Monday, December 14, 2015

DIY Hostess Gifts - Quick and Easy Coasters

Are struggling to find an appropriate gift within your budget for someone special? Or perhaps you are determined to have your holiday gifts handmade to convey how much you care about that special someone? With a few 5" x 5" squares of fabric you can mix and match your way to making these awesome little mug mats.

They can be dignified and uniform or mismatched and whimsical. Either way, with very little sewing, these can be whipped up in an hour or two. Tied with a bow or tucked into a gift bag with coffee beans or tea, they make a thoughtful hostess gift that's a bit more creative than the usual bottle of wine. 

With leftover scraps, simply follow this ever so easy tutorial from SoChick! The Blog

We found the tutorial for these Boxy Bags from SoChick! featured in our last DIY Gifts to Make post.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Boxy Bags - Quick DIY Spa Bags for Guys or Gals

Gifts made from your hands are the best and will be the most cherished of gifts. These easy to sew toiletries bags make the perfect spa bag for her or shaving bag for him. 

They make great use of fabric scraps or remnants with brightly colored contrast zippers and tabs for variety. Pretty floral patterns for the girl's bags and rugged camo or denim fabric for the boys.

This year I had 35 on my list so the assembly line was employed to make quick work of the job. I filled the Spa bags with my hand crocheted wash cloths, scented soaps, bath salts an aromatherapy candle and herb tea bags. The guys bags were filled with shaving stuff and hand knit wool socks. The possibilities are limitless. 

And so easy to wrap! Just tie a ribbon around the bag and you are good to go!

Find the tutorial to make these wonderful little bags at SoChick blog. Her visual tutorial is so easy to follow you will be a pro after the first try.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Humble Applique - Using Scraps for an Elegant Embellishment

 I found this little crop top years ago in a thrift shop. Being an admirer of all varieties of textiles this little top with it's applique figures was most intriguing. This Chinese or Japanese embellished cotton fabric is probably from the 1940's or 1950's. Though piecing and applique have been used in some of the earliest textiles, this particular form was a popular post WWII technique.

 The figures and their clothing are cut-outs and appear to be attached with no more than tiny stitches all around the edges with embroidered details.

The thread pony-tails are a particularly delightful embellishment. 

The figures are engaged in butterfly catching and enticing a cat to play with a ball and string. When I examined it closely it appeared to be re-purposed from something else.

These delightful little children lighting firecrackers and catching butterflies were found on a tablecloth available on ebay. Perhaps a tablecloth is the origin of my red crop top?

Available on Etsy

Available on Etsy

These two vintage tablecloths are another example of the  fine art of applique and embroidery and are available on Etsy.

Simplicity, as well as the other major pattern companies and Mail Order sources as well, printed transfer patterns to help form more uniform shapes. The pansy motif in this very well used 1946 Simplicity pattern was very popular and you can find examples of these motifs on vintage linens of that time period in antique shops or even your grandmother's attic.

This exquisite example of pansies in applique and embroidery is a sleeve to carry ladies hankies. 

But there are no rules when it comes to applique. These ladies hankies with very modern looking motifs are from the 1920's and 1930's. Simple color blocks are used to create wonderful accents. And what an amazingly economical embellishment.

But don't underestimate the creative potential of applique. The delicate hankie, a blouse or apron is no less a ready canvas as the iconic "Poodle Skirt". Whatever you choose, explore the possibilities and make your mark. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

1900's Corticelli Crocheted Bedroom Slippers - Free Pattern

From the 1916 Corticelli Lessons in Crochet Book 1

Slippers are an easy to make and always welcome gift - even if it is a gift to yourself. This is another free slippers pattern from the Corticelli Lessons in Crochet Book 1 from 1916 found at the Antique Pattern Library (Love this site!!). The Antique Pattern Library is a website offering a wealth of public domain pattern books in needle arts, woodworking and other home crafts to download and share but not to sell. Have something to contribute to this site? Please visit the Antique Pattern Library and inquire about submitting something for their archive.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Princess Dorothea Crocheted Picture Hat Pattern - 1916 Corticelli Lessons in Crochet

