Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sewing Vintage: Putting it all together - Fabric & Patterns

vintage fabric
I thought it might be fun to take one Vintage Vogue pattern and put together two entirely different outfits. Vogue Designer pattern #2609 by Mattli has great seamline details and a smooth clean look. It would look great in a shorter length with accessories that pop.

Making the fabric selection was next. In the first set, a 1960's girly floral in pinky-red water colors was chosen. The smooth silhouette of the dress design will carry off this floral very well. Finally we pair the dress with D&G heels that have amazing flirty details. For accent: a crystal clear necklace to break up the florals a bit.

vintage fabric
Another fabric option is a 1970's sporty red/white/blue geometric print. A bit of red-orange in the navy design wakes it up, so red shoes were selected to play up that color. The beaded necklace will pull focus to the face. We love this 70's look with a new twist.

Top Set:
Red shoes: Kate Spade, Metro, Zappos
Necklace: Carolee LUX Coral Bib, Bloomingdales,
Fabric: Red Floral
Pattern: Vogue 2609, Bust 34

Lower Set:
Pink shoes: D&G Dolce & Gabbana DS1938 E1134 8S548, Zappos
Necklace:Tulle, Lucite and Faux Pearl, Bloomingdales
Fabric: Red, White & Blue Geometric

Monday, June 21, 2010

Vintage Fashion: Books to Collect, a Review

Review of Books on Vintage Fashion or Costume History

A World of Costumes in Cutout
Hello Gorgeous!
70's Fashion Fiascos
Encyclopedia of World Costume
Dressing the Part
History of Costume
Fashion: The Changing Shape of Fashion Through the Years

If you read this blog, you probably have more than a passing interest in vintage fashion or costume history. Collecting a good library of books is essential for inspiration, dating, and general research into fashion eras. The following books are a few good ones. Some are recent publications, one is over 50 years old. They all 'stand up' to the test: nice to look at, with good information.

A World of Costume in CutoutA World of Costume in Cutout is colorful and well illustrated. This paperback book is designed to be cut up and made into standing paper dolls arranged in scenic rooms. The fashion illustrations show historical examples in gorgeous color, making it hard to even think of cutting up this book's pages.

Hello GorgeousHello Gorgeous is a tiny book, packed with terrific full color beauty ads from the 1940's, 1950's and 1960's. It is a great resource for graphic artists, fashion historians and those who love vintage fashion or want to re-create their own vintage look in hair and makeup.

70s Fashion Fiascos70s Fashion Fiascos is full of great color photos from apparel catalogs of the 1970's. This includes shoes and other accessories, as well as amazing photos of men's wear during that decade (did they really look like that?). Whether you collect or wear vintage, design fashion or costumes, this little book is a must for your bookshelf.

encyclopedia of world costumeEncyclopedia of World Costume is an excellent book to use when looking for ideas, dating something, designing costume or fashion. The illustrations are line drawings with lots of great details. If you ever watched a movie and wondered about the costume era, this book will help you find that information. It is arranged by alphabetic topic, rather than historical order.

dressing the partDressing the Part was published in 1950 as a revision to a 1938 costume history book. It has excellent information on historical costume for the costume designer, with special references on the era itself. The early 20th century section is a first hand account. It is illustrated with black line drawings, a reminder of the days when every costumer had to sketch her own drawings by hand. The author was the costumer at the famed Pasadena Playhouse during its golden years, so this is a sought after volume.

history of costumeHistory of Costume was for many generations of costumers their bible. It has gorgeous line drawings, with occasional black and white photos of actual garments of the period. Collect this and you will have one of the best respected books on historical costume available.

Fashion, the changing shapeFashion, The Changing Shape of Fashion Through the Years:
Published in the 1970's, this book is illustrated with color and black and white photos, many from the 60's and 70's. Original paintings from historical eras are included, which give excellent examples of how fashion was worn by real people. This is a great book for anyone who wants to build their understanding of historical fashion: costumer, fashion designer or vintage fashion collector.


A World of Costumes in Cutout, Lowndes and Kailer

Hello Gorgeous, Rachel C. Weingarten

70's Fashion Fiascos, Maureen Valdes Marsh

Encyclopedia of World Costume, Doreen Yarwood

Dressing the Part, Fairfax Proudfit Walkup

History of Costume, Blanche Payne

Fashion: The Changing Shape of Fashion Through the Years, Jane Dorner

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sew Classic: 1970's Vintage Sewing Books

Book Reviews:
Complete Guide to Sewing by Reader's Digest
The Vogue Sewing Book
Sewing Book by Better Homes and Gardens

How-to-sew books fall into a wide range of types, from those that cover project based sewing instructions, to specific tips on sewing. Probably the book with the widest coverage of sewing instructions and techniques is the Guide to Sewing by Reader's Digest. With excellent detailed drawings that show step-by-step instructions in nearly every type of sewing application, this is perhaps the best encyclopedia to refer to as you sew. The older editions are best, and can be found from the 1970's and 1980's. The version we show is dates from 1976. It has 410 pages on fashion sewing for women, men and children. This is followed by 74 pages of home dec. techniques and projects. Craft projects fill the final chapter.

Fashion sewing was defined for decades by the Vogue Sewing books in several editions. This thick, 464 page volume is full of suggestions and step-by-step instructions for better dressmaking as defined in the 1970's. Today it provides great insight into fashion sewing, with many methods that are common to dress design. It also includes a men's wear section with tailoring instructions.

The Better Homes and Gardens Sewing Book is a fun take on the sewing manual, as it has a ring binder style cover. This book was written for the home sewer, and contains many tips for family sewing and sewing crafts. If you sew vintage, the dresses you are making are probably shown in this simple but complete manual. It is arranged by topic, much like a cookbook.

Complete Guide to Sewing, Reader's Digest, 1976

The Vogue Sewing Book, Revised Edition, 1973

Sewing Book, Better Homes and Gardens, 1970

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Betty Jackson: Designs that Influence, 1980's Fashion Icon

Betty Jackson, 1980's
Origins of Steam Punk and the appreciation of Victorian fashion design are a special niche for English designers. When I look back into the 1980's, the roots of steam punk become more clear to me. One British fashion icon I like is Betty Jackson. Her romantic visions with Victorian influences helped to integrate vintage into popular trends both then and now.

Betty Jackson, 1988
She has an attention to detail brings in many levels of visual interest: frock coats, vests, neckties, white collars and other menswear details infuse her fashions with quaint details. Not to draw exactly from 1800's menswear, but to borrow off the hanger and style it in a new way, these designs present options we can use today, especially when working with vintage or designing new concepts.

Betty Jackson 1988
Accessories play an important in finishing the ensemble, and her we can see adorable bowler hats, gloves and parasols for sudden showers. Tweeking this to be less costumey, there are ideas here that are showing up in the current fall fashion collections. This is a far more vintage look than we have seen in recent years. The new designs tend to bridge the gap between full Victorian or Steam Punk costume and contemporary street wear. Making a choice that is wearable, yet fun, you can reference the Victorian era without going there full steam ahead.

Betty Jackson 80's fashion
As a designer, Betty Jackson won the annual British Fashion Award in 1985. The fashions you see pictured here come from 1988. She had launched her own company in 1981, after a decade of experience with such British design icons as Ossie Clark. She is still designing today and has some references in her current collection to the earlier designs.

If you wear or collect vintage, or design, these 1988 outfits may give you some new ideas. Pairing older pieces with current fashions with a point of view that refers to a Victorian sense of design is always in fashion.

Interview with Betty Jackson