The Vintage Bookshelf · Vintage Entertainment

Mary Frances Knitting and Crocheting

Partial cover to The Mary Frances Knitting and Crocheting Book. A young girl sits on a sofa surrounded by a yarn doll, balls of yarn. She knits with two very large knitting needles.
The cover of the Mary Frances Knitting and Crocheting Book

Mary Frances needs to learn all kinds of skills. She needs to learn to cook, clean, sew, knit, crochet, garden. Her world is full of learning! Mary Frances stars in an entire series of instruction books, beginning with a cookbook in 1912. In The Mary Frances Knitting and Crocheting Book she learns to knit and crochet. She makes clothes for her doll along the way. Her teachers are the Knitting People, a delightful set of tools that come to life and tell Mary Frances exactly how things should be done.

In the pages of The Mary Frances Knitting and Crocheting Book we meet Knit and Knack the knitting needles, Crow Shay the crochet hook, and Yarn Baby, a yarn doll. These characters, along with their friends, show Mary Frances the ropes of creating with yarn. She makes doll clothes, a baby doll’s set, and a few things for herself. And you can find patterns for all of these in the book. Because The Mary Frances Knitting and Crocheting Book was published in 1918, the last set of patterns is from the Red Cross. A flyer of knitted articles for World War I soldiers gives Mary Frances experience with adult-size clothing. 

Two baby dolls dressed in hand made outfits. One wears a blue cape, mittens, and matching knitted booties, while the other wears a pink sweater, bonnet, and matching booties.
Dress your baby dolls in the finest handmade outfits.

Note: This is a book of its time. It may contain outdated references or illustrations, like most books from 1900-1930.

One Adventure After Another

By the time Mary Frances graduates to knitting and crocheting, she’s much older than the little girl who started the series with a cookbook. She’s had adventures with the Kitchen People when she learned to cook. The Thimble People taught her to sew. She learned the basics of housekeeping from the Doll People. And in her last adventure before she learns to knit, she meets the Garden People. Her knitting and crocheting book is more advanced than any of the other books. It contains more projects and less chatter. The story line still exists, but it’s not as all-encompassing as the story you find in the Mary Frances Sewing Book.

When the story opens, Mary Frances is accosted by her great aunt Maria, who is, of course, a paragon of the textile arts and cannot believe that Mary Frances doesn’t know how to knit or crochet. She offers to teach her, and Mary Frances says that she’s been wanting to learn for the longest time. Then Mary Frances remembers how Aunt Maria taught her father to knit, and how much he hated it. 

She sits down with her knitting bag after her aunt scurries away, and wishes that helpful fairies like the Thimble People could teach her to knit and crochet. Crow Shay the hook begins to talk to her, and she realizes that real help waits for her after all. 

Learning from the Pros

She endures one lesson with Aunt Maria before her aunt is whisked away by a family emergency. Mary Frances finds herself alone with her brother, talking knitting needles, and Katie, the household cook. 

This gives Mary Frances the freedom she needs to concentrate on the lessons from the knitting needles and crochet hook. With their help she creates a doll’s wardrobe. A little over the first half of the book teaches crochet. Then the chapters switch to knitting instruction. Black and white photographs from 1918 show how to form the stitches. 

A blonde doll ready for the outdoors. She wears a dark blue velvet coat and matching hat, a knitted shawl or scarf over the coat, and a fringed muff hangs from her neck.
Mary Marie ready for a day on the town

Illustrations throughout the book show how the finished articles should look. In the original book several color pages show the progress of a sixteen inch doll’s wardrobe. Mary Marie, the doll, received a complete handmade wardrobe in the sewing book, but now she needs coats and hats, shopping bags and mufflers. The book even gives instructions for an aviator doll outfit and a Teddy Bear Suit. The suit looks like a WWI army uniform, but teddy bear suits were actually one-piece sitcot jumpsuits. WWI airplane pilots wore them. So although it’s quite cute with its trousers, jacket, and tam, I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be, or why it’s called a Teddy Bear Suit. 

A young teen girl in 1916-1917 wears a long hip length knitted jacket with a wide belt.
Mary Frances can even knit herself a fashionable sweater.

Read It For Yourself

Whether you’ve wanted to learn knitting and crochet like Mary Frances, or you’d like a romp through a century-old instruction book for children, you might enjoy this book. Download The Mary Frances Knitting and Crocheting Book from the Internet Archive or Project Gutenberg. And let the yarn adventures begin.

If you enjoy vintage knit and crochet projects, you might like this Twenties Crochet Wrist Bag or this 1950s Knit Potholder.

The Creative Corner · Vintage Fashion · Vintage Sewing

1920s Wardrobe Accessories

Large purple hat from 1924. It is decorated with big purple embroidered flowers and large green leaves.
Make a statement with a large decorated hat.

Once you create a Twenties wardrobe, capsule or not, what are the 1920s wardrobe accessories that pull it together? Last time I talked about creating a Twenties capsule wardrobe. In this post I’ll suggest some add-ons that will make a Twenties outfit stand out. Incorporate a few of these ideas, or use them all to really expand your wardrobe and its capabilities.

Keep in mind that the traditional Twenties wardrobe contained few pieces. Most people didn’t have a closet filled with clothing. Clothes were expensive. The Twenties saw a time of inflation before the Great Depression that had everyone complaining about prices of everything from meat to the clothing budget. Generally, your typical Twenties woman had two to three dresses she wore at home, a visiting dress, perhaps a travel outfit, an evening gown if she moved in those circles, and a few other pieces. Separates such as those found in a capsule wardrobe would be a godsend to someone like this.

So if you begin with six pieces consisting of a travel or business suit, one extra skirt, and three blouses or tops, what will finish your wardrobe? Add one piece at a time, with thought, and you will soon have a beautiful selection of period reproduction garments from which to choose. One of the great benefits is that you can choose what you like from the decade, without the pressure to update your dresses each time the calendar turns.

Hats, Hats, Hats

The most obvious 1920s wardrobe accessories are the small items that finish an outfit. The hat at the top of this post, for instance, would make anyone look twice. Or choose a hat like this one, that gives you more flexibility. This one could top a suit just as easily as an afternoon outfit.

Twenties millinery can be as challenging as learning to work with blocks and wires, or it can be as simple as using a Twenties crochet hat pattern and decorating it to match various outfits. Some fabric hats, such as turbans, used no infrastructure at all.

Charming Twenties spring hat from printed or embroidered fabric.

Bags and Bling

Once you have something to top off the outfit, so to speak, you need a portable container for your things. Here are some options.

Crocheted pouch handbag made in two colors of lavender. The main body is in a dark lavender mesh, while the bottom of the bag has a light lavender  triangle lace with solid diamonds between.
A visiting handbag or small workbag for on the go

One of my favorites, I have this bag almost completed. When made with the size thread suggested, it comes out quite small, about eight inches in length. It would be enough to hold necessities for a day out, but little more. This is a general everyday bag or small workbag if you tat. Nothing much larger than a tatting shuttle, ball of thread, and current project will fit.

Twenties handbag made from knitted beads and deep beaded fringe.
Carry all the bling in your handbag!

This type of handbag was knitted with seed beads. It sparkled every time its owner moved, and these were very popular. Interesting to note, these were not touted as evening bags. This was another type of everyday handbag.

Twenties handbag with intricate beaded embroidery and a beaded fringe hanging from the bottom.
Bag with bead embroidery and netted fringe.

Here’s another example of a beaded handbag. This time, the beads are embroidered onto a satin foundation, and then beads are attached in a netted fringe pattern along the bottom.

…And the bling

Twenties woman with short curly hair wears a beaded or ribbon band across her forehead that looks somewhat like a falling star.
Hair band adds bling to this woman’s hairstyle

Hairstyle accents like this one added pizzazz to an outfit without requiring much storage space. 1920s wardrobe accessories like this dress up the outfits you have.

A dress belt made from ribbon circles and ovals.
Dressy belt made from ribbons.

Belts, sashes, and corsages made from ribbon helped to heighten the dressiness and flash of an ensemble without replacing the dress underneath it. The belt above is made completely from pieces of ribbon, and hand sewn. The dress ornament below is also made from pieces of ribbon.

Ribbon corsage from the Twenties. A large fluffy flower made from ribbon heads six long streamers.
This ribbon corsage leads the eye below the waist.

Ribbon corsages of all shapes and sizes attached to dresses, coats, capes, and hats to change the appearance to suit the wearer and the occasion. Often they were attached to long streamers or strips of lace and suspended from the low waistline of the dress, like this one. These additions pinned to the dress so they could be removed after the event, and they drew the eye away from a plain neckline.

Coats and Wraps

1920s winter coat with a high collar buttoned around the neck and the sleeves making part of a cape that falls down behind. The coat has a belt at the waist and is of a plaid material.
A coat makes your period outfit complete

If you plan to go outdoors at all, and you live in an area that produces cold air and snow, you are going to need a cover. This might be something like the spectacular cape coat illustrated above. Or you may prefer an article like a full cape. Long capes were often utilized for evening wear. They gave warmth without crushing delicate lace or ruffles.

