Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Okay. Yes, I know it has been a while since I posted. Well, it's been a bumpy year. One I never, ever, ever saw coming. But life is long and life can be very hard. My empathy grows with every passing day for anyone with struggles or loves someone with struggles. I am not exempt and hopefully, happier times are forthcoming for all. That's all I'm going to say about that. Thank you for reading.


Now let's get on with the fun stuff.  One of my favorite things is browsing the pages of an old catalog - specifically old fabric in old catalogs.  Yard goods were everywhere from JC Penney to  Montgomery Ward to Sears Roebuck to Bloomingdale's.  Looking at old catalogs gives me clues in dating patterns and fabrics that are older than I am, but what happened last week has never happened before!

I found an exact fabric that I own!
Not once.
Not twice.
THREE TIMES!
And in the same catalog!  
Enter the Sears 1953 spring catalog.  

Looking at some printed percales,
I spied the bright chevron in the middle and couldn't believe it.
I had it upstairs in my sewing room!

It was 36" wide and I thought perhaps it was from the late 60s.
WRONG!  1953!

Next I saw this barkcloth drapery fabric and I gasped, "I got that!"

Here's the proof in "Sunshine Yellow."


The last match was nothing short of a revelation and an education!   I had these two pieces of a very weird fabric that were buried in a box of vintage yardage that I bought at an estate sale.  In all my experience, I had never seen such a fabric.  Ever.  

It looked like a sheer seersucker or plissé, but felt like paper.

After burning a bit of it and watching it sizzle and drip,
I knew it was synthetic.

Truthfully, I considered it an abomination,
thinking the only possible use for it would be some kind
of artistic expression with it's papery, synthetic weird crispness.
Like bunch it up into a gigantic strange flower - it would hold the shape.

I thought surely it was an invention of the 70s.
One that failed and disappeared quickly.
I was right, but off by two decades!
Re-enter the 1953 Sears Catalog.

 Puckered nylon.  What?

And as you can see by the next year's catalog,
it was marked down and already heading
for the obsolescence graveyard.


There's always more to learn,

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Just Being Childish!


Maybe it has something to do with me becoming a new grandma,
but my last four vintage fabric finds have been juvenile prints!


I think this first one is the oldest - the look, the feel, the faded fold.
For some reason, I want to say 1930s.  Could it be?


 Cupid bear is holding a 30's-green bow and arrow.
The girl's eyes seem Betty Boopish to me.
Look at the stockings and shoes.
36" width - four yards - cotton


Next is the kitty, sheep, goats, bunnies, ducks...


...but mostly kitties print.  I'd say early 70s on this one.
36" wide - 5 1/2 yards - cotton



This one is the mystical Marco Polo fabric!
How do I know it's the great Italian explorer of China - Marco Polo?



 Not because the drawings look like Marco sporting his favorite Tartar outfit...


It's all because of the wonderful information found on the selvage!
And you know how I love selvage information!
There are about nine yards of this 36" Little Golden Book Fabric.
Love the robin's egg blue.  

Maybe my Mandarin-speaking,
China-dwelling son would like this fabric for my new grand-daughter's nursery...


And if you're as curious as me, you would google the selvage-mentioned 
Marco Polo Little Golden Book and find out it was published in 1954.
So this fabric is from 1954 and the book is for sale on the internet.



And finally, we have this sweet yarn ball playing kitty,
hat-wearing, butterfly eating, ducky marching print. 
Seems kind of 40s-50s to me.  Maybe I'm wrong.
I have only a couple yards of this 36" width cotton.


 Lots of room for imagination in these sweet prints.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

What Moms Do

We moms have radar when it comes to our kids. A friend recently gave me an old newspaper she found stuffed between some basement walls. This small article was on the front page of the Milwaukee Journal dated April 22, 1956.  FRONT page!

 My mom holding me along with my brothers and sister.
1960

 Mom and me - 1975

2007
Happy Mother's Day
to my beautiful mom and moms everywhere!
Put THAT on the front page!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Roses, Wreaths and Burlap Leaves

A few weeks back, it really was time for Frosty to go home.  Even though the weather was anything but April-like, I needed a spring decoration for my front entry and these 25 yards of burlap ribbon rescued from my local Goodwill store for 99¢ needed to be used... and burlap is in, right? The green seemed to match the lime green of my front door, so I made a wreath.



I followed an easy tutorial here to make the burlap roses.

Not 100% sure how much I love the new wreath.  I question the proportions... a little small I think.  It works for now, however I better hurry on my next entry decoration anyway.  With the help of the sunshine, the burlap ribbon is quickly fading to it's natural jute color!  Thankfully, it was all very easy and inexpensive!  Anyone need some inch and 3/8ths spring green burlap ribbon?  I must still have 15 yards of it!

Happy creating!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Rag Quilt



Of course I didn't finish my baby gift until the day I left for Scotland!
I guess it's just my style.

 
I was inspired by one of my contacts on Flickr (Nesha's Vintage Niche)
and decided to try a rag quilt of vintage chenille.

 You know the old saying, "Measure twice, cut once."
Well, laying it out helps me visualize before I start cutting.

And a lot of cutting there was!
I cut my squares 5" to get finished squares of 4".
In retrospect, I should have made them more like 6" or 8".
Smaller squares = more work!

My backing was a soft flannel.
Put the squares back-to-back and sewed my X.
Even inserted strips along the border to give my edges
similar thickness to the rest of the seams.

Once all the Xs were sewn
(and don't underestimate how long that wee little step takes 99 times),
I laid them out to make sure the pattern was what I wanted.

 
Finally, assembling the squares!
And breaking needles on those thicknesses!

Better have sharp scissors to snip these seams!

  
 Before washing. 
Especially if you make this out of chenille, be ready for FLUFF EVERYWHERE! 

Then you wash/dry, wash/dry, wash/dry!
I did this one three times and I'm sure it will continue
to lose threads when washing and drying in the future!
Clean the fluff from your washer, your sink, and your lint trap!

 
But it does turn out to be a soft, sweet fluffy blanky.
For a soft, sweet bunny baby.
Miss her sooo much!

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