Sunday, September 7, 2014

Dickey Birds - Easy to Make Dickies from the Spool Cotton Company

Dickey Birds From The Spool Cotton Company 1948

Dickies were originally worn by men as a tuxedo front or false bosom. Though "Dickey" refers to either men or women's attire, the original ladies dickey was the chemisette, or a sleeveless type of blouse. The fronts were often elaborately pin-tucked or trimmed with lace and pretty buttons and bows.

Even in the 1960's and 1970's I remember having turtleneck dickies to wear under shirts or sweaters. Though they have fallen out of fashion I often think of how practical the dickey is for presenting a more formal appearance without the added layers and bulk.

In the 1940's, when supplies were scarce, the dickey would have been an easy accessory to make with small amounts of fabric. Worn under a jumper with a V or scoop neckline, the dickey could be easily removed for an evening appearance. Or switch out the turtleneck dickey for a frou-frou lace collar for another day to evening effect. Whatever way you wear them they are practical and versatile.

The educational bureau of The Spool Cotton Company (later acquired by J & P Coats) published Stitch in Time as a bi-monthly pamphlet from the 1920's through the 1950's. Each issue had helpful hints for some aspect of sewing and needlework and budget stretching ideas. This September - October, 1948 edition of Stitch in Time featured patterns for 6 dickies with neckline and trim variations. Download Stitch in Time and make some of these lovely dickies for yourself or for gifts. You don't even have to guess the size. Prints on 8.5" x 11" paper.


  1. I remember them as well in the 1960s. Yes, lets bring them back!

  2. I really enjoy learning the history you include with your posts. Fascinating.

    1. Thanks. I enjoy researching these tidbits.