fashion history

A Fashion Moment With McCall’s Treasury of Needlecraft: Dressy Sweaters

a fashion moment with McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft, Dressy Sweaters, the artyologist

I think that it is about high time there was another peek into the McCall’s Treasury of Needlecraft, don’t you? It has been quite a while since the last edition, back in July, where I shared knitted and crocheted dresses. This time around, we are delving into “Dressy Sweaters”.

By this I mean, not your average knitwear, which is usually intended for warmth (although style is always important as well!). These knits I share with you today are all just a bit fancier- either with intricate patterns, beading or other pretty details. Some of them are not specifically intended for evening wear, but look a little bit more elegant due to how they are styled, and what they are paired with, while some of them are intended for evening wear. We don’t usually think of knitted and crocheted garments for evening, but when they are made out of more delicate materials, they are the perfect option for fancier occasions, especially when the weather begins to turn cooler.

I hope you enjoy these lovely pieces!  Which are your favourites?

beaded sweater, fashion moment with McCalls treasury of needlecraft, the artyologist

This needs to be in my wardrobe. Like, right now. This is one of the most beautiful cardigans I have ever seen, and it is definitely worthy of being worn with a bridal ensemble as shown here. Or with anything for that matter, as it would make any outfit incredible!

two-ladies, fashion moment with mccalls treasury of needlecraft the artyologist

Two outfits finished off perfectly with the addition of a belt.

fashion moment with mccall's treasury of needlcraft, dressy sweaters

You could definitely wear this beautiful jacket in place of a blazer. It looks so polished.

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft, the artyologist, two elegant ladies

When in doubt, add a muff. And beading. And gloves. And impeccable hair. Ok, I’ll stop now.

portrait, dressy sweaters, fashion moment, mccall's treasury of needlecraft, the artyologist

Not only in love with her top, but her topper as well! Do you think it’s a beret? Or a hat with a folded up brim? It’s hard to tell!

knitwear, dressy sweaters, the artyologist, fashion moment

I’m gonna guess the lady on the right is wearing a bullet bra. . . 

dressy-sweater, the artyologist, mccalls treasury of needlecraft

What appears to be another bridal ensemble.The question we are all asking ourselves though is . . . seriously, what is with the guy in the background??

ribbon dressy sweater, the artyologist

And last, but not least, this “handsome mandarin jacket” is made of ribbon yarn. It gives an interesting texture, and also a pretty and elegant sheen, don’t you think?

Hints to Help You Make Do and Mend

Hints To Help You Make Do and Mend, the artyologist

October is Slow Fashion and Fair Trade month, and although I haven’t taken part until now, I didn’t want to let the month pass without contributing my voice to the discussion going on around the internet. When I originally planned to write this post, I thought that this week’s prompt was “long worn”. Apparently I got my weeks mixed up though, as this week’s prompt is actually “handmade”. Oops. Well, I guess this post will not only be long worn, but long overdue as well. 😉 The term “long worn” refers to the clothes that are already in existence, here on our planet, and how we can make the most of them. I thought that this would be a great time to share some of the garment care tips that I have picked up over the years, that will help to increase the longevity of your clothing, as well as including a few tips from the reprinted copy of Make Do and Mend that I purchased last year while in England. (I’d been wanting to get my hands on one for ages!)

Taking care of the clothes that you already own is a great first step to creating a conscious wardrobe, and there are so many simple things you can do to increase the life of your clothing. It is really only in the last 10-20 years that our society has drifted into a more “throwaway” attitude towards what we wear. Mending, altering, maintaining and preserving your clothing is actually a rather “vintage” way of looking at your closet, which is evidenced by the ingenuity of people during the Great Depression, and the rationing years of the Second World War (which is when the pamphlet Make Do and Mend was published). So, without further ado, here are some helpful hints for caring for your clothes, and some excerpts from the book Make Do and Mend. (excerpts are indicated by “italics“)

Wearing:

