vintage monday

04.28.08 {rediscovery}

Honestly, I haven’t been staring at my computer, working on my side redesign exclusively for the past week! lol. Saturday ended up being my self-imposed Computer Break (because I had been fiddling with the site layout too much. I must learn self-control in the area of tweaking little code snippets!). Instead I set to tackle the *dundundun-dun* Mess.

The upside of my compulsive antiquing/thrifting/yard saling/bargain-hunting is that I find some really amazing treasures that have proven to be very useful. It has fostered a greater resolve to not spend so much money, and recycle/reuse. The bad is that it gets to a point where the stuff starts taking over my room (and eventually my little corner half of the basement). Clutter depresses me. It chokes my urge to sew, create, or generally have anything to do with my room besides work on my computer, exercise, and sleep.

04.28.08 {springtime giveaway | one}

I took everything out of my closet, sorted, re-boxed, threw-out and bundled up to give away and sell. I went through all my papers and put aside large stacks of vintage ephemera to package (for the popular Vintage Paper Packets I sold out of last autumn!). Even my bed was pulled out, vacuumed under (the dust bunny population was not happy…). Now I just have to go through my fabric and clothing that is stored in the basement. That scares me! Not because there is so much (though there is…), but I tend towards keeping rather than getting rid of when it comes to old clothing. But what if I need it, you know, later?! is what the excuse is to resist the decluttering.

So, all this to say that in celebration of my newly-organized room and the new site, I’m having a little Springtime Giveaway!!! This little packet consists of a 1930s Vogue Guide to Sewing*, a vintage dishtowel embellished with openwork (teatime picnic, anyone?!), and a cd to while away the springtime hours (in this case, the Emma soundtrack, which I love!). Oh, and there’s a little goody attached to the outside as well…

* I must confess, this is in rather sad condition (it came to me that way), but I couldn’t bear to just toss it. I think it would prove useful for collage–or even tearing out the pages and framing them!

04.28.08 {springtime giveaway | two}

Comment in this post between now and Wednesday evening, and I’ll randomly draw a name on Thursday. Be sure to comment with your email (it won’t be published) so I can contact you if you win!

This week we’re going back into the 19th century with Vintage Monday! I love this illustration from the mid 1850’s; I mean look at the skirt’s flounces!! I sercretly harbor a desire to have a three-flounce skirt, only probably at a more manageable length (I am nicknamed “Casey the Klutz” for a reason…). And look closely: the flounces have stripes. Which is even better, in my opinion!

04.28.08 {vintage monday}

Thank you all again for your sweet comments about the portfolio site and blog–you all are such dears!


04.21.08 {vintage finds | one}

I’ve been struck by the urge to go through all my stacks and stashes of stuff and dispose of items that I no longer need. I suppose it’s only fitting, considering that it is springtime, and spring cleaning is in order. Most of the items I’m giving away/selling/otherwise dispossessing were collected during my teenage years. Perhaps it has to do with my birthday two weeks away.

I had a very lovely–albeit far too short–weekend with my Beau. He was only up for two days; we had so much catching up to do, things to discuss, places to go… But we did get to just sit on the deck Saturday evening as the sun went down and enjoy the beautiful weather.

04.21.08 {vintage finds | two}

I have been listening to the Lost in Translation soundtrack and various Jesus and Mary Chain albums almost constantly since yesterday morning. A rainy gloom has settled over the sky, but its different from the cold gloom of the winter; I think the warmth of the air makes it more bearable–almost fun. I walked around outside yesterday with an umbrella held over my head, my toes splashing in the warm rainwater as it cascaded down the street. I love springtime!

04.21.08 {1945 seventeen | one}

Last week I found a new-to-me antique shop in one of my favorite, small towns nearby. Although it was generally overpriced, there were a few deals here and there–one just had to do some digging! I unearthed these two, darling drum majorette pins (I’m especially fond of the silhouette one), and a 1945 copy of Seventeen. Its kinda falling apart, but I love all the illustrations and fashion and oh! I’m just as in love with the 1940’s as ever. lol. So in place of my usual, Vintage Monday feature, here is an array of images from this lovely find; hope you’re inspired.

04.21.08 {1945 seventeen | eight}

04.21.08 {1945 seventeen | seven}

[ more images here! ]


[ email me ]

p.s. Oh, and I just wanted to say that I really appreciate the feedback about the site design I did for Kate! *blushes* Yes, I do a little bit of graphic work and website development on the side, I just rarely tend to talk about it here!

