Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Aprons: fight the winter blahs



Well, the holidays are over, and we can settle in for the winter. One easy project to keep busy is to whip up some aprons to wear of give later to friends (who wouldn't love to get an apron on Valentine's Day?).

Finding the perfect vintage fabric can be a chore, but we have posted some cuties on etsy this week that would be great as aprons, whether you prefer the kitchy 40's or 50's type or the more mod 60's apron, you can find a cute cotton here with us.

Now that's going to add some color to your winter blahs!

Maybe the next step is to color co-ordinate with a favorite "T" shirt, then you would actually have an outfit, with a pocketed apron to carry you through the day! You will find more inspiration in our favorite apron book: "A is for Aprons".

Friday, December 26, 2008

Black Cocktail Dresses, Always in Style


We are wanting a dress with glamour and punch this New Year's eve. Designers are showing styles that seem so retro that we found a few in the shop to fit the bill.
All are black, of course, since that seems to be everyone's first choice. But these are not your average "little black dress".

This first black velvet dress from the 1980's has a magnificant bow that is accented by rhinestones in front where the long chiffon cascade scarf flows out from the empire waistline. An entrance making outfit if ever there was one!


A round cut-out back high lights the second dress. This 1980's velvet is ready for parties. That striking back emphasis is perfect for ballrooms and hotel lobbies. Tangos and slow dancing would show off this feature as well.

The third outfit bears a striking resemblence to the famous white dress Marilyn Monroe wore over the air vent in "The Seven Year Itch". That icon of glamour was designed by the costumer and fashion designer Travilla. It is still a very wearable classic today. With the halter neckline and Grecian waist ties our slinky black jersey version is a perfect fit for showing off curves this New Year's eve.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

1920's Flappers, Art Deco Coats and Erte


During the 1920's, women's lives changed for ever. This was the "Roaring Twenties" and Flappers were sporting easy to wear silhouettes: loose, short, ready to take a spirited run through the park. Finding vintage Flapper dresses is getting harder to do now, as they disapear into collections. A great coat is even harder to locate, as a quick review of an internet search will show little selection. When looking for a Flapper look, key to her outfit is the wrap front coat and a fur collar, worn with a low cloche hat.



Following World War I, everything about the Flapper's style was new and modern, breaking ground in so many ways. She was usually young: a college student or new girl in town. Her silhouette seemed shockingly masculine, with long bare legs and a slender bustline. The idea of having men's wear styled clothing was new on the horizon. This loose fit, expressed with modern Art Deco designs brought a younger viewpoint to fashion. Erte, the famous fashion illustrator suggested many applications of Art Deco embellishments in fabric and fashion. Fabric prints, jewelry, shoe details and hats were distinctive in their Erte-styled Deco designs.

This Art Deco Flapper coat is amazing. Over 80 years old, it still sparks with style and attitude. Erte inspired Art Deco designs are sewn on the sleeves and coat back, giving it that distinctive Flapper quality. Not to be missed, the classic fur collar and cuffs, with a wrap front that ties at the hip.
We can see it now: just pull on your cloche hat over your cute bobbed hair, and you are ready to jump into the Model A Ford to take a spin around town!

The coat catalog here shows a very similar coat style on its cover.
This Flapper coat is currently available in our Babylon mall shop (click on the icon at right), or see it at Pintucks.
p.s. The name "Flapper" is derived from the big rain boots popular during the time, that were worn un-buckled in front, making a flapping effect when the girls walked in them.
photo credits:
top: http://www.democratic
underground.com
center: http://www.hatshapers.com
/images/flapper.jpg
bottom: http://antiquebooks.
typepad.com /antique_books_
and_old_col/ 2008/08/
1927-28-nationa.html

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Halloween Costumes: Witchy Woman


A witch costume for Halloween? Now there's a novel idea. It seems that what was once the territory of snaggle toothed old hags, widened to include the sexy young ones too. Was it when Charles Adams that brought his "Adams Family" point of view to this day of 'dress' that a sophisticated witch entered the scene?

Well, never mind, it's your turn to shine as a Mod, Mad and adorable Witchy Woman this year. Here we have 2 versions of the long black "V" necked gown, and both from that same 60's era when a cascade at the wrist was fine and dandy.

With this version you get the pure black silhouette, in a slim "A" line version. The bonus is that both of these are in a hard to find large size. If you are a small, well we always have black dresses in stock for that last minute event where you need to slink in, dressed to kill.

