Tag Archives: textile patterns

Pattern Mixing, Early 20th Century Edition

A quick glance at fashion pages these days shows that pattern mixing–combing gingham with florals or dots with plaids–is on trend right now. You might think it is all part of the “anything goes” style philosophy of the current era. … Continue reading

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Sewing and Chatting, 1970

Home sewing can be an isolating activity, but not if you take your work outside.  I wonder what the woman on the left is doing.  Darning? Hemming? Making a couture outfit by hand? Whatever it is, she has a friend … Continue reading

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Sewing Classes in Chicago, ca. 1960

September is National Sewing Month, and I’m happily turning my attention away from our fraught political climate to find photos of older women practicing this craft.  The American Sewing Guild, of which I’m a member, calls sewing “an art and … Continue reading

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Polka Dots or Stripes?

Let me make a confession—I don’t like polka dots.  Delving into fashion history has made me realize that I have very strong opinions about textile patterns in general.  From the outset I knew I didn’t like flowered patterns. Geometric designs … Continue reading

Posted in 1900s, 1910s | Tagged | 4 Comments

Lucy’s Navy Blue Polka Dot Dress

In her memoir Don’t Sing at the Table (2010), the best-selling author Adriana Trigiani tells a wonderful fashion anecdote from her childhood.  When she was about eleven, in the late seventies, she noticed that her maternal grandmother, Lucy, only had … Continue reading

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Summer Outfit, Mid 1930s

When I found this photo on eBay, I originally thought the pattern was dots—and I was about to launch into an essay on the love of dotted fabric in the 1930s.  However, once I enlarged it the pattern looked more … Continue reading

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Pola Stout in Pola Stout

Since Lizzie Bramlett of the blog The Vintage Traveler has been covering the fascinating work of Hollywood designer Adrian, I remembered an old post I wrote about one of his main textile designers, Pola Stout. I accidentally eliminated it some … Continue reading

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Those Twenties Textiles

A rule of thumb with sewing is to choose a simple pattern when you have a complex textile.  Simple lines will make the fabric shine, while a complicated design might not even show up well. Might this be why the … Continue reading

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Book Review–The Devil’s Cloth: A History of Stripes by Michel Pastoureau

For those of us who love stripes, it is fascinating to learn something of their controversial history.  In this short gem of a book, French historian Michel Pastoureau traces the meaning of stripes from the Middle Ages in Europe to … Continue reading

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A Lover of Stripes

If you sew, you know that you can do a lot with stripes.  They can go every which way, making all kinds of interesting patterns.  I’m not sure that the dress on the left is homemade, but the wearer is … Continue reading

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