Archive for the tag 'antique'


Friday’s Child: Fancywork 1892

Fancywork 1892At a little antique store in Galesburg, IL I found a pair of crumbling newsprint magazines from the 1890′s. I bought them, of course. And here, for your viewing (and printing) pleasure, is the complete page of Fancywork from the October 15, 1892 Ladies Home Companion. Patterns include crocheted infant booties, square lace shawl, greek key lace trim, a knitted underwear edging and most interesting to me, a crocheted passementerie featuring nailhead and pendant beads, and designed to use as embellishment on skirts and dresses. Please note: Clicking on the small image to the left will take you to the high resolution version, which is sized to print at 300 dpi on a legal-sized sheet.

I have a huge collection of vintage and antique postcards. I love the look and feel of late-Victorian and Edwardian-era cards, especially those with holiday themes. I also love an irreverent sense of humor and a hint of gore. Perhaps that’s why, while developing a new feature for the Lincoln ZombieFest website, I pulled out my postcards, flipped through them aiming for specific holiday themes and dates that put the cards well inside the public domain, and then got funky with Photoshop. The result was zombie eCards for your one true love.


Sunday’s Child: Babykins

A Jacket and Bonnet for Babykins is the next little vintage pattern PDF available from I love this little jacket, it’s so pretty. I think I’d like to make one that fit me! I wonder if I could get a me-sized gauge by just changing to a yarn instead of a thread. Hmmm. How heavy would I have to go to make it me-sized, and would it be ucky then? Anyway, if you’d prefer not to do the math, you can still make it for a baby. :D



Friday’s Child: Frenchie

Some time ago I had the good fortune to find (and buy!) 8 issues of Needlecraft Magazine from the 20s and 30s. (OK, in fairness, one of the 8 was a McCalls Needlework and Crafts from 1948.) I’ll be putting together some patterns from these issues in PDF form. We’ll start with a charming little crocheted net beret from the August 1931 issue. The PDF also includes a crocheted net collar / cuff set and a dress yoke. If you have any questions, please let me know. As always, a thorough search of online copyright resources, including the renewal database at Standford and other resources, is performed before publishing any vintage pattern not obviously in the public domain.



Monday’s Child: 20s Fashion

This beautiful piece is by an artist, Helen Grant, who was regularly featured on the cover and inside Needlecraft Magazines from the early part of the century. It pictures matching mother and daughter dress styles, the patterns of which could be purchased by mail order. It is beautifully done, sweet and so characteristic of the time period. I think it would make a lovely embroidered item, decorations for stationary, or even framed art. Click on the picture to get a larger version.

Saturdays here at are all about frugal living. Saturday’s child isn’t the only one who works hard for a living, and we all like our dollars to go as far as possible. My favorite way to stretch the dollar is being a cheapskate in my shopping habits. I think everyone should be a cheapskate. The last non-grocery item I bought at regular price was yarn, and I got it with a gift certificate. I just do not buy things unless they’re on sale, and except for intimates, socks, bath towels and bedding (really, I think those are the only four categories) I’d be just as happy to buy used as new. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve bought bedding and towels used, and even socks and underwear, but you have to understand, I buy vintage and I buy for repurposing. Truth be told, I like to know I’m the only person who’s slept on my sheets, but I’m not above using a set of used sheets for the material. Every person will have a different level of comfort when it comes to using used items, but I’m a firm believer in getting over it. I don’t bat an eye at giving gifts of thrift store purchases at Christmas or birthdays, and I buy garments and housewares for myself and my family with regularity. I also occasionally resell items. However, it does take practice to do this well and make it pay.

OK, first, let’s look at the outfit to the right. I think I look pretty nice. The cuts and colors are flattering and not completely out of date. (I’m generally a little bit in and a little bit out, to be honest.) They’re comfortable, and the entire outfit, boots included, cost me about $25. The top is a dolman-sleeved sweater I picked up at an after-Christmas sale at T.J. Maxx (my favorite non-thrift place to shop) for $10. The skirt, vintage 60′s John Meyer of Norwich, wool herringbone tweed in a sort of cherry-tomato red, $1 at Goodwill. The belt, vintage 80′s, $2 at Goodwill. And the boots, $13 on clearance at Target a few seasons ago. Now look, I’m not one to brag about my fashion sense (not even a little bit, in fact I’m not sure I have it) but a quick scroll through the cool-weather sales at Neiman Marcus convinced me that this look was not outside the realm of fashionable, and I did it for $25 instead of $250. And look how skinny it makes me look!

So, it can be done, this tricky business of shopping at thrift stores. But it takes practice and it takes patience. I’ve compiled a list of the top 5 most important things you need to know to be an efficient thrift store shopper.

Continue Reading »


Wednesday’s Child: Arteries

Wednesdays give us the opportunity to step over to the darker side of cool. As we’re still in the beginning of this venture, and I’m still collecting my resources and planning posts, I’m going to take the easy way out on this one today. Raise your hand if you’ve ever wanted to embroider the circulatory system? Ah, yes, I knew this would be a popular choice. Because I collect antique books, but don’t really have a ton of money to spend on them, I troll thrift stores, garage sales and the free book box at my favorite local used book store, A Novel Idea. I’ll buy very old books, even in fairly poor condition, because I can still utilize them, even if I can’t read them. Currently, my oldest book is from 1880, and is a German-language translation of a popular 19th century home medicine book. It is a wealth of graphics. Amongst them is this diagram of the arteries, seen at right. You can download a PDF containing the graphic at 10.5″ high right here and I’ll be uploading a high resolution, transparent-background copy very soon. Enjoy!


For Boys and Girls

I love children’s books. I love old books. I love old childrens books. To this day I’ve never read a Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew or Bobbsey Twins book. But these well-known children’s book series are hardly the only ones out there. Since beginning my collection of antique and vintage books, I’ve discovered what a seriously prolific phenomenon childrens book series were. Yes, the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s had their Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High, etc. But in the early half of the 20th book-makers like the Stratemeyer Syndicate turned children’s series into some seriously big business, and plenty of other publishers followed suit.

These series were often, like Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys, essentially mysteries, but they were also, to an extent, occupational. Each series followed a set of children, or youth-into-adult, generally either boys or girls, not both, through a variety of adventures centering around a single occupation. You have nurses, pilots, railroad men, soldiers, radio operators and more. I’ve managed to come across, and be thoroughly delighted by, single (on two occasions now, two) volumes of a wide variety of these series, and I’m always on the lookout for more. More in general, and more volumes from the series I already have, in specific. So far, that includes the following main characters:

Cherry Ames by Helen Wells. Nursing
Ralph Fairbanks by Allen Chapman. Railroad
Penny Marsh by Dorothy Deming. Nursing
Dick Kent by Milton Richards. Royal Mounted Police
The Brighton Boys by James Driscoll. WWI
Fighters for Freedom. WWII
Patty Fairfield by Carolyn Wells. About a girl. That is all.

I know I have others, too, but I’m afraid I can’t list them off the top of my head. Anyway, they’re always fun to read. If you come across one, pick it up!