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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Apron Patterns! They Are The Best!

I love apron patterns! To be honest, I say that about almost every category of pattern. I love costume patterns. I love toy patterns. I love hippie patterns. I love swimwear patterns. I love patterns for toddlers. And the list goes on and on. But apron patterns! They are the best! m

These are just two apron patterns I've found recently. Both were published around 1955.

The black "Mammy" face on Mail Order 534 is a stereotype which was used frequently in the 1950's. Interestingly, the pattern was published with the same face in a "white" shade as well. I've never come across that pattern. It seems rarer, maybe because the women making aprons didn't want a bland white girl face.

Both patterns and more are available for purchase at DellaJane Apron Patterns.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Are Ewoks Cuter Than Pandas?

The great debate: which is cuter, an ewok or a panda?

Pandas are Cute. Very Cute! With a capital C! I traveled to China a couple of years ago and was lucky to see live pandas at China's Taihu Lake Wetland Park. My guide thought I was nuts to watch the Giant Pandas doing nothing. And I took tons of pictures, you can see more on Pandas by Alice on Flickr

Even stuffed pandas are cute. I've never seen a pattern for a stuffed ewok, so the panda wins Round 1.

Costume pandas, maybe not so cute. So un-cute that they have to share a pattern with other animals.

But Ewok costumes! Woo-eee! Again, Very Cute! With a capital C! The Ewok costume rocks!

Round 2 to the ewoks! Tie Game!

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Forever My Favorite

We drove east on I-80 one Saturday in late spring of 2001. Exit 54, north to Elk Horn, Iowa. I put down a deposit months ago and we were on our way to choose a puppy! It was a unanimous decision: runt of the litter, small enough to fit on the palm of Al's hand, too young to go home with us. About a month later, Alyssa and I picked her up and she became part of our family.

"Why is she your favorite?" they asked.

  • She always does what I tell her.
  • She never asks for money.
  • She never rolls her eyes at me.

That last sentence always said to their backs as they turned away, rolling their eyes.

"She" is Casey, a Miniature Schnauzer. Named after Sean Casey, who played first base for the Cincinnati Reds.

I don't know if I can express how important Casey was to our family. She was a beautiful dog who didn't know she was a dog. She and I went on long walks along the West Papio Trail. She loved to chase rabbits. I watched her run flat out, low to the ground. Hundreds of times after hundreds of bunnies. She never caught a single one. One time she ran over a baby bunny, frozen in place. Neither one of them knew what to do! She learned to sit when a biker passed us and often sat before being told when she heard the whine of tires before I saw or heard the bike. She didn't like to interact with other dogs when I stopped to talk with other dog walkers. They were dogs, she was people.

In 2010, Casey was diagnosed with immune-mediated thrombocytopenia. I was one of those people who judged people who spent lots of money on medical care for their pets. Suddenly, I was one of them. I may have actually said "I don't care what it costs, just fix her". If I didn't say it out loud, I was thinking it. She tore her ACL in 2013 and I carried her up and down stairs for 3 months after her surgery.

She was my faithful companion, happy being with me. She followed me all over the house, always wanting to be in the same room. She was a good traveler, riding in the back seat to Ohio and Arizona many times. My Mom, who didn't like animals in the house, allowed that Casey was ok.

Casey wasn't perfect. She chewed the rungs on every kitchen chair we owned. She chewed through a cardboard box, then through the box and ate half a box of Thin Mints. She got into the trash. Scattered it over the floor. Every. Single. Day. We ended up using a plastic bag in the sink as a garbage can so it would be out of her reach. Friends and family got used to our weird trash location. Casey didn't get yelled at.

The first Saturday in June, Casey had a nosebleed. A trip to the emergency animal clinic. Test after test. I don't care what it costs, just fix her. We went to a specialist to do scans of her head and GI tract. Dr. Miller and I decided that if he found something in her nasal scan, he would not do any further testing. You have to pay up front. I knew it was bad when they gave me a refund for tests not done. Casey had a solid carcinoma in her right sinus cavity. Terminal. No treatment. Weeks to a couple of months. Just take her home and keep her comfortable. You'll know when it is time.

Bullshit. She was supposed to be with us for a few more years. Thirteen years was not enough. I don't know if 20 years would have satisfied me. And "you'll know when it is time". That is bullshit. Pure and simple. I agonized over it. Did a really bad day mean it was time? Did a good day give me too much hope for more time?

In late July, I didn't know if it was time. I knew that both Casey and I were suffering. Alyssa and I took Casey to the vet to say goodbye. I miss you, Casey.

Forever My Favorite

Saturday, August 02, 2014

1964 Mail Order Patterns

Last week I bought a small box of old patterns. Most of them were embroidery transfers by Vogart, Superior, Aunt Martha. There were a few very old Butterick, Elite Style and Pictorial Review transfer patterns as well. The fun find was a section of newspaper from the April 19, 1964 edition of the Grit Family Section. Page 14 had ten mail order patterns and an order form (Patterns cost $0.25 each and you could order a Fashion Book or Needlework Album for $0.35.).

