Posts Written On November 2012

Little Girl Dresses — 1970s Style

Here are two more versions of the 1970s Simplicity pattern (#8429).  This dress is easy to put together, but I always obsess over the details — like deciding where to place the pattern pieces on the fabric to make the coloring (tie dye dress) or the design (elephant dress) just the way I want it.  On the elephant dress, I changed the width of the tiers and added an applique piece to the yoke in order to feature the various borders from the bedspread.  This arranging of the pattern pieces is something I spend a lot of time on, but it’s sort of like working on a puzzle, and I really enjoy it.

When I first moved to Seattle in the early 1970s, I made most of my clothes out of fabrics just like this.  I wish I still had some of those outfits.

A couple of people have wondered who is receiving these little dresses.  A few are made for my niece’s daughter, Marjorie, but the rest go to a local thrift store (Bellevue Life Spring at the Bellevue Square Mall), where all of their profits are used to assist low-income families in our city.  They also give the families vouchers to purchase articles at the shop.   I often go shopping with my sister Sally (Marjorie’s grandmother), where we select fabrics for both Marjorie dresses and thrift shop dresses.  She pays and I sew — it’s a happy arrangement.



Vintage-Inspired Little Girl Christmas Dresses

Sewing these dresses using vintage patterns is not only fun — it can also be a challenge.  A few of the patterns I’ve purchased no longer had their instructions, but even when they did, the instructions are quite different from modern versions.  I always end up making changes to the garment (usually to create a more finished look inside), and I enjoy the process of figuring out or just altering the construction.  My favorite dresses are from 1940s patterns, many of which are precut, unprinted tissue with perforated symbols.  My 40s dresses are more summery, so I’ll post pictures of them next year.

This first dress is a classic style from the 70s, and the pattern is still easy to find on Etsy and ebay (Simplicity 8429, size 3/4).  I try to select fabrics that evoke the period, so I have also made this dress in white gauze with crocheted trim, in rainbow-colored tie dye, and one using an Indian print bedspread.  A lot of my patterns from the 50s have a natural waistline, but I have always loved this shape that falls from the yoke.  You don’t have to worry so much about fit, the dresses are comfy, and this one is nice and full for little girls who like to twirl.


The second dress is a newspaper mail-order pattern from the 60s (Marian Martin 9285, size 4) which is much more rare.  The bow is pretty cute, and I also like the 3/4 sleeves.  Next time I would like to make this pattern in a slightly heavier fabric to give it a little more structure, but I think the polka dots are sweet.  The back is plain, without pleats.


More Seven Sisters Quilt Blocks

Progress is slow on the Seven Sisters quilt, but I am trying not to get distracted, and hope to finish this top before moving on to another project.  My routine is to reserve handwork for the evenings, while projects that require machine sewing (and other strange projects that require being upstairs), are worked on during the day.  House cleaning, cooking and yard work are done sporadically, and sometimes grudgingly.

Last month I posted more Seven Sister blocks and a description of the quilt.  Several readers have asked if I knew where to find a pattern for this quilt, so here is a link to a Quilters Newsletter archive page where you will find a version of the pattern (pdf download), as well as a scan of a pattern which I have placed at the bottom of this post (click pattern pages to enlarge).  The diamond template for my blocks is 2″ on a side, in order to accommodate the vintage fabric swatches I am using.


Vintage Christmas Embroidery Transfers

Here are some smallish transfers from vintage Workbasket magazines.  I thought about waiting to post these until after Thanksgiving, but I wanted to allow enough time for stitching.  There are quite a few more that I will clean up and post over the next week or so.  Click to enlarge.


1960s Pajamas for Emily

Tomorrow we are celebrating Emily’s 28th birthday, and I always like to make her a surprise gift.  A couple of months ago when I was showing her my newest vintage patterns, she pulled out this child size 4 pajama pattern from the 1960s, and jokingly asked if I could make them in her size.  I laughed, but I was secretly thinking that it wouldn’t be that difficult.

