Category Archives: Holidays

Season’s Greetings

I sat down to compile The Vintage Miscellany, but soon realized that there was not much of note to share.  I’m guessing people were too busy celebrating Christmas to be spend much time on the internet.  So instead of the regular feature, I hope you enjoy this fun video card from Oxford University’s Ashmolean Museum.

My thanks to Jonathan and Kenn of the Fashion History Museum for sending it my way.


Filed under Holidays, Museums

A Christmas Satchel

Here’s the perfect Vintage Traveler Christmas card, a little satchel with Christmas travel stickers.  I’ve had this 1920s card for probably 30 years, long before I imagined I’d be spending part of my retirement writing about fashion and textile history.

I want to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas.  Thanks for taking the time to read The Vintage Traveler, and for all the nice words of encouragement.  Slow down, relax, and enjoy the Holiday!

Click to enlarge



Filed under Holidays

Vintage Christmas Fabric

If you haven’t been into a fabric store recently, especially one that carries mainly printed cottons, you might be really surprised at the huge selection of prints.  There are novelty prints for every hobby and cartoon character and animal.  There are prints for baby, for John Deere drivers, and football fans.  There are hundreds of “retro” prints, some that could easily pass for real vintage.

I actually have a few pieces in my fabric stash that I honestly can’t say what the ages of them are.  Sometimes the width is a clue.  The above pink and red (and awesome) print is 35 inches wide.  The width is a hint, but not a guarantee that the fabric is older than last week.  I do know that this piece is vintage because it came with an original label.

Isn’t the detailing something?

This piece is also vintage.  It is a border print, and it may look like one side of a tablecloth, but it is cotton broadcloth, and was perfect for aprons, gathered skirts, and dresses for little girls.

This is a piece of cotton flannel that I bought from etsy several years ago.  It was sold as vintage, and the fabric is 35 inches wide, but I’ve never been 100% sure that it is vintage.  I’d like to think it is from 1960 or so.  I adore that script font.

I’d like to add that none of these fabrics have information printed on the selvage.  Most modern prints that I’ve looked at in the past five years or so do have a printed selvage.  “Designer” fabrics are a very big deal in the quilting and crafting world, and many have the designer’s name and even the name of the print.

Don’t miss the enlarged version.

And finally, here’s another mystery fabric to ponder.  I have two eighteen inch squares of this print that I bought at my not so secret shopping place about five years ago.  They are edged by an overlock stitch, which might lead one to think they were meant to be napkins.  However, the thread is an ugly grey.

If this is a contemporary print, then the designer got a lot of things right.  The font looks vintage, as do the colors.  The use of the harlequin type diamond print on the packages looks vintage.  The stylized Christmas trees with the atomic shapes look vintage.  I could go on, but you get the point.  It’s almost like every vintage Christmas cliche in thrown into one print.  Too good to be true?  It won’t hurt my feelings if you think it is new.




Filed under Holidays, Novelty Prints, Textiles

Charm – December 1952

Could a Christmas look be any more festive?  Here’s proof that one does not have to be wearing a big gaudy red sweater decorated with Santa’s sleigh complete with reindeer, including Rudolph with light-up nose.

No, all it takes is a softly structured coat in a soft dove grey, sparkly earrings, bright red lipstick, and a gloved hand full of carefully chosen and wrapped gifts.


Filed under Fashion Magazines, Holidays

Christmas Windows, Asheville NC

I went to Asheville today to see what was “new” in my favorite vintage places, and also to check out the Christmas windows.   It had never occurred to me that Asheville might have great holiday windows, but I saw in the newspaper that there had been a design contest on the theme “A Star is Born,” and I felt I owed it to myself to see them.  I had no illusions that the Saks and Bergdorf’s and Macy’s windows were facing stiff competition, but for a small city like Asheville I thought the display was pretty impressive.

Over the past twenty years, the civic leaders in Asheville have worked hard to revitalize downtown.  After most of the stores and restaurants abandoned the area and relocated at the mall, downtown Asheville was a rather scary place.  Only a few stores were able to hold on.  But they did, and slowly they were joined by other urban pioneers.  Today downtown Asheville is a wonderful place to shop and eat.  Best of all, almost all the businesses are locally owned.

But enough bragging on my little city.  Here is a tour of some of my favorite windows.


