Posts Written On March 2013

Herrschners Chic Kitchenette Aprons, 1928 — My Version

I love these old Herrschner Art Needlework catalogs from the 1920s; the aprons and children’s wear items are my favorites. The style of these aprons is appealing to me because they are simple to make, have good coverage (I am a messy cook), and the embroidered details are so sweet.  For my two aprons, I cut a couple of one-yard pieces from my bolt of vintage Irish linen produced by Belfast Mills.


The first apron is a surprise for my friend, Patty (at Petalier), who loves to cook — a small token of my appreciation for all her gifts of vintage fabric and notions.  Patty’s apron is embroidered with cherries and a bluebird, since they have lots of bluebirds in upstate New York where she lives.  I used the pale green polkadot fabric for both the lining and the bias binding.

Even though I have some of those Clover bias tape maker thingies, I can never seem to press the tape well enough so I can top stitch it to a garment the way I do with packaged bias tape.  So, for this apron the bias is applied the way I do binding on quilts — machine sewn on the front, and hand stitched on the back.


The other apron I made for myself, adding some vintage decorative bias trim (sent to me by Patty) and an old Vogart chintz appliqué.  The apron is lined with a pink print that I forgot to photograph.


Because I think I can figure out how to construct most of the aprons in this catalog, next time I’m going to try a little more elaborate design, but first I have to finish hand piecing the last of the Seven Sisters quilt blocks — only 6 half blocks to go.


Children of Other Lands, 1954 — Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, & Canada

In 1959, not long after this coloring book was published, Alaska and Hawaii became the 49th and 50th states.  As an 11 year-old growing up in Oklahoma, I remember thinking how cool it was to have such exotic places become part of the United States.

You can find the previously posted countries by clicking on these links: Holland, England-Sweden-Hungary-Czechoslovakia-Austria, Japan-China-India-Burma-Korea-Arabia, France-Switzerland-Italy-Germany, Belgium-Spain-Portugal-Ireland-Scotland-Wales-Denmark-Finland-Norway, and Australia-New Zealand-South Africa-Egypt-Turkey-Russia-Poland-Yugoslavia, and Greece.  Click any image to see a slideshow.


Children of Other Lands, 1954 — Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Egypt, Turkey, Russia, Poland, Yugoslavia, and Greece

I noticed that African and South American countries are underrepresented in this coloring book.  A modern “Children of Other Lands” coloring book would probably be a lot more diverse, but I wonder if the illustration style would be as cute.

You can find the previously posted countries by clicking on these links: Holland, England-Sweden-Hungary-Czechoslovakia-Austria, Japan-China-India-Burma-Korea-Arabia, France-Switzerland-Italy-Germany, and Belgium-Spain-Portugal-Ireland-Scotland-Wales-Denmark-Finland-Norway.  Click any image for slideshow.




Children of Other Lands, 1954 – Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Denmark, Finland & Norway

Finally, I have managed to scan and clean the rest of this cute coloring book. Over the next week I will post all of the remaining countries in no particular order.  You can find the previously posted countries by clicking on these links: Holland, England-Sweden-Hungary-Czechoslovakia-Austria, Japan-China-India-Burma-Korea-Arabia, and France-Switzerland-Italy-Germany.  Click any image for slideshow.

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West Elm Swatch Pillow

Last week my daughter, Emily, and I visited one of her favorite shops, West Elm. Because she and her husband, Aaron, have just moved into a new apartment in a beautiful 1920s Art Deco building, I wanted to buy her a little house warming present.



For her gift, Emily picked out a couple of pillows in gray and ivory to put on their black couch, while I grabbed some swatches that I spied on a nearby display. Emily couldn’t imagine what I was going to do with those little samples, but she’s used to my weird ideas.

The swatches were heavyish fabrics (leather, suede and wovens) in neutral shades, glued to a card on one edge.  The colors were mostly light, so I added a few vintage dark wool suiting samples.  Because I didn’t want to deal with bulky seams, or reduce the size of the swatches, I just trimmed them all to 3″ x 4″ rectangles and glued them to a piece of upholstery weight fabric. The pillow was finished with stuff I had on hand — black and gray grosgrain ribbon to cover the seams, and a piece of ivory wool for the back.  Now she has three pillows for the price of two.



Aprons and Bibs, 1945

The illustrations in this booklet are so cute, and the aprons are pretty sweet too. Yesterday I decided to make another donation apron for the thrift shop, and I tried to figure out the easiest way to enlarge the patterns in this book. Drawing the designs on paper seemed like a drag, so I thought I might be able to enlarge the pattern on my computer and then tile print it.  I wasn’t successful, but I’m going to keep working at it.

The apron I ended up making is one I just made up after rummaging through my vintage fabrics.  Sometimes this process of auditioning different designs, fabrics and trims takes longer than sewing the actual garment, but it is just as enjoyable.  The cute border print wasn’t wide enough to make an apron by itself, so I turned it into an overskirt by cutting the bottom scalloped edge, adding additional scallops to the sides, and trimming the edge with contrasting bias tape.  The red fabric for the underskirt is new.

I’ve done this apron-with-an-apron thing several times before (my favorites are here and here) — vintage napkins make an especially cute overskirt.




Aprons and Bibs
American Thread Company, 1945


Crepe Paper Flowers – A Blue and Yellow Wedding

All quilt work took a back seat these past two weeks while I began a new project for our dear friends who are getting married this June.  They were high school classmates in the late 60s, and recently met again at a high school reunion. Kyle has been our friend since he and my husband, Gordon, were fraternity brothers in college, and we are so happy that he has found the love of his life, Marcia.

The blue and yellow color scheme is taken from their high school colors, and I offered to make flowers for the wedding.  Yellow flowers were no problem at all, but since there are very few blue flowers in nature, I decided to just ignore that fact and make whatever blue flowers I wanted. Blue roses, blue peonies, blue carnations — the possibilities were endless, and fortunately Marcia liked the idea.  To soften the color scheme, I added some flowers in ivory and a light chartreuse. One thing I hadn’t thought about was the limited color palette of both yellow and blue crepe paper.

After much scrounging, I’m pretty sure I have managed to accumulate every shade of these two colors in every type of crepe paper. However, I’m always on the hunt, so I can’t resist stopping at any new store I drive by (drug, dollar or party) to check their supply of crepe paper streamers. You may not be aware of this obscure observation, but there are subtle differences in streamer color, texture and width from different manufacturers.  I need lots of variety because I am making around 220 flowers for the 16 centerpieces and two large arrangements. Here is a practice arrangement for one of the large vases. Crepe-Paper-Wedding-Arrangement   And here are the rest of the finished flowers waiting on my window seat.  I think I have made about 120 flowers, so I’m a little more than halfway done. Crepe-Paper-Wedding-Flowers-3   Crepe-Paper-Wedding-Flowers-1   Crepe-Paper-Wedding-Flowers-2   Congratulations to the happy couple!