Thursday, October 30, 2014

1930s Shirtwaist Dress

She looks ready to do business in this great shirtwaist dress from 1937. I love the rows of darts at the shoulders, the buttons on the sleeves that match the toggle buttons of the front closing. It's a graceful dress, and I can picture wearing this! Can you?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Jumpsuits - The New Hot Thing?

I was reading in the "Style & Travel" section of the October 16, 2014 edition of The Wall Street Journal that jumpsuits are becoming a "must buy" fashion, from casual to tailored! I know, I know - The Wall Street Journal as a source for fashion news? Well, they always cover fashion on Thursdays, and it is newspaper that is available at work, so I try to pay attention to it, at least on Thursdays. ;)

So, jumpsuits? Well, if you want to find really cute jumpsuits, you can't do better than vintage! For best fit and preferred fabric, sewing your own seems like a no-brainer.

Jumpsuits become regular wardrobe items in the 1940s, especially (though not exclusively) as work apparel for women working in manufacturing plants that supported the war effort.


In the 1950s, the jumpsuit emerged as a trending sportswear (and so cute!), but not common. 

1960s & 1970s

The most popular decades for the jumpsuit were the 1960s and the 1970s.  Hip and groovy, they expanded to include a wide range of styles, suitable for both casual and formal wear: from the uber-slim "cat suit" to the delicious fullness of palazzo pants. 


Jumpsuits lingered in the 1980s, but definitely not as popular an item as in the 1970s. 

 So what do you think? Do jumpsuits in general have appeal? Would you sew one for yourself? Do any of the patterns above appeal to you?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Spotted in a Shop Window - Dress with Box-Pleated Flared Skirt

Spotted in the window of GAP in downtown Seattle, this cute, stripy "fit and flare" dress has winning style.With flattering 3/4-length sleeves and a sassy softly-box-pleated mini-skirt, it looks like it would be fun and ever so comfortable to wear.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Miss Lillian's Postcards - Vintage Tweets: Miss Lillian Has Moved!

Postcard 022

Sender: Sister of Lillian, Anne Mueller
Addressee: Miss Lillian Maguire, #1315 N. Taylor Ave., St. Louis Mo
Postmark: Seattle, WASH.
Date: March 24, 1908
Image: State Capitol, Carson City, Nevada
Dear L,
Your letter, also
M. B's received & as
I cant possibly use 
another "centrepiece
tulip design" I don't 
think I'll give myself
any extra work by 
opening correspondence
with her. Love from,
Yours A.


The Nevada state capitol is an historic building that still stands in Carson City. Follow the link and then click on the photo of the capitol building to view more pictures, including a picture taken when it was newly built (1870-ish).

This postcard from Anne to her sister Lillian is such fun! First we can see by the address that Lillian has moved out from home. My, my! We have no idea why. We can only speculate that she was ready to be out on her own. Is it possible that she is staying with family or a friend in another part of St. Louis?

And then the message is so funny! We get to see a bit of personality from Anne. "I can't possibly use another "centrepiece tulip design"? I am guessing that Anne did not care for too much hand embroidery, nor for M B. (clearly not a close friend! :) It's a LOL moment! And what does a "centrepiece tulip design" look like? Possibly something like this (image courtesy of Windstar Embroidery Designs):

I am curious regarding why Anne received yet another centrepiece tulip design - for her birthday, perhaps?

Looking Back - 1907 Fashion 


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - How to Make a Coat, Step-by-Step

This tip from Ruth Wyeth Spears and the 1920s must be her longest ever. If you feel that sewing a coat is a challenge, Ruth is here to walk you through it! The steps have not changed throughout the decades - the construction of a tailored coat is timeless. Well, except, perhaps, Ruth's suggestion that you take the coat to the tailor to make the button holes and give the coat its final pressing. :)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

1930s - A Beautiful Afternoon Dress

This lovely dress from 1937 has such interesting details in the bodice. Note the shaped saddle yokes, short flutter sleeves, and a V-neckline with tie extensions. A lovely touch is how the straight princess seams in front release into pleats near the hemline. And the artist has rendered the dress with sheer fabric. Beautiful!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Originator Sketch - Spring 1946: Accenting with Graduated Folds

What an intriguing idea is illustrated in this page from the Spring 1946 Originator! Pockets with graduated folds or bands accent a skirt, a jacket, and a blouse. Very inspiring and eye-catching too. :) On the skirt, I like how the folds or bands echo the pleats of the skirt - nice touch! On the jacket they they serve to narrow the hips, I think. The blouse is unusual, because a side opening breast pocket is rare - but I like how it hides the pocket while adding interest to the blouse. Great ideas!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

1949 Angelic Advertisement for Laundry Soap

Wearing an angelic nightgown and a sheer flowing cape, the model in this advertisement for laundry soap from 1949 is totally dreamy. Now if I could only float on clouds...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Miss Lillian's Postcards - Vintage Tweets: Another "Poke" from Nora

Postcard 021

Sender: Nora
Addressee: Miss Lillian Maguire, 3004 Vine Grove Ave, St. Louis, Mo
Postmark: [unmarked]
Date: [undated]
Image: St. Joseph's Hospital, St. Charles, Mo.
[From Nora] (cut-off, on edge of right side)