You can’t get much more classic than this 1925 spring raincoat.

If classic is your goal, you might like this 1925 raincoat. With few alterations, these coats still appear in shops and online every year.

Sweaters and Overblouses

Knit dress from 1922. Image from Antique Pattern Library; link to free download below.

An easy way to add mileage to your wardrobe is to add sweaters and other knitted or crocheted items. Sweaters, tops, knitted dresses, shawls, and so on add versatility with just a few items. This knit dress with its matching hat is an example. You can find the entire book, with many sweater and knitted blouse options, from the Antique Pattern Library. View the images and download it here.

1920s photo of a woman in a knitted Twenties cardigan. It buttons down the front with large patch pockets on each side below the waist.
A longline sweater for cool days

A simple cardigan can alter your look at the same time that it provides warmth. You only need one, if you want any at all. A sweater like this makes a great 1920s wardrobe accessory.

A woman from the 1920s wears a
Simple Twenties top in filet crochet

Another option is a filet crochet blouse that can go over a Twenties chemise or underskirt you already have. Relatively simple to make and memorable, these little overblouses were quite fashionable in the Twenties.

Shawls and Wraps

Woman wearing an embroidered cashmere shawl. 1924.
Twenties embroidered shawl made from cashmere.

Add a shawl to your 1920s wardrobe accessories kit. A nice shawl dresses up an outfit and provides an extra layer if necessary. A shawl can be made from wool and fringed, like the one above, or it can be crocheted, like the one below.

Crocheted shawl for dressy occasions.

This shawl can be used for dressy or not-so-dressy occasions. In fact, a large square shawl like this could see a lot of use in a Twenties wardrobe.

Making It Your Own

The best way to accessorize a wardrobe is to have a plan. My everyday modern wardrobe looks like it was assembled by a gerbil with ADHD. Don’t do that. Don’t be like me. Spend some time and determine what you want for the basics, and then build from there once you have it.

Looking at the cape coat above, for instance, makes me want to grab my pattern drafting paper and create one as the basis of my wardrobe. Perhaps that’s because I live in the Frozen North, and am looking out at a 12-degree Fahrenheit (-11 Celsius) morning as I write.

Weather aside, perhaps you have a dream and desire of holding historical tea parties. Then build your wardrobe around nice separates. Throw in a one piece dress if you like. Make sure you spend some time researching and making the most darling little tea apron you ever saw. It can be made from sheer organdy, or handkerchief linen, or a fabric you fall in love with. If that apron makes your heart sing every time you see it, you will enjoy every tea party you throw.

More suggestions

To see some options of other accessories for the Twenties wardrobe, take a look at A Gift of Handkerchiefs and Crochet a Twenties Wrist Bag.

The Creative Corner · Vintage Fashion · Vintage Sewing

1910s Wardrobe Accessories

Illustration of seven different belts to add to 1912 clothing. Text: Pretty Belts and Girdles Easily Made at Home. A wistful woman sits in the middle of six belt illustrations, one of the decorative belts attached to her waist.
A selection of belts to accent the 1912-1913 wardrobe.

You’re interested in building a Titanic-era wardrobe. But you have limited funds for costuming, limited space, or both. What to do? First, if you haven’t, read about buiding a very basic 1910s Capsule Wardrobe here. Then come back and we’ll continue building your collection with 1910s wardrobe accessories.

If you’re still in the planning stages, that’s okay. Planning is a lot of the fun. Creating it is the hard part, especially if you sew the set yourself. You might even put the entire ensemble together in your mind and then decide it’s not what you want. That’s okay too. But if you do decide that 1912 is your year, then you’ll need a few pieces to wear. Then you will need some extras.

Adding The Extras

Currently, if you are building an historic capsule wardrobe, you have two skirts, three blouses, and a jacket. That’s enough for a dozen different outfits. But how do you make it a bit more distinctive? The same way the original wearers did. You use accessories of various kinds.

Wear a girdle

One possible accessory lies in the belt or girdle. Made from velvet, fabric or ribbon, and sometimes trimmed with fur, these belts made a statement. A draped belt could be decorated with an eye-catching ribbon rosette. Or perhaps you have a bit of silk and some dark cord. Make the belt from the silk, stiffened and lined to hold its shape, and then use cord or braid to embroider a design like the one in the upper left corner of the illustration at the top of this post.

Your belt can be drapey or tailored. Let it match your outfit and your personal style.

Carry a handbag

Choose a handbag or a miser’s purse to complete your outfit

These are illustrations from 1912. Make a purse with a little metal closure. Or choose one that folds over like No. 90 above. Perhaps you’d like to carry a miser’s purse like the ones in the bottom row. They are a bit more difficult to keep hold of, but they are classic and were still in use at the beginning of the Twentieth century. Basically they are made of two pieces that look somewhat like an hourglass or a dumbbell. Rounded at both ends and thinner in the middle. The middle part has an opening, which you can barely see in the photo on the right. Two rings hold everything secure at the top of each larger part so that nothing falls out. You move the rings back and forth to access the items.

Add a Wrap

Photo of 9 shawls and sweaters from 1915. All are on headless manniquins, and all are knit or crocheted in a light colored yarn.
Shawls and sweaters abound in the 1915 Beehive Woolcraft book.

You may be chilly. Or you might want a knitted or crocheted extra layer for effect. To make your own shawls, sweaters, and crocheted jackets, look no further than the 1915 Beehive Woolcraft book, available from the Antique Pattern Library. This particular illustration, and the instructions, are in PDF number 2, although you will want PDF 1 for basic instructions, yarn sizes, and so on. PDF 3 includes socks and gloves for the 1910-1016 period. Frankly, they’re all great. Get them all.

You might need to do some conversions for sizing or different sized yarn, but these patterns are definitely doable. And you’ll look great in them! (The first illustration, top left, is a man’s vest. Everything else is for women’s sizing of the period.)

Dress Up That Blouse

With a little creativity and some time, you can make collars and jabots to dress up the blouses you make. Add a few of these, and it doesn’t matter how plain your waists. With a little ruffle magic you can transform the everyday suit shirt into a great afternoon ruffly visitation creation.

Special Occasion Magic

Everything listed above is for everyday wear. Add a couple special belts, or that amazing belt and sash combination in the belt photo, and you have some interesting alternatives for your six basic pieces. Then if you continue with changable collars or jabots, a couple purses, and a shawl along with a sweater, you have a gorgeous and complete wardrobe for most occasions.

But what if you do all this, you find that you love it, and you have a special occasion? Although these can’t be actually considered 1910s wardrobe accessories, they are wardrobe extenders. But like masquerade clothing, you should only include them if you have the spare cash for the cost and if you think you will get some use out of them.

Splish splashing away

1912 illustration of three women wearing bathing dresses. Each one wears a bathing cap to match her dress, and one of them wears a beach jacket, a long coat over her bathing suit.
Wouldn’t you love to hit the beach in this?

If you live near the seaside, you might find yourself with an invitation to the beach. These dresses usually consisted of a top, short bloomers, and a skirt over the bloomers. Often everything buttoned into a waistband on the blouse. These were most often made of a light wool. Cotton clings when wet, and a twill gets dangerously heavy. If you’d rather start with a real pattern, look at Folkwear’s Bathing Costume. Folkwear drafted the pattern from an 1890 original, but it will give you somewhere to start along with “current” illustrations.

Here we go a-motoring

Two women stand together dressed in long coats. One of them peers at a pair of binoculars.

These are automobile coats. You don’t mean to say that you’ve been in an automobile without one! The dust! The wind! How did you ever manage?

The automobile coat kept the dust and grime from the road off your clothes. It also kept you a bit warmer in a car that may be a bit drafty. While in no way a necessity, if you plan to go motoring to your next picnic, you might want to consider one of these. It will ensure that you arrive at your destination clean, tidy, and serene.

That special evening

Finally, we get to the clothing that most people think of when they envision the Titanic Era. This is a formal evening gown that exudes drapery and class. Compared with everything else in your wardrobe you can see that this stands out like an ostrich. However, if you need something like this, nothing else you have already will do. So purchase the net or the sheer sparkly fabric and have a ball. You will be gorgeous.

The End, or the Beginning

As you can see, six pieces of clothing are only the beginning to wardrobe prep if you want them to be. You can add all kinds of things to add spice, and even include special occasion clothing to round out your mix. Or you can take your six pieces and add some more utilitarian items to your stash to round out your wardrobe.

An entirely different approach

The Five Dollar Wardrobe. In 1912.

