Tag Archives: 1920s

huge pattern sale by We Sew Retro’s Katherine

“From now until Monday (November 18), the coupon code BUBBLES will get you 20% off everything in the WeSewRetro shop and a massive 60% off everything in ZipZapKap. On Monday, both pattern stores will be closing until I return to the States so don’t miss your chance to snap up some beauties. Everything purchased before the shops close will ship within 24 hours of payment.”  As noted on We Sew Retro.

Dear Katherine & her family must return unexpectedly to England to care for her mum, and she must temporarily close her shops.   Let’s all make certain they have the funds for their unexpected trip.

We Sew Retro – 20% off
Includes several overseas companies with normally high shipping costs for Americans.  NOT from Katherine’s Middle America location!

ZipZapKap – 60% off
These great patterns are practically being given away, so hurry on over!

decorating the whither the weather hat ~ buttons!

My favourite play toys, buttons, should help me ease into Monday morning, November, and the time change a bit.

When doing groups of anything ~ flowers, fabrics, jewels, buttons ~ it’s always best to use an odd number (1, 3, 5, 7, etc.).  It’s probably a Rule of something.

Sometimes 1 is enough, if it’s a big enough 1, but that 1 red button on the hat isn’t, is it.  In my opinion, even the group of lovely vintage silver buttons or the red group of buttons aren’t enough.

Like the buttons?  He-hee!  Samantha’s Ultimate Vintage Upcycle may still have some.

Now look what happens with Laura P’s caramel buttons as they start multiplying across the brim of the hat.  If you count the individual buttons, I’ve put an odd number of buttons in each group (3, 5, 7), as well as used an odd number of groups (3).

Ah, maybe that little added bit of lace balances eveything - what do you think?
Ah, maybe that little added bit of lace balances everything – what do you think?

trivia: Coco Chanel began her empire 100 years ago with HATS!
Her hats became so popular and so many women admired her personal style of dress that she was able to expand the hat business into a major industry encompassing everything from perfume to jewellery to clothing, even in the midst of war.  Quite a story, sans the cinematic spin.

saturday spitalfields update: colour!

Samantha of Ultimate Vintage Upcycle reports, “Have been moved to stall number 38 for Spitalfields Market on Saturday. 

We should be easy to spot as it will look like an explosion in a paint factory COLOUR COLOUR and a tad more COLOUR!”

Everyone near London head over, give Samantha a hug, & start looking at the buttons, ribbons, vintage upcycled items, ribbons, laces, and haberdashery from across Europe over the last 100 years.

WOWser, has she got gorgeous things!   Do send us a piccie of your finds.

decorating the whither the weather hat ~ handkerchiefs & lace

Before Jane Austen’s time, women were saving bits & bobs of jewellery, lace, ribbon, buttons, and fabric to use for decorative purposes ~ including hats.  That’s what I’m going to show over the next couple of days, starting with these …

Remember this collection?  It would look equally good on this hat, but it’s not coming off the blue!   And lest we forget our vintage hankies…

whither the weather hat

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Remember this?  Last night I reacquainted myself with Bernie, the sewing machine, and finished up this thick fleece hat, using Folkwear’s Metropolitan Hat, #269.  I should explain that my improvised hat stand has unfortunate effects on the hat which don’t occur on a rounded cranium.

With only 3 pieces, it’s a snap to sew up.  I’d pictured this hat in this fabric forever (said fabric having been stashed probably 10 yrs.) but made two changes.

Because of the fabric thickness, I didn’t do a lining.  And, instead of doing the pleats down the back before sewing the centre back seam, I pleated after sewing the seam.  The fleece was stretching so much I decided not to faff about trying to get them to match. It was so much easier!

Next time, I’ll overlock everything except the pleats, which will made for a much neater finish inside.  (Because the front brim gets turned up there’s a seam that could become visible, but I’ll not turn the brim up that much.)

As an experiment with scrapes, it’s turned out quite well.  Next task is deciding how to trim it.

saturday, stall #37, old spitalfields, london!

click to see Samantha's post about these pillows!
click to see Samantha’s post about these pillows!

Wish I could be transported for the debut of Samantha’s Ultimate Vintage Upcycle stall at Old Spitalfields Market this Saturday… sigh!

She’s collected some very rare fabrics & notions, and upcycled them in delightful ways.

You simply will not belief the love and care that’s gone into these, including documenting the history of each, passing it on for the latest owners to know, talk about, and treasure.

2 sets red buttons
remember these? by the GROSS she’s got ’em, and many more!

Don’t believe me?  Read a bit of Samantha’s blog or Facebook and you’ll see!  Or read a couple of me older posts about here & here.

my suggestion: arrive early & bring lots cash ~ and say “del sent me!”

Beginning Monday next, she will begin selling on Facebook with PayPal.

Old Spitalfields Market map ~ scroll down the page
“The nearest Tube stations are Liverpool Street, Shoreditch High Street and Aldgate East, all around 5 minutes away. Old Street Tube station is a 15-minute walk, as is Moorgate.  See www.tfl.gov.uk for all bus routes etc.”

home sewing in the 1920s, or getting ready for november’s monthly stitch

Amy Barickman's Vintage Notions
Amy Barickman’s Vintage Notions

Trolling through our local library’s listings for things vintage, I spied Vintage Notions by Amy Barickman, and requested it.  In due course it arrived, and I was surprised because it has nothing to do with haberdashery.

It’s a monthly diary and homage to Mary Brooks Picken (1886 – 1981), an American who created a national mail order Course in Dressmaking and Design, was one of the founding directors of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, was the first woman to be named a trustee of the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York), and wrote nearly 100 books/pamphlets, some still in print.

