Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Paris Frocks At Home - 1930 (Part 6)

Capes and bertha collars are rejuvenating.

"Have you ever considered removing the sleeves from your last season's dress and adding a capelet at the armhole or a cape collar or a bertha at the neckline? One of the most successful Sunday supper frocks of the season is an inspiration for just this treatment.

Full capelets of net are set into the armholes of a black satin frock, a net yoke fills in the neck and the hem is transparent net for at least 13 inches.

The Deltors of new Butterick patterns will show you how to cut and apply these touches to your old frocks. Patterns, Nos. 2996 and 3004 were the source for the good looking capelet collar on this page and the smart bertha on the next. The little tie, in both cases, adds a soft flattering touch at the point of the V.

These collars and berthas are particularly good in chiffon, georgette or soft silk crepe."

Butterfly bows are effective.

"If you like a perky touch, try a butterfly bow at the joining of your bertha collar in the front. Illustration 168 shows you how to make it, gathering it through the center. It may be inserted through two vertical slashes or shaped in a double bow and tacked at the center front as shown in illustration 169. The tie should be cut as in illustration 165, slightly shaped through the center, and made with a rolled hem."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Paris Frocks At Home - 1930 (Part 5)

Sport clothes demand tailored necklines.

"An effective use of the straight tie for blouses is shown in illustration 163."

Do this to any old blouse.

"Make your tie.double and cut the ends slanting. Slip the tie over the neckline and draw the ends out through two horizontal bound slashes and loop or tie in a bow.
You'll see this finish on many smart frocks.

A shaped facing applied to the neckline of a sports blouse is often used with a little suggestion of fullness at the center front over which is tacked a softly made knot. (Illustration 164.) Stitch the right side of your facing to the inside of the blouse. Turn it toward the outside, gather the center front of the facing and draw it up slightly. Baste and stitch the turned-in edges of the facing down to your blouse. Make a knot, tack at the center front, and stitch the turned in edges of the ends down to your blouse.

Occasionally the ends of the facing are cut long enough to make the knot in one with the facing. The Deltor will show you how to do this."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Paris Frocks At Home - 1930 (Part 4)

Fresh touches for little girls' dresses.

"The Deltor will show you how to cut a shaped facing for the neckline of a child's dress with ends to cross in front, and how to stitch it to the inside of the neckline and fold it over to the outside. The ends of the little tabs are turned in and the right tab is lapped over the left one and the whole stitched down.

Illustration 160 varies this by lining the two ends of the facing, and making a bound buttonhole in each tab. The tabs are not stitched down to the frock but are buttoned down with buttons sewed on each side of the center front."

"There are many clever little touches that you can add to the necklines of last year's frocks and jackets that will make a youngster's eyes sparkle. Illustration 161 shows two little buckles posed each side of a neck with a band threaded through them. This doubled band is stitched down across the back to form the tailored collar."

Friday, September 25, 2009

Paris Frocks At Home - 1930 (Part 3)

The French bow knot.
"This same type of strip may be tied in a soft knot and used at the point of a V neckline with a collar of similar material tucked at the neckline to fit around the curve at the back of the neck and over the shoulder."

The lingerie touch.
"It is surprising how much a fresh lingerie touch in the form of a bow or a collar will do to modernize last season's dress. The Deltor is full of unusual suggestions for making the little collars and cuffs, bandings and chic lingerie bows that look so casual and so truly French. The mannequins on this page show two smart versions of the lingerie bow. Cut a straight strip of organdie, voile or batiste. Roll and whip or make a narrow hem around the four edges. You may have them picoted if you wish but hand work on lingerie details is always more desirable. Now make two bound vertical slits on the front of your blouse and gather your hemmed strip through the center and thread it through the slits. (Illustration 158.)"

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Paris Frocks At Home - 1930 (Part 2)

Reclaim worn sleeves.

"So often sleeves wear out before their time. Butterick has prepared - special patterns to replace them.

If a sleeve is worn at the elbow, cut it off here and combine it with lace or chiffon (Ill. 155), or add a flare below the elbow, (Ill. 156). If it requires a whole new sleeve, give it dolman sleeves of contrasting fabric in matching color-chiffon sleeves for a velvet frock or velvet sleeves for a crepe frock."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Paris Frocks At Home - 1930 (Part 1)

This week we are going to look at "Paris Frocks At Home" a book put out by Butterick in 1930. This has general sewing advice and lots of encouragement for using patterns, especially Butterick Delineator patterns, of course. There is quite a bit about keeping up with the newest Paris fashions, so here's a few of their suggestions for making over your old wardrobe.

"It has always been true: costumes individually created have that indefinable quality of charm that never fails to win interest and approval."