  • Wearing scarves when you wear a coat keeps the collar off of your neck, to keep it clean longer. Instead of having to continually wash your coat, you can simply wash the scarf instead.
  • Wearing slips, undershirts and underarm shields can help to keep your clothes cleaner for longer. We tend to wash our clothes more than is actually necessary, and constant washing shortens the life of your clothing. By extending the period of time between washes, you can significantly increase the life of your garment. By keeping your skin away from direct contact with garments, especially delicate ones, they don’t soil so quickly. Just make sure to remove the shields before putting away your garments
  • It is best to wear clothes in turn, as a rest does them good. Shoes too are better for not being worn day after day.” This gives them a rest, and a chance to completely dry out. It is also better for your feet, as it prevents them from rubbing too much in one spot etc.
  • “Always change into old things, if you can, in the house, and give the clothes you have just taken off an airing before putting them away.” 

Hints to Help You Make Do and Mend, the artyologist, essential tools

Storing:

  • If you are going to be storing a garment for any length of time, such as off season coats, it is nice to cover them with a garment bag, so they don’t collect dust and dirt while in storage. That way, when it comes time to wear them again, you won’t need to clean them first.
  • Hang delicate garments on padded hangers to protect the shoulders from stretching out of shape. “A hanger that is too narrow will ruin the shape of the shoulder and may even make a hole.” It is also a good practice to store clothing off of hangers, as hanging garments long-term can distort them.
  • “Do up all fastenings before hanging clothes. This helps them to keep their shape. And see that the shoulders are even on the hangers and not falling off one side.”
  • “Put away clothes in the condition in which you will want to wear them when you take them out again. Make quite sure they are absolutely clean; dirt attracts clothes’ moths.” (And who wants to wash clothes first thing when you take them out again?)

Cleaning:

  • Deal with stains and spills right away. Taking a few moments to wash out a stain as soon after it happens as possible, is much better than waiting until you do laundry only to find that the stain won’t wash out.
  • If a garment is not dirty enough to need a washing, you can deodorize by using vodka. This is a practice that is still used today in theatre costumes (according to my friend who is an actress). For a garment such as a blazer or a delicate item, which is not easily washed, simply turn the garment inside out, spritz the inside (especially the underarms) with vodka, and then leave until dry. This neutralizes any odours, and keeps your garments smelling fresh without having to constantly wash them. (I suppose you could use rum instead of vodka, but then you might smell like a pirate! 🙂 Don’t worry, the vodka leaves no scent, so you won’t smell like alcohol.)
  • Washing your clothes in a delicate, cold wash, is easier on them than hot water. Also, air drying your clothes, rather than putting them through the dryer, extends their life. This is especially true for knits (such as t-shirts, sweaters, or jeans with Lycra in them.) Dryers are extremely hard on stretch fabrics.
  • It is better to hand wash your sweaters, so they don’t stretch out of shape. Use a gentle soap, rinse, and then lay them flat to dry. By hand washing your knits, you will help to avoid the dreaded pilled sweater! Putting your sweaters through the washing machine, even on a delicate cycle, leads to pilling. Although you can fix (some) pilling, it is easier to just avoid it in the first place.

Hints to Help You Make Do and Mend, the artyologist, tools for mending

Mending:

  • Fix places where seams or hems have come undone, or buttons are loose. It is so much easier to fix right away, than waiting until it turns into a much bigger problem. “Watch for thin places, especially in the elbows of dresses, seams of trousers, heels of socks and stockings. Reinforce a thin spot with a light patch on the inside. Choose material that is strong but rather lighter in weight than the original material. Scraps of net darned lightly inside thin heels of stockings make an excellent repair. If you have to patch or darn and have no matching material or thread, sacrifice a collar, belt or pocket if it is merely ornamental, or unravel a thread from the seam. You could unravel the pocket of a knitted garment to provide thread for a darn, and a patch made from a matching belt may save a frock from the bits and pieces bag. You can replace the belt with one of contrasting colour.”
  • “Always carry a needle and cotton and mending silk with you- this will save many a ladder in stockings or prevent the loss of buttons; your friends will thank you too. How many times have you heard someone say, “Has anyone got a needle and cotton?”
  • Take care of the pills on your knits with a sweater shaver. Nothing looks nastier, and cheaper, than a pilled sweater! It is amazing what a shaver can do for making things look fresh. One of the winter coats I got from a coworker came to me in terrible condition (it looked as though she had thrown it through the wash) and I wasn’t sure if it could be saved, but I used a sweater comb, and now the wool looks brand new!
  • Keeping your leather shoes and purses polished, and hydrated with a conditioner of some sort, will keep them from cracking and drying out. Also, they just look nicer. And, of course, if your shoes are past the point where you can do anything with them, take them to the cobbler. Those people work magic! I have had many a pair that I thought were gonners, and they have brought them back to life.

