Historical Sew Fortnightly

January 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

Over the last year I’ve seen the Historical Sew Fortnightly pop up on a lot of the sewing blogs I follow. Since a big problem with my sewing is motivation, I was glad to see that they’re running the HSF again this year and I’m going to jump in. And since the first project is Make Do and Mend, it’s about time that I do something about the pile of things needing minor repairs that have been sitting around for months, namely two skirts (30s and 40s) with hook and eye problems. It’s funny how long it’s possible to procrastinate on such simple repairs, but there you go.

Also planning to use the remains of a thrifted bedsheet to do a simple cotton blouse from Simplicity 1692 (the lower right one) with rickrack trim scrounged from a friend.



Sigh, I need to update this blog more,

June 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

Sigh, I need to update this blog more, or at least soon enough that I stop forgetting whether I’m on WordPress or Blogspot.

So I found a 1930s skirt tutorial online and was all set to work on it when I realised a pattern I already have, McCalls M4924, would make an excellent 1930s skirt. View C is bias-cut, and I’m going to make the godets 45 degrees instead of 90. I’ll see how it turns out.


I also recently scored a sewing book from 1941: “The Complete Book of Sewing.” Thought I’d share this page about yearlong fashion (click for full size):


Here are some patterns that would work for these ideas:

January’s huge boutonniere (I think this pattern comes from around the same time period in fact)

February’s turban

April’s daisies

July’s flower neckline

July type hat

August’s wool crepe dress

November’s sequin collar

For the Needlewoman

April 28, 2013 § Leave a comment



One fun thing about antique patterns is that you can never be completely sure what you’re going to get. Today I’m starting the <a href=”http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59641364> “Pretty Knitted Bag”</a> from The Mail newspaper from 1914. The only yarn suggestion it gives is to use crochet cotton – so, I’m going to use some size 10 crochet cotton in mint green that I’ve had in my stash almost as long as I’ve had a stash. I have absolutely no idea how big this is going to turn out. It’s done in the round, with a 3-needle bind off for the bottom of the bag, and the edging on the top part is done separately and sewn on. Haven’t decided if I’m actually going to do the edging that way or not.

(Also please note the ads on the same page. in particular, hypnosis for disease cure, and Adelaide Ladies: Have You a Joy Belt? I dn’t know what that is, but I sort of want one)

Trove – sewing

March 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

I’ve gleefully wasted hours of my life on Trove’s newspaper archives, looking through old needlework patterns. Lately I’ve been working on improving my sewing and I wondered if there were any sewing tutorials or ideas on Trove (I was mostly after hats, but interested in anything). Sure enough, there were more than I knew what to do with. So I’m going to list some of them here for anyone else who’s interested. These definitely aren’t all of the ones out there (they’re not even all the ones I found) so if you want more, go throw some keywords at Trove and see what you can find…


1894 – Home Dressmaking: How to Cut and Fit the Waist and Lining – not a pattern, but an interesting article about the basics of Victorian dressmaking
1915 – Closely-Fitting Tunic (actually an overskirt)


1923 – Suede Moccasins – ok, you can easily find better patterns than this online, but I never expected to find a moccasin pattern from the 1920s.


1931 – The fashionable large handkerchiefs
1932 – Smart new details – details you can add to your own dress patterns
1934 – A useful negligee made from a discarded evening shawl
1935 – Black velvet cap and ways to decorate it
1935 – Dainty Nightdress Cover – bed doll
1935 – A Gay Shoulder-Cape
1937 – Make-up Cap and Cape
1937 – Pearl embroidered evening bag
1938 – Smart Hat – similar to the black velvet cap
1939 – Novel hat and scarf set trimmed with rug wool
1939 – Hat made in half an hour – basic beret pattern


1942 – Evacuation Knapsack – I found this pattern a few times. These were made during World War II in Australia, and filled with supplies for children to carry in case they had to evacuate quickly. Here is a picture of one.
1945 – Handbag from a piece of coat material
1945 – Smart hat to make for Christmas
1946 – Lavender lady sachet
1947 – picnic bag
1947 – Queen of Hearts apron – not actually a pattern, but this doesn’t look like it would be hard to make
1947 – A Rabbit from Felt
1949 – Handkerchief apron
1949 – House-shaped tea cosy


1950 – Welcome Christmas Gifts – patchwork mat, two bags, also a knitted ball and a crochet edging
1951 – “With Best Wishes” – More Christmas gifts including a cherry hat, an apron, quilted makeup bag, hair bow combs and more
1952 – Double Duty – lace overskirt
1952 – Dainty Quilted Bedjacket
1953 – Scarf-hat
1954 – Chic French Cloche (with bonus terrifying ad on the next page)
1955 – Ribbon pillbox hat
1957 – Beach Fashions – the actual diagrams are here. That harlequin skirt ūüėÄ
1958 – one-piece dress


1960 – “For a hatty spring” – Another picture here
1962 – Beach wrap and towel combo


1978 – lingerie patterns
1978 – sundress for mother and daughter – pattern on next page

Let me know if you make anything from these patterns. I know I’m planning to.

The first Riego collar, “Mary Stuart”

December 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

made with DMC Cébélia Cotton size 30 and 1mm crochet hook

hello all

December 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Taking a step into blogging… because the world needs another vintage knit/crochet/and so on blog. Maybe more antique than vintage since my time periods of choice tend to be 1910s, 20s, 30s. I’ll probably post things I’m working on, things I’ve learned, patterns and my attempts at translating bizarre old Victorian patterns into something comprehensible. Currently, among other things, I’m working my way through The Crochet Book, by El√©onore Riego de la Branchardi√®re (which has amazingly clear instructions for a book published in 1847).