Friday, December 31, 2010

Best of the Blog Round Up: 2010

Hasn't 2010 just flown by?  It's hard to believe that it's already New Year's Eve. It's also hard to believe that Serendipity Handmade has been part of the blogosphere for over a year and that hundreds of people come to visit each week.  I'm so grateful that so many people like this blog; it is another outlet for me to be creative and the fact that people take the time to appreciate what I've shared makes me truly happy.  I'm also delighted to have met so many wonderful crafty bloggers out there this year -- you make me happy too!

I'd like to welcome new readers - glad to have you.  I love comments, so by all means leave one now and then.  I'm also grateful that some of you "old timers" have stuck around even as I had to take some time out from the blog and crafting to rest and heal.  In the last couple of months I've been able to get back into the swing of things and even hope to start crocheting again soon. So as I reflect on the past year and come up with resolutions for 2011, I thought I'd take a moment to recap some of the highlights here at Serendipity Handmade:

Fortunate Finds

Vintage Thingies Thursday

I couldn't choose just one.  It's a tie:

  • The Marcelwaver
  • It was cool to finally see in person what made the hairdo Annie Lennox referred to in the song "Keep Young and Beautiful"! (A reader said so too).

Tomorrow's Vintage Collectibles
  • Disney Pins and Pin Trading
  • During my involuntary hiatus from computer use I was able to post this guide to Disney pins. These are probably some of the most collectible items around and any serious vintage collector should consider picking up a few them to be stashed away for a generation or longer. I spent several hours researching this piece for additional information so y'all would be well informed. Ironically, no one commented! 

Madison Avenue Monday

Field Trips

Of course, there are a couple of freebies and tutorials too.  Vintage patterns make my heart sing.

I'll be thinking over the next few days about Serendipity Handmade and what I might do here next year.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

What series, features, crafts, etc.,
would you like to see on this blog in 2011?

I wish you and yours the happiest of New Years and much peace and prosperity throughout the coming year.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas: Giveaway Winners and Freebies

A gift for everyone today!  Vintage Workbasket embroidery/cross-stitch patterns:

Two giveaway winners get a special gift:

Winner #1

Miss Dollie DeVille at The Rockabilly Socialite

Winner #2

Christiana of Sew a Musing

* * *
I hope that all of you are having a happy and joyous holiday season.  Merry Christmas to all...may your day be merry and bright!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Madison Avenue Monday: 12/25 Shops Christmas Crafts from 1971

The following images are from a Los Angeles Times newspaper Sunday insert, October 17, 1971. The insert was a preview catalog of handmade international handicrafts and toys available for purchase in major department stores such F.A.O. Schwartz, Filene's, and Bloomingdale's across the country. Aren't you glad we have online sites like Etsy to easily find amazing handmade crafts now?

Have you ever made a God's Eye (figure R) as a Christmas craft?
This was a popular folksy craft when I was a kid

The catalog included short narratives about Christmas traditions in other lands,
such as this lovely story about
Vesely Vanoce

I want the musical Matryoshka! What's on your Christmas wish list?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

This Took All Day!

Remember this purse, Vogue 8642? I'm still working on it little by little. I had to redo the rosette spiral over...and over...and order for it to look decent. It literally took me hours because I am a perfectionist and it didn't look "just right," and my gathering string (yes string, I originally did the "sew over string" method to gather) kept breaking so I had to put in more gathering stitches in places.

Unfortunately, this type of thing happens when you don't follow the pattern directions and decide to do things your own way. In this case I started the rosette from the middle instead of marking the spiral with chalk and sewing from the outside in, as the pattern directions stated. It's a good thing I have to set this project aside until after the holidays in order to get the Christmas gift sewing done or I might have done something rash with it, such as run it over with my car. I'm not loving this pattern at all. More on this later.

