Thursday, 30 August 2012

Vintage haberdashery adverts.

As well as the glorious patterns for all manner of crafts in my old magazines I also really enjoy looking at the adverts. I could talk about all manner of adverts, those for reducing (in size), tampons (as they developed), custard, shoes or bleach. Perhaps one day I will as they are a fascinating insight into the way people lived, product development and the gradual evolution of ideas and ideals. Because my latest magazine haul was Needlewoman and Needlecraft I want to focus on haberdashery adverts as, obviously, that is the most fitting product to advertise in that type of magazine. Plus, I love haberdashery. It is pretty, its is functional, it is interesting and most of all it is full of potential; just waiting for you to come along, make a choice and produce something gorgeous with it.

It is worth taking a look at the Woolworth's Museum site (random I know), for its 1950s haberdashery displays . Woolworths stores all had a large haberdashery department selling buttons, wool, knitting and sewing patterns. The site has pictures of these plus pictures of store windows showing a display for wool week or for making do and mending.

I think this is brilliant. The bonkers curtains, the lovely
colours, the shapes, her beautiful dress and hair.

I like Anchor adverts. Great colours again and a fancy
cross stitch tablecloth is always good.

I'm not convinced that she would do her own mending
but she does lend an air of glamour to the proceedings.

Same with her, I think the wonderful hair and make-up
would not leave enough time to personalise her dainties
with embroidery. I think a maid is lurking in the background.

What a fabulous display of threads. Spoilt for choice!

Janet, Alison and Enid. All three of them give great jumper.
And hair.
Enid is 'striking the happy medium between primness and
Alison is 'all for cosiness so this long sleeved style is more
suitable for me'.
Janet says ' how do you like the bright little idea I'm wearing

Wool snake. Wool snake charmer. Magic carpet.
Great colours. Can't beat it!

Showing you the 'smartest ways of using the best bias
binding of all'.

I would like to think that she is called Melody as well
as the wool. I love the cardi, I'm not sure I will ever
have the patience to make it.

'These little folk are happy all day long, at the seaside,
in bathing suits of Crocus wool. They are warm and
comfortable and do not shrink or loose their shape'.

Featuring a' backless suit for sunbathers, a fancy
pattern for two bright colours and knickers and
a brassiere to make a novel two piece bathing suit'.

Colour. Beautiful.

Good to have a reliable zip for all situations.

Excellent. Women can crochet and be intelligent. Quite

Little boxes of colourful delights.

Anchor had to feature an anchor at some point really.

I agree that the women have glamour.
The thread though?

Lovely embroidered tea cosy.

Nice to see how the transfer and stitching work.

I realised that I have had my own small connection to haberdashery for many years as I went to school in London at Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham Girl's School. It was the longest name of a school in the country at the time but it has changed name now. Whilst it sounds ever so posh it wasn't at all, the name is due to the founder of the school, a Robert Aske, who was a Haberdasher. In 1689 he died and left £20,000 to the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers (of which he was a member), to buy land and build a school. The Haberdashers were founded in medieval times by a group of traders who all lived in the same place in London and all worshipped at St. Paul's Cathedral. They sold ribbons, pins, gloves, purses and beads and were joined by the Hatmakers in 1502. They were like the trading standards of the day in charge of checking quality, training apprentices and setting wages amongst other things. They controlled the haberdashery trade in London until 1650 when the population of London grew too large for it to be practical. They now exist as a City of London Livery Company and concentrate on education and charity work.


  1. These are absolutely delightful! I especially like the chic looking 1930s lady almost apprehensively looking down at a spool of thread. I agree, it's doubtful she did much of her own sewing (she seems a tad suspect of that thread after all), but she does do a bang up job of personifying the posh side of the era.

    ♥ Jessica

    *PS* I hope you don't mind me commenting on an older post. I started reading through some of your back posts and am enjoying them so much I just had to comment on this one.

    1. Of course I don't mind you commenting on an older post, it is very interesting to know your thoughts. Your comment on 1930s lady did make me giggle. I hope that we haven't misjudged her terribly!