Tag Archives: skirt

Fuller Fabrics Sailtone – Two Ways

I posted this ad on Ad Campaign a year ago, and it continues to be a favorite novelty print.  There’s just something about a flag on a sailboat that screams summer.   I was browsing etsy last week when I spotted the print in another colorway.

photo copyright SweetBeeFinds

It’s always a treat spotting a garment that I’ve seen in an ad or in a magazine editorial.  It just brings the ephemeral past together with the tangible present.  And the print looks so fresh, like it could have been designed recently.

Am I asking too much to hope that this print exists in red, white and navy?  Possibly not, because fabric companies often made a print in several different colorways, as you can see from the ad and the photo of the skirt.   And if you read the ad you’ll see that “white with red” is also available.  I can only hope that I’ll someday find it in my dream color combination.

The fabric was made by Fuller, which was known for their great prints.   Often a company would sell the same fabric to several different garment makers, which is the case here.  My 1957 ad is for “Just Juniors”  but the skirt for sale by SweetBeeFinds has a “Bogart’s of Fort Worth” label.



Filed under Novelty Prints

Sporteen Skirt with a Surprise

At first glance this skirt simply looked like a nice early 1950s straight skirt in a lovely  color and with an interesting button placement.  But then I noticed the belt.  It was a golf tee holder.

By that time the seller was starting to unbutton the skirt, which is not a skirt at all.

It is actually a culotte or divided skirt, but  it is cleverly disguised by the stitched pleats.  The back is also stitched, and it just looks like an inverted pleat.

This was not a new idea in the 1950s.  Before it was acceptable for women to wear trousers, there were all kinds of ingenious ways to make a skirt have two legs.  I have an example from the 1910s in my collection, and it is quite similar to this 1950s culotte skirt.

I really don’t know a thing about Sporteens, except that the listings that I’ve found of items for sale with the label are overwhelmingly skirts.   I also found a 1944 ad for a jacket and matching skirt.

And here is a very similar one, but without the buttons, from California sportswear designer De De Johnson, 1952




Filed under Summer Sports, Vintage Clothing

Plaid Skirt with a Surprise

I have a feeling that this is going to be one of those cases where someone is going to immediately be able to tell me the story behind the garment.  At least, I hope that is the case.

I bought this little plaid pleated skirt because I was puzzled by it, and here is why:

Built into it are a pair of bright red bloomers.  The skirt is rather short, about knee length, and is made of what is probably a rayon fiber.  The bloomers are cotton.  The zipper is metal.  It looks like something a girl would wear as part of a school uniform, but in this case it would have to be a larger girl because the waistband measures 30″.

So, am I warm?  Do parochial school uniforms have built-in panties?  Having attended only public schools that had a dress code but no uniforms, I’m clueless.

My other guess is that it is a vintage field hockey skirt.  What do you think?


Filed under Curiosities, Proper Clothing

Artist Designed Novelty Print fabric – 1950s

Back in April I posted photos of my latest novelty print gathered skirt, the cruise ship themed one above.  As so often happens in blogging in this case, the comments turned out to be more interesting than the post itself, because reader lemur178 drew the conclusion that this print was from the same “A Regulated Cotton – Never Misbehaves” series as several other prints, two of which I also have, Tinhorn Holiday and Oasis.  She also noted that these seemed to be from the illustrator, Saul Steinberg, due to the similarity in style to a fabric known to have been drawn by him, Paddington Station.

Tinhorn Holiday


Fortunately, lemur178 had the opportunity to attend an event that put the pieces of the puzzle together for us.  She writes:

Went to the ‘Artists’ Textiles 1940 – 1976′ talk and book launch last night at London’s Fashion & Textiles Museum.  Most interesting and lots of very beautiful fabrics to admire.

I was initially going there to find out about the Saul Steinberg prints as you may remember. According to the authors (something which was confirmed to them by John Rombola, I think), although Steinberg had a licence with Piazza Fabrics for his work, he found the lure of money somewhat hard to resist and entered into various ‘unofficial’ deals with other manufacters, more specifically the Regulated Cottons – “Never Misbehaves” prints used for so many skirts at the time.  This explains why the prints are so recognisably his, yet his name never appears.  The book features several expamples, including an opera one I’d never seen before.  It didn’t have your boat, but when I spoke to one of the authors afterwards, he said they did have a boat one that they hadn’t featured in the book.  Presumably this is the same as yours. 

So, thanks to lemur178, and the research of the authors of the book, we now know that Steinberg did design this line.  The book is Artists’ Textiles 1940-1976, by Geiff Rayner, Richard Chamberlain and Annamarie Phelps, and it  seems to be available on Amazon.  I have been watching the page for the book, and it has been saying that the book will be released in the USA on July 16, but it now says that it is currently in stock.  I’ll be buying a copy soon and will do a review of it.

This really points out just how important blog comments are.  Several weeks ago there was a post on the Independent Fashion Bloggers site that asked the question, “Has blogging lost its community?”  

In other words, people are noticing that their blogs are not getting as many comments as in the past.  I’ve noticed it here, but not to a huge degree.  Still, I do hope that whenever you read something here or on other blogs and you can add to the conversation, that you will take the time to  post and share your knowledge and thoughts.  That is what really adds value to any blog.

