Saturday, July 28, 2007


Here is the bounty of today's finds - a thread holder, fabric covered sewing box, cane sewing basket, Patons & Baldwins Fuzzy Wuzzy Wool Box, bargello (I think) pincushion, green leather needlebook, bakelite needlecase, purple plastic bodkin, Sabre bell knitting gauge, green capsule type sewing kit, tin of pins, berry pins, two chenille santas, toys, and various knitting and sewing patterns.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Frederick Herrschner Inc.

Est. 1899


Art Needlework catalogs shown here date from 1927 up until 1938. It is difficult to find information on Herrschners, the website is here and there is no mention of the company history.

Being a collector of sewing tools, I find catalogs/catalogues very useful in being able to date items - although some items were being offered over several years, you would still be able to tell when they originated.
It is fascinating to look inside these and I was spoiled for choice as to what I would show here, there are just too many wonderful things.....children's clothes, women's clothes, linens, all pre stamped and ready to embroider. And of course there are all of the supplies available to the needleworker, quilter, knitter, crocheter.......including pattern books, kits and gifts.

The first here starts at Catalog 27, Frederick Herrschner Inc. 6610-30 So. Ashland Ave., Chicago.

1927 - Needlework Supplies.

Spring & Summer 1927 Catalog No. 28
Children's Clothes.

Fall & Winter 1931 - 1932 Catalog No. 39
More Needlework supplies.

Fall & Winter 1932 - 1933 Catalog number cannot be found.
Inexpensive kits.

Spring & Summer 1935 Catalog No. 48
Quilting supplies.

Fall & Winter 1937 - 1938 Catalog No. 55
Wonderful Aprons.

Fall & Winter 1937 - 1938 Catalog No. 55
Knitting supplies.

The Fall and Winter 1937 - 1938 is Catalog No. 55 and the address is still 6610-30 So. Ashland Ave., Chicago. The catalog dated 1956 - 1957 (not shown) is Catalog No. 80 and is called Herrschners with the address being 72 E. Randolph Street, Chicago 1, Illinois.

Monday, July 16, 2007


I have decided that posting for Spool Knitters required its own space. So you will find the blog on Spool Knitters here.

I am a keen collector of these, and I realise that others may not be as interested as I am.

I will be posting regularly, so if you would like to know about my collection, you should check it often. Thankyou!

Saturday, July 14, 2007



Picture a beautiful garden, full of colourful hollyhocks, roses, and bluebells, and other tiny flowers, a tree forms a canopy over a garden seat. On it is seated a petite lady. She wears a full crinoline skirt with multiple rows of frills, the pink bodice tight to emphasize her tiny waist, and a wide brim pink bonnet under which hang her golden blonde ringlets. She holds a parasol as a proper young lady should to protect her flawless, pale skin.
Or maybe she is walking along the stone-paved garden path that leads through an archway of roses. She carries a basket laden with the colourful bounty of flowers freshly picked from the garden.
These peaceful, picturesque scenes or those similar, have been captured in many ways.

(The crinoline, developed from the French words - crin (horsehair) and lin (linen) was a linen cloth woven with horsehair. This cloth, made into a petticoat, was worn in several layers to add fullness to the ladies skirt, the original crinoline. The name continued in use for the hoopskirt frame introduced later in the 1850's.)

Vintage needlework books hold patterns for working doilies, cushions, pajama bags, laundry bags, duchess sets, tea tray mats....... all sorts of gifts and sewing accessories to make using the crinoline lady image. Very often there were free transfers offered to the keen embroiderer. The crinoline lady was always a popular choice and for the collector today, an abundance of treasures are to be found in op/thrift shops, flea markets, antique shops and fairs.

Of the vintage needlework books, perhaps the most attractive are the Good Needlework Gift Books and their magazines "Good Needlework".

Left and right, is the free dainty sachet all ready to embroider, which was offered with the Good Needlework Magazine - December 1932.

In the same issue was offered the transfer seen below.

Below, some patterns look very much alike. Compare this with the dainty sachet above.

Below is a needlecard. Printed in USA.

Below is my collection of crinoline lady bells as well as a mending set.

Vintage Good Needlework Gift Books.

A selection of doilies, guest towel and handkerchief, and tins.

Vintage Good Needlework Magazines.

This is an excellent book, Thrift to Fantasy by Rosemary McLeod, covering home textile crafts of the 1930's - 1950's. Well worth seeking out - a great read and lots of pictures, especially doilies.

Further reading - Crinolines and Bustles

Nothing to Wear

Blog - Yarnstorm shares her views of the crinoline lady.

Friday, July 13, 2007



Please take a look at haveanotion
I hope that you will like these crinoline lady sewing stands that I have made.

There will be a post coming up about crinoline ladies on Crazyhaberdasher
soon, so stay tuned.

