Throwback Thursday: Happy Valentine’s!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Okay, so I know I’m a bit early, but I thought we would take a look at some beautiful vintage girls clothes that could inspire a touch of Valentine’s sewing for our favourite little ones.

50s McCall’s 2157 Girls Party Dress with Heart-shaped Embroidered Pockets.

If you don’t have time between now and Valentine’s Day to create an entire garment, these appliqué pockets could be the perfect solution. Use scraps of your favourite fabrics to make embroidered hearts trimmed with lace and then stitch onto a ready made skirt.

Left: Butterick 7667 Vintage 50s Toddler Heart Sunsuit & Dress. Right: Advance Pattern 1940s Toddler Girl's Back Button Dress 4249 with Puff or Cap Sleeves &Heart Pockets.

Left: Butterick 7667 Vintage 50s Toddler Heart Sunsuit & Dress.
Right: Advance Pattern 1940s Toddler Girl’s Back Button Dress 4249 with Puff or Cap Sleeves &Heart Pockets.

1950s McCall Sewing Pattern 1181 Childs Sunsuit.

If your time allows for the creation of one of these gorgeous sunsuits or dresses, team them with a long sleeved top and tights (it’s only February after all!) and make them with a bit of growing room to ensure they see the sunshine in the summer!

Left: Marian Martin 9061 Girls 1950s Sundress, Jacket  & Bonnet with Applique Hearts. Right: 1940s Marian Martin Mail Order Pattern 9100, Little Girl’s Romper with Heart Shaped Pocket.

Left: Marian Martin 9061 Girls 1950s Sundress, Jacket & Bonnet with Applique Hearts.
Right: 1940s Marian Martin Mail Order Pattern 9100, Little Girl’s Romper with Heart Shaped Pocket.

I love the extra detailing of these Marian Martin patterns. The scalloped seaming on the dress balances the appliquéd hearts perfectly and the waist ties on the romper create a fitted effect.

Vintage 1960 Butterick 9717 Sewing Pattern Girls’ Dress and Coat.

If you’re not a big fan of hearts, but want to create a garment that still has that Valentine’s feel, stick with red. I love the fabric choice for the design above- it would make the perfect Valentine’s outfit!

Alternatively, be inspired by modern sewers’ interpretation of the trend! I love the way the retro silhouette has been updated with this heart-shaped open back. It’s a subtle and girly twist that would be perfect all year round.

I’d love to hear from you if you have any Valentine’s sewing planned, or if you’ve already whipped up something struck by Cupid’s arrow- just comment or leave a link below! Happy Valentine’s sewing!


Throwback Thursday: Christmas Cards!

On Monday evening, Mr DB and I wrapped up in hats and scarves and went on a walk amid the village’s twinkling Christmas lights to post handmade cards to our family and friends. But when and where did this festive tradition originate?

The custom of sending Christmas cards was begun in Victorian Britain (1843) when Sir Henry Cole commissioned John Callcott Horsley to illustrate a Christmas scene which could be sent as a card using the new ‘Public Post Office’. However, the cards were priced at one shilling each and were therefore too expensive for the average Victorian. Despite the first batches of ‘elitist’ cards, the sentiment caught on and soon many children (including those in the Royal family) were encouraged to create their own. Over the next few years advances in printing technology led to  cheaper card production. Combined with the introduction of halfpenny postage, the Christmas card industry took off. Sending Christmas cards had grown so significantly in popularity that by 1880, 11.5 million cards were produced in just one year. The custom of sending Christmas cards was well and truly integrated into festive tradition.


Sir Henry Cole & John Callcott Horsley’s design for the first commercial Christmas Card.

Over the years, so many beautiful Christmas card designs have emerged and luckily for us, people have documented them online. Therefore I thought I’d share a few with you which have caught my eye and could be used as inspiration for an array of amazing sews long in the future. (All images have been sourced on Pinterest.)

How about these adorable little sleep suits? These always remind me of The Night Before Christmas from Disney’s Silly Symphonies (1933) which I would watch every year at my grandparent’s house.



These festive dresses are beautiful and classic and would look amazing in any era in front of a Christmas tree!





Finally, you all know from my previous post just how much I love cosy vintage coats for girls, so here’s a few card designs for those of you who feel the same…






And there you have it! Which is your favourite of the designs? I’m struggling to pick one, but I think I’ll have to go with the red-check, dropped waist dress. I love it paired with that big red bow! If you liked this little glimpse into Christmas past, and enjoyed this vintage and festive-filled post, I’d love to hear from you- just leave a comment below or over on the Dobbin’s Bobbins Facebook or Instagram accounts!



Throwback Thursday: Christmas Stockings!

Stockings hang enticingly during December, a constant reminder that Santa will be visiting soon.