Some details of the prints:


Filed under Novelty Prints, Viewpoint

Sea Cruise Novelty Skirt

First, I want to thank everyone who posted on facebook or who tweeted about my post yesterday on circle skirts.  Thanks to some nice publicity yesterday was the best traffic day ever for the Vintage Traveler, and I know it was due to all the sharing and tweeting.

So as a thank you, here are a few photos of my latest travel themed skirt.  I know that’s a pretty lame gift, but I know you people and I know you always love seeing a top notch novelty print, especially when it is in the form of a vintage  full skirt!

There is no selvage present in the skirt, but I’m sure it is from the same artist as several of the others in my collection:  Tin Horn Holiday and Oasis.  Enjoy the details.


Filed under Collecting, Vintage Clothing

The 1950s Circle Skirt

I have some events to attend in the next little while, and two of them have put me to thinking about the 1950s full skirt.  A nephew is getting married, and the instructions for attire say that cocktail dresses are appropriate for the occasion.  Naturally, I could not help but think of the above cocktail themed skirt from Juli Lynne Charlot.  Somehow, I don’t think that is quite what they had in mind.

The other occasion is a bit easier.  It’s a 1950s themed whodunit dinner party where the instructions for attire say “Poodle skirt optional.”  I don’t have a poodle skirt, and I think it is such a shame that people think “1950s skirt” and automatically an image of a skirt with an appliqued poodle pops into the brain.  Yes, there were poodle skirts in the 1950s, but the range of novelty skirts available was so much more interesting than one doggie motif.

The decorated circle skirt actually got its start in the late 1940s, with an actress-turned-designer named Juli Lynne Charlot.   After WWII ended, skirts began to get fuller and longer.   The dirndl, a lightly gathered style popular throughout the war gave way to  skirts that were fully gathered or pleated.   In 1947, Charlot designed some skirts for the Christmas holidays, made of a complete circle and decorated with felt appliques.   A local store bought them, and they quickly sold out.

For her next project, it was suggested that Charlot do a line featuring dogs.  The first design was of three dachshunds, but among the dog skirts she designed was the poodle, and the rest is fashion history.  The skirt was a huge hit, and soon it was being widely copied.

Because the skirt was so easy to make, many were made by home sewers.  The major pattern companies had a wide variety of designs, including the poodle, 45 rpm records, and decks of cards.

The decorated circle skirt really caught on with the teenage set, and was pretty much a young and casual fashion.  You are much more likely to see one featured in a 1950s Seventeen than in a Vogue of the same era.  Many of them have decorations that reflect teen interests of the times, such as Rock & Roll themes.  But not all of these great skirts were for kids, as they did sometimes feature mature motifs such as alcohol and cigarettes.

There were also novelty printed skirts that were similar in feel to the appliqued skirts, but they were lighter and more suited to warm weather.  Border prints of exotic locales, circus themes, dog and kitten prints and Western scenes were among the many fabrics available to make full skirts.

There was even special fabric with the skirt pieces printed on, and all the sewer had to do was cut the pieces out and sew them together – no pattern required.  To see my collection of special printed travel themed skirts, visit a page on my fuzzylizzie.com site, Novelty Print Skirts.  You might even suggest one that you think I ought to wear to the 50s dinner!

Some of the most spectacular circle skirts of the 1950s came from Mexico.  These were made primarily for the tourist trade, but they were also imported into the United states and sold through catalogs and mail order.  Many were hand painted or block printed, and then they were lavishly decorated with sequins.  Most had scenes of sterotypical Mexican life, but others had large colorful flowers, or scenes of the desert.



Filed under Novelty Prints, Proper Clothing, Vintage Clothing

Skating Attire

I’ve been holding these skating pictures, hoping to show them on an actual snowy day, but here it is the end of February and we’ve only had a couple of dustings.  (Of course that means everyone is walking around proclaiming that “It’s going to catch up with us,” or “We’ll pay for this later,” which means we are destined to suffer through a late snow like we did in March, 1993 when there was close to three feet in my front yard!)

Don’t you just love those high topped skates on the girl above?  The illustration is an advertising card from Star Brand Shoes.

Into the 1920s, women pretty much wore their warmest sporty attire when skating.  They might have a skirt that was shorter than what would have been worn on the street along with a warm sweater and a knit cap.  Most sources credit Olympic skater  Sonja Henie with the development of the short circular skirt for skating.  I found photos of her wearing that style skirt as early as 1928.

It’s interesting to me to see how this basic style is still the standard for competitive skating.  A very short skirt that moves with the action of the skater is what we expect to see a womam skater wearing.  The big difference is that there is no longer any pretense as to the warmness of the materials used.  The heavy materials of the past – wool and velveteen – have given way to chiffon, sequins and fringe.

Two mid century skating garments from my collection:

This folkloric style skirt is wool, made in Minnesota.

Could it be that this velveteen and felt skating dress was inspired by the decorated skirts of Juli Lynne Charlot?

I’m always looking for both skating clothing and photos of skaters.  Both are relatively hard to find compared to, say, ski clothing.  It could be that because skating never became the huge destination-vacation type sport as skiing, that women were just not as willing to invest the money for special clothing.  Any other thoughts?

And I just could not resist sharing this great roller skater:


Filed under Vintage Clothing, Winter Sports