Monday, July 09, 2007



Dafel was a shop in the Block Arcade in Melbourne. I had visited this shop many times during my childhood on special trips to the city with my Mum. During the eighties, when I was collecting teddy bears, I visited the shop again. The dear elderly owner of the business Dafel Felt was all in a muddle when I was purchasing a felt kit of The Three Bears but I was delighted to be able
to take home the kit and start my little set of felt bears. I wish I could remember
her name, and I wish that I had spoken to her about the shop. Dafel Felt would have been in business for many, many years up till then.

I do remember that there were other customers at the time so I couldn't have
chatted to her if I had wanted to anyway. I also remember the marvellous toys
that were sitting up on the shelf (perhaps gathering a little dust) that had
been the models for the kits and advertisements.

October 18th - I am thrilled and delighted to say that I have been contacted by Kim Wilson, the now owner of Dafel who will be mailing me more information regarding the history of Dafel. I will do another post on Dafel as soon as the information comes to hand.

Well, here is Papa Bear made in the eighties, and I still have to make Mama Bear and Baby Bear. Yes, I still have the pattern and pieces for making them.

Felt is great to work with, it is SEW easy, and therefore lends itself to many creations.
Vintage sewing items are to be found in abundance, probably given as gifts or maybe purchased at a fete or bazaar. Needlebooks are perhaps the most common items to be found and still as popular to make today.
Below is a vintage house needlebook.

Below is FELT-WORK by Gwen E. Thornton published in 1931. In this book you will find patterns for such goodies as tea-cosies, bags, slippers, dolls, dolls' clothes, writing cases, and book covers, beret and scarf, etc.

And here is FELTWORK by Rosemary Brinley from 1951 with projects for needlebooks, pincushions, dutch dolls, pencil cases, gloves, brooches, belts, greeting cards, knitting bag, clothing, etc. There aren't any photos in the book, just many line drawn patterns, so you will have to be content with the picture on the cover.

Here are Dryad Leaflets with more projects. This time I have included actual patterns for you if you would like to make your own needlebook and pincushion. Just click for larger image. Have fun!

Thursday, July 05, 2007



Chris and I watched an interesting episode of Simply Quilts this evening. It featured Donna Kohler and her treadle sewing machines. All of her quilts that she had brought in to the show were made on treadles. Here she shows a little of what can be done.
....and Here is her story....
and Here and Here are her websites!

I also thought you might enjoy looking at these.....

Wednesday, July 04, 2007



Chris just handed me this needle packet......another Corticelli (Belding Heminway) product. It is obvious that I am going to have to research this company. Corticelli had its name on a lot more than just threads and yarns.

And one last one before I bore you all with endless Corticelli, this box with the dear cat holding a spool in his mouth.

Okay everyone, enough cats for now. Maybe I will do something on bears next time, or are there any requests?

Monday, July 02, 2007


Catlovers everywhere enjoy cats in any situation. In advertising, cats have become a popular choice when selling many different products.

Here, I will be showing a selection of cats' images used in the sewing category!

The Corticelli cats are perhaps the most commonly found images of the vintage era - from the Belding Heminway Company, Inc. we have products such as cottons, yarns, silks, and sewing threads. They are advertised in practically all the women's magazines of the early 1900's, as well as their own pattern books.
And by the way, the illustrations on the top right of the blog and at the very end of the page are from a Corticelli pattern book.

The famous artist Ben Austrian, painted this lovely fluffy puss playing with a spool of cotton. Can you see the words Corticelli Silk written in thread? (Click on picture for larger image.) This artist is most well known for his paintings of chickens - stars of the Bon Ami ads.
If you would like to know more about Ben Austrian, click here.

I am not an expert on cat breeds, but this cat looks a little odd to me.
Now I know that the above ad is not strictly to do with sewing, but this was news to me. I only received the book I found this ad in today (3rd), and I never knew Corticelli also made dental floss! I had to add this to the post.

Look at who has just dropped by - why, it is Mischief! She is apparently giving the Elna portable sewing machine her nod of approval......! This advertisement is found in the "Needlework" magazine of the 1950's. (Click to read)

Trade cards were an advertising phenomenon in themselves, and were a very popular collectible in the 19th century. Many are to be found in scrap albums. The modern equivalent are the business cards and advertising fridge magnets.
Below, we have a trade card from 1881 advertising Willimantic six cord spool cotton for sewing machines.

There is white knitting cotton in this package. The CAT'S brand here is apparently Belgian.

World War I was in progress when these Snappy fasteners were available. Made in U.S.A.

Two very interesting books you might like to look for are - The Cat Made Me Buy It! pictured right (the first book in the series) and The Cat Sold It!
on the left (the second book in the series) by Alice L Muncaster & Ellen Yanow Sawyer. Both of these show numerous colourful photographs of cats advertising all manner of products. The first book, TCMMBI! is also great for further reading about Corticelli.

For further reading about Trade cards, it would be worth seeking out "Introduction to Sewing Trade Cards" by Debbie Fuller - a publication put out by Thimble Collectors International (try ebay, too). Victorian Trade Cards information can also be found here.