Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Vintage Lace Wedding Dresses

In the almost two years I've been blogging ,I haven't posted many photos of items from my personal antique/vintage textile collection. Not counting a few of the hats and shoes and such that I worn for vintage outings, of course. But after chatting with Joanna of Dividing Vintage Moments about some of the wonderful things we own, I've realized that I have a lot of stuff that would be worth sharing here. Much of it needs to be photographed. There's a lot of work involved in displaying and photographing items, editing the photos, and then finally getting around to blogging about them. And let's face it, I'm lazy! lol!! Actually, I should be better about this for my own record keeping purposes. Cori and I have been working to compile a complete list of all the items we've collected, just like museums do. He's really good about assigning a new "catalog number" whenever he gets a new navy uniform. It's a smart way to manage a collection, even a small one. If there's any interest I'll write up a blog post to expand upon this subject. :)

Anyway, these are two lovely lace ladies I've owned for a long time. So beautiful and delicate, they deserve to be seen and admired, old and worn out as they are. The first, which is actually a lace coat with a separate rayon slip, was a gift from my parents. I believed it came in a box lot of stuff from a local auction house. I have the veil too but can't find the photo I took of it. The coat has tiny covered buttons and button loops part way down the front and a beautiful little pointed train. I think the lace is cut on the bias but I can't really remember. Overall its in nice condition but does have some minor issues - a few spots here and there and little breaks in the lace. The veil has yellowed and the netting has become brittle in places. I think this one is late 1930s or very early 1940s. By the time you get into the 1940s most wedding gowns are made from heavy satin or some kind of rayon. I've seen many lace and satin combinations that are just stunning. I have a couple of satin wedding gowns as well that I need to get around to photographing. Ah, so little time.....

1940s lace wedding coat and rayon slip - From my personal collection
1940s lace wedding coat and rayon slip - From my personal collection
This is my favorite photo of this wedding gown. I really like the contrast of the ivory lace against the dark red and blue carpet.

1940s lace wedding coat and rayon slip - From my personal collection
1940s lace wedding coat and rayon slip - From my personal collection
This next beauty probably was meant to be more of an evening gown then a wedding gown. I would date this to the mid 1930s because of the type of lace and the stunning bias construction. It has a rather interesting story too. I rescued it from an old steamer trunk along with another dress that had been stored in an old barn. I wasn't sure either dress was worth saving as I could tell that mice had been into them. Yuck. The words musty, dusty, and gross come to mind when I think of the state they were in when I found them. Each dress was first gently rinsed in cold water to remove years of grim. This lace sheath then took a nice long soak in a cold water and Borax bath. I know many people use Woolight to clean vintage textiles but I have never tried it although I've heard good things. I've had good luck with using Borax on both modern and vintage garments. Borax comes in a powder form and dissolves quickly in water. For stronger materials like linen or cotton you can work the powder directly into the wet fabric to remove stains then let it soak. I find that very handy when cleaning my linen aprons after a weekend of camping in the 18th century.

**Side Note - I would not recommend scrubbing older textiles 
as they can be very delicate especially when wet!!**

While this dress may look nice on the form, it does have it's issues. There are several small stains on the lace that I was not able to remove. There are also numerous breaks in the lace which make the gown unwearable without major repairs. The majority of the damage is to the lower back hem - stupid mice! I should have removed the metal hooks and eyes from the side opening before letting the gown soak because one of them rusted creating a new stain. Thankfully its really small but lesson learned. Even though it can't really be worn this gown is an excellent piece for study and display.

1930s bias cut evening/wedding gown - From my personal collection
1930s bias cut evening/wedding gown - From my personal collection
So there you have it. Two extremely beautiful gowns. Sorry, they are not for sale. However, I do have a couple satin gowns for sale. Two are already listed in my shop and I have two more waiting to be photographed.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Beautiful Brunswicks

Today I share with you a painting of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (May 19, 1744 – November 17, 1818) who was the Queen consort of the United Kingdom and wife of King George III. She is wearing an amazingly beautiful Brunswick. 

I don't know when, if ever, I will get around to making one of these amazing jackets. Burnley and Trowbridge offered a workshop for them a while back but I wasn't able to go. Check out the photos on their Facebook page.

