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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Beaded Cashmere · The Joy of Vintage

I've already shared this amazing Mexican painted skirt on the blog before, but I wanted to take the opportunity to finally feature my lovely vintage beaded cashmere cardigan!  I received this as a gift a couple years ago, and I was delighted that it was in pristine condition- never worn!  I soon found out why- one of the sleeve linings was sewn in upside down.  I know, right- how did that pass QC?? Needless to say, it's obvious why no one ever wore it since it was impossible to get on, but thankfully I happen to have plenty of needles and thread so it was a quick fix. :-)

It's so fun to see how my real-vintage wardrobe has blossomed since I started this blog!  I was shocked to remember that 3 years ago I only had one genuine vintage garment- since then I've amassed quite a few, now here I am posting an outfit with not a single piece that I've created.  I really do love the connection to the past that I feel whenever I wear something vintage, but I still love the creative process of making my own clothing. Not to mention the fact that vintage in my price range usually requires enough TLC that the time invested would take you halfway through making something from scratch! ;-)

While I haven't made any terribly startling changes, I've found that owning vintage clothing has also given me a boost towards more era-appropriate creations as well.  In a way, it is a reminder to get my me-made wardrobe up to "par" (but in the best sort of motivational way!) and it's been fascinating and fun to see how differently I will approach the design and construction processes now.  And it will be fun to see where I am and what inspires me 3 years from now- who knows! :-)

While I've made-do quite a bit with altering modern knitwear to suit my style, there's something special about the extra detailing involved in older pieces.  I know they're much more likely stand up to lots of wear since they've already survived decades!

Also, I love how cost-cutting didn't seem to be quite as paramount in the design process on most vintage pieces- why, the beading even continues around the back!  Wool sweaters are always lined!

And a wee detail for the sleeve!  I do so admire a little attention to detail. :-)

The beading on this is so thick and the stamens are even tiny little tassels! Also, I adore how it's such an appropriate sweater for me- the flowers are lilies! :-)

Kathryn was such a dear and let me borrow her darling Miss L Fire "Gabrielle"s for this photoshoot.
Perks of being the same shoe size as friends! ;-)

Eeeep!  Mustard shoes. With studs. And bows.  How much more perfect can you get???

(answer: not very.)

· Photos by Kathryn ·

How about you- do you own much vintage?  Has it made a difference in your creative process?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Vintage Pin-Curls for Short Hair · Tutorial

It seemed like it was about time to finally post another update on my current endeavors with vintage hairstyling!  You can read through all my older posts about my various triumphs and failures under the "Hair" label.

To re-cap briefly, I have fine hair that holds a curl quite a bit better than it did 3 years ago, but still requires some extra care and attention to achieve "curly" status.  Humidity is my biggest hurdle, so I decided to get a perm this past summer.  It was a great decision and I'm definitely doing that again!  I have also found that cutting off length will increase my curliness dramatically!  So the combo of above-shoulder-length + perm kept me happy the majority of the summer.  The days of the most intense weather (either extreme humidity, rain, or strong wind) still overpowered my best attempts, so back-up headscarves were my best friends then. ;-)

I have alternated over the past year on haircut styles.  I've tried out straight-cut bobs, layered bobs, layers with shaping, etc.  I go back and forth on my favorite, but I typically use this setting pattern regardless of the cut.  I might vary it up slightly if I'm trying to achieve a different look at the front.

I start with freshly brushed hair, parted on the side.  On clean hair, I use setting lotion to moisten each strand individually.  On next-day hair I use plain water, again, applied individually. (I found that using setting lotion again didn't help enough to justify the expense and mainly just left extra residue on my brush the next morning)  If I want a looser curl on the next-day or third-day set, I will set without moistening.

On the smaller side, section off the hair in front of the ear.  Divide in half and moisten the top section.

Grasp the hair near the ends and wrap once or twice around finger, being careful not to twist the section while wrapping.  Curl this section away from the face.

Ensure that the ends stay nicely curled while continuing to curl up the section upon itself.

