Thursday, December 20, 2012

Help me get focused - What would you like to read about?

Vintage sewing machine advertisement - Source
As the one year anniversary of my blog approaches, I find myself reflecting on many things and wondering ... What are people really interested in reading about? When I first started this blog my goal was to "share some of the things I have learned by studying and recreating historic and vintage clothing and show a few items in my own collection."

I realize that my posts are somewhat random and I tend to bounce around different topics and time periods. With so many different interests I sometimes find it hard to stay focused! That's partly why I started my Facebook page. It's been a great place for me to share little bits here and there without devoting a whole blog post to the topic.

I never really intended My Vintage Visions to be a straight sewing or clothing blog. Nor did I plan to stick to one historical time period. I wanted to offer something a little different but something that represents myself and personal interests. I've tried to incorporate a series of either weekly or monthly posts that you can count on to be here such as Great Hair Fridays and Color of the Month. Of course that hasn't always happened.

I've often thought about doing a series of "what I wore" posts, but other then my 18th century events and the occasional photo shoot, I don't usually "dress up." However, working vintage or vintage inspired clothing into my everyday wardrobe is something I'm slowly trying to do. I collect and sew the stuff so I might as well wear it too, right? ;)

I don't claim to be an expert on any aspect of vintage or antique clothing, accessories, etc. I simply enjoy these things and greatly appreciate their history and the care taken to create them. Over the years I have learned a great deal through my own research as well as working with others far more knowledgeable then myself.
So, my lovely readers, this is where you can help me out.

What kinds of posts would you like to read in 2013?

* Fun vintage and antique finds from my research and travels
* Posts and/or photos about the various vintage and antique things I've collected (I just finished taking a ton of photos of one of my original 1920s gowns so there will be at least one of these posts in the near future.)
* How-to posts - probably wont be too many but I have a few things in mind
* Sewing projects - what I'm working on and photos of completed projects
* Posts about historic sites, museums, etc.
* More posts related to research and resources - such as my post on using period images or "Spotting Handkerchiefs in Art"
* Weekly/monthly posts that highlight a particular time period, person, or aspect of clothing
* Reviews of books, patterns, etc. 

I'm open to other suggestions as well. I would love to hear your feedback!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sewing Update and Giveaway Announcement

Hi all,
Just a quick post today. I spent the weekend working on my Downton dress. I cut out most of the pieces and began to assemble them. When I tried the dress on to test the fit I realized that my skirt was waaaay to full. I cut two panels using the full width of my fabric, which is about 42", and gathered them into the dropped waist. Let me just say, dropped waist with extra fullness around the hips = not so flattering.  :(
The good part about this is now I'm forced to re-attach the skirt/lining to the panel I cut for the waist which I sewed incorrectly to begin with. 

So on the sewing agenda for tonight:
- Take apart skirt and cut to narrower width
- Re-attach skirt/lining to waist panel.
- Attach bodice and bodice lining to waist panel
- Figure out what the heck I'm doing for trim!

Sorry no construction pictures yet. I need to download them from the camera. I can share one picture though. I found this cute little beaded purse on Etsy that will match my dress perfectly. Can't wait for it to arrive!
1920s beaded purse from Etsy

In other sewing news ...

A Few Threads Loose is hosting a giveaway sponsored by Patterns from the Past . You can enter to win a $50 gift certificate. Patterns from the Past has an outstanding selection of vintage patterns. From 1920s coats to dresses from the 1940s you're sure to find something you like. They are also having a winter sale.  The discount code: Happy is good for 10% off an order of over $50. The discount code: Winter is good for 5% off an order of over $25. Both offers are valid until December 25, 2012.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Great Hair Fridays - Not all Flappers Bobbed their Hair

It's been awhile since my last Great Hair Friday post. As I've been working a 1920s gown I figured today would be a good time to focus on hairstyles for that time period.

The most well-known hair style of the roaring 20s was the short bob. Louise Brooks and Clara Bow bow helped popularize this style. Now, the question "to bob or not to bob?" I imagine was a rather personal one. Has anyone ever read Bernice Bobs Her Hair by F. Scott Fitzgerald? You can read the story here. Have you ever wondered where the term "bobbie pin" came from? The article, The Bob, by Michael Warner has some great insight on history of bobbed hair.