04.14.08 {taking a break}

[ this has nothing to do with dresses–well not really; except these are the latest additions to the inspiration notebook! ]

The weekend is over already–I can’t believe it’s flown by. And my goodness–it’s already the middle of April! Thankfully, I did get a lot done on my research paper over the weekend; it was something I wasn’t looking forward to doing, if only because the topic was one I didn’t feel I had a good handle on. Happily I finished it by late yesterday and have handed it off to The Editor (aka my younger sister–she’s a real whiz at proofreading/editing!).

In the midst of being stuck for a few hours on the last page (why is it always the last one that is the hardest?!), I too a little time off to refocus and bring some clarity to my words. A few evenings ago, I struck upon the idea of refashioning this recent thrift find:

04.14.08 {before my scissors got to it!}

Its a very bright, vintage robe! I found it a couple weeks ago while thrifting, and was quite smitten with the shades of pink (it reminds me of the gorgeous azalea blossoms that are due to pop out all over the yards here in a few weeks!). I don’t use robes, however, so it was going to be one of those “pretty” things that just takes up space. Which right now is at a premium (you don’t want to know how packed my closet is!! hehe!). So, I thought, why not make a dress out of it?

04.14.08 {rasberry pink}

The end result isn’t that radical of a change, but I think makes for a very fun evening frock. I basically snipped off 15” from the hem, turned it up 2-¼” and hand hemmed it (the thing that took the longest… but looks very nice!). I added a snap to the cross-over so it stays snugly in place. The sleeve I trimmed down to elbow length and reattached the original cuffs. Quick and easy!

Lately I’ve been feeling quite guilty about simply not having the time to sew from scratch (aka a length of yardage, a sewing pattern–you know, actually cutting out a pattern and constructing it from the flat pieces! lol!). But as my mom said: why sew from scratch when you can refashion successfully?! Hmm… sounds like good sense to me!

Finally, here is today’s Vintage Monday image!! I’ve lately been on a 1950’s kick–full skirts, cinched waist, trawling through Ebay trying to find the “perfect” 50’s summer frock! hehe! I love all the details on these; simple yet elegant. Enjoy.

04.14.08 {50's fun!}


[ email me ]

04.07.08 {a sweet little piece}

How are you all, my friends? I hope you had a delightful, relaxing weekend! Saturday was spent busily doing some work on several graphic design jobs and homework (math mostly… nasty stuff…). But Sunday was quite the opposite! I met a blog friend! I admit, I was a bit nervous (as I always am in such situations!), but Kate and I had a marvelous time. We were angling to do some flea marketing, but alas, the weather conspired against us, and it was pouring rain when we met up. Despite the weather, there were a few stalwart souls selling their goodies, and Kate snatched up some gorgeous china, while I snagged a primitive-style crock for my mom (an “early Mother’s Day gift”… hehe!).

Instead of moping about in the rain, we grabbed some brunch, and then on to the massive Anthropologie store. I thought I was seriously had died and gone to heaven. Or worse–was going to go into serious debt (it was that tempting!). But I managed to restrain myself. I so wish I had brought my camera with me–because there were some pretty vignettes that I wanted to remember. But alas, I had accidentally left it in my car. lol. Such is the life of a scatter-brained gal!

04.07.08 {vintage monday | colorful frocks}

I have lately been doing a huge amount of reading for my Design History class. We’ve finally crossed over into the 20th century, and are powering through the early decades. I must admit, although I really love some things about earlier design (especially Art Nouveau), I am fascinated by the modern movements of the 20th century in design. Reading about such things as De Stijl, the Bauhaus, and such avant-garde artists/designers as Man Ray, quite inspires me! I’m taking many mental notes on the principles of what makes good, recognizable design, since many of these principles are still quite relavent today.

04.07.08 {vintage monday | lovely skirts}

In celebration of the modern look in the early 20th century, I thought it would be fun for this week’s Vintage Monday feature to be centered around the 1920’s (when many of these movements really took root)! Enjoy this trio of pretty frocks and other fancies… I hope you’re inspired!

04.07.08 {vintage monday | sporty + sweet}


[ email me ]

p.s. If you’re rather fond of the 1920s, be sure to check out the page of random, fashion images I have on my website!

03.31.08 {reading}

The weather has been going back and forth, forth and back, for the past two weeks. It is now starting to affect my head on a daily basis! I woke up this morning with the distinct impression that I had cotton stuffed between my ears… which has made my morning a rather muddled, and entertaining mess (thank goodness for to-do lists!)! hehe! So I apologize in advance if this post is a wee bit… well… out of it. lol.