When you reach the base of the hair, secure with clips or bobby pins.

Curl the bottom section of hair in the same manner, this time with the curl aiming towards the face.

Now I curl the larger side of the front hair.  Section off a piece of the top hair and curl away from the part.

Curl in the same manner, starting at the bottom and curling up to the scalp.

Secure with clip or bobby pins.

My hair is thickest at the top center of my head, so I choose to do two large curls there.  I also choose to make them "standing" pin curls since the curl contains more hair than usual.  The standing pin curl means that they are only secured on the lower half of the pin curl.

On the other side, the top half gets curled away from my face while the bottom curls towards it. This alternating pattern helps guide the hair into a wave during the brush-out.

(If you don't know the basics of wet-setting/pin-curling, I *highly* recommend "Vintage Hairstyling" by Lauren Rennells.  She talks about setting patterns, different curler options and wet- vs dry-sets in a way that just makes so much sense and really gives you the knowledge you need to achieve any style you desire.)

Now for the back!  This is the part where you build up a little upper arm strength and muscle memory!

It helps me if I envision the remaining hair being divided into 3 rows of pin curls, so I section off portions of the top row and curl all of those in the same direction (in this example- towards the left).  I'm not super precise with sectioning and number of curls is entirely dependent upon my hair's thickness- I make each pin curl a size that is easily held by one bobby pin.

A note about using one bobby pin- I found that I didn't actually need the extra security of crossed bobby pins, so I decided to save a little time and only use those on the sides/front/nape of my neck.  I sleep with a scarf over the pin curls, which adds extra security.

Speaking of time- I was so intimidated by pin-curling for years because I thought it would be a major time commitment.  With practice and muscle memory, it takes me 7 minutes each night to set my hair.  And 5-7 to style it in the morning.  Not too shabby! 

The second row gets curled in the other direction- in this case, off to the left.

The third row is my nape hairs.  They just do whatever they can to get pinned into submission!  I generally attempt to have them curled in the opposite direction (left, in this case), but I don't sweat it.

Tada!  Ready for a good night's sleep!

When the curls are fully dry, remove all the clips/pins.  The level of dryness will affect the strength of the curl, so if you have extra time leave them in longer!

Finger comb through all the curls to break them up before brushing....

And then brush away!  I use a Denman brush and I've been really happy with it.  Firm, good-quality bristles with no extra tips on the end.

And then it's time to style!  I take the smaller side and gently smooth it back and pin right behind the ear.

And ironically, shortly after taking these photos, I started just securing the side with one bobby pin- so feel free to use whatever works best for you!

On the other side, I like to add a bit of back-combing for a little volume at the top.

Brush the rest of the hair until it is smooth...

And then softly arrange the top hair.

I follow my hair's lead on how to style each day- from experience, that yields the happiest experience. ;-)  You'll find that slight differences in the wet set will yield different results, so play around with it!

Secure with a bobby pin and you're done!

As a finishing touch, I like to form my hair into the natural wave that's formed by the setting pattern.  It's pretty much at this point after the brush-out, but a little extra definition never hurt anyone. ;-)

And voila!  Add a bit of hairspray and you're golden!

And here's a handy little image to put it concisely!

Don't hesitate to ask any questions! 

· Photos by Kathryn! ·

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Film Fashions · Poirot's Miss Lemon

It seemed like it was about time for another installment of "Film Fashions" around here!  I'm a *huge* fan of mysteries, especially British. And especially set in the 1920s-60s.  "Poirot" was my gateway drug into this genre and the nurturing of my Art Deco admiration!  My mom was a big fan when the episodes originally aired and over the past decade or so we've watched the series several times.  While they do show their age a bit, the older series (1989-2000) are my hands-down favorites.  I really love the sets, clothing, and hair design of the older ones (not to mention the great camaraderie between the four main characters!) to the extent that the lower production quality really doesn't matter. :-)

Also, Miss Felicity Lemon.  She is sadly absent after "Evil Under the Sun", and I feel that the series really does feel a lack with the absence of Poirot's personal secretary and assistant.  Her filing system is incomparable, her precision is the perfect fit for Poirot's demanding fastidiousness, and her clothing is the epitome of Art Deco chic in workwear.  She frequently pulls through with 3 or more outfits each episode, although they do get repeated over the seasons.  Her accessory and outerwear game is straight out of the 1930s and so inspiring!

