Wednesday, December 31, 2014

1930s - Suave and Chic Winter Looks

The weather is freezing here in Seattle this week, so I think a winter coat post is in order. And I adore 1930s fashion. :)

Pencil-slim and trimmed with a lynx fur collar and slanting bound pockets, this tailored coat from the late 1930s exudes devastating charm. That jaunty hat has a bit of swagger to it, too!

Monday, December 29, 2014

1960s Mod Neutrals from Young Designer Gerald McCann

Neutral colors are huge this winter season, so these two Mod fashions from London designer Gerald McCann and the late 1960s seem especially timely. Even down to the contrasting plaid revers and peek-a-boo pleat on the dress. I love the buttons and bow. Designed for Butterick patterns, both are very "Carnaby Street" in their style and totally hip. And look at their shoes - now are those fun, or what?

Friday, December 26, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Great Tip for a New Year's Eve Party Frock

Trimming a dress with metallic lace is just the ticket for a New Year's Eve party! This particular tip from Ruth Wyeth Spears and the 1920s describes a wide band of "metal lace" that is sewn in place with a combination of brightly colored embroidery thread and metal thread that matches the lace. Pay attention to the lace trim at the sleeves. I love this dress! Do you think that is fur at the hemline?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays from 1955

I wish you all a wonderful holiday season, full of vintage beauty, success, and happiness. For your enjoyment, here is a quick splash of seasonal red and green with this elegant sketch of a 1955 formal gown from Balenciaga.

A trailing panel gives a wonderful floating look to the evening gown, which features a deep back-jutting decolletage. Stunning.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Miss Lillian's Postcards - Vintage Tweets - Minneapolis

Postcard 026

Sender:  Edna McGarry
Addressee: Miss Lillian Maguire, 1902G Terry Ave, Seattle, Wash.
Postmark: Minneapolis, Minn
Date: May 18, 1908
Image: "Minneapolis Makes Good" Cadet Drill, University Armory
Minneapolis, Minn
Dear Lillian:
We arrived home
safely Thursday had
a fine trip home and 
the same big porter.
Hope you are feeling
well and will like the 
West. Better write and
tell us what you are doing.
Edna McGarry
419 E.14th St.

The front of this post card features the University of Minnesota Armory, which is still standing and is part of the University of Minnesota Old Campus Historic District. At the time of this postcard, this building was only about 10 years old.

 In the previous postcard (Postcard 025), Edna McGarry and her sister were traveling back to Minnesota in early May. Now it is the 18th of May, and Edna is writing to Lillian from her home in Minnesota. It teems that Edna is impatient to hear Lillian's news about her new life in Seattle. :)

An afternoon dress 1907

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Seen in a Shop Window: Wedding Dresses at Luly Yang

Bridal gowns are beginning to appear in the windows of Luly Yang in downtown Seattle - what a delight!

I love this stunning strapless gown, with a snug, contoured drop-waist bodice and full flowing skirt with a sweep train.

This eye-catching gown is gorgeous, with a snug bustier bodice and full flowing skirt that swirls in a froth of cascading drapes.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

1960s Dresses from "Young Designer" Jean Muir

Hello, all! I hope you are holding up during this holiday season. For some reason I have more than my normal quantity of dinners and outings, all in addition to my day job. The days are flying by so quickly, it is hard to believe we are just a little over a week away from Christmas!

Today I travel back to the autumn of 1967. These fab little A-line dresses from Jean Muir and Butterick were hot fashion then. I love how the pill box hat (very early to mid 60s) and the head scarf or "babushka" (as a fashion statement, a popular thing from late 60s into the 70s) appear here. One on its way out, the other on its way in.

I love the monochrome quality of the outfit on the right. The dress is marvelous, with its shallow funnel collar, notched wing cuffs, and a row of accent buttons that add focus and a pop of texture. I think Ruth Wyeth Spears from the 1920s would approve both dresses, with their simplicity of style and just a small number of accents of the right type. :)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - The Art of Trimming a Frock

In this tip for home dressmakers in the 1920s, we learn some key rules when trimming a frock, whether it is embroidery, a lace collar, flowers, or other trimmings. The key to looking smart is simplicity - you want to look fashionable, not "home-made" or worse yet, frumpy! :) Ruth Wyeth Spears always provides such wise fashion advice.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

1950s Dreamy Dior Gown in Green Satin

This fabulous off-shoulder gown in green satin is from Dior's "Y" line - the stem of the Y branches into width from a high waistline and (inverted) broadens out from waist to hem.

