Thursday, 29 August 2013

"Blue Rose Vintage" Hat Give-Away

The lovely blog of Chronically Vintage has this amazing post about vintage hats and a give-away which I though would be nice to share with you.

I must admit, I always liked hats, ever since I was a little girl, which for my parents was sometimes very funny (sometimes less) as I put almost al kind of stuff on my head just to pretend I was wearing a hat. I remember I had in my late teenage years a marroon felt hat who looked a little bit like the top a cupcake (I wonder where it has gone... it would have been amazing with one of my vintage dresses) and a black felt fedora who made me look like a Mafia gangster's bride. Still I have a lovely straw fedora I bought in Italy some years ago as a sun-hat.

And of course, there are the hats I am making now myself for my vintage outfits (which are not yet finished or ready to be shown). So I guess there's no need to mention that i LOVE vintage hats. I could spend hours looking at pictures of them in the internet, and I am trying now to figure out how they are made so I can make similar ones.

So Jessica's post just the bull's eye! I am so amazed to participate in this give-away, and I would be soooo happy to have one of the wonderful hats of Blue Rose Vintage. Have a look at the site, it's mouth-watering for someone like me...

Some of these genuine vintage hats already have been sold to hopefully lucky owners (and wearers!), but I think it's still worth showing them and get some ideas for my own vintage style hat creations.

These are my favourites...

A 1940s hat with veil and a huge fabric rose. Awww, I love roses...

This lovely from the 1950s cap is beautifully covered with blue flowers. A darling!

This headpiece from the 1950s would be perfect for a vintage bridal outfit.

A very special 1940s headpiece - I love the shape of it and the wonderful blue colour.

Again, a shape that suits completely my taste (1950s).

Have a look at Blue Rose Vintage's shop, I'm sure you will love these hats as much as I do!

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

"Fall For Cotton" - My First Sew-Along

Today I decided to join many other sewers with this lovely sew-along! This is just made for me, as it's no competition (I wouldn't dare), and I love both vintage patterns and cotton fabrics! 

This is really a great idea, as I think cotton is one of the most versatile fibers for garments. So if you are interested, have a look at the original post at Lucky Lucille and join us too!

What you have to do:

- Join the Flickr group Fall For Cotton and introduce yourself in the discussion
- Pick a pattern that helps you recreate a garment from your favorite vintage decade: 1920′s through 70′s

- Pick any fabric that’s 100% cotton
- Start gathering supplies now, with a plan to start sewing on September 1st
- Have your finished garment photographed and uploaded to Flickr by the end of Monday September 30th
- One finished project = one chance to win some awesome prizes at the end of the sewalong! - See more at:

I have no idea yet how it all will work out, having two kids and trying to finish my project until Septemer 30, but somehow I certainly will make it.

And I have tons of cotton fabrics for my children sewing projects. The only problem is to find one I have enough of. I would like to make a dress from a vintage fabric I ordered some days ago, but I'm sure it will arrive rather late to start as soon as necessary to finish in time.

I have already a certain pattern in mind, one of those I recently bought... 

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Pattern additions for my collection

I recently bought these patterns and wanted to show them to you as I'm really excited about them...

The first one is a Simplicity 2718 from 1938, and it will probably belong to the oldest patterns of my small but growing collection... (Besides the whole Lutterloh pattern I own, which contains all patterns since the very beginning of Lutterloh, which is, since 1936.) I was fascinated by the way how the darts are arranged in a very special way and form a lovely bodice. I'm not sure if I would ever make an overskirt, but the dress is very nice and so is the bolero jacket. Simple, but sophisticated somehow...

Ta-daaa, and it has  a back zipper. I don't like side zippers so much.

Ah, and yes, I know, this Pattern (Simplicity 1777) is not a real vintage pattern, but... It's a retro pattern, and it's nice. I'm not sure how much they "copy" an existing old pattern, but in the end I just liked the design of the dress and thought I could give it a try... It was not very expensive, and if I don't like it, I could easily  give it away with no regrets.

I have never sewn one of these retro patterns before, so I'm quite excited how it will work and how the dress will turn out. It will certainly be interesting to compare the fit of vintage patterns with "modern" ones, and to see how the instructions are written etc... I guess home-sewers from the 40s and 50s were more skilled than many sewers of today, which is obvious as the vintage instructions are rather meagre compared to today's instructions.

I even think it could be possible to make a jersey know top after this pattern... 