As I've been searching for inspiration on how to style my hair for the upcoming Downton Abbey event, I began to notice something. Not all fashionable flappers bobbed their hair. I've come across several examples of well dressed ladies who appear to have longer locks. 

Not only are these awesome fashion plates, they are good examples of hair styles. Look at the women on the far right in each plate. Notice something?

French fashion plate, mid 1920s

Evening dresses, 1928 UK, Woman’s Journal

Here is another of what looks like a bun at the nape of the neck.

McCalls Magazine 1926, evening dresses
I think the photo below is one of the nicest examples of a longer 1920s hair style I've come across. Hard to tell whether her hair is parted down the middle or off to the side. However, for someone with longer hair like myself, this would be a very easy style to achieve. I love her necklace too. :) Another beautiful example here. Be sure to check out the rest of the 1920s gallery from MyVintageVogue.

I'll leave you today with this must see video - Hottest Hair Styles of the Roaring Twenties. I love the variety of styles that are shown but even better is that you get to see the hair being styled by both hair dressers and individual women. The first part of the video is all styles for longer hair. :) Also a great look at hair combs and other accessories. It doesn't get much better then this!

Friday, December 7, 2012

1920s Evening Wear - Downton Abbey Gala

Mid 1920s Butterick pattern- Source
Those of you following me on Facebook will know that I'm working on a very special sewing project. In January, Cori and I will be attending the preview of Downton Abbey Season 3 at the Essex Spa and Resort. The Downton Abbey Experience is a fundraiser for VPT. Finally, an excuse to make a 1920s evening gown!! :) Ok, yes, my Halloween costume was a 1920s evening gown of sorts but it was made out of really cheap fabric and literally thrown together in about 2 days. I want to take my time with this project and do it right. Part of the Downton Abbey Experience will be a costume contest judged by Karen Augusta of Augusta Auctions.

I've been looking at TONS of period images and original gowns from the 1920s trying to decide on a design for mine. The problem is, with so many different options I'm having a really hard time figuring out what I want to make. The styles from the early 20s are different in many ways from those of the mid to late 20s. I spent far too much time drooling over amazing beaded gowns at the MET and other museums and reluctantly had to admit it was never going to be possible to create one - at least for this project. So, I began looking at gowns where the beauty was more about the cut/drape and type of fabric rather than trim and bead work.

Here is a look at some of the gowns I'm using as inspiration for my Downton Abbey gala gown. Up first is a green metallic brocaded gown, c.1925, currently listed for sale at Vintage Textiles. If only I had that kind of money! Fairly simple design but what amazing fabric! Lamé fabric, a type of fabric woven or knit with metallic yarns, was popular in the 20s and is extremely hard to find today. If you're lucky enough to find any for sale expect to pay a hefty sum per yard. Metallic fibers tend to darken with age and lots of handling giving them a slightly tarnished appearance. This gown doesn't seem to have that problem.
Vintage Textiles

Vintage Textiles

I love this gown from the MET (right). I'm toying with the idea of adding swags/drapes to the shoulders of my dress. We'll see how much fabric I have left after I finish the body of my gown.

MET CI46.46.8ab_B
This wedding gown from the Chicago History Museum caught my eye because of its simple design. Notice the loose fitting bodice and gathered skirt. It's made from silk velvet and I think this would be an easy gown to reproduce.

Chicago History Museum
I went fabric shopping last weekend and I've more or less settled on a design. Hopefully I can finalize it over the weekend. I need to start sewing if I want to have it finished for January 5th!

More to come, stay tuned!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Giveaways to Chase Away the Winter Blues

Just a quick post today. I wanted to share some great giveaways being offered by some of the blogs I follow. Want free patterns, fabric or other goodies?
Check out the links below!
Featured fabric at Delectable Mountain Cloth

- $25 store credit to Miss Betty's Attic Vintage Patterns. Visit Kestrel Finds and Makes to enter. (Miss Betty's Attic is also offering a 20% off sale on all patterns.)