St. Joseph's Hospital no longer exists in this very handsome building, most likely rather new back in 1907. A search on St. Joseph's Hospital in St. Charles, Missouri shows a very large facility that serves the region with multiple facilities. My, how St. Charles has grown since then. :)

If you compare the handwriting on this postcard to the handwriting on postcard 20, you will see that they are same. Therefore this is another "poke" from Nora. And if you look at the front of postcard 20, the "From Nora" signature is captured on front of this postcard too, but the majority of the signature here is "off the page". :)

 A gorgeous evening coat for the theater - 1907

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Testing Your Trimming Ideas

In this tip for her 1920s audience, Ruth Wyeth Spears illustrates the importance and the effects of horizontal vs. vertical trims. Do you want to look tall and slender or short and broad?

Don't forget to sketch your ideas first! :)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

1955 Couture - Chinese Influences

It's not exactly a cheongsam. Adapted from Dior's Chinese line, this superbly elegant silk crepe dress features a long slim tunic, Mandarin collar, and a finely pleated underskirt.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Originator Sketch - 1946 Spring - Accenting with Stitch Embroidery and Tiny Buttons

Adding a bit of a faux quilting effect, this inventive approach to adding some tiny sparkles to a dress or jacket is rather fun! You could substitute the tiny colored buttons with beads, sequins, whatever suits you. Be inspired!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Scraps from the Past - Sunny Gingham Shirtwaist Dress

The Pattern: Mail Order 9225
It's been a while since I've found a fabric scrap in a pattern! And this slim shirtwaist dress has appeal as both a day dress and an afternoon dress. With its slim skirt, peg-top in-set hip pockets, and vertical tucks framing the front button opening, there's plenty of room for inspiration. :)

The Scrap: A small bit of gingham in a bold aqua - not faded a bit! I can picture the dress in this fabric. :D

Monday, October 6, 2014

1930s - A Play Suit to Envy

Quick changes are easy with this 1937 two-piece play suit. Now if only I could order this and sew it in time for the trip to Hawaii! ;) I love the buttons on the shoulders, the side button closing in the bodice, and the separate slim skirt. Note the deep V sun-back. So inspiring!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

1955 Couture Design - Dior Dress and Stole-Jacket

Dior's pale beige cheviot two-piece dress (sketch, below) from 1955 has a high turtle neck and wonderful big stole-jacket that closes with a double row of buttons.

And here it is to in the American adaptation, looking pretty darn similar. I'm not sure what to make of the stole-jacket. What do you think?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Winter is Coming! Slim Coat with Late 1950s Style

I was wandering the blogosphere, and on Paper Fashion  (love her blog!) was this wonderful coat from GAP (you'll find the following images on Paper Fashion, GAP, and styld. by).

Image from GAP and

Image from Paper Fashion

Image on Paper Fashion and

With it's slim, tailored style, this GAP coat reminds me of vintage coats from the late 50s. Here are a couple of patterns from my shop with similar details.

This Vogue pattern shares the slim tailored silhouette and the tailored details (note the bound pockets).

This Butterick pattern has that same slim silhouette, with the notched lapel collar and 3 lengths.

'Tis the season for coats!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Miss Lillian's Postcards - Vintage Tweets from the 1900s - A "Poke" from Nora

Postcard 020

Sender: Nora
Addressee: Miss Lillian Maguire,  3004 Vine Grove Ave, St. Louis, Mo
Postmark: [unmarked]
Date: [undated]
Image: St. Charles High School, St. Charles, Mo.
From Nora

This postcard features St Charles High School, in St Charles, MO, which is essentially a suburb of St Louis, MO these days. In the era of this postcard (and it is not dated, alas), it was surely a more "separate" city. Note that the name on the building is actually "Jefferson School", which became the name of the intermediate school in St Charles in later decades. The high school no longer exists in this location, being replaced by a very modern facility in a different location (along with the intermediate and elementary schools). The site of this building is currently a semi-industrial, semi-residential area.

Nora addressed the post card, signed the front, and then sent it to Miss Lillian, although not by mailing it. Whether it was included in a letter, dropped off at her home, or some other method was employed, it simply looks like a picture tweet or an FB "poke". :)

Fashion from 1907

Isn't this a geourgeous ensemble? Such beautiful details. Perfect for afternoon outings, perhaps?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Spotted in a Shop Window - Brooks Brothers Separates

I seem to be in "blouse" mode. :) I spotted these fine separates in the shop window of Brooks Brothers in downtown Seattle. I love the neutral colors (very big this fall), and the classic, simple lines of the blouses and skirts. All items can be found on the Brooks Brothers website. Not to mention the patterns for them might also be found in your nearest online vintage pattern shop (ahem!). :)

What's not to love about this simply gray pencil skirt and the soft colors of the lovely silk floral blouse with a unique twisted collar?

This wonderful cotton skirt is pleated around the hips that release into soft, full folds. The simple design of the, dare I say it, foulard blouse tops the skirt perfectly.