Posts Tagged ‘vintage patterns’

Edited -scroll down for a picture of the special tape.

Last week I made a quick trip into Seattle ( Puyallup, really) to go to the Sewing and Stitchery Expo. Billed as the largest in the country, though somehow I don’t really think that’s the case, it’s pretty big. However if you’re not in the market for a big ticket embroidery machine, then you can easily move fairly quickly through the booths. 
That is, if you don’t look for fabric, either. 
Which means that of course I need to look through any and all booths that have fabric. Not just quilting cottons, but wools, silks, linens, and beautiful cotton shirtings and lawn. And I always peruse any notions. I leave out any of the trendy customizing items, like the rhinestones, paintsticks, and the embroidery. 
There is a vendor that has trims – vintage, imported, beautiful buttons, in every color and style. All organized by color and displayed on pretty shelves and tables. I dream of bringing the entire booth home with me.  But this year I left it all there. I also left behind some amazing wools – both cashmere and vicuna – the softest wool ever and the most expensive (which sells for upwards of $2000 per yard, though the salesperson told me I could have it for a steal of about $95). Well, no.
I did buy some fabric – two pieces of lightweight cotton lawn
 and    Also a cute piece of  semi-sheer dobby type shirting: .
I bought one piece of Kokka linen 

All of these are destined to become blouses. Now to decide on patterns; here are some of the candidates. I think it’s really funny that in three of these patterns, the one I’m liking is the version in yellow.     
      Yes, I know that two of them are dresses; I’m just thinking ahead a little.  

The other big score was a tape measure that I’ve been looking for for at least thirty years: it has one inch markings at each end. This is such a simple thing that I’ve been stumped as to why no one made one until now. That alone was worth the trip.  

ETA: here is a pic of the old tape ( white one ) and the new one –    because I’m a garment sewer, I wear a tape around my neck all day. I invariably grab the wrong end – the one with the blank / 60" and have to fumble to quickly grab the correct end -with the one inch. Now, either end that I put my hands on is the right one!

Read Full Post »

summer clothes

 Have I ever gone so long without posting? Hmmm.
Lately I just have no words. It’s true.

I have been sewing though. I started with a couple skirts: The first is a great print "Home Sewing is Easy"
 which reverses to  tiny high heels. I hadn’t planned on a reversible skirt, but I wanted the black piping around the edges, so I found the other print in my stash. I like it.  A clerk at the grocery said it looked "so happy".
Then, this skirt from a reversible fabric that I found on my trip to Victoria a few months back.   To finish it, I simply turned the edges to the right side and used a fancy stitch on the machine, and added grosgrain ribbon for the waistband and ties. 
Next, I made two dresses.       The first was a groovy grey and black architectural print, with a bias bodice and straight skirt. Made from Butterick 8520    which I found out was missing the skirt pieces so I borrowed some from another pattern. I love the high neck, but I’m sad that I couldn’t ever look as carefree as the model. 
The second  with two sizes of tiny rickrack (estate sale find!) around the neckline  of the paint-by-number bird print. I put big pockets in the side seams, narrowed down the skirt panels so that it wasn’t so full, and eliminated the collar from  McCall’s 3034 . It would be perfect if I had the waist in that drawing. 
Lastly I made two pair of pants from current patterns. Black and white seersucker  ( it looks grey ) with piping at the pockets  made from Vogue 2907 which I narrowed the leg to make it straight. . Then a tiny black and white check   pair from Vogue 7481 which I like the fit of ( yay! )  Complete with fake pocket flaps on the behind. 

I’ve made a few other things, but this is getting to be a picture laden post, so maybe I’ll do this again sooner. 

I have a week of quiet while the Richard’s are gone to Bonneville. I plan to get lots of sewing done, especially since we are not having the sunny summer that everywhere else is experiencing.