- Stitchers Dream Christmas Giveaway by Tilly and the Buttons

- Sewaholic Renfrew top pattern and Roma jersey fabric giveaway by Fabric Godmother

- Fabric, patterns, and chocolate what could be better? Giveaway by the Dreamstress

And in other costume and sewing related news...

The pre order for Tavistock Victorian Button Boots by American Duchess Historical Footwear has begun.

Looking for silk fabric to make that perfect holiday dress? You're in luck because Delectable Mountain Cloth (also on Facebook) located in Brattleboro, Vt is currently offering a 20% store wide discount. It's best to call the store to ask about specific fabrics. I purchased some amazing green silk over the weekend for a special project. :) Check back here to find out what it is!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Film Shoot in Saranac Lake, NY

UPDATE 10/02/14
The film is finished! You can view it here. :)

Hello all,
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. I haven’t posted anything for awhile and now that the holiday season is underway I think I’ll find I have less time for my blog. I have a couple projects in the works – not all clothing related - and lots to do to get ready. I’ll be teaching a wreath making workshop next week and still need to figure a few things out for the class. I do have one special sewing project, but more on that later.
Saranac Laboratory Museum - Source

Today’s post is one I’ve been meaning to write and have not had a chance until now. I recently had the opportunity to work on a film set and I must say, it was a fantastic experience! Signature Communications of Maryland is currently working on a film for the National Park Service titled Struggle and Triumph: The Legacy of George Washington Carver. The film will be shown at the George Washington Carver National Memorial in Diamond, Mo. Known as the "peanut man," Carver was an African-American scientist and inventor. He developed and promoted about 100 different products made from peanuts including cosmetics, dyes, paints, plastics, gasoline, and nitroglycerin.

While searching for filming locations, the crew came across the Saranac Laboratory Museum located in historic Saranac Lake, NY. Built in 1894 by Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau, the laboratory - the first of its kind in the United States - was used specifically for tuberculosis research. The building was restored and opened as a museum in 2009. It was selected for the NPS film because of its close resemblance to Cavers's lab at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

Director John Allen and a NPS adviser setting up for the first scenes
Carver measuring out peanuts
The scenes filmed in the Saranac lab featured Carver, played by actor Altorro Prince Black, conducting some of his famous research on peanuts. Scenes shot later in the afternoon depicted Caver interacting with a group of African-American students, played by students from North Country Community College and Lake Placid High School.

Students from North Country Community College and Lake Placid High School
So, what was my role in all of this? I spent the day working as a production assistant. My first task when I arrived in the morning was to make a list of all of the props. There were 6 or 7 boxes that had been shipped to the lab full of various glass jars, test tubes, and other laboratory equipment. Each box had to be unpacked, inventoried, and if possible, labeled so we knew who to return it to. A few items belonging to the Saranac lab were used as well. Including a 19th century brass microscope that Dr. Trudeau used to diagnose his own case of tuberculosis. How's that for a piece of history!

A few of the many props used that day

More lab equipment. The posters on the museum was tell the history of the Saranac lab.
At the end of the day all the props were sorted and carefully repacked for shipping. A few items were donated to the museum. Another of my jobs was filling test tubes and other glass contains with colored water to resemble different chemicals. The large glass jar seen on the table in some of the photos was filled with a combination of baby oil, water, and yellow food coloring. I'm not sure how many times I ran up and down the stairs that day but it was a good work out. :)

I spent a little bit of time assisting Judi Flowers of Proper Period Productions who was in charge of the costumes that day. Judi, who was kind enough to share some of her wardrobe tips, was great to work with.

When it came time for the actual filming I kept a digital log of the individual shots and made notes about each of them. Did you know there's an app for that? I think it's called movie slate but I'm not sure.

Colored test tubes, one of my little contributions to the film. :) .
Although it was a very busy day, it was a lot of fun and really peaked my interest in the film business. Everyone of the cast and crew was wonderful to work with.
More photos from the Carver film shoot on my Facebook page as well as the Historic Saranac Lake Facebook page

You can read news articles about the Carver film here, and here. This last article makes an interesting comparison between George Washington Carve and Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau.
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