Madison Avenue Monday returns this coming week in anticipation of Christmas, and don't forget the gift certificate giveaway, it ends this Friday!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Gift Pocket Tutorial

We made these cute little gift pockets in sewing class and I thought I'd share them with you.  They are great for using up scraps of fabric and ribbon, and make a darling little holder for money, candy, or miniature ornaments.  These can be hung on your Christmas tree by using holiday fabric, but they can also be made in any fabric to use as a party favor or to hold a tiny gift.  To size these up to hold a credit-card size gift card, I would recommend adding another inch to the lower width measurement (re:  2 1/2 inches instead of 1 1/2 inches).  These are a perfect project for a beginner as they are really simple to make.
Supplies for two pockets

Cut a template for your pocket out of paper, card stock, or a manila folder. Measurements are as shown above. Cut two fabric "triangles" for each pocket.    I like using contrasting but complementary fabric.  Next cut about 7 1/4 inches of ribbon for each pocket:

Find the center on one of your pocket triangles by folding it in half lengthwise.  This triangle will become the back of your pocket.  Next, form a loop with the ribbon and pin it in the center of your triangle on the right side of the fabric.  Fold the right sides of the fabric together lengthwise for both triangles, sandwiching the ribbon in the center of one of the triangles.  Press.

Next, you will sew the folded-together tops of the triangles (along the 4 1/2 length).  To save thread you can chain sew the triangles together by leaving a stitch in between each triangle as demonstrated by Heidi below:

Clip the corner on each triangle.  Turn both of them right side out.  Push out the point with a pin or a blunt object of some sort.  Press the point flat.

With right sides together, pin the triangles together.  To make a perfect pocket you'll want to align the center seam with the original crease that you made in the beginning down the center of the pocket.  As this is not brain surgery, a millimeter off here or there is not critical.

Sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Be sure to backstitch a few times at the top edges of your pocket for strength.  Pivot around the bottom corners:

Clip the corners and turn, pushing the corners out with a blunt object. Press the flap down on the front of the pocket.  And voila!  You are finished.  Optional:  stuff a tiny amount of batting at the bottom of your pocket to puff it out.

Fill your pocket with candy (miniatures would be best)

Or fill it with miniature toys or ornaments!

These are quick and fun-to-make. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

December Giveaway: Gift Certificates for!

It's time for the last giveaway of the year!

To celebrate the holidays, I'm giving away TWO $10.00 gift certificates
for to two lucky winners:

I'll keep it simple and sweet:  to enter, just leave a comment on this post!  Be sure to leave an email address or link to a website where I can contact you.  I'd especially like to hear from those of you who haven't stopped by in a while.  I miss you!

This giveaway is open internationally and will end at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on December 24th. The winner will be chosen by random number and announced on December 25, 2010. 

Good luck to all!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fortunate Finds: A Scrap of a 1940s Simplicity Pattern Catalog

It's been a while since I posted a "fortunate find." Here's a little surprise from one of the 40s vintage sewing patterns I recently listed in the shop, Hollywood 1627:

I find it interesting that I found a torn-out page from a Simplicity catalog in a Hollywood pattern!  I am wondering if the would-be sewist was interested in the suit pattern, number 1745, as Hollywood 1627 is a suit-dress pattern.  It is a mystery -- I guess we'll never know!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

CYBER MONDAY SALE on Etsy and at!

Just a quick post to let you know that Cyber Monday store-wide sales are on now at both and Serendipity Vintage on Etsy. No coupon needed!

EVERYTHING in both stores is on sale for 20% off the original or sale price! And I'm offering free shipping worldwide on purchases $20.00 or more too.

And here's a peek at two newly listed unused, factory folded patterns:

1940s Hollywood Pattern for a Suit Dress

1960s Very Easy - Very Vogue Dress

The sale is on now and will continue through midnight Pacific Time, November 29th. Happy shopping!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I suppose that in this postcard Mr. and Mrs. Turkey are out for one last drive....
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving day!

Don't forget, there are Black Friday sales in both shops: and the Etsy store!

