I have just added the following two lovely patterns to my Vintage Pattern Collection page and while at it, couldn’t resist a shout out to the fantabulous Pretty Grievances. I would imagine she hasn’t slipped under your radar but just on the off chance, there you will find some of the most entertaining posts out there! Wednesday Wearables is my most favourite. I’m so glad to have been Twittering at the right time and place when the lovely Anne announced she was having a clear out. I actually was hopping up and down on my seat and mentally pointing at the sky shouting ‘me, me!’, when this little beauty popped up:
I don’t think I’d change a thing about this dress. Rather inclined to keep it in blue, too!
As if that wasn’t treat time enough, this Brucey bonus was inside too. I’m assuming 1960s, Just going by the hairstyles. I do love a shirt dress.
And gingham is certainly the way forward with this one. Let’s hope I win Didyoumakethat‘s pink silk taffeta at her Great British Sewing Bee giveaway!! 😉 But get in there quick. You need to enter before 19th April!
So, thank you Anne. I am truly grateful and planning on stealing some sewing real soon xxx
I always fancied the idea of some face furniture. Not the furry kind, you understand. And I certainly was never brave enough to go down the road of facial piercings. But a good old pair of bins / Gregorys (specs) / glasses – whatever you like to call them – have always been on my wish list. Well you know what they say… be careful of what you wish for and all that.
The time came with the realisation that my arms were no longer long enough to read the back of a sewing pattern. Let alone the inside instructions! I’ll reserve that excuse for some of my mishaps!
I dutifully set off for Specsavers. Was told the price of the test and dutifully walked out! Since when did that happen? Then I remembered the voucher that was on the reverse of a receipt from a recent purchase from Boots. A fiver for an eyetest? That’s more like it!
I’m sure you don’t need me to talk you through an eye test. It’s clearly only me who hasn’t been for 20 years or more!
The results weren’t too harrowing, though keeping ones eyes open while air is puffed onto your pupils IS! The diagnosis was a very slight stigmatism in one eye and the need only for low strength reading glasses.
The reality (and a little bit of excitement) set in. I actually need to wear glasses! I marched straight over to the designer frames. £280 for a pair of bins might just be a little too much but honestly and truthfully that Prada pair was the only pair that didn’t make me look like a complete dork! Vain? Moi? Well maybe just a titchy bit! Even the sales assistant was politely ushering me over to the £5 specials in little plastic tubes. Ugh! Really? There’s got to be more choice than this.
So I went home to Google… some goggles! (sorry) And promptly found this wonderful site called Retro Peepers. There was choice. There were cool frames and they weren’t a million squids… hoorah! I emailed with a couple of queries and do you know, the lovely Annie got right back to me. She was even replying to an Email I sent later at 11.30pm. That’s proper dedication to the cause.
Anyway. Here they are, in all their cheeky nerdy retro glory. Introducing the Peggy frames. A snip at £18.
The ordering/delivery service is amazing. I placed the order online one afternoon and they arrived, properly packaged and cozied up in their free case, the following morning! Don’t you just love a smooth operator?
And before anyone asks, this is not a sponsored post. Retro Peepers won’t even know I’ve blogged this unless anyone clicks through to them. But I jolly hope they do in their hundreds and give them all the business they deserve because quite frankly there aren’t many companies out there that I’d give a free shout out to unless I truly believe in the service.
There is just one tiny flaw with them though. It doesn’t stop at £18 for a pair of readers because you will be back to order another pair in a different colour or style and then theres the retro sunnies, the reader shades and of course I will need another pair with a proper prescription…. oh well. At least I’ll be a while, and a fair few pairs before I get to Prada prices!
In other news. I have been sewing, honest I have. Though very little I have to say. Too much work maketh a dull Ooobop! Working on Mr O to take some pictures of my latest frock this weekend. So keep yer peeper peeled. There’ll be a more interesting and sewing-related post coming up soon.
I know, I know… this still isn’t anything like a tutorial for Roman Blinds.
I’m on it, honestly I am and it will happen, once I’ve get round to drawing some diagrams to accompany the words.
But for now I can reveal the only Christmassy sewing project that I managed to squeeze into my crazy real-life workload. It was a secret Santa gift for my friend at work.
