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Saturday, March 29, 2014

· Friends and Relations ·

One thing that has (shamefully!) yet to make an appearance on my blog is one of my other collections- vintage fur. :-)

About a year and a half ago, I realized that my wardrobe was sadly lacking in the soft, fluffy, and oh-so-quintessentially-vintage department and determined to keep my eyes open while antiquing.  I must have chosen a good time to start, because my first day shopping resulted in this stole and collar, as well as one more collar!

While our area is too rural for frequent vintage clothing finds, it does boast frequent opportunities for very affordable furs! :-) (One of the reasons I love those old stores- when you do come across something amazing, it's usually very cheap!) Consequently, I have quite the collection going...  But really - fur collars add so much to an outfit, and they're so very versatile!  What started out as a simple idea of owning 1 or 2 pieces of fur has now become an obsession of giving every piece of fur I find a loving home. :-)  Over the past few months, I've had to reign myself in a bit.  So now only the very lowest of prices are an inducement for purchasing.  A sad day.

This stole is made from 4 pelts, and one of the "mouths" has a clip to attach it to any other part of the stole.

Just two of the many different ways this stole can be worn!  The version on the right was my "style of choice" for the '13-'14 year. ;-)

The cord-covered snaps attach to the stole with a plastic (bakelite?) chain.

This quirky fur hat seemed just the right touch for the ensemble. ;-)

Oh, and the title of this post comes from my name for this stole.  Shortly before I purchased this, one of my friends was gifted a single mink pelt.  She didn't know much what to do with it other than give it a name- so it was christened "Twinky".  Once I purchased my stole, it seemed only natural to refer to it jokingly as "Twinky's friends and relations".  The name stuck, however, and it is now commonly known by the title "Friends and Relations". :-)  My other furs are currently unnamed, and I intend on keeping it that way. ;-)

This is a super fun fur collar that I also got the first day!  I was intrigued by the unique shape and the potential for versatility! :-)  Each of the ends of the collar has either a hook or a loop, so you can mix and match which ones you want to fasten (or all 4 at once!).  On the left, I have it asymmetrically fastened, on the right, the lower two are fastened.

Asymmetrically was my favorite way to wear this collar in the '12-'13 year. ;-)

I've become quite sold on wearing fur!  It is sooo warm- these 3/4 length sleeved dresses are now officially warm enough to be "winter approved" with the addition of a fur stole or collar!  And it's sooo soft.....  I'll be sad to see April come, which is my self-imposed curfew on fur-wearing.  Come October, I'll be more than ready to get them all back out again!!

· Photography by Kathryn ·

Saturday, March 22, 2014

· "New Look" Velvet Jacket ·

Here it is- my one and only original vintage garment! :-)

Mom and I decided to go visit an "An-Teek" mall in a tiny nearby town 2 1/2 years ago.  Given the choice of spelling, we had low expectations for the merchandise offered. ;-)  The mall is rather large and some of the booths do tend towards the sketchy-garage-sale-castoffs, but there were lots of gems just waiting to be discovered! :-)  It was such a fun mall after all, and we determined that we prefer our vintage shopping experiences to be "in the rough" and an adventure.  The thrill of the hunt adds such fun (and the lower prices are also a bonus! ;-)).

This velvet jacket was hidden amongst a rack of 1980s dresses, but what a wonderful surprise it was!!  It looks to be handmade, and I'm guessing it is from the early 1950s.  It came with a pencil skirt that seemed more 50s styled, but the jacket seems very "New Look" and edging toward the late 1940s.  The gathered peplum is lined with a stiff taffeta, the front and back are fitted with released tucks, the neckline is gathered into a collar in the back, and the kimono sleeves are finished off with cuffs.

