Needlewoman and Needlecraft

Recently I went to a postcard fair (don’t ask) and in amongst all the postcards of various towns in England throughout the ages was a tiny stall with some sewing bits. Overpriced buttons, vintage (and by vintage I mean rusty) zips, old spools of thread and knitting patterns galore. They did have some original pattern illustrations, but I didn’t like any of the dresses, and they were more expensive than I would have liked. Having little interest in the postcards, I sifted through the entire table, determined to come up with some amazing vintage patterns from the 1940s and earlier. Sadly not, but I did find this little magazine from WW2:

Needlewoman and Needlecraft magazine ran from 1940 – 1970. It was the result of the amalgamation between Needlecraft Practical Journal and The Needlewoman. Unfortunately I can’t date this copy, but I’m sure it’s from the early to mid 40s, as it’s only issue 19.

This tiny publication is just over A5 in size – smaller than its predecessors – but packs quite a punch. There’s a lot of stuff in here, from decorating chairs, to making bags to embroidering the amazing picture on the cover.

That’s right, Wool Lace

There’s a couple of knitting patterns in here, including the not-quite-right sounding ‘Wool Lace’ jumper…

…the charming yet bizarrely named ‘Ribaldry‘…

…and some make do and mend goodness! I’ve always wanted to find one of these articles on how to turn his clothes into your darling skirt/blouse/hat. Looking at it, it’s really quite obvious, you’d think I could have figured this out. Sadly Boyfriend doesn’t wear suit trousers, so I’ll have to go charity shopping to put this plan into action.

Last but not least is this beautiful bit of bias binding I wanted to share:

I’d love to do this, but I am very impatient and am not the best hand-sewer. I’ve not made anything with scallops, but I think this could be a good place to start. I’d love to work these into a neckline.

(p.s. If anyone wants either of the two knitting patterns, just ask and I’ll photograph the whole page for you)


  1. […] which was published into the 1970s. Copies are regularly traded on eBay and at craft fairs. Craftylittlebugger is one of the many people inspired by such magazines, whose contents are finding a new lease of […]

  2. Hi – does Needlewoman and Needlecraft No 19 include details/transfer of an embroidery of ‘The British Isles’?

    1. Hi Jane! I really don’t remember I’m afraid. Currently all my stuff is packed away in boxes so I can’t easily check. I will be able to check once I’ve moved and started unpacking, but that wont be for a few weeks. Did you want a copy of the transfer or something?

      1. Thanks for quick response. If The British Isles embroidery is mentioned, I’m after the magazine itself (I know that the project was published in N and N). We have the framed, completed embroidery done by my late mother-in-law. She dated her work ‘1945’. Jane

  3. Oh wow, that’s really lovely. I will take a look when I come across it and let you know what I find…

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