My 111 year old magazines of inspiration…

I have two McCall’s magazines… two very old magazines…they are 111 years old and both are from 1905. I have the May and the December issues.

[If you click on any picture, it will enlarge.]


I keep them in a plastic page cover to protect them, and they are actually in remarkably good condition considering how many times I’ve looked at them. There are stories and recipes and advertisements and pattern ideas! That’s what I have spent the most time looking at. Each issue has a color fashion plate which is extraordinarily beautiful!



Sometimes I wonder what I would have done if I lived back at the turn of the century and received these magazines. I’m sure I would have poured over every article and made every recipe and tried every project…and studied every illustration of the latest fashions. Here are a few pages of the illustrations…





Even the advertisements are fun to read…


Dame Fashion was a book, written by Julius Price that was filled with Fashion Plates from 1786 – 1912. These magazines reference Dame Fashion many times in their articles. I found this one cute little poem and had to share it with you…


Isn’t that adorable?

Well, this wasn’t just a post about the 1905 magazines… it’s a lead up to what doll will be modeling the next dress. Rebecca got more votes for a 1900’s dress so I will follow through with your wishes and see what I can come up with. I hope I’m faster at making the dress than I was at picking out a fabric from my stash. I’m not kidding… I bet I was pulling out fabrics and laces for over 2 hours. I just couldn’t decide… Most of the fashions at this time were solid colored fabrics, but I don’t really have anything that grabs me… I have some pretty bright floral fabrics, but they don’t look like they belong in the early 1900’s. I picked out this pink print and this lace, but I’m still not 100% sure it’s the one I’ll use. I have a pale beige print with some peach flowers on it, but it looks too blah… I may just need to sleep on it and look at my fabrics in the day light tomorrow.


Speaking of light… I mixed up some black chalk paint and painted the brass light fixture and then wiped it off. It left the lamp looking more of an antique brass rather than a shiny bright brass. It’s not being put up in my house, but this is what I would do if it were. My hubby is going to put it in one of the rooms in the Sunday School house at our church. I think it will look okay there…

Here is what it looked like when he brought it home last night…


…and after it’s been “antiqued” by me…


Here it is with the black paint being painted on…and then another one of it wiped off…



See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne


  1. Linda Doyle says:

    Oh Jeanne, I absolutely LOVE looking at old women’s magazines! That’s how I like to learn history more than anything! What a treasure you have there with those two magazines! All I can say is —-those teensy waists on the grown women–wow! So glad I live now!!

    Oh, good, Rebecca will have a new turn of the century dress! I love the material and the delicate looking lace you have picked out, just perfect! Can’t wait to see what transpires in the next few days!

    Wow, that light fixture really looks fantastic with the black paint! it gives a richer look and is in such great shape too! Maybe have George take a picture when he hangs it up?

    • Jeanne W says:

      HI Linda,
      I know what you mean by those skinny skinny waists on the dresses. Aren’t they unreal? Their belts would be our headbands today!
      Yes, I’ve decided on Rebecca but I’m still not convinced of the fabric… I wanted something different and may have to take another look in my stash… My younger sister is coming in tomorrow for a few days so I’m trying to do double duty on my blog and on my sewing…

      He was out the door this morning before I even got up so the light is gone. I will take a picture of it hanging… that is if it got approved the way I antiqued it…

      I worked at the Food Pantry today and am just now back home…so it’s time to get busy!
      Thanks Linda,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  2. Cindy E says:

    The light looks great Jeanne!!! Good job!!

    • Jeanne W says:

      Thanks Cindy,
      I couldn’t have done the light without your advice… thanks so much for knowing ‘everything!’
      Love you, me

  3. Thanks for sharing your McCall’s magazines with us, Jeanne. That poem is funny, but probably all too true; really, how would one button and unbutton the backs of those dresses without a maid or husband to help with the task, doesn’t sound fun at all.
    Your chandelier looks great, by the way. It’s fun seeing old things being made more beautiful, or simply different. I like both the shiny and antiqued brass. These days my favorite finish is oil rubbed bronze. A few years ago my husband turned some knobs and things into this finish by spraying with copper, then black, and rubbing the edges so the copper peeked through.
    Rebecca is one lucky girl! She is probably the happiest doll in the sewing room today.
    Have a great day!