This is called the Five Dollar Wardrobe. In 1912, with five dollars and knowledge of how to use a sewing machine, you could have a servicable set of clothing like this. The assortment includes one suit with a blouse. The jacket was lined with flannel and a fake silk. The blouse had a kimono shoulder and was made from white silk. Moving left to right, the woman holding the teacup wears a house dress. It uses hand-embroidered eyelets down the front as decoration, and scallops made from piping created out of the dress material. The black and white checked dress that comes next actually cost three times what the house dress cost. The dress trim used cross stitch in black to x out some of the white lines and form a border. The last dress pictured, made from white net, functions as a party dress. It cost less than anything in the room other than the house dress.

You can see that this is a viable option for wardrobe planning. However, you get four outfits instead of twelve with an investment of six pieces. Five outfits if you wore the blouse and skirt without the jacket. Adding an extra blouse would give you two more outfits. These dresses, while lovely, do not mix and match on their own. They’re designed to appear together. Often they are created in one piece.

What’s Next

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look into 1912 clothing planning. Next we’ll take a little jump in years and plan a Twenties Capsule Wardrobe.

Vintage Needlework

Crochet a Twenties Wrist Bag

Everyone needs a wrist bag. These little objects hold little but make a nice vintage fashion statement. I made this one in a few hours, following a Twenties pattern that I reproduced for you below. Now you can crochet a Twenties wrist bag, too.

As you can see, this bag nicely holds a small ball of thread. This one is designed specifically for that purpose. This crochet Twenties wrist bag is a thread holder for crochet, tatting, or knitting (if any of us are bold enough to knit with crochet thread.) It keeps the ball secure and close so that you don’t spend half your time chasing it as it bounds across the floor.

Make your own

Crocheted wrist bag with a rose emblem. Next to it sits a ball of peach thread and a size 11 crochet hook.
This little wrist bag holds a spool of thread or other small items.

The original instructions direct you to make this with a thread and hook size that will give you about 5 squares to the inch. I used size 40 thread and a size 11 crochet hook.

You will need:

  • Size 40 crochet thread, which you can get from the Tatting Corner.
  • Crochet hook size 11


Here is how to make your own crochet Twenties wrist bag:

Make a chain of 74 stitches, turn.

  1. Double crochet (dc) in 5th stitch from hook; then chain 2, skip 2, dc in next chain all the way across, 22 times. You will have 23 open squares. Turn.
  2. Chain 5, skip 2 ch on row below, dc in dc; then chain 2, skip 2 ch in previous row, dc over dc all the way across. 23 open squares. Turn.
  3. Ten open squares, 4 dc over next 4 stitches, 7 open squares, 4 dc over next 4 stitches, 4 open squares, turn. [The last dc of an open square becomes the first dc of a solid block of crochet. In the same way, the last dc in a solid block of crochet becomes the first dc of your next open square.]
  4. 3 open squares, 7 dc, 3 open squares, 4 dc, 2 open squares, 7 dc, 10 open squares, turn.
  5. 2 open squares, 10 dc, 4 open squares, 10 dc, 2 open squares, 7 dc, 1 open square, 13 dc, 2 open squares, turn.
  6. 2 open squares, 13 dc, 1 open square, 10 dc, 1 open square, 13 dc, 2 open squares, (7 dc, 1 open square) twice, turn.
  7. 2 open squares, (7 dc, 1 open square) 3 times, 4 dc, (1 open square, 10 dc) twice, 3 open squares, turn.
  8. 6 open squares, 4 dc, (1 open square, 7 dc) twice, (1 open square, 4 dc) 3 times, 4 open squares, turn.
  9. 4 open squares, 10 dc, 1 open square, 10 dc, 3 open squares, 7 dc, 1 open square, 7 dc, 4 open squares, turn.
  10. 2 open squares, 19 dc, 7 open squares, 4 dc, 7 open squares, turn.
  11. 4 open squares, 10 dc, 1 open square, 4 dc, (1 open square, 7 dc) twice, 1 open square, 13 dc, 3 open squares, turn.
  12. 7 open squares, 10 dc, 1 open square, 10 dc, 2 open squares, 4 dc, 1 open square, 7 dc, 3 open squares, turn.
  13. 2 open squares, 7 dc, 2 open squares, 4 dc, 2 open squares, 25 dc, 6 open squares, turn.
  14. 6 open squares, 10 dc, 5 open squares, 7 dc, 1 open square, 13 dc, 2 open squares, turn.
  15. 2 open squares, 7 dc, 2 open squares, 13 dc, 1 open square, 10 dc, 1 open square, 4 dc, 7 open squares, turn.
  16. 5 open squares, 7 dc, 1 open square, 16 dc, 1 open square, 13 dc, 5 open squares, turn.
  17. 5 open squares, 13 dc, 1 open square, 10 dc, 1 open square, 4 dc, 1 open square, 7 dc, 5 open squares, turn.
  18. 4 open squares, 4 dc, (1 open square, 4 dc) twice, 2 open squares, 7 dc, 1 open square, 10 dc, 6 open squares, turn.
  19. 6 open squares, 13 dc, 1 open square, 10 dc, (1 open square, 4 dc) twice, 5 open squares, turn.
  20. 7 open squares, 7 dc, 3 open squares, 13 dc, 7 open squares, turn.
  21. 8 open squares, 7 dc, 1 open square, 13 dc, 8 open squares, turn.
  22. Repeat row 2.
  23. Chain 3, dc in next dc in previous row (to narrow), 21 open squares, dc in next dc to narrow, turn.
  24. Narrow like the previous row, 19 open squares, narrow like previous row, turn.
  25. Same as 24th row, decreasing 2 squares.
  26. Same as 24th row, decreasing 2 squares.
  27. Same as 24th row, decreasing 2 squares.
  28. Narrow, 5 open squares, 4 dc, 5 open squares, narrow, turn.
  29. Narrow, 3 open squares, 4 dc, 1 open square, 4 dc, 3 open squares, narrow, turn.
  30. Narrow, 1 open square, 4 dc, 3 open squares, 4 dc, 1 open square, narrow, turn. This row gives the width for the handle.
  31. 2 open squares, 4 dc, 1 open square, 4 dc, 2 open squares, turn.
  32. 3 open squares, 4 dc, 3 open squares, turn.
  33. Repeat Row 31.
  34. 1 open square, 4 dc, 3 open squares, 4 dc, 1 open square, turn.
  35. Repeat Row 31.
  36. Repeat Row 32.
  37. Seven open squares, turn.
  38. Seven open squares, turn.
  39. Repeat Row 32.
  40. Repeat Row 33.
  41. Repeat Row 34.

Now repeat from Row 31 until you have 5 complete patterns of the handle decoration, and have worked 6 rows on the 6th pattern. This brings you to Row 89.

89. Chain 5, dc in dc to widen, 1 open square, 4 dc, 3 open squares, 4 dc, 1 open square, chain 2, dc in the same stitch to widen, turn.

Now work from Row 29 back to Row 1, widening at each end of every row as you narrowed, until you reach the width of 23 open squares once again. Then work without any increases to Row 1.

Note: In case you need more English and fewer numeral notations to complete the increase rows: When creating the second side of the bag, you can chain 5 at the beginning of the row and dc into the base of that ch 5. Complete the solid blocks and spaces according to that row. At the end of the row, complete the last open block by skipping two chains as you always do, and dc into the 3rd chain of the previous row’s ch-5, as you always do. Then ch 2, and make another dc into the same ch you just used. This makes the enlarging triangle at the other end. In this way you will be making two extra open squares for each row.

Attaching the two sides together

When you finish Row 1, do not break the thread. Put the two pieces together, right sides out, and place 3 sc along the bottom of each open space, crocheting front and back together. At the corners, add an extra 2 sc or so to make a nice turn.

Turn, and going up the side, sc 3 into each open square until you reach the first reduction row. At this point, separate the two halves and continue, with 3 sc in each small triangle that forms the side of the bag. Work up one side of the handle.

As you progress up the handle, create a ch-3 picot between every six squares or so. To do this, make 3 sc into the first square, ch 3, and then make 3 sc into the next square. The 3-ch becomes a floating picot along the side of the handle. Quite nifty and period-appropriate.

When you reach the beginning of the divide again, join to one of the sc where you first divided for the top and handle, and finish off, leaving a tail to be worked in later.

Work the other side of the bag in the same way. If you want all the stitches to face the same way, You will want to begin the second side at the back side of the bag, where the narrowing begins. Work up through the narrowing triangles, across the handle (don’t forget your picots to match the other side) and down the front. When you get to the side of the bag, take both front and back together like you did on the other side, working down to the corner where the edging began. Join to the first sc and finish off. Work in your ends using your favorite method. With size 40 thread, it’s just as easy to use a needle as it is a hook, maybe easier.

Closeup image of a small crocheted bag that hangs from the wrist. A rose pattern decorates the bag. In peach on a dark wood background.
An up-close look at the completed wrist bag.

