Saturday, July 30, 2011

1920's Seaside Party

Balboa Beach, Summer 1920

1920 may seem to be too early for much body exposure or tanning trends. Most of the adults seen here are fully clothed, while the kids are allowed to wear their swim suits. This group has come to Balboa Beach, CA, which had a pier and pavilion built in 1906 along with a Pacific Electric rail line able to bring flocks of over heated in-landers down to the beach for some cool air. This group arrived from Whittier, a small inland town, whose Chamber of Commerce sponsored this first annual outing to Balboa that August.

photo: collection of the Whittier Historical Society & Museum

Monday, July 25, 2011

Camp it up: "At Long Last Love"

at long last love
"At Long Last Love" is about as campy as a 1930's style musical can get. Released in 1975, it is a blast to watch! Who can resist the crazy sets and costumes, the fun Cole Porter music?

If you love vintage 1930's fashion and want to live the fantasy, this is the perfect movie for a summer afternoon. So get the lemonade, flop down on a cushion and stop being so critical, it's only a silly movie.

Directed by Peter Bogdonovich, and staring who else but Cybill Shepherd and Burt Reynolds, with some serious talent to support them: Madeline Kahn, Eileen Brennan, John Hillerman, Mildred Natwick and others chime in and frolic around.

This is a Netflix Instant, so you don't have to wait for it to come in the mail!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


orange dress
The color orange is really hot this summer! And this coral dress is such a juicy shade of orange.

Here is a bright orange citrus treasury from Etsy that features this dress, which is perfect for a hot Sunday!
Etsy treasury by Justaspire.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Vintage and Modern Sizes

Fashion garments that are more than 20 years old tend to be sized differently than the clothes we wear today. Understanding current sizing measurements can help when reviewing vintage fashion in your size.

Here is a modern commercial size chart that I developed from several top websites. Check your own measurements with this chart to see your standard size in modern fashion.

You can use this chart to see if a vintage fashion is close to your size, but remember these rules:

RULE #1: Always add wearing ease. What is this?
Have enough extra 'wiggle room' in the garment so you can move and breathe!
Be sure that it is at least 2" or more larger in the bust than your own bust line and 4" or more larger in the hips than your own hip line.

RULE #2: Measure your own vintage fashions that fit best, and
use those garment measurements as a guide when shopping for similar fashions online.

RULE #3: Measure yourself so you,
know your own body measurements
Need to Measure yourself? Use this website to see how it's done:

A few things to expect when shopping for vintage:
Our waistlines are bigger, so
Expect vintage waistlines to be 'too small' if they don't have elastic stretch.
(You can let out back darts in most styles for a bit more waistline room)

Our Bustlines are bigger, so
Expect bustlines to be tight even when the waistline and hips do fit.

Vintage fabric rarely stretches, so
Don't expect your vintage fashion to have more stretch room than it measures.

And remember to wear foundation and undergarments suitable to the style, and you'll have that gorgeous vintage fashion for years to come!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Midi Skirts from the 80's

89s skirt

Vintage fashion from the 1980's has alot to offer when it comes to details. Here are a few mid 1980 fashion illustrations of some great midi style skirts that have interesting details and silhouettes.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

1950's Summer Pool and Play Set

1950s fashion

1950s play suit
When sewing vintage fashion styles, sometimes you have to copy an idea, rather than use a pattern. This Simplicity sewing pattern from the 1950's has a classic detachable skirt worn over a short playsuit. The wrapped bodice seems strongly influenced by Claire McCardell and other American designers who were creating styles with an Indian sari influence. The jumpsuit image shows how the edge of a sari could be used to create a dramatic diagonal on the one shoulder top.

For a sewing project, this outfit is worth taking a second look, especially for the wrapped neckline which can be made with or without the second shoulder panel. The easy to sew gathered skirt is accented by a detachable cummerbund. The skirt fastens in front and it acts as a cover-up for going indoors at the country club.

The back of the pattern shows how the pieces are cut. Even though this pattern is no longer available, it is possible to re-create the same look with a gathered skirt over a jumpsuit or shorts and halter top.

The original pattern seems to be Simplicity 7605, however with the torn edge I can't be sure. Currently Butterick 6582 has a similar wrapped bodice that could be used for the top and Vogue 1003 has a basic pant pattern that could be good place to start the shorts.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

1930's Bridal Bias Cut Gowns

flapper bride

flapper weddingDuring the 1920's and 1930's, flapper brides had real style. Wedding looks broke away from the rigid silhouettes of the previous generation because these were modern girls with a new point of view. The first bride shown here dates from 1930 and wears a 'Juliet' inspired gown. It has an empire raised waistline with short puffed sleeves that have long fitted lace arms. This bias cut gown has a long fitted body with flared hemline in a silhouette will become very popular in the years that followed.

flapper brideVeils were a dominant look coming down the aisle. This bride is also from the early 1930's and shows that to be wrapped in a haze of netting can create an air of mystery we don't see often in current bridal looks today. Seen through the gauze, we can see her soft leg-o-mutton sleeves and draped cowl neckline. I bet there is a row of covered buttons down the back of this bodice. Her flared hemline is sewn to the fitted gown at about knee level, creating a long train behind her.

1930's bride The third bride dates from a bit later in the decade. Her dress is a classic bias cut, with a softly flowing wide flared hemline that the photographer will manipulate into a swirl of fabric at her feet. Again, the veil plays an important part in the overall silhouette of the bridal ensemble.

As you look at these, don't miss the men's attire. Wouldn't it be lovely if fathers, attendants and grooms once again wore morning coats to daytime weddings? The longer, tapered coat is so elegant, and it creates a wonderful look to the bridal party 'scene'.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer Craft N Sewing Projects: Books with Ideas

generation T

soft jewelry, cloth jewelry

retro revamp

Get your summer crafting in gear with projects that you can wear or add to your decor. Some ideas in these books use sewing, others don't. Either way there are alot of great ideas here!

Generation T
Here is a fun book loaded with ideas for transforming T shirts with or without a sewing machine. If you have few lazy kids around the house, this book has ideas they can make up. Or, you can find projects for yourself to whip out before the day gets to be too hot.

How to Make Soft Jewelry
This is a hard to find popular craft book that dates back 20 years. It has lots of ideas that are perfect for current trends. After looking through this cute book you will want to get started ASAP!

Retro ReVamp The projects in this book are designed mostly for accessories or home decor. You will love the bright colors and off-beat ideas for using 'trash' and bits of things around the house.

There are more books listed at the shop, time to look and see what inspires you!


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