I relaxed all weekend; which was nice after the ups and downs of the previous week. I try not to get into personal matters on this blog, but let’s suffice to say that we had a situation with an extended family member, taking up a good deal of emotional energy. Its been stressful for my parents especially, so I’ve been having to step in and “hold down the fort” as my daddy likes to say. hehe. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this week will be just a wee less dramatic. So, as a result, I feel rather bad that I don’t have a ton of exciting things to blog about this morning. But I hope you will understand…

I have been doing some reading–non-school reading! Hurrah! On Saturday afternoon, my sweet mum surprised me with my own copy of Bead Simple. Thank you, Mom!! I am now plotting what to make next… and being quite bad spending time searching through Etsy’s wonderfully-tempting bead supply category. I already made a few little purchases. hehe! But I’m trying to be a little good, and “go shopping” through my collection of vintage jewelry that I don’t wear often.

I’m also reading the utterly inspiring and delightfully-written Anti 9 to 5 Guide by Michelle Goodman (per Kate’s recommendation). I haven’t gotten terribly far in it yet, but the first chapter has made me feel quite a bit more at ease about my seeming “inability” to stay motivated working a normal job. hehe! I shall have a full review when I’m done!

Something I wanted to share with you all; a super-simple project that is perfect for adding a bit of sweetness to any outfit! Last week, in a fit of needing some new, pretty accessory for one of my “tried and true” outfits, I pulled out some antique dress trim and whipped up this little bow pin:

03.30.08 {

Its made from an antique, 1880s dressing gown I purchased years ago (the photo is of an art project that I showed last spring in the school-wide art show, in which I used this gown). Its falling apart, but the moire ribbons are still largely intact. Which means perfect for salvaging and reusing! Just stitched together and to a pin back, it makes for a quick, and interchangeable little bit of flair for any outfit! I’m thinking perhaps I need to make one up in a piece of wide lace as well–and maybe one of my favorite, vintage cotton prints (with the edges unfinished–just so it doesn’t get too time consuming and complicated!). Do you have any favorite, quick and easy tricks to liven up an outfit? Do share!!

Now for this week’s Vintage Monday feature! This is from a 1947 pattern catalog in my collection, which I am constantly referencing for ideas! Just look at the sweet ruffles and shirring along the skirt! Would be so pretty in a modern dress too, I think–perhaps with a more modern fabric or even something like a knit!

03.31.08 {vintage monday!}

Keep an eye out for the first Nifty Thrift post later this afternoon! I’m so excited to launch a week-long thrift-love fest!

Have a lovely Monday, my dears!!!


[ email me ]

03.24.08 {polka-dot progress}

I haven’t talked much lately about what I’ve been doing in school (besides the emotional turmoil of midterms), which is a pity because in Design History it’s starting to move into the territory that I find fascinating! Specifically, we’re beginning to cover the Arts and Crafts, and Art Nouveau movements, which sadly are only briefly covered in the book–I think I could devote a whole semester to studying it. I just love the marriage of influences (Eastern and Western), the creative and artistic energy and exchange of ideas that one perceives, and the beautiful legacy of this era in design history.

Going over the assigned reading, it struck me how closely both movement mirrors the current revival of interest in the creative pursuits that is going on right now. Aesthetics, and returning to a sense of the wonderment art can produce, and creative exploration seems so prevalent right now. Perhaps it is just me, but I can’t help but think there is a bigger movement going on that is touching so many areas. I suppose the best label to slap on it is “DIY culture”. It has influenced so many areas of the arts and created a sort of frenzy among artists of various types to reach out and express their own vision of the world (whether real or perceived).

Yet as I was reading my textbook, this paragraph caught my eye and resonated: “…art historian Herbert Read once suggested that the life of any art movement is like that of a flower. A budding in the hands of a small number of innovators is followed by full bloom; then the process of decay begins as the influence becomes diffused and distorted in the hands of imitators who understand merely the stylistic manifestations of the movement rather than the driving passions that forged it.” I can’t help but feel that we’re beginning to see the diffusion of the DIY Movement into commercialism and the greater, societal “aesthetic”. Take for instance the oft-cited Urban Outfitters, a company that peddles a wide variety of “faux handmade” items in an effort to bring the look of DIY to consumers who may not fully embrace (or understand) the concept. In a way, is Urban Outfitters (and like, mass retailers), not cheapening and causing the “decay” of the original movement in its effort to cash in?

