Thursday, 27 December 2012

Sewing 2013


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2013 is almost upon us and I have been thinking a lot of my sewing goals for the next year. I have almost finished my sewing room sorting and all projects have been sorted and put together. Rather alarming to see all of them in the same place, but also quite good for me, I think. I really need to learn to finish my projects and my goal for next year is to finish something every two weeks and I was very pleased when The Dreamstress started up this:


Every two weeks she gives you a challenge like underwear, embellish, striped and so on and then it will be up to you to decide exactly what and which timeframe. Unfortunately for this project she draws the line at 1938 but as I lean more and more to the early 40’s/late 30’s in my wardrobe projects, I think I will be able to sort a few things into it. And I do have other clothes to make. However, I have given myself the end of Mars to finish the last of year 1 and 2’s autumn/winter wardrobe and I will start with:

The Raincoat. It’s in the dreaded “almost” stages, which means putting in the pockets and sew together the two different layers, one of rainproof fabric, the other in wool.

Grey wool shirtwaist. I have a lovely grey wool suiting with narrow red stripes waiting.
Fur coat. High quality fake fur is lined up for this one.
Brown jacket. Brown checkered wool and a need for tailoring that I feel is a bit daunting.

Black beret. I can buy one, but I have a couple of beret patterns I want to try out.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

A review on Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing

I’m sure most, if not all of you, know about Gertie's New Blog For Better Sewing and so you already know that her book, Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing by Gretchen Hirsch. It is a sewing book for those interested in sewing vintage, heavily inspired by the book that started out Gertie's blog, once upon a time, VOGUES New Book For Better Sewing from 1952. It’s been out for a while, so my review comes a little late, but better late than never.

Content
The book has several parts and begins with a chapter on vintage sewing and a discussion on patterns, vintage versus reproduction. Then follow chapters on preparation, techniques, tailoring, how to change patterns and fitting. The book also contains several multi-sized patterns and the last part gives sewing instructions, tips and tricks as well as pattern adaptations on them.

Style
The book is hard backed with a spiral, which makes it both sturdy and practical. There is a lot of illustrations and additional information apart from the actual text. The writing style is very informal and the book is easy to read.

Pros and cons
The layout of the book is very pleasing and it is also a book that is unique just that it targets vintage sewing, but in a modernized way. For me, who has been sewing a long time and enjoy reading sewing books, there weren’t anything in the techniques and fitting chapters that were new to me, but that isn’t really a con. One thing that may annoy readers is the rather chummy style the book is written in. here is your pal Gertie who really wants you to love sewing as much as she does and she has a lot of personal opinions on it. I didn’t mind, but if you want your sewing book more formal and impersonal, then this might be irritating.

The biggest pro for me is the patterns. Considering what a pattern cost and what a sewing book cost, this book is really worth the money! There are also several blouse patterns, which I have been looking for. I also really love the wiggle-dress with kimono sleeves that utilize an underarm gusset for a fitted look. I have yet to try any of them, though I plan to start with a blouse.

The vintage style presented in this book is Gertie’s own style which is heavily 50’s with some 40’s thrown in. So if you are interested in other vintage eras, then you may find the pattern section disappointing. Also, there are no trouser pattern at all, which doesn’t bother me as I never wear trousers, but, again, may be irritating for those who do.

The biggest con is the fit on some of the clothes. They are all modeled by Gertie herself and some of them just don’t fit well while others look great. I suspect that part of this is due to the way they are photographed as almost all patterns are made up in two versions and one version can fit well, but the other one don’t. I really find this rather annoying and something that would probably be possible to work around.

I have read reviews that which for more than one model to see how the patterns would look on other body types. I don’t think it’s so odd, the cost of making the clothes in several sizes and finding models for them would probably climb rather quickly. And, after all, you don’t get pictures of more than one model when you buy a pattern.

To sum it up
I like this book, but I don’t feel that it is the ultimate book for me information-wise. I have other sources that are true and tried and which I will continue to use them. However, if you are relatively new to sewing, or is about to begin, then I think this a really great book. I really love the attitude throughout the book that sewing is fun and easy, so if you think it’s scary, read this book! And, as I have already said, the patterns alone make the book worth the money!
 

Friday, 14 December 2012

A new year, a new blog start?


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 2012 is drawing to its close and for this little blog it hasn’t been that great a year. They first half of the year I struggled with my health and then it was summer and vacation and then an autumn that was kind of overshadowed by 8 weeks of plumbing renovations. Oh the mess! We are still not completely recovered from that.  I was also a bit crazy in venturing a new project that I don’t think I have mentioned here as it has nothing to do with the 1940’s. I am working on actually recreating cosmetic recipes from the 18th century to see how they actually work at Madame Isis’s Toilette. It’s great fun, at least if you are interested in makeup history, which I guess I have to admit isn’t something everyone is passionate about. Odd but true. Still, excuses, excuses, I know and despite it all I get new readers steadily, so thank you for reading!

