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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Tutorial · Rolled Vintage Updo

I've had several requests for a hair tutorial, especially in the last month- so here you go!

I started doing this hairstyle about 3 years ago, and it's been such a good fit for me that it's remained my constant go-to style ever since. ;-)

Now, I would describe myself as being "hair challenged".  Lots of people scoff at that, since I always have my hair "done", but I tend to find 1 style and stick with it for years on end. (hence 3 years and counting with this one....)  I wanted a style that was flattering on me (I prefer fuller styles) and something that worked nicely with lots of different hat styles, since I wear hats on a daily basis.

I read up a bit on vintage hair, but the end result was that I just got really overwhelmed and felt out of my depth. :-/  Well, I still DO feel out of my depth with most vintage hairstyles!  This style was my half-way compromise, but I think it still turned out good enough to be acceptable. :-)  One book that has helped ENORMOUSLY with my understanding of curls and how to manipulate them is Lauren Rennell's "Vintage Hairstyling".  I know everyone talks about this book, but it really is great! :-)  The sample styles are nice, but the great information in the front really helped me understand all the concepts and better be able to manipulate and predict my hair.

I'm qualifying this style as "easy", because I think it is. :-)  It's had its fair share of learning curves, but it was something that I could achieve with some level of success from the start.  Also, it is very time-efficient.  It takes no more than 5 minutes at night, and is styled in less than 10 in the morning!

This style is very adaptable, and is really comprised of 2 parts- the front hair and the back roll.  I change the front around occasionally to add a wee bit of variety. ;-)

This tutorial is for the specific style I did on my New Wardrobe StapleFriends and RelationsBlack Eyelet Dress, and Lemon Dress posts.  Other 1950s posts on the blog have been slight variations on this theme.

· Disclaimer!  This is NOT a good tutorial for a "proper" pin curl set.  I am very sloppy with the way I set my curls, and they will not work well for wearing down.  This short-cut is great for getting the right volume and waves near the hairline though, which is all I'm concerned about! :-) ·

Just as an FYI- my hair is mid-back length, no layers, very fine, very straight, and a bit on the thin side.  I typically have a hard time getting my hair to hold a curl.

I've done this hairstyle on lots of differing lengths of hair- it works on the more-period-appropriate shoulder-length hair, but I've successfully done this style even on mid-thigh length hair!

Start with dry hair.  First, part the hair on the side, then section off the front portion from ear to ear.

 Braid or clip up the rest so that it's out of the way.

 On the smaller side, I divide the hair into 2 sections- top and bottom.

 Each portion gets sprayed with setting lotion- enough to make it a bit damp for the first 8".

· I use the store-brand setting lotion at Sally Beauty.  I didn't find a difference between that and the name brand for this style, so I go with the cheaper option. ;-) ·

Wrap the strand of hair around your fingers (1 or 2, depending on how tight you want your curls) starting 4-6" from the scalp.

Then continue rolling the hair up to the scalp, being careful not to twist it.

 Secure with 2 bobby pins in an X.  Both of these curls with be rolled away and up from the hairline.

On the larger side, separate the hair into 2 portions- the center top and the side.  

Divide the center top portion into 2- front and back.

Curl the front section away from the face.

When pinning, force a "ridge" near the part.  We'll reinforce that later while styling the hair, but I find it helps if I give the hair a "head start".

Curl the back section to mimic the front.

Divide the side portion into 2 sections and curl those away and up from the face.

The point of pin curling the hair is to convince it to do the style you want the next day.  Some hair (like mine ;-)) takes more persuading!  It helps to envision your final style- make sure the way you are curling your hair will help it naturally go there the next morning! :-)

Let dry overnight.  Or, if you're in a rush you could blow dry the style on a low setting, but I never do that.

Once they are dry, take out the pins and brush the curls.  I don't have a particular method for brushing out, and I use a boar bristle brush- personal preference!  The goal is to get the "crunchiness" out and smooth the hair into a uniform shape.

The smaller side is easy- just curl the hair around 2 fingers about 4" away from the scalp, then roll into a small victory roll. (if you're having a hard time keeping all the hair in place while rolling it, try hairspraying the whole length before you start so that it has some "grip" to it)

 Secure with bobby pins as inconspicuously as possible.

On the other side, separate off the hair approximately where your pincurling was and start brushing the hair into one continuous wave.

Start wrapping the hair around 1 finger....

... And form the hair into a victory roll.  You want to keep some "slack" on it near the scalp, so don't pull it back tight.

Pin in place.  I also use 4 bobby pins on the "inside" crossing in an X. (2 come from the top and 2 come up from the bottom)  If it needs help (or even if it doesn't), form a wave near the part with a ridge clip.

