I was recently asked to make a custom spangle hat in a beanie style, and so, now that Christmas is over, I've been rummaging through my stacks of old needlework pattern books to see what I can find that might fit the bill, or be reasonably altered to fit the bill. I've been stashing away vintage pattern booklets since I taught myself to knit back in the late 1970's or so, and it's always a kick to pull the old patterns out and look them over. I usually find some terrific pattern I'd forgotten all about and want to try later (in this case, a knitted lace "fichu" or triangular shawl) and the photographs and descriptions of the fashions of these bygone eras are invariably amusing.
How'd you like to wear "Sailor, Beware!" from this 1939 publication? Sailors, nothing! I think anyone would be wary of a gal sporting a monstrosity like this on her head. Or any of the other avante garde designs sported in this booklet "From the Scroll of Fashion" produced by the Oregon Worsted Company of New York. But that's not the way the writers of this booklet describe it. Let me quote from the inside cover:
"Like a picture with a fitting frame . . . be a woman with a charming hat. Study the contours of your face, consider your coiffure, harmonize your make-up . . . and with these facts well in mind, you can be a lovely as any photograph in any book!"
This claim is then followed up with wonderfully outlandish patterns like these; French Pastry, anyone?
I'm still trying to comprehend the idea of a hat with big gaps on the top, but hey... what do I know? Maybe it really is a "helmet from faraway Mars". They do things differently there, no doubt.
Here are two matching hat and purse patterns from 1944. For some reason I have don't have many pattern booklets from this decade. Maybe fewer of them were produced then; these were the World War II years. It seems to me the styles were calming down a bit, becoming more sedate. Slightly.
Actually, I like these designs a lot. All those classy tailored two-piece suits, gloves, and soft scarves at the neckline. A slightly insouciant hat is just the right touch to set off the elegant style.
Now let us move forward a few years into the early 1950's. Note the pattern books now have color photographs. And the styles are veering off into the realm of post-war joie de vivre. And why not? Those courageous women deserved some fun after what they'd been through.
Note the interesting woven ribbon designs and goofy pointed tips showing up suddenly, like the black one above, and this one below from another booklet. This one has the entire pattern on the same page as the photo, so feel free to take it and run with it. One of these days I have to figure out how to do the jpeg thing so I can sell vintage needlework patterns on Etsy.
At last, we're getting to my personal obsession, paillettes!! Sequins! Bangles! Spangles!!! Or whatever you happen to call them. The silver hat has 650 of them; the elegant white one (shown twice below) has 500.
This fluffy early 1960's pillbox hat could easily be adapted for paillettes--the crocheted loop stitch is the same, with or without the sequins. Tiny beads would also look terrific.
I've closed my Etsy shops for the time being so I can get back to knitting, crocheting, and sewing. Hopefully I'll have something interesting to show you before long.