Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Kodak Girl -1902

"Not only does the Kodak go inside the pocket, but inside the Kodak goes the film - all becomes one compact, self-contained mechanism."
And just look at this saucy gal holding the latest technology!

Monday, July 30, 2012

The All-White Gown from 1902 Ladies' Home Journal

These charming summer frocks are from The Ladies' Home Journal, June, 1902. The design and illustration is by Katherine Vaughan Holden. While I can find several references to her work with The Ladies Home Journal, I haven't found out much about her life. Please share if you know more.
In any case we can appreciate the details in these lovely gowns.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

1902 Warm Weather Wear + A Glove Fitting, Militant, Ventilating Corset

I know some of you out there are having a horrid hot summer, but here's some ideas on how you can stay fashionable in the heat.

And if you think that looks hot to wear don't worry, we have "The Queen of Summer Corsets". It's Thompson's 'Glove Fitting, Militant, Ventilating' corset, it is just the thing to cool you off in these dog days.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Dainty Bride - 1902 The Ladies' Home Journal

This lovely bride is on the cover of The Ladies' Home Journal for June of 1902. The illustration is by Thomas Mitchell Peirce. Her eyes are so expressive and her gown is beauitful.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Butterick lowers the cost of patterns to 10¢, 15¢, 20¢ - 1905

"Butterick makes announcement of one of the most radical moves in the history of paper patterns". In 1905 they lowered the prices!

Bel Air, The Housewife's Sewing Machine - 1958

Be fair to yourself, get "The Housewife's Sewing Machine". After all it's Beautifully Designed and Built For a Lifetime.
Produced by Consolidated Sewing Machine Corp. (still in business) actually these were probably Singer knockoffs, made in Japan. There is more information here. There is a video of a very similar Bel Air machine showing it in action. These were sturdy, powerful machines. He shows it sewing 8 layers of denim and leather. So maybe you "Better Buy Bel Air"!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

When they advertise "bargains" in Sewing Machines from 1958

This is a helpful list from Good Housekeeping Magazine, 1958. What is interesting is how many of these warning still apply...Buyer Beware!

There are many good sewing machines on the market today, in a wide range of prices, Unfortunately, some dealers use questionable selling practices to push a particular machine or to obtain a higher price for it than it sells for elsewhere. This situation exists predominantly in the field of sewing machines, although to some extent it also involves vacuum cleaners and other appliances. Here are some practices that may be outright trickery.

  • Fake "contests," in which the solution is obvious ("Count the number of Santa Clauses in this ad") and the prize is a "substantial reduction from the regular price of the machine. The catch? The "reduced price" is the price the same or comparable machines customarily sell for elsewhere.
  • Bait advertising, in which a machine is advertised at a very low price. When you go to buy it, however, you find that it is "nailed to the floor"-i.e., the dealer belittles it, tries to pressure you into buying a higher price model.
  • Phony offers, such as "free trial' or "refund if you're not completely happy with our machine." Once you've had a machine delivered to your home, you may find you're obligated to pay for it, satisfied or not.
  • Worthless guarantees. Blank guarantees or those signed by a dealer alone are no real protection unless the dealer is long-established and reputable. A guarantee is only as good as the party offering it.
  • "Flying squad" salesman. Representing a "dealer" you've never heard of, they canvass a town from door to door, offer "bargain" prices, then move on. If a machine bought this way turns out to be faulty, there is no one to complain to or obtain service from.
  • Inflated list prices. These are sometimes quoted to make an advertised "sale" price look good. Often, however, the true list price and the so-called sale price are about the same.
  • Other lures. "Earn a sewing machine by making garments in your spare time." (Selling the garments is left up to you; the dealer will not accept them in part payment ior the machine.) "A huge trade-in for your old machine." (This can mean that the price of the new machine will be inflated as well.) 
  • "We give an advertising allowance." (This "allowance," if any, is often made only if sales are made to friends and acquaintances, whose names you supply.)
  • Sometimes dissatisfaction with a machine is the customer's own fault. To avoid disappointment, follow these rules when you buy.
  • Make sure you read and understand the terms of any contracts, agreements, receipts, etc., you sign.
  •  If you decide on a low-price machine, don't expect it necessarily to give you the added features and performance of a more expensive model. And be sure that you sit down and try the machine.
  • If you buy an automatic zigzag machine, expect to study its operation to gain skill, no matter how experienced you are on a straight-stitch machine.
  • Don't buy a machine on the installment plan if the terms are likely to be a hardship. In these circumstances, a slight defect may become magnified in your eyes, make you unreasonably dissatisfied with your purchase.
  •  Don't think that you're driving a shrewd bargain if you seem to be talking a dealer out of every cent of profit on a transaction. He is not in business for his health, and if you force the basic price of the machine down too far, he may more than make it up in hidden extras, such as charges for delivery, service, or lessons ordinarily provided free.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Love, Life and Lipstick. Smart Girl in a Smart Restaurant - 1958

From the Good Housekeeping Magazine, December 1958, we are given advice on how to behave at a restaurant. A lot of this can be summed up with "..grin and bear it".

