Friday, March 27, 2015

Voices from the Past: Hurry Up, Mother, and Sew This!

A young woman sent a clear message to her mother when she wrote on the back of this lovely, swanky Advance pattern:

You can see her remarks in pencil: "Hurry up with my suit Mother! Hurry, Hurry, Hurry, Hurry". Just a tad anxious, do you think? :) Or was she just practicing her penmanship?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge 2015: Update on Project 1

My first project for the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge 2015 has begun! This past weekend I cut a muslin version of the dress and I have to admit - really, is a muslin necessary? But even a long straight waist-less dress deserves a proper fitting. :). Here are the pattern pieces cut from muslin, laid out on my living room floor. (To refresh your memory on what I am sewing, look at this earlier post.)

Notice all the printing on this early 1920s pattern from McCall Patterns. What makes it fascinating to me is that all the instructional information (how to lay the pieces on the fabric in preparation before cutting, how to sew the pattern, and other helpful information) are ALL on the printed patterns. Here are some close-ups.

Here are the guideline diagrams for laying the pattern pieces on the fabric.

Here are the actual sewing instructions - just four simple steps and a single diagram!

And also illustrated are inspiring possible combinations of fabric and ornamentation for the dress. I would love to try the dress on the far left, which is accented with hand embroidery or beads. The other combinations are equally interesting, though. Note how the embroidery pattern number used in the illustration is provided below each dress. Now if only I could order those! One thing that strikes me is just how versatile this basic dress pattern is - it looks perfect for dressing up or dressing down. :)

The other main pattern piece illustrates "how to" tips on binding a slash opening, finishing a plain hem, finishing a hem with seam binding, general seam finishing tips, how to make a bias binding, how to make a bias underfacing, and how to make tailor's tacks. You will notice that the pattern includes no facings (typical), so I will be using those skills to face the neckline and sleeves with bias binding. I'm not sure yet if I'll make the binding or buy it.

The pattern pieces have a skinny 3/8 inch seam allowance throughout, with the exception of a widening to a full inch through the hips, in case more room is needed there. So thoughtful. :) And the dress provides a generous 3-inch hem.

I'll keep you posted on the fitting!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Miss Lillian's Postcards - Vintage Tweets: Tillie Has a Nice Vacation

Postcard 33

Sender: Tillie
Addressee: Miss Lillian Maguire, 1902 G" Terry Ave, Seattle, Wash.
Postmark: St Louis MO
Date: July 21, 1908
Image: Nature art (spring; polychrome art series)

Well, there's not much information about this art reproduction. The picture paints a lovely spring scene in nature. The trees are just starting to leaf out and is that a flowering cherry tree in the center?

Hello, Lillian; - 
How are you, I 
received your pretty postal,
was very glad to hear
from you, and I thank
you very much. I had
my vacation last week,
had a fine time. I
will write later, and tell
you all about it. Hoping
you are all well, and I
hear from you again soon.
Your friend, Tillie

Lillian's former co-worker, Tillie, sends a hello to Lillian in this postcard. She thanks Lillian for her last postcard, lets her know she just had a week of vacation and will write later with the details in a letter. Now if only I had those letters! :)

A lovely blouse with jabot and beautifully trimmed vest (1907)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Pattern of the Week: Another Smocked Frock from the 1920s

My pattern of the week features this wonderful pattern from the 1920s for a girl's frock (size 10) that is structured with honeycomb smocking! If you don't want to tackle smocking, the pattern includes instructions for using shirring instead.

This pattern reminds me of a tip from the 1920s that I posted previously, in which Ruth Wyeth Spears describes how to accent a frock with smocking.

Both use honeycomb smocking to shape the fabric artfully and provide structure without darts or yokes or bands. Inspiring, don't you think?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Miss Lillian's Postcards - Vintage Tweets: Stella Says Hello

Postcard 32

Sender: Stella
Addressee: Miss Lillian Maguire, 1902 G Terry Ave, Seattle, Wash. c/o Mr. A. Mueller
Postmark: St Louis MO
Date: July 7, 1908
Image: Maxine Elliott

This postcard features the famous actress, Maxine Elliott. A very popular star of the stage at that time, Maxine went on to star in silent films too. She eventually owned her own theater and became very wealthy. Her life sounds very interesting and worth your investigation!

Dear Lill -
Rec'd your postal while away. glad you are
having such a nice [time]. Will write soon.
Kindest regards to Annie. With love, Stella

We hear from Stella, or I should say, Lillian hears from Stella in this brief postcard that features a photograph of a beautiful and popular actress of the times. This is a postcard where the address side is reserved for the entire address and so any note must be written on the front (image) side. Which doesn't leave much room. But then, postcards were used to send the briefest of notes, so in all, it works out fine. We don't know who Stella is, but since she sends her greetings to Lillian's sister, she must be either a close friend of the family or a relation.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s: The Popular New Jumper Dress!

Well this tip is an historical eye-opener! The jumper (as we know it in the USA) is a hot couture item, and I must admit that a drop-waist jumper is an intriguing fashion. Ruth provides a pattern for sewing your own jumper, along a suggestion that this fashion item provides splendid opportunities for "make overs" or re-fashions. I couldn't agree more!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Pattern of the Week: Sizzling Summer Style from 1951

I am a bit late, but not too late, to post my pattern of the week! This week's eyesome pattern is from 1951 and Woman's Day magazine. Superbly versatile, the pattern features a flared skirt and three different summer blouses, each an attraction on its own.

What makes this pattern special?
  • The skirt features a soft deep pleat at each front side, with adjacent small soft short pleats, full-length front button closing, and a contoured self-fabric buckled belt.
  • The halter neck blouse is dart-fitted, with a decollete V-neckline and front button closing.
  • The off-shoulder blouse is also dart-fitted, with a double flange collar framing the off-shoulder neckline.
  • The wrap blouse has a surplice closing with tie extensions and a wide decollete V-neckline.

For ease of viewing, here are the garments as illustrated in the instructions:

A bargain at any price!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cute and Colorful Spring Fashion from 1965

I love the POP! of jelly-bean colors in these great spring fashion items from 1965. Check out these cute coats and chin-strap roller hats while you think of spring. Yummy fashion!

Spring just begs for the addition of bright colors like these!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Voices from the Past: 1932 Soft Toys - Family of Little Pigs

This superb and rare craft pattern for a whole family of little pig soft dolls and wardrobe is from 1932. Aren't the details wonderful? Each pig is dressed and the face details are embroidered. And the instructions describe how to make the basket of fruit too. :)

This is a complete pattern, and yet the original sewist chose to re-write the instructions. I am guessing that the pattern was re-written so that it could be shared. I love the little illustration of embroidering the nose. :)

The fact that she reproduced the pattern pieces by tracing lends credence to my theory that she intended to share the pattern (a common practice in the thrift-driven Great Depression).

The pattern also include an hand-traced pattern for a soft rabbit toy.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge 2015 - My First Project

A dress from the 1920s is going to be my first project for the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge! I have the pattern for a basic dress, and the fabric, which is this rich terra cotta crepe de chine. I've bought some lightweight muslin so that I can sew a toile/muslin in preparation, although it doesn't seem like much alteration is going to be needed.

The dress has an inset and short scarf or tie, and I have not yet settled on what I want to use for those. Decisions, decisions! The dress pattern includes a godet, but I am not inspired to add it. I will think on that too. :) I do want to make a hat to match, though, one from RuthWyeth Spears' tips!