Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Polo Ponies and a Vintage Adventure

We had big plans for last weekend. We were to attend a 1920s themed beach party Sunday morning and the 2nd annual Roaring 20s Lawn Party at Castle Hill in Ipswich, Mass. Cori and I went last year and had a great time. So this year we planned to bring our friends Jenn and Julia. However, the weather had other plans and everything has been postponed until this coming weekend. Hopefully we will still be able to go.

We decided to make the best of things and planned our own outing. The weather was bright and sunny on Saturday so we took advantage of it and hopped in the car to head to one of our favorite places to watch a polo match. It's been years since the last time I watched a live match so this was lots of fun for me. I think Cori and the girls had a great time as well. The home team, in green, won the match!

I helped Jenn and Julia create some simple 1920s dresses for the lawn party. I let them pick fabrics from the stash and helped them cut out pattern pieces. They did most of the sewing themselves and I think the dresses turned out rather well. I'm very proud of them. Julia's dress was made using this pattern while Jenn's was made using a combination of patterns and inspiration from fashion plates. 

I wore a 1930s dress that I've been dying to wear for the longest time. It's all cotton and perfect for a hot summer day.

Cori wore a new to him vintage suite and his 1920s straw boater. Doesn't he look dapper? :) The people at the polo match got a kick out of us all dresses up.

After the polo match we headed to the Quechee Antique Mall to have a look around. Much fun and silliness was had.

What we like to think of as "our" phone booth was still there. It's be come a silly tradition now to take pictures in it. Example here. :)

As it was late in the day then train and carousal were closed. Next time we will have to get there earlier. I love carousal and firmly believe you are never to old to ride one.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

1940s Novelty "Fan" Print Dress

Hello again everyone! My goodness, the last few weeks have been so crazy busy. As I mention recently Cori and I have started house hunting. Because clearly we don't have enough going on in our lives right now! Ha! We can't wait to get our own place! We've been making progress with the wedding plans as well and getting a lot of last minute things finalized. It's incredibly stressful right now and kind of exciting too. We visited another house this past weekend. I say house but really it was a castle. :) OK, so really it was an on location auction preview for a house built to look like a small castle. No kidding, but more on that later. I took lots of pictures! :)

Anyway, I thought I would show you something far more interesting today then etsy updates and sale news. I posted a few pictures of this dress on Facebook but it's time for a proper blog post. This is the dress I wore for the third day of the MAAM WWII airshow that Cori and I went to back in June. You can see my first two outfit posts on it here and here. None of the photos in this post are mine so I kindly ask that you do not copy them without permission. Photo credits go to Voon Chew and Neal Howland.

Photo by Neal Howland
This dress was an ebay purchase. I have mixed feelings about shopping there. Sometimes there are good deals to be had but I find that most people who sell vintage don't really know what they are listing and don't take very good pictures. It's also really annoying to have someone outbid you at the last minute. I've had that happen several times. Oh well. After a good long soak this dress was ready to wear. (You should have seen the color of the water after the first wash, ewwww!) I wasn't sure at first if I like the way it looked on me because it was so different from anything I normally wear. I don't often go for crazy prints but it's really grown on me. :) I paired the dress with the same blue felt hat and shoes seen in this post. I have a darker blue hat that would look good too but I received so many compliments on this one that I think I'll wear it again with the dress in the future.

One of the fun things about the MAAM event is the variety of historic displays. So many opportunities for fun photos. Cori and I joined Neal at the home front display for a little photo shoot. Inside one of the hangers visitors could walk through and experience what life was like at home during WWII. The display included a full living room, bed room, dinning room, kitchen and bath. The food of course was fake. :)

Photo by Neal Howland
Photo by Neal Howland
 The bedroom set up was really neat. The group that put this all together really did a fantastic job and nailed all the little details.

Photo by Neal Howland
Photo by Neal Howland
So funny little story about this dress. Prior to the event I had tried the dress on a couple times without any troubles. However, the morning of the event I put the dress on and tried to zip it up. The zipper caught about 2 inches from the top. Even with Cori's help we couldn't get it to budge up or down! I was stuck in the dress! We discovered that a few of the metal teeth had fallen out of the zipper. This sometimes happens with older metal zippers. Fortunately I had my sewing kit with me so at the end of the day we used the seam ripper to carefully open one side of the zipper seam so I could take the dress off. I have a bunch of zippers in the stash, some new and some old, so I should be able to find a replacement one. Has anyone else ever experienced an "I'm stuck!" moment when wearing vintage?

