Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How To Pull A Pattern

Back in the dim, distant past I worked for Past Patterns when they were located in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  I started out sewing test garments, did pattern grading, made corsets, and eventually was the Office Manager.  I was able to indulge my love of vintage clothing, old patterns, bookkeeping, and flea marketing during this period.

Here is an article that appeared in a magazine called handmade #17, in Jan/Feb 1985.  Click on the image to make it larger.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Early Silver Screen

Some little aspiring actress cut these pictures out of a Photoplay Magazine and pasted them onto notebook paper long, long ago.  Photoplay Magazine was founded in 1911 in Chicago.  It started out featuring short fiction piece about the plots of current motion pictures and the featured characters, but by 1918 had evolved into a fan magazine that followed current stars and is credited with inventing celebrity media.
These photographs are from the early 1920's.

I couldn't find anything about Margarite Darke so I looked closer.  It's Clarke, and Google tells me it's Marguerite Clarke.  A very nice biography here.  She was born in 1883 and died in 1940.  She was the nation's top movie actress of 1920 and the model Disney used for Snow White.  Only 4'10", her brown hair and eyes were preferred by some over blonde Mary Pickford.

Alice Brady was born in 1892 and died in 1939. She was one of the few actresses who successfully transitioned from silent films to talkies.  She won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress twice.

Check out that wild hair!  Blanche Sweet was born in 1896 to a family of show people and began her career at 18 months.  She worked with D W Griffith and, though she was two years younger than Mary Pickford, she quickly began being cast in more mature leading roles.  She worked for many studios, but only made three talkies before retiring from the screen in 1930 to return to the stage.  She died in 1986.

What an interesting dress!  Mollie King was born in 1895 and died in 1981.  She had a short career from 1916 to 1921, so that can help date these photos.

Norma Talmadge was the only name that was familiar to me of all these actresses.  She was born in 1894 and died in 1957.  She started acting in movies to support her family in 1910, moving to Hollywood in 1915.  She was a promising young actress, but one flop can kill a career, as she found out.  A sister who was contracted with D W Griffith got her work which lasted for a few years, but she soon moved back to New York, where she married a producer and then her career took off.  They formed their own production company and she was riding high from 1917 to 1928, when her career began to fade.  Her voice was not ideal for talkies and she made her last film in 1930.  She divorced the producer and married radio personality George Jessel and worked with him on his show.  The show failed and in 1939 they divorced.  In 1946 she married a doctor.  She had been in over 250 films during her career.

I published these pictures for the look at what was considered fashionable attire in the early 1920's.  The dresses have wonderful details and the hair shows just how hard it was to pull off a bob after wearing long hair all your life.  I vote Marguerite Clarke for the best dress and hair, and Blanche Sweet and Alice Brady tie for worst hair!

Here's my grandmother, Evelyn Lucille Bethea Bedgood in her graduation photo from 1927 trying to look like a moody film star.