So, there are my tips and tricks for keeping your wardrobe spic-and-span! Would you like to hear more tips from the Make Do and Mend pamphlet? And do you have any garment care tips of your own? Do share!

A Fashion Moment With Creative Hands

A Fashion Moment with Creative Hands, the artyologist

“The Prettiest Suit in Town”

It is time for another Fashion Moment, and today I bring you Creative Hands. My dad found these books for me several years ago, and they are, hands down, my favourite sewing books.

These books were published by “Greystone”, in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s but I haven’t been able to find much else about them. They were originally published in part as “Golden Hands”, which is I think a much more interesting (hilarious?) title. Anyways, if you ever find the Creative Hands series in a thrift store or second hand shop- snap them up!

A Fashion Moment with Creative Hands, the artyologist, stripes and vests

There are twenty-two volumes which are, in their own words, “The complete knitting, dressmaking and needlecraft guide.” The books start out with basics of such a variety of skills like embroidery, sewing, knitting, crocheting, lacemaking, (and more!) and practical tips such as building a wardrobe and how to care for your garments. Also scattered throughout are the “Collectors Pieces”, which are showcases of intricate works of textile art, throughout history and current (at the time of printing). Like a school course, you start in book one, learning the beginner steps of each craft, and as you work through the books, you build upon the techniques to become proficient in all of the textile arts. I haven’t worked through the books in chronological order, as I have decided that I will never be a knitter or a crocheter, but I have picked up many invaluable techniques in the dressmaking and embroidery sections, and found ample entertainment while looking through the pictures of the some the hilarious fashions “you can make yourself”!

So, today, on the second day of fall (how fitting) I share with you, some knitwear (and crochetwear -ok never mind, that’s not even a word…) of the 1960’s and 1970’s, just in time for the cooler weather headed our way!

What do you think of these garments? Would you wear any of them? My favourite is this brown sweater with frog fastenings.

A Fashion Moment with Creative Hands, the artyologist, how to make frog closures

Make your own frog closures! And what a gorgeous (and cozy looking) sweater/coat for fall time.

A Fashion Moment with Creative Hands, the artyologist, two tan knitwear

A Fashion Moment with Creative Hands, the artyologist, blue vest

Love the scarf addition, and belt for a layered look. (And the Gibson style hair!)

A Fashion Moment with Creative Hands, the artyologist, pink and tan knitwear

Another coat/cardigan with frog closures- it must be a trend!

Guest Posting Today For Zella Maybe

Guest Posting Today for Zella Maybe, the artyologist

Today I am sharing a guest post over at Jessica’s blog Zella Maybe, while she is on holidays (in Hong Kong- how cool! And also so funny that this week I was writing two different guest posts, for two fellow vintage ladies, who are both on holidays, and are both named Jessica!) I just discovered Jessica’s blog earlier this year, and was instantly hooked with her great editorial style vintage photo shoots, so I was delighted when she asked me to share a guest post with her readers. The post is all about how you can use accessories to evoke a different mood or era. I had a lot of fun writing this one (and also discovered a new love of the 1970’s), so jump over to Zella Maybe, to see how I created six different vintage outfits out of three, and get some inspiration for restyling your own outfits too! (And check out some of her great fashion shoots too if you don’t already follow her!)