slim frock for dinner or afternoon wear. Sequins or bead embroidery add extra spark & dazzle.

Note that the full-skirted evening gown has a sheer yoke and sleeves, and a decollete under-bodice with sweetheart neckline. Gorgeous!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mid-1950s - Super Separates

Dressed in soft autumn colors, this model is wearing an eye-catching blouse from Advance that  features bold buttoned diagonal interest, and a skirt with light flare. It's a superb combination from 1955, courtesy of Advance patterns 7798 and 7799. :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - How to Line a Coat

We can infer from this post by Ruth Wyeth Spears that folks in the 1920s folks kept their coats to the point of wearing out the lining. We can also infer that pattern pieces for linings were not typically included in a pattern (which is true for patterns well into the 1940s and  even the 1950s).

Read Ruth's instructions carefully. I found most interesting her tip about placing plaits (pleats) in the fabric (not the pattern piece) near the hemlines before cutting. This enables the lining to fit the coat loosely. This method works well for lining any garment, including jackets, skirts, you-name-it. :)

She makes it sound so simple. :D Another winning tip from the 1920s!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hair-Dos from 1949 - Short and Sweet, Casual or Glamorous!

Straight from 1949 and Woman's Day magazine is an article that shows two different ways to set your hair with pin curls and instructions for brushing each into 4 charming hair-dos (for a total of 8!).

Set No. 1

Instructions for setting your hair:

  1. Working with wet, freshly-shampooed hair, part in the center.
  2. Set the hair in front with standing curls, making about five curls on each side, rolling the curls toward the face:
    Roll each pin curl tightly at ends, looser toward the roots, making each curl about the size of a quarter. Holding the curl firmly, stand it on its side and pin in place.
  3. Set 4 or 5 rows of flat pin curls on each side, rolling the curls toward the face.
  4. Keep the crown smooth and work around to the back (there should be 4 or 5 rows). 
  5. Scramble the direction of the curls near the center back so that hair will not pull apart at that point. 
  6. Be sure your hair is thoroughly dry before removing the hairpins.

Combing directions:

  1. Angel-wing hair-do: hair is simply brushed up into soft curls. The front hair is combed into high coils.
  2. Smooth and close to the head: hair is brushed down until flat, then swirled toward the face. Brush the bangs straight to the front and let the part fall in. Then comb the coils toward the center of the forehead.
  3. A smart coif: Hair is parted on the right side. Brush the left side back and up. The brush the back hair high, and the right side back to meet it.
  4. A feminine evening hair-do: Part hair on the right and brush the right side back until it is sleek. At center back, start combing the back hair left and forward in feather edges. Comb the left side back over these feather curls. At top right, comb back one large curl. Brush the rest of the bangs to the left side. Comb the bottom section into a flat half-bang.

Set No. 2

Instructions for setting your hair:

  1.  Working with wet, freshly-shampooed hair, make two diagonal parts in the front (as shown), then roll back these sections (which are shorter than sides), using 3-inch rollers. Hold the rollers in place with a hairpin or two.
  2.  Side hair and rest of front are set in flat pincurls about the size of a quarter. Roll hair from ends to roots, with ends tight and looser toward the roots. 
  3. Make 3 rows on each side and starting at the ears, 2 rows across the back.
  4. Roll all curls toward the face.
  5. Near the center back, scramble the direction of the curls so the hair won't pull apart at that point.
  6. Be sure your hair is thoroughly dry before removing the pins and rollers. 

Combing directions:

  1. Formal hair-do: Hair on th eleft side is combed around the ear toward the face, then curved over the ear in one large puff. Back hair is combed to the right anbd held with comb behind the right ear. Front hair on the right side is combed back to meet it and also anchored. The combined ends are then swept over the right ear and arranged in 3 flat puffs, curved toward the face. Shorter hair at top front is combed into a deep, smooth wave.
  2. Sporty, all-around casual hair-do: First pin the front section up out of the way, as it is combed last. Start to comb the sides and back under, like a pageboy, but pull apart and soften the roll. To soften the left side, comb high and swing back. To comb front hair, fluff high, and then brush into a deep wave.
  3. Graceful chignon: Pin the front section up, then comb hair back in waves from sides. Anchor with combs. Fluff out the ends in a cluster of large soft curls. Comb the band forward, and swirl slightly toward the right side.
  4. A pretty version of the Psyche Knot and ideal for summer: Front hair is combed last as usual. Hair is swept up from the sides and back and hold with combs. Comb the center back curls (keep the rolls large and soft) and pin. Comb the side curls, arranging the rolls to surround the center. Front hair is swept up high, then combed back in a cluster of deep ringlets.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Miss Lillian's Postcards - Vintage Tweets: Back from a Trip to Long Island

Postcard 014

Sender: Helen K. Conklin
Addressee: Miss Lillian M. Maguire,  3004 Vine Grove Ave., St. Louis, Mo.
Postmark: Greenport, N.Y.
Date: July 9, 1907
Image: High School, Greenport, L.I. (Long Island, New York)
Thanks for
card. Come
Helen K.

To be featured on a postcard, this wonderful brick high school must have been a notable building in Greenport on Long Island in New York state back in 1907. When I searched Google Maps for the high school in Greenport, the current high school resides in a handsome but newer building built in 1933.

