Retro Sewing Sunday

Welcome to the first Retro Sewing Book Sunday!

One of my many crafting passions is vintage/retro/secondhand patchwork books.  I think Retro is a nice title, but really they are secondhand, many of them I have found for 10p at book sales.  I love the work from the period, a completely different time in patchwork – no rotary cutters, few exhibitions and virtually no craft weight cotton.  Give me a worn scrappy seventies quilt (even just the top) and I am a happy lady!

I got a chance in 2009 to do something with these books when I wrote my research paper called Print with Print: The Role of Liberty in the UK Quilt Revival.  It was part of my City and Guilds diploma studies, and subsequently it was submitted to and published by the British Quilt Study Group. More info here

Anyway… I started the research as I noticed Liberty fabric was used in lots of these books from the time, and when I chatted to patchworkers and saw their work from that time it often had Liberty fabric in it.  I also worked in their Brighton store (do you remember it?  it is where Gap kids is, we had 4 floors including a Muji) when at sixth form college in the mid 1990s so was already a bit of a Liberty fabric spotter.  My early research focused more on why there was a quilt revival in the UK at that time, than the company. I won’t talk too much about it now – I do talks on the paper and if you are really interested you can buy it here…

As the pile of books, magazines, and a few quilts have increased I have wanted to share them – the projects and styling reflect a time when crafting was just part of the household chores.  Many of the patterns have very sketchy instructions compared to what we have today maybe because sewing was part of the curriculum at school.

So, today say hello to…

Retor Sewing Sunday Mens Waistcoat

This is the cover of Golden Hands, Part 70/Vol 5 .

Now, we never usually see people on the front of patchwork magazines, let alone a gentleman on the front of Patchwork and Quilting, or maybe Popular Patchwork?  Not just a man, but one with a cigar in his hand looking like he will pour you a martini!

Quilted Mens Waistcoat
Quilted Mens Waistcoat

A closer look at the project inside – lovely little hand quilting stitches.  My husband has a friend who worked for Marshall Cavendish, so I did check it wasn’t him, but unfortunately it wasn’t (amusing if it had been..!).
I was given a set by a quilter, but if you want to make it (in the olive green and orange) the magazines do crop up on ebay, or in charity shops.


4 thoughts on “Retro Sewing Sunday

  1. Flying Blind March 24, 2013 / 2:28 pm

    Dear lord, the time fashion forgot!

    • quiltypleasures March 25, 2013 / 5:50 pm

      so cold today, I am actually starting to see the appeal of a quilted waistcoat – one with 5 layers of wadding!

  2. Alison Stokes March 25, 2013 / 6:22 pm

    I had every one of Golden Hands which I bought with my Saturday job money but sadly disposed of them many years ago.

    • quiltypleasures March 25, 2013 / 6:26 pm

      Oh no! These were given to me by a very generous fellow quilter. Maybe I’ll bring them along to one of the open house days for you to flick through. x

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