Giving a final helping hand with ridge and wave clips has been a lifesaver for me!  I hairspray the entire style and leave them in for 15 minutes or so as I'm finishing up getting ready.  I take them out as the final step, and the hair holds the rest of the day!  Yay!! :-)

There you go- the front is complete!  This does take a while to get the hang of, but it's second nature after a while. :-)

For the roll in the back, I use a hair rat.  Yes, a real one.  I didn't really want to post this part of the tutorial because I know that really creeps some people out.  But there you go.  Now you know the truth. ;-)  If you're creeped out, feel free to skip on to the next pictures!

I know there are a few different options for non-hair rats, but I haven't used them.  I think a natural hair rat is great because you can make it any size you want, it's an exact color match (so it's not as noticeable if it peeks out), and well, it's free. ;-)  Granted, it means you need to keep a LOT of your hair from your brush before getting started.  I got a running start with an unexplained hair loss years ago (I guess this was a silver lining to that? :-/), but I make a habit of cleaning my brush every day and putting the hair in a ziplock bag, no matter how small the amount.

In theory, you might be able to use the hair from a haircut, but I've never had the need to use mine yet. (And yes, that does mean that I save all of my cut hair in bags, too. :-P  Great.  Now I just sound weird.  I promise!  This is like the weirdest thing I do!!) I am hesitant to use it since it is so slippery!  I would have to somehow mat it up before it would work, whereas the brush hair is already matted perfectly and locks into place quickly and without any mess.

So at any rate, I take however much hair I feel like and put it in a fine hair net (the 50 cent kind from Sally Beauty) and wrap it tightly.

To start the roll, gather all your hair in your hands and hold the roll in front of the hair.  Slowly drag the rat down to 4" or so from the bottom and wrap the ends around the rat.  Roll the rat and hair up to the scalp. (On long hair, this gets increasingly more difficult, especially on yourself!)  Once it's by the scalp, start smoothing the hair, tucking all the flyaways in and smoothing it evenly all along the roll.  I do this about 10 times, so expect to do it even more at first! ;-)

 Start pinning it in place starting with the center.  Cross 2 bobby pins in an X, catching both the scalp hair and the roll. 

Then pin the ends.  These take some fiddling to arrange pleasingly, but just keep smoothing!  It gets easier with practice. :-)  Finally, pin the sections between the center and sides.  For this rat, I pin a total of 5 places.  When I had a longer one, I pinned it in 7 places.

Finish off with hairspray- and there you go!  A very versatile, simple style that can be adjusted for the
1940s and 50s!

I realize this tutorial was rather long-winded, so thanks for bearing with me! :-)

Let me know if you have any questions or comments, and I'd love to see your results!!

· Photos by my Ever-Amazing Photographer, Kathryn :-) ·

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

· Last Batch in the Shop! ·

Thanks for bearing with me!  The final batch of costumes and clothing is now listed!

Many more up in the shop

Saturday, June 21, 2014

· When Life Gives You Lemon Fabric.... ·

..... Make a dress, of course!

When I first saw this fabric at JoAnns several years ago, I knew it needed to become a dress. :-)

Sadly, the road to completion was long and misleading..... but I think I've finally arrived.  Or actually, it's more like I've finally run out of every last inch of this dye-lot of fabric so now I literally can't change anything. :-P

The first incarnation of this dress was a double-breasted, white portrait-collared dress.  I loved the pattern, and I was certain the resulting dress would be my absolute favorite dress, bar none.

Alas, that just wasn't to be.

The dress was OK, but it just never felt right.  It felt like I was wearing something foreign, rather than having my clothing just feel like a natural extension of myself.  On a practical level, the fit was a bit "off" in a few minor ways, but other than that I had a really hard time putting my finger on the problem!  I wore it a few times that year, and then packed it away in the hopes that later I would grow to love it.

The next year, I was away from home all summer and far too busy to obsess about uncooperative clothing, so it waited some more...  Last year, after completely falling in love with my fruit dress, I determined that remaking it into the same style was probably my best bet to rescue this still-beloved fabric. :-)

I didn't have enough fabric left to cut an entirely new bodice, so I bought some more fabric only to discover that mine was a radically different dye lot! :-(  So I tweaked my design a bit to have set-in sleeves instead of kimono, and was able to squeeze it all on.  I made the collar white, since I thought that would break up the fabric nicely and add a cute element.

But yet again, it didn't live up to my expectations.  I just didn't like it.

(Alright, I'm willing to concede that apparently I had entirely too high of expectations.  But...!  That  realization still didn't help the disappointment.)

