Sunday, November 22, 2020

The Mrs. Depew Vintage Holiday Sale

 Hello all,

I just thought I'd pop in to let you know that I'm having a big sale at Mrs. Depew Vintage this month.

From November 23 to December 2nd, nearly everything at Mrs. Depew Vintage will be 25% off!

The discount will be automatic on Etsy or you can use the coupon code below at

Happy sewing!

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Home Pattern Company History Lesson

The Home Pattern company was founded by Conde Nast in 1905. It formed a relationship with the popular Ladies' Home Journal Magazine which began advertising their patterns. 

Patterns were sold via the magazine, as well as in stores from counter catalogs.

In 1913, The Peerless Pattern Company Merged with Home Company as Conde Nast bought up and absorbed several smaller sewing pattern companies.

Following a trend of sewing pattern companies improving the quality of instructions included, Home Pattern Company released patterns with the "Minerva Guide and Complete Dressmaking Lesson" in 1924. 

Ladies' Home Journal patterns have made their appearance online into the late 1950s / early 1960s but I so far have been unable to find a date when they stopped printing patterns. The magazine stayed in print until well into the 2000s.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

The New Perfection Tailor System of Cutting from 1901

Today I thought we could continue our study of antique tailor systems with The New Perfection Tailor System - by far the prettiest and most artistically appealing system I have yet had the privilege of studying.

This bodice & Skirt tailoring system is from 1901 and was manufactured by W.R. Williams of Lawrence, KS. Instructions are printed on the pieces for drafting and there is also an instruction booklet.

The system is complete when it contains a printed envelope, booklet, Bodice Front Rule, Side Form Rule, Bodice Back Rule, Dart Rule, Sleeve (designed to draft a two-piece sleeve), Skirt Guide, and Collar and Neck Rule.
This piece is more unusual in my collecting experience because it comes with a collar and neckband rule.

The text printed on the bodice piece says "Perfected March 10th, 1879" and then has several "Improved" dates (to allow for changing styles) after the fact until 1901.

As the shape of a bodice changed considerably between 1879 and 1901, the changes and improvements were quite necessary to stay with the current fashion.

The original is printed on fiberboard with perforations for the varying sizes, which include children's 20-26" bust, and women's 28-48" bust.

Using the skirt rule and drafting booklet, several skirt variations may be made to nearly any size.

This system fascinated me to no end, and of course, because of that, I was quite driven to make sure that it survives for the next generation to enjoy. It has taken long nights, weekends, and time that I definitely should have been weeding my overgrown garden, but I have finally created a complete reproduction of the system in both pdf and printed versions.

Furthermore, feeling that the original instruction book could benefit from some added context, I added more content from my collection of Delineator and Designer magazines from 1900-1901.

If even one of you, my dear readers, find some use for this set, it will have been completely worth the time spent making it possible.

Happy sewing!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Morris Brothers French à La Mode Tailor System

This last year I've been fortunate enough to find a few antique tailoring systems. Studying and cataloging them before I let them go to new homes has been one of my favorite between-work pleasures the last few busy months. For our study purposes, tailoring systems will include any drafting system that includes special rulers, charts, pantographs, expanding slopers, or skirt rules to draft a sewing pattern from a set of measurements.

Today for your pattern history lesson, I have The Morris Brothers French á La Mode Tailor System.

This is a bodice tailoring system from 1909. It is called the French A La Mode Tailoring System and was invented by the Morris Brothers. Instructions are printed on the pieces for drafting and there may have been pattern supplement booklets but I have never found any to go with it. Tailoring systems like these became very popular in the mid-to-late 19th century and several small companies sprang up to meet the demand of home seamstresses who recognized this brilliant pattern-making method as an economic answer to clothing oneself on a budget.

The system is complete when it contains a Bodice front, Bodice Back, Dart Rule, Sleeve (designed to draft a two-piece sleeve), and a Shorthand Square Skirt Guide.
Since the text printed on the bodice piece says "Perfected in 1909", one may assume that the system was originally created earlier, as these were popular and rather prevalent methods of drafting from the 1880s and later.

For more information on this sort of tailoring system, see the book Cutting a Fashionable Fit; Dressmaker's Drafting Systems in the United States by Claudia Kidwell.

Update: Due to popular requests, this set is now available as a reproduction!