This window was made entirely of layers of cut paper.  It really was a showstopper.  Note that there is no product to be found!  This was one of the windows at
Sensibilities Day Spa.


This sock monkey carolers window was at the yarn shop, Purl’s Yarn Emporium.

Windows are really hard to photograph, so I’m sorry about the quality of this one at clothing store, Caravans.

I cannot resist polar bears.

This is one of the windows at Spiritex, which is a clothing store.  All the clothing is made here in Western North Carolina.

This is one of four star windows at the Chevron Trading Post.   These stars are made of paper and they are stunning.

This is the window at Mountain Lights, which is a seller of locally made candles and crafts.

Hip Replacements had a retro theme and won the Judges’ Favorite prize.  They sell retro and vintage clothing.

I couldn’t help but notice that some of the most effective windows I saw today were the ones that featured only a few, or even one product.  Some of the windows that I did not photograph looked like windows from the turn of the 20th century where shopkeepers piled the windows high with as much merchandise as possible.  I think people are attracted to visual clutter (like the star windows) but the clutter has to make sense.   Trying to show everything in the shop is just confusing.

So, what are the holiday windows like in your corner of the world?


Filed under Curiosities, Holidays, North Carolina, Shopping

Mid Century Christmas in Aqua and Pink

This vintage apron is made from what I think to be the best Christmas novelty print ever.   Not only are the 1950s colors fantastic, just look at those reindeer.

Several years ago I decided to forego the traditional red and green decorations, and instead began searching out vintage blue and aqua things.  While finding vintage ball ornaments in blue is pretty easy, I  was stymied when it came to finding textiles such as tablecloths.  I do know there was an aqua Christmas tablecloth made in the 1950s, because I’ve seen it and its hefty pricetag on etsy and ebay.

But I was lucky to find this apron.  I’ve seen a lot of Christmas textiles, but I’ve never seen any other this whimsical with these colors.  I know some of you readers are mid century collectors, and I’d be interested to know if you have ever encountered any textile items that are similar.

The apron goes nicely with my snowflake glasses, even though my photos make the apron look too blue.

I don’t collect, nor do I wear, aprons.  I bought this purely for the textile design, just like I bought the other five aprons in my possession for their textiles.


Filed under Holidays, Vintage Clothing

Vintage Halloween Costumes

I love Halloween.  I’ve always loved it, though I think it was a lot more special when I was a kid back in the 1960s.  That was before people were too afraid to let their kids wander about after dark, dressed in weird clothing and begging for candy.  Today Halloween is “safe” and “organized.”  Not really to my taste, but I do have my memories.

By the time I started trick or treating in the late 50s and early 60s, most of us were buying costumes at the dime store.  They were cheap, and you could “be” pretty much anyone.  One year I was Lucy Ricardo.  Looking back, I can see how cheesy the costumes were.

But go back even further, to the 1920s and 30s, and you’ll see that kid’s costumes used to be downright scary.  The commercially made masks were constructed of a stiffened gauze with the features painted on.  Above you can see a black cat mask from the 1930s.  I found this mask, believe  it or not, in the Goodwill clearance bins.  Since then I’ve seen photos of the entire costume that includes a black glazed cotton jumpsuit and a white ruffled collar.

The costume was in a box like this one, only I do not have the entire box – just the lid.

Today all the photo sites like pinterest and instagram have been full of vintage photos of kids and adults in creepy costumes.  It’s amazing how truly scary some of them are, all without the benefit of stupid fake blood.  I never see these photos when sorting through stacks of them at flea markets, so I’m betting that they are popular with collectors.

In the good old days of the 1980s I collected Halloween decorations, but then someone published a book and the prices soared.  I rarely buy anything to add to the Halloween stuff, but it is interesting that the last two items I bought were things to wear.

I recently bought this crepe paper party hat because it was too good a deal to pass up.  Plus, I really, really like the pumpkin guy.

I spent some time on ebay today, looking at the sold prices of vintage Halloween collectibles.  I only wish all the investments I’ve made in life were as good as the dollars I spent on Halloween tin and paper.  And that does not even take into account all the fun I had finding my treasures.

UPDATE:  My friend Amanda alerted me to a fantastic page of vintage photos of people in costume.


Filed under Collecting, Holidays, Proper Clothing