Thursday, August 28, 2014


Double Bed Sheet Becomes - 

Palazzo Patio Set

This creative idea was originally published in a newspaper in September 1970. West Point Pepperell’s designers came up with this idea and chose the plaid,flat double sheet.
Sheets were plain white until the late 1960’s. Many people, including my mother, used sheets for all kinds of projects. There were curtains, pillows, chair seats, even stuffed animals.
I had never seen this idea until I found this article in a bag of patterns and scraps of paper.  

To download the ingenious cutting instructions to make this ensemble, Click HERE

The Drawstring design and plenty of ease, make this suitable for sizes 8 through 14.

Courtesy of RetroMonkeys

Monday, August 25, 2014


Catherine with her Husband and Daughter
Catherine Dean is the owner of Historically Inspired Patterns on Etsy. She lives in a 1920's house on the Historic Register in Richmond, VA with her husband and their three year old daughter. 

McCall's 4049 
Catherine has been selling on Etsy since 2008. I got to know her in 2012 through Etsy. She has had several different shops over the years. She currently has 3 active shops with her pattern shop being her main focus. The other two are a destash shop, and a new fabrics and patterns shop. Catherine was selling vintage items, fabrics and supplies as well as upcycled jewelry. It was during a thrift shop hunt that she discovered sewing patterns and fell in love. She started collecting them until one day she realized they were taking over her office. Before she knew it, she had opened yet another shop. 
Working as a Museum Curator
for Historic Homes in Virginia
Now that you know about how she started selling patterns, you have got to read about who she is and everything she has accomplished in her life! 

Catherine is a Social Historian by trade. She is a wealth of information and is able to help other
McCall 6448
sellers with her knowledge of the correct methods of caring for vintage paper. A true romantic, Catherine has always loved old houses, period costumes, and anything else that painted a picture of "the way life used to be". 

In high school she dabbled in vintage clothing. By the time she was in college she worked in a costume shop, devoured books on social history. My appetite for vintage clothing had grown into a love for historical costumes as well as historic dance. 

Regency Dancing
While still attending college she decided that working in a museum would fit my passions well. She got a degree in Museum Studies and eventually landed a job as curator for the statewide preservation organization in Virginia. Catherine spent most of a decade working in Historic Houses in Virginia until she "retired:" to stay at home with her daughter. 

Today she still does some consulting work as well as running a wholesale jewelry business marketing to museum shops and of course, selling her patterns!  I'm also an active Babywearing Educator. She works to help families learn how to safely use a variety of baby carriers.  

DuBarry 2401B
She began selling on ETSY  as a way to pay for her first house in 2007. Once she decided to leave her day job, Catherine was able to spend more time working on my pattern shop.  As a result, Historically Inspired Patterns maintains an inventory of almost 2,000
Vogue 1549 
Diane Von Furstenberg
Wrap Dress
items. (plus lots more in various stages of preparation) and nearly 7,500 sales.  Her shop carries  a little bit of everything because she get bored quickly and likes the variety of switching from antique to vintage to out of print to contemporary. She is now branching out into doll patterns, kits, and                                                                  fabrics. 

Who wouldn't want to stay home? 
ETSY has made it possible for Catherine to supplement her family's income while being able to stay at home with her daughter while she is young. 

Catherine's Shop links:

Catherine is offering readers a discount. Use Coupon Code:
patternpatter10  good for 10% off through September 30 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Focus On: Children's Halloween Costumes

By Sherri from sewbettyanddot 

Summer is winding down and back-to-school is on everyone's minds. However, it's never too early to start thinking about Halloween (or, as it used to be spelled, "Hallowe'en")! 

Most scholars think Halloween stems from a pre-Christian Celtic festival called Samhain (pronounced Sah-ween), the significant holiday of the Celtic year. It was believed that around November 1 (the beginning of the new Celtic year), ghosts were able to mingle with the living—on that day the souls of people who had died during the year traveled into the otherworld. To help them on their journey, animals were sacrificed and fruits and vegetables were left out (traditions such as bobbing for apples and carving vegetables such as turnips and pumpkins into jack o’lanterns stem from this); bonfires were lit to assist the dead on their journey (and to keep them away from the living!). After the establishment of Christianity, the notion of a day (November 1) to honor souls became All Saints Day, so October 31 became All Hallows (Hallowed = Saintly) Eve (Hallow Evening = Hallowe’en = Halloween).

Halloween is a holiday of many mysterious customs, most of which can be traced back to the ancient Celtic day of the dead. Knocking on doors demanding treats (or threatening a “trick”/mischief) can be traced back to the original notion that ghosts, fairies, witches, and demons were wandering amongst us. Over time, people began to dress like these frightening creatures, disguising themselves to blend in and performing in exchange for refreshments. This is called mumming, and trick-or-treating as we know it developed from the practice. The first report of children “guising” (asking storekeepers for treats while in costumes) dates from 1911, but the term “trick-or-treating” doesn’t appear until the 1930s; it didn’t become the widespread activity we know today until after World War II.

Before the 1930s, the idea of fancy dress costumes for adults were popular for many different occasions, not just Halloween. The Dennison Manufacturing Co.—who made crepe paper and a zillion other paper products—published numerous booklets with instructions on how to make these costumes. Halloween began to become a more child-centric holiday in the late 1930s, and in 1937 the Ben Cooper Co. (Cooper made Ziegfeld Follies costumes before launching his business) began to manufacture children’s Halloween costumes and masks and sell them in stores such as Woolworth’s.
Black-and-white images are crepe paper costumes from various editions of Dennison booklets, "How to Make Paper Costumes,"' from my own collection (I am obsessed!); color image of Pictorial pattern courtesy Tuppence Ha'Penny blog

And of course, for decades, millions of parents have gotten out their sewing machines and made that perfect costume for their children (the earliest pattern I can find is a Pictorial witch costume from the 1920s, pictured above). Early costumes tended to be traditional witches, clowns, ghosts, and devils, but in the 1950s with the advent of TV, pop culture characters became popular. Dressing little kids up as animals has endured over the decades as well, and the princess/fairy/ballerina look is also alive and well. Costumes have seen controversy—especially those that are seen to appropriate cultural symbols or deal in stereotypes—but today Halloween is a bigger holiday than ever, in part because it has become one of the only occasions when adults dress in costumes.