There is no doubt that the “handmade look” resonates with quite a few people; I think in many ways the DIY culture is a reaction to the overly sleek and impersonal manufactured goods that are available to the wider market. Its a return to the feeling of “soul” in a piece because someone, not a machine, put thought into the design and process of creating those goods. I know I personally am drawn to making things myself, or purchasing them from other artisans, because it gives a feeling of integrity to the piece; that it wasn’t just slapped together thoughtlessly, nor am I just following some whim or trend without thought.

But where does the line between “bloom” and “decay” become crossed? The popularization in the social consciousness of the DIY movement has in a way, I believe, created a movement away from thoughtful creation and effort to protest against impersonal consumerism, to a more frenzied appeal to “standing out” and looking “handmade” at any cost. While I applaud anyone who does take an interest in engaging in DIY (after all, I do encourage everyone to find their creative outlet!), when mass marketers and manufacturers begin to mimic the essential “look” of handmade, have we lost the edge and have begun to witness the beginning of the end?

What are your thoughts?

To reward you all for having read through this rather tedious, muddled post (thank you if you stuck with me the entire way! hehe!), here is the Vintage Monday feature for today!! Hurrah for pretty things!

03.24.08 {vintage monday loveliness}

Another, pretty 1840s print! Although this one is just black and white (I think I’ve posted most of the hand-colored ones), I love the details and lines of the gowns.

I hope you have a lovely Monday, all!!!


[ email me ]

p.s. I was aimlessly surfing the web yesterday, and stumbled upon Julia Kuo’s pretty little illustrations. I love how light and storybookish they are; go take a look!

03.09.08 {neckline}

I have so much to show and tell you–it is just practically jumping about in my head dying to get out! But I won’t reveal it all at once; don’t want to subject you all to The Post of the Century, do I? hehe!!!

Before we delve into this week’s super-special Double Vintage Monday feature (I know!! So exciting!), I wanted to show a little something I whipped up on Saturday:

03.09.08 {how i spent my saturday}

The top is modified from the Burda Style Lydia pattern. I found some gorgeous, black jersey recently; and it was a very tiny length (a little over ½ yard). My original top idea had to be modified quite a bit to get all the pieces to fit on the material, but I did it! *jumps up and down* I left the body of the pattern pretty much as-is, just scooping out hte neckline a bit more. The sleeves is where all the action is: I shortened the piece, slashed and spread from cap to hem, added about 5” and reshaped the bottom edge a bit. The cap was shirred to its original width, and I gathered the bottom onto a wide band. Voila!! Pretty, fun sleeves!

03.09.08 {close up of smocking}

The skirt was originally a rummage sale find from last autumn; I think I spent $1 on it. Although I loved the waistband, the rest of it was kinda blah and a bit frumpy. So I chopped off the old hem (a good 11”!!), rehemmed it and replaced the back buttons. The pockets I made from the leftover pieces of the old hem; just eyeballing the size and proportion, and topstitching them to the front of the skirt. I added a couple vintage buttons for the cute factor and now I have a new skirt! Hurrah!!!

I tell you: this recycling/refashioning and sewing-from-scratch experiment is proving to be the little kick I needed to really get back into sewing for myself. I’m having a ball!!

03.10.08 {vintage monday!}

Anyway, now to compose myself and move on to the Double Vintage Monday! Here is the “official” image for today; a series of four, lovely shirtwaists from 1906. Aren’t they so pretty? I can think of at least half a dozen ways you could reinterpret any one of them into something very modern and cute. For instance, that large, Bertha collar on the middle left blouse? You could reuse that idea (possibly scaled down a bit) on a light, sleeveless summer dress. What ideas do you see?

vogue pattern catalog {22} 1964 vogue pattern catalog {04}

The bonus feature today is a series of photo-excerpts from a 1964 Vogue pattern catalog!! I inherited this years ago from my grandmother, and paging through for ideas and inspiration is something I do frequently. Unfortunately, its a bit of a chore scanning this behemoth, so pictures are the only solution! I do hope you’ll enjoy these! Click on the image above to be taken to my Flickr album, or view the whole set here!!! Feel free to comment on the photos with your ideas and inspirations!

I hope you all are having a simply lovely and inspired Monday!!!


[ email me ]

p.s. Did you see that the new Poppytalk Handmade Market is up? And this month it’s got an eco-friendly theme!

Next Page »