Luscious. Featured in Women's Home Companion, October 1955.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

1930s Glamorous Dress Hugs the Body in Black

Talking about striking a movie siren pose! This stunning dress gives the model a sculptured look, hugging the body with sensuous drapes at the waistline. A demure collar at neckline is trimmed with a peak of white. A sheer veil drops from the back of the exotic, dot-textured, high-crowned toque.

A dress to sigh for.

Monday, December 8, 2014

1960s Mod Fashion from Mary Quant

Looking confident and totally hip, these models pose with the power stance to flaunt this fab Carnaby Street fashion of skinny pants, A-line skirt, cardigan jacket and newsboy hat. This ensemble was designed for Butterick in 1967 by the marvelous Mary Quant, one of the hottest designers of Mod fashion in "swinging London". I remember reading that she started in fashion by taking Butterick patterns and sewing them shorter. :)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

1950s Winning Winter Coats

Ah, the guy changes the tire while the pretty ladies wait in their warm winter coats. It's beautiful fashion from 1955.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

1940s Originator Sketch - Blouses with the Accent on the Shoulders

Here is a trio of lovely blouses from 1946, trimmed with cord, lace, and top-stitching to set them apart. These are interesting accents with a primary focus on the shoulders. In typical 40s fashion, they work to extend the shoulders, resulting in "power shoulders". Do you have a favorite?

Top-stitching is always a favorite of mine, but I think the blouse with the cord trim captures my imagination the most. :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Adding a Crystal Beaded Accent to Your Chiffon Dinner Frock

Imagine this dinner frock in "crayon blue chiffon" and then add this beaded bow knot, bead by bead! Ruth Wyeth Spears tells you how in this very fine tip from the 1920s. The instructions look like a snap (well, a relative snap) and I love that "simple one-piece dress" with shirred fullness at the sides. Delightful!


Monday, December 1, 2014

Miss Lilliian's Postcards - Vintage Tweets - Out West for Health

Postcard 025

Sender: Maureen and Edna McGarry
Addressee: Miss Lillian MacGuire, 1902G Terry Av., Seattle, Wash.
Postmark: Bellingham, WASH
Date: May 7, 1908
Image: Nooksack Falls, Whatcom County, Washington
Dear Lillian, You failed to 
sign your last name &
we had to guess at it. Hope
this will reach you. We are
having a very nice time
and leave for home this
coming Monday. Go to
Vancouver by boat. We were
very anxious about you
until we received the
card and knew for sure
you were with your
sister. Hope you will like
the West & get good & strong.
Our Minneapolis address is
419 E. 14th St. Love from
Maureen and Edna McGarry

Looking very "Northwest", this postcard illustrates the beautiful Nooksack Falls in Whatcom County, Washington state, a popular attraction then and now. Whatcom county and Bellingham are adjacent to British Columbia, Canada. 

Well, well! This postcard from a pair of sisters from Minneapolis informs us that Lillian is still in Seattle, and evidently staying with her sister Ann, not a surprise there. What IS interesting is that Lillian is in Seattle for her health! I am intrigued! I wonder how poorly her health was. The summers and winters are milder in Seattle than in St. Louis, could that be easier on the health? Or did she have a specific ailment? No way to know.

Friday, November 28, 2014

1950s - Balenciaga's Enchanting Sheath, Tunic, and Inspired Bolero

Now here is an ensemble I would love to wear! A pop of red on a white hat that makes you think of Christmas, a slim sheath topped with a knee-length tunic with big buttons, and an itty-bitty bolero with a floating back panel. Wow!

Here is a photograph of the dress & tunic in black brocade, without the bolero. The big buttons are there (we just can't see them). Enchanting!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

1930s Glamour in a Double-Breasted Princess Coat

I'll be traveling for Thanksgiving today, and I hope you all are blessed with a safe and wonderful time with all those you love.

For my travels today, I wish I could wear this fabulous tweed coat from 1937 that hugs the figure with flair! It features princess seams, underarm pockets with shaped flaps, double-breasted closing, and a shawl collar accented with scalloped Persian lamb fur. And I'd wear the marvelous hat too, with its square visor, envelope crown, and Persian pom-poms!

I wish I could order one of these!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - A Hand-Made Medallion Trim

I am way overdue for another post from Ruth Wyeth Spears and her wonderful tips for home sewists in the 1920s! So here is one for adding a home-made yet dramatic accent that is perfect for blouses and frocks. As described by Ruth, this is designed as an open-work motif. Whether you make it open-work or add a contrast fabric as a background, you'll have an eye-catching accent!

Have fun with this one!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Buy Your Vintage Sewing Patterns During the Holiday Shopping Sale!