Let’s look at some amazing vintage costume patterns from members of the Pattern Patter team. I’ve focused here on children’s costumes (for the most part). Interesting to note: the different incarnations of aliens/spacemen (the earliest on Etsy is Butterick 3352, from the 1950s, seen here in first collage, fourth row, second image). 

First row, left to right: Simplicity 1878: MidvaleCottage (1930s)
McCall 1507: Redcurlzs (1940s)
Third row: McCall’s 1855: FriskyScissors (1950s)
Fourth row: Butterick 6342: Denisecraft (1950s)

First row, left to right: McCall’s 7223: VogueVixens (1960s)
Second row: Simplicity 6201: GreyDogVintage (1960s)
Third row: Simplicity 9052: allfairyvintage (1970s)
Fourth row: Simplicity 9051: JFerrariDesigns (1970s)
Simplicity 6455: PurplePlaidPenguin (1970s)

Top row, left to right: Simplicity 7729: PengyPatterns

(All of the patterns in the third set are from the 1980s or later.)

Text sources:; LibraryOfCongress/Folklife; and Retroland.

Which costume would YOU make for the little one in your life (or which one did YOU wear when you went trick-or-treating?)? Tell us in the comments!

Monday, August 11, 2014



Courtesy of Mary Beth, RetroMonkeys

Originally published by Workbasket Magazine in July 1952, the Hanging Shoe Storage Bag is still widely used today. It’s the perfect accessory for a dorm room, a great Mother’s Day gift, or make one for yourself!

          Start by selecting the two main fabrics. Then choose a fun pattern to use for the Cleaner Pocket. Check your scraps! We all       have plenty of pieces that size.  


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Sewing Through the Cinema~ Love is a Many-Splendored Thing

                                                                                                                                                                               by Amy~ViennasGrace

        Get your tissues ready, no not that kind of tissue silly, although this one does happen to be a bit of a tear jerker. So get both kinds of tissue ready.  I'm searching sewing patterns modern and vintage to find the looks featured in classic films. Although it might not be possible to duplicate the exact look, I'll show you how to easily mimic the feeling of the style. Soon you'll see that a silver screen wardrobe is only a pattern away.

a 1955 drama-romance, set in 1949–50 Hong Kong.  A married, but separated, American reporter Mark Elliot  falls in love with a beautiful 
Eurasian woman, Dr. Han Suyin.  Their love story leads them to face prejudice from her family and from Hong Kong society.   


And Also Starring.........the timeless Cheongsam Dress
in many-splendored prints, colors, cotton or silk, each just as lovely as the next. 

Just a few sewing pattern examples that are available from the Pattern Patter Team.

Polynesian Pattern 125                          Simplicity 1018                           McCalls 4911                            
SewBettyandDot                                   Redcurlzs                                    VintageNeedleFinds

There are no open backs or deep plunging neckline, this modest cut neckline only adds to the classic sex appeal and every perfect figure curve.
Here is a partial quote from Wikipedia regarding the Cheongsam dress:
"The cheongsam (/ˈɒŋˈsæm/,[1] /ˈɒŋˈsæm/ or /ˈɒŋˈsɑːm/) is a body-hugging one-piece Chinese dress for women; the male version is the changshan. It is known in Mandarin Chinese as the qípáo (旗袍pronounced [t͡ɕʰǐ pʰɑ̌ʊ̯]Wade-Giles ch'i-p'ao, and is also known in English as a mandarin gown. The stylish and often tight-fitting cheongsam or qipao (chipao) that is best known today was created in the 1920s in Shanghai and made fashionable by socialites and upper class women."

Designer Charles LeMaire winning the Academy Award for Costume Design in Color that year. Marking another grand achievement for the renown designer. His dress design for Jennifer Jones' wardrobe in Love is a Many-Splendored Thing surely launched the Cheongsam dress into high fashion wardrobes everywhere that season and for all the years to come.

Three of the actual Charles LeMaire dresses worn by Jennifer Jones in Love is a Many-Splendored Thing.
In 2011 at an auction the blue silk dress was estimated to sell for $3,000 but the winner of this iconic dress paid over $27,000.  The yellow Cotton dress sold for over $13,000. The Beige Cotton Dress over $12,000.

Here is Dr. Han Suyin- Jennifer Jones and Mark Elliot-William Holden in a very well known scene on the beach. Her lovely pastel yellow bathing suit is a strapless sweetheart shape accented by a v strap halter cord.

I'd imagine that if they had another chance to sit on the beach together Dr. Han would have worn this playsuit and one of these stylish mandarin style beach robes.

     Simplicity 1608                                                                                        Vogue5477
     PinkPolkaDotButton                                                                                Fancywork

A perfect overcoat, lounging coat, or in Dr. Han Suyin's case a lovely Doctor's over coat.

Simplicity 3354                                                         Simplicity 3604
Sandritocat                                                                 FriskyScissors
How can you get all this style into your closet? I told you, pull out your tissues! Pattern tissue that is, go sew it girl! Below is a Pattern Patter Team Treasury inspired by the lovely fashions in Love is a Many-Splendored Thing.
Click Here to View Pattern Patter Team Treasury Link on Etsy