Come again? So, Miss Lilian must have gone on a trip! And upon her return from this trip (which included Long Island), she sent a card of thanks to Helen. We don't know if Helen is a friend or a relation. But that formal signature of a full name by Helen K. Conklin makes me think she was an acquaintance rather than family.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Keep Cool!

We are having a "comfortably" hot August here in Seattle - I think this look is perfect for the weather. :)

I hope you are keeping cool with fashion as great as this!

Friday, August 15, 2014

1930s Sporty Frock - Golf Anyone?

Here is a delightful frock from 1937, apparently the perfect garment for outdoor fun. It appears to be cut on the bias, which always provides graceful flare and movement. I love the top-stitched center box pleat in the skirt front, the shaped yoke with wing revers, and that sporty action back. Wow, did you notice that she is wearing gloves to golf? How professional! :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Speedy Hemming Trick for Bias-Cut Frocks

This tip is very handy, I must say! Of course, Ruth is assuming you have a darning egg or ball (typically made of wood) at home. :) I actually have more than one, and used to use one to mend socks when I was much, much younger. But if you don't want to hang a newly-sewn bias skirt for several days before hemming, then you can either invest in one or use an item of similar weight (about 2 ounces or less - darning eggs are light weight - I would guess probably about the weight of a travel size container, in modern parlance).

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

1930s Sunny Frock with Peasant Details

Endearing and cheerful peasant lines distinguish this 1937 frock, with its colorful print (use your imagination!) trimmed with bright rick-rack and matching buttons!

Note the choice between puff sleeves and flutter sleeves.

And speaking of peasant lines, spotted in the line at Starbucks this morning was a skirt that shares a couple of things with this 1930s dress - a bright print fabric and rick-rack trim. Cute!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Miss Lillian's Postcards - Vintage Tweets from the 1900s: An Indiana Connection?

Postcard 013

Sender: George E. Bomberger
Addressee: Miss Lillian M. Maguire, #3004 Vine Grove Ave., St. Louis, Mo.
Postmark: Anderson, Indiana
Date: July 7, 1907
Image: I.U.T. Power House, North Anderson, IND.

Thanks for your pretty card. I will 
enquire about Mr. Forkner, but 
am not acquainted. I will try 
and let you know as soon 
as possible.
  Geo. E. Bomberger

Very mysterious - Why is Lillian trying to contact a Mr. Forkner via George Bomberger?An acquaintance of an acquaintance...?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Mid 1950s - Sheath and Matching Jacket are a Study in Gray

Mmmmm - she looks pleased, and who wouldn't in this fine gray sheath with a matching cute short jacket? I love that little belt closing in the front.

Note the notched cuffs on the fitted jacket - the small details can add such class. :)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Saturday, August 9, 2014

1930s Frocks - Tie it High

A collar that forms a tie belt? This wonderful detail plus a high waist, puff sleeves, and straight princess seams provide charm in this dress from 1937!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Mid-50s Cocktail Dress - Elegance in Green

Beautiful in green silk poult-de-soie, this ultra-feminine cocktail dress has a bodice that hugs the figure, a drop waistline with basque points, and a skirt that flares from the smooth, flat hipline.

Mmmmm. Mid-1950s marvelous.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Miss Lillian's Postcards - Vintage Tweets from the 1900s - Happy Birthday, Lillian!

Postcard 012

Sender: "A & A" (Anne and Adolph)
Addressee: [no address]
Postmark: [no postmark]
Date: [no date, since no postmark]
Image: Birthday Greetings and All good wishes (with image of rose)
  A & A

This post card is undated, and is from Lillian's sister Anne and Anne's husband Adolph. With no date (other than knowing Lillian's birth date of April 22), I randomly selected 1907 for this post card. Being unaddressed, it was most likely included with a letter or package. The corner shading gives away the scrapbook storage method of holding the cards by the corners.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - A Nifty Tip for Measuring Skirt Length

In this tip, Ruth Wyeth Spears gives her 1920s audience a rather clever technique for accurately measuring an even hemline for a frock or skirt when you have no one to help you. This is such a timeless and handy tip. Thanks, Ruth!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Originator Sketch - Spring 1946 - Trimming with Braid and Grosgrain Ribbon

While braid or ribbon trim on edges is a common accent technique throughout the decades, the rows of descending length make an architectural statement. Interesting.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

In Search of Style: Chic 1930s Blouse

I'm excited! It has been a long time since I've found a clipping insert in a vintage pattern. Now technically, this is isn't so much a case of "in search of style" as it is "style found", as you will see. :)

The Clipping: Found in the pattern was this 1950s clipping of a page from a Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalog. In the midst of all the different fabrics is this lovely blouse which you could order from Sears. "A Silk Blouse Makes the Suit" the ad proclaims. And doesn't the model look simply the essence of sophistication?

The Pattern: Superior 506 

The overblouse features a softly flattering neckline with a tie collar, 3-piece puffy elbow-length sleeves with lots of shirring, and a self-fabric belt. I love that contoured front midriff. It's inspiring fashion!


The full catalog page

What do you think? Did she order the fabric from Sears too?