Find these on our etsy site (just click the "pintucks boutique" logo on the right.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Halloween Costumes: Movie Queens & Vintage Style

MMMMMMM, so whatcha gonna do about Halloween?
Yahoo recently listed top costumes from movies, and these are very fun, easy to compile personalities. Starting at the top:
Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) in "Breakfast at Tiffanys"-- OK, we know that one: neat black dress, necklace, gloves, big glasses and hair worn up. You can't miss by checking out our 'little black dress' collection. Surely something there will fill the bill!

We go next to Liz Tayler in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof". Who can resist the opportunity to wear a vintage slip in public, and looking great to boot! Our slip rack has been stocked, just for your sulty southern belles.

Beyonce in "Dream Girls" really plays up that 60's fantasy right. You can take your pick of sexy cocktail dresses, and find the one that fits best. Add some sequins, and WOW!

Now, what about Lucy, as in "I Love Lucy", or any of the other 1950's types: dress with petticoat, apron and an attitude (or maybe June Cleaver is more your type).

Happy Hunting, we are ready to get you dressed and out the door in no time!

Yahoo article: http://food.yahoo.com/blog/foxyfestivities/8814/the-10-hottest-costumes-that-aren-t-played-out

Monday, July 28, 2008

Movie Costumes of the 1930's and early 1940's

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When movies added sound, the medium took off. What followed was a few decades of prolific output of all types of film. This put a huge burden on the costume and wardrobe shop, which cranked out countless styles for the next few decades. Out of this wealth, there are some memorable standouts. It tends to happen when designer, star and script are well-matched.


The first photo is a Gilbert Adrian design for Katherine Hepburn in "Philadelphia Story" (1940). Adrian achieved notice through his strong creative genius. He was able to generate originality apart from the Paris scene, an achievement that was important in establishing Hollywood glamour.


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This striped top is memorable for its amazing patternmaking technique where the stripe and seamlines create a novel approach to a very simple silhouette. I have found that every patternmaker I know can remember the first time she/he saw this costume. Then of course, there is Clark Gable's costume, or lack of, to consider.


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"Bringing Up Baby" (Howard Greer gowns, 1938), put Katherine Hepburn into more remarkable gowns that support her airy character.


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"The Women" (Gilbert Adrian, 1938), is a huge reminder of how a costume designer can affect and reflect their time. Rosalind Russell's costumes are hilarious, yet they do depict a style trend of that day. Joan Crawford, by now an Adrian devotee, wears the sliky bias cuts that helped to make her famous. But don't miss the fashion show that is part of the plot, where surrealism takes a fashion turn on stage (in a nod to Schiaparelli).

There are many more important movies to absorb in the pre-WWII era. Not to be missed are the musicals, where Rogers and Astaire sport fabulous costumes and wonderful settings. The list below is only the tip of the iceberg. I selected easy to locate, well known movies with important gowns or costumes. I am sure that you can add to this listing, as it is short, but sweet:


It Happened One Night—1934: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0025316/
Claudette Colbert, Clark Gable
Costume design: Robert Kalloch
The big fashion item here is her striped top. Try to solve how it is cut.

My Man Godfrey—1936: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0028010/
Carole Lombard, William Powell
Bias cut….

Gold Diggers of 1933: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0024069/fullcredits#cast
Orry-Kelly costumes
Stage and fashion costumes

Bringing Up Baby—1938: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0029947/
Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant
Howard Greer costumes
Hepburn wears some nifty bias cut dresses

The Thin Man—1934: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0025878/
Myrna Loy, William Powell
Dolly Tree, wardrobe
This is the beginning of a multiple movie series. Myrna Loy’s dresses are always a treat. Her character is a foil for the drama, and the costumes are dramatic and often witty.

Philadelphia Story—1940: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032904/
Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant
Glibert Adrian, costumes
The gowns reflect Greek drapery influences, with lots of bias cut crepe.
Don’t overlook Hepburn’s crazy hat she wears into town.

The Women—1938: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032143/
Glibert Adrian, costumes
Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Rosalind Russell
This has so much fashion, it’s hard to take in one viewing.
Lots of bias cut and ‘gay nineties’ influences. Don’t miss Roz Russell’s witty bustles and hats.

Dinner at Eight—1933: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0023948/
Jean Harlow
Gilbert Adrian, gowns
Bias cut

Carefree—1938: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0029971/
Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire
Howard Greer, gowns
Bias cut dance gowns and other fashion items for Ginger

Shall We Dance—1937: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0029546/
Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire
Irene Gibbons, gowns
Ginger wears a variety of fashion outfits and dance gowns

Flying Down to Rio—1933: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0024025/
Dolores Del Rio, Fred Astaire
Irene Gibbons, gowns (uncredited)
This has some ‘casual’ looks, and nightclub scenes in it.