Cori and a friend of ours debuted their 1940s LAPD uniforms for the event. They spent the better part of six months researching and finding all the pieces they needed. I'm working a post for them now. Neal took a series of really fun photos of the guys making a car stop. And guess who they pulled over? ;)

Photo by Voon Chew
 Thank you again to Voon Chew and Neal Howland for allowing me to share your photos.

I'm using a close up of the print as my new background image. What do you think? My old background was a close up of this dress, said to have been worn for Dwight Eisenhower's inaugural ball.

Friday, July 18, 2014

When To Keep and When To Sell

Over the years I've accumulated quite the collection of "stuff" i.e. vintage and antique clothing and other items, fabric, sewing notions, etc. Each piece is special in its own way and has a story to tell. It's hard to let things go. But sometimes that's just what you need to do. I've reached a point in life where many changes are being or are about to be made. As I'm sure you are all aware I'll be getting married this fall. But on top of that Cori and I have started looking for a house to buy. Talk about a big change! We viewed our first house on Monday which was pretty exciting. It has a lot of the features we like but we want to look at a couple different places before making any decisions.

Last June we moved out of our awesome apartment. I miss that place. Did I ever show you pictures? I don't think I did! We had the whole second floor of an old farmhouse to ourselves. For a number of reasons we opted to move back to my parents' house. While not ideal it has allowed us to save a good amount of money that would otherwise go out the window for rent. For the last few months we have been house sitting for some family friends. It's been nice but we are SO ready for our own place. So much of our stuff is still packed in boxes and it never seems to be in the right place. It's frustrating not being able to find things when you need them.

The old apartment. I really miss my little porch!
So what's the point of this post? Well, lately I've been looking at my vintage clothing and all the things in my sewing stash and myself asking "Do I really need this?" "Am I really going to wear/use this any time soon?" It's time to down size my collection. At the same time I want to upgrade by adding/making things I know I'm going to really use. I've listed a few things here and there but it's time to be a little more diligent about it.

Does this mean I'm going to stop accumulating "stuff"? Well, that's really a silly question isn't it? ;) But seriously, knowing that we are going to be moving in the, hopefully near, future has pushed me to really look at things, think about storage, etc..

I posted on Facebook last week about this dress. I couldn't decide if I should keep it or sell it so I asked for your help. I absolutely love this dress but it's something I've never worn, and I'm not likely to any time soon. It's a little big in the bust for me but otherwise fits nicely. My decision is to try and pass it along to someone else. It's a darling little dress but it won't do anyone any good if it stays packed away never to be enjoyed.

Steal My Heart 1940s Formal Party/Wedding Dress
In an effort to find vintage dresses for my bridesmaids I've picked up some larger size dresses in the last few months. This is one that didn't make the cut. I really adore it but it is way too big for me. Could it be remade to fit? Of course, but I know I don't have the time or energy to make that happen. Too many projects going on and not enough sewing hours in the day. I'm really hoping this too will find a new home and be loved and enjoyed. Does anyone else find it hard to let things go?

1940s Pink Embroidered Butterflies
Need a vintage wedding dress? Yeah, I have a few of those too.

Vermont Liquid Satin Wedding Gown 1940s
If you see something in the shop that you like please let me know. I'm happy to answer any questions or take additional pictures. I will also check on international shipping rates. Don't be afraid to make me an offer on an item. It doesn't hurt to ask as long as your offer is reasonable. :) Right now I'm having a sale but followers of my blog will always receive a 10% discount, just use the code BLOGFAN at check out.

Use the Code FLASHSALE and Save 15% Ends July 31st

Friday, July 11, 2014

Great Hair Fridays - July 1943

Today's Great Hair Fridays post features articles from a July issue of the Modern Beauty Shop. These articles are from 1943. Pin curl sets and tips for problem hair.

Modern Beauty Shop - July 1943

Monday, July 7, 2014

New Shop My Closet & A Little Wedding Update

Thank you all so very much for your wonderful comments on my last couple posts! You are all so sweet. I wish I could reply individually to all your comments but I don't seem to be able to with blogger. Does anyone know how to change that? I still feel like I need some practice when it comes to created a head to toe authentic looking outfit so it's great to hear your kind words and encouragement.

