Thursday, February 14, 2013

Guest Post: Pattern Junkie on Heart Pockets!

Readers, I'm delighted to have a guest post for you today! It's from Jace, the blogger behind Pattern Junkie, of which I have long been a fan. Bonus: Jace is a fellow pinkhead (well, more like a lovely magenta) and is really fun to eat Mexican food with. Enjoy!--Gertie

Hello, fellow Gertie readers!  I’m delighted to be a guest writer today: I’ve been a fan of Gertie’s blog for several years, and had the chance to meet her when she visited L.A.  (Guess what?  She’s as wonderful in person as she is in blogland.)  Like many of you, I have a love of sewing – and a love of (some might say obsession with) sewing patterns.  And why not?  They offer glimpses into fashion history and individual seamstresses’ lives.  Some designs make me gasp at their beauty.  Others leave me scratching my head at their peculiarity.

Since it’s Valentine’s Day, let’s talk about an interesting vintage detail: heart pockets.  Beautiful?  Weird?  What’s your take?  I think they can go either way, so join me on a journey through some examples.  I’m focusing exclusively on women’s dresses with heart pockets: aprons and kids’ clothes with this detail are a little too easy to find…and when you do, they look like this:


 ACK!  Didn’t I warn you about the weird?  The more you look at Aunt Martha’s 9619 (1940s), the stranger it gets.  The twin kitties…Sis wearing nothing but an apron, socks, bonnet and shoes with Mom looking so sad in the foreground…I’m about to take a hot iron to my eyes to burn the image from my retinas.  Quick!  Something pretty!  Let’s take a gander at Anne Adams 4923 (1940s):

For me, this works.  The dress is classic and simple and the pockets are a sweet, unexpected touch.  Bravo!

Next: Simplicity 3716, 1950s.  Giant heart pockets are one thing, but hearts on the end of a rick rack neck bow?  That’s taking things too far.

Plaid agrees: she’s looking a little smug.  And you know what?  Now I’m coming around to Blue’s point of view.  It’s a housedress, after all.  Blue, if you want to eat your breakfast looking like a Valentine and getting muffin crumbs stuck in the little pointy bottoms of your pockets, you go!  Don’t let Plaid put you down.

This mail order pattern, Anne Adams 4589 (1940s), does everything right in by book.  I love how the illustration places a plain heart and yoke against a flowered fabric.  It’s not too sweet – almost matter-of-fact.

 Unfortunately, I just can’t get behind Simplicity 1090 (1940s).  I don’t think anyone’s going to take you seriously if your business suit features hearts right above your bust – or anywhere, for that matter:

While the lace-trimmed pockets of Simplicity 3186 (1950) are too sweet for my taste, I love the pattern illustration:

Navy Lace makes a heart with her hands, while Pink Gingham scolds her for being so forward!  And what is Pink about to pull out of that heart-shaped pocket of hers?

Lest you think that the heart pocket faded with the fifties, check out its appearance in Simplicity 5803 (1973):

Finally, a pattern I can’t resist including, even though it technically doesn’t have a heart pocket.  Check out Simplicity 4924:

YES!  You saw that right!  It’s a HEART HAT!  Glorious, isn’t it?!

Thanks for exploring this odd little corner of the sewing pattern world with me, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Thanks again to Pattern Junkie!


  1. This was such a delightful post! Blue vs. Plaid and Navy Lace vs. Pink Gingham had particularly cute "conversations."

    Heart pockets are definitely a sweet, feminine detail but I think they are not necessarily confined to retro anymore. I remember seeing a tutorial for heart pockets from a Japanese blog a la Hello Kitty. They definitely have a market on the super-cute detail. You must admit that even as we get older, a part of us will still love the Sanrio store.

    Alas, my Valentines dress is not finished yet (T-8 hours or so) and it is made of blue lace, and therefore would not lend itself well to heart pockets!