Make a Parisian wardrobe from your good American dresses.

"As each new season approaches you will want to survey the possibilities of the clothes you have on hand. It seems a pity to discard a favorite frock. We would suggest that you bold over promising frocks to study what can be done to make them conform to the new season's fashions.
Last year's afternoon frock that is too short for this year of grace can be dropped low from a yoke of lace to make a stunning Sunday night frock with angel sleeves. The vogue for tunics is a blessing to those of us who have hoarded knee length frocks. Skirts that seemed a total loss can now be lowered to decent length on bodice tops and combined with a new tunic blouse of lame or satin, or you can reverse the English and make a knee-length tunic of a too short frock, combining it with a new skirt. (Ill. 154.) You can make an ankle length dance frock by cutting off last year's dipping hemline evenly below the knees and adding an 18" band of tulle."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mother and Daughter Octopus - Octopi?

I admit a softness for these since I had one as a kid. Don't why I loved it so much...but what can I say? I bet any kidlet you make this for will love it too.


Materials Required:



2 skeins Pink or color of your choice and


1 skein Black
3 3/4 yds 1/4 inch ribbon
Kapok for filling

BODY: Wind yarn over a 24 inch cardboard 96 times. Tic through center at one end with ribbon and make a bow, top of head. Tie tightly with a double strand of yarn about 6 inches from top of head for neck. Tic a piece of ribbon around neck as illustrated. Fill this section with kapok.

ARMS: Divide lower section into 8 equal parts. Divide each part,into 3 equal sections and braid each section. Tie tightly each braid about 2 inches from lower edge with ribbon as illustrated. Trim ends.


COTTON embroider eyes, nose and mouth as illustrated.


Materials Required:


1 skein Lt. Blue or color of your choice and "STAR" SIX STRAND EMBROIDERY COTTON

1 skein Black 21/2 yds.
1/4 inch ribbon
Kapok for filling

BODY: Wind yarn over a 16 inch cardboard 72 times. Tie through center at one end with ribbon and make a bow, top of head. Tie tightly with a double strand of yarn about 3 inches from top of head for neck. Finish same as Mother Octopus.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Save Your Cans For A Foot Stool!

Another project from Ruth Wyeth Spears, from her booklet "Sewing Book 3" from 1942.

"One thing always leads to another. After directions for making hanging shelves of spools were published, someone wanted to know if we couldn't think of something to do with empty cans. Fortunately, we have a long memory. There came to life a picture of a rather fat little girl sitting on a small foot stool in a Victorian parlor while her Great Aunt rocked and visited. And there was something about the foot stool - yes, it had cans inside. These cans were filled with sand to make the foot stool heavy. The cover was red carpet with handles of the carpet material at the ends. So we saved six cans. A piece of upholstery material was substituted for carpet, and here is a step-by-step sketch of the foot stool that resulted. It is a great success. Yes, the cover is red, but not quite so bright as that red carpet."
OK, this is a little strange. First the image of a "fat little girl"...and then there's the part about what color red this is...I assure you this is a black and white drawing. But the idea has possibilities. Report back!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

"clothes for all sorts of small fry are lurking among the discards in your closet"

This is from "The New Encyclopedia of Modern Sewing", edited by Frances Blondin, published by Wm. H. Wise & Co, Inc. in 1946. This has tons of sewing information including these ideas for re-making old clothes into new kids clothes. Use an old topcoat, some discarded white flannels or dad's old shirts!


"There's plenty of life in those old clothes of dad's. All they need to give them a new lease on life is a little headwork and some deft surgery with the scissors. Trousers for your young son, a small girl's coat, slacks for you, all kinds of clothes for all sorts of small fry are lurking among the discards in your closet. Get to work and make them go to work!

Use commercial patterns chosen to fit in with limitations of fabric. The layouts give suggestions as to how pieces can he laid out for cutting."


"Remember the fairy tale of a thousand and one stories? Well, dad's old shirts aren't quite up to that many, but they can give a good account of themselves. Take the worn shirts off his back and make them into blouses and suits.

For making all of these clothes, use commercial pattern chosen to fit in with the limitation of fabric in shirt. The layouts give suggestions as to how pieces can be laid out for cutting."

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lots of Important Advice

This is a list from "Kenmore - Complete Simplified Sewing and Designing" by Ellen Smith, Published by SYE Foundation Pattern Co. in 1936-1937. It is mostly an instruction book for general sewing, but this includes advice on what you should and shouldn't be wearing. So look for the group you belong to and watch out for the dreaded "overdressing" or "carelessness in appearance"!