The theme last year was ‘home made’ or ‘charity shop bought’. I made a selection of jams for my boss and she loved them! So when this years theme was decided as ‘red white and gold’ I was determined to make something once again.
As soon as I plucked Ness out of the hat, I knew what I was going to make for her. She recently moved house this year, and was really excited to have a garden for the first time. ‘I will be needing a peg bag and everything’, she said! I had been meaning to make one ever since she came out with that so this was the perfect prompt. She also likes all things 50s, including my blouse so the Norman Hartnell approach to the peg bag was the only way forward!
The two little white buttons with gold bicycles were sourced by Little Miss Ooobop! at a vintage fair last year and have seemingly been waiting patiently for this project!
To make the pattern, I drew a template for the back, overall shape and cut 2, one in pin dot and one lining. The front pieces are literally half of the back but allowing a couple of centimeters at the front for overlap.
I used one of my daughter’s child sized Ikea hangers. If I made this again, I would source a lovely wooden hanger so the shoulders are more horizontal and not sloping down.
She was delighted! Though the other partygoers at the opposite end of the table were a little confused. Not sure those young pups even know what a peg bag is! They just thought I’d miscalculated some measurements!
It was hardly a secret though. I was one of two seamstresses at the table and my poker face was rubbish!
I’m winding down from work as from tomorrow – *squeal* – and I’m really hoping to get some sewing action in before I return. Hoping it will curb my usual Christmassy eating frenzy. Of course, that’s if 21.12.12 doesn’t prove to be the end of the world in which case we will all be eating hats!
I love a 50s style blouse and this pattern was a definite sell the moment I saw it. The pattern itself was a freebie with Woman’s Day (about 55 years ago!) and as luck would have it, the gift supplement was in that Morrisons bag too. Great to see the blouses modelled and photographed. Sometimes those illustrations on the cover of the envelope give a slightly different impression to what they look like in real life! 😉
Norman Hartnell, or “Sir Norman Bishop Hartnell, KCVO (12 June 1901, London – 8 June 1979, Windsor) was a British fashion designer. Royal Warrant as Dressmaker to HM The Queen 1940, subsequently Royal Warrant as Dressmaker to HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. Royal Warrant as Dressmaker to Queen Elizabeth II 1957.”
“Although worried that at 46 he was too old for the job, he was commanded by the Queen to create the wedding dress of Princess Elizabeth in 1947 for her marriage to Prince Philip (later the Duke of Edinburgh). With a fashionable sweetheart neckline and a softly folding full skirt it was embroidered with some 10,000 seed-pearls and thousands of white beads. He subsequently became one of the Princesses main designers and so gained a new worldwide younger generation of clients, as the Princess began to take on more duties and visits abroad. The younger Princess Margaret became the obsession of the press and her Hartnell clothes were similarly given huge publicity and received much newsreel coverage.”
It’s a worry that he thought he was too old to continue at 46!!!
Anyhows, I quite fancy ‘a wardrobe of crisp gay blouses’. And if Norman’s are good enough for Queenie, they are good enough for me!
This was on the whole a very simple pattern. I measured off the tissue and figured I could add a bit on the waistline, as I usually do to get a reasonable fit. I made it up in a cotton poly that was semi decent just in case it worked!
But oh no! My measuring skills were unbelievably inaccurate. Either that or I have this illusion that I am the size of a small child!
I considered moving on to another project. But of course that would have been hugely defeatist of me and heaven knows I need to learn to grade a bodice properly so I set about cutting and slashing.
It worked, kind of. Well at least it fits but there are a couple of issues for a blouse so simple.
I think I need to open up on the lines of the hip a bit more. It’s a little snug!
I graded up the sleeve in line with what I had increased on the bodice but there was far too much ease. So I used the original sleeve piece. Still a little too much ease for my liking but that seemed to be solved with the addition of some shoulder pads. I used the cuffs from the toile for my real one because the dots ran into each other and defeated the object of having cuffs at all!
I have to say, the method suggested for the sleeve cuffs was a bit long-winded and strange. When I do it again I will be cutting on the bias, and attaching in the same way I did to my shorts.