His Girl Friday—1940: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032599/
Rosalind Russell, Cary Grant
Robert Kalloch, gowns
Suits, this is an early display of the suits that women will wear through the 40’s.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Selecting Fabric for Vintage Patterns

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It can be a real chore to make the leap from a vintage pattern to fabric selection. This is especially difficult when your fabric resources are limited. Each era has several silhouettes and fabric type that dominate its range of style. If you can identify what type of fabric will be best for your vintage style, that can help you get started.

This 1940's ensemble consists of a little jacket, skirt and faux blouse (it's a dickey). This could mean as little as one fabric, or as many as three are possible when using this pattern. If a print is considered, then the remaining textiles will probably be solids.

Determining the hand or drape of fabric is the next step in finding the best textile for a vintage pattern. It is apparent that the outfits shown here have a soft drape that flows over the figure. Even though the skirt has pleats, the final result is soft and fluid. If a genuine period garment can be found, the fabric used for it may give a clue as to what will work best. In this case, rayon and acetate crepes, broadcloths, and other smooth fabrics can be seen in dresses from this era. Aviod crisp cottons and other textiles that resist draping. There is nothing quite like using actual fabrics from the original time period. For this project, a drapey rayon or acetate would be desired. Also note the type of print common during that time: quaint and detailed, or bold and dashing (this is the era when Hawaiian florals began).

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Finding the right fabric to create your pattern will move the project along. The two examples shown here are original and will drape on the fashion garment. Both date from the period, so the finished outfit will appear to be genuine vintage. Either print would be paired with a solid. A contemporary textile might be found in a rayon blend. If 1940's fabrics are not available, look to the next era with rayon (the 1980's) when many prints copied earlier designs from the 1930's and 40's.
(Vintage pattern and textiles are available at our BabylonMall shop)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

1960's with Renaissance Inspiration

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You have to see these sleeves, they are great. This dress has Renaissance inspired sleeves with a soft puff and pleated ruffle. Who makes anything like this anymore? The whole look is topped off so romatically with a wide ruffled portrait collar. The textile is red/pink and green Pucci-style floral geometry. Red and green are visual opposites on the color wheel, which makes them a vibrant, hot combination. This is a lesson we have had to re-learn about color as we pulled ourselves out of the "let's all wear black" 1990's.


So, if you are feeling colorful, adorable, cute and whitty, this is a dress (or top) for you. It's up for sale now on our Babylonmall.com shop, or come see it in the store on the rack.


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(test the Babylonmall.com icon on the right side here, it should take you there)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Halter Tops for Summer

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Let's face it, we probably have a good 2 months left of summer weather. You still have time to make up some cute summer tops, and THEN you can cruise the town!

What's more classic than a halter top when the weather is hot, and this one is so cute. It's made from a single piece for each bra top, and a midriff panel that is shaped in front to create a slender look.

This style works best if it's lined with something crisp and cool, like cotton broadcloth. That also makes the edges neater than trying to turn and stitch all the way around every edge. The pattern here gives some idea how the bra top is cut: with an open dart at the bottom that has been converted into gathers under the bustline (pattern piece G).

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This pattern is part of a great group of summer styles: tops and pants with that 70's style. We love those wide leg pants too. It's all so "1930's beach pajama" in style, something Katherine Hepburn would wear so well. Or sew it up in black satin and Joan Crawford comes to mind!


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Monday, June 30, 2008

Sewing the 70's

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Sometimes vintage fashions and sewing patterns can converge in amazing ways.

Take for example the 70's yellow dress above. It has that classic 70's bodice, derived from ethnic tunics, tied back at the empire waistline to create a terrific fit.

Imagine our suprise, when we found the pattern it was made from (well, not exactly the original pattern, but one of the same). We had found its mate: McCall's pattern #5490.

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This view is clearly shown on the pattern envelope, and gosh, it really looks like the drawing (why doesn't that happen more often?).
There is the nice "V" neckline, with open collar, and tunic style sleeves.

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So now we know more about this dress than we did when we found it. But the question arises: Do we keep them together, or sell them each apart? This version of the pattern is bigger than the dress, so maybe we will just keep a copy of the pattern with the dress, and a photo of the dress with the pattern.

You can have one, the other or both later this week at our BabylonMall.com shop (Pintucks Vintage), or drop by the shop on Saturday and get it while it's hot.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Aprons on the Line

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We are in love with this book: "A is for Apron" by Nathalie Mornu. This book is too cute for words, yet it packs a wallop of apron info into the contents. We are especially happy to see the pages of original vintage aprons, what inspiration! The content that follows are too many aprons to count, by a dozen designers, so you really get a great variety and style in the mix.

