Monday, September 7, 2020

40s Casual with Tan

I bought this true vintage dress dress last year at Rockford WWII Days because I saw it as a comfortable 40s dress that was easy to wear and perfect for the cooler weather. I also loved the color and all the buttons. Best of all this dress just goes with so much in my closet already. It's hard to believe that this dress has been in my closet a year already. 

For this wearing I chose my newest tan alligator pumps from BAIT and my fakelite necklace from Splendette's fall range from maybe 2 years ago. The stockings are from WKD and looking at these photos I really should have chosen a shade darker to better to with my farmer's tan. I kid you not, there is not enough sunscreen in the world that works for me when I work outside all day in the summer. When I have it on it just sweats off in minutes. . . .Thank goodness fall is almost around the corner. I love the fall the most because I get to enjoy time off, relax, and not melt in the heat. 

 This is a dress that I have worn many times and this dress has been featured on this blog before. . .Why show it to you again? Because its just that great of a dress that's why. I love how casual this dress and it is so comfortable too. 

Not shown here is the tan hand bag that I found in my wardrobe that just so happens to go perfectly with these tan pumps. Which means I can scratch tan pumps off of my wish list. If you remember, I created this list a few posts back to help fill in some wardrobe gaps I noted in my wardrobe. Not yet shown on the blog I did manage to find a pair of green strappy pumps and shown on the blog already I did find my yellow pumps. As you can see. . . I am doing really well scratching things off of my vintage accessory wish list. Some things that I am having a heck of a time finding are green handbags and belts to go with what I have now. . .Who knew there were so many shades of green!! Maybe later this year I will find them yet (fingers crossed!). 
  • burgundy/ wine red pumps with hat to match 
  • white pumps 
  • green pumps/ sandal or strappy 
  • green hand bag 
  • green belt (s) 
  • yellow pumps 
  • yellow hand bag 
  • tan pumps 
  • tan hand bag 
  • two tones hand bags? 
  • pink shoes and hand bags?? 
  • blues? light or medium 

Monday, August 31, 2020

Washing a Vintage Wool Coat

 Washing vintage can be so intimidating, well at least to me anyways. So, when the time came to launder my most worn true vintage wool 40s coat I was not sure how to proceed. One thing was for sure, it needed to be done . . . I have had this coat for years. . . For awhile it was my only good cold weather coat. Over time this coat has seen a lot action from food stains, mystery stains, and general wear and tear. The lining has been repaired many times and I have spot cleaned this baby many, many, many times. Honesty, this coat has seen a lot from ketchup stains to salad dressing disasters. This coat has also been my absolute go to coat for almost every occasion which brings its own wear and tear. Yikes! 

My trusty wool coat in 2018. It just goes with anything and everything so can 
you blame me for wearing it as often as I do? 

I did consider for a brief minute taking it to a dry cleaners but there are no dry cleaners in my area that can be trusted with vintage. Next, I took to the web to find my answers where I was met with really limited information! I was kind of surprised to be blunt about the lack of content for laundering a wool coat but I did find lots of stuff on laundering wool at home. For the most part that was all the same:

use cool water, use a mild soap, do not wring or wrinkle the garment but lay it flat at all times, and rinse, rinse, rinse. Once all done roll in the towel to get the excess moisture and then lay flat to dry. 

For the most part I felt like I was kind of flying solo but at the same time I figured I was over thinking the whole thing so I decided to just dive right in. . .

For washing my coat I made sure my bath tub was nice and clean. Next I filled the tub with cool water and Tide washing liquid. I did not measure the detergent but just winged it . . .I was winging washing this coat to start with . . . I filled the tub with enough water to submerge the coat and then I agitated the water with my hands to get bubbles. I did massage some areas of coat that needed some extra TLC and stain lifting power. Then I left the coat to soak for 1/2 hour. When I came back I drained the tub and watched the darkened water flow away from my coat.

My sweet and trusty coat soaking in a bubble bath . . . .

 I did not get a lot of the darker stains out to be honest but based on the darkened water I did accomplish something. Once all the water was drained I filled the tub again with clear water and rinsed. I did that a few times until the bubbles were all gone. After the last rinse I left the coat in the tub to rain out some more. After another 1/2 hour I spread out a large towel and lifted the coat out of the water carefully. To get the coat out I rolled it up and then unrolled it on the towel. I took care to make sure the lapels were smooth and laying flat (as possible). I rolled up the coat and towel together and then moved the whole thing (which was HEAVY) to the outside to air dry FLAT. 

