You know me – I can’t stay out of the files. Just opened up a box with many mid-century needlework and craft magazines gifted to me by an elderly friend several years ago. As I reviewed the images, I came across several which show styles similar to some of mine that I’ve recently posted. The examples in my blogs have been from the 1940’s and these two are from the early 1950’s.
Both of the garments pictured above are made from needlework patterns in women’s magazines that many subscribed to. Most women still were not working outside the home. The new image of a suburban homemaker with a new house, many modern appliances and a luxurious life of ease had taken hold in the popular media. Therefore, it was believed that she had plenty of time to concentrate on crafts for pleasure or profit. It’s true that many, many women were knitting, crocheting, sewing and making their own clothing, hats, purses and jewelry during their spare hours if their partners had steady employment. But, of course, most of this was a dream machine.
However, lots of neat stuff from that era is out there and was made at home. Unfortunately, most needlework projects didn’t survive. This is especially true of dresses and coats, which got the most wear. Some of them were absolutely beautiful and I will be showing more pictures. Two-piece ensembles were especially popular right around 1952 – 1959 and into the early 1960’s.
I’m sure to keep on finding these magazine pages that will dovetail with recent posts and fill in the gaps between finds, so stay tuned to the airwaves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Although this kind of carry-all has never lost popularity in general, it seems like the 1960’s was a really big time for smart, tailored bags like this. Many were used to carry needlework, like knitting and crochet. No matter the use for it, totes like this are always SO handy. In this case, a very elegant design . .. . . . . . . .
Not sure why, but fashion needlework was kind of a “fad” in the Sixties among everyday women even though lots of people have always done it and certain people still do. I picked this bag up when I found it because it is beautifully made, in pristine condition, and just spoke to me of that Mod time in fashion.
The tortoise shell plastic handles were really “in” then, as well as the printed lining. I’ve left the closure flap turned up so that you can see the lovely lining material, too. It’s fully-lined, with metal hardware.
Just a simple bag, but with a shift dress and flats (or a sheath and pumps if you’re at the Club or an appointment) you’d look just like any photo from a popular magazine of 1964 or so. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Need a new coat? Well, in just a few minutes of your spare time . . . . . . Right! McCalls Needlework Magazine used to publish patterns for projects like these all year. In the 1950’s and 1960’s it was so common.
Aren’t they beautiful? – But, can you imagine making one?? Your grandmother might have. I rarely find a hand-knitted one now, but once in a while . . . .
Fun and interesting mid-century and antique table and bed linens often show up during my investigations. The prints are humorous, colorful and pretty. Modern copycats can’t come close! If there is handwork like embroidery or lace, it’s beautiful. I collect them, too. The mending and stain removal that is sometimes required is no big deal and anything with too much damage can be made into pillow covers and cloth napkins. I love using these things at home in my kitchen and bedroom, but there’s more . . . . . . . . . . .
Big pieces of fabric are also wonderful made into clothing and accessories. Trim can sometimes be added to other garments or a big piece of crocheted or tatted lace makes a beautiful dress or blouse. Can’t you just imagine this cloth made into a summer dress, skirt or blouse, maybe with a matching handbag? Can’t wait to use this cute tablecloth!
Potential vintage fashion treasures abound everywhere! Use your imagination and you never know what you may uncover . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Two beautiful hand-crocheted or knitted shawls for party-wear or any festive occasion. In neutral pastel shades with metallic yarn accents.
Items like this were especially popular in the years moving from the 1950’s to the 1960’s. Many women made these garments at home. Nothing dresses up a little black dress in such a feminine and beguiling way as a needlework accessory.
If you like doing handiwork, look for old pattern and instruction books from the ’50’s and ’60’s. Although many types of scarves and shawls are sold now, nothing compares to a handmade item in a soft, genuine wool yarn.
And, if you can find a true vintage shawl – go for it!
Look what I did to my dress! You had seen this late 1960’s wool dress before, and I loved the red knit top of it, BUT, the years had not been kind before it came to me and some moths had had a banquet. Just couldn’t live with the little holes here and there, and no good way to fix them.
SO – why not snip it off at the waist and fashion a dirndl/pencil skirt instead? So easy! All I did was finish (by hand) around the waist with a piece of grosgrain ribbon, sew a few hooks and eyes in the placket left where the zipper used to be et voila’! Just for extra fun, I threaded a black tie belt through the crochet so that it ties off in back. Wouldn’t have had to, but it allows me to fit the waist a little more snugly and adds a cute touch.
Brainstorm! Maybe I can wear it with that neat green sweater found recently – and black boots – must check it out . . . . .. … .. . . . . . . . . . .
It is just incredible that these things survive! Although this cute little coat could have been made more recently by a master needle-worker, I’m betting that it’s a mid-century creation. Much prettier in person, the yoke is composed of very intricate-looking sculptural stitches and the yarn feels like angora.
Similar to the one I showed several weeks ago, it’s pink – probably made for a girl back in the day since pink for girls and blue for boys was pretty much what everybody did when it came to babies. There are still some women around who can knit well and a few who have taught themselves in order to revive these old skills. But, they are a rare breed. A classic garment like this is worth collecting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
JUST A SAMPLING – NO MATTER HOW IT LOOKS, THERE’S NOTHING LIKE IT TODAY!
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These wonderful cotton prints may have come from clothing that had worn out and had to be re-purposed. Love the pink check that’s in the apron! The quilt has many blocks that are not damaged at all, though some show wear. For being about 100 years old, it was well-looked-after and still holds together.
What I love most about a find like this is the rare materials that all have a story. The prints are so great – little anchors, fleur des lis, vines and flowers, paisley and plaid, checks and stripes. There are more, but I can only show so many photographs at once.
So, I know it’s not a piece of clothing (excepting for the apron accessory) but it’s such a wonderful trip back to fabrics and garments from the early 1900’s. This quilt was probably made between 1920 and 1950. It’s not often that we get to see these, so I jump at the opportunity! It’s one that I only come across now and then and, you just never know . . . . .
Although we do Christmas marketing almost year-round, back in the mid-century time no one thought seriously about Christmas stuff until after the American Thanksgiving in late November. But, if you’re making lots of your gifts . . . . .
McCalls needlework magazine promoted doing just that – to economize as well as adding a personal touch. Can you imagine getting all that done ?!
For many of our grandmothers, that was just part of the day-to-day. And, they did produce beautiful things – from hats, gloves, sweaters, socks and scarves to dolls & their clothing, tablecloths & bedspreads, just to name a few.
I love discovering some special true vintage handmade item that was probably made as a gift or a table decoration for a special family holiday. . . .
MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY
BOOK: HOW TO FIND THE BEST IN VINTAGE FASHION – AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM
It’s the time of year when we start thinking about dressy events, dances and holidays again. I’ll be showing more true vintage formal, semi-formal and dressy looks.
These tops would look great with the velveteen skirt from yesterday. And, I’ve got some formal and dressy frocks that need a special wrap to go with them. Often what you already have in the closet just doesn’t work. That’s the time when our grandmothers would get out their knitting needles and crochet hooks . . . .