Thursday, November 17, 2011

They're Cute, Right?

Disney wants us to think so! It would be unAmerican to dislike Meeko! Raccoons have been a big part of my life this summer. Our urban jungle has too many of them! We've seen as many as five adult raccoons hanging from our bird feeder. Yes, all at once. Yes, they destroyed it. The replacement bird feeder soon had this raccoon visitor.

Soft-hearted animal lovers, read no further. PETA, read no further. Spoiler: You won't like what you read. I rented a live animal trap and over the course of a week, caught 3 raccoons. They were picked up by the Nebraska Humane Society. I didn't ask what became of them. I'm pretty sure I know, and I'm ok with the world having 3 less raccoons. Anyone who is shocked and/or horrified: I TOLD you to quit reading. For the record: Casa de la Cruz does not have a catch and release policy for critters who a) come into the house or b) damage or destroy outside.

I posted a picture of one of the raccoons on Facebook, which generated lots of comments. There are two kinds of people in this world. People who think raccoons are "so cute and loveable and I want one" (think Meeko) and anyone who has encountered a real live raccoon and lived to tell about it. This picture shows why some of us are in the second group. Check out the teeth and claws on Raccoon #3:

And you are asking yourself, how does this relate to vintage anything? Thank goodness for fabric and patterns! When I found this cut and sew fabric panel (from the 1960s) this week, I decided to explore my stash of raccoon patterns.

I don't have a Care Bears Bright Heart Raccoon pattern. I did find Butterick 4779, Wrecker Raccoon, Kiddie Komforts 115 Raccoon Baby Quilt pattern and Simplicity 6053, Rick Raccoon from the Shirt Tales gang. All very cute, all very lovable, all very acceptable to both kinds of people in the world.

So if you must have a raccoon in your life, make it! BTW, we haven't seen any raccoons in the back yard for a few days. I don't think they are gone permanently, but I like them being scarce!

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Legislative Ball Dress

Does this pattern say Legislative Ball to you? Maybe back in 1974......

When I pulled the pattern pieces out to check for completeness, I found some treasures. The former owner of this pattern, Carol Metzger, planned to make it and wear it to the Legislative Ball, Friday, June 28, 1974 at Currigan Hall (which was demolished in 2002) in Denver, Colorado. There was a note which told her to use this pattern, Simplicity 6390, View 3 (the long dress), made in a blue and white handkerchief cotton/poly blend print available from So-Fro Fabrics in Cinderella City. Lining was optional, but the dress was to be trimmed in red ric-rac, 1 inch or larger, available at Joslins, also in Cinderella City. The note warned her to arrive at 8 pm for the 9 pm start. I think she was part of a group of volunteers who were dressing alike in red, white and blue for the political soiree!

Mrs. Metzger bought the rick rack ($1.34 including tax) at Joslins (a Denver-based department store which eventually became Dillards) and tucked the receipt into her pattern envelope. She also went to So-Fro Fabrics and bought a $1 notion, 4 1/8 yard of fabric for $6.56, and 4 1/8 yard of a notion for $6.15. The first notion was probably a zipper, but what was this second notion? I think it was the optional lining fabric. She tucked her credit card receipt into the pattern envelope as well. Unlike today, when credit card numbers are blocked out when our receipt is printed, her hand-written receipt has her credit card number and her phone number.

I wonder if she had fun. I wonder if she and her husband danced the night away. I wonder if someone took pictures of her and others in their dresses. I wonder if she ever wore it again. I wonder what happened to it. I wonder who would answer if I called the phone number on her receipt.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I Hate Stuffed Animals!

Right up front: I've said it! I'm not a fan of stuffed animals. I've seen hundreds of them come and go through my house. Bears and horses and unicorns and monkeys and more bears and frogs and more bears. Build-A-Bears and Beanie Babies. More than I can count. And it seems that no matter how many go out the door, the number inside my house never seems to decrease. While I don't like the real thing, patterns for stuffed animals are a whole different animal (pun intended!). I can't pass up a pattern for a stuffed animal. It doesn't matter if the envelope is shredded, if some of the tissue patterns are missing, or even if I already have three copies. I love the patterns!

The first stuffed animal I sewed was an Eeyore in 4-H. I used McCall's 8087. Eeyore is long gone, but I still have the pattern. One that I don't want to sell!

I have a soft spot for teaching dolls. You know, those dolls that have a snap on one shoe and a shoelace on the other. Buttons and laces and zippers. I've got a small collection. Dapper Dan and Dressy Bessy. Raggedy Ann and Minnie Mouse. Ernie and a weird clown. A couple more generic dolls. They sit in a doll crib, ready to play with anyone who is attracted to them. Not that anyone does! I've never made a teaching doll, but if I wanted to make one, Simplicity 7401 from 1967 would be one I might use.