So, I put the dress away for the fall/winter and hoped that when I put it on this spring I'd magically have a different perspective and be able to overlook all its supposed flaws.  No such luck.  However, I did have the epiphany of what it needed to finally redeem itself.  Simply: a matching collar.

So!  Armed with confidence and determination to FINALLY MAKE THIS WORK, I set about fiddling with my small, hodge-podge scraps to conquer the challenge.  I was so pleased to see that my collar pieces would fit just right in the leftover scraps. :-)  The easiest, quickest way to do this was to sew the fabric on top of the other collar by hand.  I trimmed,pinned, and sewed on the first side, but once I got to the second I realized: I had sewn the first side on upside down.  Oh, the agony!!!!  That now meant that my perfectly shaped scraps no longer worked for the other side! :-/  Ugh.  Sometimes I really hate myself.  Anyway, I finally worked out a way to *just barely* get the other piece on and piece it in a few mostly-unnoticeable areas. 

After seeing the photos of this, I think I'm finally reconciled to it and able to like it and wear it this year.  It still has annoying fit issues, but after all I've been through, I'm ready to finally call it quits and live with it. ;-)

So there you go- who knew such a cute dress could be so intensely irritating?? ;-)

(See?!  Sad little upside down lemons.  At least they don't look too out of place!)

A yellow and white polka-dotted ribbon and a chunky bead necklace made the perfect accessories. :-)

So after all, I think this title would be a bit more apt if it read, "When Life Gives You Lemon Fabric, You'll Re-Make Your Dress Three Times". ;-)

· Thanks for taking pictures that reconcile me to the dress, Kathryn!! ·

(See??  She really is invaluable. ;-) )

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

· New in the Shop This Week! ·

Just as I promised, there are more listings up in the shop this week!

It's shades of black, white, and plum this time around. :-)

A "Briar Rose" costume, Civil War dress, Edwardian items, another dirndl, and more! :-)

Next week will be the final listing with rusts, reds, greens, and girls clothing!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

· Citrus Coasters ·

These citrus coasters seemed like just the cheery sort of addition our coffee table needed! :-)

They were a Pinterest-inspired idea which I finally got around to making last summer. They were so fun and such an instant gratification that I'm glad I made the effort to getting around to them! :-)

The process was simple: two 3 1/2" circles of colored felt, one 3 1/4" circle of cream felt, and then one 2 1/2" circle of colored felt cut into 8 segments.

 I cut tiny triangle "seeds" out of 3 segments and then stitched each segment through the cream layer and one colored layer with matching embroidery floss.  

Finally, I finished it off by attaching the second colored circle and stitching around the edge.

Voila!  A great beginner project, but still fun for the more experienced seamstress. :-)

Now I'm inspired to go do some of my other Pinterest ideas..... ;-)

· Photos by Kathryn ·

Thursday, June 12, 2014

· New Items in the Shop! ·

The weather was finally cooperating with my schedule last week and we were able to take pictures of the rest of our clothing and costumes for sale!

I decided to organize the groupings into colors, so up in the shop this week we have Blues and Pinks!

Stop by and take a look! :-)

Retro-styled dresses, a Tangled costume, Titanic and Downton Abbey-suitable gowns, a brand-new 1930s-styled raincoat, and more!

More listings will be coming in the next few weeks, but get these while they last! :-)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

· A New Wardrobe Staple ·

I absolutely, completely fell in love with Simplicity 1459 when it first came out.  Enough so, that I actually made the pattern exactly like it appeared on the cover!!  No small feat for me.  Usually I can't help but make various alterations.  OK, I raised the neckline by an inch, but that doesn't count. ;-)

This buckle was in the stash, and was the perfect excuse for a nice wide belt!

These buttons were from Aunt Daisy's house, and they just happened to be the perfect color, the perfect design, and the perfect number. :-)

I did bound buttonholes, since there were only 2 needed and it would be another opportunity to work on improving my technique.  Still have a ways to go before I consider myself a proficient, but they are suitable enough to show up well on camera. ;-)

As you all know, I am prone to agonizing.  I have been admiring this fabric at JoAnns for 3-4 years now.  Each time I go, I think- "that would make a great fall dress"!  And yet each time it's on sale, I somehow convince myself that I shouldn't buy it. :-P  That's why I have my mother- she called enough enough, and made me finally get around to buying this for a dress.  And 2 weeks later, here it is! ;-)  I am so pleased with the fabric- it is very appropriate for both spring and fall, thus filling a crucial wardrobe gap.

We even had an appropriately cold spell right after completing it, so it has had several outings this spring.  I look forward to wearing it to death in the fall, too. ;-)

· Thanks for the lovely pictures, Kathryn! ·

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