The winged-collar effect is not a wing collar at all. It is just the effect of opening up the facings. There is no raised collar stand at the back, just a faced neckline so it is a very flat feature. Next time, I might be inclined to cut the front piece at the start of the inner facing and sew a contrasting colour piece that folds back just to accentuate the shape.
The ‘lapels’ seems substantially smaller than those photographed. Next time I might grade the front and front facing allowance a little, too.
The instructions called for a bias cut strip to finish the back neckline and join the front facings but as luck would have it, the previous owner had cut a ‘back facing’ piece from some newspaper. I checked it against the back piece to make sure it was meant for this pattern. I just had to decrease the depth a bit, otherwise it fitted perfectly. It created a continuous facing too, which is surely a better idea and certainly much neater too. I understitched the adjoining seam, to the point just before it folds back and catch-stitched to the shoulder seams to stop it poking up, willy nilly!
Because the design called for 3 buttons I had an array of odd interesting ones to choose from. My son so kindly remarked that, because the shirt ‘kind of looks quite old, it would be good to use those old fashioned phone buttons’. I am sure he meant that in a good way! 😉
So that just about wrapped up my chilly childless Saturday. Amazing what you can achieve in a few hours when the house is vacated. The photographs (care of the wonderful Mr Ooobop!) and the blogging took a little longer… such fun!
Well Bridget Jones, eat your heart out. Mine are big and all silk!
There has been a lot of knicker making activity going on in blogworld recently. For example these pretty French knickers by Kat at The Couture Academic, these ‘little pants‘ made by Rachel at the House of Pinheiro and just check out Gertie’s prolific pant production line! Plenty ’nuff inspiration to ease me gently into the beginnings of lingerie-making.
As with most things I do for the first time, I headed to my Burda Style magazine collection, remembering a Lovely Lingerie section in issue 01/2012, which of course included the perfect pattern.
The only thing that flummoxed me was that these ones had a side zipper! I can’t get my head around having to zip up your pants in the morning, call me old-fashioned! I guess the rationale was that the over layer of tulle wasn’t too stretchy and I for one would never be able to get non-stretchy nicks over my hips!
So first mission was to find some stretchy lingerie fabric so I could omit the zip. I went in search of stretch cotton satin but on presentation of skirt-weight cotton sateen each time, I gave in to the more luscious lure of 100% stretch silk. At £15 metre, these are definitely the most expensive but certainly the most luxurious pants I own. My faithful haberdashers in Shepherds bush market stocks the elastic lace at 50p a metre which softens the blow!
These were such an easy and delightful make. Though I don’t want to give you a ‘bum steer’ (!) They are more time-consuming than you would think, to stretch-and-stitch the elastic lace, top-stitching it twice on each opening . . . especially on to slippery silk.
Oh, and by the way, I make no apology for the lack of modelled garment. How could I possibly compete with the way that Scruffy Badger so confidently models her frilly knickers?!
I thought you might like a look in more detail at that Ebay haul I won in July.
Their arrival was a little ungainly to say the least. Not damaged in any way but clearly hurriedly bundled and tied up in… a Morrison’s bag. Not that there’s anything wrong with Morrison’s. But I did have a moment of OMG have I just bought a sack full of rubbish?! Surely these antique patterns deserved a carriage with a little more style!
I gingerly untied the knotted handles. Actually that’s a lie. I completely tore the bag apart because I couldn’t wait a minute more. Was a bit whiffy to say the least! But I can totally forgive the smell, the packaging and the wait.
I think I am still gobsmacked.
For starters, almost all of them are my bust size which means the only alterations will be to the waist and hip. So much less faffing. Even the few that are too small will be worth the adjustments. And I tell no lies when I say that each and every one was a doozy. Most of them unused and uncut.
The first little beauty that caught my eye was this cut out cover of Home Notes. A delight in itself but what was the chance of the patterns for these beauties being inside?
Every little lovely chance. I had guessed 1940s by the styling but in fact this unused and perfectly preserved pattern is nicely dated October 7th 1939:
Love the bit about: “Other sizes… obtainable FREE on application”. Can you imagine that happening nowadays?
I can’t find dates on most of the patterns but all are truly vintage and very beautiful. This is the first I’ve heard of Economy Design patterns. And I feel pretty damned lucky to have landed these lovelies:
Next up is a more familiar name, Simplicity. These stylish little numbers have all their pieces in tact, despite the damage to the envelopes. In fact the one on the right had some very interesting accompanying material!