It's lots nicer than eating at Joe's diner, and no harder, if you know the ropes.

Do you have to check your coat?

Boys must; girls usually don't, unless it's a restaurant where there's dancing.

Does a girl give her order to her date or to the waiter?

It's more gracious to give it to your date; but not all boys-and not all waiters-have been briefed on this convention. If your date seems uncertain, or if the waiter looks at you expectantly, speak directly to him.

What do you do if the order's wrong?

That depends. If the waiter actually brings the wrong food, tell your date, and he'll have the waiter change it. If something's not cooked as you like it -too rare or too well done-our advice is: grin and bear it. Sending things back to the kitchen is tricky business, and you're likely to end by embarrassing yourself and/or your escort.

What if you want to visit the ladies' room?

It couldn't be simpler. Just say to your date, "Please excuse me for a minute." Don't make any coy references to the "little girls' room." If you don't know where it is, ask a waiter. (He answers this question roughly fifty times a night and is not at all dismayed by it.)

Should you tip a ladies' room maid?

Yes. Give her fifteen cents unless you've asked for some special service. Don't let the display quarters in her coin dish fool you. They're usually come-ons.

What about table-hopping?

The less, the better. If you see someone you know, smile and nod inconspicuously. Or stop for a second on the way in or out to say, "Hi." But don't stand around-somebody's food is bound to get cold. And don't suggest making foursomes of twosomes. Restaurant tables aren't elastic, and it's a fair assumption that people are together because they want to be together, not part of a mob.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Glamourous Upholstery Fabrics from 1956 - Alden's Catalog

So after all the cool curtains from the Alden's 1956/57 Catalog we need to have hip furniture to go along with the drapes! Here's a few few selections to consider.
(And as always, check out the details...that lamp! The names!)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fabulous Curtain and Drape Fabrics from Alden's Catalog - 1956/57

I was going through some more of this Alden's 1956/57 Catalog and while the fashions are easy to admire I found some other pretty nifty stuff. Just look at the fabrics for curtains you could choose from. Polka dots, barkcloth, Luster, big florals, fiberglas, lurex, and 'Gold to enchant'!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Alden's Sewing Machines - 1956

I posted about this Alden's 1956/57 Catalog before, but today we get to see some of the sewing machines and accessories. I haven't ever found an actual Alden's machine but one source says "Alden is just a badged machine - meaning what ever company sold those put their name on it. They all came out of the same plant though. Post war II - made in Japan - maybe a Singer 15-99 knock off - some of those were pretty well made and a very powerful machine."
But just look at the prices and the cool styling!

The zig-zag machine for $99.98 does "100 chores without attachments" and the $59.98 one could be had $10.00 cheaper without a case.

To store your new machine you needed a Console or even better a Consolette!

For $100.00 or so more you could get an "Amazing built-in brain with auto-magic action..", or choose a knock-off of the Singer Featherweight.

"The sensational new automatic Zig-Zag" is "just like having your own private seamstress", and the Accessories fit all Alden's and Singer machines, so I guess that's our clue that these were one and the same, or at least mighty close.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Why worry about RUNS in your nylons? - The Hinz's Mender

"RUNS - Why Worry with the New Hinz's Magnetic Automatic Hosiery Mender?
They can be mended in a jiffy. Reknits the original stitch."

"The only mender which can be operated by an amateur."

Really? Read these instructions and I dare you to figure out how to use this thing. It starts with a small wineglass...and you'll need a large one for drinking by the time you get your first nylon repaired.

Remember, "Now lay mender down while you stretch the runner as tight as possible lengthwise - but not crosswise. This is the most important part of the operation."

But if you cannot work this, "You are not completing your stroke clear up and clear down."

I think I'll leave it there.

