1950s | 1970s | Accessories

Perfect recipe for an enjoyable November evening

By on November 27, 2011

Inspired by the Admin post, I got to thinking about my favourite sewing magazines which led me to my absolutely favourite way to spend an evening (sorry, hubbie!) – glass of wine, log fire burning, stack of my vintage needlework magazines …. bliss!  My favourites are from the 50s as they seem to have so many useful projects and articles – sometimes there is even a great project tucked  away in a little half column at the back end of a magazine that I overlooked on the first ten or so read throughs.
I have been putting together as many copies of Needlework Illustrated from the late 40s/early 50s as I possibly can.  I have also got a
good (and growing) collection of 1970s Golden Hands magazines.  With regard to the earlier 30s, finding magazines is more difficult but I have a growing collection of needlework books from this era.  Of course, I am discovering echoes of earlier needlecraft projects everywhere.  Plus ca change and all that.  I am enjoying trying the vintage projects out and also creating my own interpretations of them.  I have started putting some of the instructions on my posts and hope to do lots more next year.  In the meantime, if you would like instructions to make a vintage peg doll fairy or a 50s style bow tie for a special night out, please visit my blog on the link below.
Enjoy your evenings everyone.  Cheers!

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1930s | Embroidery | Vintage Sewing

Once upon a vintage Christmas

By on November 6, 2011

As I am genetically unable to throw away even a scrap of vintage textile, I had to find a use for a rather tatty vintage 30s embroidered traycloth, even though it was frayed and torn.  I was pleased with this little Eastern slipper inspired gift boot.  More of my vintage needlecraft stockings over on my blog as well as the instructions for my peg doll fairies.  Happy festive sewing everyone!

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1950s | Accessories | Mens

Sew 50s – My Tri-fold Bow Tie Is Finished

By on October 16, 2011

If you are like me, then you cannot ever throw a piece of textile away until you are totally, utterly, absolutely sure you will never, ever, cross-your-heart-and-hope-to-die find a use for it at some unknown future time and date.  I love re-using bits and bobs of discarded textiles to make cushions, patchworks, toys, bags or gifts.  So when I found an interesting vintage 50s bow tie with an unusual tri-fold design giving an aysmmetric bow, it didn’t take me long to decide to unpick it, see how it was made & replicate it using a redundant silk neck tie.

The project is now finished & there are instructions and a diagram on my blog if you would like to have a go at making your own bow ties for the upcoming winter party season.  I am going to be making more of these & trying out different shapes for the bows, plus I have tracked down a haberdasher in London who stocks special bow tie hooks & eyes so will be ordering some of those as well.  Cheers all.

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Sew 50s Trifold Bow Tie from Redundant Necktie

By on October 13, 2011

Found some interesting vintage 50s bow ties last week & was particularly intrigued by a “trifold” bow tie with asymmetric ends.  I figured this would be a good way to use up some redundant neckties made from beautiful silks & no longer worn.

I drafted a pattern & got stitching.  Here is the work in progress.

More photos will follow once this initial post is approved.


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Sewing Machines

My new dream machine – vintage Singer 99

By on October 7, 2011

Just had to share a couple of photos of the lovely Singer 99 I bought yesterday in a local charity store.  She is in lovely condition, all decals intact, and more importantly has her original instruction book, tool kit and set of feet –  hadn’t ever thought about using a ruffler, under braider, quilter or hemmer, let alone a tuckmarker or five-stitch pleater, but hey, I try to keep an open mind on these things.

I wasn’t sure of her exact date but the lovely folks at Singer have a serial number checker on their website, machine-serial-numbers link here.  I was able to accurately date this little beauty to 1939.

Test run will be taking place here in the Fens this weekend.  Happy retro sewing! brocobelle

STOP PRESS — STOP PRESS — STOP PRESS Have just lugged my little 99-er up onto my work table, threaded her & – hoping that she maybe had a bobbin already in there! – cranked the handle. She runs like a dream, a pleasing combination of purring and clicking as the handle turns. She manoeuvres really nicely on curves. Keen to try some free embroidery with her. Phew!

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Vintage Sewing

Sew 40s – The Retro Sewer with the Pearl Earring?

By on September 9, 2011
Move over Scarlett Johansson, I say, there’s more than one of us can look enigmatic with a scarf thingy wrapped around our head and a pair of pearl earrings. OK, OK, I know, I don’t really have quite the same photogenic qualities as the divine SJ, but I sew wanted to show you my little vintage 40s snood-esque hat creation.

Yup, the 40s Hollywood Pattern (#1505) had barely arrived from the US before I was selecting a vintage scarf to use to make the hat (that’s what they call it)/snood confection. I had forgotten how slippery silk can be to sew, and given that I am a needleworker of the pin-and-pray persuasion, there were a few scarey moments. Basically, the construction is a bit like a half apron with most of the curved bit gathered up into 6″ of elastic and the tie ends wrapped round your head and tucked into themselves.

Once I had – literally – tied my head in knots, I realised my short bobbed hair is not sufficiently luscious to fill up the snood bit at the back – I contemplated putting some rolled up socks in there to pad it out a bit. 
What did I learn? Even if the pattern says “Sew Simple”, it can be a bit of a faff constructing even a relatively basic garment when following instructions which make the word “brevity” seem like OTT gobbledygook. Although there is only one main pattern piece with tie ends attached (which are wrapped round your head), I think it would be better to have a long front edge and ties combined then stitched onto the snood section. Maybe the snood section doesn’t need to be so long, definitely could be shorter. I am going to attempt to draft a pattern which could be easily made from a square headscarf (I used a shawl type scarf for this) as I think there are lots of 40s fans who would like a snood but cannot knit or crochet. Will be giving my redrafted pattern a try in lace/net/chiffon type textiles, probably decorating them with embroidery and/or flowers. The pattern has a cute blouse, dickie & jerkin which I will attempt in the future.
Thanks for reading! Happy retro sewing everyone. Karen (aka brocobelle )

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