Thursday 30 June 2011

The mysterious laundry dress

First just a link. If you are interested in 1930’s fashion, then hop over to I read Isis’ Wardrobe. I have just made a post with photos on my grandmother from that decade. She was a very well-dressed young lady.

I have a little mystery for you. A very little mystery, I’m sure. On my list for the spring and summer clothes for years one a dress is listed that is called “tvättklänning” which would be laundry dress in English. Now I wonder, what is a laundry dress? I don’t know. My guess is that it is a white cotton dress that you could boil with your white laundry.

I have been nodding around the net and checked old encyclopedias for information. The encyclopedias give nothing. The net have provided a few things, all of them decades older than the 1940’s:

Tuesday 28 June 2011

Billie Holiday

I “found” Billie Holiday in my early teens, quite by chance. It was not the kind of music I listened to back then. It probably ages me something dreadful, but I guess Depeche Mode sums it up quite well. And then, on the radio I heard a voice that just spoke to me and I scribbled down the name and hunted down a record. A really bad quality “Greatest hits”, but I listened to it again and again. “Lady Day” didn’t have the biggest voice, but she sang true. So when a lot of the music I loved then have faded away (no, not Depeche Mode, but most of the other band that was big then), I still listen to Billie. She’s classic.

The song I heard? Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do. A lyric that I suspect appeals to teenagers of any age.

Sunday 26 June 2011

Using historical movies as inspirations sources

This post started out to be about The Pirate from 1948, but it evolved so much into a discussion on how historical movies and contemporary looks that I save The Pirate for another occasion.

It may sound a bit odd when I say that even movies in a historical setting, may work well as an inspiration source. They are set in another time, with other fashions, right? Yes, they are, but historical accuracy has not always been particularly important, especially not during the golden era. Generally speaking the costumes had a more or less accurate look, hair had a somewhat right look and make-up was completely contemporary. There are reasons behind that, for example, even if the moviegoer expects something different s/he still needs to recognize things. If every single detail was to be historically correct, the final look would be something so alien to the modern eye that it would be rejected. Now, those expectations change too. Nowadays period movies usually strife for accuracy in costume and hair and even modify make-up to make it look at least somewhat different to our modern eyes. The modern moviegoer has learned to expect this. The moviegoer in the 1940’s did not and thought nothing when Lizzie in Pride and Prejudice, 1940 (played by Greer Garson) looked like this, false eyelashes and all.

(The movie was set in the 1830’s, not the Regency, but the hair has most to do with the 40’s.)

Even if you try, it is hard to completely remove all traces from the time we live in, even when that is the goal. Some things gets so ingrained as to be considered natural that a movie that is considered perfect when it is released may seem dated after a few years Let’s look at a modern actress, Elizabeth Mcgovern. In 1981 she had a part in Ragtime, a movie set in the early 20th century. It is a very good costume movie and it has dated well, but still… Brooke Shields eyebrows, anyone?

Thursday 23 June 2011

Midsummer's "Knight's" Dream

And with this rather corny ad for shampoo I bid you a festive Midsummer. See you all next week!

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Hairstyling how-to's

Would you like to make this 1946 hairdo? Well, look no further than under the cut to get the instructions. I do love this kind of instructions that show both how to set the pin-curls and how to brush the hair. It really shows how much different sets had an impact on the final hairstyle. I’m not sure how easy this is to do on yourself, but it’s still very interesting.

Monday 20 June 2011

Good and bad perfume surprises

A few scent surprises have come my way. First, I realized that the neat little offer from The Perfumed Court was a bit too neat- not all of the samples are perfume, but also EdT and EdP. Oh well, for that price, I shouldn’t complain, but I do wish I knew. Then I had a few surprises when it came to my assumption on which perfume that would suit me. I have always maintained that I’m not a flower girl, or for that matter very fond of cyphres, but I think I will have to modify that. I have always found them too harsh and have always assumed that is something that comes with the territory. Now I wonder if it isn’t just a modern fashion, because I find that I’m very drawn to some of the vintage florals and cyphres I have tried.

Sunday 19 June 2011

Blue hat, red sweater

In the bottom of a box filled with hat supplies I inherited from my grandmother I found a blue hat. At first glance it looked a complete wreck, badly smashed up and very dusty, which is no wonder as it has probably been there for 50 years or more. On closer examination I found that it was in pretty good shape, despite it looks, so I decided to try to renovate it.

Friday 17 June 2011

"Exotic" beauties

The good old days weren’t always so good. Making a bid for fame when your ethnicity wasn’t white meant less screen time, stereotypical portrayals and losing roles to white actresses. Lena Horne lost to Ava Gardner in Show Boat in 1951 and Anna may Wong to Luise Rainer in The Good Earth in 1937. And some, like Merle Oberon, hushed down their heritage to ensure a better career. This post are for these beautiful and talented women. I hope you don’t mind if I reach back a little- some pictures are from the 1920’s and 30’s.

Thursday 16 June 2011

Sewing tricks and planning and some patterns

I have been lamenting my lack of sewing time- I have felt that I never have time to sew. Working full time, having a family to take care of, having to do household chores. Woe is me as I had a terrific pity party. Then I sobered up a little as I probably have as time as anybody else, I’m not exactly alone working and keeping house. So, no reasons to feel sorry for myself, but there was still the fact that I don’t manage to sew as much as I like. And as a letter in the mail, Debi guest blogged about the very subject at Tilly and the Buttons. It really gave me food for thought and one thing I realized is that I put my sewing time way back on my to-do lists.