The book also has several sewing “patterns” (more like diagrams) from Picken’s publications, and they particularly piqued my interest.  You know me ~ I was soon looking around cyberspace to see what else might be available.

excuse my hand!
excuse my thumb!

That’s when I discovered there are reprints and some originals of Mrs. Picken’s books and pamphlets available today.  I ordered and promptly received one of the 3 in her 1920s One-Hour Dress series.

The dresses and variations in this 1925 booklet use the same folding process as my pinny.  Perhaps this method or process was in general use in the 1920s.  Paper patterns were quite possibly not in general use.

I freely admit to being thoroughly & happily spoilt by today’s printed patterns.  Game for giving the 1925 booklet a go, I carefully read directions & diagram a couple of times.  (Warning: Don’t think you’re gonna do this in 1 hour straight off, unless you’ve done this before!)  I think I’m ready for November’s Monthly Stitch challenge!

Pssst!  Cornell University has an online copy of  The Mary Brooks Picken method of modern dressmaking, 1925, here!

doin’ homework & making plans

photo courtesy Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) site
photo courtesy Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) site

Don’t mean to whinge on, but remember Phryne (fry-knee) from last month?   I started watching the series, loved the impressive costuming, and immediately ordered series 1.  Have been studying costume designer Marion Boyce’s creations ever since, wondering why I appreciate this wardrobe so much more than what I’d thought was 1920s flapper style.

Doing my homework, I found several interviews (see facebook, Dear Readers) that included quotes from Ms. Boyce.  In her wardrobe analysis she felt the Phryne character was always in motion, so her clothes needed that impetus. And as Phryne has been everywhere, done & seen everything, especially Paris, the Parisian influence was needed.  Ah-hah, I though, that’s the difference ~ that’s what I like!

Phryne wears ensembles, something else I appreciate, because I get to think bags & hats.  Everything’s not matchy-matchy, and I’ve seen the same blouse, purse, skirt, etc., in different shows paired with different items, so we’re not getting paranoid or enlarging the closet too much.

Speaking of handbags…  read a great post on Catherine’s blog, Makings of an Urban Rustic.  Aren’t they gorgeous!  So cuddly… and I’ve the perfect (purrfect) velour for one.  Checked out the author & book Catherine used but felt no sparks.  Hmm.  As friend Samantha says, “When in doubt, do nowt.”

That night I remembered I hadn’t done a search on the author’s name, Emma Brennan, just looked at her books.  How un-thorough.  Next day I searched… and found the lovely author alive, well and selling on etsy.  Wha-hooo!  Saw and immediately ordered a complete kit for a luscious orangey clutch, complete with authentic Harris Tweed fabric, pattern, & vintage buttons.  (Buttons?!  TWEED??)  It’s on its way across the pond, along with the pattern, and I can’t wait!  Click for piccies & details.

So although you haven’t seen much lately, I’ve been busy here-abouts, despite the momentary sewing lull whilst the weather sorts itself out. What have you been up to, Dear Readers?

seeing stripes

Pinstripes, to be precise.  When I saw Vogue 1236 last season I remembered this black, aging in stash for a mere 4 years. I used the pattern a couple months ago, almost as a toile, and wound up wearing the dress a lot.  So I was looking for an excuse to get the pattern out again.

Saturday morning I dove into the boxes of fabric, but couldn’t find the pinstripe.  I remembered pondering whether to keep it or toss it when packing up for the last move, but couldn’t remember what I decided.

Giving up the search, I dragged out a large black bin liner with a wonderful green fleece, thinking to assuage disappointment by making a hat out of the green. Hats + green = perfect combination!

But guess what I found at the bottom of the bag.  Yep.  There was the black pinstripe!

front pleat detail
front pleat detail

After struggling for a day, the hat’s on hold briefly, and it’s forward with the pinstripes.  Will add about 6” to the length this time, as my summer sample is ok, but I wish it had a good 2 or 3 inches more in length, and a decent hem.

Reading through the directions last night I remembered my question from summer about those front pleats: to sew down or not to sew down.  Looking closely at the pattern detail, I think they should be sewn.

If nor,not, there’s always the seam ripper.  😉  (and editing!)

faffing about ~ buttons, again

Dear friend Sewin Love UK, my secret swap mate, has sent Real Vintage Buttons!  (The beautiful lampwork beads you’ll see glimpses of are mostly on my facebook, so I can concentrate on buttons here.)

As she explains on her facebook page, these came from a good friend who tramped through an old falling down warehouse in Malta. Isn’t Sewin Love generous?! These are so special to her, because of her friendship with the discoverer, yet she parted with some to send me.  That’s a special lady, and am so grateful we “met” through a swap.

Here’s some of the detail about these specific buttons, starting with the green buttons, of course!

  • green embossed w/gold were made in England c 1940s
  • green w/gold outline were made in Italy c 1930s
  • red buttons were all made in England c. 1930s
  • silver buttons were made in England c. 1940s

I was surprised at the silver, which are a metal (nickel or aluminium?), being manufactured in England in 1940s, because I’ve read of the extreme shortages they had, and continued to have, until almost 1960.  During the war years all metals went into manufacturing war implements.  But afterwards I’m not sure, not having read about that.  I asked Samantha, and she, bless her, has contacted the V&A Museum!   Do any of you, Dear Readers, know any more about the manufacture of buttons in England in the 1940s?  If you do, please share!

we who love buttons are not alone

I really did a lot of faffing about last night, but found out some interesting things. Did you know…

want some for yourself?   november spitalfields!

Sewin Love sent me “samples!” – she has these by the gross.  She, they, and much more will be available for purchase by each and every person attending her stall in November at Judy’s Vintage Fair, in Old Spitalfields Market.

Mark your calendars now, Dear Readers!!!  And please take a piccie or two to share with us too far away to attend.  😉 xx