Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sunday Shoe Spectacle - Guest Post with Dolly Creates

Welcome all, to another Sunday Shoe Spectacle! I'm thrilled to see that this is fast becoming a popular series for my little blog. Reading your comments and emails has been lots of fun, please keep them coming! I'm super exited for today's post! It's the first time having a guest blogger here on Emily's Vintage Visions and I'm hoping to have several more in the future.

So, please welcome Esther of the lovely blog, Dolly Creates!


Hello there, I’m Esther from over at Dolly Creates. I am so happy to be participating in Emily's Sunday Shoe Spectacle series! 

Today I would like to talk about the ins and outs, the benefits, and (of course) the beauty of vintage shoes! I wear a size 11, so that makes finding vintage shoes pretty tricky, but I have managed to snag a couple of pairs! I’ll start off with details and pictures of my little shoe collection, and then move on to the wordy bit afterwards.

First off is this gorgeous pair of 1940s oxfords; I purchased them from Two Old Beans on Etsy earlier this year. [As a side note: if you haven’t checked out their shop, you need to! Jessica and Ellen have an amazing stock of vintage clothing and accessories, and they add new stock daily. Tell them I sent you!] But back to the shoes - they were brand new, made of leather, and an amazingly perfect width that fit my wide feet! These have become my most favorite pair of shoes that I own, vintage or otherwise. I wore them aboard the battleship USS Alabama when my family and I were on vacation down South, and ended up getting very sore feet, actually! But that seemed to be the breaking-in that they needed, and ever since they have been as comfortable as bedroom slippers! :)

The second pair I own are these stunning red, white and blue 1940s pumps. These beauties do not fit, unfortunately, but being they were such a good price and an irresistible style, I bought them anyway. I purchased them from Blackbird Antiques NC on Etsy last year. They are made of faux leather, and feature blue and white striped accents on the toe.

My third pair of vintage shoes are these 1940s slingbacks. They are not my size, but rather a more common size 9 narrow. Made of leather, and in almost brand new condition, they are rare beauties! I only wish they fit me! They are currently for sale in my Etsy shop.

• The ins and outs of vintage shoe shopping

I find that the most important thing in your “shoe wardrobe,” if I may call it that, is to have a pair or two of comfortable, yet clearly vintage-style shoes. They can be quite a trick to find, especially if you have larger or smaller-sized feet than average! My go-to pair is the Quarter Oxford from Shoe Embassy. They are definitely the most comfortable pair of shoes I own, and look downright cute, whether paired with a fancier dress, or a casual dress and bobby socks.

Of course, every girl needs (and wants!) some heels as well, but it is vital to have some comfy shoes to fall back on. There’s nothing like suffering for 10+ hours at an event with uncomfortable shoes! Granted, sometimes the beauty of a certain pair of shoes outweighs the discomfort and we wear them on said occasions anyway, but…. ;)

There are quite a few reproduction shoe companies out there that offer loads of gorgeous vintage styles! I can’t really say one way or the other which I prefer; vintage or vintage reproduction shoes. Either one is a great option!

• Things to look for when shoe-shopping

Some of this can depend very much on one’s personal preferences, but I tend to have certain things that I look for. The first thing that comes to mind is what the shoe is made of; my favorite material is leather, most definitely. Faux leather looks lovely, as does canvas and other synthetic materials, but all of those materials wear out markedly faster than leather. With leather, when you scuff your shoe, a little polish practically “heals” it without any trace afterwards. Faux leather, on the other hand? You’ve got yourself a permanent cut. Canvas and other similar materials are great, but can get dirtied irreparably. That being said, I still would definitely buy a faux leather shoe, if the style and the quality was good. Just keep an eye out for cheaper shoes, and try to avoid them since they wear out much too fast! I previously owned a pair of oxford pumps from Modcloth, and after 9 months or so of average wearing, they were not only scuffed beyond looking nice, but also had a crack all the way across one of the soles. The moral of the story is that if you buy the best shoe you can reasonably afford, you won’t be disappointed!

Secondly, if you are fairly new to vintage shoe-acquiring, I would recommend sticking with colors that match many of your vintage garments. As much as I would have loved to have purchased pink shoes, green shoes, etc. in the past, I opted for the basic colors to start with. Black, brown, cream, and perhaps a basic color that you tend to have a lot of in your wardrobe. That color for me happens to be red! :) I seem to have no shortage of red dresses, so one of my early shoe purchases was in fact, bright red shoes! Of course, once you have established a good basic shoe wardrobe, then it’s time to branch out into the fun stuff. ;)

Thirdly, and this is a bit of a personal taste subject as well, I highly recommend sticking with 3 ½” or lower heels. Since I am 6’ tall, I stay under 3” to avoid looking like the basketball player that everyone thinks I should be, but obviously for shorter gals, that doesn’t present a problem at all! The main reason to avoid the stiletto-style heels though is the problem of strain on your feet; there is nothing like high heels to really cause problems! For long-term reasons, as well as the simple ease and comfort of wearing, I would definitely recommend sticking with low to mid-height heels.

Fourth and lastly, although this only pertains to actual vintage shoes, pay close attention to the measurements! Vintage shoes can tend to be on the narrow side, so be sure to examine the measurements of any shoes you might want very carefully. Be sure to go by the actual shoe size rather than the size a seller might say that they fit.

• What would be my dream pair of vintage shoes?