Oh, and it has shoulder pads.  But since they are practically imperceptible (and period!), I made peace with them. ;-)

I was so pleased that this jacket fit, and that it was in such wonderful condition!  No mending/alterations needed. :-)

And these buttons are AMAZING! :-)

All in all- not a bad purchase for $10. ;-)

We've been back to the An-Teek mall several times since, and it has always resulted in many exciting finds!  Despite its somewhat undesirable appearance, it remains a guaranteed fun outing for the two of us. :-)

And yes... while everyone else is posting about the official start of spring this week, I post snowy photos. Besides the occasional warm days, we haven't had much evidence of a new season, so I felt justified in posting this anyway. :-)

· Pictures by Kathryn ·

Saturday, March 15, 2014

· Navy 1950s Dress for Kathryn ·

As you may recall, Kathryn and I have a deal worked out about my blog- she does my website design and photography, not to mention the ambitious undertaking of Encourager and Motivator, and in turn, I make her vintage dresses.  It is the best sort of business arrangement, because we both feel like we're getting the better deal!  But really- my side of the bargain is the best.  And I hope no one ever makes her a more tempting offer. ;-)

This dress was the result of my visit last November.  It is made from navy blue moleskin, and I used Butterick 5707 (out of print now- I'm sad I didn't pick up my own copy!).

And yes, I have the prettiest friends.

With the prettiest hair.

I want to be Asian someday.

I was a bit wary about using moleskin fabric for a vintage dress, but it really works well, has a great drape and body, and looks very classy. :-)  This simple dress is finished off with a self-fabric belt.

The neckline has small pleats on the shoulders and the keyhole neckline has a fabric tie for interest.

Kathryn pulls off this sophisticated look so effortlessly.  I'm jealous. ;-)

I feel kind of funny not having a hugely long post about this dress, but I have been getting dreadfully verbose lately!  And in reality- it was just so simple to put together!  Kathryn was so easy to work with, and I'm looking forward to showing you more pictures of the next dresses I've made! (well, and am in the process of making.... ;-))

Saturday, March 8, 2014

·Titanic- Inspired Coat ·

I've never been terribly enamored with the costumes from James Cameron's "Titanic".  Well, except for Rose's Sinking Coat.

*sigh*  Sooo pretty.

4 winters ago I decided I wanted a bit of a challenge, so I set about to make my very own Titanic coat.  I scoured the internet for all the information there was available (which turned out to be quite a lot- including embroidery templates!!).  I came across evidence that the coat was later re-used in "Tuck Everlasting" where it was worn double-breasted.  Being a total sucker for anything double-breasted, I knew I had to do that! :-)

My favorite color at the time was pink so I loved the original coat!  However, I was concerned about the "practicality" of a pink coat, and was open to the idea of any other color.  One of our very favorite wool sources happened to be running a dirt-cheap sale on pale pink wool, though, so that was settled. :-)  In the end, I'm glad I went with it.  After all- does an embroidered dress coat really need to be a "practical" color?! ;-) 

As I mentioned before, the embroidery designs were from a site somewhere online, and happily were just the right size- no fiddling necessary!! :-)  And now that I'm searching around for all the sites I used for images, advice, etc.- I'm so glad I made the coat when I did!  Almost all the web rings are outdated now, and all but a few images are broken. :-(

I used soutache braid for the design, and stitched it into place.  The wool is slightly felted, and the weave was loose enough that I could insert the ends of the braid through it.

I traced the design onto tissue paper and basted that in place.  Then I stitched the braid on, through both the tissue and the wool.  The final step was tearing away the tissue, which involved many hours of painstakingly pulling out tiny shreds of tissue with tweezers!

The end of the soutache is firmly wrapped with tape, then inserted in the fabric with a tapestry needle.  Then once the end of the embroidery line is reached, the remainder is inserted with a tapestry needle and then the end taped and trimmed.  I wish I remember how many packages of soutache I ended up using!

I used Vogue 8346 since it was double-breasted, had vertical princess seams, and a shawl collar and just added cuffs.  It was at this point that I stopped worrying about making a 1910s coat.  I had lots of fabric, and I really loved the idea of a flared skirt on this coat.  Plus, I frequently wear full skirts, so "practically", I should have a pretty-princess coat. ;-)

Overall, this coat is still very Edwardian-inspired, so this fabulous "toque"-looking vintage hat and these Edwardian-inspired 80s shoes, seemed like the perfect accessories!

