Saturday, 25 February 2012

Hats of the week (part 4)

There's a distinct whiff of spring in the air, so for my last
hats post, I've cast warmth aside in favour of this daft lot:

vintage knitted hats

I like the swimming hat-style Crusader helmet so much I'm considering making myself one AND actually wearing it. But WFT is going on with Cleopatra in the middle? No wonder she can't keep a straight face, she's wearing a knitting blue bob. And has Mantilla just washed her hair?

Anyway, towel, wig or swimming cap – the choice is yours. Click here, here and here for how to knit your own, er let's say distinctive, headgear.

While we're at it, if you like the synchronised swimmer look, and let's face it who doesn't, you'll love this chunky version, modelled by a very fetching young lady:

vintage knitted hat

Dontcha just love her toothy smile? I'm also diggin her
friend's eye make-up:

vintage knitted hats

So, if you want to knock up your very own 1960s chapeau, clickety, clickety click to find out how (there's always next winter). PS: the white one is crocheted.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Hat of the week (part 3)

vintage knitted hat

This yellow mohair and gold lurex scarf-hood number is not strictly a hat I know, but doesn't she look lovely? If you ditched the glittery bits in favour of a nice chunky wool, you could have the cosiest winter ever.

The uninspiring-looking 1976 book it came from is much more colourful and altogether 70s inside than the rather drab cover suggests:

Complete guide to knitting book cover

You can tell author Pam Dawson's got a few tricks up her sleeve:

pam dawson

Sadly she's keeping the pattern for her lovely landscape cardi to herself, but if you fancy knitting the evening hood, you'll find simple instructions by clicking here. Keep toasty!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

I *heart* needlepoint

Happy Valentine's Day! My gift to you is this heart-motif needlepoint belt:

vintage needlepoint heart belt

I love the way the three hearts (repeated twice on the way round) are all different.
The pattern came from here:

Home Pattern Book

And here's the belt in action:

heart belt

It's a good first project if you're new to the ladylike art of needlepoint, so if you want to make like a character in a Jane Austen novel and give it a go, click here, here and here to find
out how.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Hat of the week (part 2)

This week's cosy headgear is a tres chic crochet beret with a pom pom. You've gotta love this illustration:

vintage crochet beret

It's taken from the 1969 book Fashion Crochet by Caroline Horne:

vintage Fashion crochet book

 ...which is published by Mills & Boon who, back in the day, used to have a cute owl logo:

mills and boon

So, crochet hook at the ready – here are the materials you'll need, the instructions and a few more instructions. Ooh la la

Friday, 10 February 2012


The seventh and final Put a bird on it project is – no
sniggering – a cock on a leather bag.

vintage cock bag

Now don't tell me you don't want a bag just like this cords-and-bowlcut girl's. Well good news – scroll down to the foot of this post and you'll find a link to your very own cock-on-a-bag template. Don't worry if you can't or don't want to sew on leather, any fabric remnants will do.

The pattern is taken from this seemingly innocent Harmony Appliqué leaflet from 1980:

vintage craft applique

Stay tuned as I'm sure to be sharing more of the homespun delights within.  'Til then, here's your (promise this is the last time I'll say it) cock pattern.

Thursday, 9 February 2012


This 1977 book of Home Handicrafts is choc-a-block with crafty hobbies that most of us can remember dabbling in at school:

home handicrafts

... one of which is potato printing. OK, I know it's a bit Blue Peter, but during this week of all things avian, these little beauties caught my eye:

birds-potato prints

Cute eh? Now pop out and buy a big bag of spuds, grab a knife and some fabric paint, cast your mind back to primary school for inspiration, and get printing. It really couldn't be easier to put a bird on it!

Oh and while I was flicking through Home Handicrafts, this fella gave me a look that said he wanted to be on Glad you could make it...


The book suggests you use Bondaweb and iron "this fanciful little bird" onto curtains or cushions. Not a bad idea, but he'd look even more lovely appliquéd onto your soft furnishings with a contrasting zigzag stitch.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The queen of embroidery

You can't talk about putting birds on things without mentioning the late, great Erica Wilson.

erica wilson

I think you'll agree, the owl-and-tree rocking chair is a knockout. It can be seen in greater detail in The Selby's fascinating glimpse into Ms Wilson and her husband Vladimir Kagan's Manhattan home.