And then I found this darling, Simplicity 3846, dating from 1952. I fell in love with the rather wide collar that makes the neckline quite interesting. Yes, I guess I have many, many similar patterns in my collection, and I could add a wide pointed collar to one of them easily, but this dress is designed like that and everything is "harmonious" and - well, perfect just as it is. Why change another pattern and run the risk of spoiling it when there is actually a pattern like this one? Hehe, and what a good excuse reason to buy another pattern...

Funny thing is that Becci of Sew Retro Rose just made an outstandingly beautiful dress after the very same pattern - what a coincidence! One of my heroines of vintage sewing has the same pattern as me. (This makes me slightly nervous, as it will take some courage to make my own dress after this pattern...) Have a look at the story behind her dress - it's really a story worth reading and her post is very instructional as well for vintage sewers. Her blog is highly recommendable anyway. 

As I'm getting deeper and deeper in this "hat-making and millinery thing", I bought this pattern booklet as well as it was from the same seller and made it worth the rather expensive shipping costs to Switzerland. I hope to find here some more lovely hat ideas for vintage outfits. And it's even my first hat pattern book that's not a PDF file. It will be nice to have something to hold and look at and feel some vintage spirit. A piece of history. (Yeah-yeah, I know, I'm getting pathetic... But I'm a historian, what can I do? Deformation by education, somehow.)

Aw, this pixie hat, doesn't it look adorable? 

 Well, I hope you can see one or another piece made after these patterns. Currently my limited time is consumed by the kids and the reorganising of my "studio" (sigh, a big name for a tiny room). I have to much materials. Well, not really too much, but a lot.

Hope you like my new old patterns as much as I do!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

In the mood for a snood...

When you are interested in vintage clothing or even sew your own wardrobe after patterns from the 40s or 50s, you sooner or later are confronted with the question how to "dress" your hair. Of course you can wear a hat (more to that subject will follow). But if you prefer a more casual look or something simple, there's the snood. For some people a snood is a kind of loop worn as a scarf, for others it's a kind of net to put your hair in. Depending on which side of the great pond you live.

Snoods were not only worn in the late 30s and in the 40s, but are an accessory that was common even in medieval times.

There are many, many pictures that show women wearing such snoods. As in modern times, it was probably always a question of fashion, when snoods were worn or not, how big they were, combined with other head-dressing items as hats etc. Of course, these snoods always reflected always the status of the women that wore it.

I am sorry I cannot mention sources for these pictures, as I just dragged them to my desktop and forgot to copy the links... :-(

Medieval drawing showing woman with snood / hair net

Modern samples for Renaissance snoods

Snoods were again of fashion in the victorian age respectively during the Civil War era. Some early photo portraits show women with snoods.

And then, of course, one of the most famous women of the Civil War era, Miss Scarlet O'Hara (as a widow) in "Gone With The Wind"...

I think that the snood in those times still was also an accessory to cover the hair and therefore show some modesty and decency. Yes, uncovered hair was also regarded as unseemly or even indecent even in Western cultures - for women, of course.

This scene obviously was NOT decent at all. :-) Aaaw, how much I love this movie... It was shot in 1939, a time when this accessory became a fashionable and practical item again!

During the WW2 era,  many women worked in jobs usually done by men. But men were off to the war, and handling all those heavy machines in sometimes dangerous environments called for a solution to cover the women's hair. So the hair was save from being entangled in machines.

I can imagine that women soon realised that this could also be a nice item to vary their hairstyle. There are snoods in different types, colours, and they also offered a nice solution for "bad hair days".  Your hair always looks neat.

 Snoods could be fixed with a ribbon and bow...

...or only with hair pins for a more simple style.

There are even beaded snoods...

... and some with sequins or rhinestones for evening wear.

As crochet and knitting was much more common for women to make their own clothing and accessories than today, there was a huge variety of patterns for hats and of course for snoods. (If you're interested, you can find a lot of these patterns on Etsy.)

There were also finer versions available like this hair net.

There are also the more sophisticated snoods with hats or with headbands, also in smaller versions for chignons.

The last picture is a modern sample of a chignon snood for bridal wear.

And of course, many today Vintage lovers and pin-ups still wear snoods, matching their outfits! These two are from wonderful Kitten von Mew. Thanks. 

If you would like to make your own snood, there's a simple crochet pattern on Ravelry.

And some more will follow here on my blog - I found some lovely ones I would like to make and show to you!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Girl's and woman's medieval Scottish inspired skirts

Two lassies, two lads...

In my previous post I was writing about the Highland Games we went to see. Hot summer temperatures asked for a light outfit for me and my daughter.

I had some tartan style woven cotton fabric in not too modern colours, which is always hard to find here in Switzerland. However, the quality of the material was no the best choice for this project, as it was very soft and almost like flannel on one side, difficult to cut and a fight to sew. But it was the only fabric I had. As it was quite inexpensive, I thought it would be OK for my free-style sewing project. I didn't have a pattern...