Sunday, October 25, 2020

The Royal Pattern Company - A Bit of Sewing Pattern History


Happy weekend, my dears. Today I thought I would post just a short bit on sewing pattern history. As some of you know, I'm one of the founding Admins of The Vintage Sewing Pattern Nerds group on Facebook. My goal has always been to educate others on sewing pattern history and preservation. To continue that thread, I'm going to attempt to post more of the educational content I post to the group, but for your benefit here. Not all of you are on Facebook, after all (Which you should be proud of!).

Today, our topic is the Royal Pattern Company.

The Royal Pattern Company (not associated with Modes Royale) began selling sewing patterns in 1895 and printed their magazine Le Costume Royal beginning in 1896 to advertise their patterns. This was common practice for sewing pattern companies at the time (See The Delineator Magazine, McCall's Magazine, Le Bon Ton etc.).

The Royal Pattern Company merged with Vogue Pattern Company in 1924. Vogue patterns at this time began to carry the "Vogue/ Royal" label. By 1927, the "Royal" no longer appeared on Vogue patterns.

This particular issue came to me missing several pages but still includes a full-color centerfold and several numbered illustrations advertising patterns available for mail order.

Can you imagine getting such a pattern via mail order now?

Patterns from The Royal Pattern Company, Vogue Royal, and Le Costume Royal magazine/ quarterly are quite highly sought-after by collectors so if you find one, hang on to it!
My own personal collection of patterns and quarterlies.

How about you? Have you ever seen a Royal sewing pattern (not to be mistaken with Modes Royale) or a similar edition to this magazine? What is (in your opinion) that rarest pattern you've ever found. I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

A Few Pretty Pages of McCall's Catalog March 1952

So there I was, scrolling along through eBay doing some pattern research, and there it was. A nice little 1952 McCall's Catalog for a somewhat fair price. I wasn't in the market for more catalogs as I have more than enough of them (I can't believe I just wrote that...) and I didn't have the extra money to spend at the time. 

But I clicked anyway to take a look and what I read in the description forced me to click "buy it now" without a second's hesitation.

"...the inside pages are in great shape and printed on fairly heavy paper. Each page is in color and suitable for framing. Framed, these would be terrific in an office, woman’s clinic, tea room, sewing room, women’s powder room, lobby of a mid-century building, etc, etc. The return on your investment could be tremendous if the book was disassembled and sold by the page. Could even be used as wallpaper. The possibilities are endless."

As I said, I didn't hesitate. The idea of someone else reading that description and deciding to take them up on any one of these heinous suggestions was just too much. I had to save her. So I sold a few patterns from my collection to recoup the cost and here we are, with my latest rescue.

I hope you enjoy taking a look.

I even had one of her patterns handy - this one is available here.

This is the earliest catalog I've found so far to feature photographs and not just illustrations.

Happy sewing!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The Mrs. Depew Vintage Great Big Sew and Tell Contest

Let's have a contest, shall we? For the next month, Mrs. Depew Vintage will host a sew-and-tell contest. Post a picture of something you've made using any one of our reproduction patterns and get a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to!
All entries will need to be posted to the Mrs. Depew Vintage Sew and Tell Facebook Group by June 19.
If you do not use Facebook, you can send your submissions to me via email and I will post for you.
10 Finalists will be chosen from all entries and posted to both the Mrs. Depew Vintage Facebook page, as well as here on the blog where your friends and family will all be able to vote for those top ten.
Photos submitted to the top ten will be judged on fit, photo quality, and originality. Please include photos of the front, back, and side views in your submissions. Every single top ten entrant will win their choice of free pdf sewing pattern from our website. The winner of the grand prize will be the submission with the most final votes by June 27th. You can use a garment you've sewn in the past, or sew something new for the contest - the choice is yours! Photos may be taken of an actual person, or the garment on a dress form if you choose to enter lingerie.
Please note: by entering the contest, you agree that your photo submissions may be shared in our choice of promotional materials and social media by Mrs. Depew Vintage LLC.
Anyone from anywhere in the world may join but the contest is also void where prohibited by local laws.

Please feel free to leave a comment with any questions you might have, and as usual...
Happy sewing!

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

A Few Pretty Pages of... The Delineator Magazine from June 1911

Today I hope that you enjoy a few pretty pages of The Delineator Magazine from June 1911.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

A Few Pretty Pages of... Ladies Home Journal September 1905

Sometimes you just have that mental itch. That "I need to see things from 1905 today" itch...

If that is you, you're in luck. Today for our "A Few Pretty Pages of..." we have The Ladies' Home Journal magazine from September of 1905.