Sunday, 27 February 2011

Vintage powder compacts

I have been going through cabinets and cupboard and unearthed a lot of junk and a few treasures. Like my powder compacts. I'm not a collector, I have only two, but they were given to me by my grandmother's and I love them. They also fit into this blog, so I felt I had to showed them off.

The oldest was given to me by my maternal grandmother and is from the 1930's. It is made of a yellow metal and was once covered with gold, you can see traces of it on the sides and completely on the inside. There is a small elephant on the lid and my grandmother told me that it was enamelled, but that has long since gone.
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Inside there is a mirror that unfolds by itself when you open it. As you can see there are two compartment, the one in the lid was meant for pressed rouge, the one ion the bottom for pressed powder. You bought the make-up separately and fitted it into the holes. There is two words stamped inside, "Marinello" and "PAT.PEND.". The compact is 6 cm long and 5 cm wide at its widest point.
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The other powder compact comes from my paternal grandmother Elsa and is from the 1940's. It's a bit more luxurious. The lid is in red enamel with an enamelled rose, surrounded by six rhinestones.
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It was meant for loose powder. As you can see, at some point Elsa decided to use it for loose rouge instead. It measures 8,5 cm across.
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In the bottom, underneath the remaints of rouge, there is a paper where you can read: "KIGU of London. Convertible for loose or solid powder. The highly polished finish is protected by an invisible film of transparent enamel. The inside of the powder compact is also stamped "Made in KIGU England"

A quick google tells me that there is a The House of KIGU website with their powder compacts. I didn't found my compact, but here is a black one from the forties that is very similar. Marinello powder compacts are also around and though I have seen some with elephants on, I haven't come across any with the same shape as mine. I did find this cute ad for powder, though.
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Thursday, 24 February 2011

A review on Vintage Vogue V2858

Vintage Vogue V2858 is a re-print of a pattern from 1944 and can be made in two versions. A short dress or as an evening gown with a front slit. It is now out of print.

I have a friend who has a fabric store, which means that I often buy fabrics when all I intended was to say hello. Not that I'm complaining, but my wallet and storage space may have other opinions. On one of these visits I spotted a rayon fabric that just cried out to me that it needed to become the short version of V2858. It could be nothing else. Then I came home and looked at the pattern and realized that my fabric has the exact colours as the short dress. Felt a little spooky...
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Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Sewing plans

I have revised my plans slightly, which I probably will again, but here is where I am right now. After thinking back and forth a bit, I feel that I really should try to stick as close to the list as I can. Otherwise I think I may start to simplify things and one reason for doing this project is just to challenge myself and step out of my safety zones.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

A try on a forties hair-do

I tried a new hair-do today, going for the Tikki Lounge-do in Vintage Hairstyling bu Lauren Rennells.
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I was quite pleased with the result, even if if got a bit too frizzy, but hopefully it will look better the next time I try it. I will also use rollers the next time. Now I did it with a curling iron as in the book, but it such a hassle to use. The photos aren't great, as per usual I forgot that it could be nice to have some until it was dark outside.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Make-up in the 1940's- eyes and lipstick


Here are the rest of the make-up tips from Skönhet by Vivan Huber from 1946, covering the proper colours of eyeshadows and lipstick.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Make-up in the 1940's- powder and rouge

I love reading make-up tricks from past times and I don't think I'm the only one. The look in the 1940's were rather simple, subtle eyes and strong cheeks and lips, but of course there were a lot of do's and don't when it came to make-up technique. This post and the next will take material from a Swedish beauty book from 1946, Skönhet by Vivan Huber. It's written with the Swedish woman in mind, but trends and fashions are similar to the rest of Europe, as well as US, of the time. Today's post will be on powder and rouge, the next one will cover lips and eyes.

The chapter on make-up begins with stating that making sure she is as beautiful as possible is one of the most important things for a woman to strive for and make-up is an excellent aid. Not too any excess, but if it's applied tastefully and correctly, then make-up is always a good thing. When choosing colours it is important to consider several things. Time of day- one can wear more make-up in the evenings. Dark women can wear more make-up as well. One should also consider ones age, shape of face and colour on clothing.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

1940's nails


The past week I have tried, but not succeeded, in making a 1940's half moon manicure. To paint the half moon isn't that hard to do free hand, but to remove a sliver of polish from the top of the nail only ends up being very messy. Oh well, practise makes better, I hope.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Year five

YEAR FIVE
Autumn/winter

Already in the closet
Dresses and blouses
Black dress in silk crepe
Bright red dress
Housecoat with a belt in thin cotton
Simple black evening gown
Blue evening gown
Fuchsia-red jacket

