Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tutorial: 40's Style Playsuit

A great little outfit to get you through summer is a vintage style playsuit - however, even though they're currently 'in fashion' it doesn't make them any easier to get your hands on one! Finding the right modern version or vintage pattern can be a time consuming adventure unto itself - so taking matters into your hands can often be the best option.

This tutorial looks best when you use an old shirtdress with a reasonably voluminous skirt, and is a great way to use thrifted dresses with cute patterns that are just a little too short to be worked into a vintage inspired wardrobe.

I love the swallow pattern on this, but I don't wear it as often as my knee length dresses, so it's going to be sacrificed for the sake of this tutorial :P (please excuse my scummy makeup-less face, I've got a cold and seriously can't be bothered looking pretty).

Step 1: Put the dress on inside out, and mark the crotch. This can be done in one of two ways, depending on the type of dress you're using. I prefer to measure down from the waistband, however, if your dress doesn't have one, a pin will do just as well.

Step 2: Take the dress off, and put a pin about an inch below your crotch measurement, to allow for seams and sitting room. This is your chance to make sure it's all even, so be careful! Try it on again to make it's comfortable and sits well.

Step 3: Cut! Snip away from the hem of the skirt right up to the crotch mark.

Step 4: Hem to your desired length, and finish the seams using your preferred method.

Et voila! You've got yourself a spanking new playsuit!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cat-Eye Glasses: Part 2

After a rather lengthy debacle involving one pair going missing in transit, my glasses finally arrived! I'm so happy to see them in person - they fit and they're in amazing condition.

Although I can't afford to get them reglazed just yet (it is unbelievable how expensive that it here in Australia, I think we have some of the most overpriced opticals in the world) I'm wearing them around the house just to familiarize myself with the look, however, they are taking some getting used to. My issue is less about the cat-eye shape than the thickness of the frame. As you can see, my regular glasses have a very thin wire frame - I could almost tune them out when looking in the mirror. These new ones are consequently a bit of a shock to the system, and are much more 'in your face', I suppose.

What do you think? I'm definitely not going to retire my old glasses - they suit me far too well! As for these new ones, I'm not sure if I'll shop around for a thinner, lighter frame and turn them into sunglasses or just go with the change... hurm.

P.S. Out of curiosity, does anyone know what style of frames were popular in the 30s/40s? I only ever really hear about the cat-eye shape, but I don't want to wear them with my 40s outfits.

P.P.S If I had the money, I'd be getting these as well - they would be incredibly handy when trying to get my eyeliner straight in the mornings! Aren't they fabulous?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Valentine's Day Gifts for a Retro-Beau

Having a sweetheart who appreciates vintage as much as you can be a double-edged sword. Like us, these gentlemen, greasers and dandies tend to take more pride in their appearance than the modern tracksuit-sporting male, giving the ladies lucky enough to call them 'Valentine' a plethora of options to suit their very stylish needs. The only difficulty with this is that one cannot simply pop down to Target and pick up a pair of snazzy cufflinks or silk pyjamas (minus the looney tunes novelty print!) Even if one has the perfect idea in mind, there's no guarantee that one will be able to find it, making it essential to start the hunt well in advance. (I know it may seem fairly early for posts like this, but given that I live in the Antipodes, I'm actually running a little late when it comes to shopping online! Eeep!)

Coming to our rescue, as always, is Etsy! I spent a good deal of today looking up gift options for my beau, and though I would share some of the finds with you.

Cufflinks and tie-bars are a great option for a vintage loving man (who can never have too many) but can also be bought for a thoroughly modern sweetie as a way to introduce some old fashioned glamour into his office suit.

Found here on etsy.

A silk tie is a classic choice, but why not go for something a little more unconventional - like a bolo tie? It's the perfect finishing touch for all his western shirts, and is something that is most definitely not sold in department stores, making it a truly unique gift.

Found here on etsy.

A folding comb is a great idea if you constantly find yourself fighting with your man over mirror space! It will enable him to keep his 'do in perfect shape when you're out on the town. They can be found in abundance on Etsy - just be careful when you're browsing as there are plenty of feminine cases to tempt you as well!

Found here on etsy.

If you have a yourself a gambling man, an old deck of cards, chess set or poker chips would go down a treat! Don't forget to brush up on your skills so you can play him sometime - after all, what is the game without a partner?

Found here on Etsy.

If he likes to read, forget the Kindle! Penguin Classics have released a range of Popular Penguins, designed to recreate the look and feel of the original covers from the 1940s and 1950s (I should know, I'm a veritable addict!) They have a great range of books from those eras, including pulp, noir and hardboiled detective titles such as The 39 Steps, The Big Sleep, In Cold Blood and Farewell My Lovely. At $9.95 AUD a pop, you can get enough to last him through his morning train rides for the rest of the year!