And there are patterns of bears and animals from books and cartoons and movies. Kermit the Frog, Paddington Bear, Sylvester and Tweety. If you want to add a stuffed animal to your house, make one of these! But PLEASE! Don't bring them to my house!

If you want to see the toy and stuffed animal patterns I have for sale Click Here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Transfers and Toasters

Recent finds include DuBarry 1268B, which is a set of nautical themed transfers, Advance 722, Appliance Covers and Simplicity 2328, toys.

Nautical motifs in the ever popular red, white and blue combination carry a sporting note on bathing suits, blouses, beach ensembles, daytime frocks, accessories, and children's garments. They make a decorative design for pillow tops, drapes, etc. Doesn't that pattern description say it all? I want to wear a frock or a beach ensemble!

I love patterns for covering kitchen appliances! Never mind that I have never owned a rotisserie, I've always had a hand mixer because I yearn for a Kitchen Aid blender in a fabulous color and I buy potholders because I love their fabric, not because they match anything in my kitchen! Isn't the fabric fab?

I always save the best for last! According to the pattern, these are pillows, not toys. Simple to make playmate pillows! So cute! I may make a couple of these before I post this pattern for sale!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Extra Bits and Pieces

Vintage pattern collectors often find bits and pieces in the patterns. An extra tissue piece, unlabeled cut-offs from a skirt, cloth cut and pinned to a pattern piece. We always hope that our pattern is complete, but sometimes the extras are as much fun as the pattern! I love finding old newspaper with vintage patterns. Sometimes there is an entire page, usually the newspaper has been used to cut a pattern. If I'm lucky, the printed material on the newspaper is sewing or clothes or quilt related. If I'm really lucky, it is dated! I have a couple examples of these to share today.

A newspaper pattern is always fun to find tucked inside a pattern envelope. Sometimes they go with the pattern, sometimes they don't. This one didn't! Because the dates rarely are on these pieces, I find clues in the ads and stories. This bodice pattern has ads for summer clothes. Blouses for 57¢! Summer purses for 77¢! Did someone make a summer blouse?

My next newspaper lined the bottom of a box of vintage sewing items I found at a yard sale. The newspaper is The Columbus Ohio Citizen Journal, dated Jan 1, 1965. The front page of the two-page spread includes stories of Vietnam and the 1964 Men of the Year. Inside, more news, plus the tv guide (three channels!) listings for the Tournament of Roses Parade, the Rose Bowl, Cotton Bowl and the Sugar Bowl. AM Radio listings: Farm Time, Dick Clark. You could listen to Dateline RFD on WLW-700, Book in Review and Bookstall on WOSU-820.

I saved the best for last! The back is a full page Lazarus ad. Along with ads for lamp shades and original oil paintings was an ad for a White console sewing machine for $84. Make monthly payments of $5. The sewing machine was also available as a portable, complete with case for $64. A related ad for wool fabric with rayon-tricot bonded linings included line drawings of Vogue 1305 (dress), Vogue 6238 (jumper-skirt) and Vogue 1434 (suit). Lazarus, 5th floor.

I don't remember the patterns that came with these two newspaper pieces, but they evoke childhood memories of Lazarus, of 1965, watching the Rose Bowl Parade. What fun!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Vintage DellaJane...

One part of my sewing life is "new". I dye and sell DellaJane Hand Dyed fabric. I make quilts, mostly non-traditional. But I've always loved old things. Antique furniture. Old houses. Postcards and photos. And I especially love old sewing things. Vintage fabric! Quilts! And sewing patterns! I buy and sell and collect them. I'll be sharing pictures and stories about my vintage treasures on this blog. Please come back to visit and see what wonderful "new" finds I'm writing about.

The treasure I am sharing today came to me a couple weeks ago, when a friend gave me a large plastic tub of patterns from her mother-in-law's estate. She knew I liked "old patterns". Wow!

They are mostly mail order patterns, ordered from Grit, The Omaha World-Herald, Capper's Weekly, Hoard's Dairyman and the Sioux City Journal. Patterns from Kate Marchbanks, Anne Cabot, Vogart, Aunt Martha, Aunt Ellen, Carol Curtis, and more!

I can't wait to catalog them, scan the pattern covers and share them here. Do I start with the Spring 1952 issue of Vogart or the Work Basket from 1948? Maybe the Grandmothers Art Needlework catalog dated Fall, 1954. The undated items will require a little detective work. Is that postmark readable? You'll see more details of the items in the picture, along with other patterns from my collection. See you soon!