First I made my daughter's skirt. As an inspiration, I had this costume pattern, seen somewhere on the internet. It's McCalls M4090. It is apparently a favorite amongst beginner costume sewers and is a kind of an allrounder for the  Medieval, Renaissance and even later eras.

McCalls M4090

The skirt has six gores, so it would have some fullness, but not too much, as I was not sure how comfortable my girl would feel with a long skirt. I didn't want her to stumble across the skirt's hem. This thought and the detailed sketch of one of the original pattern's view (view B) led me to another idea. I could, instead of adding the ribbons to tie the long skirt up, add a drawstring in the front, so the skirt could be gathered with a better hold, without loose ribbons coming in my daughter's way.

An elastic waistband gathers the width of the skirt and is comfortable to wear. It even allows my girl to grow. Well, the skirt would get shorter, but as a long underskirt can be worn with the plaid skirt, this would still look nice. Even though the elastic waistband was absolutely NOT historically true. What a shame... I guess I'm still too much the historian I was trained to be. :)

For my skirt, I wanted the drawstrings as well, but I changed my pattern for more fullness. Especially the side parts were made much wider. However, I soon realised that it wouldn't look very nice with a waistband gathering the fullness of the skirt. Even with an inserted elastic. I preferred only the side gores to be gathered, thus leaving the middle front and middle back parts flat. (I thought it would be more flattering for someone with a slightly more female figure...) Using no elastic or zipper would even add some authenticity to my skirt. Ah, history!

Somewhere on the internet I have seen Renaissance skirts with eyelets and lacing. Metal eyelets are not  really true to such a type of skirt (again, history!), and I didn't have time to order them. I also knew they wouldn't be suitable for this type of fabric. Or vice-versa. So I made small loops of bias binding matching the tartan colour. I sewed them in the seams between the middle front respectively middle back and the side parts. I have 4 rows of loops, 2 on each side, that are laced up with a string, so I can gather the fulness of the skirt on the side only. 
This is very comfortable, as the fit of the skirt is adjustable. And it's a very nice detail. It's a bit of a fight to put it on, especially when you are in hurry as everybody is waiting for you. (Usually, I'm the last to be ready to leave. I'm a mom, come on, that's the way it is and will be for the next 15 years...)

This is how my skirted turned out. It was finished only 1 hour before we left for the Highland Games event. I wore it with my vintage Advance 6754 blouse I described in my previous post.
I was not sure how good the skirt would look like or how it would fit, but it was surprisingly comfortable to wear and it looked quite decent, especially compared to many commercially made outfits I saw at the event. And again I felt a little bit proud to have an unique garment, not perfect, but truly what I wanted and fitting my figure. I will make also for me an underskirt to wear with the plaid skirt, completing my medieval inspired Scottish Highland dress.

1950's Peasant blouse goes Medieval - Advance 6754

In one of my previous posts I told you I was going to attend to a special event, the Highland Games held in a short drive's distance. Many visitors wear Scottish dresses, some even medieval outfits with a Scottish touch to them, so I thought it would be lovely to do the same.

I have a kilt I bought once from a kiltmaker in Inverness, and my husband has one as well. But when we went to a medieval festival some years ago, I was impressed about the attention many people payed to the details of their outfits. So it might be a lovely opportunity to have both, medieval and Scottish united in one outfit. (Besides the fact that my kilt is black and is very heavy, so a lighter cotton dress would be lovely.)

Looking for a decent women's peasant dress pattern for the top, I came across this wonderful blouse from the 1950's. It seemed perfect for my project. The long-sleeved version sewn of a natural coloured cotton voile, it would look quite "medieval". And I hoped the good patern design would provide a better fit than the usual peasant chemise patterns.


I'm well aware, the use of a serger is not very authentic for a medieval garment, nor is the elastic I inserted in the neckline and sleeves. But in the end, the blouse would be very comfortable to put on and to wear this way. As I was not going to a re-enactment event and the blouse would probably be worn also on other occasions, I didn't care.


I changed the pattern slightly, as I wanted more fullness, so I added 2 inches on both front and back and 1 inch on the sleeves. I also made the blouse a little bit longer, as well as the sleeves. This is the thing I like so much about sewing - you can make a garment fit your taste and your needs - not contrariwise.

So here's the finished blouse. I wore it with a handmade leather corset belt, which was not as comfortable as usual, as it was a very hot day. And I still am a little bit more chubby than when I bought the belt. I think the blouse would also look nice with a waistcoat or a full corset.

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