Website Review: VintageSewing.info

I stumbled across Vintage Sewing this morning when I was looking for some information on drafting cowl necks. The site is run by a nonprofit and maintains a library of public domain sewing references, which are reproduced in full on line.

There’s some stunning stuff there. My own search for cowl neck patterns lead me to the full text of F.R. Morris’ Ladies Garment Cutting and Making. Which is an extremely comprehensive reference in itself, with some beautifully clear pictures.

The history of sewing references is also a fascinating look into the world of women and girls in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Olive C. Hapgood’s 1893 School Needlework is a classroom text for schoolgirls.

It begins:

DEAR GIRLS: You have now become old enough to prepare for woman’s duties; one of these is the art of sewing, which we will take up as simply as possible. By following the given directions carefully, you will become able to dress your dolls, assist your mothers in mending, make garments, fancy articles, etc.

Then Ms. Hapgood (well, probably not Ms., actually) dives right in. By half way through chapter two, she has the girls “honey-combing”. I’d never heard of this before, but it’s actually a very beautiful piece of fancy stitchwork:

This is schoolgirl work in the 1890s. Schoolgirls. No way am I doing handwork like that.

The site has materials from as early as the 1890s through the 50s. Wanna make yourself some gloves? Consider these basic pattern drafting instructions from How To Make Gloves by Eunice Close.

The jewels of the site, as far as I’m concerned, are of course the pattern making books. As well as the abovementioned Morris text, there’s also Harriet Peplin’s 1942 Modern Pattern Design. Between those two there’s a wealth of pattern making information that’s not only of relevance to those interested in vintage sewing, but also entirely applicable to making clothing with modern lines.

Oh. And as for the cowl neck problem that led me there in the first place. There are a variety of ways to do this, but the for the one I’m interested in, you alter the pitch of the front armscye so that the distance between the shoulders is broader, and then curve the “neckline” upward.

A picture &c. :

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7 Responses to “Website Review: VintageSewing.info”

  1. Retro Fashion Says:

    All the old stuff I wore as a child is coming back. Kinda scary and makes you feel old, but it looks great most of the time.

  2. annaphor Says:

    Hi Retro Fashion.

    I have to say, I’m not a huge fan of the 80s revival (which is when I was a child), but I do like the forties stuff.

  3. vintage dress Says:

    With the 70s and 80s back in style, I just loving vintage clothing from the thrift shops. You can find designers like Chanel and Armani for cheap there. Ebay is great too!

  4. emad Says:

    i hope help to know more about how i design pattern
    speciale the recent methods by computer prog like investronica
    and pls send me any book to understand more
    thanks very much to vintagesewing team
    ilove u all

  5. johanna Says:

    saya ingin belajar lebih banyak lagi

  6. desatascos valladolid Says:

    desatascos valladolid…

    […]Website Review: VintageSewing.info « The Coracle[…]…

  7. Jane Swetman Says:

    Hi I tried to find the text “Ladies Garment Cutting and Making” that you mentioned, and was unable to. Any tricks to finding it? Thanks very much, Jane Looks like an excellent publication!

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