Category Archives: Article

Realistic Buttons

Novelty or realistic buttons have been popular since the 1930s (and probably before that).  Showy, colorful buttons were an inexpensive way to freshen a dress during the depression when a new dress was out of the question. French fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli sparked the button mania by emphasizing them on items in her collections. Her 1938 Circus Line included garments with buttons shaped like dancing clowns, trapeze artists, and prancing horses. Her Music Collection featured buttons shaped like a variety of instruments.   Many popular buttons in this era were made of bakelite and were sew thru types.  They featured common everyday items from vegetables to golf clubs.  A common button shape from this era was the Scottie terrier inspired by Franklin Roosevelt’s dog Fara.

Plastic buttons quickly took over and have remained popular ever since.  Nothing is quicker to bring out a “aww…isn’t that cute” reaction than a beautifully made realistic button.  There are a number of artisans making realistic buttons today from kiln fired or Fimo clay.  Here are some examples from 

Kiln Fired Clay Realistic Buttons

Kiln Fired Clay Realistic Buttons

Grape Leaf Buttons by Marla’s Mud
Fimo Clay Buttons

Fimo Clay Buttons

Hello Kitty Buttons by TinyArk

Exclusive Couture=Vogue Pattern Company

Vogue Designer Pattern

Vogue Designer Pattern

Vogue Patterns are known for their exclusive couture designs–the first pattern company to license and reproduce the designs of couture designers. While other pattern companies have tried to imitate Vogue with designer patterns, Vogue still epitomizes the finest in designer patterns.

Vogue Pattern Company is one of the oldest still surviving pattern companies. It began in 1899, when VOGUE magazine published a weekly pattern feature, purchased by mail order. By 1905 the publisher established a separate pattern department. In 1909 the company was purchased by Conde Nast who formed the Vogue Pattern Company in 1914. Department stores started selling the patterns in 1916. World War I had halted the production of French couture designs and Vogue featured American designers. In the 1920s, Vogue magazine covered designs from French designers like Coco Chanel and Jean Patou.

Vogue Couturier

Vogue Couturier

While Vogue Pattern Book  featured “couturier” patterns as early as 1937, these patterns were not exact reproductions of actual styles. Vogue Patterns made news in the fashion industry by announcing the availability of Paris Original Models in 1949, featuring leading French Couturiers Balmain, Schiaparelli, Lanvin and Jaques Fath. It was the first time originals from the Paris couture had been duplicated in pattern form. Vogue Patterns became the only pattern company licensed to produce designs from the world leading couturiers, establishing a precedent which continues today. Since that time Vogue has continued to produce highly desirable couture designs. Here’s a brief synopsis:

  • 1960s – Fashion’s trendsetters emulated the minimal elegance of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. The popularity of American designers led to the introduction in 1967 of Vogue’s “Americana” patterns, a collection of signature styles which include Oscar de la Renta, Teal Traina, and Chester Weinberg. Customer favorites include Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Anne Klein, Geoffrey Beene, Bill Blass, and Oscar de la Renta.
  • mid-1970s  Italian and English designers, including the popular Bellville-Sassoon, were added. Styles by Yves Saint Laurent and Hubert de Givenchy are still among the company’s best sellers.
  • 1984 “Vogue Individualist” program created a showcase for emerging young designers whose international style appealed to a more fashion-forward customer. Many of these designers, including Issey Miyake, Isaac Mizrahi and Claude Montana, later joined the ranks of fashions established innovators.
  • 1990 – “Vogue Individualist” was replaced by “Vogue Attitudes”, a program which introduces today’s home sewers to the current generation of fashion talent. Designers like Anna Sui, Byron Lars and Isabel Toledo have a unique approach to addressing the needs of their specific customers, and are attuned to the demands of busy, clothes-conscious women of the 90s.

Crochet Doilies-Revival?

I’ve been listing a few Crochet Doily Patterns

Vintage Crochet Doily

Vintage Crochet Doily Pattern

lately. The first thing that comes to mind when looking at these old patterns are our grandmother’s homes, which were filled with these decorative gems everywhere. Many of us associate them with old fashioned charm, but don’t see them as relevant for today’s crochet. However, what’s old becomes new again. I believe that we’re about to see a revival of the old patterns, repurposed for new uses. The same basic designs can be made into a fashion bag, or worked into a vest or sweater. So put on your thinking cap and look at these patterns in a new way.