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Year four

YEAR FOUR
Autumn/winter

Already in the closet
Dresses and blouses
Black wool dress with green details
Blue wool dress
Housecoat with a belt in thin cotton
Black evening gown
Blue evening gown

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Year three

This year some of the old clothes are used to make new garments. It may look a little odd that shorts are supposed to be worn with a sundress, but imagine how much legs you can flash if you try to use a bicycle in a short summer dress, and it may not be so odd anymore. My mother remember that when she graduated from schools, my grandmother made a pair of matching shorts to the graduation dress, so my mother would show of her knickers when she was hoisted. Evidently hoisting was part of the celebrations... This was in the sixties, not the forties, but the idea is the same.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Year one and two

EDITED
I have realized that as the first year of this wardrobe building consists nearly the twice amount of clothes, I don't have the time to finish it all in one year. So I have decided to make my project run for five years instead, splitting the first year into two.


It struck me as a bit unfair that I know what the four-year plan will yield and not you, it isn't like the book I take it from is accessible for you all. Especially if someone feel tempted to join in. So I'll make four posts with all the eight seasons and then put a "sticky" on them so they will be easy to find.

You may notice that the lists looks a bit odd at times, and I'm not sure what it means when a similar garment are already on the "what you have"-list and the "what to get"-list. Or the notes just repeats what has already been said. The cut of the clothes are sometimes suggested, but it is the colours and materials that are the most important. It is also clear that the suggestions are based on a rainy Swedish autumn followed by a cold winter and then a rather warm summer.

YEAR ONE
Autumn/winter

Dresses and blouses
Grey wool shirt dress
Simple, long evening gown in black heavy canton crepe. I made a little switch here and will make the black evening gown later, here is the blue one instead.

Housecoat with a belt in thin cotton

Black wool dress

Coats and suits
Coat in grey lamb fur
Brown sport suit in three pieces, jacket, trousers and skirt.

Red Sweater

White sweater, adapted to be a stone-coloured one.

Raincoat in a "natural" colour.

Shoes
Heavy boots
Brown sport shoes
Black walking shoes
Black evening shoes
Rubber boots

Hats
Grey beret
Brown felt hat, well, I made a hat out of fake suede instead.


Accessories
Brown bag in reptile skin
Black bag in suede
Brown knitted gloves
Homemade knitted mittens

Notes
1. Every colour is beautiful with a grey fur coat.
2. The grey shirt dress should be tone in tone with the fur coat and with grey buttons. Then it will look great with brown accessories
3. The sport suit should be made in water-proofed gabardine.
4. A black simple evening gown is suitable for most occasions.
5. All the green things should match each other.
6. A tweed overcoat is practical all year round.

Spring/summer

Dresses and blouses
Black wool dress with short sleeves. Not a wool dress, but a cotton one, in my case, from Heyday.


Brown dress in silk noil, in three pieces. Here are just the shirt and the skirt:

Dress in artificial silk, patterned with small flowers
White washable shirt dress


Coats and suits
Grey/brown tweed overcoat. I couldn't found any born/grey tweed I liked so I bought a grey wool coat instead.

Grey suit in flannel
Raincoat in "natural" colour

Shoes
Black pumps
Clogs
White fabric shoes

Hats
Grey beret

Black beret
White beret


Accessories
Brown bag in reptile skin
Black bag in suede
A bag in "vindtyg" (My English fails me here. "Vindtyg" is a fabric that is wind proofed, does that makes sense?)
White "laundry" gloves

Notes
1. A white washable dress is always pretty in the summer.
2. The brown silk noil dress consists of a skirt, a blouse and a jacket.
3. For summer an evening gown in a patterned fabric is the best.
4. A sandy colour is a good neutral for a coat and can be used with black dress and beret or brown dress and beret.
5. The sundress in white and yellow should be be finished with white details. With shorts and bolero it will be suitable both for the beach and for bicycling.
6. The green silk noil blouse will look good with the brown shantung skirt and jacket.

YEAR TWO
Autumn/winter

Dresses and blouses
Nice black dress in wool

Coats and suits
Grey/brown overcoat in tweed. I couldn't found any born/grey tweed I liked so I bought a grey wool coat instead.

Shoes
Black pumps
Green shoes

Hats
Black beret, made from the same fabric as the black dress
Green hat in felt


Accessories
Belt, scarf and clip in green

Notes
1. A tailored black wool dress should always be in your wardrobe.