Whilst nobody really knows how the tradition of hanging a Christmas stocking begun, legend suggests that it started with Saint Nicholas. Concerned for a poor father of three daughters, he climbed down the family’s chimney with three bags of gold. Discovering the girls’ stockings drying on the mantelpiece, he left enough gold for each of their dowries inside them, before continuing with his Christmas Eve ventures. News of Saint Nicholas’ kindness spread and soon children begun hanging their own stockings or shoes, hoping he would visit them and bestow the same kindness.

During the 20th century it became more and more popular to create special Christmas stockings for children to leave for Santa, rather than use their everyday socks, as was customary for centuries. Here are a few vintage stocking patterns that I hope will inspire you and your family to have a go at creating your very own.

1957 Vintage Simplicity 2327 Transfer Pattern For Christmas Stockings.

Lets begin with my favourite of the little collection that I’ve gathered. I absolutely love the example on the top left. It has it all; pom pom trim, striped piping and Christmas appliqué. Although I also love the use of ric-rac as an edging, as well as the personalised cuffed edges of ‘Mom’ & ‘Dad’s’ stockings. They would adorable all hung up in a row!

Vintage McCall’s Christmas Stocking Pattern 1830 with transfers.

Once again, a pom pom trim has been used to finish of the top of my favourite stocking and I love it! I also really like the simplistic designs used here- perfect for children to get involved!

McCalls 2411 1960s Appliqued Christmas Stocking Pattern.

The appliqué on your vintage-inspired stocking can be as simple or as complicated as you like. This pattern shows how busy and colourful designs can be really fun. I really like the lacy scallops along the cuffed edges of these stockings.

1970s Vintage Edna Looney Felt Christmas Stocking Kit.

Why not have a stocking design session one evening? Sit everyone together at the table, get the paints/crayons/glitter out and have each family member design their perfect stocking on paper which you can then use as sewing inspiration! Kids (and adults!) will love seeing their designs come to life!

1916 Sears Big Christmas Stocking stuffed with lots of toys and treats!

Close of the 1916 Sears Stocking

Close of the 1916 Sears Stocking

And if all that talk of stockings has left you feeling concerned that your child’s is currently looking a little empty and need a bit of inspiration for fillers, take a look at this incredible advert from the Sears catalogue in 1916! What better way to fill a vintage-inspired stocking, than with vintage-inspired toys and treats? Think tiny teddy bears and dolls, a pack of playing cards, boxes of wax and chalk crayons, a skipping rope, paints and paintbrushes, bubbles and butterscotch! The list goes on!

Throwback Thursday: Penny for the Guy!

One of my favourite things in life is candid vintage photography. I just love the way a moment in time- with all its perfect imperfections- can be captured, allowing the story of that very second to live on. The fashions may not be couture, but they’re real, complete with the character that can only be gained in a garment worn day in, day out. The photos tell the stories of social history in a way that no text book can.

A girl lights a firework at a Guy Fawkes night party. Getty Images.

An old British pastime, Penny for the Guy, has all but been lost in today’s consumerist culture. In fact ‘Guy Fawkes Night’ or ‘Bonfire Night’ on the 5th November has, in many places, been renamed ‘Firework Night’.

Nurse joins in at a children’s home in Wanstead, Essex, in 1947. Getty Images.

Guy Fawkes Day seen at Waterloo, 5 November 1944, Edwin Appleton © Daily Herald / National Media Museum, Bradford / SSPL “Five boys surround a home-made figure of Adolf Hitler as the ‘guy’ to be burned on Bonfire Night.”

Guy Fawkes night at Chirk, 1954. National Library of Wales.

Traditionally, children would make a ‘Guy’ (a scarecrow-like effigy of Guy Fawkes, the most famous perpetrator of the treasonous 1605 Gunpowder Plot) which would be thrown onto their local bonfire during the evening’s celebrations.  Children would parade their Guy in the streets beforehand (often in an old pram or go-cart), asking for “a penny for the guy” which they could later put towards the evening’s fireworks, or spend on sparklers and traditional sweet treats.

Children pushing an effigy in a pram to ask adults for pennies to buy fireworks. Getty Images.

A traditional effigy of Guy Fawkes to burn on Bonfire Night. Getty Images.

Children would make effigies of unpopular figures to accompany Guy Fawkes in street parades, c. 1877. Telegraph, Picture: John Thomson.

I have incredibly fond memories of wrapping up in hats and scarves and heading to our local village pub for an incredible bonfire each year. Sparklers, toffee apples, hot dogs with caramelised onions; huddling together with friends and family as fireworks whizzed through the air.

Children’s Guy in Higham’s Park, East London in 1946, with fireworks in his hat, lapel and top pocket. Sport & General.

Rattling her can: Laura Dale, seven, from Hampstead, pulls a pram chassis with a guy collecting for Bonfire Night in 1970. Picture: George Churchill.