Whoever Mrs Poole was – the name on most of the mail order pattern envelopes – she was a lady of very fine taste with impeccable organisational skills. In the envelope with Simplicity 8488 (above right) there was this cutting:
Great to see these vintage patterns in ‘real life’ photos. And it makes me love the ensemble even more! Also inside the envelope (from Readers Digest) was each copied piece of the pattern, traced and labelled with precision onto a 1960s edition of the Daily Express. This is one of the reasons that all these patterns are in such great condition and seemingly unused. Mrs Poole has dutifully copied them and kept the originals factory folded. This has given me a fine source of entertainment too, reading all the snippets of the papers. This one quite topical: “Billie Holmes, 24 year old Hull engineer, won the first Olympic cycling road race trial yesterday – by ONE inch. And this victory, over 96 miles near Chesham, Buckinghamshire, strengthens his claim for Rome spot……”
Thank you Mrs P.
Leach Way Patterns is a new one on me too. Any one heard of these? The dress pattern was still in it’s original mail order envelope which is date stamped 1949, so I might be inclined to date the coat and the suit around that time too. Needless to say, all three in perfect condition.
Weldons is a name I recognise. I have a couple in my collection already and I love how they are always so incredibly stylish and yet a little bit quirky.
Now I am assuming ‘Womans Day’ was a womans magazine and this was a supplement… correct me if I’m wrong:
But even better still, than this cheeky little gift book, the blouses featured on the cover and in centre spread are an exclusive Norman Hartnell pattern and all the appropriate pieces are present and correct in this gorgeous little pattern envelope:
I love this 40s (?) McCalls suit. It is so reminiscent of the suits my grandma used to wear:
And who could resist running up a few slips and bloomers for under their vintage dresses?
Woman’s Realm was defo one of my mum’s reads. So these conjure up a bit of nostalgia. I love the first dress. It’s numbered WR.1. I wonder if that is the first ever dress pattern issued by Woman’s Realm? The middle one is far too small for me in any case but the wedding dress with a few adjustments, I’m sure would be really flattering. I do like an empire waistline.
Here’s a classy Dior number from Woman’s Journal:
There’s a couple of other great coat patterns too. One from Odhams and the other from Woman’s Own magazine. I am thinking of making a coat. Just thinking, for now!!
I think Mrs P was too as there were various cuttings of coat images too:
It’s amazing that all the pieces seem to be present for these Du Barry patterns. Whatever their pattern envelopes were made of they certainly disintegrate in a big brittlesome way. But look how Mrs P (I presume) has lovingly recreated the image herself. Don’t you just love the sharpness of these suits and frocks?
I do like a shirtwaist dress and was delighted to find this one from Woman’s Weekly in the bundle. Woman’s Weekly was another of my mum’s reads. I distinctly remember the pink header and the elongated type on the cover:
Here’s a smart little dress suit from The People. One day, one day!:
There was one little girls pattern included in the bundle. I would love my youngest daughter to wear little vintage dresses but I think there is some chance and no chance of that ever happening 🙁
Most of the other patterns were from Woman magazine. Another of the larger format mags if I rightly remember. And what a fine selection we have here:
And imagine how excited I got when this one jumped out at me:
With all supporting cuttings once again:
I love the collar and the buttoned hip pockets. Not to mention the self covered buttons all the ways down, ooo… and the self covered belt. How amazing would that be?!
I am soooo making that Hardy Amies number!
And this wrap dress from Woman looks so much more inspirational in the mag too:
And, if ever I am going to make a pair of ‘Trews’, it is going to be this pair! I love that they are called ‘trews’. I thought that was a term only used and made up by my mum!
Apart from the masses of cuttings that I still have to sift through – believe me, there are stacks of pattern pieces cut out from really old newspapers – the above are without edits, the most amazing collection of patterns ever. Not one duff one among them. Well…. there was this strange one…
…which has to win the prize of most random pattern ever!!
Mostly I am not very good at bidding on Ebay. Which is a good thing because I could very easily spend a fortune on vintage patterns and fabric. Don’t get me wrong. I do win bids, but at a price. The original quest for a vintage pattern at a bargain becomes a fight with an undisclosed bidder whom I won’t let get the better of me. And thus the whole bargain thing goes right out the window.