Styles explore the traditional full-body one piece version, along with the popular 50's 1/2 apron style. There are so many creative ideas here, that it would be hard to choose which one to sew first. The fabrics used are fun, funny, cute and snazzy. It will make you want to add to your fabric stash on the next trip out the door.

Here at Pintucks we have several opportunities to sew up a few aprons. Join us to create one for yourself, or plan ahead and whip up some for your BFF Christmas gift.

We include some of our 1952's collection of apron images, direct to you from the archives-


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Some of you will notice that we included a wrap-around skirt in the last collage--the big sister of the apron accessory.


("A is for Apron", Nathalie Mornu, Lark Books, 2008, isbn#13:978-1-60059-201-0, isbn#10:1-60059-201-5)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

1940's Vintage Fabric



They say that nothing dates fashion like color and fabric.
These two rayon prints from the 1940's illustrate that very well.
They are soft, drapey and neutral toned, as only dresses in the late 1930's through the WWII years can be. It's easy to imagine this fabric sewn into a simple dress: "A" line skirt, blouse front bodice with short sleeves, bakelite buttons down the front.

Both of these fabrics recall a textile design style from the late Art Deco period that is illustrative and vaguely surrealistic (pastoral scenes sketches in the middle of a flower?). If used today, the fabrics could make wonderful blouses or floaty tops to wear with jeans. Cut into a 1940's vintage style, you would be the best dressed girl at the party.

Both of these priceless prints are remarkably priced at our BabylonMall.com shop. Check out these and other vintage fabrics as we start to build our online shop's textile selection.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Butterfly Sleeves




This great mid-70's top with angel sleeves is something that can be easily made up for this summer, 30 years later.





1)A quick look at the pattern shapes on the back of the pattern envelope, and it is clearly a simple chemise top(A)gathered onto a lace border(B)across the upper edge.
2)The angel sleeves are really rectangular handkerchief shapes(C), with that same lace sewn around all 4 edges.
3)While wearing the chemise, the rectangles are centered over each shoulder strap and sewn in place.
Now doesnt' that seems fairly quick and easy to do?


If this seems like too much trouble, you can own the original vintage pattern, now selling on our Babylon Mall shop: Simplicity #7569, size L.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Tide Pools


Sometimes it's just as good to look at an ocean abstract as being there--if the going there is too hot and hassle worn. Avoid the car, the gas prices and just wear your tide pool!
We love this print. It's so mid-century modern in its approact: no fussy details, just good clean design.


You can find this one of a kind fashion at our shop in the BabylonMall.com website. Or, better yet, drop by for ice tea and try it on in person. Another thought is to sew one up yourself. Our vintage fabrics for summer are tropical and bright. The "Audrey" dress would be exactly right for pattern style. Make it this summer, you will love the results.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Mid-Century Mod Summer Top

There was something so modern and right about many of the very simple, geometric cut tops of the early 1960's. Usually cut in one with the sleeve being almost a variation on a kimono style, these tops were perfect for wearing with slim, simple pants or shorts.


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What really made these tops great was the carefree use of color and print. It is here that Vera prints, Marimekko, and other textile designs were boldly shown. This silk top has that bright, simple yet effective look.


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Making it would be easy with a design like this one from a 1963 McCall's pattern. We love the middle version, with an oh-so-current white hobo bag and neat white flip-flops, she's ready to go. The sleeves are cut in one with the bodice for that nifty kimono sleeve look. A bit of shaping is created by a horizontal seamline across the bodice front, disquising darts within that seamline.


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Here's the back view, it's got the views along with patterns, so you can make your own version. (Couldn't this pattern be made from drawing around a simple blouse to get the right shape?)


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Vintage Linens

Embroidery and handwork are nearly a lost art, as a surge of computerized embroidery invades the home sewing industry. Back in quieter times, when the evening radio provided entertainment, women occupied their hands with embroidery projects. By the 1930's, iron-on pattern designs in blue dye were available to apply on any plain linen or cotton surface. These designs were often floral subjects. Flowers, leaves and vines bloomed on pillow cases, table cloths, chair arm covers and various bureau cloths.


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Finding these linens is becoming difficult. To own embroidered linens is to have a piece of history. Who spent so many hours to create this masterpiece? Were they planning their wedding linens or were these birthday presents?


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A bright linen can create color in any room. Whether the bedroom, bathroom towel rack, or center or the dining table, a well chosen bit of hand work is a statement of individuality and aesthetics.


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Find the right linen for a Mother's Day gift at our Trunk Show through this weekend. If you can't make it this time, just make an appointment. We are more than happy to share these beauties with you at your convenience.


Vintage Linen Trunk Show:


Thursday, May 8: 5:00-8:00pm


Friday, May 9: 2:00-6:30pm


Saturday, May 10: noon-6:00pm

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