UPDATE: you can actually watch Erica showing us how to stitch the owl right here!

It wasn't just birds this embroidery queen put on things, but bumblebees, hedgehogs, squirrels, kittens and mice (to name but a few). The picture above is taken from this 1978 book based on the BBC TV series Erica on Embroidery:

erica wilson book

It's stuffed full of stitchery projects, one of the highlights of which is this owl/denim shirt embroidery pattern:

erica wilson owl pocket

What's not to love about an embroidered owl peering out of a shirt pocket?

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Put an owl on it

I just love the cushion on the cover of this 1973 book (I told you I'd be milking the owl theme this week):

bird-embroidery owl cushion

Just look at all the detail and the great colour scheme, he's absolutely beautiful with his wise and kindly face.

This book was one of the first purchases I ever made on eBay, going back almost exactly 10 years now. And in all that time, I'd never noticed the gorgeous cover hiding beneath the dustjacket:

birds-embroidery book inside cover

Oh they don't make 'em like they used to...

If you want to embroider your very own wise owl cushion cover, here's how you can go about it, followed by part two here. Twit twoo!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Skirting around the issue

I'm not sure what this winsome maiden is looking so intently at in her conservatory, but I don't half like her skirt:

vintage sewing bird skirt

Oh hang on, she's peeling an orange. Anyway, according to the caption, "Swallow motifs in a printed fabric transform this simple long skirt into an interesting and individual garment. The bold outlines of the bird motifs make them easy to apply, either with satin or zigzag stitch." Can't say fairer than that.

I found it in here:

vintage craft applique

Excuse the ginormous £1.99 price tag, it's actually printed, rather than stuck, onto the cover. Must have seemed like a good idea back in 1979.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

The owl & the pussycat

Ah, the owl. One of the most overused images of recent years - and this week I plan to overuse it myself – here goes. Check out these adorable patchwork toys:

vintage craft owl

Sadly, there are no pictures of the finished articles in the book, which is this 1974 volume from the geniuses at Golden Hands:

vintage craft patchwork

I'll share some of the other beautiful brightly coloured 70s designs with you another time. Its title page looks like this:

vintage craft birds

As you can see, it cost me the grand sum of £2 (in a charity shop on a day trip to Market Harborough actually).

Anyway, if you fancy trying your hand at making the owl and the pussycat, you'll find the templates here and here. It just gives you the shapes – presumably you have to ad lib the patchwork side of things and the appliquéd/embroidered eyes, but that's half the fun!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Put a bird on it

OK so I know the putting-birds-on-everything trend is a little, shall we say, old (foxes are the new birds apparently). But there are flocks of our feathered friends just desperate to be set free from my craft book library. So this week I'm going to get at least one bird a day off my bookshelves and up onto the blog. 

First, take a few moments to feast your eyes upon this pretty cross stitch robin on the cover of the Vogue Embroidery Book:

vintage vogue embroidery book

And he's not just any old robin. According to the description inside, he's a Gay redbreast

vintage vogue sewing book

I can't see a year of publication in this lovely Vogue booklet, but I am guessing it's from the 1930s. It's even still got some of the original transfers inside.

Oh and watch this, it's funny!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Hat of the week

Brrrr – don't know about where you are, but here in London it's absolutely brass monkeys, so to get through this chilly spell I'm going to post some fine hats – with instructions on how to knit, sew or crochet them – one a week til it warms up out there.
First up, this beautiful knitted deerstalker number (the matching jacket will have to wait for another time!)

vintage knitted hat

I love the painting in the background, not to mention the dog and the knitted knickerbockers. The pattern is taken from this 1973 tome I've had for years, which is published by Octopus, printed in Czechoslovakia and filled with all manner of other delights, some of which I'll be sharing with you.

vintage handicrafts book cover

So, what are you waiting for? Click here for the knitting instructions and here for part 2.