Archive for July, 2007


Here are the rest of the garments shown in the Advance advertising circular from 1957.  The dresses below are 8262 on the left and 8263 on the right.  8262 is called ‘Casual Chic’ and is a sleeveless dress with a wide neckline, bloused back and a ‘relaxed slim skirt’.  8262, a sheath dress, has nice pockets on bodice and skirt.


 Left to right, below are 8266, 8267, and 8273.  The first two are ‘Designed by Woman’s Day’.  8266 has a jumper, bolero, and cumberbund.  The fashion feature for 8267 are the snap closures on blouse underarm seam and on the skirt.  More great pockets.  8273 has a nice sleevess blouse and capri pants that they call ‘mid-calf’ pants.


8265, below, the evening gown, reminds me very much of a Barbie dress I used to make.  Note the raglan sleeves, unusual in evening wear, the fitted waist, and the floating back panel.  The pattern also included knitting instructions for the capelet.  8264 has the same silhouette with its fitted waist.  It is called an ’empire-princess coat dress’.  8269 is the popular chemise dress of the fifties.  This one had only one pattern piece for for the front and back.


The last two are 8275 and 8274.  Look at the hooded cape cover-up and playsuit with cumberbund.  The other pattern has the fitted waist on the shorts, a short shirt and top.

The price of the patterns varied from 50 cents to 75 cents.


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Since I have aprons on my mind, take a look at this nice current pattern from Kwik Sew.  It reminds me of an apron I saw once done in red toile on a yellow background with red trimming.


I like the center version with the great pockets.  I always like to have pockets on an apron because I need someplace to stick my little cassette player.  I am always sticking my thimble in the pocket and forgetting it is there.

I found an old advertising circular for Advance Patterns for 1957.  Here are some of the dresses shown in the circular.  One interesting thing was the mention of Gloria Swanson, the movie star, silent and otherwise.  I didn’t know that she also designed dresses.



The small print says that Gloria Swanson was associated with the Puritan Dress Company in Boston and that her designs had proven highly successful.  The dresses shown are 8271 and 8272.


The suit on the left is 8258, shawl-collared and ‘pouf-trimmed at back’.  What is a pouf trim, I wonder?  The large coat, 8257, is called a Cape Coat.  The soft suit on the right with a bit of the Chanel look about it, is 8259.  That style of skirt is called a peg-top skirt, and the suit is supposed to be a Paris fashion.


I will show the rest of these tomorrow.  I have finished Harry Potter so now I have no excuses and have to start sewing again.

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Vintage Acquisitions

The battle for Hogwarts is in full swing,  but I am taking a break from the excitement.  I was in Martinez the other day and stopped in at an antique shop that was having a sale.  I found a few old patterns that looked interesting:


This little dress reminds me of one my mom made for me when I was about 7.  The dress she made was dark blue and white gingham checks for the sleeves and skirt sides and white pique for the yoke and central panel.  She then embroidered different colored lifesavers around the edge of the yoke and down the sides of the center panel.  I loved that dress.


A classic shell pattern.  I like the top with the 3/4 sleeves.


Another old apron pattern.  I have always been a clothes disaster in the kitchen and do definitely need an apron, the bigger the better.  Just the other day I was putting up peaches and ended up with my toes stuck to my flipflops from sticky syrup.


Now this pattern may be funny, but it seems to be a really good pattern for fitting pants, and nothing is easier than to make the bottom of the pants narrower, so I am going to give it a try.  My daughter, who is always trying to spiff me up, tells me that wider pants are ‘in’ now, but that is confusing because I thought that the Gap was showing ads for skinny black pants ala Audrey Hepburn.  In any case, I don’t think that the above pants are what she is thinking of.  I remember those bell bottoms and how they would flap around as you walked.  There was no way you could ride a bike wearing those things without getting them caught in the spokes.  Fashion is so practical!

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Electric Scissors

Shortly after I got married, electric scissors came onto the market.  I acquired a pair, don’t remember if they were a gift or what, but they were actually quite fantastic.  You just pressed a button and the little teeth moved rapidly up and down and cut cleanly through the fabric.  I loved them and used them a lot, but they were eventually killed by heavy decorator fabric.

Beanbag chairs came into fashion about the same time, and I made three of them.  One was a wedding present for my sister-in-law.  The fabric I used was a very heavy herculon fabric with some sort of plasticy backing to it.  The other was for us, and we used it for years.  The third was another cover for ours when we wore out the first one.  The chairs were really a huge pear-shaped structure of sewn panels that were wider at the bottom.   There was a round bottom piece that had a zipper across the middle.  The hardest part of the whole sewing job was getting the stuffing into the chair.  We would buy the absolutely huge bag (taller than we were) of pellets that looked like styrofoam beads at the fabric store and then try to insert the pellets into the beanbag without them flying all over the room.  They were extremely lightweight and stuck to everything with static.  First we would cut a hole in the pellet bag, then insert the end of this bag into the chair cover zipper opening, then try to coax the pellets into the beanbag.  It was a two-person job.  After this was done, we had to vacuum everything in sight to get up the wayward pellets.

 Cutting out those chairs in the heavy fabric burned out my electric scissors somehow.  I have missed them for years.  I see that there are still some on the market, Black and Decker for instance, so I am going to have to check them out and revisit my youth.

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Vintage Adventure

My husband had to be in the Monterey area for business on Friday, so I went along for the ride.  After dropping him off at the offices, I drove around Carmel, Pacific Grove, and Monterey.  While looking for a bookstore, I happened to park in front of a restored home that now houses a shop called ‘Olio’.  It was a very nice shop full of vintage items nicely displayed, including some old sewing patterns.  I couldn’t resist and bought the following:




I think the scoop-neck blouse pattern is my favorite, and I am going to break out my book on grading and try to enlarge it a little.

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New Project

I have cut out a new shirt for myself using a bright fiesta fabric I found some time ago. 


I am going to make another shirt with 3/4 sleeves and the turn-back cuff I designed.  I have it cut out and have the interfacing applied.  I like the So Sheer iron-on interfacing for shirts, since it is easy to apply, has a good drape, and lasts through many many washings. 


Here is the same pattern, different fabric.  It has princess seaming, and though the pattern originally came with a short sleeve, I lengthened it into a 3/4 length.  This is one of my convention shirts for events like Stitches or bead shows.  The bright prints help my companions spot me from across the large room.

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When Pastor B. died after a very long life richly lived, my inlaws were responsible for dealing with his estate and belongings.  His relatives came to this country and arranged to ship all the items they wished to have, then gave the rest to our family.  We have been dealing with the belongings for a few months now, giving away furniture to family members, etc., and donating blankets and such to the rescue mission, something I am sure Pastor B would have approved.  Our lease on the storage unit ran out this week, so the hubster brought the rest of the items home to be gone through.  One of the things was this case, which I assumed was a typewriter:


My husband wanted me to open the case and check out what was in it, and I was suprised to see this:


It is a Singer 301A, which I confess that I never heard of before, but is apparently much in demand by quilters, like the featherweight.  From what I have read about it online, it seems to be a model that came right after the featherweight.  Mrs. Pastor B kept it in primo shape and all the attachments are there, including a lovely buttonholer.  I think I am going to have to send for the manual.

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