People in general, both men and women, "judge by appearance". This judgment may not be just, but, nevertheless, the decision has been made and may have a great bearing upon future opportunities. Dress is not the only basis of judgment, Small details may be the key-note of the decision. Some people judge others by the shoes that they wear; others by the manner in which the hair is dressed; others by the condition of the finger nails and still others judge women by the straightness of the seams in their stockings. A beautiful dress will never counteract the effect of carelessness in the attention to detail. Habit reflects itself in the appearance of the individual's dress. Women should realize that success and happiness may be effected by the clothes they wear.

The Child
Clothes have a decided influence on the life of a child, the school girl, the debutante, the housewife, the business woman and the society matron. The child, poorly clad, shrinks from being observed. The same child dressed in a pretty dress or a new pair of shoes is transferred into a saucy, strutting little creature. The school girl not trained in personal appearance may lose her opportunities of leadership through lack of self-confidence, possibly due to unattractive dress.

The debutante is usually "judged by her appearance" by any possible admirers. Personality and charm seldom have an opportunity to play a part in the first opinion formed, which is often lasting.

The business woman may secure a position or lose it, by being "judged by appearance". Her appearance each day at work also has a great bearing on the continued good impression made upon her employer. Unbecoming or inappropriate dress detracts from the business at hand, and the business woman who is doing good work may find herself vacating her chair for no apparent reason.

Social Leader
The woman who is a social leader is always well dressed. Her clothes are the ideal for her followers. The "social climber" may find, upon careful analysis, that one reason for failure to attain popularity may be over-dressing. Simplicity should predominate. Neglect in the personal appearance of the housewife is a tragedy often ending in a broken home and a broken heart.

Married Woman
The problem of dress for the woman today is not ended when she marries. The problem continues. Can she continue to hold her husband's admiration against the attractiveness of younger women with whom he is in constant business association? Will his wife be attractive to him upon his return from his daily work? Carelessness in appearance may lead to disgust and when attraction is once lost, it is seldom regained.

Dress for the Occasion
The subject of dress should engage the attention of every woman of the present day. The necessity for becoming clothes is as important for the housewife as the business woman or the society matron. The further from the "model" the figure becomes, the more attention should be paid to becoming dress. A little extra spent of husband's money for a fresh morning dress may do much to retain his admiration. Discarded finery for morning wear is never appropriate and may lead to disinterest in the wife. The degree of "dressing" for afternoon and evening at home is for individual decision, but the husband should always be greeted with at least a change of dress and let that dress be attractive.

At the Office
Dark dresses should always be worn at the office. Bright colors detract from the business at hand but a bright touch of color is always appropriate and often necessary; possibly a strand of colored beads is sufficient. One modest dark dress for business, cleaned often, is far more appropriate than many dresses of bright colored silks, chiffon and velvets worn to work for a "change." Girls often think that a different dress must be worn each day to school or work, with no thought as to the appropriateness of the garment for the occasion and will wear discarded finery of bright colors to the office which is often garish.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Jiffy Stocking Baby - Use 29¢ Stockings!

This is from a old beat-up transfer sheet, but I wanted to salvage this project. I am giving you lots to make this week...I'll just sit back with my tea and kleenex while you work. Have fun!

"Jiffy Stocking Baby - For the bazaar or for baby's own pleasure, make this doll quickly from one white stocking. Any size cotton stocking may be adapted to plan. The one used here was a man's size 11, white sock. Cost 29¢ a pair at local dimestore. Steps 1 and 2 are self explanatory, stocking uncut, then cut. Step 3 shows face traced and embroidered or painted on front of stocking toe (in natural colors). Face is located about 3 inches from top. Stuff head and body with any available filler. Neck is made by wrapping tightly and occasionally stitching sewing thread around stocking. Stuff legs and complete with blindstitched seam closing. 4 inch cotton pieces cut for arms are stitched down sides and across ends, turned and stuffed. Unfinished end is turned in and arm is blindstitched in position on body.
Cut two pieces for bonnet. 1 inch hem in front (9 inch edge) of 9 inch by 3 inch strip, and gather opposite 9 inch length to fit rounded part of bonnet back. Turn seams inside. Cut 16 inch length bias binding, bind bottom of bonnet as shown leaving extra lengths for bonnet ties. Gather face to front edge. Cut piece for dress on fold using diagram for cutting guide. Cut 3 inch "splits" for armholes. Cut two sleeves, seam under arm, and stitch into dress with pointed end of sleeve even with neck edge. Close seam down center back, 1/2 inch hem sleeves and bottom edge of dress. Turn neck edge under in 1/2 inch hem. Gather neck tight with ribbon through neck hem. Tie bow at back of neck."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Seat Covers For Dining Chairs - 1941

Another swell project from Ruth Wyeth Spears, from Sewing Book 1, 1941. These could be very formal or jaunty and cheerful...whatever you want!

