Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The 30s? The 40s? The 50s?

I was thinking I might take a vote to see what outfit you might like to see in an upcoming post.

Would you like to see something from the 1930s?

the 1940s?

the 1950s?

Cast your vote below.

Also, check out this very lovely pinking machine from the 1930s.  I got this in the mail yesterday.  I was intrigued by this idea.   It is from Singer.   It's a total vintage gadget but so fun to use.   You almost feel like a kid turning the wheel as the fabric is pinked.  Based on the instruction manual, I'm thinking this is from 1935.   They say that the blade also never needs sharpening.  It has a measuring gauge on the side so you can get pretty close pinking and it clamps to a table for stability.

A fun experiment and I can see how it is more precise than using sheers.  Have any of you used one of these before?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Polka Dots

Yesterday, I broke out a spring dress.   Finally, the weather is getting warmer.   This is the first time I have worn this dress.  I bought it off of ebay awhile back and I remember it being quite cheap.   It's made from silk from the 1950s.  As I was wearing the dress through the afternoon, I thought it's an okay dress, not extremely special.  Then it dawned on me that the thing I wished was better was the skirt length, so then I pulled back the dress and noticed around 4 inches of length had been taken up.  I was happy to know that the dress had not been cut but only hemmed up.

Outfit details:

Dress:  50s from ebay, Miss Elynn Original
Bracelets:  Bakelite variety of sources, light green polished by BrighterBakelite
Necklace: ebay
Hairclip: Etsy
Ring:  50s mosaic vintage shop Michigan
Shoes:  Naturalizer

When I got home, I undid the hem and voila, I like it much better.   Here's a picture of the dress before I hem it up slightly.  It looks so much better at its original length.  Now off to hem the dress to it's "correct" length:)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Stripes and Deco, It's In The Details.

I thought I'd start out this post with fabric I bought a few months ago that is truly a work of art and will be very difficult to cut up, once I find the right project.  Here is why…

Isn't it grand fabric?  What makes this fabric remarkable is many things.  It's pre-war!  It's in amazing condition and it's deco silk.  I'm dating it to the early to mid-1930s due to advertising ads I've seen.  Isn't this just fascinating that this fabric could still remain as an uncut piece during the war years?  I'm quite sure this was a treasured piece of silk fabric.   The fabric really is quality.

Maybe I'll just play drape the dress form as this fabric really is a gem.  It has the label still attached and I was able to find an ad in an old newspaper advertising Empire Fabric.


Daytona Beach Newspaper Ad 1936.  I've also seen advertisements from 1934.  So, I'm dating this fabric to the early to mid-1930s.

PART II - The Wallis Project

Yes, dear readers, who I know are waiting in anticipation to see if I achieved my goal and found the striped fabric I sought:),  I found a beauty of a fabric.

In my next post, I'll show the remainder of my fabric purchases from Mood and B & J.    Although slightly off a mild tone (I was searching for light blue.), it is a magnificent soft green/blue silk striped fabric none the less.   This is where going into the city was well worth it.   I could not find what I wanted over the internet and I searched high and low.  You would think silk striped blue fabric would be easy to find.

Remember the dress from WE that I wrote about here?   I've been keeping an eye open for a similar pattern and fabric.   The Balenciaga designs on which this dress is inspired are just amazing.

I, honestly, have no idea how this dress might turn out as lining up stripes is very tricky and on top of this, it's silk fabric.  It may just be a frustrating event but it certainly is worth a try.

Can I say how worth it this silk fabric was?  This fabric was $16 a yard, a worthy purchase in my opinion.  It's pure silk and not cheapo quality like I tried to buy on ebay (see last image in post).  I bought what remained which was around 5 yards.   I think this will be a project that I tinker with in-between other projects. It is kind of a puzzle to get the stripes to line up.   It's going to be tricky to cut given the slippery nature and I don't think I'll be able to layer the cut to create the chevron panels.  I think each piece will have to be cut out individually but it will also have to be precise.  This is going to be tricky.   I have enjoyed the treasure hunt of being able to find a very similar fabric to this dress.