Penny for the Guy in 1933. Getty Images.

Although I never had the chance to make my own Guy, and take part in this (slightly morbid yet fun) tradition, I think it’s really important to remember the generations who did. It was a huge part of British culture that should never be forgotten!

Throwback Thursday: Vintage Fancy Dress!

With Kids Clothes Week in full swing, and with many of you creating wonderful halloween costumes for your little ones, I thought it would be a great time to share a collection of images I’ve gathered from across the internet of the most incredible fancy dress sewing patterns.

1930s Weldon’s Fancy Dress for Children Catalogue.

I absolutely love the golf bag! It’s so simple and yet so effective; it’s instantly recognisable.

Vintage 1930s Weldon’s Fancy Dress Patterns for Children.

That White Rabbit costume is fantastic, and the frog makes me smile every time I spot him!

Vintage 1930s Weldons Fancy Dress Patterns.

Where do I even start?! The penguin is so much fun, but I also love the holly and mistletoe fairies (is it too early to get excited for Christmas sewing?) and that thimble costume is just adorable!

Vintage 1930s Weldon’s Fancy Dress Patterns.

I think my favourite here has to be the poppy fairy. Once again simplicity is the key to a fantastic fancy dress design.

Vintage 1930s Weldon’s Fancy Dress for Children Patterns.

Just look at that umbrella! Genius! Now look at the cottage window! I’m tempted to head to the charity shops to buy some second hand curtains and make that today!

Vintage 1930s Weldon’s Fancy Dress Patterns.

Now I’m not sure if I’m missing something when it comes to ‘Duck and Green Peas’ or whether it is just simply referring to a classic food combination, but either way the costume is ridiculously cute. Imagine all the peas themselves being made out of fabric yo-yos or felted pom poms. So sweet!

Vintage 1920s Dennison Costumes.

I wanted to include some classic Halloween designs too, and I love these from the 1920s (although the men definitely drew the short straw!). I love the dangly pumpkins, the bell sleeves and the fantastic head gear- you could definitely scale these down for a little girl’s costume.

I hope you’re as inspired as I am and itching to recreate some of these unusual designs. Let me know if you do with a comment/link below- I’d love to see them!

Throwback Thursday: Autumnal Fabric!

Hampshire is an absolutely beautiful English county, home of the New Forest, and a lovely place to witness the wonder that is Autumn. The stress of searching for a new flat is certainly made easier surrounded by the golden shades of orange, russet and brown.

Nature has always been the primary source of inspiration for textile design, and so it is not surprising that autumn leaves feature in many designs from the 20th century.

Here are a selection of vintage fabrics that I’ve discovered whilst exploring Ebay and Etsy’s archives (unfortunately some have already sold)…

Just imagine the projects you could sew with these! So go and scour your local vintage fabric shops (I’m always amazed at the incredible selection of vintage bed linen and tablecloths at charity shops) and search for similar fabrics. Team them with corduroy and woolly tights and you’re onto a winner!

The Artful Parent’s Leaf Printing on Fabric

Alternatively, why not take a ‘leaf’ out of The Artful Parent‘s book (see what I did there?) and get the fabric paints out. Be inspired by these vintage examples and let your kids get involved in ‘designing’ their own fabrics- leaf printing never fails to be a fun activity! Have fun!

Throwback Thursday: Coats!

This week has been a bit crazy, so I’m afraid this Throwback Thursday is going to be short and sweet. The British Autumn means going for walks over crisp, golden leaves, conker picking and snuggling up in a new coat. For those of you looking for a touch of vintage inspiration for your little ones’ coats, have a look at these gorgeous examples!

1930s examples of Vintage Girls' Coats

1930s examples of Vintage Girls’ Coats

Wool coats worn by Shirley Temple in the 1930s.

Wool coats worn by child star Shirley Temple in the 1930s.

1940s examples of Vintage Girls' Coats.

1940s examples of Vintage Girls’ Coats.

1950s examples of Vintage Girls' Coats.

1950s examples of Vintage Girls’ Coats.

1960s examples of Vintage Girls' Coats including Caroline Kennedy in the centre.

1960s examples of Vintage Girls’ Coats including Caroline Kennedy in the centre.

Aren’t they all just gorgeous?! I love the attention to detail and classic lines. If your expertise doesn’t extend to drafting your own pattern, check out the beautiful Burda Girl’s Dress Coat. Not that it needs anything added to it to make it any prettier, but you could modify the pattern to incorporate features of the dresses above. Just think of contrast collars and piping, or of scalloped detailing- the possibilities are endless!

Even if your time doesn’t allow for a new coat made from scratch, why not add a touch of embroidery to a store-bought one? Or replace the mundane buttons with some of the quirky variety?! I love the way sewing allows us to bring character to our clothing, to make garments personal and unique. Now lets put some of that personality into outerwear!