I’m far from tired of the 40’s and I’m not at all tired of my wardrobe project, but I feel a need to get myself a boost for the upcoming year. A drawback in posting less is that I have started to second guess myself. I start on a tutorial and then I think f all the great tutorials that are already out there and I give up. I take photos of an outfit and don’t feel it is good enough and so on.  So I’m asking you, what do you want to read about? More about the wardrobe project? Makeup? Hair? Anything else? I have ventured into other decades in a few posts just because a decade doesn’t come from a vacuum. Would you find it interesting with more posts that cover1900’s-1950’s to put the 40’s in perspective?  More regular features like movie reviews and Etsy-finds? I would love to hear your feedback.
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As for my wardrobe project, well, it is progressing, but I still have a terrible time actually finishing a garment. I have so many things that just need a hem or button or a zipper. Apparently I have troubles letting go of my project. It’s no one’s fault but my own, but I really need to work with it.

So, let's hope for a new year with more interesting posts from me and more finished clothes!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Blogging my age?




Me three times, about 20 years apart.
1973

1993

I have been thinking a little about age, blogging and vintage ever since I read a thread on the subject on TFL. Vintage blogs written by women over 40 were especially asked for and in the discussion that followed some expressed a concern that they were too old for wearing vintage.
 
2011
I am 42, so yes, my blog is written by a woman who is over 40. Does that make my blog especially interesting for the 40+? I don’t write with a certain age in mind, I write with for people with a certain interest. I don’t read blogs based on age either, I read blogs that interest me. But perhaps I’m the odd one out? People I spend time with have an age range that spans over 40 years and if it doesn’t concern me in “real life”, then it stands to reason that I don’t care about it online. Do you search out blogs written by your age peers? I do read quite a few blog written by my age peers and I think a similar age perspective may be part of why I find them interesting, On the whole, though, I think the majority of the blogs I read are written by women who are younger than me. Most people who blog are a generation younger than me, after all.

As for being too old to dress vintage, I guess that stems from an idea that this is a sub-culture for the young. I don’t subscribe to that view. We all have different approaches to what we wear, vintage or not, and it is only natral that age play a part in what we choose to wear. I don’t dress the same as I did 20 years ago and I am certain that would hold true even if I had been into vintage dressing then. Taste evolves, after all.

But, in the 40’s, youth was more interesting than age in Hollywood and the stars that we adore were, most of them, in their twenties. And somewhat by default, most pictures here depict young women. So here are a few pictures of beautiful and glamorous women who were in their forties, or more, in the 40's.

Katherine Hepburn, born 1907, in 1947.


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Elsa Lanchester, born 1902, in 1949.


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Irene Dunne, born 1898.


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 In 1940.


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Bette Davies, born 1908, in 1950.


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Margaret Dumont, born in 1882.


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Lillian Gish, born 1893, in 1937.

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Judith Anderson, born 1897 in 1936.


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Mae West, born 1893 in 1941.


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Gloria Swanson, born 1899, in 1941.


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Friday, 16 November 2012

Bathroom dreams

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I have mentioned before that we live in an apartment in a house that was built in 1954. Lots of the original décor is still there, but the bathroom was, to our big disappointment, completely remodeled. The previous owners were very proud of it, but we found it absolutely horrid. The lovely tiled bathtub had been removed, a shower had been installed and the sink was made of stainless steel and wood. If you didn’t know it, steel gets grungy much quicker than enamel and wood in a bathroom. Well, no matter how much you dry it as soon as water gets on it, which it does if you only wash your hands, will start to rot. And the tiles on the walls where slightly structured which made them harder to keep clean as well. So remodeling the bathroom was always pretty high on our list, but not quite as soon as now.

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However, the whole house has undergone a complete makeover of the plumbing system and with that a new bathroom, no matter what. As the original bathroom is gone and some of the features of a 50’s bathroom is now out of reach due to regulation, like having tiles halfway up on the walls and then just a paintjob, we decided to go back two decades and go for an Art Deco inspired (not reproduced) bathroom in black and white.

I really wanted a checkered floor but the budget didn’t stretch to that, so now the floors are in black tiles and the walls in white.


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 More annoying regulations meant removing the window sill and installing a completely unnecessary radiator at the most inconvenient place possible. The bathroom is small as it is, and now it is even harder to furnish. I am not very pleased with the company who did it- they could have asked if we wanted that radiator somewhere else and they almost put in a floor in the wrong colour, prison grey, instead. By luck J was at home and could stop them! With black and white in mind we started to look for suitable furniture and to our surprise we actually found what we wanted at IKEA!
The series is called Hemnes and we have already bought the cabinet and plan to buy these two as well.

We also really want a black bathtub but as I said, the bathroom is small, so we haven’t yet decided what kind of tub it will be. We really like the design of this one, even if that harks back even more in time. Oh well, I said inspired, didn’t I?

