1910s | Vintage Sewing

Montgomery Ward mystery catalogue – identified!

By on February 14, 2013

Hi We Sewists!
Back in late November I posted about a mystery Montgomery Ward catalogue that I had luckily come into possession of.

With the help of We Sew Retro contributors Tesia, Timewarpedwoman, Jessamyn, Matilda’s Girl, Cathy, Anne, Ivy, Patrice, Melissa and Tania I’ve been able to successfully date the catalogue as 1919!

Navy blue wool serge with black and red trimmings

The website links the above contributors supplied in the comments were invaluable… (and pretty addictive too!).

I’ve also just now had another confirmation of 1919… one tiny paragraph on the diamond rings page…

1919's newest styles
1919's newest styles

I know… how did I miss the diamond rings section?! 🙂

I guess I was too busy ogling the asbestos tablecloth and place mats, toy machine guns and the maternity corsets… ouch!

1919's maternity and nursing corsets

Thanks again for all the help!

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Vintage Sewing

Visit to a working shirt factory

By on November 29, 2012
The everyday fabric cutter, weights and fabric on the cutting table

Hi We Sewists,
I was very lucky to be able to visit a still-working shirt factory in the middle of Melbourne city this week.
The fabric stashes! The building! The stock!

The everyday fabric cutter, weights and fabric on the cutting table
The everyday fabric cutter, weights and fabric on the cutting table

Established in the early 1950s, the business moved into its current premises in 1958… so as you can imagine, there is a lot of fabric…

Rolls upon rolls upon rolls of fabric

If you’d like to see more pictures, I’ve written up a post at my blog,  Crimson Gardenia.

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Vintage Sewing

Montgomery Ward catalogue dating

By on November 23, 2012
Montgomery Ward dresses

Hello fellow sewists,
I hope you’re all having (or about to have) a wonderful Friday!

I have a mystery that I’d love your help on.

I have become the very happy and fortunate guardian/owner of a Montgomery Ward catalogue. A dear friend’s mother has sent it to me here in Melbourne all the way from Arizona and I’m so lucky!

There are more than 1,010 pages, but unfortunately I’m missing the front cover, the first five pages and the back cover and not-sure-how-many of the last pages… they also haven’t printed a date anywhere that I’ve found as yet.

The closest I’ve come to a clue is the middle of the catalogue lists the shipping rates from Chicago and it mentions the War Revenue act, which the internet tells me came in during 1917… so it’s later than that!

Montgomery Ward dresses
Montgomery Ward dresses

Anyone want to hazard a guess?

Living in Australia, this is the first I’ve heard of Montgomery Ward, but a little internet searching – and a careful look through these fragile pages – and I’m hooked! The harnesses, saddles and other horse gear alone runs from page 985 to… who knows! It goes beyond the 1,010 pages I have!

Montgomery Ward ladies suits
Montgomery Ward ladies suits

It is a fragile – and huge! – old thing and I’d love to be able to put a more accurate date than “after 1917″… anyone??

Montgomery Ward coats
Montgomery Ward coats

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What a difference a photograph makes!

By on August 21, 2012

Hi fellow sewists!

I’ve just written a post on my Crimson Gardenia blog on the amazing difference that photography can make to the way clothing looks.

I’m sure we’ve all been fooled by an amazing looking drawing on a sewing envelope only to be underwhelmed by the results and then notice that the artist has drawn the waist smaller than a human hand, but I’ve come across a beautiful example of photography being quite deceptive too.

Pic 1
Would you give this a second look in a crowded secondhand rack?

I would love to say that I would grab this in a heartbeat, but I’m not sure that I would. More fool me though… because…

Pic 2
Displayed in all of its glory

*sigh* I wish my imagination worked better than it clearly does! 🙂

Check out my blog for more detail and my Pinterest board for more amazing vintage beauties.


PS. No, I don’t own this piece of loveliness… it’s safely homed at The Metropolitan Museum Of Art.

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