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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

· A Few of My Favorite Things.... ·

This is definitely a post that includes all of my current favorites!  Favorite vintage hat of the year (so versatile, so comfortably "me"), favorite fabric (that I finally found a use for!), favorite new shoes (love!!), and favorite new dress pattern (Butterick 8038- already have another dress made from it!).

We had a local friend and former neighbor gift us her mother's collection of sewing patterns last year.  Most of them fell in the 1960s/70s range, but the two 1950s patterns were absolute STUNNERS.  *And* in my size.

I love, love, love how unique and flattering this pattern is and after mulling it over for a while, I remembered that the hand-printed Indian muslin that I've had for ages would be a perfect combination!

The bodice is quite unique with the side fronts extending above the bust to cross over and pleat into the opposite shoulder while the center front piece invisibly extends up behind.

When the preview for these 'Sergi' shoes popped up on Royal Vintage's instagram, I quite literally squealed with delight!  I had quite a few Rewards points burning a hole in my pocket, so it was a no-brainer.  They are just as beautiful in real life, too!

My only caveat for these is the sizing.  This is my first pair of Chelsea Crew shoes, and they come in European sizes.  I'm a true sz 8 in American sizing but I flip-flop between needing a 38 and a 39 in European sizing, depending on both the brand and the style of shoe.  I went ahead with the 39s thinking that a touch too big was preferable to a touch too small.  They are on the big side, but certainly not warranting a whole size smaller and a simple heel grip is enough to make them just right. :-)

The soft gold color of these is just gorgeous and the heel height is right in my comfort zone, making these an effortless choice!  The soles are comfortable for walking, but also have enough slickness that I was able to wear them for an evening of dancing without having any difficulties.

They're the perfect style and shape for 1920s and 30s (and I have a few dresses just waiting to be showcased with them!), but I couldn't resist pairing them with this 1950s dress, either. :-)

* Disclaimer- I received these shoes at a discount in exchange for posting about them and this post contains affiliate links ('cause I'd like any excuse I can find to purchase more shoes! ;-))*

Pattern Matching Obsession.  Spot the seams! ;-)

Also, I really love the vintage idea to insert back zippers below the neckline.  Works well and also eliminates the headache of trying to achieve an flawless neckline finish- my nemesis!

I love the design element of extending the center front panel into the skirt!

4" deep hem- because I can!
Also, I should do a post about this new crinoline sometime- it's pretty much the best thing EVER.
· edited to add- I have a post about crinolines here now! ·

As always- a pocket!

I've always really liked this fabric and I got it a long time ago from Heritage Trading on eBay and it was originally intended for an 18th century gown.  As time passed, I realized how little I actually needed another 18th c. gown fabric (still having at least 3 fabrics earmarked for that purpose...) and I eventually became dissatisfied with its suitability for that era.  There are a great many flaws in the printing of the fabric, which, while it is entirely forgivable due to the nature of being hand block-printed (and inexpensive) made me wary of using it for an entire 18th c. dress.  Granted, not all printed cottons were well-executed and high quality (lots of evidence to the contrary!), but the research I've done made me hesitant to use it in such large quantities!  Also, in that period it was impossible to achieve a color-fast green dye, so any printed fabrics with green were made by printing in yellow and then hand-painting the desired areas with blue- the color combination achieving the desired green.  Consequently, it is a more expensive option and was saved for quality chintzes.  My fabric is obviously not high-end, so the more I read, the less I felt comfortable using it...

Thankfully the love of the exotic never goes out of style, so there are lots of examples of 20th century clothing utilizing ethnic fabrics! :-)  The fabric is a lovely choice for summer- lightweight and easy to care for while still being a nice quality and suitable for dressy occasions.  Currently, it is solely a church/wedding dress, but with the right accessories it would make a great sundress, too!

· Photos by Kathryn ·

Thursday, July 21, 2016

· 1950s Strawberry Dress ·

Remember all my ideas for vintage strawberry fashions?  Well I can finally share the result!  When I saw Emily Hayes' Shabby Strawberry line of fabrics I knew they were just the ticket for a perfectly summery dress and my sister made the perfect model.

(and as a side note- how amazingly well does this dress coordinate with my blog??)

I compiled a Pinterest board of strawberry-themed fashions from the 1940s and 50s to get some inspiration, and in the end I decided to keep the dress fairly simple to allow the fabric to have center stage.

Cotton dresses are perfect for summer and the boatneck and sleeveless bodice are so quintessentially 1950s. :-)  The neck and armholes are both bound in narrow bias tape and finished by hand. A micro polka dot fabric worked as the perfect accent touch!