Have you been stashing some cash? The sale of the year is almost upon us!

As a member of the Pattern Patter team on Etsy, my Midvale Cottage shop will be participating in this weekend's holiday shopping sale extravaganza! Beginning Friday, November 28 (at the stroke of midnight), until the end of Cyber Monday, December 1st, (at the stroke of midnight), everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, in my shop will be 20% off!  And if you don't find what you want, be sure to check all the participating shops, as most are offering discounts as well.

On the days of the sale, just click this image to view all the pattern shops that are participating and the fresh items they are adding to their shops for the event.

Pattern Patter Black Friday Blitz

You can peruse my items at any time by visiting Midvale Cottage on Etsy, or on this special Etsy on Sale link that goes live during the sale period.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

1950s Paris Fashion - A Taste of the Orient

The Oriental influence inspired by the Chinese Opera's first visit to Paris in 1955 resulted in couture designs like this one by Dior. The evening sheath dress of pearly satin  is topped with a richly jeweled and embroidered caftan coat with split sides. This brilliant brocade definitely results in a rich, exotic look.

It seems as though they tried to give her eyes an Oriental look with the use of makeup. What do you think? Seen in Women's Home Companion, October 1955 edition.

Friday, November 21, 2014

1940s Originator Sketch - Cocktail Dresses

Ooooo la la! These stunning cocktail dresses feature cascading drapes topped with bows. Did you notice that both dresses dip lower in the back? Fabulous eye candy!

Look at the details carefully - intriguing!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

1930s - Glamorous Metallic Two-Piece Evening Dress

Oh, she looks sensational and knows it! This divine two-piece dress of  lamé provides a sculptured look, wrapping the body in waves of elegant shimmer. The matching hat is a high calot, trimmed with kid and an eye-catching whisper of a veil.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I've Seen That in Vintage Patterns - 1950s Popular Sheath

Browsing through a September 1955 edition of Mademoiselle magazine, this ad for the synthetic fabric "Arnel" features a dress style that appears from time to time in vintage patterns from the 1950s. Seeing it in "real life" in this photograph, I am surprised at just how flattering this style is, with its peg-top-esque hip pockets. Would you have expected it?

I think, the hip pockets actually work to make the waistline thinner by emphasizing the hips, while the straight line from the hips to hemlines minimizes the hips. Is that a contradiction? At the very least, it is an interesting contrast. :) The dress certainly looks cute on this model!

Here is one version, Butterick 7750, a very close match and a wonderful dress.

Here is a fine half-size version, Simplicity 1458, with button accents and the bonus of a matching coat.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Miss Lillian's Postcards - Vintage Tweets from 1908: Miss Lillian is in Seattle!

Postcard 024

Sender: Elsie
Addressee: Miss Lillian Maguire, 1902G Terry Av., Seattle, Wash.
Postmark: East St Louis, Ill.
Date: April 27, 1908
Image: First Presbyterian Church, East St. Louis, Ill.
Dear Lillian,
By the time this
reaches you, you 
will be with the
Kidders. I hope you
arrived safely &
enjoyed your trip.
Be sure to write soon.
I rec'd your postal
from St. Paul.
Love, Elsie

This postcard features a lovely church in East St Louis that was probably newly built or relatively newly built. Whether the building still stands, I do not know. East St Louis, Illinois is located across the Mississippi River from St Louis,Missouri.

What is exciting about this postcard is the fact that Miss Lillian has traveled to Seattle, Washington, where her sister and brother-in-law live (Anne and Adolph Mueller). She is staying with the Kidder family, about whom we know nothing. Are they family? Are they friends? And how long is Miss Lillian staying? Why is she not staying with her sister? So many questions!

According to this postcard from Elsie, Miss Lillian traveled through St Paul, Minnesota on her way to Seattle. I believe the only Amtrak passenger train between Seattle and Chicago still goes through St Paul. I have taken that train ride, but I suspect that it took me much less time than it took Miss Lillian in 1908.  I look forward to learning more about this adventure!

1907 Fashion

Friday, November 14, 2014

1960s Winter Fashion from Young Designer Gayle Kirkpatrick

Today let's take a peek at winter fashion from 1966. Gayle Kirkpatrick was a hot "In" designer from the mid-60s to the late 1970s. During that time, he won a Coty Award, and designed for Butterick, among many other things. Here are a couple of his designs for Butterick from 1966.

Coatdress Butterick 4204

The coatdress could be sewn to be a coat or a dress (or both!). In this interpretation, sewn in wide wale corduroy, it definitely looks like a coat, with military details.