Definitely a pair of WAVES oxfords. I am about to start making a World War II WAVES seersucker uniform, (including the hat!) so to find a pair of those shoes would be absolutely incredible. But then, let’s face it; to find a pair of vintage shoes that fits well is always going to be thrilling! :)

I hope this post provided some helpful information and inspiration! I deeply enjoyed writing it, and I would like to thank Emily for having me on her blog! 
Have a lovely week, and happy shoe-hunting! :)


Thank you Esther for this lovely post! Would you like to write a guest post about vintage shoes for this blog series? Would you like to collaborate in another way? If so, please feel free to contact me! You can email me at vintagevisions27(at)gmail(dot)com

Friday, April 29, 2016

Great Hair Fridays - 1920s Hair Products

A quick post today for Great Hair Fridays. Here are some images of 1920s hair products. Enjoy!
West Electric Hair Curler Company’s Hair Curlers – Why there are over fifty million West Electric Hair Curlers in Daily Use (1923) Source - Vintageadbrowser
Martha Matilda Harper’s Harper Method Tonique – Bobbed hair- is easy to dress this new way (1924)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

18th Century Feathered Hats

Here is a little research project I've been working on lately. Although I don't get to attend 18th century events as much as I would like to, the time period is never from from my mind. I like keep up to date as best I can on what's happening in the reenacting world, the trending research, new sources etc. There is always something new to learn.

Lately I've been looking at 18th century hats, in particular those covered with feathers. Why I'm drawn to these I'm not entirely sure. Whether something like these would be appropriate for my typical living history portrayal remains to be seen and more research is certainly needed. My guess is that for a British camp follower in the years covering the 1750s to 1770s a fine feathered hat would be very unlikely. As an up middle class resident of say, Boston, they are a possibility. But as I said more research is needed. I have been researching in the historic newspapers without much luck as of yet. However, in the world of historic costuming and fancy dress events, pretty much anything goes. :)

Here are a few examples of feathered hats in period art.

Oil painting, 'Head of a Girl Wearing a White Hat', ca. 1760-70, by William Hoare RA (1707-1792) V&A 833-1873
It looks like this young lady is also wearing a feather covered hat. Yes?

Philip Mercier (circa 1689-1760) - Source
Philip Mercier (circa 1689-1760) - Source

And here are some serving hats in museum collections. All are dated to about the same time as the artwork above, 1750-1770 and are very similar looking. They are all around the same size too, approximately 13" to 14".

A round hat with a shallow crown and wide brim decorated with cock and guineafowl feathers in natural colours and dyed blue, yellow, red and green. The feathers are stitched to a linen ground which is lined with blue taffeta. 1750-1770 (made) V&A T.90-2003
Woman's feather hat (bergère) English or French, 1750–75. Round disk-like hat with crown only slightly elevated, foundation of linen completely covered with polychrome feathers; lined with pale pink taffeta, one pale pink silk ribbon. MFA 43.1832
Here are two more images of the same hat from the MFA. I find it interesting that you can see the edge of the straw base as well as the stitching on the underside. Zoom in for a closer look.

MFA 43.1832
MFA 43.1832
Although this next hat is a little different, only the brim is covered in feathers, it gives me hope for wearing a feather covered hat for living history events. The description says it was made in France but it's place of use was Boston.

MFA, accession number 49.916
Making a similar hat I believe would be very doable, though time consuming. I have a plain straw hat with a very low crown that could be used as a base and colored feather can be purchased at several places like Joanns. I also have left over silk taffeta to line the underside of the hat. Would I glue the feathers or stitch them in place? I'm not sure yet, likely I'll stitch them, but if I do attempt a crazy project like this you can be sure to read about it here. :)

If anyone knows of other examples, in art or surviving originals, I would love to see them.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sunday Shoe Spectacle - "Boot and Shoe Recorder" Spring Shoe Advice

For today's Sunday Shoe Spectacle, another peak at my collection of "Boot and Shoe Recorder. The Great National Shoe Weekly" magazines. Today's images are from March 18, 1939 Vol. CXV No. 3.

Scanning these pages is proving a little difficult because the magazines are bigger than my scanner, leading to parts of the pages getting cut off. Fear not, I'll keep working on them!

Front cover. "Boot and Shoe Recorder. The Great National Shoe Weekly" March 18, 1939 Vol. CXV No. 3
 The front and back covers are just as exciting as what you find inside!

Back cover. "Boot and Shoe Recorder. The Great National Shoe Weekly" March 18, 1939 Vol. CXV No. 3
Here is a look at what's inside. What color shoes should you wear with your spring outfit? I love the look of the white dress with its pleated skirt and plaid accessories. Hmmm, I have some white linen in my stash, I might need to make something like that this year!

"Boot and Shoe Recorder. The Great National Shoe Weekly" March 18, 1939 Vol. CXV No. 3
"Boot and Shoe Recorder. The Great National Shoe Weekly" March 18, 1939 Vol. CXV No. 3
And here are a bonus page because these styles are too pretty not to share. :) Which pair of shoes do you want most?

"Boot and Shoe Recorder. The Great National Shoe Weekly" March 18, 1939 Vol. CXV No. 3
Stay tuned for next week's post when I will be featuring one of my lovely readers, Esther, of Dolly Creates. Keep sending me your favorite shoe resources and pictures, I'm really enjoying them!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Fashionable Gown

I first posted about this silk project over the winter. Sorry no construction pictures yet. I pulled the pattern out the other night to begin reading through the directions. I also took some time to dig through by scrap fabrics to see what I had that would work for a mock up.

Fashionable Gown pattern from Larkin and Smith

I definitely want to make sure the bodice and sleeves are going to fit before a cut into my linen and silk for this 1770s fashionable gown. As noted in my earlier post, I plan to take my time with this gown. I don't have a specific event in mind for it so there is no need to rush.

On a side note, if you enjoy drooling over beautiful fabrics, especially silks (who doesn't!!) check out the fine selection over at At the Sign of the Golden Scissors. They currently have some nice linens and wools in stock too.

Striped yellow silk from At the Sign of the Golden Scissors
Pink Brocade Silk from At the Sign of the Golden Scissors
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