Thursday, 28 February 2013

Pin Curls

Hi everyone, I'm so sorry to be a day late.  My boyfriend has been sick and we spent the day in and out of the hospital yesterday.  Luckily, he's fine now, still feeling under the weather, but better.

And now back to our regular programing!

Pin Curls

Here's the thing, I've been using pin curls since high school, back before I had any real concept of vintage.  What is new to me are setting patterns and to some extent brushing the curls out.   When I made pin curls I'd set them wet and then shook them out and finger brushed them just a touch.  And I had absolutely no concept of how the different directions would affect the end result.

I've since learned that there were patterns in books to teach girls how to set their hair stylishly.  And now, people like me can take full advantage of that!  It's fabulous!  So, I've really looked at a couple so far.  One is at Victory Vintage where she's found a couple different patters.  I can't wait to try the Lauren Bacall and the Glamorous Casual styles.  I don't have bangs, so I'm not sure I'll be able to try the other two.  Of course, I debate about bangs a lot, that's a bit of a ongoing debate.  I always want nice full bangs when my hair is cut straight, but then when I go for it and get bangs I'm disappointed because they're never as full as I wanted.   

 The second set of patterns is at Skirting the Issue where she's made a pattern for a 40s look and a 50s look.  I'm more partial to the 50s look since I feel like my hair is fairly flat.  However, my hair might be long enough, like hers, that they look fairly similar in the end.  I'll certainly be trying them and letting you know!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Mad Men

**Mild Spoiler for Season 2 Episode 7 and 8 of Mad Men**

I was watching Mad Men last night and I realized I want to be Joan.  It was the scene the morning after she fired Jane where Joan walked in and finds her back at her desk.  There was a shot of her walking up, which I can't find a screenshot from, and all I could think is 'oh man, she looks fierce'.  When she walks into a room you know instantly that you don't want to cross her.  Someday, I want the instant respect that woman commands simply by walking into a room looking as fierce as Joan. 

But I'm constantly cooing over the gorgeous looks of Betty Draper.  I loved her party dress in Episode 8, the polka dots.  And I love the way she's always tidy and put together, the perfect housewife.  I think walking into a room like that demands a whole different type of respect from people, but demands it no less forcibly than Joan. 

These are the women that I want to be like someday.  Perfectly coiffed, my outfit coordinated, my hair and makeup perfect. 

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Shirtdress- The Beginnings

I spent the better part of today working on a pattern for my Shirt Dress, which will be my first bigger sewing project with you guys.  I've had some beautiful navy blue fabric in my stash since last Christmas when Santa brought it for me.  It's very soft knit, but Santa didn't leave a tag with the specifics.  From a distance it looks like solid navy blue, but if you get closer there's stripes with tiny flowers.  I tried to take a picture, but no matter what I did the pattern stays invisible.  Hopefully when I give the progress report when some sewing has been done I'll be able to show you the fabric.

Step one had to be drafting the pattern.  I've never made a button down shirt before.  I don't wear them often, mostly because I can never find any that don't pull open across the bust. So, while I had originally hoped to copy out the pieces of a shirt that mostly fit me and then adjust, that didn't go well.  The short version is that the only button down I still have is a solid two inches from closing across the bust and looser at the waist than I wanted, and trying to adjust my boyfriend's into something even vaguely attractive on my was far more effort than it was worth.  So, that plan was ditched in favour of drafting from scratch.

Now, like I said before, I've never sew a button down before.  In fact, I think this might be the first thing I sew with actual sleeves.  Most of what I sew is formal or semi-formal dresses, and I'm partial to sleeveless or strapless designs, so hopefully this won't be too eventful.  I found this lovely tutorial online after a bit of searching.  I'm pretty confident in my ability to draft patterns, most of what I sew is self-drafted, but I thought a guide would be helpful since I'm branching out.

When taking measurements, I moved the hip measurement to about level with my belly button since that's where I want to bodice to end and the skirt to start. I started out following the tutorial pretty closely, right down to Step 2: Establishing Center Front.  The pattern says to add two inches to make the one inch button placket.  But since the buttons on my dress will be purely decorative (cue the side zipper -- another first), I've cut that down to an inch and a half to make the one inch placket.  I'll be able to just turn under once and hid the edge, where if it were going to be functional, you'd have to turn over twice.

My bust line is in red, and theirs is the blue one
And you can see my neckline as well.

I also deviated a little bit in the placement of the bust line.  In their pattern the bust point will be level with the bottom of the arm scythe.  Now, maybe I've got high armpits, or maybe my girls sit funny, or maybe being a G-cup patterns will always need some adjusting, whatever the reason, this just wouldn't work for me.  So, I took a measurement around my chest where the arm scythe ends and measured up how far that was from my bust-line (about 2" if you're curious).  I used the new bust measurement at the arm scythe, then measured down the two inches and made my bust line.