Well it depends how you look at it I guess. I am currently ‘watching’ Vintage 1940s, 1950s job lot of sewing patterns & ephemera 30+ patterns.
My original bid was for £30. That’s what I was willing to pay and if I lost then that should have been the end of it. But no. Somebody had the cheek to outbid me. So I upped it to £42.02. That should trick ’em, I thought! Then, when they up their bid to £40 they will think I’ve bid a lot higher, and give up, and let me have all those lovely patterns. But no. They’ve gone to £52.69 and there is 13 minutes remaining. I am actually biting my nails. What do I do? Hang on in there? Bid at the last minute? But at what price? That’s £22.69 more than I wanted to spend. But they’ve got to be worth at least £5 each, surely. That makes £150. I’m so not paying that. Going to go for £70 top whack.12 minutes, 30 seconds to go. My heart thinks I’ve just run around the block at least 5 times. £75.27 in the maximum bid box. That should do the trick…..just in case they’ve got plans on £70. 10 minutes 36, shall I ‘place bid’ now? No. Hold tight. They might be thinking the same. Its been a while since I’ve bid. They will think I’ve lost interest. 7 minutes 8 seconds. Do I really want these. Haven’t I got enough already? Maybe. But I wont be beat. Especially by someone who refuses to reveal their identity! 6 m 9s. Not yet. Hold back. Don’t give them time to respond…
I left it ’til 20 seconds to go. And I confirmed my max bid at £75.27… knowing I shouldn’t really. £53.69 accepted. Phew! glad it wasn’t the full max bid…and I pipped that bidder to the post… oh yeah… oh yeah!
Here is a section of my prize haul which I won, just now, fair and square (… oh yeah!):
When they arrive for real I will give them the proper photoshoot they deserve. Not sure I can cope with that amount of stress again in a hurry. And really, I do now have enough patterns… I do now have enough patterns… I do now have enough patterns… don’t I?
I know, I know, I know… I have enough patterns to sink a battleship. Well that’s what I’m contantly being told. But it’s not strictly true, is it? I would need quite a few more, actually, to really make that happen! Plus, I haven’t bought any in aaaages!
Truth is, I really (honestly) didn’t have many cool blouse and top patterns. But now I have!!
I’m hoping these vintage top patterns will transform into a lovely collection of go-to tops for those panic mornings when I’ve come flying out the shower to find an outfit in 5 minutes for work! They all call for polka dots, stripes and gingham and I will find it hard to go outside of those boxes but will have fun trying!
Oh and this little 40s dress was just waiting to be ‘saved’ by me. Would have been plain rude not to!
1940s dress styles are fast becoming my favourite and my best! I love how fitting they are without being too saucy! I have only made this one to date but it happens to be the most comfortable and flattering dress and always gets lovely compliments. I am currently working on another version in a solid colour and I am also reminded how simple the pattern is too, thank goodness!
What is your favourite era for patterns? Or do you prefer modern ones?
Today, I took full advantage of my freelance status, ditched the children for a couple of hours and headed off to the Fashion and Textile Museum, near London Bridge, to see Designing Women: Post War British Textiles exhibition. What a totally self-indulgent treat!
The intro to the exhibition:
“Britain was at the forefront of international textile design in the 1950s and 1960s. The art of textile design radically changed after the Second World War and three women artists working in England in the 1950s were pivotal in this artistic revolution. The drab days of the War were transformed by the fresh, progressive designs of Lucienne Day (1917–2010), Jacqueline Groag (1903–86) and Marian Mahler (1911– 83). Designing Women: Post-war British textiles showcases their work beginning with Lucienne Day’s ‘Calyx’ pattern of 1951, featured at the Festival of Britain, and moving through textile commissions of the 1960s and 70s. The exhibition features more than 100 works.
Original artist designs with bold abstract pattern, as well as the use of saturated colour, marked a dramatic departure from conventional furnishing fabrics. This new wave of bold textile designs, helped to bring the influences of the art world, in its most recent, refreshing, and largely abstract forms, into the contemporary home.”
