Through Jade's Eyes

This blog is about the fictional character, Jade del Cameron (, and the historical time period in which she lives.

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I'm the author of the Jade del Cameron historical mystery series set in 1920's Africa. Lots of action, intrigue, mystery and a dash of romance. Follow me at *The audio link (view complete profile) is an interview by Baron Ron Herron (9/17/2009, Santa Barbara {CA} News-Press Radio, KZSB, AM 1290

Monday, June 08, 2009


The East African Standard frequently featured patterns for women’s and children’s clothing as a service to the working lady or the settler-farmer’s wife under the headline: “Simple Work For Women At Home.” The May 22, 1920 issue offered a bathing costume, proclaiming: “At this time of the year, you will be needing a bathing suit for your holiday at the coast, or week end at The Forest Hotel.” Bathing suit pattern 1149 promised to be “smart and distinctive.”

The pattern consisted of the “knickers” (cut in one piece) a bodice, and an “overdress” styled to resemble a frock coat. The pattern required 4 and ½ yards of double wide fabric to produce an “ordinary full size” costume. Instructions for how to sew the garment were described in the article with hints for the best manner of finishing it so as to prolong the outfit’s life. Of course, it was hardly to be expected that someone could just look at the pattern and make the outfit. But for only 1 rupee, sent to “Molly” at the pattern department of the newspaper, you could receive your own copy of the pattern.

“Molly” always finished her article with the latest “fashion gossip.” It seems that “printed nets with beautiful voile borders are the latest thing in evening-dress fabrics. They were also recommended for garden party frocks with the idea that a netted fabric would be overlain atop a contrasting fabric for a stunning effect. She cited a net of “old rose” set over a “peacock blue” fabric. And to top it off, the latest fashion in 1920 was to have a garment express a “mood in nature.” Molly offered two possibilities: stormy sunsets and sun on the sea. These moods are printed on the labels and sewn into the latest purchased garments by the dressmakers.

I just trust that “stormy sea” would not be the best mood to choose for that bathing costume lest it come true.

The pattern photo taken from The East African Standard, May 22, 1920

NEXT WEEK: More Nairobi Fun.

NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter, all available in trade paperback. The fourth book The Leopard’s Prey,is available in hardcover. TREASURE OF THE GOLDEN CHEETAH will be released Sept. 1, 2009. An excerpt and information on pre-ordering signed copies is available at the website: Follow short updates on

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