While it was air drying I made sure the collar and lapel was smooth and not wrinkled, I made sure the sleeves were as straight as I could get them. I wanted as few wrinkles as possible basically. The drying time took a few days . . . Not kidding . . .So if you are planning on washing your coat plan ahead and make lots of time for drying. . .This is not a night before kind of project. . . My coat took 3 days to dry out. When my coat was dried out it was a little wrinkled but I took my coat and hung it back up to let gravity do the work for me in releasing the wrinkles. The end result was a coat that looked and smelled a lot better than when it started. 

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Women's Costuming Review for 'World on Fire' Season One

I love a good movie and a good tv show as much as the next person but when I watch anything set in the past my eye goes right to the costuming . . .Always. I mean it. . .Its to the point I can be a terrible movie companion because I will be the one to point out that a  heel shape is not quite right, a hair style is 10 years too early for the setting or that one of the character is not wearing the right undies in the naughty scenes. I confess that I can almost unbearable.

I love these picture stories though because they are good entertainment and when done right (or o.k at best) can offer some great style inspiration. I watch the historical movies sometimes just for hair style ideas, inspiration for color combination and you name it. I know I am not the only person who does this . . .With that said when I started watching World on Fire on Sunday night on PBS I figured there would be some WWII reenactors watching this and getting some ideas on what to wear for their next event. So, I wanted to offer this post up here as a review of my opinions on the costuming. Why? Because sometimes these TV dramas get some stuff right and sometimes they totally DO NOT. The stuff that is correct blends in with the stuff that isn't so well that it can be hard to tell what it and isn't period correct. To an untrained eye it all looks good but to an eye that knows what one is looking at those little errors have no place to hide. For me, those errors can have a hard time hiding from me. Do I catch all of them, those little errors? No I confess I miss some. Do I find things that catch me off guard and end up looking up to further my education? You betcha. Have I learned new stuff watching movies in the world of fashion? Most definitely.

For this review I am looking at the whole season one and looking at just the women's civilian attire. That is the field that I know the best by far. I am not well versed in women's uniforms and I am not too keen on men's civilian or men's military uniforms. Its not my cup of tea and is not my focus here. It is just the clothing worn by the ladies. For this review, I have offered links to some of the image stills in the series. 

 I give an accuracy grade of A - / B+ total. As a whole I was really impressed. I've seen quite a few WWII movies and I have seen some awful costume jobs (which will remain unnamed) but World on Fire as a whole did pretty good from clothing to color choices, hat styles, hair styling, and even down to accessories. There were a few looks that I thought they could have done much better one and then there were some that they just nailed it. I am focusing here on only a handful of the main characters but even the background and secondary characters had good looks in the costuming department. 

Let's get started. . . Lesley Manville had a few outfits that I thought were really well chosen and they knew how to dress her. Her dark red suit with matching hat was well done. Even her blue hat and blazer which you can see here was well done. Hair and make up? I was really pleased with how they did her hair. It suited her station in life and was great "every day" hair. It  was not too over done either which I see a lot of in WWII movies and shows. You can see a little bit of her hair here . Make up . . . I was pleased with her make up too for the most part as it was very 40s period with that red lip. My only critique was the eye shadow which I thought I caught a glimpse of here and there. Eye shadow for the 40s was very light and not used a whole lot. If anything it could have been a hold over from the 30s which would fit her age category. Shoes . . . If I had to give another critique here it would have to be her shoes . . . There were a few hints at her shoes that I was able to get and her heel shape as NOT period for the 40s or the 30s. . .I was really saddened by that one as her heel shape appeared too skinny. Period 40s shoes had a thicker heel. Not only that but I thought they were too shiny. Like a patent leather kind of shiny and not the period matte. Now there are some instances or patent shine in 40s shoes but those examples are rare in my research. 

Zofia Wichlacz was another female actress who was dressed really well and had a few stand out characteristics in her dress that I thought really stood out. First of all, her short hair which you can see here. Short hair for women in the 40s was often curled and here it is a straight cut bob and is often not styled at all. Her hair style is not out of the norm but it is not exactly common. I think they chose to give her this hair style to suit her character in the show. . .Her character is a masculine one participating in the resistance, charming and killing Nazis, working in a bar, and just being a rebel . . . Her hair suits her actions in the show. Her attire is very casual as well. Her attire is mostly easy wearing separates which you can see here like in this short sleeved blouse and skirt. Another outfit that I want to take a look at is this one here. The jacket she is wearing was seen in the 40s as a form of sports wear (I have patterns in my German pattern book for an almost identical jacket actually), the skirt is a basic A line (perfect) and her hat is a beret.  .. classic 40s hat (a bit un original but its a correct hat and it suits her very well). The scarf? Totally period and so is the hand bag from what I can tell. As far as casual looks go, I was impressed. There were a couple of scenes where I thought the shoes did not have the right shape in the toe but that is minor.