Queen Charlotte, c. 1777 by Benjamin West

Friday, November 22, 2013

More Spotted and Checked Handkerchiefs

Last year I posted about 18th century spotted and printed handkerchief. You can read that post here. Here are a few more images of spotted and checked handkerchiefs I have come across in period prints. The red and white handkerchief I normally wear to 18th century events looks very much like the one mentioned in this newspaper ad.

For additional information on spotted handkerchief please see Paul Dickfoss' article, Spotted Handkerchiefs!

The ROGUISH BOY - Source
Snuff and Twopenny - Source

I love this print! THE JEALOUS MAIDS  - Source

Also a very fine hat on the lady. THE SAILOR'S PLEASURE -  Source

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Inspirational Vintage Journey

The lovely Joanna of Dividing Vintage Moments is hosting a giveaway! To enter the giveaway Joanna is asking bloggers to share ten items that inspire your vintage journey. After a bit of thought here is what I came up with.

Dividing Vintage Moments giveaway prizes

1. Old Hollywood movies 
My Girl Friday, Casablanca, and anything with stars like Dianna Durbin, Vivian Leigh, and Clark Gable. These older movies are very entertaining. I like watching them for the costumes too.

 2. Vintage patterns and magazines. 
When in doubt go straight to the sources!

Movie still from Casablanca
3. Original vintage and antique clothing
You can't beat the real thing! I'm always saving images for future reference and inspiration. The dress below was the main inspiration for my Downton Abbey dress.

My 1920s dream dress, green lamé fabric - Vintage Textiles
4. Single items like a hat or pair of shoes. 
I really enjoy taking one or two items and building a whole outfit around them.

5. Historic sites.
Who doesn't like to dress up when going to a historic site. I'm sure I'm not alone in admitting that I've planned an entire outfit around a location or historical event that I will be visiting. :) Colonial Williamsburg, anyone?

6. Historical Figures
There are just too many too name. We can learn so much from the people who lived before us.

7. Auction previews, antique shops, and thrift stores. 
 I often go to places with certain things in mind. The exciting part is discovering something you didn't expect to find. A good example would be the original Women Ordinance Worker's (WOW) head scarf that I saw in a shop in Gettysburg, PA. If only I had the money for that!! Auction previews are great because they give you the opportunity to look at up close and handle some items that you would not be able to otherwise. There is a local auction house that I like to go that that specializes in fine art and antiques. We're talking museum quality in many cases! Sit in an original 18th century chair or try on an art deco diamond ring that I will NEVER be able to afford? Um, ok! You never know what you are going to find and the best part is looking is free. :)

Tiffany & Co. Art Deco diamond and ruby platinum ring - Source
8. Family history. 
I had a great aunt who hitch hiked cross country with a friend to see the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. I'd say that's inspiring! There are also several veterans on both sides of the family and I'm always in awe of those who have served our country.

Uniform shirt that belonged to Cori's grandfather. He served between WWII and the Korean War as a paratrooper. The jump wings belong to Cori's brother who is currently in the Army.

9. Blogs and Bloggers! 
I really enjoy seeing what other bloggers and costumers are working on. There is always something new to learn from my favorite blogs.

10. My darling fiance. 
Yes Cori, I'm mentioning you on my blog again! If ever there was a guy who enjoyed playing dress up, it's him. He is just as crazy about historical clothing as I am so I guess it's a good thing we're getting married. Seriously, this is what he does on the weekends, no lie.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

WWII Victory Pins! - Part 2, Sweetheart Pins

This is part two part of my post on WWII Victory pins. (See part 1 here.) Warning, this post has lots of pictures. :)

To continue from part one, there are two categories of 1940s era pins that I would call "Victory Pins." These are the various pin back buttons and patriotic sweetheart jewelry worn during the Second World War to show support for your country, the war effort, and of course loved ones in the armed forces.

