1964 McCall’s Needlework and Crafts Solves a Mystery

When I wrote about this great tote a month ago, I had no idea that a kind reader knew the source of the design. Annie Gullion had just been browsing her copy of a 1964 McCall’s Needlework & Crafts magazine, so she knew right away where the maker got the idea.

There it is, on the cover of the 1964 Spring-Summer issue.

The magazine has the directions for three different designs of this tote. Even though McCall’s sold a similar pattern, they gave complete instructions and a pattern to grade up. It even gives us the name of the tote designer, Irma Bolley. (No mention of Bonnie Cashin!)

I love how the maker of my bag changed the colors slightly.

To an experienced sewer, the instructions seem to be pretty straightforward. I had several people in my posts here and on Instagram say this bag was an early home ec class project, and some mentioned struggling with it. I can see why.

Looking through the magazine has been so much fun! I’m not a big fan of crocheted “granny squares”, having lived through that 1960s fad, but I found this top very appealing.

This project really brings back memories! For several years this was a craft project used by local churches in their vacation Bible schools. I never made these (the project had run its course by the time I was old enough to make it) but for years these plates were seen in homes all around my community.

I really want to thank Annie, not just for the information, but also for sending the magazine to me. This is exactly the type of documentation I love to have on the items in my collection.


Filed under Collecting, Curiosities, Fashion Magazines, Rest of the Story

18 responses to “1964 McCall’s Needlework and Crafts Solves a Mystery

  1. Those plates! Everyone had them when I was a girl. Including my folks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love it when we know the story behind an item!♡

    Liked by 1 person

  3. happyyatesbaker

    Well, that is just wonderful!!! Thanks for letting us know. I did love the Bonnie Cashin reference though. PLEASE do let me know if EVER you are going to be over this way.

    xoxoxoxoxo Happy

    Joe Martin + Happy Yates Baker

    Architectural Services + Space Planning – Sustainable Products + Design – Culinary Arts


    Liked by 1 person

  4. jacq.staubss@yahoo.com

    FLIPS?! The hairdo’s ! I remember the filp from high school days – nothing like the models are sporting! What fun! Love the sweaters!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I felt like I remembered the bag style (I was a toddler) but I absolutely remember the plates! Maybe there was a set at my grandpa’s house.


  6. Ruth Winsor

    I’m working on a knitted sweater pattern from an old McCalls Needlework and Crafts. I have done many swatches to get the right gauge and Also adjusting the pattern to eliminate seams. Hand knit design has changed a lot. We don’t like seams in our sweaters and most new designs are knit top down. A concept that seems strange to me even as the sweaters I have knit that way turn out beautifully.


  7. fitch

    Now we can enlarge with a copy machine instead of drawing the graph, yay! I like the colors on yours even better than the cover!


  8. That’s great that you were able to link the two! After you first posted about it I bought the bag pattern-I hope to make some up this summer.


  9. Kathleen G.

    I love that tote and great old craft and sewing magazines! That was a delight.


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