Change the size

Perhaps you want your crochet Twenties wrist bag to be a bit larger. Make it three squares bigger on the sides and bottom, and you have a bag that’s a little more than 1 inch bigger all around. This is large enough to hold keys, a credit card, and a business card holder with a few folded dollars. If you want to use it for anything other than thread, though, you will want to line the bag. Here’s how to do that:

  • Find a piece of scrap fabric that when folded is a little larger than your bag — including the strap. A fat quarter works nicely for this.
  • Place your completed bag on the folded fabric and trace around it 1/2 inch from the outside edges of the bag. This gives you a 1/2-inch seam allowance for sewing. You can place the top edge of the handle on the fold of the fabric if you want to reduce some of your sewing time.
  • Cut along your traced edges.
  • With the wrong sides of the fabric together, and right sides out (if there’s any difference), sew 1/4-inch seam along the bottom and sides of the bag. Also sew a 1/4 inch seam across the very top if you cut the lining in two pieces instead of one, on the fold.
  • Turn your bag inside out and sew another 1/4 inch seam next to the seam you just finished. If you make it a hair larger than 1/4 inch, it will catch your raw edge inside the new seam.
  • Congratulations. You just made a French seam. This will keep your bag lining from unraveling.
  • Turn your bag right side out so the seam runs along the bottom and side of the bag. Slip it inside the crocheted shell and, folding a 1/4 inch hem (1/4 inch and then another 1/4 inch) tack the lining to the top and handle of the bag.

I hope you enjoyed these instructions for Crochet a Twenties Wrist Bag.

Household Sewing · Vintage Ways

Bags for Every Use

Simple drawstring bag with a small cross stitch design on the front and a fringed bottom.
This bag could be used for a day out, sewing, or lace.

How many bags can one person use? Well, in a vintage world without pockets –– unless you happen to be wearing an apron –– quite a few bags, actually. You need a knitting bag, a travel workbag, a sewing bag, an evening purse (for those nights you go out), and a day purse. Most of these need to be updated every year or two as the fashions change. Oh! Don’t forget the storage bags, the travel bags, the organization bags…

For someone who enjoys making bags, the 1910s through the 1950s is a world of creativity waiting to happen. Every needlework magazine offered the latest in bags for this use or that one. Individual crochet booklets offered bags. Once in a while, a company published a booklet containing instructions for bags for nearly every use imaginable.

Vintage bags organized life

In a vintage household, a bag was a sign of organization. Items that needed their own places found themselves nestled into bags or containers specifically made for them. The most obvious example of this in the vintage home was the string holder which hung in the kitchen or pantry.

Have you ever tried to keep a ball of string from unraveling until you used the last of it? Regardless whether it’s thin or thick, slick or rough, string tends to unwind. And it often unwinds in large bunches, a layer at a time. Let’s say you’re in a hurry, you need some string, you open that kitchen drawer and… it’s everywhere. Somehow the string got caught in the ice pick and several layers lie strewn about the top of the drawer. You can’t even see the cut end to pull it. And you are in a hurry. You were on your way out the door to a meeting, and planned to take this package with you….

Keep the string handy

You can see the problem. Thus, one of the most oft-used bags in a kitchen was the string bag. Sometimes it looked like a tomato hanging from a hook. Other times it looked like a puffy round ball of fabric. At all times, though, a thin string of some kind hung from an opening in the bottom of the bag. You pulled the string, it unwound inside the bag, and you cut off whatever you needed to use. The rest of it waited in the bag until next time.

And why did everyone need a ball of string or twine in the kitchen? Because before 1930, Scotch/cellophane tape did not exist. There was no tape. The only tape that existed was for medical use. Everyone else used string. Need to truss a chicken? Cut some string. Tying a roast for dinner? Use the string. Need to get that package ready for the mail? Grab the string. (This, by the way, is why the U.S. Postal Service still states that they cannot accept packages tied with string for mailing. Because for many years, they did! You can find that in this list of packaging suggestions from the USPS.)

Keeping a ball of general purpose string handy is still a good idea. Several times a year I find myself poking through my yarn stash, in search of some inexpensive cotton string or yarn that I can use to tie or measure something. And to keep it neat, I can make a string holder for the pantry.

Organize that linen closet!

If you really had your act together in 1925-1945, your linen closet held a selection of specially made bags. Some held sheets and pillow cases. Others held your best tablecloths. Opening your linen closet door, you could take immediate stock of what was available and what you needed. Your linen closet might even hold a closed bag for soiled laundry of some kind.

Keep your crafting separate

Do you tat lace? Then you need a small bag that hangs from your wrist so that your lacemaking thread remains untangled –– and stays with you instead of rolling across the floor. You also need a small bag to keep your tatting shuttles and other implements safe. In that bag goes your current project.

If you knit, you need a knitting bag. Or two. Or more. Some knitters are One Project At A Time knitters, but most knitters I know have two to three projects going on a time. Often they are a quickly made project, an intermediate length project and something large like an afghan or a detailed cardigan that takes many hours of work. Mixing these together in one knitting bag is not wise. All those knitting needles start talking together while you aren’t looking, and before you know it you have a knitting mutiny on your hands.

Seriously, though, keeping projects separate means that they remain clean. They also survive with fewer poked holes in them. I don’t know what those knitting needles do in there, but I inevitably find a stray needle poking through my current project if I have more than one per knitting bag.

Crocheters need bags too. Even though it uses yarn just like knitting, a crochet project works best by itself in its own organization bag. For one thing, crochet can get bulky as the project grows.

Today many crafters grab a large ziplock bag to create a “project bag” with yarn or thread, needles or shuttle. Then they are ready to go. These individual crafting bags predated the plastic ziplock bag and fulfill the same function. Truly, they were bags for every use.

Sewing on the go

Although makers use their sewing machines a lot, keeping a sewing bag close at hand can be quite useful. A few vintage lovers find themselves making garments and items completely by hand. Others (myself included) prefer handworked buttonholes to machine buttonholes. (The fact that I can’t seem to get a buttonholer attachment to work with any of my vintage machines doesn’t help either, but I digress…)

Mending used to be never-ending in the vintage household. Someone always needed a replaced button, lengthened dresses or pants, darned socks. The clever worker kept a mending bag just for these items, with a darning egg, matching threads, strong threads for attaching buttons, and other such necessities. That way, when ten spare minutes presented themselves, they could grab the bag, open it up, and complete a quick project.

Other people kept a sewing bag specifically for pickup work. This included small handmade gifts, embroidery projects for spare moments, and that placemat project you wanted to start last year. Items you can pick up, spend half an hour on, and put back down until next time.

So when you see those lists of bag projects from vintage years, keep in mind that the vintage worker kept bags for every use under the sun. If you’re looking for an easy project to carry in a bag, these Outline Stitch squares go together to make up a small quilt.

The Creative Corner · Vintage Needlework

Edgings Crocheted Widthwise

Five crocheted edgings on a table with their ends tucked under a vintage crocheted placemat.
All these were created by crocheting short rows, working back and forth.

Today I have something that I hope will intrigue some of you. When I posted the article on Five Great Vintage Crochet Edgings, I promised you this one, too. Today I bring you Edgings Crocheted Widthwise. Four of these date from the 1920s and one from the 1940s.

Why crochet using the narrow side?

Edgings Crocheted Widthwise? What does that even mean? Well, most of the time when you crochet an edging, you make a really long chain or you work a base row of single crochet onto an item and then build your edging upon that. These are the two ways you usually create an edging. But there’s another way.

Some edgings build from the narrow side, row by row. You start with a foundation of 20 stitches, a few more or a few less. Then you crochet one row at a time back and forth, back and forth on those few stitches until you have an inch of edging. Then two inches. Five inches. A foot. A yard. And so on.

This is how knitted edgings and many tatted edgings are made, and it’s a nice way to create an edging. Most knitted edgings historically start with a few stitches and work back and forth until you reach the length you need. Many tatted edgings start with one ring and work back and forth, back and forth, to make a yard or two of lace. You create the length that you need, and you’re finished.

Give one or more of these a try

Give one or more of these edgings a try. Some go faster than others. If you need speed, look for an edging that either uses shells in its construction or open squares, called filet. Those are generally the quickest to make.

On the other hand you can create an edging like this that’s as involved and deep as you like. I’ve seen patterns for edgings three or more inches deep using fine thread that you work widthwise rather than lengthwise. A crochet hook can turn out very elaborate edgings this way.

If your time is at a premium, the first three edgings go fairly quickly. The latter two took more time to create per inch of length. All these edgings are crocheted with size 10 Aunt Lydia’s crochet thread. However, the original instructions called for a much finer thread if they specified any thread at all. Make sure your thread and your hook size match so that the edgings are sturdy without being too tight. Size 10 thread = size 7 metal crochet hook. Size 80 thread = size 13 or 14 metal crochet hook.