Mail Order 8256 used Color Blocking in a "clever play set". Mail Order 8500 was a bonnet and apron combination, ideal for the bazaar table. It is very hard to date mail order patterns. Sometimes the postmark gives a clue, but finding them in print is solid! Not exact, because mail order patterns were often printed for several years after a publication date. According to the Vintage Pattern Wikia , this pattern was also published in 1982 by Grit, a span of almost 20 years!

Two dresses frocks, Mail Order 8247 and 8235. When did the word "frock" fall out of favor? Another illustration was really for two patterns: A Mother & Daughter set, Mail Order 8306 and 8307, for look-alike princess styles.

The bottom of the same page had five more patterns. My hands-down favorite is the "adorable pinafore and bag set", Mail Order 2804H, for Sizes 1-2-3. It makes me wish I had a little girl to sew for! The other patterns: Mail Order 375N, for a gay drawstring crocheted handbag; Mail Order 111H, a beautiful pansy applique quilt; Mail Order 214H, crocheted and embroidered ladies for the young lady of the house; Mail Order 5010N, heart-shaped smocked pillows.

A fun find and great addition to my collection of clippings! What interesting clippings do you have?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Paper Dolls

I loved Betsy McCall paper dolls as a kid. I remember cutting them out of magazine pages. Maybe I didn't see every issue of McCall's or I had to share them with sisters. But they seemed rare and precious. There is something about the task of carefully cutting out a doll. I remember being oh-so-careful when cutting the slits in the stand so Betsy would stand up securely. Cutting out her clothes. Making sure the tabs didn't get cut off, then folding them carefully over so they wouldn't show when the doll was dressed. Playing with them until they were tattered. And waiting eagerly for the next issue!

When I got older, I discovered Tim Tierney and Dover books. OMG. I no longer cut dolls out, I just paged through his books. I love the costumes and the glamor and the history. His American Family Dolls from different eras.

His books of Fashions from Decades are so much fun! Dresses by Schiaparelli, Dior, Adrian, Balmain, Chanel. A red carpet on paper!

Tim Tierney, King of Paper Dolls, died last week. He left a legacy of paper dolls for all ages. Collect the books. Cut them out, play with the dolls. Or not! Maybe, like me you just turn the pages and remember being a kid.

See the Paper Doll Books I have for sale at DellaJane. Have fun and cut carefully!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

DIsney Princess!

Doesn't every little girl want to be a princess sometime in their life? We visit Disneyland and have breakfast with Cinderella. We dress up on Halloween as our favorite Disney Princess. My favorite is Mulan. (I know she isn't really a princess, but she is a Disney Princess, so there.) There are lots of patterns for princess costumes. And there are lots of patterns for Disney Princess costumes. Like these:

I've sewn a few princess costumes in my time! But not like this one! Do you have a four-legged princess? Put her into a princess costume! Don't wait for Halloween, just dress her up and make her fantasy come true! And if you don't want a dog princess, try a fireman or cowboy costume!

See these patterns and more at

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Team Feedsack?

Love 'em or hate 'em - feedsacks don't have many quilters in the middle! If you are Team Feedsack, you love them! You want to see them, to own them, to use them in your quilts. I love vintage fabric, and one subset of that love is feedsacks. I have my favorites, which reflect my likes in current commercial fabrics. I like color and I like bright. I like novelty prints. I prefer geometric to floral. That said, I'll share some of my favorites & maybe even some of my not-so-favorites!

What's not to love about this Hawaiian print! Think vacation, relaxing, sitting on the beach!

Or maybe a vacation cruise is more your style? Sailboats anyone? I was excited to see this feedsack on Page 81 of Susan Miller's Vintage Feed Sacks! And again in a different colorway on Page 91.

My geometric favorites are plaids. I LOVE LOVE LOVE 1950s plaids! This yellow and black plaid feedsack makes me want to make a yellow and black quilt. Or maybe I should work on the yellow and gray quilt already started?

Here is another interesting geometric. I'm not too wild about the color scheme of Avacado Green and Harvest Gold, but the design is funky!

I'm not into floral fabrics - this sunflower feedsack is an exception. Probably that grid behind the flowers makes it more appealing to me!

I have to show you some floral feedsacks because they are really popular with everyone but me. I don't hate them, I just don't love them!

You can find most of these feedsacks and other vintage fabrics on my website. Feel free to browse, even if you are Team I Hate Feedsacks! I'm hoping I can make a few people think differently about feedsacks!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Aprons - What's Not To Love?

What's not to love about apron patterns? I love vintage apron patterns - they make me think of my grandmother, who almost always wore an apron.

If you can't find a vintage pattern, there are many current retro patterns:

And newer apron patterns make me drool with the wide array of styles available! There are Mother and Daughter Aprons:

Gardening Aprons:

His and Her Aprons:

And oh, the lovely patterns for aprons for little girls!

All these and more can be seen on my website DellaJane Cloth & Patterns. Please visit! I find lots of uncut apron patterns - if you are making aprons, I'd love to hear from you and see a photo of your creation!