    • Jeanne W says:

      HI Cindy,
      When I read that poem, it made me sort of chuckle out loud…it’s really true, isn’t it?
      It is very fun to “think outside the box” and turn something you have into something different! I like doing that!
      I know the finish you are talking about and it’s one of my favorites too! I bet your door knobs or any other kind of knobs you did are beautiful…
      Yep, Rebecca is ready to get started on her dress…if only her mommy knew what she was making… still not sure…
      I just got home from the Food Pantry, so I’ll have to check out my fabrics in the day time here and see if I missed something last night…
      Thanks Cindy,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  4. Your artistry brings me joy each day. Again, thanks for sharing your creativity with us.

    Take care.

    • Jeanne W says:

      HI Becky,
      I’m glad you’re easy to please… I really didn’t have much to show today… but thank you anyway!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  5. There’s *no way* that old magazine couldn’t inspire you! I would probably ‘loose’ a whole day just daydreaming over the illustrations! but YOU still managed to get other things done! good for you! I’m excited to see what Rebecca gets!

    • Jeanne W says:

      Hi Mary,
      These magazines are very interesting to look at and it is easy to get caught up in them. I have a couple of 1944 Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs and they are easy to get lost in too!
      Rebecca is patiently waiting for me to make up my mind about what to make for her.
      Thanks for your vote of confidence in me…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  6. Funny, but my grandmother, born 1894, used to talk about the itchy wool socks she had to wear. If you look at the kids outfits, you can see them. She was also blessed with a mother who sewed well and remembered her childhood red wool coat. I can picture her wearing it to church in her small town of Mine LaMotte, MO.

    • Jeanne W says:

      Hi Joy,
      It IS fun to look at the differences in the things we wear today and what was worn back then.
      How far we have come! Oh, if we could all go back in time just for one week, wouldn’t that be interesting?
      Thanks Joy,
      blessings, Jeanne

    • Some how my post lost a lot of letters in posting. Itchy, kids, childhood, it, Mine. Guess it was an “i” thing. Strange.

  7. Marilyn Grotzky says:

    I love the magazine pages. I don’t recall ever seeing pleats used the way they are in these skirts, to add a lot of fullness to the bottom of the gown. I still wonder about the puffy-fronted bodices. They are so difficult to iron and I can never figure out how that style lasted at all. The pleated bodices are bad enough, but possible. Mothers and laundresses must have loved the dresses without waists — so much easier to iron.
    I liked the chandelier a lot in its original state, but much prefer it after its aging treatment. It has more dignity now. Once it’s installed, you and George will probably have to redo the entire room at the Sunday School — and then re-style the entire Sunday School House.

    • Jeanne W says:

      HI Marilyn,
      I’m with you on the ironing part… how in the world they ever did that is beyond me! It must have been a royal pain!
      I’m glad you like the light redone… me too. I’m wondering if George has it put up by now… I should have gone by after I worked at the Food Pantry to see if it was…
      Oh PLEASE Marilyn… I’m too busy for a room makeover… or a house makeover…No!!!
      Thanks though,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  8. Jane Miller says:

    Loved the old magazine! I would love to see you use a solid color for the next dress. The brass light looks great not so shiney!

    • Jeanne W says:

      HI Jane,
      I’m going to look in my stash again and see if I can’t find something more in a solid like color…that’s what I’d really like to use… I think.
      I think the shiny-ness of the brass looked better toned down too.
      Thanks, Jeanne

  9. I second everyone’s comments. I’ll admit, I kind of shuddered at the black paint idea but, as usual, you know best and I learned something. It looks great! Can’t wait to see it with those lovely globes in it. What a find!

    I have a picture of my great-great-grandmother dressed like that with the big ostrich feather on her hat, a photograph taken from a side view so she didn’t have the usual blank facial expression in the early photographs. I have just one of the magazines, but it has an advertisement for the opera glasses with the bee on the clasp of the case that are the only thing I have from her.

    The illustrations in the magazine are beautifully done. Some of the American Girl doll dresses are exact copies from the magazines. Every column you write is so well written and on so many different subjects, always an inspiration for your many readers.