So, for those that are wondering.... Wedding plans are coming together. Invitations are DONE and going in the mail today! Phew, that's a big thing to cross off the list. We visited our venue last week to figure out what to do for decorations. (Pinterest I hate you) My felt flowers are almost finished but I have enough done that I can start assembling my bouquets. Lots of little things to finish now. As my dress, well ... I ordered a 1930s reproduction pattern from the Vintage Pattern Lending Library and put together a mock up. You'll have to visit the website to guess which one I ordered. The pattern was not in my size so I needed to make some adjustments to get it to fit. It's not the one I posted about but it's still a lovely 30s design. In some ways I like this one better and think it's going to look really good made with my lace fabric. I have some vacation time later this week so I plan to do some MAJOR sewing in the next few days. Of course I'll be taking a break on Saturday for my bridal shower. I don't know any details but a little bird tells me it's going to be vintage themed shower. Shocking I know! I can't wait to see what the girls have planned. :)

In the mean time, I've added a few new items to my Etsy shop if you would be so kind to have a look. Cori had to work pretty much the whole holiday weekend so I spent some time cleaning, taking measurements and photos of things to part with. I have a few more dresses to list, two in larger sizes, and one smaller in need of a good soak first. As always, my blog followers can receive a 10% discount with the code BLOGFAN. I don't have international shipping rates listed BUT if you live across the pond and see something you really like send me a message and I will do my best to figure out shipping rates for you.

1940s Red Knit Dress
1940s Red knit dress
1940's Black Crepe Dress w Beading and Blue Rhinestones
1940's Black Crepe Dress w Beading and Blue Rhinestones

Karmen Western Style Shirt
Blue Western style shirt
Lee Western Style Shirt
Red and white check Western style shirt

Black Suede Shoes
Black Suede Shoes

NOS 1940s Green Slingback Heels

Thursday, July 3, 2014

WWII Cotton Blouse & Linen Slacks

Back at the beginning of June, Cori and I traveled to Reading, Pa to the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum for a WWII event. I talked a little about it in my last post where I shared with you my Red Birds Dress. That was my outfit for day one. Here is what I wore on day two! We had so much fun and met so many great people.

Another staff car photo! I was trying to recreate this photo from last fall.
First up the fabric and the patterns. The blouse is made from Hollywood 1530 using 100% cotton with a cute retro style print. I'm not sure if it qualifies as a true 30s/40s print but I think it's pretty close. Plus I liked it best out the options I had in the stash. Actually, this came from my mom's fabric stash, as did the fabric for this year's birthday dress and red bird dress. There should be an extra 2 inches of fabric on either side of the blouse fronts but I didn't have enough fabric. As you can see looking at the pattern pieces laid out it was a tight squeeze! Surprisingly this didn't have a huge impact on the fit of the blouse, I feared it might turn out too small but it was just fine. The only other change I made was to add a second pocket, but really that was because I accidentally cut two pocket pieces and didn't want to waste the fabric!

Sadly, the short sleeve piece is missing from this pattern. I replaced to using the short sleeve pattern piece from McCall 3306. (There is a copy of this pattern for sale here.) Both patterns are late 1930s so I felt this was a good substitute and I really like the little pouf that McCall 3306 creates at the top of the shoulder. It's one of those little details that I love about the 1930s and early 1940s. :) The green fabric you see is the same as my 2014 Sew For Victory dress. There was juuuust enough to make a blouse with the remainder of that fabric as well.

Getting ready to cut! Always the scary part. :)
Here you can see the part of the blouse center front that I had to eliminate.
Summary of the Pattern
Fabric: Blue cotton from the stash
Pattern: Hollywood 1530
Year: late 1930s or early 1940s
Notions: Thread and buttons from the stash
How historically accurate is it? Very! The fabric is pretty close to period prints. The buttons are modern but look just like vintage ones. I'd give the blouse a 9 1/2 out of 10.
Any tricky parts to the pattern? Button holes.... enough said
Did you change anything? Not much. The short sleeve piece was missing so I used one from a different pattern I added a second pocket because I cut an extra one and didn't want to waste the fabric. I didn't have the exact amount of fabric so the finished blouse is a touch shorter and narrower but still fits great.
Time to complete: Around 8 hours I think
First worn: June 2014
Total cost: Everything but the pattern came from the stash, so less then $5!
Notes: Love this blouse. I need more separates!