  2. Oh that Navy Lace--what a hussy. That was such a cute post...

  3. very cute,but I kinda like the suit with the hears above the bust,they should be cut out and filled with lace.I'd love to see that heart hat made up.

  4. I'm not sure I could ever pull off heart-shaped pockets, but I loved this post. Especially the sassy banter between plaid and blue!

  5. I quite like heart shape pockets. Actually, I've made a dress within my blog archives featuring them...
    Whenever I think of heart pockets I think of Meadham Kirchoff's S/S '12 RTW cute take on the concept...
    I thought this was quite wonderfully done... I like the kitch element of heart pockets...
    Gertie: You and I should meet up in L.A. one day! That would be so much fun... we should start sewing conventions...

  6. Jace, if you think the heart-shaped kids' pattern is awful, I dare you to go looking for pinafore patterns for kids... and find the ones with the decapitated animal heads! (Gracie, the four-year-old wants one, I told her no because they're creepy!)

  7. I am dying over that second Anne Adam's pattern! GASP! SO AMAZING!! I would love for it to 'be mine' heheheh ;)

  8. Have you ever watched the Blondie movies from the 1930s? They starred Mr. and Mrs. Dagwood Bumstead--the same couple from the famous comic strip. I watched them with my family when I was growing up and I distinctly remember Blondie and her apron with heart pockets. Don't worry, though, it was very much unlike the first pattern you shared here! :) The apron was done tastefully and you wouldn't believe all the great design inspiration you can reap from this movie series. Blondie has a great sense of style!

  9. Love the conversations between the models, too! Cute post for the occassion. I happen to have that 70's simplicity pattern in my shop if anyone is interested. I contemplated making it for myself but decided not to.

  10. Ha ha i love your comments on the patterns. right on spot :) the yoke dress with a little heart pocket is definitely the lovliest. the heart apron and bonnet looked so silly, like a masquerade outfit. Some patternmakers seems to twist themselves to do extraordinary things but all we want is a simple and stylish one.

  11. I really enjoyed the tour of the heart pockets.. some very cute..[some not so cute,ha]
    thank you for sharing..Enjoyed the post.

  12. I saw a beautiful blue circle skirt with heart pockets on eBay. The tops of the hearts had been turned down to the outside making a little pocket "collar". It also featured white dove appliqués and "I love you" in white rickrack. I later found the vintage pattern and recreated it, changing it to Jet'aime. I adore it and am so thankful for the seamstress who inspired me.

  13. I agree on most of your observations! Now a days we see the heart pockets weirdly tacky, but I guess back on those days it was an emblem of feminism, emphasizing the female role in all its splendor.... amazing pieces and observation! thank you very much for the enlightment.

  14. The longer I think about it... the lesser it looks weird to me. Guess what came later in fashion - some things in the 70s or 80s or even 90s seemed to me unwearable. But those little hearts? To me they're heartwarming.

    Have a nice week, though

  15. Thanks for all your great I'm inspired to go find heart pockets "in the wild," as it were. (Your skirt sounds amazing, Nora.) And Bratling, those aprons sound terrifying...I'll have to search them out. I fear a new obsession forming!

  16. Great. You did a great job. I would like to read few more articles from you. Keep sharing! bsc fashion design in chennai

  17. damn you!!
    Now I want to make a silly top with heart shaped pockets, it took me only to see simplicity 5803 to immediately picture my future violet sleeveless summer top... And now I am wondering, have I the white short to go with it ?
    Damn you :-)

  18. Oh I absolutely adore the heartshaped hat! It's fabulous. I'm going to wear that next year on Valentine's Day :D

  19. Woow. It's really interesting to follow the trends in fashion and to see how they gradually change and then reappear after a certain time. I studied fashion design and I'm very creative when it comes to making my own clothing and accessories and looking at the pictures what immediately came to my mind was my favorite fabric store called King Textiles here in Toronto where I usually find everything I need to design my own clothes and honestly heart shaped pockets never came to my mind so maybe the next pieces in my collection will be inspired by the outfits I can see in these pictures. :)


Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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