Julia Brown was o.k . . . There were some outfits she wore that I really had to raise and eyebrow too. I think of all the characters they could have done better for were her in her costuming. To start, the coat and scarf she wears here is perfect and you could convince me that its an original coat. I love how she does not wear make up in some of the scenes and I really appreciate that a great deal . . Many young women in the 40s did not wear make up and hair was not always done to pin up perfection. In some of the scenes she wears casual separates and sweaters and those look were well chosen for her. O.k, one of the looks that stuck me in the side like a pin was this one she wears here.. . .Of all places on the advertisement for the show and for a few scenes where she is one stage. .  . . This sleeve less dress is not obviously 40s to me and it says 50s or 60s to be honest. . . Now I confess I may be wrong here and it may be period correct but I have not seen a lot of sleeveless 40s outfits from day wear to evening wear (evening wear had at most a cap sleeve or no sleeve or a short sleeve). Her dress is about knee length and I guess is like a cocktail style dress. . .They could have done way better than this one to be blunt. It is my least favorite attire in the whole show and really sticks me in the craw. He hair is o.k . .It is not un period but it could have been done better. And the shoulder line seen here . . . I'm not sure what is happening here. . . . and you can see more of it here. It is way too weak of a 40s shoulder and is not well done in my opinion. Now I could be totally wrong here and it many be o.k. but to me it sticks out like a sore thumb in a bad way. I think this may be a 30s piece. 

Helen Hunt . . . .Oh my goodness. . . Can you say 40s trousers? I was super surprised to see a main character in 40s trousers and they did a nice job on these which you can see here and there in her scenes . . . The shape of the leg was good and the fit was nice as well. I think they chose to put her in trousers because she is the American journalist and being an American she is bold and adventurous. She has no problem shaking things up by trying to reveal the Nazi's eugenics program and wear a sporty look. Her jacket here is actually very period correct and I loved it. . ( I have a pattern in my German patter book for one like it actually . . .hmm, maybe I need to bust that one out?). You can see her jacket here. Her blouses were well done and her hair was well styled although once again you are seeing a short hair cut which you can see both here. Her short hair suits here character well but is not exactly a very common style for adults.

Another well dressed lady in this series was the German mother played by Agata Kulesza who you can see in the bottom row in blue here. As a whole she was a well dressed and well to do housewife. Her dresses really represented her character well and were quite good. Her hair always seems  to be spot on for me. The background characters are well dressed as a whole too I will note and I'm kind of impressed with that one.

Well there you have it, that is my two cents on the costuming for this short series. I am looking forward to the second season for sure. 

Saturday, August 22, 2020

A Most Puuurfect Find . . . After I Fixed It . . .

I decided to treat my self to a little retail therapy and scratch an item off of my wish list. That coveted item was a leopard coat. I have always wanted one. . .The first time I tried to find one it was from Target. It was a part of a fall collection and what I saw on the TV looked very attractive. When I went to the store to check it out it was saddest, ugliest, more pathetic thing I had ever seen. Naturally, that was not my coat. . .The second time I had a chance to buy one was at the shopping mall. It was a great big fluffy number and looked fake, cheap and well . . sad. . .That was not my coat either. . .. Then there was contestant number three. Third was the charm and my coat to be. I bought it for a deal knowing it as going to need some work. The price reflected the "breaks in the lining" but seeing  as I could sew I was not deterred.

When the coat arrived I was so excited and immediately I whipped it out if its wrappings and gave it a good study. It as the leopard coat of my dreams . . .It fit, it was my size, it was a true vintage item, from the 50s and it was a faux fur. . .a vintage faux fur. I had lots of real vintage fur but not a vintage faux item . . . . So I was excited to add this to the hoard. But alas!! Those so called breaks were not properly advertised and the damage on the inside was no where near a so called "break". Those "breaks" included most of the arm seams popped, half the center back seam popped, the lining was not attached to the neck at all and the shredding was through out the coat but mostly focused at the neckline. The shredding was not mentioned in the add. . I expected damage but nothing like this. This was more than just "breaks in the lining". Hind sight being 2020, I could have asked the seller about the damage but I did not think to do so. That, I admit, is on me. Below, you can see what I mean. . . .