Spring/summer

Dresses and blouses
Green blouse in silk noil (the same colour as the green winter hat)
Yellow and white sundress with a jacket, shorts and blouse
An evening gown in a dotted fabric

Coats and suits
Sand coloured coat

Shoes
Brown walking boots
Yellow sandals in leather

Hats
Sand coloured felt hat
Remodel the green felt hat

Accessories
Bag in the same fabric as the coat
Brown gloves

Notes
1. For summer an evening gown in a patterned fabric is the best.
2. A sand colour is a good neutral for a coat and can be used with black dress and beret or brown dress and beret.
3. The sundress in white and yellow should be be finished with white details. With shorts and bolero it will be suitable both for the beach and for bicycling.
4. The green silk noil blouse will look good with the brown shantung skirt and jacket.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Lingerie

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As you may have noticed, my list of clothes to get doesn't include underwear. That doesn't mean that this delicate subject isn't mentioned at all, the good book has a few things to say about it. To begin with it bemoan that Swedish women care less about their underwear compared to the rest of Scandinavia and should learn from them to use "bembergsiden", artificial silk or satin crepe instead of silk jersey. Corsets and bras should be well-fitting and don't compress the body too much. The best is a corselet, but make sure that it's long enough, otherwise it will pull down the shoulders and breasts! But if you were slim enough, a bra doesn't seem to have been a must. As I mentioned earlier my grandmother didn't use a bra until she was 33 and had had a baby. She was a very proper person, so she would never have done that if it hadn't been all right. Slips are not just to make sure that you can't see through a skirt in bright light, but also to give the clothes shape.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

The Puppini Sisters

I promise that I won't keep flooding with posts like this. It's just that I have written most on all three when I felt too befuddled by cold to post. Hence this many in one day.
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I usually listen to music when I sew and often, if not always, what I listen to is inspired of what I'm sewing on. Mozart and Bach when sewing 18th century for example. Inspiring music from the 1940's isn't hard to find, especially not with Spotify, but don't you agree that it could be fitting to listen to reproduction music when sewing reproduction clothes? Soi if you don't already know about them, I strongly urge you to listen to The Puppini Sisters. If you think that they are inspired by The Andrews Sisters you are not wrong, but they are also influenced by The Boswell Sisters, Marlene Dietrich, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Kate Bush, Mike Flowers, Joan Crawford, The Smiths, and Tom Waits. They make covers on 1940's songs, but also modern or own material, but they always sound like it from the forties. So far there have been three albums, Betcha Bottom Dollar, The Rise and Fall of Ruby Woo and Christmas with the Puppini Sisters.


Fur coats

A fur coat seems to have been a very important part of the 1940's wardrobe. Elegant ladies wear them over suits and considering that all our modern super materials for keeping warm wasn't invented yet, fur kept the cold out. Alla kvinnors book has, if not a whole chapter, at least several pages dedicated to the subject of furs. Persian lamb is recomended on the grounds that it can keep up to 20 years, if handled correctly. Other furs mentioned are another kind lamb fur called Hungarian lamb, oppossum, colt, Arctic fox, calf, fox, sable, marten, mink, beaver, otter, seal and muskrat. There are also furs that though real fur are made to imitate other kinds. Like muskrat cut down to imitate seal. There is a distinction between furs for party, like mink and furs for sportswear, like calf.
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As for cut that seem to wary little over the decade. Most seem to be more boxy in shape, with square shoulders. The length varies and so do the collars. Here is one of the few examples I have found with a pronounced waist. It is a bit hard to see, but there is a nipped in waistband in fabric, or possinly leather, that the fur bodice and skirt are sewn too. The hat is absolutely adorable too. It's from the movie Down to Earth (1948) but I have yet to find a picture that show it better.
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A very nice fur from All About Eve (1950). I especially like the collar, which isn't just a feature from 1950, I have seen a fur from 1944 that looks very similar.
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Another nice fur from the same movie.
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Fur wasn't just used for coats, though. There was also capes and shawls. I, as I have already mentioned, won't be trying to find anything in actual fur. Faux fur feels much nicer to wear for me.
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While looking at all these pictures it struck me that I actually have a pattern already that is very similar in shape. It's from a swagger jacket that I made around 1990, but then the 1940's was rather an influence then.
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I think it would lend itself pretty well to fake fur. I think I will try to tweak the collar so it goes all around though. Possibly also lengthen it. Faux fur isn't as warm as fur, but I think it will work well to interline it with wool. I'm actually trying that out right now with a faux fur jacket, so it that works as well as I think it will, then I will use it for my coat too. First I need to find a nice faux fur that I like, though.
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All About Eve

A bad cold have made me very unproductive that last few days, but to put some good use of being too tired to move, I watched a number of old movies instead. So today there will be some pictures from All About eve. It's from 1950, so a little out of line, but I feel generous and include it, because it is such a great movie. If you haven't seen it, do.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

The art of colour matching

Photobucket One of the most important aspects of creating this wardrobe is to make sure the clothes match each other colour-wise. That makes it possible to mix various garments and get more outfits out of it. There is therefore a chapter in Alla kvinnors bok about what colours that goes well with each other. I was a little surprised by some of the like brown and grey, which I thought was a no no. Not to mention blue and green!

