Wednesday, September 16, 2015

How to sew a Vintage 1950's Capri Set: Quadriga Cloth Advertisement


This capri set from 1956 was used to advertise a fabric called "Quadriga" cloth, available for home sewing in prints and solids. This outfit is a fun 50's retro look that could be sewn today using contemporary patterns that are easy to find.


Quadriga is a cotton percale that is fine and smooth, manufactured by Eli and Walker Dry Good Company who were well known for producing reproduction calico prints as well in this fabric.  Originally made by the Quadriga Cloth Company, in 1911 that company was bought by Eli and Walker, and Quadriga continued to be made by them.

At the time of this advertisement, Eli and Walker had been acquired by Burlington Industries.  Quadriga continued to be produced by the Burlington company into the 1980's with their popular quilting prints being a popular item.  Interestingly, the original company was started in St. Louis in 1870 by a great-grandfather Walker of the presidential Bush family line.

The capri set with overskirt shown in this 1956 ad is made from both McCall's 9619 and 3069.   It's always interesting to see how vintage patterns were translated when made in actual fabric and shown on a live model.  This version of McCall's 9619 swapped the wide cummerbund of the capri set for the narrow waistband of the overskirt.  The gored semi-circle skirt from McCall's 3069 was made without front buttons and lined to match the blouse fabric.


Sewing patterns available now could be used to create this capri outfit with overskirt.  I found a few that might work for this projet:


Butterick 5526 could create a similar blouse if front ruffles were added.  Pant pattern from Butterick 5895 shown above could be used to sew a similar vintage look capri.  The skirt pattern McCall's 7129 is a wrap style.  Trimming away the front skirt overlap so that the edges meet at center front instead would produce the right look with a front opening. There are many vintage 1950's novelty prints available in cottons, so a cute coordinated print and solid fabric look is possible using current materials that would create a vintage looking outfit.

More on Quadra Cloth:
Hart Cottage Quilts, Ely and Walker: HERE
Fabrics.net: HERE
Making History: Quilts and Fabric from 1890 to 1970 by Barbara Brackman: HERE

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