Thankfully I am rather handy with needle and thread. . .After some hours of work I was able to hand stitch the seams back together in the arm hole and the back seam. The lining was reattached to the neckline and the shredding was patched with a wide black satin vintage ribbon. I am so glad I had this ribbon in my stash. . .It matched the color and texture of the rich satin lining on the inside.
After my extensive repair working I managed to get this coat back to its position as my dream coat. In fact, I think this repairing makes this coat even more special to me and has already become a favorite of mine. Of all my coats it is definitely the most exotic.
I just love this coat. . .Its not a heavy coat but a great option for spring and fall. For this wearing I chose to pair it with my moss green 40s suit. I loved the color combination of it. I thought the shade of green seemed to be a puuurfect  compliment and I think a good leopard coat like this is a neutral. So far I have paired this coat with red and brown with great success.  

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Date Night Black


Ah date night. Its been awhile between you know what and blueberry season so when the date came up I naturally had to over dress for the occasion. I chose my basic black rayon dress and then added my vintage white roses corsage and yellow BAIT pumps for a pop of color. I love these shoes and they are one of the more colorful pairs I own. After my first successful purchase from BAIT I knew I wanted to try a few more pairs from them and this summer I took advantage of a sale. I love the 40s vibe these shoes have and the fact that one style comes in multiple color ways. Between you and me I kind of want the red versions of these too. 
To go with the pop of yellow in the pump is the hint of yellow in the rose centers and vintage millinery fruits. To improve my vintage lot I invested in a bunch of NOS millinery flowers and I can see no way going back to the hobby store kind. These are by far more superior (more costly yes but totally worth the cost).  To me these look and feel more natural than the others commonly bought today. To match the corsage, a hair flower. 

In addition to this look I added a new corde bag. I am in love with this little bag because its so different than my other ones . . .This one has a little pizzazz. This was kind of an impulse buy to be blunt but I adore this little number. . . .It does not hold much but it holds the necessities. As of now this bag is more of an evening bag but I may try to use it on a more everyday kind of use.  The gloves . . . A basic white glove just goes with anything and everything but a white glove does not have to be boring basic. They can be interesting basic as well. These gloves are a mid length but with a novelty ruffle trim to them. And of course, what accessory set is complete without kitty hair? 

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Getting Back to Basics

As of late I've been in a slump. A sewing slump. I have not felt like sewing much but I have also been incredibly busy farming and doing stuff like that. When I do have free time I am sleeping and trying to blog. When I was not sleeping, zoning out on my couch or trying to blog I was thinking of future sewing projects so that when I was back in my sewing groove I could hit the ground running. Well during the summer I did manage to squeeze in a little sewing and I decided the best project for me to get back into things was a basic black dress. . . I am getting back to basics.
This is vintage Vogue dress from the 40s that I have had for ages but has not taken out to play with in a long time. . .The last time was years ago and this pattern made my first basic black dress to suit my vintage vibes. Well last year or so I blew the zipper on it and it was finally starting to show its age. . . .It was doomed to the scrap pile and I promised myself that some day I would replace it. Well someday finally came and I did . I took some thrift store fabric I got this spring, combined it with this pattern and viola! Over a period of two weeks I managed to replace my little black dress. It took so long because I did a little sewing there and a little bit there. I was not in hurry because this dress will be for the fall and winter. . .Fall and winter dresses are greatly lacking in my wardrobe now which I need to remedy.

To spice up this little number I added some antique beaded trim to the optional peplum.  I have been holding onto this beadwork for years and years and I decided to finally use it. I figured I would add it to the dress here to add some texture and uniqueness to what would have been another plain dress otherwise. As of now I am really pleased with my results. When I made my first version of this dress I did not add the peplum and I did not add the collar either. . .This time and I am really liking the collar for winter. . .Honestly I can see myself making this pattern again very soon in another fabric. It was a very simple pattern and the fit is really good . . . I think the pattern suits me more now than it did when I first bought it.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Lesson 7 of the Lutterloh Sew Along Master Class: A Dress with Raglan Sleeves

 Lesson 7 is getting harder and like the last lesson, number 6, I am not offering much for instruction here. These patterns do not come with anything aside from the illustration and pattern diagram and that is how I present it to you here. The skirt is the most simple part of this project and I suggest you start with that first. The bodice front, back and sleeve is cut all on one with the bodice lower front and back as separate pieces that are eased into the rest. Good Luck!