You will need

For these edgings crocheted widthwise, you will need:

  • crochet thread (If you have no access to threads you can find many different sizes at The Tatting Corner.)
  • a corresponding size steel crochet hook

Remember, thick threads or yarns need bigger hooks than the narrow threads.

Edging 1

Crochet edging that looks like leaves on an open square background. This edging is crocheted widthwise, from the narrow end.
Edging one is a quick and easy filet pattern.

As you can see from the family photo at the top, this edging looks like leaves on an open background.

  1. Make a chain of 17 stitches.
  2. Make a double crochet (dc) stitch in the 8th stitch from the hook, then (chain 2, skip 2 chains below, and 1 dc in the next ch) 3 times. Turn. You now should have a row of four open squares.
  3. Chain 5, dc over the next dc, chain 2, dc over the next dc, 6 dc.
  4. Chain 5, skip 3 ch on your hook, and make 1 dc in the next 2 chains, then 10 dc in the next 10 stitches of the previous row, ch 2, skip 2, 1 dc.
  5. Chain 5, dc over the next dc, chain 2, dc over the next dc, 6 dc.
  6. Make a double crochet (dc) stitch in the 8th stitch from the hook, then (chain 2, skip 2 chains below, and 1 dc in the next ch) 3 times. Turn. You now should have a row of four open squares.
  7. Repeat from Step 3.

This is an example of an easy filet edging. Once you get the hang of filet it’s relatively quick. It was extremely popular in the 1910s and 20s. As the use of netting as a needlework technique declined, filet crochet took its place.

Edging 2

Crocheted edging that has small rectangles of solid crochet set into a lacy heading. An unusual edging from the Twenties.
An unusual modified filet crochet edging that ends on the diagonal when completed.

This edging is unusual because the pattern ends on the diagonal. Not many Twenties patterns looked like this.

  1. Chain 20 stitches.
  2. Make a double crochet (dc) in the 6th stitch from the hook, dc in each of the next 2 stitches, chain 2, skip 2 stitches, dc in next stitch, ch 2, skip 2 stitches, dc in next stitch, 6 dc. [Those empty squares are called spaces in filet crochet, and the filled squares are called blocks.]
  3. Chain 3, then 6 dc in the next 6 dc of the previous row (you will skip the first stitch. The chain 3 counts as the first dc.), chain 2, skip 2, dc, chain 2, skip 2, dc, ch 2, 3 dc under the chain-3 at the beginning of the last row, chain 2, and then a treble stitch (tr) under the same chain as the 3 dc.
  4. Chain 5, 3 dc under the 2-chain, chain 2, skip 2, dc, ch 2, skip 2, dc [2 spaces made], 6 dc.
  5. Repeat from Step 3.

This is a two-row pattern that’s easy to memorize once you get the hang of it.

Edging 3

Simple crocheted edging in white with a jagged pointed lower edge.
This pointed edge lace from the Twenties would look great on towels, aprons, or linens.

This edging consists of two easy-to-memorize rows, and it goes fairly quickly. The original instructions called for a size 60 thread and a metal crochet hook size 13, which would make it tiny.

  1. Chain (ch) 11.
  2. 1 sc (single crochet) in the 2nd chain from hook, 1 dc (double crochet) in next three ch. Chain 2, skip 2, dc in next ch. Ch 2, skip 2, dc in next.
  3. Turn, ch 5, dc in 2nd dc, ch 2 dc in next dc, ch 4, turn.
  4. Repeat from Step 2.

Edging 4

Lacy crocheted edging with small scallops along one side.
A lacy edging from the Twenties, crocheted side to side.

This edging is a bit more complicated and requires some concentration to get into the flow of the stitches.

  1. Chain (ch) 9, turn.
  2. 1 double crochet (dc) in 5th chain from hook, skip 2 ch, dc in next, ch 2, dc in same chain. Chain 3, sc in end of chain. This sets up the foundation row for the rest of the lace.
  3. Turn, ch 1, in 3-chain loop make 2 sc, 2 ch, 2 sc, 2 ch, 2 sc, 2 ch, 1 sc. (This will be tight and you may need to stop and scrunch the stitches up to fit them all in.) Then chain 5, dc into the next 2-chain loop, and in the 5-chain loop at the end make 1 dc, 2 ch, 1 dc.
  4. Turn, chain 5, 1 dc into 2-ch loop, in next 5-ch loop make 1 dc, 2 ch, 2 dc, 3 ch, 1 sc.
  5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 for the length of the lace.

Edging 5

Half-completed lace edging showing the making of the lace as well as a second row of chain stitches across the top that makes a header.
This Forties edging is a bit more complicated than the others.

This edging is made in two stages. In stage one you make the lace itself, and in stage two you come back across the length with a chain, picking up the top loops as you go. This creates a header chain for sewing the lace onto something else. Here you see the lace completed and the header chain half-done.

  1. Chain 6.
  2. In 6th chain (ch) from hook make 2 dc (double crochet) ch 2 and 2 dc (shell made). Ch 5, turn.
  3. In 2-chain space of shell make a shell as before (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc), ch 9, sc (single crochet) in next turning loop.
  4. In ch-9 loop make (2 sc, ch 3) 6 times; then 2 sc in the same loop. Ch 2, shell in space of next shell, chain 5, turn.
  5. Shell in space of next shell, treble crochet in 2nd 3-chain picot. Chain 5, turn.
  6. Shell in space of next shell, chain 5, turn.
  7. Shell in space of next shell, chain 9, sc under previous treble-bar. Turn.
  8. Repeat Steps 4 to 7 for desired length, ending with Step 4. Do not turn work when you’re finished, and work the heading by (sc in next ch-5 loop, ch 5) repeating this across to the beginning.

You choose the size

I hope this intrigues you enough to attempt edgings crocheted widthwise. These patterns lead to a very different edging look. Best of all, you can make these with any size thread and hook that you want. I did them all in size 10 thread because it makes the details easier to see. I wrote an article about making crochet in various sizes here. Check it out.

The Creative Corner · Vintage Needlework

Make Vintage Crochet Any Size You Want

Table with the same crochet edging in three sizes: large, medium, and small. Each one shows the hook used and the text reads: Make Your Crochet Project Any Size You Want.
Don’t let suggested threads or yarns hold you back.

Lots of crafters these days find themselves caught up in creating things the perfect way. With the perfect yarn. In the perfect color. In other words, so that it looks exactly like the original item. Today I bring you words of wisdom from the past: you can make vintage crochet any size you want!

It’s true that many vintage instruction books called for a particular thread, or a particular yarn. But others didn’t. It all depended upon the sponsor –– who paid for the publication of the book or magazine. If you page through an old copy of The Delineator, for instance, you will see that only Butterick patterns are advertised. That’s because the Butterick Publishing Company created The Delineator for the express purpose of showing off the lastest fashion and for selling patterns.

The same is true for many of the crochet and knitting instruction books that were published. J&P Coats, Clark’s, and Corticelli all published instruction books. These companies also made and sold cotton or silk thread. They realized, like companies today, that if no patterns are available to use the threads or yarn, very few will buy them.

Vintage independent designers give you freedom

However, you can find independent vintage patterns. They usually live in the needlework magazines that paid designers for their work and depended upon subscriber and advertising income. In those articles you will find phrases like “make this design according to your needs” and “match your hook to your thread size.” If the reader needed a design that would fit on a table, then making it in a fine thread made sense. If, on the other hand, the worker wanted a bed spread, coarser thread and a larger crochet hook or knitting needles would get them there.

Closeup of three crochet edgings done in three different size threads. A crochet hook rests on each edging, showing the size differences.
The edgings up close and personal.

Here, I took a favorite design from a 1925 periodical and created it in three different sizes. I crocheted the top edging in Sugar ‘n Cream cotton worsted weight yarn and a 5 mm (H/8) hook. It’s usually used to make toys and dishcloths. I made the middle edging in Aunt Lydia’s size 10 (1.3mm) crochet cotton and a size 7 (1.65 mm) steel hook. The bottom edging I crocheted from a Greek size 50 thread and a size 10 steel hook. You’ll find the pattern for this edging in my blog post Five Great Vintage Crochet Edgings. It’s Edging 4. If you want to know general thread-to-hook sizes, check this crochet hook size chart from DMC. Scroll about halfway down to find it.

If you need an edging for a heavy curtain, a bedspread, an afghan, or a shelf, the top design would be perfect. On the other hand, if you recreate a Twenties dress and need a long trim to go down one side from neck to hem, the second size would work well. And finally, if you wanted a deep edging for a handkerchief, something to trim underclothes, or even to dresss up a child’s dress or shirt hem, you could use the finest version shown. See? You can make vintage crochet any size you want.

The Creative Corner · Vintage Needlework

Five Great Vintage Crochet Edgings

Five different crocheted laces spread out in a fan shape on a wooden table. They are held down by a large magnifying glass.
You can use these five vintage crocheted edgings for lots of things.