Image courtesy of Harvest House Primitives.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

New 40s, 50s, and 60s Vintage Patterns + Black Friday Advance Sale Notice

Dear readers, I haven't forgotten about you.  I've spent the last couple of weeks sorting through my collection and added a few new items to the shop.  I'm (sadly!) not going to sew these.  Several would make great party dresses for the holidays. They are some real gems (some are quite scarce) and are ready for new homes.  Click on this link to "New Products" to go to the shop:

1940s Patterns

1950s Patterns

1960s Patterns


Want a discount coupon? 
I will be sending out a Black Friday coupon via email next week on Wednesday to registered customers at www.serendipity  Why do you need to register?  My shop system will only send out coupons and coupon codes via email to those who have made an account.  It's no different than making an account on Etsy in order to purchase items, and your privacy will be completely protected.  

I'm offering the lowest discounts of the entire year this coming Friday.  So, if you'd like a Black Friday coupon so you can take advantage of the coming deals, click on this link which will take you to "My Account" to register

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Winner: "All is Vanity" Giveaway!

I'll make this short and sweet!  The winner of the $60 gift certificate to is:

Congratulations, Sharon!

The early bird certainly got the worm this time!  I hope that you enjoy your gift certificate and your new vanity.  Thank you to all who entered!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Field Trip: LACMA "Fashioning Fashion" Exhibit

"Timeline" of white (light-colored) dresses showing the evolution
of women's fashion from the late 1700s through 1915
at the beginning of the exhibit

Today I went on a field trip with my sewing class to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) to see the new "Fashioning Fashion:  European Dress in Detail, 1700-1915" exhibit.  

We arrived an hour before the museum opened to the public and were fortunate to have a private tour.  According to the docent who led our tour, LACMA acquired 1,000 pieces of historical costume by purchasing the collection of two dealers, one in London and the other in Switzerland, who had been collecting historical pieces for about 25 years.  About 100 pieces are on display for this exhibit, and it will be many years, if not decades, before the majority of this collection has been seen by the public. 

A diaphanous dress by Paul Poiret, circa early 1900s

If you are a fashion designer or simply love historical costume don't miss this exhibit!  The garments themselves are beautiful, but the handmade fabric and lace textiles that the garments and accessories are made from are simply AMAZING.  The court dress below, owned by Queen Maria II of Portugal, originally had a 20 foot-long train, but the train was later refashioned by a subsequent owner to a length of twelve feet long.  The embroidery was done by hand with what must have been miles of gold metallic thread:

Court dress, Maria II of Portugal, circa 1845

Apparently, the museum curators thought that this was a mourning dress when it was first received because it is black.  However, they learned that it was not unfashionable in Portugal to wear black for court dress as it would have been in Europe at the time.

There were many unusual pieces in this collection, and I wish that I had taken my camera today.  (I had no idea that they allow non-flash photography for this exhibit!).  Along with the garments were many examples of undergarments, including paniers (side hoops) that were six feet long from end-to-end and are considered to be the largest on display in North America.  There were gorgeous beaded capes and hats (for both men and women), woven shawls from Kashmir India, an incredible whitework boy's frock, and several samples of Berlin wool work garments and slippers, including the exact sampler pattern featured here.  

For those of you who cannot make it to LACMA, enjoy this short video by David Wicall that will give you a taste of some of the lovely pieces in the collection.  For those of you who make historical garments to wear, at about 1:35 seconds note the two horshehair bustles and one collapasible bustle (it allowed the wearer to sit down!).  And don't miss one of my favorite pieces in the entire collection:  a man's suit embroidered with a dandelion motif (2:47).  Finally, a sweeping view of the court dress train above is at 3 minutes 27 seconds.

Finally, we stopped by Mood fabrics today and I almost lost my mind. I get a little crazy when I'm around all those beautiful fabrics because I want a little bit of everything. I restrained myself and came away only with this delicate wool mohair out of which I will make a simple shrug (I snapped these quickly before it became dark, so I'm sorry for the fuzziness):

I love the beautiful stitch pattern! The color is a lovely green and my quickie photos do not do it justice. More on my current sewing projects in an upcoming post.