The slacks were made using Simplicity 1306 and linen left from an 18th century project. There is a discount fabric store near by that occasionally gets 100% linens and wools. I stop in every once in a while to see what they have. It's one of those places, like a thrift store, that if you see something you like you'd better buy it because there's a good chance it will be gone soon. I tend to "stock up" when I find good linens and wools there.
40s -Simplicity Pattern No. 1306- Womens skirt, slacks and vest. The skirt and slacks are fashioned with trouser pleats at front waistline, darts at back waistline and vertical pockets at either side. A center front inverted pleat trims the skirt front and the skirt back is seamed down the center. The slacks have a fly opening secured with a slide fastener. Welt pockets trim the dart fitted vest which features extended shoulders and a four button front closing.
Simplicity 1306
I find the fit of Simplicity 1306 is much better than Simplicity 3322 (reproduced by Eva Dress and the Vintage Fashion Library). I used Simplicity 3322 to make a pair of slacks last year for Sew For Victory but was never very happy with them. Although both patterns are very similar in cut and style the main difference, other than a zipper front and side opening, is the treatment of the slacks front. Simplicity 3322 has front darts where Simplicity 1306 has small pleats. Both patterns have darts in back. Slacks from the 40s are meant to be baggy but sometimes this style can be really unflattering. I found that by extending the length of the front pleats a little more helped create a smoother fit Next time I use this pattern I will need to make some minor adjustments to very top of the slacks and waistband. I ended up making two small tucks in the waistband so the slacks would stay where they needed to at my natural waist.

I completed my look at day with a red scarf, victory rolls, and my Army/Navy E-award pin and another WWII era victory pin. You can see close ups of the pins here.

I really wish I good recommend the vendor who sold me the sunglasses I'm wearing, but sadly I cannot. It's a long story and not one that I want to go into detail here. Let's just say the costumer service started great but ended poorly. The glasses don't fit as well as I would like them to and I can really only wear them for short periods of time.

Summary of the Pattern
Fabric: Brown linen left from another project
Simplicity 1306
Year: 1940s
Notions: Thread, zipper, and buttons from the stash
How historically accurate is it? Very! I'd give the pants a 9 1/2 out of 10.
Any tricky parts to the pattern? Button holes and zipper placket.... enough said
Did you change anything? Not much. The pattern needed to be shorten, no surprise there. I also needed to take them in at the waist.
Time to complete: Around 10 hours I think
First worn: June 2014
Total cost: Everything but the pattern came from the stash, so less then $15!
Notes: Love these pants. I need more separates! I need to make them a touch shorter next time but I will be using this pattern again. :)

By the way, I'm having another sale on Etsy. Use the coupon code FLASHSALE to save 15% until July 5th. I'll be adding some more items after the holiday weekend.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

New Dress - Red Birds, Red Buckle, Red Buttons

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Cori and I attended a huge WWII event in Reading, PA the first weekend in June. Each year the Mid Atlantic Air Museum's holds an enormous air show and WWII reenactment. We have several friends who go just about every year and have been telling us it the event to go to on the East Coast for WWII living history. Just how big is this event? Well, we spoke with one staff person about the number of military vehicles that were there. He said out of the registered vehicles there were about 100 jeeps! There were of course more then that. Also all kinds of trucks, motorcycles, etc. And of course the planes! Seeing these war birds up close and personal, it doesn't get any better then that! (You can see an overhead view of the event site here.)

My 1940s "Red Birds Dress" using McCall 5724.
Photo in front of the war bird B-25J Mitchell WWII bomber "Briefing Time"
While I have a fairly decent selection of actual 40s clothing I can wear, recreating pieces from my vintage patterns just seemed the way to go for this event. I knew that I would be outside walking around all day and most likely would not have to opportunity to run back to the hotel and change in the case of bad weather. I did bring several vintage pieces with me just in case. If you are following me on Facebook you will have seen my 40s novelty "fan print" dress. Don't worry, there will be a post about it. :)

This spring, between Sew For Victory and planning outfits for this event, I spent some time going through my fabrics to organize and see what I had. Some fabrics lend themselves to a variety of sewing projects for different time periods and some are best suited for only one. For example, many of my fabrics are great for vintage or modern sewing but are NOT good for anything 18th/19th century. Fiber content and print being the biggest reasons. I try to organize my fabrics by what I plan to do with them. Historical sewing (18th/19th century appropriate fabrics) vs. vintage/modern sewing. Obviously there is a lot more freedom is choosing a fabric for my vintage/modern sewing projects. :) But sometimes there are fabrics that can be used for just about anything. In my next post you'll see the 1940s slacks I made using linen that was left from an 18th century project. 