Friday, July 6, 2012

'Simple Evening Dress for a Young Lady' from 1893

This 'Simple Evening Dress for a Young Lady' comes to us from The Young Ladies Journal, December 1st, 1893. The dress described is lovely, but give a moment to all the skill it must have taken to actually create this. The seamstress had to work from these complex instructions and some how use the diagram of the pattern pieces to create a bodice that was 'set well over the shoulders'. But of course if you just couldn't figure this all out they did offer to sell you a 'flat pattern'.
And consider that materials list, yards and yards of fabric all for this one gown. But we are thoughtfully provided with an advertiser who can sell us exactly what we need.
So let's go dancing!

"This simple yet stylish little dress is suitable to be made in a variety of materials; corded silk, a soft lusterous satin, brocade, or for a less expensive dress material, crepon is pretty. Our model is of shell-pink satin, trimmed with cream lace, and pearl beaded trimming."

"The skirt is made just to touch the ground, as this is the most convenient length for dancing. The cut-out pattern of skirt that we gave with the November Part will answer perfectly well to cut to this to; it should be lined throughout with pink glace silk or fine sateen. The foot of skirt should have stiff muslin 10 inches deep inserted between the satin and the lining, and the inside edge is finished with a pinked flounce 6 inches deep of the glace silk. The lace flounce must be at least three times the width of the skirt, and is 10 inches deep, put on as festoons as follows: Gather the edge of the lace and put it on in the full depth to form a sort of fan; the upper edge is drawn up quite tightly, and the stitches are covered with a rosette of bebe ribbon or a pearl ornament; slant the lace down 4 1/2 inches, pleat it to two-thirds the original width, gather slightly to make it set well, and sew it under a rosette; slant it upwards and gather again at the edge; a little practice will soon enable a novice to arrange the lace gracefully; it is best to pin three or four of the festoons before sewing, so as to be quite certain the lace does not drag anywhere. The upper part of the skirt is trimmed with two rows of pearl passementerie; the upper one is 9 inches from the waist; the second 3 inches lower down. "

"The diagrams for the bodice are shown in No. 2. The bodice fronts are joined down the centre, and are cut on the straight. The large side pieces next front as well as those next to them are cut on the cross, and lining the same way, as it makes the bodice fit much better. The back and side pieces back are cut on the straight. A bone is sewn in at the edge of each half of the back; the eyelet holes through which the lace is passed are worked just inside the bone. Each seam must be carefully boned, and the edge of the basque is piped. the top is turned down a piece of ribbon 3/4 inch wide; through this a draw string of narrow ribbon is run; this is not an absolute necessity, but it makes the bodice set well over the shoulders; the ribbon chosen for the draw string should be a good soft, strong make so as to prevent the possibilty of breaking.
In fitting the bodice, great care should be taken that it sets well, and tightly under the arm. The bodice is trimmed with perpendicular rows of pearl passementerie or a lace insertion; the edge of top is trimmed with a crossfold of satin, and stomacher of lace.
The pointed belt is composed of folds of satin, finished by a rosette at the back.
No. 3, the sleeves are of accordian-pleated lace. For the pleating, 78 inches of lace must be allowed for each sleeve, this is three times the width of the sleeve. The pleated lace must be laid flat on the table and cut out to the pattern shown in No. 3. Before cutting out tack the pleats of lace to shape of pattern, this will prevent the pleats coming out when the lace is cut. Gather the lace at the top of arm, and set it into the armholes as you would plain material."

"Messer. J. Sands and Co, Thurland Street, Nottingham, have sent us for notice some patterns of lovely lace, ranging in price from 5 1/2d. to 2 s. 6d per yard. There is a very good imitation of Honiton lace 10 inches wide, suitable for the flounce of this dress, at 2s. 6d. per yard; a less expensive is mauresque that is the same width at 1s. per yard. They also send patterns of a pretty striped gauze, which would make up beautifully in this style over a plain silk lining. The gauze is satin striped, and is woven with lace insertion at intervals of about 3 inches.

MATERIALS REQUIRED; 10 yards satin, 12 yards silk for lining, 2 yards stiff muslin, 5 yards lace 19 inches wide for sleeves, 12 yards lace for flounce, 3 yards insertion or passementerie or lace for insertion.

We endeavour to make our diagrams as clear as possible, but those of our readers who are unable to cut the bodice from our diagrams, can have the flat pattern sent by post for 6 1/2d. "

Monday, July 2, 2012

Learn To Sew - Groovy Advice from 1978!

Smart You - You Can Learn To Sew!. Remember the first thing is to have fun with sewing. Happy Sewing!