Friday, January 13, 2017

Some Catalog Love from McCall 1929...

Hello my dears,
Today's post is simply some eye candy from a McCall's  Sewing Pattern Catalog from 1929. I've been catalog obsessed this last year. I started with one, fell in love and before I knew what had happened, I had just under a dozen.
Lord help me, but they are beautiful to behold.
So without further ado...

Friday, December 16, 2016

Found in a Bag - the 1920's Dress - Make Your Own.

I recently sold the Dress-in-a-Bag to someone that will love, cherish, and re-purpose it, and as I was packaging it, it occurred to me that if I wanted to make my own, I really already had everything I needed in my current pattern arsenal.
So here is just a bit of my thought process on how I would do it if I had the time (jury is still out on where said time will come from).

First I would start with a basic 1920's foundation slip. These are easily made, and can often be whipped up in about an hour.
I have a couple that would fit the bill of having a straight top and bottom with few frills and Depew #3032 is easiest to make. This I would sew out of opaque rayon or satin.

1920's Draped Slip #3032 (1928)

The Pattern for the rest of the dress that I would choose is Depew #3063. I would forgo using the bodice as pictured on the right in green, and use only the skirt and over blouse. The skirt could be sewn directly into the slip above, and the blouse could be worn over that. For this I would choose a slightly sheer Georgette.

1920’s Martial et Armand Couture Dress #3063 (1927)

This pattern was adapted from a Martial et Armand couture pattern released in 1927 and has a lot of little details in common, especially the long bloused sleeves that end in tied cuffs, just like the dress in a bag.

The blouse also had a band of rosettes at the hem (I'm assuming, it was badly injured here) and these I would likely add to the tied band at the hem of the couture blouse. If one wanted to be very like the dress, the ties could be trimmed short and replaced with an Art Deco buckle, or a hook and eye closure hiding behind a rosette!

To make the rosettes is simple, they're really just a strip of fabric about 2" wide, sewn together along the long edge to hide raw edges, turned, and twisted a bit and pressed flat with a hidden stitch here and there. You can also learn how to make more complicated rosettes from Ribbon Art.

As for the lace inset at the back, that's pretty easy. It's is about 3/4 the height of the back of the blouse, and about 5" wide at the bottom. I would choose a piece of lace, cut it out, and applique-stitch it to the back of the blouse, then cut away the blouse fabric underneath once that was securely stitched in place.

And that would be that! How about you? Have you ever tried to copy a damaged garment with vintage patterns? Or have you tried to restore something badly in need of repair instead? I'd love to hear your tales - what would you do with this dress?

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Holiday Sale Coupon Code

Hello my dears, I hope everyone has had a lovely weekend so far. This is just a quick post to tell you that until Nov 28th, everything at Mrs. Depew Vintage is 30% off!

Simply use the coupon code above at checkout. This code will work at both, and in our Etsy shop.

Happy weekend!


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Found in a Bag - the 1920's Dress

As many of you already know, my mother was an antique dealer - her specialty happened to be vintage clothing and she was a master at restoring difficult pieces. Those great items though that she found beyond repair were always saved hoarded to be later used to help in the restoration of something else. Some pieces ended up as parasol covers, beaded purse linings, or period correct doll clothes.
Others were forgotten about and tucked away in every spare corner and cranny she could find in the antique house she owned - also slowly being restored. When she passed away, my sister and I went through many boxes, and sometimes, rather than digging through the contents of an entire box, I would follow a hunch and decide to give an entire box a new home in my sewing room hoard, sight unseen.
It has felt special, opening these boxes over 2 years after her passing, and feeling close to her again.
My most recent excavation brought to light a dusty Dollar General bag with what I can only describe as the pleasing weight and bounce of silk inside.
I decided to photograph the bag as I dumped its contents on my sewing table, and what follows is my experience of said bag. I though you might like discovering the "Dress in a bag" as much as I did.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

My 1938 Simplicity Catalog - Equal Parts Sad and Beautiful...

Hello all,
Today for your enjoyment I have more photos from my 1938 Simplicity store counter catalog.
This is the first vintage catalog I ever purchased, and I was delighted to find that it helped me accurately date my Simplicity S-Series sewing patterns.

More importantly though, it has also become a fascinating and sometimes personal glimpse into the mind of one of its previous owners. The lady who had it starting in 1939 used this big, heavy ungainly tome as a recipe book and war-time journal!
Beautiful page after beautiful page is peppered with recipes, articles, and jokes pasted over stunning illustrations and written over with notes like the following...

"1944 December 21. Thursday A.M. 11-20 o'clock. (So and so) has just stopped by on her way to the auction farm. She had been to the hospital to get a shot in the arm - I have just finished making the children some fruit divinity candy. It's so good. Must get the box packed and in the mail. How I wish they were home with me. ... God Bless them, and every soldier and sailor..."

As she is writing this blessing on her troops, the U.S. 101st Airborne and others are surrounded at Bastogne, fighting for their lives and cut off from supplies and reinforcements. This was part of one of the bloodiest battles of World War II, the Battle of the Bulge, where the U.S. alone lost 19,000 brave men, the allies nearly as many, and the Germans so many more.

It makes my heart break a little for her and every other woman who has ever waited for a troop to come home safely, no matter what side they were on, and reminds me how blessed I am that mine hasn't been called to an active war-zone yet.

Note, you can find an interesting looking recipe for old fashioned divinity candy here. I'm going to make some myself, sit in some warm sunshine, and hope that the box of candy made its way into the warm, safe hands of whoever she sent it to.