What I'm calling my "Red Birds Dress" was another "limited fabric so cut carefully" projects. Like my recent birthday dress, this fabric came from my mom's sewing stash. Although it's cotton she decided it wasn't suitable for quilting. This fabric had been waiting quietly in the vintage/modern stash for just the right pattern to come along. Because it was just shy of 3 yards and only 32 inches wide, I knew I would be somewhat limited as to what I could do with it.

McCall 5724 was purchased with a small group of patterns. I was a little unsure about it at first but it's one of those patterns that I find myself drawn to every time I go through my pattern box. Maybe it's the beautiful cover illustration or maybe it's the cute details of the bodice. I can't put my figure on it but I just knew that this was a pattern that deserved to be used! I hesitated at first to use this fabric for a 1940s dress. But then I found this same print in a green colorway somewhere online and it was listed as 1940s fabric! I'm kicking myself because I didn't save the picture. And of course I can't find it now. (If someone finds it please let me know!) The more I thought about the fabric the easier it became to picture it made from McCall 5724.

McCall 5724. It has pockets!
I chose View B, without the ruffles. I spent a good amount of time placing the pattern pieces on the fabric. The bodice was a bit tricky for a couple reasons. First the sleeves are cut in one with the bodice. Second the front is made of two pieces which include material for the front facings. A little odd to explain but if you look closely at the pattern cover you can see that the dress buttons down the front. The extra material is folded back to act as a facing for the buttons and button holes.  

Getting started...
Bodice back
The back of the bodice is fitted with small darts. The front is fitted with small darts and shearing at the shoulders. Four rows of gathering stitches were made then each drawn up to fit between the corresponding marks on the pattern. The edges of the bodice front pieces are lapped and the top stitched in place.You can see those details in one of the photos below.

The almost finished dress.
A little white back I was asked to share where I find my buckles. I wish I could tell you that I have some amazing secret source for these buckles, but I don't. I'm sure you've spotted a few of them on my blog before. (Here for example.) A few years back I made a lucky find at a local antique/junk shop where I was able to purchase about a dozen vintage buckles for a round $1.00 each. They were tied together in a neat little bundle. Some are 70s/80s vintage but most are much earlier. There were a few plastic ones, possibly Bakelite or Lucite but I'm not sure, like the red one above and a few shell ones too.

The buckle and buttons used for this project are actually the same ones in this photo that obviously I didn't end up using with that particular dress. Can I just say how incredibly hard it was for me to remove these buttons from their original card? Not physically of course, they popped right off. But because they were NOS (new old stock). I'm happy I used them because I really think this was the perfect project for them!

Vintage "Glamour Girl" buttons pinned in place. Also a good look at the lapped seam and shoulder shearing.
Vintage Buckle!
So here we go, the finished dress! I wore this for the first day of the airshow. My accessories are all 40s vintage except for my shoes which are Aris Allen 40s style repros from the Dance Store. I wore them for two days straight and found them to be very comfortable.

B-25J Mitchell WWII bomber "Briefing Time"

This is the only photo I have of the back of my hat.

B-25J Mitchell WWII bomber "Briefing Time"

All reenactors had to wear id bracelets so that's what that funny blue thing is around my wrist. BUT you can also see my Marine Corps sweetheart bracelet. :) Thank you to Voon Chew for taking and allowing me to share these last two photos!

Photo by Voon Chew
Photo by Voon Chew
Pattern - McCall 5724
Fabric - Mom's fabric stash
Buckle and Buttons - My stash
Shoes - Close out from Dance Store .com
Hat - Etsy
Gloves and Purse - Thrifted
Sweetheart Bracelet - Brimfield Antique Show
Lipstick color - Red Velvet by Bésame 

Summary of the Pattern
Fabric: Vintage cotton print
Pattern: McCall 5724
Year: 1940s
Notions: Buttons, buckle, thread, fusible interfacing, zipper.
How historically accurate is it? Not to brag, but I'd say 10 out of 10! Everything but the thread and interfacing for the belt is 40s vintage. :)
Any tricky parts to the pattern? The button holes. I dislike them but I'm getting better the more I do. The bodice was a bit tricky but after studying the directions I figured it out and it went together pretty well. 
Did you change anything? Surprisingly, no
Time to complete: About a week
First worn: June 2014
Total cost: All the materials were from the stash! Yeah! I think I paid around $10 or $12 for the pattern.
Notes: Looking at these pictures, I think I should shorten the skirt just a little bit. 
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