Wednesday 15 June 2011

I read blogs

I read Debi’s My Happy Sewing Place. If you have the slightest interest in vintage patterns, then you have to read this blog. Debi is incredibly productive as well as talented and her blog is truly inspirational. She is also generous, as of this week she will have a weekly giveaway on vintage patterns that she has already made herself. How awesome is that? See this week’s entry here.

Tuesday 14 June 2011

New shoes

I just got two pair of shoes I ordered from Dance Store, to be able to cross off black walking shoes and white canvas shoes from my list. I have never ordered from them before, but only heard good things and I’m very pleased with my shoes. If you ordered, read the sizing tips for the shoe you are interested in. I have a European size 41 which is usually 9 ½ in USA. However, the canvas shoes I ordered in size 10 as that was recommended and I find that both my shoes fit perfectly. Another thing to bear in mind is that dance shoes needs to be re-soled if you are going to wear them outside the ball room.

Monday 13 June 2011

Meet Lipton

He is a five-year old Shetland Sheepdog who, as of Friday, will bes our dog. We already know him very well as we have dog-sat him when his owner’s have been on vacation. Now a developed asthma makes it impossible to keep him and we were asked if we could consider taking Lipton in. We have been thinking of getting a dog for some time, so it was very easy to say yes. Lipton is a lovely, well-behaved dog and it will be so much fun to have him. He also gets along well with the cats. Mats love and adore him (he was raised by a dog) and the others treat him with indifference. In Page’s case indifference as long as he keeps away for the cat food. And it will be so beneficial for me to have to walk a dog every day.

To tie it all to the 40’s, here are some nice pictures with dog from the period.

Sunday 12 June 2011


Trousers in the 1940’s were by no means a staple in a woman’s wardrobe, though due to the war, they became a bit more common, due to practicality. We are still decades from where we are today and many women never wore trousers at all. My Mum once told me that her grandmother who was born in the 1880’s and lived to be almost 80, never owned pair trousers in her whole life. Trousers, with few exceptions, belonged to sportswear and for casual occasions. For the whole of the four years my wardrobe plans span, there are only two pair of trousers planned, the first one being part of an ensemble consisting of trousers, jacket and a skirt in brown gabardine.

Saturday 11 June 2011

Hair care

A beautiful hairdo begins with taking care of the hair. The recommendations in the 1940’s were a bit different from today, for example how often one should wash. There are different bids, though. I have found one recommendation for washing normal hair once a week and greasy hair even less often. Another book states that really dry hair should only be washed every third week- if possible only every forth, while greasy hair should be washed every seventh or tenth day. But whatever advice you follow, the rule is that the hair should be as clean as possible.

Friday 10 June 2011

Ball of Fire

I only recently realized that one of my childhood favourites, A Song Is Born , is a remake and the original movie was made in 1941 and was called Ball of Fire. I just had to find it, of course. It’s a bit funny, in my view, to do a re-make just a few years after the original movie and they are really quite similar. A Song Is Born is in colour and the professors are working on a musical encyclopedia, not an encyclopedia. Gary Cooper in Ball of Fire plays his professor straight when Danny Kaye plays his for laughs, while Barbara Stanwyck is more playful than Virginia Mayo, but the plot is basically the same.

Monday 6 June 2011

Giveaway winners

Thank you all for participating in the giwaway! It was fun to read what you would like to see more about and I will certainly write about it. Vintage Vicky may already have noticed a bit more on hats.

The winner of the Worth fashion print is; the perfect drug!

The winner of the second price, a felt flower is; Miss Katie!

Congratulations! I will contact you shortly for address info.

The continued perfume hunt

I took advantage of this offer at The Perfumed Court and ordered a couple of samples, plus a few others and I’m now happily testing my way through them.

Saturday 4 June 2011

Giveaway reminder

It is after midnight in Sweden, so it's less than 48 hours left before the giveaway closes.The Blogger trouble seems to be going on still for some, so here's a tip for you: Don't tick off the little box on the log in page that says that you want to keep being logged in. It's totally unlogical that it should help, but it seems to do the trick. If you have mailed me, due to this trouble, then you ought to have got a reply from me. If you haven't, then it means that I haven't got your mail.

If you have missed that there is a giveaway, then you can read about it here.

A black 1940's hat

As we are on the subject of hats, here are a few photos of my back 1940's hat. I bought it years ad years ago and it has since nested, wrapped in silk tissue, in an old hat box. It's made to sit on the back of the head and despite having either combs nor rubber bands to keep it on, it stays on. Perhaps not on a very windy day, but still. It is made in black velvet, decorated with smooth feathers that are wrapped in black veil.

Wednesday 1 June 2011

Hats, hats, hats

Vintage Vicky asked for more hats. Or hats, really, as I haven’t really talked about them at all yet. When I was a child I always wore something one my head. Always. If no cap/hat/helmet were available other things could do like paper bags or a small buckets or my gruel bowl. Usually before I had eaten all the gruel… The red cap with fake fur I wear on the picture was a favourite.

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