    • Jeanne W says:

      HI Susette,
      I’m anxious to see the light fixture hanging up in the room too… The globes to it were very pretty… I’ll take a picture of it the next time I’m in town…

      I used to look for these magazines all the time when I first started sewing. I have a few from the 40’s and the 70’s and a couple of very old Delineator magazines from the 1890’s. They are in very fragile condition… but I love to look at them…

      I’m glad to inspire everyone however they like. Some like the sewing, some the book reviews, some the tutorials, some just the doll pictures, some the home decor posts, so I guess if you hang around long enough you’ll see something you like.
      Blessings, Jeanne

  10. Kathie Welsh says:

    HI Jeanne,
    Those McCall illustrations are amazing…I’m just finishing a repair an early 1900’s porcelain doll and have a gorgeous piece of eyelet to make the dress out of…I made her unders from the plainer parts of the piece and now she is just waiting for her dress..I think I may copy one of those big collars for her :0)
    The chandelier looks SO NICE!

    • Jeanne W says:

      Hi Kathie,
      Those big collars are called Bertha collars and they were very fashionable in the Victorian era. They made a comeback in the 1940’s too. The softer and drapier the lace, the prettier they are, I think!
      I hope your dress is a success… let me see it when you are done…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  11. Paula F. says:

    I finally got my laptop to bring up your blog. I’ve been able to read the front blog but not get into the second part to comment. Sometimes my laptop is contrary.
    I’ve enjoyed your last couple of blogs. Watching the cabinet be painted blue and the chandelier being refurbished. Both look nice. I too also like both the shiny and the antiqued chandelier. The glass shades are very pretty.

    I’m sure Rebecca is so happy knowing she’s going to be the next model. It will be fun seeing her outfit materialize. The catalog outfits remind me of one of my favorite movies from long ago, Disney’s “Pollyanna”. I’m thinking that was the same era as the early 1900’s?
    The style of those dresses in your catalog remind me of those in that movie. The movie’s wardrobe department made gorgeous outfits with hats and jewelry to accessorize !! Jane Wyman was beautiful and regal for her role as the perfect Aunt Polly. When Aunt Polly takes Pollyanna to the clothing store to try on dresses for a new wardrobe…well that was one of my favorite parts of the movie. The outfits were so cute.

    Have a great Wednesday, Jeanne.

    • Pollyanna was filmed in my town, not far from where we live. The beautiful home is a landmark. The whole street decorates for Halloween in a big way, and everyone brings their children to visit. I know a few friends who were extras in that great movie.

    • Jeanne W says:

      HI Paula,
      Oh no, not computer problems for you again… it seems like you got them figured out! If you ever get stuck on a page, most of the time, if you will click on the BLOG tab just under the title it will bring up the most current post and the rest of the posts will be underneath it.
      Yes, the Pollyanna dresses are some of the prettiest in films… and the part of trying on more dresses is just the best! (for a seamstress like me!) Now if Rebecca’s “seamstress” could just get her act together!

      Thanks Paula,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  12. Love that poem so much! It totally reminds me of Downton Abbey. 🙂

    Happy day friend!

    • Jeanne W says:

      HI KariAnne,
      Yes, that poem is a hoot, isn’t it? I loved it the first time I read it and just had to share it!
      I have had a great day and when I get Rebecca’s dress fabric figured out, it will be a greater day!
      Thanks so much,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  13. I thought of DA too.The necessity of finding a husband. i just watched the movie, Finding Jane Austen.I had never heard of it and while the movie is interesting it is not the best
    Austen movie, but totally about finding a husband.

    • Jeanne W says:

      Hi Jan,
      I just had to share that little poem… I knew my ladies would love it. I’ll have to check out the Jane Austen movie you mentioned…
      Thanks so much,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  14. Jeanne W says:

    No, you aren’t all having typo’s in your comments today. For some reason, no one is able to write out “the small letter I” in their comments. Only the capItal letter I’s are workIng. If you look at the comments… all of the (small letter I’s are missing.) Don’t know what is going on…but it’s not you…it’s that way with everyone’s…. just wanted to let you know…
    Blessings, Jeanne

  15. Linda Doyle says:

    Ha! Ha! I was just reading all these comments and wondering what in the world has everyone been drinking???!!

    • Jeanne W says:

      HI LInda,
      It took me a while to figure it out too… sometimes I go in and correct someone’s post if it’s something I knew they wished they had typed the right way, but when I saw all these mistakes I got to looking and finally saw it the small letter “I”s that were missing… go figure…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  16. Ingrid B says:

    Haha.. Eye notyced the eyes were absent too! LOL Sorry Eye couldn’t help myself

    • Jeanne W says:

      Eye am hoping tomorrow all of the “eyes” are back in place… Eye don’t know what is causing it…
      Cute pun on your part!
      Thanks so much,
      Blessings, Jeanne

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