Princess Dorothea Picture Hat - 1916 Corticelli Lessons in Crochet

I seem to be obsessed with these 1900's Corticelli crochet patterns. Last week I featured a lovely little crocheted evening bag from the 1916 Corticelli Lessons in Crochet Book 1. This week we have an elegant brimmed hat with velveteen crown and bow trim. This pattern, as well as the evening bag and crocheted slippers were found on the Antique Pattern Library website. This site offers reproductions of public domain pattern books to share and not sell. Please visit and peruse their vast (and growing) library, and consider lending something from your collection to share and help build this amazing resource. Download the Princess Dorothea Hat Pattern Here.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Princess Louise Crocheted Evening Bag - 1916 Corticelli Lessons in Crochet - Free Pattern

Princess Louise Crocheted Bag Number 275
Last week I posted the pattern from the 1916 Corticelli Lessons in Crochet for the Princess Phoebe Slippers. Today I am posting a pattern for the Princess Louise Crocheted evening bag. The pattern appears to be a pretty straight forward circular design with an edging to accommodate a drawstring. Lined with a pretty satin or velvet this bag would be a lovely accompaniment to any evening attire. 

Download HERE or visit the Antique Pattern Library for this and more from their online library of patterns to share (not sell).

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Princess Phoebe Crochet Slippers - Free Pattern from Corticelli Lessons in Crochet 1916

Princess Phoebe Crochet Slippers - 1916 Corticelli Crochet Book Number 1

My journey to discover the contents of a few missing pages from a 1919 Corticelli Lessons in Crochet pamphlet I discovered in a thrift shop has opened my eyes to a treasure trove of free antique patterns at the Antique Pattern Library. The site reproduces entire books and pamphlets of public domain tomes ranging from tatting to bookbinding to woodworking, glass, crochet and dressmaking. All of the publications on this site have been donated and are free to download to use and share but not to sell. 

Last week I shared the Russian Coat and Hat. This week I offer another pattern from the 1916 Corticelli Silk Mills, Lessons in Crochet, Book 1. The ever so Victorian Princess Phoebe Crochet Slippers. The ruffle around the edging is sweet but the ribbon, drawn through and tied in a bow to secure, is the piece de resistance. Download this pattern HERE.

More Free 1900's Crochet Patterns from Corticelli - Russian Coat and Hat

Last week I posted a few patterns from a 1919 Corticelli Silk pamphlet that I found in a thrift shop. Many of the pages were missing and I was curious about what interesting patterns could have occupied those pages, so my hunt began for another copy of the publication. 

What I found was a gold mine of patterns that are free to download and use and share but not sell. Please find time to visit the Antique Pattern Library. There you will find hundreds of books of patterns to knit, tat, crochet and embroider. These volumes have all been donated to share with the public. Perhaps you have something to donate to this amazing archive?

I have reproduced this lovely ensemble from the 1916 issue of Corticelli Silk Mills, Lessons in Crochet, Book 1, to share.

The coat with high collar and contrast button, collar and cuff detail is the perfect tunic length for today's skinny jeans, leggings or skirts. The hat is a statement and artfully casual evoking the artsy Bohemian in you. Easy to make in simple crochet stitches. Download HERE.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Vintage 1900's Crochet Hat and Tunic - Free Corticelli Patterns

Vintage 1919 Corticelli Crochet Patterns

I happened upon Cortecelli Book 9, Lessons in Crochet, dated 1919 at the thrift shop this morning. It is missing pages 11 to 39 and the marvelous projects in the remaining pages have me searching for a copy in it's entirety. Though this blog is usually dedicated to sewing but I am also an avid knitter, spinner, crocheter, quilter among other things, so I thought I would post these rare patterns.

The jacket is lovely with it's raised stitching and fringe trim. Though this fashion was the rage almost 100 years ago (think about that!) it has lost none of it's appeal and the tunic length is perfect with today's skirts or leggings.

Gorgette Hat with Ribbon Crown

This lovely brimmed hat with crocheted crown of satin ribbon is a perfect hat for garden or garden party. 
Knitted Hat of Pearl Cotton

Fitting snugly over the brow, this cloche in alternating color blocks and contrast crown is a statement headpiece for Fall and Winter or even Spring in bright and light colors. Download all three patterns for fabulous turn of the century fashions.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

1924 Spring and Summer Fabric Advertisement from The National Cloak and Suit Comapny

Purchasing through catalogs, such as this National Cloak and Suit Company Style Book from 1924, must have seemed to the 20th century woman, a similar experience to shopping on line for the 21st century woman. But oh what beautiful page layouts and illustrations.

