When Grandmomma sewed….

by Ramona on February 24, 2012

Booklet Cover & supplies list

This cold and wintry week (not), I bring to your attention a sewing booklet published in 1935. If your mother, grandmother or great-grandmother (depends on who’s reading this blog) was a fashionable sewing enthusiast in 1935, she may very well have made the two items in this booklet.  I had to photograph the actual booklet and hope you can read the text on its pages. The back of the booklet indicates it was published  by the Spool Cotton Co.  


I see the scarf (we would call it a neck warmer in 2012) as a modern accessory worn with today’s clothing (skinny jeans and peacoat, anyone?). The pointy end of the piece seems a little odd though, but you never know until you wear it. You may like it!  The booklet suggests velveteen as the fabric of choice. It is faced with the same fabric, but we can differ from that and make a contrast facing.

Page 2

Well, what do you know — grand-momma wasn’t afraid of making a bound buttonhole because that’s what the text tells you to do on page 3. No instructions, just “make bound buttonhole on the outside of the scarf”. And …. here is a kicker of an instruction from 1935 – after the facing and the outer piece are sewn together, you are asked to hold the sewn edges over a steaming kettle. I guess these were the days before a steam iron was invented? No iron should touch the velveteen!  If you can read the diagram in the picture, it would be easy to make a pattern for the scarf.

Page 3

The muff is a lovely piece which looks like a bag. The surprise is that it has a little pocket inside! Depending on where you are headed, you wouldn’t really need any other accessory.

This post is just an introduction to this little booklet. I have six other booklets which were probably meant to be a set. In a future post watch for a hand-drawn version of the faded diagram in the booklet, and an actual scarf/neckwarmer made from these instructions (bound buttonhole and all). There, I’ve committed myself to making these accessories before the entire world.

Readers, do you have pictures or some knowledge of someone in your family wearing a scarf like this, or similar to this? Would you make this actual project?  Express your thoughts and ideas here in the comments section!

Samina, www.asg.org Follow us on Twitter @SewingGuild


Joyce Hamilton February 24, 2012 at 7:19 pm

I’m loving the ruffled edge bag! But, I’m game to sew the scarf, too.

Joyce Hamilton February 24, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Oh! The ruffled bag is a muff! I should have read the words & looked @ the pictures. Cute!

Samina February 24, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Joyce, thanks for the comment! Hopefully there will be more responses and we can all have a scarf & muff sew-up (can’t say sew-in because we’re in different places).

Melody Hofmann February 24, 2012 at 8:19 pm

From Chicago orignally and my grandmother wore “muffs” – I remember them and she had one that was furred lined, which as a child I found interesting. Both my mom and grandmother wore scarfs too. Me, not so much here in warm Florida.

Sue S February 27, 2012 at 7:46 pm

I think the scarf is cute! I could see this being used here in Wisconsin… even on the nicest days we get a good breeze off the lake. I remember having a cute muff with a holiday outfit when I was small. Think about this scarf in various light-weight fabrics to keep your coat or jacket collar clean!

Samina February 27, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Melody, thanks for commenting. Here is Texas we have very little use for a warm scarf. But that small fact NEVER kept me from buying fur fabric! So, I may just make a our scarf/muff set — just in case there’s snow in Houston.

Samina February 27, 2012 at 7:56 pm

so how about a scarf/muff sew-up? Let’s do this!

ann March 19, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Just found this so I’m a little late but…
I can see the scarf for year round. In Houston the A-C come down the neck and I do not enjoy it. Expanding the outer edges to cove my sholders or an add on gather peice to the botton hole tip that would drap down the back. Of course, the fabric would need to be soft or drape with a bit of interfacing around the neck. A beautiful hand woven would look lovely.

Samina March 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Thanks for the comment! I will be looking forward to what you make! I’m already mulling over a leftover piece of cotton velvet to use for this scarf. Will follow fabric recommendations on the pattern and see if it works in today’s world!
Please read other posts and keep commenting!

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