Read the full list of titles available here.

If one of you loves video games, and the other loves vintage style, don't despair! Buy him Bioshock - it's the perfect combination of the two. The preorder edition of the sequel comes with an LP, Deco-tastic posters and more! Heck, even I want it (and I haven't even finished playing the first!)

Only available here.

Don't forget a card to top it all off! Etsy has plenty of deadstock and unused cards for any occasion, that surprisingly can be purchased for less than a Hallmark one (though that probably says more about how ridiculously expensive cards can be, rather than how 'cheap' the vintage ones are.)

I'm eying off this one, found here on Etsy.

Of course, if you're really stuck for ideas you could always get yourself a little something from What Katie Did and book yourself a photoshoot... I'll leave the rest up to you!

So what did I end up getting my beau? This snazzy cufflink and tie bar set! Here's hoping he likes them!

How about you, dear readers? What are you planning to spoil your beloved with? Bought any fantastic presents for a vintage loving guy in the past? Do spill - my darling's birthday is only a few months away!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Year's Sewing Resolution

Be professional! I want the clothes I make to be well put together and long lasting. A pinked seam and zigzag stitching isn't going to cut it anymore - however, I don't have an overlocker and even on sale they're $800 dollars! Thus, I'm going to start experimenting with bias binding, french seams and other methods to make my garments as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside (I started making this dress last year so it doesn't count).

It's a modern pattern (for the life of me I can't remember which one... and I'm far too comfortable on the couch here to get up and check!) which wasn't really that great to work with, and the fit wasn't fantastic. The end result, however, is not too bad! I bought a vintage kit from the opshop which I intended to use to make a self-covered belt, but I'm pretty sure it's missing several pieces...

I also received a few packages in the mail today - my Christmas presents (finally!) and a lovely giveaway from Laura over at Sew Chic to kick start my resolution. It's the Myrtlewood design from her previous pattern line, Nostalgic. I'm looking forward to making this one up - doesn't it look perfect for winter?

For the seamstresses out there amongst my readers, any advice when it comes to those little finishing touches that can make an outfit more polished, lasting and complete?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Thrifty Finds #2

As I mentioned in my previous post, the gods of op-shopping have been very kind to me lately! I've picked up three lovely vintage items (and could have gotten more, if only I wasn't so skinflint :/ then again, do I really need an antique microscope and collection of b'dass carved tiki walking sticks?) Still, I'm more than thrilled with these finds:

I was going to wear this coat in order to show you how truly gorgeous it is, but it is so darn hot! You'll have to wait until winter to find out!

This little cloche hat is a nice smokey green colour that is incredibly difficult to photograph properly. I'd show you that one on too, but my hair is full of rags! (Excuses, excuses.)

My favourite find of all, however, has to be this:

A train case! I've been looking for one on Etsy but shipping rates for something that heavy are absolutely horrendous! The opshop I was in actually had two - one was covered in FUR, for some unknown reason! However, I passed on buying it, as I intended to take this case travelling and I wanted something that would actually get through customs!

For now, it's perfect for storing my makeup:

Not to mention it matches my Tiffany-blue nail polish perfectly! (China Glaze's "For Audrey", if you're interested.)

This is all making me feel like some kind of film noir heroine, ready to disappear on the midnight train. My op-shopping mojo has returned, huzzah!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I'm back!

Hello again everybody! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year's - mine was lovely and relaxing. I spent much of the past week curled up on the couch watching classic movies with my grandparents, or going for slow strolls about their incredibly lush and green neighborhood. I managed to avoid being sunburned too badly, so all in all it was a success! My holiday was a camera free zone, so no outfit posts to share - but I'm sure I'll more than make up for that soon enough.

I scored some pretty nice presents this year - the ones my parents bought me are yet to arrive (curse you, postal strike!) but I've been assured that (eventually) I will be getting The Alfred Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection, Forties Fashion and The Golden Age of Couture. Huzzah!

My sweetheart bought me the What Katie Did 'Sailor' set and Gil Elvgren: The Complete Pin-Ups.

Could his hinting be any more obvious? Hehe

He also got me these gorgeous matryoshka dolls after hearing me constantly talk about how much I wanted a set. Not vintage, but hey, I love 'em.

Of course, I have to share pictures of these presents I received - courtesy of myself! Not only did I get out of the Boxing Day sales alive, I also managed to snap up these pumps from Rivers (look! sensible heels! <3 <3 <3) and a few DVD box sets to keep me company until the rest of my family comes home.

I have a few more posts lined up - for one, the gods of op-shopping have been particularly kind to me lately - but I'll save them for another day. Emma-out!