The deco trim! The knitted ruffles!  That plaid!!

Seeeeerious collar envy here!

I love how fearless she is in her fashion sense and how she delves into so many different iconic 1930s styles. Also, I feel like there's no color Miss Lemon won't try! She's just as confident in neutrals as in dramatic hues.

Her hats are always amazing- they've got to be originals, right??  And she continually gets that "jaunty angle" down pat.

And then her coats.... ugh. SO good!  In short, I need access to her wardrobe. Pronto.

Honestly, everyone's wardrobes are amazing in Poirot episodes, so the only way to narrow down this post was to focus on just one character!  Do you have a favorite episode of Poirot or outfit from the show? Do you have a style crush on Miss Lemon too?  Which do you prefer- the older episodes or the ones made within the last decade?

And finally, if you've never given "Poirot" a try, you really must!  The series will beyond-a-doubt give you a deep and abiding love for the 1930s, and who doesn't need that? ;-)

(Screencaps courtesy of the wonderful Miss Lemon Files here- do stop by to see dozens of screenshots detailing Felicity's wardrobe!)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

· My Very Own Custom-Made Labels! ·

I'm so excited to share this post today!  I have thought about making my own custom clothing labels for several years, but I just never found an option that seemed to be worth the effort or cost.  I came across Dutch Label Shop's offerings a few months ago, but quite honestly, it seemed too good to be true!  It wasn't until they contacted me that I really looked into it further and I'm so glad I did.

This logo design was a joint effort by my sister and me, and Kathryn did a magnificent job of bringing our vision to life!  I am so impressed by the quality of these labels- they look professional in every sense and are sturdy, yet soft.  And the feeling of being a professional seamstress with my own branded line- priceless! I'm so pleased with these labels, and I love putting them in all my projects. :-)

For my labels, I knew I wanted to take cues from vintage brand labels and went with a larger 3"x 1.75" size.  The tag sizes are all customizable, *and* there are 9 different fold styles to choose from- I chose the End Fold so I could attach it at any position, without enclosing it in a seam.  The color options are quite vast, which made me a little sad that I decided upon such a basic color scheme!  I did take advantage of the add-on option of a "double white" background since that was recommended if my logo had a high contrast, in order to prevent any shadow through, especially with the thin lines!  I think it was a great move, and I definitely don't have any issues with visibility and clarity.

I chose the layout and wordings from vintage examples, and of course Mode de Lis ("fashion of Lily") seemed very appropriate for both personal garments and client creations!  I also took the vintage label cue of including my hometown on the label, but since this is the Great Big Internet, I photoshopped that part out for privacy. ;-)

I did choose the option for photo proofing- for a small fee, the factory will do a test run of your label and email you a photo so you can make any changes necessary before completing your order's full run.  Since it was my first order with DLS and I felt that my logo design might be too delicate and illegible, I chose to go on the safe side.  This option does add a little bit of extra time- I ordered and got my photo proof 3 business days later, then the final product arrived 7 business days after approval.  As it turns out, the label was all that I hoped and expected on the first try!

All in all, I can't say enough good things about my experience!  Dutch Label Shop opens up the world of high-quality, professional finishing touches and provides the option for completely custom labels for even the smallest business!  I only purchases Custom Brand Labels, but there are options for care tags, size tags, and paper hang tags among others.  I almost want to open up a complete line of custom clothing just so I have an excuse to use all of them!  They're so cool!

*I was given some labels by DLS, but this post was of my own volition and all opinions are my own.  This post contains affiliate links, but only because I'm so in love with this company that I'd love more of their products! :-)

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