Retro Glam Mix-it-up: 1970s Crochet Tassle Belt

The Secretary Blouse with Pussycat Bow is almost finished. And this time the results are very, very good. I’ve learned how to competently use the 4-step buttonholer that came with my Janome 3/4 Sewing Machine. I’ve also learned to consider what the fashion fabric is telling me. The finishings used were not what was planned but the overall blouse is pleasing. I’ve learned that when one can drop all pretensions to couture and striving so hard one can really enjoy, learn and grow at dressmaking.

In the meantime, here is a crochet belt from a vintage pattern book. Whenever I think of the 1970s and crafts I remember how my Mom took to crocheting cloche hats and lacy scarves during the 1970s. She also made some beautiful shell tops for herself. I also remember many beautiful home deocrations and shoulder bags made with macramé.

The tassled belt in the following pattern would look great with a long knit dress or t-shirt worn over jeans. Since jeans today are so low this kind of belt can best be adapted when worn with an overblouse or shirt. The addition of beads would make it even more 1970s in spirit.

Cover of Star Book No. 225 “Knitted and Crocheted Boutique”. No date is given inside the book but I think it was published late 1960s-early 1970s based on the style of lettering and the bright Mod colors and miniskirts the models wear.

Retro Glam Mix It Up: Knitted Hat 1960s and Knitted Purse 1945

The Retro Glam Accessory “Mix It Up” postings continues…Here is a very cute stocking cap with pompom from the early 1960s that goes very well with a knitted purse from 1945.

The stocking cap with pompom is pictured at the bottom right of the front cover of “Hats, Hats, Hats”, American Thread Co. Star Book No. 168. I estimate the year of publication sometime during the early 1960s because of the popularity of pillbox hats during that time.

The purse pattern is from “Bags Book Number 228″ published in 1945 by the Spool Cotton Company, Second Edition 346, H-2977 CS.

Retro Glam: Mixing it up-Crochet Hat from 1960 and Crochet Pocketbook from 1945

I will continue to post vintage crochet and knitting patterns while I finish up the Secretary Blouse. I think one of the best ways to make Retro Glam part of your own style repertoire is to take accessories from different decades and mix and match them to create a look uniquely your own.

Here I have paired up a crochet pillbox hat from the early 1960s with a crochet handbag from 1946. By using coordinating or complementary colors you’ll add a different look to your ensemble that will be noticed and elicit interest–in you and the accessories!

The pillbox hat is pictured at the left of the front cover of “Hats, Hats, Hats”, American Thread Co. Star Book No. 168. No date is mentioned for the copyright of publication. However, the pillbox hat became very popular when John F. Kennedy was elected President because his wife favored this style. The public in the USA was very taken with the young Jackie Kennedy in the early 1960s.

The pocketbook pattern is from “Bags Book Number 228″ published in 1945 by the Spool Cotton Company, Second Edition 346, H-2977 CS.

Vintage Knitting Patterns from 1960: Pillbox Hat and Knitted Headband

I’ve picked up sewing the Secretary Blouse again. Let’s hope my schedule stays even. I so look forward to moving on to the sheath skirt and sharing with my readers. In the meantime, here are some more vintage patterns for accessories.

These knitting patterns come from “High Fashion Hats” published circa 1960 by Bernhard Ulmann Company.

Pillbox hat.

Knitted headband.

Abbreviations and needle sizes.

Vintage Crochet Pattern: Clutch Purse from 1946

I’m very busy with my job and conducting interviews for my family history project. The Secretary Blouse is on hold right now. This is just a time when there’s so much to do and I don’t like to sew when I feel pressed for time.

In the meantime I thought it would be good to share some crochet patterns from a booklet the owner of a local craft shop gave to me.

I’m posting two patterns from “JP Coats Bags Book Number 228″ published 1945 by The Spool Cotton Company, Second Edition 346, H-2977 C-3.

If anyone is successful in making one of these purses please send me a photo and I’ll feature you in the blog.


Dressmaker’s Library: “Draping Art and Craftsmanship in Fashion Design”

“Draping Art and Craftsmanship in Fashion Design” by Annette Duburg and Rixt van der Tol is a superb book to own if you want to take your draping skills to a whole new level. I have had this book since Christmas 2014 and have learned so much just reading it and studying the photos of the garments in all stages of the draping process.

Each step of the draping process is accompanied by photos which have very clearly marked grain lines and seam lines. The technical drawings are very clear, as well. Even so, it is a book that beginners may find a little difficult to learn from since there are certain details that are very sophisticated. Although I had two years of draping instruction in a classroom, the technique we learned came right out of “Draping for Fashion Design” by Hilda Jaffe and Nurie Relis. Jaffe and Relis’ book would be easier for a sewista to learn from because the construction details used are familiar to anyone who drafts their own patterns or uses commercial patterns.

Duburg and van der Tol create basic bodices and skirts that are used in slightly different ways. For example, the basic bodice does not end at the waist but is extended to the hipline.

Using this longer basic, fitted bodice as the basis of a two piece dress results in a different approach. It seems that the longer basic bodice is used as a support over which the other components of a design are attached. In the photo above for an empire waist dress, the higher waistline is marked off on the basic fitted bodice. The skirt portion is draped on top of that with the bodice remaining in one piece. There are no instructions given to cut the bodice along the higher waistline. The same is true for a two piece dress using a pencil skirt for the lower half. The longer fitted bodice is left as shown in the photo above. I’m not sure what the construction would be like in such a dress in terms of closures. I would think zippers could be slightly bulkier.

A strapless bodice is created from the same fitted bodice extended to the hipline. The entire bodice is draped and then style tape is used to mark the style lines of the strapless design. Jaffe and Relis do not drape their version of a strapless bodice like this. Instead they mark the strapless design onto the dress form and the muslin is then draped to follow the style lines.

A key area of difficulty for me would be draping the set-in sleeves shown for some of the styles created in the book. There is the assumption that the reader knows what a good armhole depth would be and no specific measurement is given. In Nurie and Relis’ book instructions are always more detailed instructing the draper to lower the armhole so many inches down.

These differences, though, do not detract from the value this book adds to the Dressmaker’s Library. By studying the styles and following the photographs one can get ideas of how to simplify the designs and adapt their own techniques to create them.

Two Christian Dior New Look designs from the early 1950s are included in the book with complete instructions for creating the draped pattern. The only drawback is that no construction details are given for things like closures, underlining and interfacing.

There is great value in the study of the designs such as these. The photos showing how the dress form was prepared for draping the style reveal what types of petticoats and shaping are needed if you want to create an exact replica of the look. Tulle and hip padding are two important elements of each design.

The other design element are higher armholes and a slightly sloping shoulder line.

After serious consideration of these silhouettes I do not think many women today would want to wear an exact replica since the hip padding has the effect of making the woman look slightly heavy in the mid-section. For a woman of average height (5’4″ to 5’6″) this could end of making her look dumpy and frumpy. If, however, these styles are used as catalysts to get your own imagination working then the study and outlay for the book will prove worthwhile. The silhouettes can be updated to work in a manner that would be much more flattering to the modern woman. Personally I do not care at all for the hip padding and unusual shapes around the abdomen some of the Dior suits of this era used.

I plan at some point to return to draping using the technique I learned at school using Hilda Jaffe and Nurie Relis’ technique. I do plan to take the ideas in “Draping Art and Craftsmanship in Fashion Design” by Annette Duburg and Rixt van der Tol into consideration and use them as a starting point. I’m very excited to see how things will develop.