I also changed the neckline.  Since my buttons are going to be purely decorative I wanted the neckline a little more open.  Usually when you wear a blouse the top button or two is left open, but since that wouldn't work here (with the fake buttons), I've dropped the neckline.  I'm hoping it will look more like the neckline on the inspiration dress (from the Wardrobe Wish List) than the ones on a real button down shirt.  And, being super smart, I also forgot to add my seam allowance to the pattern front. So, that was an extra step as well...

I've changed the line of the collar, making it curve back instead of pointing out like a normal shirt collar.  I'm a little more partial to the soft lines than the harsher point of the traditional collar.  I've also made the sleeves short and added some gathers to the top to give them a bit of a puff. 
Adding sleeve gathers -- do you see the little pie slice?
Once I had the sleeve drafted as the did in the pattern (except short) I cut it out and then split it down the center on the fold.  That way I had one copy to work with, and one as a backup.  Then I prepped another piece of paper, fold on the left again.  I wanted to inches of gather, so I measured in one inch from the fold and made a mark.  Line up the top of the sleeve cap with that mark (excluding seam allowance), and then angle the center fold to meet up with the new center fold at the wrist.  You should have a little pie slice, extend the line from the original piece and add the seam allowance, which will line up with the original piece as well, trace the rest of the piece and cut it out.  The wrist will have a point to it, which you'll see in the picture, even that out, and you're ready to go.  I also changed the cuff to one inch deep instead of two.

I don't have a skirt pattern because I plan on just using a wide rectangle and gathering down to match the waist.  Drafting a rectangle seemed a little bit unnecessary, but if it all goes horribly wrong, someone can say 'I told you so'.
All the pieces, even though some (I'm looking at you, cuff) are hard to see.

Friday, 22 February 2013


This technically isn't vintage, but I'm amazingly excited and it seems relevant. 

I've finally found a job! 

Since moving to Small Town, Canada in November I've been having trouble finding work.  But I had my first training shift on the desk of a small hotel just outside of town on Thursday and it went well.  I get to have my first paid (that's right, I'm going to get paid!) shift on Sunday, which means I get to buy pretty things!  Not right away, because I'm going to try and be all responsible and such, but it means I can start socking away in a 'pretty things fund'. I'm pretty excited, you might have noticed from the gratuitous formatting...

As a side note, I've been playing Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale which is kind of fabulous on it's own really.  But, I want to open a shop! Like a real shop, with gorgeous vintage things that I can sell to people.  Oh well, maybe someday. 

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

A Beret!

One of the things that I wanted for my wardrobe was a Beret.  Now, they're super simple to make, so that's exactly what I did.  I don't have the pictures yet (apparently I haven't used my camera since I moved, and my phone doesn't take nice pictures.)  but I promise to come back and add them in.

The patter I used is here but you can just as easily make your own.  It's a top and a donut, really. I sewed the two pieces together and then added an edging of grossgrain ribbon.  Unfortunately, doing things in this order means that I had to sew the ribbon by hand. So, next time I do this, I'm going to sew the ribbon first, which means I can do it with the machine.

There are two adjustments I made, one I regret a little bit, and another that I'll do more of next time.  First, I made it a little smaller.  According to the size chart on the pattern I'm an extra small, and if you've looked at the pattern you know that's not a size.  So I shrank it, but then I shrank it more, down to 7.5" across.  I liked the theory, and I thought it fit my head a little better.  But, now that it's finished I'm not sure.  Next time, I'm going to try the size small.

The other thing I did, was add little bobby pin loops.  It's just two very tiny button holes right beside each other, and you can slide your bobby pin in one and out the other before pinning the hat to your hair.  I've got two on my hat right now, but I'm planning to add two more to hold the hat on a little better.

Let me know if you guys have any good sew tips for this project or any good project ideas! 

Monday, 18 February 2013

Wardrobe Wishlist -- Part Two

So, I'll begin with skirts today.  I love skirts.  I love the way the swish.  Naturally, this means I need a swing skirt.  This one is the Doris from Pinup Girl Clothing.  But I'll probably sew myself a circle skirt.  Well, no, I'll probably make myself a lot of circle skirts.  I might have a problem, but I'm sure I could stop whenever I want to.  Naturally I'll need a pencil skirt as well.  This one's a Bernie and Dexter at What Katie Did.  And, perhaps most importantly, a petticoat.  This is the Vivien of Holloway that I've heard good things about, though unfortunately I don't remember where I heard the review.  I'm really leaning towards the red, but I go back and forth with the black a bit.  The red is bright and flirty, and it goes better with the swing dress, but might be hard to be subtle with the red.  Perhaps I'll need both!  (This is turning a little bit into my high school dream list.  I swear I'll get it under control!)

