Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday Spotlight: Vintage Fashion Complete by Nicky Albrechtsen

Another book recommendation for you all today on this lazy Sunday (well, lazier than I had planned). Every so often I check online booksellers for new vintage or historic fashion books, be they textbooks, pretty coffee table books, or museum catalogs, I love a good photo heavy fashion tome. Vintage Fashion Complete manages to combine both pretty photos of enviable vintage pieces with well researched and useful information on an almost encyclopedic range of topics.

Instead of using the most common layout for fashion history books, chronological, author Nicky Albrechtsen summarizes each decade in just the first third of the book and uses the rest of the ample space to cover specifics like the history and styles of gloves, or hats, or bridal gowns, polka dots, knitwear, aprons, and much more! When was the last time you picked up a fashion or vintage book that covered aprons?! I loved the idea of picking a motif, like florals, and showing/explaining how each decade interpreted the style. When the book arrived, and even after flipping through it quickly, I thought I would be able to read the entirety of its text before writing up this mini review for you all, but the text was detailed enough that such an undertaking wasn't actually possible! I have read through just under half of it now and look forward to returning to the specific sections in the future to learn more about gloves or shoes or what have you.

I think any vintage lover would really enjoy this book, and it would make a great textbook of sorts to those interested in starting to collect or sell vintage. Learning the difference between a 1950's dress and a 1980's revival of a very similar style can come down to details well described in this book. Which reminds me, this book covers all of 20th century vintage fashion, so have a good laugh looking at some of the crazier 1970's and 1980's styles!

Have any of you picked up Vintage Fashion Complete? What did you think? I think it is a worthy addition to my library, and I have definitely been inspired to add a few things to my sewing and vintage shopping lists!


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Vintage Velvet










So much vintage clothing lately! It's just not like me! I wrote about why I don't have much #truevintage clothing back in 2015 (also that post reads a bit bitter now, I was a bit sore about not being able to afford vintage!) and I still agree with many of my original points. Vintage is harder to find in a 30" inch+ waist, vintage is pricey, and I am forever afraid things will shatter to shreds on me, but I have been so so soooo lucky to find some amazing suits over the past year that have me changing my tune. Of course having a much better job and therefore more of a budget for vintage helps heaps too, the good stuff just isn't cheap! (except for the time I got that great 40's suit for only $75 bucks which I still think was a steal since it's in such good nick!).

So enter my suit collection, and now a few lonely jackets too, including this new-to-me velvet jacket from the ever wonderful vintage shop Over Attired. I just love the cord trim around the shawl collar and the faceted glass buttons! Plus a 3 button stance is better for my shape, so this jacket turned out to be a perfect fit! The good thing about a black velvet jacket is that I can always make a matching skirt and have the two pieces match up quite well. Not much has changed about black velvet in the last 60 years! For its first wearing I paired the jacket with my peacock feather brocade skirt and black sheer back-seamed tights. Black shoes tied in the jacket, but I wore gold and teal jewelry to spice up all the dark tones. The rayon corde clutch seemed like a great match for the cord trim on the blazer so that was the final finishing touch.

Also, can I just say trying to get decent lighting in winter is a pain? Why winter! Harsh sunlight and blinding snow, then an early sunset, goodness! (I complain a lot, so sorry) This may have been too dressy a look for a Sunday afternoon, but after the first week back to work we could all use a little glamour right? Plus they always give me the best funny looks in the Starbucks drive through ;)

Jacket: Vintage (Over Attired on Etsy)
Skirt: Made by me
Tights: Hanes (Amazon)
Shoes: Amazon
Brooch & Earrings, Bracelets, & Clutch: Vintage (Etsy)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Little Lookbook Video...



A video?! Yep! You have seen these outfits before, as I just took little snippets of video over the past month-ish, but now you can see me looking around aimlessly posing in motion ;) I hope you like the video, I am excited to do more on YouTube this year in general!


Monday, January 9, 2017

Rainbow Striped Hat No. 3








That's right, I found a third rainbow striped hat for my collection! I made my rainbow ribbon hat, and splurged on a vintage striped hat last fall, and then I spotted this little number on Etsy just after Christmas and couldn't hit buy now fast enough! I just love these hats! Does one really need three rainbow striped hats? Perhaps not, but I know should a fourth appear and somehow make its way into my collection I wouldn't exactly be surprised!

I paired the new hat with my black vintage suit that I scored on Etsy last year for such a great price and it fits like a glove. Forever excited about suiting! Another something new are the matching earrings and brooch in vermeil coated brass with blue rhinestones that I found at my favorite local antique mall. They were on sale for $10 dollars so naturally into my basket they went! I also picked up a copy of Look magazine from the late 1940's to look through and use as a photo prop. The advertisements are ridiculous, and some downright dangerous (lets just say they used to use Lysol in places they shouldn't have, yikes!). The scarf I have on here is gorgeous, I'll have to get a better photo of it sometime, and depicts brightly colored clocks and time themed designs on rich satin. The thicker silk did a great job of keeping me a bit warmer in the full on winter chill.

I have even more suiting to show you soon! I am on a spending freeze at the moment, which I'll be writing about soon here on the blog, but I still have a few things from the holiday sales to show you. I've yet to even begin any sewing projects in 2017 though, it is well time to get back to my repro roots! Hopefully I can get something started this week, but we'll have to see as I usually fall into bed after work ;) I hope you've all had a lovely Monday!

Suit, Handbag, Scarf, Gloves, & Hat: Vintage (Etsy)
Brooch & Earrings, Look Magazine from August 1949: Antique Mall
Shoes: Royal Vintage Shoes
Nylons: What Katie Did

Friday, January 6, 2017

Some Goals For 2017 (Such Surprise, Much Wow)


Everybody tired of reading about goals and new years resolutions? Too bad! No I'm only joking, you don't have to read mine too, though I don't seem to actually tire of reading about people's goals, perhaps because goals are full of hope and hope is nice.

Lets see how I've done on last years goals...

1) Learn tailoring techniques and make some suits: Well I didn't really learn any tailoring techniques last year, and I only made the one suit (my plaid suit). