Monday, June 29, 2015

Interesting Selections From Butterick Catalog of Fashion, 1900 - Part 2 - Patterns for Work

Part 2 - Patterns for Work

For Part 1, please click HERE

Here's part two in our continuing series looking at the Butterick 1900 Spring catalog.  This time we'll take a look at some utilitarian patterns made for various kinds of work.

Here we have a selection of work aprons in various styles, some more utilitarian than others, the one on the left being a bit more dressy.  

Here's an interesting nurse's apron and cap.  

Here we have a nurses' cap and kerchief.

These overall aprons could be worn doing housework or cooking.

In the days before sunscreen, and when having a tan was not en vogue, a sun bonnet like this one would have been welcome for working in the garden or hanging out laundry.

Here are some more bonnets that are a little fancier but I would say the two on the left may have been worn for utilitarian purposes.  Bonnets aren't exactly my area of expertise.

This advertisement appeared in the back of the catalog advertising books helping with both nursing and cooking.

While all of these patterns are extremely rare, the Pattern Patter Team always have tons of apron patterns available!  Why don't you check some of them out?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Free Pattern Friday - A Mod Dress for 11.5" Fashion Dolls

Mod Dress for 11.5" Fashion Dolls

For Free Pattern Friday today we have something a little different... this cute mod dress for 11.5" dolls like Barbie! 

This pattern is from an unknown source and is assumed copyright free.  If you are the owner and wish it taken down, please just let me know. :)  Found in my personal stash.

Click below to use the pattern for personal use.

Click below to download the pattern.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pattern Cleaning & Repair, Part 2

Part 2 - Archival Repair Methods
(For Part 1, which covers paper cleaning, please click here.)

Oh dear!  What do you do when that perfect, rare pattern you just found has a big, horrible tear?

Is all hope lost?  I'm here to tell you that hope is NOT lost, and many patterns can be repaired to nearly as good as new.  (Even really ratty ones!)

What should you use?

I recommend Filmoplast P professional archival tape.

This pattern can be repaired!!

**Please practice on junk patterns first and get the hang of it before you go sticking tape on that $200 pattern! **

Okay, now that I've got that out of the way... moving on!

This tape is amazing!  It won't ever turn brittle, turn yellow, crack, or become hard.  You can even IRON it (on a lower setting) if you use it to repair a torn pattern piece.  It is really a miracle product and I would never, EVER use anything else!  Also, please, NEVER EVER use regular Scotch Tape, it will RUIN YOUR PATTERN.  I cannot stress that enough!!

Let me show you a little about how to repair patterns the archival way!

First, there are a couple of products besides the Filmoplast P that you should have on hand.  I recommend keeping a variety of sizes and shapes of tweezers around for putting small pieces of paper back in place.  

Bone Folder and tweezers shown on the right.

I also recommend something called a BONE FOLDER which will help you to rub the tape and stick it down really well, as well as crease or uncrease things with more precision than you can with your fingers.  It is basically like a little stick with a round end and a pointy end.  While you can use any old plastic or metal pointy thing (such as your favorite point-turner), I strongly suggest you use a folder made of bone or Teflon as it is less likely to stretch or damage delicate paper fibers.

Plus, the folder also makes a great point-turner for sewing! :)  I keep one in my craft box and one in my sewing box, too.  You'll find more uses for them than you can imagine.  They're inexpensive and very handy.

OH, and make sure your HANDS ARE CLEAN.  Fingerprints can show up on the tape or the tape can pull the dirt off your hands, and the last thing you want is dirty fingerprints on your new repaired pattern. 

Adjust difficult tears with a good pair of tweezers, keep several kinds on hand.

When working on old paper, try to repair on the back if at all possible.  Sometimes, it's impossible and you must put tape on the front of an envelope.  But if you can, keep your repairs to the back side.  
First, carefully examine the tear and see if you can tell which parts of the paper need to be "on top" and which parts need to be on the bottom.  Place them back as well as you can, and use tweezers, toothpicks, or even straight pins to get stuff going the right way if necessary.  How precise you are is up to you, we aren't repairing the Constitution of The United States here, it's not an exact science. So, in my opinion anyway, a good repair is better than no repair at all when it comes to these vintage patterns.

Rub the tape with the bone folder to help it show less, and also to adhere the tape to the paper better.

After you have everything lined up the best you can, place the Filmoplast, and "burnish" with your bone folder.  Sometimes the tape will almost entirely disappear!  Sometimes, it will still show.  It depends on the type of paper.  Shiny pattern envelopes are much more difficult to repair than matte ones.  Pattern tissue accepts Filmoplast very well and it almost always disappears completely and then I can't tell where I even made the repair!

Welp, that's unfortunate. :(

This unfortunate pattern envelope was torn when I was getting it out of the drawer.  Let's repair it together!

Tape the smaller tears first and move onto the big ones later.  You can tear or cut  Filmoplast to any size you want.
First, I repaired the small tears in the detatched piece.  Like I said above, tape on the back if you possibly can.  After that was all repaired, I moved on to the next part.

Always tape on the back unless you really have no other option.

Then, I put tape on the back facing up.  This part can be a little tricky.  You can do it in sections which is usually a little easier.  I did it this way to have more clarity in showing you how it works.

Better already!

CAREFULLY line up the pieces and stick down!  Rub with your bone folder, and your pattern is repaired!

Much better!

How about that?  Almost as good as new!

A few more notes..

Envelope with Split Side or Top: if you have an envelope with a split side, you can just fold the Filmoplast about in half around the edge of the envelope, and burnish well with the bone folder.  Sometimes it shows, and sometimes it doesn't, but either way it's better than having pieces falling out of the envelope.  I can add pictures of this process if anyone would find it helpful.

Envelope with Unglued Side: If you have an envelope that has come unglued, I generally just repair it with an acid-free glue stick that is marked as being photo safe or archival.  You can get those at your favorite craft store.

I recommend Gaylord Archival and Hollinger Metal Edge for purchasing your archival repair supplies.

Just a note:  I have used other, cheaper brands of archival repair tape and have found it unsatisfactory.  I can only comfortably recommend FILMOPLAST.  Filmoplast P is not cheap, but it goes a very long way (there is a lot in a package), and is the best product on the market, in my novice opinion.  

Stay tuned for Part 3, where I'll give a few tips about getting yucky smells out of old patterns.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments, and I'll try to help you the best I can. :)

Also, be sure to visit all the wonderful shops of the Pattern Patter Team!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Interesting Selections From Butterick Catalog of Fashion, 1900 - Part 1 - Ladies in Sports

Part 1 - Women in Sports

I thought I would share some interesting selections from Butterick's Catalog of Fashion from Spring of 1900, many years ago!  We're all mostly familiar with long dresses for day wear, evening gowns, and other iconic fashions of the era, but how about some of the lesser-known types of clothing?

Here is the cover.

Lets see what interesting things are inside!

Would you play golf in this?

Seen here we have a skirt touted as being for "Golf and General Outings"... the shorter length shows that this was a sporty skirt.

"Stormy Weather"

These skirts are suggested for "cycling, golfing, skating, stormy weather, etc.,"   I can't imagine doing any of those things in such a skirt, but I have gone hiking in a dress before...

"For Cycling, Golfing, Rinking, Stormy Weather, Etc."

Look at the changing times, though!  Here are some "knickerbockers" that are much more suited for sports.

Don't get them caught in the spokes!

These "Turkish Trousers" are more voluminous and perhaps slightly more feminine, suggested for cycling.

I'm glad I don't have to ride a horse in that get up.

Here's a selection of equestrian outfits, English and American styles, the "safety" of the American style is that it "is to be worn with trousers, breeches, tights, or knickerbockers," but I'm not sure if that's to make you less likely to be injured or less likely to expose yourself. :)

Little over-gaiters are pretty cute.

More equestrian wear.

Divided like pants, but you'd never know it.

These "Divided Cycling Skirts" are rather like gauchos or a modern split skirt, but only suggested for ages up to 16 years.

The ladies who wore these would be surprised to see what their grandchildren wore to the beach!
Probably the most interesting to me are these outfits for swimming, gymnastics and other sports.  The bathing suits include a skirt while the gymnastic costumes are more like pants.

Of course, all of these patterns are *extraordinarily rare!*

But, Pattern Patter Team members always have some antiques laying around!

Check out some of the antique patterns and reproductions available by CLICKING HERE.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where some work outfits will be featured.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Elegance of Bill Blass

Indiana is not known as a hot bed of fashion yet produced one of the most legendary designers of the 20th century - Bill Blass.  Born in Ft. Wayne, IN, in 1922, he left home at age 17 to attend design school in New York City.  He served three years in the army during World War II. After his time in the armed forces, he joined the fashion house of Anna Miller in New York. When the company merged with Maurice Rentner in 1959, Blass became head designer. He bought the company in 1967, and in 1970, changed its name to Bill Blass, Ltd.

1960s Bill Blass dress for Maurice Rentner
photo from FuzzyLizzieVintageClothing

By this time, Bill Blass was a major designer.  He had become part of a high profile social scene which gave him insight into the way women needed to dress. In the 1980s, he was one of First Lady Nancy Reagan's favorite designers.

red evening gown designed by Bill Blass for First Lady Nancy Reagan in 1981, made of silk, chiffon, and silk taffeta. She wore it at the State Dinner honoring Zenko Suzuki, the Prime Minister of Japan.
photo from

First Lady Nancy Reagan in 1988 wearing a Bill Blass suit 
photo from

 Candice Bergen in the July 1, 1970, issue of Vogue, wearing a Bill Blass gown
photo by Bert Stern

1970s Jergens ad, fashions by Bill Blass

Pink gingham dress and jacket
from Ricky Serbin Haute

A 1980s Bill Blass evening gown
photo from FuzzyLizzieVintageClothing

Dinner suit with feather trim


1970s Four-Piece silk ensemble: skirt, jacket, belt, peplum
from Thrifted & Modern

Vintage runway sample evening gown with train
from Brent Amerman

1980s Evening blouse and velvet skirt

Blass designed clothes which gave women a modern sense of both ease and comfort.  He made sportswear but with a twist - glamorizing the clothing with a new American casual chic sensibility.   His women's wear was beautifully cut, tailored and elegant and used luxurious combinations of fabric and texture.  In 1984, he designed Girl Scout uniforms which are highly sought after collectibles in their own right.

from FuzzyLizzieVintageClothing

Bill Blass was one of the first fashion designers to license his designs. Eventually, his brand encompassed fashion and fashion accessories such as eyewear, sheets, towels, jeans and luggage. 

He won seven Coty Awards and the 1999 Fashion Institute of Technology's Lifetime Achievement Award.  At the time of his death, he was involved in the preparation of a retrospective exhibit at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.  This exhibit opened shortly after his passing in 2002.

by kinseysue on etsy

Indiana State Museum
Brittanica Online
Vintage Fashion Guild

For those of us who can not afford haute couture, there are lovely Bill Blass sewing patterns available.  Below are some offered by the Pattern Patter team on etsy.

Vogue 2735 from anne8865; Vogue 2643 from Mrsdepew; McCall's 8927 from FancyWork; Vogue 1788 from CloesCloset

Vogue 1957 from KeepsakesStudio; Vogue 2509 from RedcurlzsPatterns; McCall's 8416 from momandpopcultureshop; Vogue 1973 from SoVintageOnEtsy

Vogue 1308 from Denisecraft; McCall's N8753 from MaddieModPatterns; Vogue 1315 from midvalecottage; Vogue 2156 from allthepreciousthings

Vogue 1150 from Clutterina; Vogue 2662 from voguevixens; Vogue 2764 from BluetreeSewingStudio; Vogue 1621 from mbchills

Hollywood Glamour in the 1930s

Photo credit: Lee Brothers
(poor Fred didn't even get billed on this marquee)

During the years of the Great Depression, all industries were hard-hit.  The movie industry fared better than many. Some theaters offered drawings for prize money.  Others offered a free piece of glassware to attendees on "Dish Night" - a plate, cup, saucer, or glass. These pieces now comprise the collecting field of Depression Glass.  Pre-Depression ticket prices remained stable or were lowered. The average price nationwide for adults was 25 cents for a matinee and 40 cents for the evening showing. A number of theaters dropped the cost of the evening show to 10 cents in order to attract customers. Children's tickets averaged 10 cents, although the majority of theaters charged half that amount.

Americans turned to movies in order to escape the harsh, never-ending day-to-day reality of poverty and unemployment. Director Carlos Stevens observed: 
"Throughout most of the Depression, Americans were assiduously, devotedly, almost compulsively, drawn to the movies...the movies offered a chance to escape the cold, the heat, and loneliness; they brought strangers together....sharing in the one social event available to everyone."

Dress fashions were heavily influenced by the movies of this decade. Although most women were unable to afford the gowns worn on film, they could and did incorporate several aspects of dresses which they saw on the screen and in catalogs. No more straight, angular silhouettes from the 1920s --- women once again had curves.  Dresses were feminine and hems were around mid-calf level or lower.  Waistlines returned and narrow belts were worn.  Bodices were fitted. Collars, capelets, folds, ruffles, and draping were often used in dress designs. Fabric corsages, flowers and bows decorated hats, collars, and yoke fronts. 

1933 Spiegel's catalog ad
These prices were a fortune for most women during the Depression, but wouldn't it be wonderful to buy them at the 1933 price now?

The clothing article which appealed to most was the evening gown.  Such gowns were unattainable by all but the very well-to-do. Movie audiences eagerly waited for the moments when the star would appear in her bias-cut, backless silk or satin gown, where for a few hours they could be transported to a world of wealth and happy endings.  

These gowns were long, sleek, and sexy.  The bias cut hugged the body.  Such legends as Carole Lombard, Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, and Ginger Rogers epitomized the Hollywood glamour people craved.  The popular Astaire-Rogers musicals utilized what was termed "The Great White Set", now the basis for many Hollywood Regency style rooms.  One of Miss Rogers' most famous gowns was the feather dress worn in 1935's TOP HAT.

photo from

photo from

Her backless gown was made of figure-hugging satin and encircled with blue ostrich feathers.  The feathers started around her neck and shoulders, then continued from the hips to hemline. 

Jean Harlow photograph from

Carole Lombard photograph from

Carole Lombard photograph by Scotty Welbourne, 1938

Joan Crawford in a dress designed by Adrian, 1932
photograph from

Several pattern companies have re-issued their vintage patterns. However, the selection below, from members of the Pattern Patter Team on etsy, consists of original sewing patterns from the 1930s.  Credits are below the collage.

by kinseysue on etsy

ROW 1 - Vogue 7432 from FriskyScissors; Simplicity 1723 from SoVintageOnEtsy; Simplicity 2377 from ErikawithaK

ROW 2 - Hollywood 1297 from BluetreeSewingStudio; Simplicity 1440 from kinseysue; Butterick 7066 from Fragolina

ROW 3 - Hollywood 890 from Fancywork; New York Mail Order 2831 from CloesCloset; Butterick 5040 from VintageNeedleFinds

What Americans Spend on Entertainment by Alexander Atkins
The Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers Book by Arlene Croce