There is such an amazing variety of "sweetheart" jewelry! Some pins and jewelry were mass produced while other were homemade, making them extra special and unique. Some of the most common pins were "son in the service" - little red, white, and blue rectangular pins with one or more blue stars in the middle. Some pins even had a photo of the serviceman attached to them. You could also purchase small flags of the same design to hang in your window. Many military families still use these flags today to show support for a son or daughter in the military. "Mother" pins, appropriately made of mother of pearl, were very popular as were pins that featured the branch of service the "sweetheart" was a part of. 

The following images are examples of some widely produced sweetheart charms as well as more unique and creative patriotic charms I've come across. You can see more "Remember Pearl Harbor" pins here. I would love to have one of these. The one in the college I saw on Ebay. See a lovely collection of original pins here.

I adore the little solider pin, don't you? All pins in this college found at Anderson Militaria
All pins in this college found at Anderson Militaria 
Pearl Harbor pin Ebay, Civil Air Patrol pin Etsy, Clear Lucite heart Etsy, Heart shaped "Mother" pin U S Army insignia Etsy,Mother of Pearl bar pin with U S Air Corps Etsy, Mourning brooch for pilots Etsy
Pins from my collection
 Celluloid soldier and sailor pins anyone? Oh yes please, these are so neat!

Celluloid WWII Soldier Pin - Hey Sailor pin -
Clear Celluloid Sailor - Blue Jeep 
Red Jeep
And let's not forget the most basic yet widely recognizable WWII era pin! The "V" for victory!!

My classic "V" for victory rhinestone pin. I love this pin and have worn to a bunch of times. You've most likely spotted it on a number of my 1940s outfits. :)

Victory Pin Painted metal United States, 1941-1946
Source -

Red and white Bakelite "V" for victory pin - Source

Collection of V for victory pins - Source Marshallamericana
This is an interesting little pin that I purchased on Ebay with an extra bit of patriotic flare! It's actually a combination of two pins. This first being the 3rd Liberty loan pin back button made from celluloid featuring a large "V" and two radio towers on the sides. There is also the Morse code for V "..._" on top. The second pin is the little hand painted metal soldier. Someone combined the two with a small piece of red, white, and blue ribbon, how neat! The ribbon is a bit delicate and as the metal soldier has some weight to it I don't think I would wear this pin for an event for fear of having the ribbon tear.

I hope you have enjoyed my two posts on victory pins. Pins of course were not the only item of jewelry worn. I have seen many examples of necklaces and bracelets too. Even a few sweetheart handkerchiefs. You can view some here. Have some patriotic jewelry of your own? I would love to see it!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

WWII Victory Pins! - Part 1

At last, here it is!! This is part one of a two part post on WWII Victory pins. I do not claim to be an expert on any of the topics I post about but I do hope you will find my research helpful and enjoyable. :) (See part 2 here.)

There are two categories of what I would call "Victory Pins." These are the various pin back buttons and sweetheart jewelry worn during the Second World War to show support for your country and loved ones serving in the military.

Poster source, red Victory pin source, Liberty Loan my own, Remember Pearl Harbor pin from Ebay
The first category includes the little metal pin back war bond and Liberty loan type buttons as well as buttons from different groups or organizations that supported the war effort in some way - savings bonds, civil defense bonds, victory clubs, etc. These differ a little bit in size. Some are about the size of a US quarter while others are closer to the size of a US dime. Many are marked on the back but not all. My blue and white "Liberty Loan" pin is marked "Made by American Art Works Coshocton, Ohio". The back side of my other pins are blank.

According to Wikipedia-
    A pin-back button or pinback button, pin button, button badge or simply pin-back, is a button or badge that can be temporarily fastened to the surface of a garment using a safety pin, or a pin formed from wire, a clutch or other mechanism. This fastening mechanism is anchored to the back side of a button-shaped metal disk, either flat or concave, which leaves an area on the front of the button to carry an image or printed message. The word is commonly associated with a campaign button used in the United States and abroad during a political campaign. The first design for a pin-back button in the United States was patented in 1896, and contemporary buttons have many of the same design features. - Source
File:US patent 564356 partial.png
"Badge Pin or Button" US Patent number 564356 (partial), issued July 21, 1896 to George B. Adams Assignor to the Whitehead & Hoag Company of Newark, New Jersey - Image found here.
War bond drives and rallies were popular during the First World War, the federal government raised about $5 billion through the sale of Liberty Bonds. On April 24, 1917, the First Liberty Loan Act was passed which authorized the U.S. Treasury Department to issue bonds and provided loans to the Allied powers.