If you are into vintage crafts or sewing, you need these five great vintage crochet edgings. Sooner or later you will need an edging for something. Whether it’s a curtain or clothing, trimming a hat or a basket, these crochet patterns will help you out.

The vintage needleworker decorated all kinds of things. In a world where most fabric came in solids, checks, or stripes, trims proved a welcome addition. Ribbons, laces, and flowers made all kinds of objects shiny and fancy. They dressed up last year’s clothing, updated last season’s toque, and brought springtime freshness to indoor rooms.

Vintage crafters didn’t have access to a lot of needlework patterns. They collected magazines when they could, and sometimes referred to patterns 10 or more years earlier if they needed something specific. Creators also found two or three patterns they liked and tended to use them over and over again. These five great vintage crochet edgings give you a starting point. You can begin your own favorite pattern collection.

Often a vintage pattern suggests that you finish edges with trims. You could be making an apron, a tablecloth, or a dress. Especially with the long lines of Twenties clothing, a strip of handmade lace makes that dress look right in fashion –– for 1925.

Not to mention, machine-made laces aren’t what they used to be. A garment that gets a lot of use like an apron or a nightgown needs sturdy lace. Tatting would be best, and I’ll cover that in another post. If you don’t know how to tat, though, or you tat lace beautifully but don’t want to spend two months doing it, crocheted lace is your answer.

Quick and easy

Crocheted lace is relatively quick to make, it offers lots of variations, and it’s pretty. If you know how to make a chain, a single crochet, and a treble crochet, you can make any of these laces. And if you don’t, the YouTube links in the previous sentence will show you how to do just that.

Although each of these patterns could be a post in itself, I’ve decided to combine them. I have so much to share with you that if I posted one edging pattern at a time we’d never get through even half of it.

I crocheted all these great vintage crochet edgings with size 10 thread (equivalent to size 5 pearl cotton), using a steel crochet hook size 7. You can make them with whatever size thread (or yarn) you like. Would these look good on the edge of that new afghan? Absolutely they would! In fact, if you are adding this to a crocheted or knitted item, you can omit the foundation chain. Start the instructions with 2: Work a single crochet in each chain. For a knitted item, single crochet in every stitch along a cast on/cast off edge, and every other stitch down the sides.

Make as long or short as you like

No amount of thread is given because the amount you need totally depends on what you are making and how long it needs to be.

All of these edgings are worked the same way. You start by making a chain as long as you want the lace to be when it’s finished. Then you crochet back to the beginning with a second row of one single crochet stitch in each stitch of the foundation. I suggest that you begin the solid row of single crochets (marked as row 2 in these instructions) with an extra chain, which helps to make that first single crochet stitch look finished. The original Twenties instructions didn’t call for that; if you find it looks better without it, feel free to leave it out.

Here they are… Five Great Vintage Crochet Edgings for anything and everything you can think to use them on.

Edging 1

Strip of thin crocheted lace on wooden table. Edging 1.
Edging 1

This edging measures 5/8-inch deep when made in size 10 thread.

  1. Make a foundation chain the length required. If you want to be perfect about it, make a chain in a multiple of seven stitches.
  2. Chain 1, and turn. Work a single crochet (sc) in each stitch of the foundation chain.
  3. *Skip 1st stitch, work a single crochet in next two stitches, skip next stitch. Then work sc in loop, chain 4, sc in loop, chain 4, sc in loop, chain 4, sc. Repeat from * across row.
  4. Finish off the ends.

Edging 2

Strip of crocheted lace on wooden table. Edging 2.
Edging 2

This edging measures 3/4-inch deep when made in size 10 thread.

  1. Make a foundation chain the length required. If you want to be perfect about it, make a chain in a multiple of fourteen stitches.
  2. Chain 1, and turn. Work a single crochet (sc) in each stitch of the foundation chain.
  3. *Work a sc in the first stitch, chain 2; skip 3 stitches; (treble stitch, chain 2) 5 times; skip 3 stitches, sc in next stitch; chain 7; skip 5 stitches and sc in next stitch. Repeat from * across the row.
  4. *2 sc under first 2-chain loop, 2 sc under second loop, 2 sc under third loop; in the middle loop make 1 sc, chain 4, and 1 sc; 2 sc under next 2-chain loop, 2 sc under last 2-chain loop; in the large loop make 3 sc, chain 4, and 3 sc. You will have covered all the previous row’s chains with single crochet stitches, and the chain-4s of this row make the picots at the points. Repeat across the row from *.
  5. Finish off the ends.

Edging 3

Strip of crocheted lace with points on wooden table. Edging 3.
Edging 3

This edging measures 1 inch deep when made in size 10 thread.

  1. Make a foundation chain the length required. If you want to be perfect about it, make a chain in a multiple of eleven stitches, plus 9 at the end.
  2. Chain 1, and turn. Work a single crochet (sc) in each stitch of the foundation chain.
  3. *Work 9 sc in 9 stitches of the previous row, chain 4, and skip 2 stitches. Repeat from * across the row. You should end the row with a final 9 sc in 9 stitches.
  4. *Skip the first stitch of the previous row’s 9 stitch set, and work 7 sc into the next 7 stitches. Chain 6. Repeat from * across the row. You will end with 7 sc over the final 9 stitches.
  5. *Skip the first stitch of the previous row’s 7 stitch set, and work 5 sc into the next 5 stitches. Chain 4, single crochet in the middle of the previous 2 rows’ loose chains, catching them both in the stitch, and then chain 4. Repeat from * across the row. You will end with 5 sc over the final 7 stitches.
  6. *Skip the first stitch of the previous row’s 5 stitch set, and work 3 sc into the next 3 stitches. Chain 3; sc into loop, chain 8, sc into next loop, chain 3. Repeat from * across the row. You will end with 3 sc over the last 5 stitches.
  7. *Skip the first stitch, sc in the next stitch, skip the third stitch; 4 sc into the 3-chain loop; 4 sc into the 8-chain loop, then chain 4 for the picot, and complete the loop with 4 sc; 4 sc into the final 3-chain loop. Repeat across the row.
  8. Finish off the ends.

Edging 4

Strip of airy crocheted lace on wooden table. Edging 4.
Edging 4

This edging measures 1 1/4 inches deep when made in size 10 thread.

  1. Make a foundation chain the length required. If you want to be perfect about it, make a chain in a multiple of thirteen stitches, plus one extra at the end.
  2. Chain 1, and turn. Work a single crochet (sc) in each stitch of the foundation chain.
  3. *Work a sc in the first stitch, chain 2; skip 3 stitches; 2 treble stitches in the next stitch, (chain 4, 2 treble stitches in the next stitch) twice; chain 2, skip 3 stitches, sc in next stitch. Repeat from * across the row.
  4. *2 sc in loop of 2 chains, chain 3, sc into next 2-chain loop, chain 4, sc under 4-chain, chain 4, sc under 4-chain, chain 4, sc in loop of 2 chains, chain 3. Repeat across the row from *.
  5. Work a sc in loop of 3-chain, *chain 3, sc in next loop, chain 4, treble stitch in next loop, chain 7. Make a slip stitch in the fifth stitch from your hook. This makes a picot. Chain 2, treble stitch in the same large loop as before, chain 4, sc in next loop, chain 3, sc in next loop, sc in next loop. Repeat from * across row.
  6. Finish off the ends.

Edging 5

Strip of
Edging 5

This edging measures 1 inch deep when made in size 10 thread.

  1. Make a foundation chain the length required. If you want to be perfect about it, make a chain in a multiple of three stitches, and then one more.
  2. Chain 1, and turn. Work a single crochet (sc) in each stitch of the foundation chain.
  3. Chain 4, and make a treble stitch in the first stitch, working off 2 stitches twice and leaving 2 stitches on your hook. Make another treble stitch in the same place, working off the stitches 3 at a time until you have three loops left. Pull through all three loops at once. You’ve just made a crochet cluster, which is the main part of this lace. *Chain 6, skip two stitches, and make a group of three treble stitches in the next stitch, working off as before. Repeat from * across the row. You should end with a cluster in the last stitch, or close to it.
  4. Chain 3; work a sc in loop of 6 chains. Repeat across the row.
  5. Chain 2, sc in loop of 3 chains; *Chain 6, sc in next loop. Repeat from * across row.
  6. Finish off the ends.

No matter how you decide to use these great vintage crochet edgings, they will make your creations vintage-authentic. And if you’re interested in more vintage crochet, check this blog post on 1950s Crocheted Glass Covers (Cozies).

The Creative Corner · Vintage Fashion · Vintage Needlework

1940s Style Trendy Brooch

A 1940s leaf lapel pin or brooch to enhance your wardrobe.

Brooches are trendy right now. What used to be called a lapel pin, these ornaments can decorate a top, a belt, a purse, or the hip of a skirt or pair of dress pants. With a little thread and a crochet hook, you can make this 1940s style trendy brooch for yourself.