The double image below pairs Butterick 4204 with Gayle Kirkpatrick's Blouse and Suit Butterick 4205 (looking darn cute and perfectly Mod in paisley). Note the "power stance" of the models. No demure crossing of legs in the youthful revolution of the Mod years!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

1930s Winter Coat - Wrap Yourself in Luxury

Double pockets with flaps that hug a snug waistline, a double-breasted closing, and a warm shawl collar topped with luxurious fur make this tweed coat from 1937 a beauty. That sculptured hat tops it off with panache!

Such a fashionable way to stay warm during freezing winter days!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

1946 Originator Sketch - Saddle Yokes Provide Smart Details

This Originator sketch features saddle yokes. I first discovered saddle yokes in vintage patterns and I must say that I find them a rather wonderful way to construct a dress or blouse. The saddle yoke combines the sleeve and the yoke into one piece.

This sketch features pleated sleeves with the saddles yokes, which looks very pretty. And the saddle yokes are also one-in-piece with center front bands or panels, with the edges trimmed with saddle stitches. Additional cleverness! I love how the center fronts extend into the skirts of the dresses - very smart details. :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

I've Seen That in Vintage Patterns - 1950s Step-In Sheath

Browsing through a September 1955 edition of Mademoiselle magazine, this ad for the women's fashion store Peck and Peck reminded me of a vintage front-button step-in style dress pattern I had recently listed in my shop.

And here it is! Pattern Advance 8620 is a close match, with its dart-fitted slimness and front button step-in closing. Obvious differences are the pattern's collar and set-in sleeves.

This dress clearly shows off the slim figure. But I think I prefer the version from Advance, myself.  The collar adds a lot. What do you think? 

Friday, November 7, 2014

1937 Glamorous Couture Fashion from Paris and Vogue

Shirred to a high waistline, this exquisite lamé-topped dress has the allure you need for cocktails and dinner! The black crepe croisette fabric is molded to you - seductive and slim. Note that the inspired turban matches the frock. Such sophistication - it's a movie star pose and movie star glamour. :)

Cigarette not required. ;)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

I've Seen That in Vintage Patterns: 1950s Pants & Blouse Ensemble with Cummerbund

Browsing through a September 1955 edition of Mademoiselle magazine, this Ship'n Shore ad caught my eye. It's casual and ever-so-cute. And I'd seen that particular combination before in my vintage patterns!

And sure enough, here it is! Blouse, tapered pants, and the ever popular cummerbund. Simplicity 4464 has a few differences, most notably in the sleeves - set-in vs. French sleeves, and length. Delightful!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Miss Lillian's Postcards - Vintage Tweets from 1908: A Farewell Party for Lillian?

Postcard 023

Sender: Sister of Lillian, Anne Mueller
Addressee: Miss Lillian Maguire, #1315 N. Taylor Ave., St. Louis Mo
Postmark: Seattle, WASH.
Date: April 14, 1908
Image: Tillamook Rock and Lighthouse, Oregon
My dear L,
Your postcard 
received glad to
hear from you. I
hope you will all 
have a good time
at the party. Be [sic]
& don't forget to write
when you leave. Love to
all,  yrs, A.

This postcard  features the infamous Tillamook Rock Light on the coast of Oregon. Read all about the challenges of building the lighthouse and lives lost here. Today the Tillamook name has a much happier association with dairy products. :)

In this short message to Lillian from her sister Anne (who lives in Seattle), we learn that Lillian is going to be attending a party. We love parties! We also learn that Lillian is about to embark on a journey! Could the party be a farewell party? Maybe. Perhaps the next post card will provide a clue!

1907 Fashion: Going Out to a Party

Monday, November 3, 2014

Winter 1966-67 - Dazzling Evening Dresses

Check out these gorgeous, hot dresses for cocktails, parties, and evenings out from 1966. They are perfect for the holidays! I think it is scrumptious style, but then, I am partial to the era. :) These dresses are from a Butterick home catalog, and the pattern number for each dress is listed at the model's feet.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Winter Fashion from 1937 - Glamour Coat

It's the "new glamour from Paris" for the 1937 - 1938 winter season! All is immensely alluring, charming. Wear this brilliant coat to a football game? Why not! This beautiful fitted coat of Shetland tweed has a Black Persian lamb collar, high scalloped pockets, soft pleats, and a leather belt to give you a tinier waistline.;) And don't forget the felt hat trimmed with matching black Persian lamb. What smart women wear and want to wear - and featured in "Vogue". :D

Only $75.00 back in 1937. Yummmmm!