Photos courtesy of LACMA and the Los Angeles Times.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tomorrow's Vintage Collectibles: Disney Pins and official Disney Pin Trading

This month marks the official 10th anniversary of Disney Pin Trading, a hobby that began in October 1999 at Walt Disney World and is now available at every Disney theme park and resort.  Basically, collectors buy or trade Disney-produced pins that feature Disney characters, attractions, and other fun images. I happened to stumble into the world of Disney pins in 2004. I warn you: this hobby can become addicting really fast as there over 10,000 different pins out there to date.  After realizing this I decided to limit my collecting to only those times when I am actually at Disneyland (a rarity, thank goodness), because I mainly want to acquire Cast Lanyard / Hidden Mickey pins.

To start, read the Q-and-A on the official Disney pin trading site that will give you a general explanation of pin trading, and if you're heading to one of the theme parks, be sure to read the official pin trading etiquette guidelines as well.  I wear a lanyard when I go to the park; here is my 50th Anniversary lanyard with a few of my pins attached:

Disney Pin Trading pins come in three main types:  open edition, limited edition, and Cast Lanyard Series / Hidden Mickey.  Open edition means that millions will be made, and limited edition is self-explanatory.  Sometimes the pins are made in very small quantities, such as editions of 100 or 300.  Pins are gold-backed with a "mouse ears" pin closure and a "Disney Pin Trading" logo:

This is called a "spinner," as the teacups and the base spin independently.
Note that it was made in a limited edition of 1,000.
"Cast Lanyard" or "Hidden Mickey" pins are those pins that can only be obtained through trade with a Disney employee with a lanyard or hip belt of Disney pins.  They were called "Cast Lanyard" pins prior to 2007, and are now called "Hidden Mickey" pins because they have a silver mouse ears icon on the front of the pin making them easy to indentify: 

The silver Mickey icon can be found on each pin

Sometimes obtaining pins is simply a matter of serendipity(!), or being in the right place at the right time. I happened to be standing in the Tower of Terror line with a friend and we were handed the two pins pictured below by a cast member; the Tower pin is a Cast Lanyard pin:

I showed you a Disney lapel pin on July 4th this year. Although it is not an official Disney Pin trading pin, it is still special. I happened to visit a nearby Disney Store on September 11, 2002, the first anniversary of 9/11, and these were handed out at the door:

A source that you might find helpful should you want to start a collection is Tomart's Disneyana Guide To Pin Trading:

Tomart's is the official guide and it includes pictures of many, many of pins, including limited editions and some of the Cast Member Lanyard pins that have been available through 1999-2005 to help guide your collecting.  You'll also want to poke around online to find tips and tricks from other collectors.  Of course, I've got a few tips to share!
  1. You may have noticed a certain theme in my Tomorrow's Vintage Collectibles series.  By now, you should know to seek out limited edition items over mass produced items.  This is also true for Disney pins.   The fewer produced the better.
  2. If there is a Disney factory outlet store nearby be sure to purchase pins there for the lowest prices.  Many times you will be able to find limited edition pins that were produced in larger quantities (e.g., 2500) or pins that were produced solely for the holidays to add to your collection.
  3. On a related note, buy pins before you leave for a Disney park at the Disney factory outlet store to trade in the park.  Better yet, purchase the Disney lapel pins that aren't meant for pin trading to trade with Cast Members only.  I found that cast members will not refuse a trade with you even for the cheapest and most boring pin as long as the pin is metal and does not have a "clasp" or "brooch" style back,  and this is a money-saving method to acquire the coveted Cast Member Lanyard pins. 
  4. Pin trade early in the day.  Cast Member Lanyard / Hidden Mickey pins go fast.
Finally, here is one of my latest acquisitions.  It is limited to an edition of 1,000 and I had to have it, because anyone who lives in Southern California knows exactly what the phrase "June Gloom" means:

As it's been quite awhile since the last Tomorrow's Vintage Collectibles post, I hope that you found this one entertaining and informative.  Questions and comments are very welcome!

Tenth anniversary pin image courtesy of