The pattern calls for size 5 pearl cotton, which I had plenty of. You could also use size 10 crochet thread, but it won’t have the sheen that identifies pearl cotton. Also, you may find crochet thread more difficult to work with, since it is a stiffer thread.

When I read the pattern it said that each of the three leaves would take 20 yards of thread. Not the way I crochet, they didn’t! Here are the threads I pulled to make this pin. I only used the first two.

Five skeins of orange shiny pearl cotton thread, with a crochet hook diagonally across them.
I pulled five skeins of pearl cotton for this project. I only needed the first two.

I started crocheting from the left to the right, thinking that each leaf would need a bit of each color, leaving the extra DMC 326 for the bow at the bottom. If I’d known this pattern required less than two of these skeins of DMC pearl cotton #5 (at 27 yards per skein), I would have made this in teal. I liked these oranges, but I loved the teal pearl cotton I found in my stash. This also would have looked great made completely in DMC 326, which are the two at the end.

One of the great things about vintage patterns is that they don’t care what color you use for projects. All your clothes are black and a set of snowy white leaves would look awesome in a pin? Then use white. You love the deep jewel colors? Find a burgundy or emerald pearl cotton and go to town. I love the colors of autumn, so when I found five coordinating colors of rusty orange my heard skipped a beat. I gatherred them up and went in search of a suitable crochet hook.

You Will Need

  • Two to three skeins pearl cotton #5 in the color of your choice (or 1-2 balls of 5 pearl cotton) If you need pearl cotton and don’t know where to find it, you can get beautiful DMC or Finca perle (pearl) cotton from the Tatting Corner.
  • A size 7 metal crochet hook like you see in the photo above
  • A nice-sized safety pin or actual pin back
  • A needle for sewing everything together
  • Matching thread if you don’t want to assemble this completely with the pearl cotton. (I used the pearl cotton.)

What to do

First of all, this is a tricky pattern. If you are a new crocheter, take it slow and follow the directions exactly. Count a lot. If you don’t have the correct number of stitches at the end of a row, try again. If you decide to push on anyway, know that your leaf will be just as pretty when it’s finished. It won’t be as large, however. It will be shorter and a bit less wide.

How do I know? Because I had to make one of the leaves three times before I got the hang of the pattern. I hope to save you the same trouble.

You are going to make three leaves and sew them together, and then make a bow to decorate the bottom. Ready? Here we go. One 1940s style trendy brooch awaits your trusty crochet hook.


  • st: stitch
  • sk: skip
  • lps: loops
  • sc: single crochet
  • hdc: half double crochet (thread over hook once, insert hook in the stitch, and pull thread through, thread over hook again and draw through all the loops on the hook at once.
  • dc: double crochet

Leaf (make 3)

Row 1: Starting at the tip of the leaf, ch 6. Working back up the chain, skip 1 st, 4 sc on ch, (1 sc, ch 3, 1 sc) into the end stitch. Coming up the other side of the starting chain, work 3 sc on the other side of the chain. Work the following rows in the back loops only to form ridges.

Very beginning of a crochet leaf pattern in orange thread. It looks like an oval.
First row of the leaf. You are working down one side of the beginning chain and back up the other side.

Note: Working the stitches into the back loop of the previous row forms ridges that look like the veins of a leaf. If you can’t do this or it feels uncomfortable, then don’t. Your leaf will be just as pretty without the ridges.

Row 2: Ch 1, turn, sc in back lps of each last 4 sc, (1 sc, ch 3, 1 sc) in tip 3-chain, then sc in each of the next 4 sc.

Row 3: Ch 1, turn, sc in each of last 5 sc, (1 sc, ch 3, 1 sc) in previous row 3-ch, sc in each of the next 4 sc.

Row 4: Ch 2, turn, 1 sc on the first of the two chains you just made, then 1 sc in each of the next 5 sc, (1 sc, ch 3, 1 sc) in previous row 3-ch, sc in each of the next 5 sc.

Row 5: Ch 2, turn, 1 sc on chain as before, 1 sc in each sc up to the tip, then (1 sc, 3 ch, 1 sc) in 3-ch from previous row, then 1 sc in each sc up to the second stitch from the end. [You are leaving one stitch unworked at the end of the row.]

Row 6: Repeat Row 5. [Each row should have one more sc than the preceding one, so this would be 1 sc in each of the next 7 sc.]

Row 7: Repeat Row 5. [Crocheting 1 sc in each of the next 8 sc.]

Row 8: Repeat Row 5. [Crocheting 1 sc in each of the next 9 sc.]

Row 9: Ch 2, turn, 1 sc on ch, 10 sc, (1 sc, ch 3, 1 sc) in 3-ch, 9 sc.

Row 10: Ch 1, turn, 10 sc, (1 sc, ch 3, 1 sc) in 3-ch, 10 sc.

Crocheted point of a leaf in golden orange thread, showing progress from the beginning.
Your leaf should look something like this.

Row 11: Ch 1, turn, 11 sc, (1 sc, ch 3, 1 sc) in 3-ch, 10 sc.

Row 12: Ch 1, turn, 11 sc, (1 sc, ch 3, 1 sc) in 3-ch, 10 sc.

Row 13: Ch 1, turn, 11 sc, (1 sc, ch 3, 1 sc) in 3-ch, 10 sc.

Row 14: Ch 1, turn, 11 sc, (1 sc, ch 3, 1 sc) in 3-ch, 10 sc.

Row 15: Ch 1, turn, skip last sc, sc in next 10 sc, (1 sc, ch 3, 1 sc) in ch-3, 10 sc.

Row 16: Ch 1, turn, sk last sc, 10 sc, (1 sc, ch 3, 1 sc) in ch-3, 9 sc.

Row 17: Ch 1, turn, sk last sc, 1 sc in each remaining sc up to the point, (1 sc, ch 3, 1 sc) in 3-ch, 1 sc in each sc through third from end. [You are leaving two sc unworked at the end of the row.]

Row 18: Repeat Row 17. You should have one less stitch than the row before.

Row 19: Repeat Row 17. You should have one less stitch than the row before.

Row 20: Repeat Row 17. You should have one less stitch than the row before.

Row 21: Repeat Row 17. You should have one less stitch than the row before.

Row 22: Repeat Row 17. You should have one less stitch than the row before.

Row 23: Repeat Row 17. You should have one less stitch than the row before.

Row 24: Repeat Row 17. You should have one less stitch than the row before. Fasten off.

Once your three leaves are complete, sew them together with the center leaf over the other two. See picture below.

Three crocheted leaves are arranged on top a tatted doily.
The three leaves are complete and ready to sew together.

Making the bow

This part is a bit complicated. You are going to make a small circle of stitches and go around and around those few stitches to make a tube. The easiest way to do this is to go into the stitch holding your hook from the outside pointed in. Pick up the stitch you need to work, and carefully tilt your crochet hook upward so you don’t snag anything else along the way. Then complete the stitch.

Crochet cord in orange pearl cotton.
This is what the cording looks like. This will form the bow at the base of the pin.

The bow: Ch 2. Make 2 sc, 1 hdc, and 2 dc in the first chain.

Using the back loops only, the ones closest to the center of the circle, make 1 dc in each of the 5 stitches.

Continue around and around, 1 dc in each dc, until you have 10 1/2 inches of rope. Close the end with slip stitches and fasten off.

Note: Crocheting into the back loop only makes the rope look spiraled and fancy. If this is too difficult, don’t do it. Your rope will still look nice and shiny in pearl cotton.

Make a short length the same way, measuring only 1 1/2 inches long. Fasten off the same way as the longer cord.

Fold the longer cord into two loops with two ends, as you see in the photos. Take a couple stitches through all the loops to hold them. Then use the shorter length around the middle to form a completed bow. Sew it in place invisibly.

I knotted the shorter piece around the longer one, and then took the ends and sewed them first to the bow to hold it still and then I used the rest of those ends to sew the bow to the leaves. Here’s what it looks like when it’s completed:

Completed pin with three leaves and a bow, all in shades of golden orange.
All finished and ready to wear.

Turn the completed pin over. If you think some of the pieces are too loose, use some extra pearl cotton or thread to tack them down. Then sew the pin to the middle of the pin so that you can attach it to whatever you want. Voilá! You did it! You are now the proud owner of a true 1940s style trendy brooch.

If you’d like to try another vintage crochet project, take a look at my post on 1950s Crocheted Glass Covers.

Decorations and Decor · The Creative Corner · Vintage Needlework

Make Spring Felt Bookmarks

Whether you need a quick 1950s party favor, a pretty placeholder for your reading material, or you need a rainy day craft project, these 1950s spring-themed felt bookmarks solve your problem. All you need is a tiny bit of felt, a needle and embroidery thread, some yarn, and a crochet hook.