I'll just leave these here for you to read and enjoy without my commentary on the rest of them. Her notes are perfect enough all on their own.

Yes, yes it is!

We have previously talked about Simplicity 2229, featured above, in one of our Sew Expensive posts.

Monday, September 12, 2016

How to Add a Sewing Pattern to the Vintage Pattern Wikia.

Hello my dear readers. Today I have an updated tutorial for you on how to add a sewing pattern to the Vintage Pattern Wiki.
When I first started collecting vintage sewing patterns I found the Wiki page a useful resource for researching, buying and selling sewing patterns. While it has its limitations (it's not the most user-friendly template) once you get the hang of it, it can be rather handy.
Not to mention, when you add a pattern that wasn't there before, it feels a bit like a public service to other future pattern collectors.

So let's get started. Once you've created an account and logged in, you're ready to add your patterns!
First, search for the pattern you want to add and make sure it's not already there. This can happen sometimes. The search might not pull up your pattern, you might have typed the name/ number wrong, etc. With McCall's patterns, it's important that you pay close attention to whether your pattern says McCall or McCall's on the envelope, as this will make a difference.
For example, McCall 3581 is the 1940's Women's windbreaker pattern I'll be adding in our tutorial, and McCall's 3581 is a 1970's menswear pattern.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Using Evernote to Catalog Your Sewing Pattern Collection

Today, my dear readers, I'm going to talk a bit about keeping track of a large pattern collection. If you've been collecting as long as I have, you know that you can loose track of whether or not you have a specific pattern in your collection. More than once over the years, I've bought a pattern on Ebay or Etsy, only to realize later that I already have the same one in some box or other I've forgotten about.

Recently, at the suggestion of a friend of mine, I downloaded an app called Evernote to my iPad and tried cataloging 15 patterns to see how I liked it. This was on a Friday afternoon, and I liked it so much, that I then spent the rest of the entire weekend photographing and logging a vast section of my collection. It has taken me a while (months, really, the hoard is that big), but slowly and surely I have added my entire collection of sewing patterns and I am so glad that I did (more on that later).

(I'm just going to point out quickly that this isn't a sponsored blog post - I haven't been compensated for writing this, I just really love this app!)

The app is pretty user friendly and can sync across your mobile and desktop devices quite seamlessly once downloaded. To give you an idea of how handy that is, a few days ago, I was killing time in a doctor's office waiting room and scrolling through patterns on Ebay using my phone to pass the time. I found a great dress pattern and thought, I should buy that, but it does look a bit familiar... So I switched to my Evernote app briefly and typed in the pattern name and number, and sure enough, there it was in my collection! I saved $20!

The pattern in question... though having two of this gem wouldn't be the worst thing ever...
Before I go into the many benefits of having your collection catalogued, let me show you how easy it is.

Once you've downloaded the app to your chosen device (phone, tablet, or computer) you create a notebook. Think of the notebook as a file, and in that file, you can add multiple items. I have my whole pattern collection in one notebook, and other notebooks are dedicated to my pattern catalog collection, my Fashion Service magazine collection, my sewing book collection, etc.

Just some of my notebooks, most of them not fully catalogued yet.
 Simply click on the notebook you'd like to add to and get started. You can select "create new note..."

Then as a title, use the pattern company and number - in this case Vogue 7989...

 Drag and drop a photo of your pattern below the title...

And once you have that, you can type notes along with it, like where you bought it (you can include links, too!), for how much, the condition, if the pattern is missing pieces, etc.

And you can even add tags if you like, which will act as search keywords. If you have 300 patterns and you want to quickly find a 1950's short sleeve dress, this can be handy!

This is done on my desktop computer, but the process is almost identical for mobile devices as well.

And now, let's look at the benefits of cataloging your collection.
  • If, God forbid, your home should fall victim to disaster, you have an online, backed up catalog of your collection for your home/ renter's insurance so that you can be accurately compensated for your losses. I plan on cataloging my antique/ rare book collection next - that's gonna take me a while...
  • If you loan patterns to friends occasionally, it's easy to add a note to your collection about who has what pattern so you can keep track. 
  • The searchable database is great for hard-core collectors to research their patterns and learn even more about their favorite pieces.
Case in point: last month I was working on a reproduction pattern and I wanted to make sure that I had the dates correct for it. I did a search for the pattern name/ number in question, and not only did I find a scan of a 1927 McCall's Magazine page featuring the pattern in full color (from my magazine collection notebook), Evernote also pulled up an image of one of my Fashion Service magazines from 1927 that featured how to make the design mentioned with scalloped trim. How did Evernote know that the pattern was mentioned in my magazine? IT SEARCHES PHOTOS FOR TEXT.
That's right. I searched for McCall 4932 and since I had previously photographed the list of patterns featured in the back of my magazine and added it to the note, I found this:

Which when I pulled the magazine in question out, showed me this:

The bottom design 6A, that's the pattern i was searching for!
Pretty handy, eh?
If you're a pattern nerd like I am (as my clever friend Miss Y calls herself) then Evernote will be your best friend for pattern research - if you take the time to build up your collection and photograph your patterns, catalogs, and what-have-you.

All of that lovely research meant that I could not only offer a pretty pattern, but very accurate historical references and sewing tools to go along with it!

Pattern #3065 can be found here.

And that's all I have to gush about for now. How about you? Do you have a tried and true method for keeping track of your stash? Have you used Evernote to catalog your button hoard or rare French magazine collection (yeah, I'm getting to it).

Happy sewing,