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My newest book, Vintage Notions, takes much of its is inspiration from the newsletter produced by the Woman’s Institute of Scranton, PA. This remarkable school taught dressmaking via correspondence courses and newsletters to over 300,000 women in the 1920s and ‘30s. A popular feature was always the “Magic Pattern.” These clever and timeless patterns were so simple to make, they seemed like “magic.” The “magic” continued when a student realized no paper patterns were required, as cutting your pieces was based solely on diagrams and measurements.

The ones I chose from the book, while originally created 80+ years ago, were both unique and contained a modern “vintage” appeal". And they’re practical too! Some of the magic patterns include fashion scarves (totally back in), stylish aprons made from a man’s shirt…


…a wonderful cape…


…a romantic slip and a luxurious kimono. There’s also a fantastic magic pattern for a summer purse.


Also included in Vintage Notions is a personal favorite of mine, a fabric flower.


Don’t believe it’s my favorite? Here I am at sewing shops, creative gatherings, book appearances, and out with my daughter…all with the fabric flower and, often, in multiple colors.


Just for BurdaStyle readers, I’ve made the pages from the book that contain the The Fabric Flower magic pattern available for download. Just click here and enjoy!

Here are three simple reminders when making the flower:
(Note: all of these are from the Magic Pattern Notes found in the back of Vintage Notions)

-Use a circle pattern/template to draw the circle.
-Cut the fabric circles using a rotary circle cutter.
-To wear it, use a purchased pin-back stitched to the flower back.

  • For each magic pattern, we tested to make sure that we could understand our vintage sister’s language and instructions. We then added Magic Pattern notes at the end of the book that provide further explanation and tips that we thought would be helpful.

Amy Barickman is the founder and owner of Indygo Junction, The Vintage Workshop and AmyBarckman.com. She is a leader in the sewing, needle arts and retail crafting industry having sold more than two-million sewing patterns and published 80 books sold throughout the world. Her recent endeavor is the book “Amy Barickman’s Vintage Notions: An Inspirational Guide to Needlework, Cooking, Sewing, Fashion and Fun”, is already on its third printing since its release in September of 2010. Other best-selling titles include: “Indygo Junction’s Button Ware” and, most recently, “Hankie Style”.


  • Pam_susan-macomb-1_1__large

    Feb 18, 2011, 03.56 PMby queeniehollow

    I love the apron how do i get ths book?

  • Missing

    Feb 16, 2011, 11.17 PMby rubicat

    that apron is priceless. I can’t wait to get my hands on that book.

  • Holy_large

    Feb 16, 2011, 09.52 AMby tungufoss

    I’m totally going to try to recreate that apron. C’est très mignon

  • Img-thing_small_large

    Feb 15, 2011, 09.47 PMby MissSewsItAll

    I love this book and the apron project!

    1 Reply
  • Long_blue_skirt_headshot_large

    Feb 14, 2011, 02.16 PMby nyphertiti

    Sounds like a very interesting book, will definitely put this on my list of things to read~

  • Missing

    Feb 13, 2011, 05.56 PMby flatkat

    I want the apron pattern, Love it !.


  • C360_2013-07-09-19-57-47-392-1_large

    Feb 11, 2011, 10.10 AMby popbabe7

    I’ll definitely add this book to my wish list!

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    Feb 11, 2011, 01.54 AMby fosteretalk

    I just love the apron. I would like to make one but just a bit shorter as I usually wear jeans when I bake.

  • Toja_by_niqui_large

    Feb 10, 2011, 03.37 PMby toja

    This is really lovely. I love the story behind the book and look forward to sharing in that history when I get it! What a great idea.

  • Missing

    Feb 9, 2011, 07.44 PMby denise2003

    Cool! Your book has a great rating on Amazon. Have you seen this site:


    Not only does it have a lot of great information, but if you (or anyone else) has material to donate for the collection, I’m sure everyone would appreciate it. I check it often.

    • This is a question
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