Spring felt bookmarks. A tulip in a vase, two butterflies, and two brown-eyed susans.
Make some happy spring bookmarks from felt

I love working with felt. It doesn’t fray, it comes in bright colors, and a little bit goes a long way. One 9 x 12 inch sheet of felt makes several small things, which is really nice if you want a party favor or something small to include in mailed greeting cards. Choose one design, pick a couple colors, and make a bunch of them. Or dive in, purchase an assortment of coordinated felt pieces, and have a blast making all the felt things.

Two spring felt bookmarks, one with two strawberries and one with two plums. The felt pieces are attached to a length of green yarn.
And even more happy spring bookmarks. All made from felt and yarn.

To show off this pattern, I made one of each design. My favorites while I was making them were the strawberries and the plums. Once complete, however, I like the butterflies and the tulips the best. I followed the directions, using two strands of yarn (DK/sport weight) for the butterflies and one strand of the same weight for the fruit. If I were making this again I would use two strands for the fruit as well. (You can do this from one small ball of yarn by finding both ends and pulling from them at the same time to make your two strands.)

Let’s Talk Felt

Two butterfly shapes, two strawberry shapes, and two plum shapes cut from felt.
This is 2 mm thick felt. Not your general cheap flimsy craft felt.

Now let’s talk about felt. When you start to replicate older patterns and you use the felt you pick up at the craft store, it seems thin. It flops. It drapes over your hand. This is not sturdy felt. You can use it to make things, but your projects won’t turn out as well as they could.

Why? Because the felt of 1920-1960 was different. For one thing, it was made from wool. If it wasn’t made from wool, it was made from high quality rayon fibers, a blend of wool and rayon, or even cotton. What it wasn’t made from: acrylic or polyester.

Today’s craft felt is thin, wimpy, and made from acrylic or polyester. It does not hold a shape well, it’s difficult to work with, and sometimes you can even see through it! That is not the felt you need for a retro project. Using this quality felt for a 40’s or 50’s craft project, unless you double it for every piece, will end in disappointment.

Buying the Thick Stuff

If you want to make spring felt bookmarks, it needs old-style felt. For a retro project like this you need 2 mm craft felt. It can be a wool blend if you like. But fear not. If a wool allergy plagues you, 2mm felt is available in 100% polyester and it works great for projects like these. That’s what I used.

I found my polyester crafty felt at local craft shops like Michaels and Hobby Lobby. It will either be marked 2mm felt or it may be marked Premium or Heavy Duty. This felt holds its shape well, proves easy to cut, and is all-around a delight to work with. It only has two drawbacks. First, it costs a bit more than regular wimpy transparent craft felt. Second, and probably more important, it comes in a very limited color range.

Note: If you are making layered crafting projects, such as stuffed felt ornaments for the holidays, then 1mm 100% wool works beautifully. Most retro or vintage projects, however, require a stiffer felt.

If you have a particular project in mind, this is when you hop on the Internet and do some online shopping. Take a look at Living Felt, The Felt Pod, Weir Crafts, or My Felt Lady in the UK. Felt and Craft sells a wool blend felt with wool and rayon. Most of these listed sell felt with various thickness from 1mm – 3mm. I haven’t tried any of them, but I placed an order with Weir Crafts to try their felt. If you prefer Amazon, many of these felts can be purchased via Amazon as well.

On to the Projects…

Was all that necessary? Yes, if you want a nice project when you’re finished. I spent years playing with felt, and general crafting felt gets lighter and more flimsy each and every year. In order to continue enjoying the craft I needed to do some research and make a change. Actually, the impetus for this came by an unusual find.

While leafing through old magazines and patterns one day, I came upon an envelope addressed to my husband’s grandmother. This envelope arrived at her house sometime in the mid to late 1940s. On the front someone had penciled the word green. Opening it, I found a genuine 1940s piece of felt and a small pattern. The felt was in fern/avocado green.

And this felt felt different. It had body. Substance. In fact, it felt quite stiff, even after 70 years in the envelope. I could imagine myself cutting this and using it for the included lapel pin pattern. That’s when I realized that the felt of yesteryear was not the felt we are buying today. Decent felt is more expensive, but it lasts so long when used for tiny vintage projects that the cost evaporates over time. Making ten small projects from an 8 x 10-inch piece of all wool felt takes the $4.00 cost down to $0.40 per project, more than reasonable as a crafting cost.

You Will Need

One of the great things about these vintage patterns is that you don’t need to purchase Color Number 783.5 of anything in order to complete a project. These designs were often brand independent, and they were definitely color independent. If you have embroidery floss that will work, use it. If you want to make the plums and all you have is light purple felt, go for it. That’s all I had and mine turned out great. If you want yellow strawberries because you have yellow felt and no red felt, make yellow strawberries. Part of the artistry included choosing your own colors for your makes. You can make spring felt bookmarks with whatever you have on hand, or what you can easily get.

  • Felt in green, yellow, purple, red, brown, and any color you like for the butterflies, tulip, and tulip pot.
  • Embroidery thread in white, yellow, brown, green. I used colors from a handful of generic six-strand embroidery thread I found lying around. I used two strands for embroidery and one strand for sewing. Be gentle; embroidery thread can break if you pull too hard.
  • Yarn. I used sport/DK weight that I had, in green. For the butterflies I used pink and purple to match them.
  • A crochet hook to match your yarn weight, either 3.5 or 4 mm. If you can’t crochet, cut three strands and make a braid. Works just as well.
  • Scissors
  • Pencil, pins, or thin sewing needle to pin your pattern down
  • The printed pattern

How to Make Them

Drawing with shapes to make spring felt bookmarks.
Pattern for spring felt bookmarks.

This project comes from a public domain 1950s craft magazine. Options include a potted tulip, butterflies, strawberries, plums, and brown-eyed susans. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Print the pattern. You may need to enlarge it so that it measures about 5 inches by 8 inches.
  2. Cut out the pattern pieces. You’ll notice that each piece is marked with the number of pieces you need to cut from each pattern.

The Tulip

Pieces for a tulip bookmark: yellow flower, stem, and blue pot all cut from felt.
Tulip bookmark pieces, cut and ready to go.
  1. For the tulip, cut the tulip flower, the stem piece from green, and the flower pot.
  2. Cut a contrasting band to fit across the flowerpot stripe.
  3. Stitch the band to the front of the pot.
  4. Attach the tulip to the top of the stem and the pot to the bottom, under the leaves.

The Brown-Eyed Susans

Felt pieces cut into yellow stars with eight points, smaller brown circles on top, and a green stem. These will make a flower bookmark.
Brown-eyed Susan parts, ready to make into a bookmark.
  1. Cut a 1.4-inch straight strip of green felt. Make it about eight inches long.
  2. Cut two yellow flower pieces.
  3. Cut two brown circle centers.
  4. Embroider the faces on the centers with yellow floss. For most of the face I used a feather stitch. This is like a laisy daisy stitch, but open instead of closed at the top.
  5. Sew the brown centers to the yellow flowers with small stitches in brown embroidery thread.

The Butterflies

  1. To make the butterflies, cut two butterflies and contrasting spots. You can see from the photo that I used pink and purple, cutting the pink butterfly’s spots from the purple felt and vice versa.
  2. Use two different colored strands of yarn to crochet a chain long enough that the butterflies will hang outside a book when closed. I used pink and purple to match my butterflies. [If you can’t crochet, then cut three strands of each color about 18 inches long. Place a knot about 1.5 inches from the end, and braid. Use one strand of each color in your 3-strand braid. When you reach the desired length, knot the end of the braid and cut off the excess about 1.5 inches from the end.]
  3. Knot both ends of your chain [or braid]. The loose ends form your butterfly’s antennae.
  4. Sew the chain along the middle of each butterfly. If you use a crocheted chain, notice that I sewed it upside down so that it looks like a braid. The backside of the crochet chain is seen; the front of the crochet (the loops) are facing the back of the bookmark.

The Strawberries

  1. Cut two strawberries from red.
  2. Use yellow embroidery thread to embroider the seeds along the berry. I didn’t bother to trace this, but simply did it by freehand. These are open laisy daisy stitches.
  3. Crochet a chain to form the middle of the bookmark from green yarn. I made mine about ten inches. Again, you can cut three strands and braid them. No one will ever know.
  4. Overlap the berry about 1/2 inch onto the chain, with the berry on top. Turn it over and sew the yarn onto the back of the berry. Repeat for the other side.
  5. For the strawberry stem, use green yarn and embroider three laisy daisy stitches along the top of the berry. Then make two yarn loops sticking up to show the rest of the stem.

The Plums

  1. Cut the two round plum pieces from purple felt.
  2. Crochet a chain to form the middle of the bookmark using green yarn. I made mine about ten inches. Again, you can cut three strands and braid them.
  3. Sew a plum to each end of the chain as you did for the strawberries.
  4. Use green thread or green yarn to embroider laisy daisy leaves on the top. I used embroidery thread; you use whatever you like.