Seamed stockings and shapewear are a given.  I have a friend who routinely wears seamed stockings and I always think they're absolutely stunning, but I've never thought they look right on my more modern, and admittedly less coordinated, wardrobe.  I think a Snood would be fabulous.  I found a really think hairnet at the dollar store once, but it's disappeared somehow... So, a shiny new one will be in order. This one is a Vivien of Holloway.  I'm also kind of drooling over this Pill Box Hat from Pinup Girl.

As far as shirts go, I don't really have any solid must haves.  I want a cropped cardigan and a blouse, but there aren't specific ones that come to mind.  Shoes would be a whole other topic.  As much as I might have a bit of a skirt addiction, it is absolutely nothing compared to my love for shoes.  So, unless I say otherwise, it can pretty safely be assumed that I want all the shoes.  A pair of highwaisted slacks are also on the list, because I can hardly claim a complete wardrobe without at least one pair of pants. 

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Wardrobe Wish-List -- Part One

I figured that like any long-term endeavor overhauling my wardrobe would need a plan. Ok, so I might make a lots of lists and plans, but I don't think it's a bad thing to be organized.  Since I'll likely referencing my plan quite a bit, it seemed like the best way to start sharing my vintage bombshell journey. 

Now, I used to make Dream Wardrobes back in high school with a friend of mine.  It consisted primarily of going through stores and picking out absolutely everything that I liked.  It didn't matter if it looked good on me, if it would go with anything else, or if it was outrageously expensive.  At the time, the idea was more about having every pretty article of clothing at our fingertips.  Since I'm actually planning to acquire this wardrobe, I was a little bit more selective.

I knew some of the staples I wanted, big circle skirts, petticoats, seamed stockings, and for the rest of the list a took some inspiration from Betty and Penny.  The first is a run down of the Top Ten Staples for her wardrobe, with some interesting tips and the second is a Top Twelve or a Capsule Wardrobe.  There was a little bit of overlap, but not as much as I expected.  I came back with a mix of the two, taking my favorites from each, and a few items of my own.

The easiest list to make was the dresses I wanted.  That is, until I got down to picking out the ones I wanted.  Then I kept running across all sorts of beautiful dresses and I ran the serious risk of this becming a high school Dream Wardrobe.  Eventually, I narrowed it down to four, with the obvious understanding that it won't stay at four. 

The top left is my Swing Dress.  I've picked the Heidi from Pinup Girl Clothing.  It looks gorgeous and I think I'll be able to dress it up or down.  I'm also betting I can wear it in the summer like that or with a sweater in the winter.

(I promise my picture-editing will get better as we go)
Item number two is a Wiggle Dress.  It's the Red & White Polka Dot Wiggle Dress from Lady V London.  Now, I had a lot of trouble picking a wiggle dress.  I absolutely love the silhouette.  That being said, I have sometimes had trouble with that silhouette on me.  But I'm determined, and I think with some shapewear, which I haven't really dabbled in, I'll be rocking the wiggle dress.

Next is the Shirtwaist Dress.  I've picked an H&R London 50s Swing Dress from JBR Clothing to put on the wishlist.  That being said, I got some fabric for Christmas that I think would make a fabulous shirtwaist dress.  So, I'm likely going to be making my own version.  More on that later, I'll be sure to keep you updated.

Last is my Little Black Dress, because my wardrobe couldn't be complete without one.  This is the Dames Dress also from Pinup Girl Clothing.  It's another wiggle dress, but that gives the wardrobe some nice balance, two and two.  And I really love the way they look.

I fear that this is becoming unwieldy in length.  I shall leave it at this, for now.  On Monday I'll add the skirts I've been eying and hopefully the rest of the wishlist as well. Ta ta for now!

Friday, 15 February 2013

Well, Hi There

You seem to have found your way to my blog.  A pleasure to meet you!  This post is going to be a little bit of an About-Me introduction, but next time, I'm going to talk about my wardrobe-building plans.  And as soon as I find an iron, I'm going to post my first review and tutorial.

I'm in my early twenties.  I moved to a small town outside Ottawa Ontario in November to live with my boyfriend.  I have one more year of university before I graduate, but since moving I've had to switch to part time, so it's going to be a bit longer than planned.  I'm majoring in English and Latin and hopefully someday people will call me Professor Angie and I'll get paid for doing ridiculous things like talk to people in Latin all day.

I'm still looking for a job since I moved.  That's probably the biggest limiting function of my wardrobe growth.  Luckily, I've got some vintage-y sewing projects lined up and some hairstyling I want to work on.  Both of which I will share with you so that you may laugh at my folly and learn from my mistakes. 

Well,  I think that's all for now.  I'll see you again soon, my lovelies!