"Give your dining room chairs a fresh start with seat covers of substantial, firmly woven cotton material. A plain color in an interesting weave or a fabric with a small figure is most suitable.

To make a pattern for the covers, place a sheet of paper on the seat and press it down along the chair edges to make an imprint of the seat outline. When using this pattern add a 2-inch seam allowance as at A. A straight band covers the wood frame at the sides, and a narrow fringe or frill may finish the bottom.

Give the covers a professional finish with welted seams. The cable cord for the welting is covered with bias strips of the material or with bias trim as at B. This is basted to the right side as at C, and then stitched as at D. A finished welted seam appears at E. Tapes are sewn to the inside of the front corners to be tied around the legs. Snap fasteners are used for the closings."

Monday, September 14, 2009

"It's Easy To Make An Ottoman" - 1941

Since I'm thinking you have more energy this week than I do (pass the orange juice and asprin, please), you go right ahead and make an Ottoman...cover it with something fantastic and then invite us all over for tea. Of course you'll need to have a "woman who is clever with the needle, aided by the man who is handy with tools".
This is from "Sewing Book 1" by Ruth Wyeth Spears, this booklet is from 1941. This one seems to have a lot of household projects, so get ready to transform your home.

"The woman who is clever with the needle, aided by the man who is handy with tools, can make this ottoman for almost nothing. The foundation is a 4-inch deep wooden box as at A. For legs, use lengths of wood cut two inches square, which you can obtain from any carpenter or lumberman, or cut down a set of legs from an old table to the correct size.

Cotton batting is needed for padding. Use six layers on the top, cutting the first layer 4 inches smaller all around than the top of the box, and the others each a little larger than the one underneath; cut a piece to go over the top and ends, as at C, another to go over the top and sides as at D. Stretch a piece of muslin over the padding, cutting the corners as at E. Sew as at F, tack the bottom as at G.

The ottoman cover may be finished with a frill, to match a slip-covered chair, or a tailored effect may be achieved with braid or fringe."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

It's NOT swine flu...

...but I have some nasty crud. Poor me.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Give a man a tea towel...

and he'll help with the dishes!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Flower Children - Elizabeth Gordon 1910

Let me introduce you to a charming book, Flower Children - The Little Cousins of the Field and Garden by Elizabeth Gordon, Drawings by M.T. Ross and Published by P.F. Volland & Company in 1910 - my edition is the Fifty-Sixth Edition. And you can see why it would have been printed so many times.
"In preparing this book the author and the artist have attempted to show the kinship of children and flowers, and it is their hope that the little ones into whose hands this volume comes will find herein the proof that their knowledge of what flowers really are is true and that their love for the friendly blossoms is returned many-fold."

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Well-Shaped Bag For The Knitter

Another great project from the booklet "Sewing" by Ruth Wyeth Spears from 1937.

"If you are thinking of a gift for some one who knits, why not a really smart knitting bag? Yes, it is possible to make one that doesn't look like a sofa cushion with the feathers taken out. It is all a question of the shape and pro-portions and kind of material. In these diagrams I have given you some measurements that will help in shaping an attractive bag that will hold 14-inch needles, a ball of yarn and a partly finished knitted garment of generous proportions.

As for material don't choose cotton or linen or thin silk for a bag that is going places in the winter. Woolen cloth of the same color as the costume with which the bag is to be carried or of a harmonizing tone is best to use. For the bag shown here 1/4-yard of 54-inch wool material will be enough. The lining will require 5/8 yard of silk or sateen. A 9-inch slide fastener will be needed to make a neat closing.

The dimensions for the side pieces of the bag are given here at A. It is a good plan to cut a pattern of newspaper. Cut a piece 16 inches long and 9 inches deep, fold it the short way through the center and then shape it as, shown. The dimensions for the end and bottom section are given here at B. This is just a straight 34-inch long strip tapered at the ends in the proportion shown. The dimensions for the handle are given at C. It may be necessary to make a crosswise piecing in the long strip for the bottom and end section. Join the pieces for the strip before you shape it.

Face the handle with the lining material. Make the bag and the lining separately and press the seams. Sew the slide fastener to the outside portion of the bag, then stitch the handle in place. When this is done, put the lining. inside, turn in the raw edges at the top and sew it by hand over the tape at the edge of the fastener."

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sew, My Darling Daughter...So You'll Look The Way You Oughter!

"Sew, my darling daughter! But, be sure you do it professionally, so you'll look the way you oughter!"
This is from an old Macy's ad I found in a pattern this week. Just look at all the dressmaking equipment priced Macy-low!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Christian Dior Gown in a Carpet Ad -1950

Which just goes to show you that beauty stands out no matter where it is!