The old crochet doily patterns are made in one of three ways:

  • Filet crochet Filet crochet is worked in panels. Panels can be joined together to make up your garment or bag project.
  • Crocheted Doily Pattern in rounds To make doilies in rounds doesn’t mean that all of them have to have a round shape. Using crocheting in rounds technique you can make doilies of different geometrical shapes: round, rectangular, square, triangle, ans etc. These can be joined to make larger items.
  • Crochet a Doily from motifs. There are no any restrictions for your creativity when you use patterns of doilies of motifs. Zillions of shapes, techniques, ways to connect motifs together, possibility to combine different materials allow you to create unique art work. Just don’t be afraid to experiment.

Inspiration for this post is due to Smart Knit Crocheting. Feel free to visit this site for more inspiration.

What is Rockabilly Style?

What makes Rockabilly Fashion  still so appealing?

The term “rockabilly” of course comes from the music world, with Elvis, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins,and Johnny Cash as leading creators of the rebellious sound. The fashion for men followed the dress and hairstyles of the musicians with Daddy-O shirts,baggy jackets, slacks and creeper shoes.

Form Fitting Blouses-Rockabilly Style

Form Fitting Blouses-Rockabilly Style

But the women were a different story. They were rebellious and sexy. They literally wore the attitude that rules are meant to be broken. Many fashions of that day included form fitting blouses (gingham was popular) and straight mid knee skirts that showed off sleek long legs.

Swing Dress-Rockabilly Style

Swing Dress-Rockabilly Style

Also popular were swing dresses that were lower cut at the top to show off a little bustline and a flare to the skirt to allow for movement when dancing. And the rockabilly style brought pants for women into public wear. This was new and rebellious. The form fitting pedal pusher or capri revolutionized women’s clothing.

Pedal Pushers

Pedal Pushers

And then there are the styles made popular by Pinups like Marilyn Monroe, Bettie Page and Jayne Mansfield.  Hoo, boy…They deserve a blog post of their own…to come sometime in the future.

60s Fashion=New Fabrics

We can’t talk about 60s fashion without talking about 60s fabrics. But first a quick trip through memory lane.
Fashion Trends of the 60s
Social mobility, daring fashion photography, easier travel abroad, the Vietnam war, new music of the Beatles and their much copied hairstyles, retro military and ethnic clothes, musicals, pop art and film all played a part in setting the fashion trends of the 60s. The era began with Jackie Kennedy in the early 1960s wearing her trademark pill box hat and three quarter sleeves. Then Courrèges created a new space-age inspired style. Courreges introduced shorter lengths and those boots! Mary Quant followed with mini-skirts and the introduction of panty hose,or tights. Emilio Pucci’s exotic psychedelic beautiful fabric prints was important as the fresh approach to fashion of Yves St. Laurent. Who can forget his Mondrian inspired dress?

The Fabrics
Many of the fashions of the 1960s existed because of the fabrics. Use of synthetic fibers introduced new fabric properties. When synthetics were mixed with natural fibres there was improved wear. The bright colors and textures were due to these new properties. Some fibers had been invented years earlier in the 1930s and 1940s, but it was only in the 60s that huge production plants for synthetic fibres sprang up globally.

Du Pont and ICI were the giants of synthetic manufacture producing a wide range of fabrics under trade names relating to Polyamide (nylon), Polyesters, Polyurethanes, Polyolefins and Polyacrylonitriles. Polyamide is nylon. It came under trade names such as Nylon 6, Celon, Enkalon, Perlon, Bri-Nylon, Cantrece and others. Polyester was known variously as Terylene, Dacron, Terlenka, Trevira, Kodel, Diolen, Tergal and Lavsan. Polyurethane is the generic name of the elastomeric family of stretch fibres like Spandex, Lycra and Spanzelle.

Advance Pattern Company

Advance Pattern Company produced patterns under the Advance brand name from 1933 to 1966.  They were sold exclusively by J.C. Penney company.  The company was sold to Puritan Fashions in 1966 and ceased production under the Advance name. 

You can find a list of Advance pattern numbers and the associated image at the vintage sewing patterns wiki.  If you have an image and number to add, you can also do that.

Fabric Yo Yos

NorthernWarmThings,YoYo Maker

NorthernWarm YoYo Maker

In case you haven’t noticed, yo yo’s are experiencing a revival! 

There are new yo yo makertools out to make yo yos easier to make, and I’m seeing tutorials everywhere on the web showing you how to make them.  The best one that I’ve found is by Heather Bailey.

Yo yos were very popular in the 1930s and 40s when folks made quilts (more accurately coverlets) from them. The lovely scraps of 30s and 40s prints became colorful scrappy quilts. You find these quilts by themselves without backing and mounted onto a backing. Sometimes you’ll find them in a pillow.
Yo yos can be made from any kind of fabric that will lie flat when gathered. Used clothing in interesting prints, scraps from a clothing project or fabric squares bought for their colors are all used in making yo yos. Look for already made yo yos online on etsy and eBay.