When Emily was a freshman in high school we were looking for a formal gown for a school dance.  We found a gorgeous gray-green dress at Nordstrom that she loved, but it was way too expensive.  A month or so later, we saw the same dress at Nordstrom Rack marked all the way down to $60, but it was a size 12, and Emily usually wears a size 2. Well, I bought that dress anyway with all its boning and bias cut skirt and elaborate gathered draw string hem.  I spent a few weeks cutting it down and remaking it in her size, and I think it turned out rather well.  I figured if I could do that, I could certainly enlarge a simple child’s pajama pattern, and I did.  I just hope they fit.


Here’s a photo of the remade green dress.  Emily will probably not be happy that I posted this.


Victory Apron Finished

My copy of this victory apron is slightly different from the pattern.  The original version had side seams, and mine is a one-piece circle; my pockets are larger, because I like to be able to actually put stuff in them and the pockets on the original apron seemed smallish; and finally my waistband is not contoured, but I added some striped cording in the seam.  The rick-rack star thing was kind of fun — purchased embroidered stars would work too, but they wouldn’t have the cute 3-dimensional effect.

A white apron would be a bad choice for me since I am a very messy cook.  Of course, if you were only going to be serving little sandwiches from a tray, interrupted by the occasional dance, a white apron would probably be just fine.

I hope Lynn likes my version of the apron. On Sunday she sent me the following message:

“I’m a veteran and it’s extra special to win a red, white and blue apron today! Thanks so very much!”



Veterans Day and a Victory Apron Winner

First I wanted to show you these little soldiers which were recently sold by Monki Vintage on Etsy. They are made out of 6″ dowels, and my first reaction when I saw them was how cute they were, followed immediately by “I could make those.”

Thanks everyone for participating in the giveaway, and now for the winner of the Victory Apron . . .

Congratulations Lynn S, who selected the white apron with the shield pockets.  I will be sending you an email shortly to arrange delivery of your new apron.


Children of Other Lands Coloring Book, 1954

This is my most recent vintage coloring book, purchased on Etsy.  Several of the country names have changed since 1954, and Alaska and Hawaii would not be states until 1959, so they still had “other land” status. The activities of the children seem a little quaint, even for the 1950s, but the illustrations are so sweet, and perfect for embroidery or just to print out as coloring pages.

Some countries are represented by six drawings, while a few have only one. Eventually, I will post all of the images, but if there is a particular country you would like to see, just let me know in a comment and I will bump it up in the queue.

The countries in the order they appear in the book (reading down):

South Africa
New Zealand

Here are all the illustrations for Holland. As I child I thought Holland was the name of the country instead of just a region of The Netherlands. Click on any image for slideshow.


Vintage-Inspired Victory Apron Giveaway

Now that our presidential election is finally over, I want to celebrate by having an apron giveaway.  Of course, I realize the victory referred to in this pattern has nothing to do with presidential elections, but I don’t care — they’re patriotic and so cute.  Although I don’t own this pattern, I’m thinking I can pull off a pretty good facsimile using the envelope photo.  I just realized those little stars are made with rick-rack — very clever.

So, if you live in the United States and would like a custom victory apron made just for you by me, simply leave a comment on this post telling me which one of the 3 styles you would prefer (the blue, white, or red/white stripe).  Comments will close at noon Sunday (November 11th), and if there’s more than one comment, I will use a random number generator to select the winner.  I’ll have your finished apron in the mail a few days after that.



Sixteen Blue Ribbon Quilts

Of all my old quilt booklets, this one may be my favorite.   It includes some classic applique patterns like Pennsylvania Rose, English Rose, and Aunt Alice’s Blue Wreath, as well as a very nice pattern for the quilt that won the Sears “Century of Progress” Quilt Contest at the 1933 World’s Fair, referred to in this booklet as the “Quilt of the Century.”  This publication contains more instructions than are normally found in these vintage quilt books, and I think it’s especially nice that they added quilting designs for each pattern, including the elaborate trapunto leaf designs in the prize winning quilt.

Click on any image for slideshow.