Read Full Post »


I can’t say that I’ve been sewing this week. Working outside, planting, painting the little boat soon-to-be-planter somehow upstaged that.
But all the time I’m doing those other things I think about sewing. What to work on next, what fabric, pattern, all that. What could I make, and sell? Ever the million dollar question, but with no concrete answer.

It keeps me up at night.

I’ve been working along on the pattern organization project. I now have all of the vintage men’s and kids and ‘craft’ patterns sorted through. Not nearly as many as the women’s though, less than a couple hundred. I did find some real gems in there:
One is a mail order pattern with one cent postage( ordered through the Seattle Times ) that is addressed to my (Auntie) Nell Nickles in Alaska – which I assume was before she was married. The envelope contained a child’s pattern. 
A Simplicity dress pattern from the forties with the approval seal of the NRA with the words ‘we do our part’ : 

A McCalls 1955 pattern that contained only some iron-on appliques ( of which two were missing ) of the dogs from Lady and the Tramp – officially licenced by Disney. Disney was early into marketing I guess.
I also have some curtains that are medium fade-y out of barkcloth with several scenes from the original Peter Pan movie (1953 ) A few yards of fabric in those – what to make out of them?. Also in the Disney ‘collection’ ( of which I do not ‘collect’ btw ) I have a early thirties pop-up book  "Mickey Mouse in King Arthur’s Court" that was passed down to me. I have no idea what to do with it.  
I digress. 
Lots of kid patterns with really cute pockets – bunnies, sheep, apples, rose pockets for the mom’s aprons.
A black mammy kitchen string dispenser ( the string comes out of her mouth ). Did someone really make that and hang it proudly on the wall??? 
A cute bunch of fruity stuffed dolls? ( that I secretly want to make but as potholders )  
and lastly, a great collection of accessories:   .

This post was to be about the new bag that I made, but I’ll leave those pics for another day. I’m busy dreaming of sewing all over again.

Read Full Post »


That was actually the name of a mail order pattern company fifty-some years ago. patt-o-rama. You can’t not smile when you say that name. I have a couple of them, along with another few dozen assorted small mail order companies like Anne Adams, Marian Martin, American Weekly, and Fashion Service.
Though I haven’t finished yet, the inventory list is really growing.Today I ordered a bunch more cellophane envelopes to put them into – I’ve used up 400+ so far. These clear sleeves/envelopes will protect those patterns that have no envelope, and keep together the ones that the original sleeve is so worn away that it’s falling apart. When I think of how many hundred times some of them must have been looked at, calculated for yardage needed, pondered over, put in and out of boxes or drawers over the course of 60 – 70 years I’m amazed that there is much left of them at all.  

Here’s the count to date:
McCalls – 86
Simplicity – 156
Vogue – 26
Butterick – 44
Advance – 42
Hollywood – 3
New York – 11
DuBarry – 7
Assorted Mail order – 30
These are the bulk of the women’s patterns. I still have the men’s and children’s to do.
All of the above arejust the ones from the thirties through the sixties, with the bulk of them from the 1950’s. It was fascinating to try to catalog them in some sort of order. Most of the companies didn’t date them, only a generic copyright, so I went by the font on the envelopes first, then the price, then the illustration. There’s a certain amount of sleuthing to get these all figured out – and its fun ( for me ). I’ll put up some pics of some of the better examples once I get finished. Ultimately I want to get a lot of the images uploaded to the Vintage Pattern Wiki . If you look there, and scroll down and click on "view random page" you might get a glimpse of what’s out there.

After I ran out of cellophane envelopes I began to make room for all of these newly catogorized patterns by weeding out more current ones. Two boxes pulled out so far, and four drawers to still go through.
I’m ready for a break – good thing I’m going for a long drive tomorrow to pick up Mom.

Read Full Post »

through one of the sewing lists that I read, this video was mentioned, and  I thought I’d attempt to share it here:
update: I couldn’t seem to get the embed thing to work so here is the link:


it’s kind of long, but a fun peek into another era.

Read Full Post »