May 5, 2011

50's crafts

Reactions to my earlier vintage-magazine-posts have been somewhat luke warm, but I am going to go ahead and bore you all with another one anyway. And this one doesn't even really involve sewing.
To tell you the truth, I don't have anything else to show at the moment. This week, I have my worst head cold in years and four days of work which really could not be done by anyone else... There hasn't been any energy left inside me for sewing or interesting sewing-related research.

So, I will show you what's inside one of those magazines my aunt gave me last week.

This publication has a rather un-inspiring name which translates as "Monthly magazine for crafts"... Ok, at least it is what it says on the tin. And it is full of lovely pictures.
By the way, there are crochet and knitting patterns inside for those lacy gloves.

It includes several patterns for intricate knit- and crochetwear for ladies. Dutch readers may notice the half texts in my scans. This is an A4 size magazine, so I can only scan single sheets at a time while the magazine design is per spread. This particular spread had a knit top at the left side and a crochet top, this one, on the right.

The sewing patterns for these blouses were avaible by mail order (for 25 cent a piece) but the main focus of this page is their decoration. The magazine calls this 'persian ajour' and it is a kind of thread pulling and embroidery technique. The counting patterns for it were on the (now missing) work sheet.
I think my grandmother has a table cloth (which she made herself years ago) with this kind of decoration.

Of course it's not all women's wear. Through the ages, proper housewives used to sew for everyone in the household except the grown-up males, didn't they?
So a play-suit for a baby would definately be on the list.

Back to sophisticated ladies' wear now. This looks like something one would sew but it is a knitting pattern. I do not know what endlessly high level of skill, patience and precision is required for it but here are the instructions to knit a hound's tooth check of reasonable size and make it work in the shape of a raglan cardigan.

And you could make things for around the house as well, like this cross-stiched pillowcase. They claim this is an easy project.

This round lace tablecloth seems anything but easy. It is made in a technique which involves a crochethook. But interestingly, the tulips at the edges are described as being crochet-work, the lacy bit in the middle is not. Anyway, it's all about very thin yarn, tiny stitches and endless patience.

I have to give my respect to the older generation of women who could, apperently, do all this stuff. I have done a little bit of knitting and crochet but I can't begin to think of most of these projects as even remotely achievable.


  1. I woke up sick this morning, too, so I feel you!

    Love the crocheted gloves, but the knit-houndstooth---that's amazing. Technically I know the rudiments of crochet and knitting (a bit more crochet than knit) but like you, these just defeat me.

    Those blouse decorations look like heirloom sewing techniques. Those defeat me, too. :)

    Get well soon!

  2. Aww, I love the baby romper- that's darling! I started crocheting some gloves a few weeks ago and so far, they aren't as difficult as they look. I found a free pattern for them on
    Well, I love your magazine posts! They're so inspiring. I hope that your cold goes away soon. I hate that "I need to drill a hole in my head" feeling- just awful!! :(

  3. I really enjoy these, please don't stop doing them! They are a look into a different world

  4. I love vintage sewing and knitting/crochet patterns! I especially like ones from 1945 and earlier. Please continue to share them!

  5. I enjoy looking at these patterns but it hurts my brain to contemplate actually making any of them!
    Obviously people had much for time for handwork before television took over. That and craft magazines have at least one insane project per issue ;)

  6. Oh, I can't believe I missed your fabulous jacket photo-shoot, it looks amazing! So slick and sharp! The story was fun too, but can you satisfy my curiosity and tell who was the "you-know-who" who inspired this style? Sorry for sounding dumb...
    Thank you for your comment abut my dress, and yes, like you I am starting to crave some more interesting and creative photography for my work.
    And I just thought I would tell you about another self seamstress and blogger
    She recently posted about a clothing swap to be held in the Hague, I think you are in that area too??

  7. Ooh, I love vintage craft! It is so inspiring and reminds me so of my grand mother. After having seen some of Madelaine Vionnet's drawn threadwork on dresses, I long to try out the technique. That tulip table cloth is amazing. Having dabbled a bit in both knitting and cross stitch, I think most of those projects would be fairly straightforward and not that time consuming (though I would probably find a good audio book to listen to while I worked). In particular the knit houndstooth jacket would be simple to make, as it is simply a four row pattern which is easily learnt by heart.

  8. Looks all pretty advanced. Sorry to hear about your flu and cursed work- damn.

  9. I cannot imagine knitting that houndstooth is too short. And I never understood the fancy table cloth: if tablecloths are made to protect a table from spills and scratches, what protects the uber-fancy tablecloth? ;)
    I'd love to see some photos of your drafting in action!