To refresh all of your memories, here is the lovely dress below and a link back to the post about it.  I originally first thought this dress was cotton but it's actually silk and I can see why silk would be so much more grand.


Fabric purchase with pattern inspiration.

Original Balenciaga 1938/39 dresses:

Isn't the play on horizontal and vertical lines amazing in this dress?  Pure art. Stunning.  It looks to have chevron type panels on the bottom then a line of vertical, then a line of horizontal.  I could look at this dress all day.  If anyone has seen one on a museum website in full color, please let me know.

Thought you might like to see an attempt at trying to find silk stripe fabric on ebay:P   Not even very usable. It wasn't worth sending it back as I bought it from an overseas vendor but you can see the cheap nature.  Won't do this again:)  Good thing is I bought the least amount I could to sample it.

It kind of makes me laugh to see even the stripes off in thickness.  It's really poor quality.  But, it makes me appreciate having the resource of fabric selection in NYC all the more.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Confessions of A Fabricaholic

Today welcomed a somewhat impromptu morning trip into the city to visit the infamous Mood and B&J Fabrics.  I thought about it yesterday and figured this was an opportunity that I don't get too often, so off I went.   I cannot begin to explain the amount and types of fabrics available in NYC.  It seriously is one of those things that you have to see to believe.  The main reason for me going into the city is that I have been searching high and low for silk blue and stripe fabric (more on this in my next post).  You would think this wouldn't be so difficult to find.  But, I have scoured the internet and not found one good source.  I am so glad I went into the city to visit these shops.   They can be quite pricey but the quality is amazing and to touch and feel all these selections in person, just amazing.   I have been to Mood once before but it has been many years.  

In this post, I will share images of the the shops and the next post show and tell. 

First stop B&J fabrics,  this shop is wonderfully organized.

Yep, one of my purchases, now how could I not get this wonderful red wool crepe fabric?

Marilyn in Italian silk, this fabric is amazing!

Can you guess the inspiration from this piece of silk below?

On to Mood, I don't think you can walk out of this place without something:

Mood actually had some very reasonably priced fabrics too.  There was a great selection of silks around $14-16 a yard for silk!

Trip back to the train station.  Lovely day at Bryant Park..

How cool is this a shop devoted to spandex?

My haul...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sew For Victory Blouse Completed

My Sew For Victory blouse is complete!  This was the project that I worked on at Gertie's retreat.  This is my "first draft" wearable muslin and I did (do) have plans to do a blue polka dot shirt from vintage material with just enough fabric to complete a top, just like the ladies from 1942.    I'm very pleased with the way this blouse turned out.  This will be my entry into Sew For Victory.

My inspiration from the blouse came from a pattern and swatch book from Advance from 1942.  You can read more details here.  This was such a wonderful find and jam packed with wonderful information about 1942 styles.

Advance 2948 Pattern:

Below is the blouse that I sought inspiration from:

Outfit Details:
Blouse:  Advance 2948, with period vintage buttons (40s)
Pants:  Freddies
Shoes: Remix
Bracelets:  Bakelite, with exception of polka dot bracelet.  White Bakelite bracelet bought at BrighterBakelite (Etsy)

I also wanted to show images of the blouse tucked out.  The most difficult part of this blouse had to be the lapel line.  I also did take in the cuff width slightly and tapered the waist slightly.  The pattern also called for built in sleeve padding which was kind of interesting to work on.  I am in need of some high waisted dress pants so maybe this should also be a future project.

View from the back.

Woo hoo!  Blouse completed!

For a future blouse using the same pattern, I wanted to see if I could use vintage material of a similar type to the pattern swatch above and I found this wonderful blue polka dot material with just enough material to make a blouse!  No room for error:)  It looks very similar in composition to the pink polka dot fabric above.   I laid out all the pattern pieces to see if it would fit.

My next project is a 40s maxi skirt.  I have the pattern for a skirt.  The image below is my inspiration.  Love the wrap top.  I'm hoping one day to find a pattern for a 40s wrap top.  This image is from 1942.  Isn't it grand?