At first, I was a little wary of how blue the foliage was rather than being a true green, but now I think it's perfect!  So very retro, and in the best way! :-)  Added bonus- it looks right at home in our aqua/red kitchen!

I used a vintage pattern from the 1950s and followed the suggestion to add contrasting fabric in bands along the skirt.  The skirt is made according to the pattern- 3 whole widths of fabric!  It gives such a great shape and I love how tightly gathered it is. :-)

Thanks Penny Rose for such wonderful fabric!

· Photos by Kathryn! ·

Thursday, July 7, 2016

· Embracing Stereotypes ·

It feels like it's been ages since I shared a recent project with you all, and I have lots of new posts to share. :-)
It feels good to be back!

Kathryn, Tara, my sister, and I all came up with the idea to do themed visits together years ago.  We first started out with the idea to do Decade themed get-togethers, but as of late, we tend to all stick to the 1950s so a new plan was in order!  Two years ago we did our 1950s Polka Dot day, and we were originally going to do a 1950s Gingham Day last year but... ahem, I dropped the ball on that one.  I am nothing if not incredibly indecisive and I could not, for the life of me, decide on the color and scale of gingham I wanted!

Fast forward an entire year, and I finally caught up with everyone. ;-)

What's that advice that your first choice is always correct and second guesses are a bad idea?  I never really appreciated that admonishment (and honestly, it's often untrue for me), but in this case it was absolutely, perfectly spot-on.  One of the first pins I ever found on Pinterest was the iconic 1950s dress that became the primary inspiration for this dress.  After flip-flopping my way through the entire color wheel, I finally settled upon my original idea- the basic, potenially boring, but also completely versatile Black.

So, here's to shameless copying of original garments, embracing 1950s stereotypes, and not feeling obligated to constantly re-invent the wheel! ;-)

I was so pleased to have such a great opportunity to officially debut my Royal Vintage shoes!  If you haven't heard of RV yet, Lauren (of American Duchess fame) started up a vintage shoe shop almost a year ago and it's such a great source to find lots of 1920s-40s appropriate shoe styles at competitive prices.  She also runs a Rewards program which has already resulted in another pair of shoes for me... but those are for another post! ;-)

These are b.a.i.t. Loraines and while I was initially scared of the 4" heels, they were really just the sort of shoe that I was looking for to fill a gap in my wardrobe!  They have a bit of a platform, so the heel is effectively 3.5".  Still about 1/2" higher than my normal, but I've found these to be comfortable and easy to walk in, regardless. :-)  I also kind of really love being 4" taller than normal. ;-D  This color was precisely the shade of red I was needing- it's a very true tomato red without a hint of blue undertones.  Yay!

*disclaimer- I am a brand ambassador and have an affiliate account with RV, so I have received these shoes at a discount and these are affiliate links but rest assured! that hasn't affected my review ;-)*

The first of two changes I intentionally made from the original dress was to continue the contrasting sash through the back of the skirt as well.  I always think it's sad when the backs of dresses get neglected. :-(

The original dress has a full circle skirt, but I get pretty wary of those with our frequently gusty weather... I felt that the skirt decoration really needed a full circle to do it justice though, so fashion trumps practicality, yet again. ;-)

Time will tell how effective it really is, but I'm hoping that the added weight of the contrasting sash will help manage any breeziness.  I also faced the hem with a 2" bias strip since that's my new favorite method of adding a nice weight/body to circle skirts!  I'm sold so far. ;-)

My tried-and-true on-seam pocket.  Couldn't live without these!

The contrast fabric is woven through buttonholes all around the skirt.  I adore the idea of making colored sashes to change out for a completely new look!  First on my list is coral. :-)

The other way I deviated from the original was to substitute a surplice bodice for the original.  I wasn't completely sold on the original look and since it's been a long time since I've used Vogue 1043 (reprint), I felt that it was high time to use it again!  I used that on 2 of my very first vintage dresses back when I started wearing vintage styles exclusively, so it's got a bit of a sentimental draw. ;-) 

I'm not sure what's come over me lately, but I've been on a MAJOR pattern-matching kick lately.  To the point where I was getting (more than usually) obsessive and needed to take a break so I didn't fry my brain. ;-P

I matched the skirt seams of course, but when it came to the bodice, there was just really no way to intentionally match up anything.  I cut the front bodices on the bias as a design decision, but then it made seamless blending at the shoulder and side seams impossible.  The only place I think I *might* have been able to match things is in the underarm gusset.  It does look a bit "off" right now, but as my brain is currently taking a rest, I'm not about ready to jump into that challenge yet. ;-)

· Photos by the ever-delightful Kathryn!  Thanks dear! ·

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