Not to mention the variety of textures and colors and, of course the price!!

These color pages were followed by pages of black and white illustrations of fabric. I imagine that the more common fabrics, or perhaps fabrics that had been introduced in earlier issues of the magazine didn't need to be replicated in color.

Imagine what the price for some of these silks would be in today's fabric stores.

But no matter the price, what a joy it would be to sew a garment with any of these beautiful and high quality fabrics. One can dream.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Embellishing for a Couture Finish

Threads Magazine June 2015 Back Cover

The latest issue of Threads™ Magazine features a 1940's evening gown on the back cover. The design of the gown is typical of the era. What sets this particular dress apart from the rest is the added embellished trim to the collar, sleeve holes and hem. This little attention to detail made me recall an earlier post about an otherwise ordinary dress from my collection that distinguishes itself through tucks and folds. (See The Smocked Dress here.)

This lovely gown sent me off to my closet to revisit a few other garments I treasure for their distinguished embellishments. This jacket, however ordinary in style and shape features a detail at the collar, pocket and cuffs that elevate it to a higher, more sophisticated level.

The faded stitching underneath reveals the mechanism for this unique flourish. Perhaps strips of bias cut fabric are rolled and stitched to secure, then looped, overlapping to form the lapped loop trim that is both restrained and elegant recalling the looped epaulettes of a high ranking officer. It also appears to have been attached manually and not sewn into the seam.

This lovely sheer bed jacket from the 1950's boasts a ruffled collar and band trim of pleated and embroidered chiffon.

This effect would not be difficult to achieve either with a ruffler attachment or folded and stitched by hand. But what a pretty frame for your face with that little bit of ruffle standing at the nape of your neck.

This 1950's peignoir and negligee ensemble of sheer chiffon adds a simple ruffle trim to the yoke, collar and cuffs.

That same ruffle treatment is repeated on the bodice and shoulder straps. Nothing screams wedding cake frou frou more than this sweet raised embellishment. 

These treatments do not require any extraordinary skills though they do demand a bit of patience and precision. The final presentation, however, will be worth every moment spent as you proudly wear your everyday garment that has been elevated to Couture with your embellishing technique.

Visit CynicalGirl on Etsy and CynicalGirl on eCrater for fine vintage and newer sewing patterns.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Hannah Troy Designs for McCall Pattern Company

McCall's 5672 by Hannah Troy 1960©

Women have Hannah Troy to thank for figuring out that most women's figures were not the elongated ideal that most ready to wear was designed for. Instead, she observed, women tend to have shorter waists. She was the first to design for this shape and called it "Petite". This 1960 ad for Singer sewing machines (Woman's Day, December 1960) features a model in an Italian influenced bell skirt dress, McCall's 5672.

Hannah Troy designed a few dozen patterns for both Advance Pattern Company in the 1940's and for McCall Pattern Company in the 1950's and 1960's. Her designs are hard to find but worth every penny you will pay for that pattern because she designed for a good fit that would flatter any figure. 

Hannah Troy died at the ripe old age of 93 in 1993. Find patterns by Hannah Troy on the Vintage Pattern Wikia HERE.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Simplicity Fashion News April 1968 Pattern Preview

Simplicity Fashion News April 1968

1968 was a year in transition. The fashions were a melting pot of 60's Mods with a glimmer of the Hippie movement on the horizon. This Simplicity Fashion News pattern catalog included these patterns: Simplicity 7549, Simplicity 7574, Simplicity 7575, Simplicity 7576, Simplicity 7577, Simplicity 7578, Simplicity 7579, Simplicity 7580, Simplicity 7581, Simplicity 7582, Simplicity 7584, Simplicity 7585, Simplicity 7586, Simplicity 7587, Simplicity 7588, Simplicity 7589, Simplicity 7598, Simplicity 7600, Simplicity 7603, Simplicity 7604, Simplicity 7608, Simplicity 7610, implicity 7611, Simplicity 7612, Simplicity 7614, Simplicity 7615 Download Catalog HERE.

Find these in my CynicalGirl shop on Etsy

Simplicity 7598            Simplicity 7577            Simplicity 7600

Simplicity 7581            Simplicity 7591          Simplicity 7576