The influence of modern art is so strong in all the designs of this period. Its very easy to spot some iconic inspiration from Joan Miró, Alexander Calder and Kandinsky.
Lucienne Day, wife of Robin Day, was the most prolific and successful of the designers having kick started the ‘revolution’ with her ‘Calyx’ print in 1951.
Heals, though at first very sceptical, was her first client. The work was considered too modern but the risk proved to be a good and profitable move for both parties. Lucienne Day was the first artist to be credited on the fabric itself.
Lucienne didn’t limit herself to fabric, wallpaper and carpet design…
Jacqueline Groag was born in Czechoslovakia and emigrated from Vienna to London in 1939. She is one of the key designers in Mid Century Britain having worked with some of the foremost textile manufacturers and retailers, including John Lewis, Associated American Artists and David Whitehead Ltd. She also produced laminated surface designs for British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC). The same company my mum used to make pilots suits for!
This ‘Pebbles’ design by Jacqueline Groag is so nostalgic for me. As I stood in front of it, it took me back to my home in the 1970s. I can’t be sure that it was exactly this design but similar enough to generate some serious flashbacks! My mum had great taste!
Marian Mahler was Austrian and emigrated to Britain in 1937. As artist and illustrator she combined both skills to generate designs for the younger, yet sophisticated clientele who were looking to create a stylish home. The fabrics were mostly rayon or cotton and the roller printing process made for fast production and an affordable end product. I just love the birds!
The temptation to ‘touch’ was too much!!!
Paule Vézelay was a painter and her skills transferred beautifully to fabric design. So much so that I think a certain Ms Kiely looks to have drawn some serious inspiration, don’t you think?!
And I wasn’t expecting to see any of these fabrics in dress form but just look…
I hope you have enjoyed this little preview. I do apologise for the quality of the photos. No flash photography was allowed so they are a bit grainy and really do not give any of the fabrics the justice they deserve!
Well, best I get on with my real work now… the downside of freelanceness!
I know, I know… I am meant to be making a jacket! But I have made an amazing discovery! If I embark on a complicated project (like my jacket) and I allow myself to be interrupted by other smaller projects (like a quilt block, a Dorothy dress and this blouse) the smaller projects all get done in really speedy record time due to the over-riding pressure of guilt waves, shooting out from underneath a pile of cut out jacket pieces! Its magic!
Its difficult enough for me to stay on track but it’s harder still when one is snared by such inspiration
as this . . .
This fantastic Clash Blouse was created by Lady Danbury over at Thinking In Shapes and it was a struggle not to rip it off (copy it) completely I can tell you. Red and black is one of my favourite colour combos and that shirt is soooo cool.
So the nearest I could get to it was this…
I bought the pattern, Butterick 556, on Etsy. Mainly because I am not as clever and talented enough (yet) to draft a pattern like LD! But also because, believe it or not, considering the hundreds of patterns that insulate my bedroom walls, I didn’t posses a patten anywhere near similar to a wing collar blouse! I’m assuming it’s 1950s. I never can find a date on these vintage ones. Can anyone shed any light?
That ‘over-riding pressure’ convinced me I shouldn’t bother with a toile as the fabric was cheap enough if it didn’t work out. And hey, I only had to add an inch round the waist, (admittedly, after I had put it all together), but I am quite pleased with the end result. Pleased enough to have lined up some more fabric for another! I’m a bit gutted I didn’t incorporate some red piping around the collar and sleeve cuffs to highlight the detail but rest assured I will be doing that with the next one!
I decided against a machined hem in favour of red binding for a proper vintage finish.
And those lovely heart buttons were part of a birthday gift from my eldest daughter.
That Cath Kidston doesn’t miss a trick, does she?!
Initially I mocked the idea of padded shoulders – as much as I love Joanie – but then relented as they do indeed give a more authentic and sharper look. Im sure too that the pattern has accounted for the extra space for a bit of wadding. It certainly looks more structured with them in.
This really is a great pattern. Very simple to follow and a really comfortable and flattering fit. The eight darts… 4 in the front, 4 in the back might have something to do with that!
I feel a high-waisted pencil skirt coming on now…. ooops I just did… ok just that one, then I promise I’ll carry on with the jacket!!
Photo credits of course to the very lovely Mr Ooobop!