Red Doesn't always have to be paired with navy blue. It is beautiful with most strong colours like yellow, green and white. If the red has a purplish tone, then it works well with purple and blue. If it's more of a warm and yellow tone, then it works with brown, green and yellow.

Pink Looks good with just about everything, especially black.

Green For a subtle effect, combine it with yellow and brown. For something more bold, an intense green matched with navy blue. Greyish green goes well with cyan.
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Yellow Pairs well with neutral like like black, grey and brown, but also with ruby red. Pale yellow works well with navy blue. A more amber toned yellow looks good with the more lemon-coloured yellow. It is also noted that Swedish women isn't particularly fond of yellow because it is hard to make it look good if you are blond.

Blue Navy blue and white is the prefect combination for summer. Pale blues are always beautiful. Navy blue and cornflower blue looks good with black.

Neutrals Brown, white, grey and black looks good with everything. It is important, if the dominant colour is a neutral, to have details on colour.

One can also chose the same colour, but different shades. It is, of course, important to consider the colour of hair, skin and eyes when it comes to colour choice. Not to mention taste! If you like a colour, then wear it, but don't be afraid to match it a little more boldly than you would otherwise have thought.
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No, I'm not trying to make you drink Coca Cola- don't drink it myself, I merely liked the colour matching.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

First plans

So far I have only had time to start planning and this is what I have come up with this far. I will, if I find something suitable, by it, be it a reproduction or an original. I have little hopes on finding old clothes that actually fits me, but some accessories hunting will have to take place. I feel inclined to use reproduction pattern for size reason as well. Original patterns rarely go up to my size, but if I find one I really, really want, I can probably take the hassle to enlarge it. And I can always draft my own pattern, if I need to. At the moment I have started to look around for a coat pattern I like.

A grey wool shirt dress I love wool, I love grey, but I don’t like shirt dresses. I have a feeling that it’s a pointer that this dress is meant for everyday and not a party. I’m already engaged in Casey’s swing dress sew-along , so I dub that dress to be similar to a shirt dress. And as I already have a fabric for that one and it isn’t grey wool, the colour and fabric will change too. However, it is in a grayish green colour and I think it will work well with both brown and green, so I feel confident it will work in the wardrobe anyway.

Simple, long evening gown in black heavy canton crepe It would be very fun to sew, but how often do one use an evening gown? And I already have one from a Vintage Vogue Pattern, dated to 1944. Blue, but not black and it needs to be re-fitted as it is a bit loose around the waist. So for the time being, a black evening gown will be on the back-burner.
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Housecoat with a belt in thin cotton Will I need one? I’m not sure and this will be pushed back along with the evening gown for now.

Coat in grey lamb fur Furs are gorgeous and I feel it was a very important garment in the forties, but I simply can’t stand the thought on getting a second-hand coat. Way too icky. Luckily there is faux fur. A first survey on what can be found indicates that you can get faux Persian lamb, but not in grey. You can get it green or pink, but not grey. I will keep on looking, but I think a brown fur would work as well, and then I can find a lot more. Beaver and seal were also popular, so at the moment I’m inclined toward a faux brown beaver fur.

A brown sport suit in three pieces, jacket, trousers and skirt A part of this project is to push my sewing boundaries, and this one does! You see, I haven’t worn trousers in 18 years. I have a pair of jeans that I use a few times a year, but that is that. And a large part of why I stop wearing them was fitting troubles. I’m high-waisted with a big difference between waist and hips. Even in my thinnest day I had a bit of a tummy, and no matter the weight I have a flat derrière. To find trousers that fitted and looked good was really difficult and as I have always liked skirts more anyway, it wasn’t hard to just wear that. It could be fun to try to sew a pair of trousers, though.

A red sweater and a white sweater I haven’t knitted in years. The jury is still out if I am to try my hand on that again.

Brown bag in reptile skin I think I will change that to a green 1940’s handbag I already have. And then try to find belt, hand and scarf that match the bag…
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