I loved having the excuse to buy these Edwardian-styled buttons!

And you can be shocked.  I resisted the oh-so-compelling urge to point out all the little issues and mistakes this coat has. *sigh*  Maybe someday I won't even feel the need to post disclaimers like this. :-P

· Photos by- yes, you guessed it!!- the wonderful Kathryn :-) ·

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Vintage Twin Style · Mary Ann & Betty Lou

This post is in honor of my dear Aunt Daisy who passed away unexpectedly last week.  She lived to be 86 ½ years old, and was full of life and personality right up until her death.  Her given name was Mary Ann, but all the family always fondly called her "Daisy".

She and my grandma, Betty Lou, were twins, and as you can imagine- there are some very fun old photographs of them!

I'm rather partial to all of my family's photos, but I thought these would be appropriate to share this week, and that they would be especially entertaining since Grandma and Aunt Daisy dressed identically growing up. :-) 

Enjoy these “twin” fashions from the late 1920s through the early 1950s!
(Most of these photographs weren't labeled, so I don't have any definite dates and they're just in a vaguely chronological order.)

1927 · The whole family- Charles, Anna, the twins, and their older brother Bob.

Mary Ann (L) and Betty Lou (R)

They were the best of friends all their lives, and always lived within 10 miles of each other.  Twins were very uncommon when they were growing up, and they were always proud of being twin sisters. :-)

Mary Ann was always the larger of the two.  When we talked with her, she mentioned how scarce meat was while growing up in the Depression.  Betty Lou would always save the "best" for last at meal-time, and then not have enough room to eat her meat, but Aunt Daisy said, "I never let that stop me!  I ate it all!". ;-)

 I never noticed a striking similarity in them, and it’s amusing to see how little they looked alike, even as girls!

Aunt Daisy never married, but she was actively involved in the lives of her niece and nephews and lived with and cared for her parents until their death.

A newspaper clipping from 1948

Up until her death, Grandma and Aunt Daisy would get together most days of the week, and talk on the phone multiple times a day.

1967 · Although this picture doesn't fit in with the theme of this post, it was too fabulous not to share. :-D  Here are my jet-setter grandparents with Aunt Daisy in the background- on one of their many world travels. :-)

While we were compiling and scanning photographs for her funeral, I realized what a wonderful post this would make to share with all of you. :-) I love looking at old, candid photographs- the glimpses into the lives of yesteryear, seeing how real people wore the clothing styles I so admire.  There is a lot to be learned about older fashions from advertisements, movies, and the garments themselves, but there is a different, deeper wealth in seeing photos of real, ordinary people wearing these garments in real, ordinary situations.  

Aunt Daisy and me
The only thing I love more than looking at old photos is looking at old photos of MY ancestors.  To see MY personal history is meaningful.  I had never seen photos of Grandma or Aunt Daisy earlier than the 1960s before this week.  Looking at the photos we found opened up their world and life like I had never grasped before.  I had heard countless stories, seen many of the places they talked about, but seeing these photos made it all “real”.  To see them as babies, watch them grow into girls, then women, and finally the elderly women I’ve known puts my own life into perspective.  

Reading together the day before my second birthday

Aunt Daisy always had a sparkle in her eye.  She was feisty, opinionated, and sometimes outspoken, but always genuinely friendly and interested in others.  She had a wonderful sense of humor and was always a delight to spend time with.  The reality of her loss is only just sinking in, but we will all continue to miss her dearly for years.  The sorrow of her parting is sweetened by the assurance that she is now enjoying eternal joy and rest!

After reflecting back over her life, I've come to the conclusion that I really wouldn't mind becoming like her when I grow up.  She'll always have a fond place in my heart. :-)


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