Here's an example of a WWI era war bond pin - Source Ebay
And the tradition continued during the Second World War with eight different bond drives. As far as I can tell, a different pin was designed for each of the eight war bonds. It was Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., who believed that the average citizen could help win the war by buying war bonds. Americans could buy bonds on an installment plan through payroll deductions at their work places. There was even an installment plan established for children! They could buy a twenty-five cent stamp and paste them in a book until they had saved the $18.75 needed to purchase a twenty-five-dollar bond. How neat is that? Between November 1942 and December 1945 Americans invested approximately $150 billion in bonds to finance the war. Popular cartoon characters of the day such as Mickey Mouse and Popeye appeared on war bond posters. Hollywood movie stars like Bette Davis, Judy Garland and many more were among those who traveled the country selling war bonds at huge rallies. I imagine that many of these war bond pins were handed out at those rallies.

Actress Hedy Lamarr selling war bonds - Source

Judy Garland singing to raise money for the war effort, Philadelphia 1944 - Source
Here are some examples of home front pins for war bonds and some from different organizations that supported the war effort.

WWII ear home front victory pins - Source Ebay
Fourth Liberty Loan pin,  - Source Etsy
Here are a few of my own pins. I have not been able to find much information about my Green Mountain Victory Guard pin other then it's from Vermont. I do know that the Vermont branch of the 4-H Club was very active in the 1940s. They promoted make do and mend practices, victory gardens, and organized scrap metal drives.

Pins from my collection
Pins from my collection
One of my favorite posters from WWII, and one of the most famous, is Norman Rockwell's "Rosie the Riveter." Notice the collection of victory pins proudly displayed on her coveralls. I made the image below extra large so hopefully you can see them. The one item I'm missing from my collection (ok there are a lot of things I want) is a factory worker's ID badge. While not a victory pin per say, it would certain make a great addition! (For more information on real life Rosie the Riveters, check out the awesome website Rosie the Riveter: Women Working During World War II.)

Norman Rockwell’s ‘Rosie The Riveter’ cover for the May 29, 1943 edition of The Saturday Evening Post, was the first visual image to incorporate the ‘Rosie’ name.
"Norman Rockwell’s ‘Rosie The Riveter’ cover for the May 29, 1943 edition of The Saturday Evening Post, was the first visual image to incorporate the ‘Rosie’ name." - Source
Just above and to the left of Rosie's ID badge is what looks like an Army/Navy E award pin. This was a highly prized award that went to shops for excellence in the production of war equipment. The award was also known as the Army-Navy Production Award. Each shop received a large flag or pennant and all the workers got a pin. Shops could receive the award more then once which is why you sometimes see the flags with white stars. Each star represents one award. Below is the flag that was presented to the Fellows Gear Shaper plant in Springfield, Vermont. Notice the two white stars. Hanging next to the grandfather clock you can get a really good idea of these size of the flags! The flag is owned by the Springfield Art and Historical Society in Springfield, Vermont.

Fellows Gear Shaper Army-Navy Production Award pennant - Source
E-pin. Donated by Rose Strobel, accession 280. Rose was a turret lathe operator at the Naval Ordinance Plant for 3 years. Size: ½”x1”. Source
My grandfather worked for Bell Aircraft during the war and was one of the many workers there who was awarded the Army/Navy E award. My father still has the pin. I foolishly passed up the opportunity to buy one for myself a year or two ago. Obviously I wasn't thinking straight! There was an antique store that Cori and I liked to visit when he was living in New Hampshire. One day we went in and there was a whole tray of E award pins, campaign pins, and military memorabilia. And of course now that I'm looking for one I can't find any. Go figure. I would be so afraid of loosing my grandfather's pin if I were to wear it (that is if my dad would even let me!) so that's why I want to find one of my own.

There are tons of different pins out there, these are just a few! 

WWII era painted tin lapel or pocket badges - Source

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