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The last items on the shopping list are new black and white towels and then I will be able to show you our new bathroom.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Wardrobe musings

Still trying to come to terms with wearing uniform and came up with another positive: I will be able to drastically clean out my closet. I guess most of us have clothes that we don’t really like but wear anyway on the days when the dirty laundry is piling up. I quick survey of my wardrobe revealed that about half of what I have falls into this category. Clothes that are perfectly fine, but don’t fit as well as they should or have a colour that isn’t exactly right. My wardrobe space is rather limited and at the moment it is pretty crammed, so a clean out would be very welcome. I know I have sweaters, cardigans, dresses and shoes that I don’t really care for.
Lauren Bacall, 1945

So, what to leave? My favourites, of course. My 40’s wardrobe project, which I hope will be a little more visible if I get rid of my so-so clothes. I suspect that there will be a few holes visible as well, especially in the departments of leisure wear and outdoor clothes. As it is now I try to change when I get home from work, but as often as not I don’t bother. When I start wearing uniform at work I really have to. Cotton housedresses are really nice wear at home, I have already noticed that, but I would need one of two additional ones. Paired with thicker stockings and a warm cardigan that ought to work for winter as well.

I have tried to organize my sewing projects-list as well. I divided it into four lists; 40’s clothes, vintage clothes from other eras, 18th century clothes and one for other historical eras. I then assigned a letter to ever project. A for projects that needs to be finished ASAP. B for projects I have started and C for projects that I have planned. For example, my 40’s wardrobe has an A on the raincoat and black wool dress. They are clothes for the Autumn/Winter wardrobe and they are very near completion. All the other clothes for Autumn/Winter this year has a B and Spring/Summer clothes got C. Even clothes that I have started actually, as they are for the next season. I did this with all four lists and then I made a fifth one contains all the A’s. Then I divided that list into A, B, C. A there is my Victorian circus costume for Fraulein Frauke that needs to be finished by the 24th. B is my raincoat and then all the rest got C. When the Victorian costume is done, the raincoat will get A and something else B. I’m not sure that this will work for me as I have just started it, but it really feels that I have got a much better overview and it’s easy to see what I need to focus on.

And yes, I did use an app for it, but I am sure it works just as well with the pen and paper version.

I have bought a few clothes these autumn, staple items that I know I will have use for later. A green cardigan and sweater combo in lamb’s wool. And a few clothes from a company called Emmy Design that Elsa brought to my attention. I can really recommend them! It’s not reproduction clothes, but the style is definitely 40’s and 50’s for most of the design and the quality seems to be high. I bought a swing skirt in both brown and black and they are excellent everyday skirts. Perfect for a late 40’s or 50’s look.

I also bought this knitted dress, which was a bit nervous, knits tend to cling just where you don’t want it.

But the fit is great and it’s so comfortable, despite being 70% wool it isn’t the least bit itchy, even if you do need a slip underneath. I bought it in ruby red and I’m very tempted in the black version too. And I think I need the knitted cardigan to match!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Accessories for work


Bought at Lisa Loot

Thank you for all the pep and suggestions in yesterday's post. I feel slightly better about it now. There is another nice thing about the uniform- it actually fit me. Shirts are hard on me as I have a narrow back and shoulders, but not a very narrow front... So it was a nice surpise to find that it fitted quite well. several of you suggested jewelry, which I honestly hadn't thought about. I'm good at putting my clothes out the day before, but not not jewelry. Unfortunately I don't think I can wear pins and brooches and bangles drives me crazy, but nice earrings are an excellent option.
Bought at Majean Vintage

Despite having a workmate insisting that I look like a horse when I wear them, I really like my hairnets from Arthelia's Attic. The black one would go well with the uniform, but a grey or a green one would do as well.

I also really like the quality of the hair flowers from Belle Blossoms. I have found that I rarely reach for the very large ones, and wearing one behind my ear just tickles, but smaller ones on a comb are quite useful. And they do have a lot of nice ones
The combs are really excellent, usually such items just slip out of my hair, but these are called Grip-Truth and the stay were you put them. It is also possible to buy them plain and glue whatever decorations you want on them.

Aris Allen All Black 1940s Suede Sole Mary Jane Wingtip
Dance Store has many nice shoes I want- I have mentioned them before. And I think any of these could be worn at work to perk up my day.






Aris Allen 1930s Black & Silver Faux Ostrich Heeled Oxford





Aris Allen 1940s Black Faux Suede 3 Buckle Heeled









I also have a huge collection of stockings. A couple of years ago I shopped at Calezza any time I felt for candy. Undoubtely good for my figure, but now I have two drawers fills with stockings and one of those are solely unopened! Partly because my taste have changed a bit. I used to go for patterend stocking, now I usually wear plain ones with back seams. With a plain black skirt I think I could use up my patterned ones. Most of my stockings are out of stock now, but here are a few examples from my stocking-wardrobe.






Hair grips from the 40's or 50's. Bought at Vintage Curves

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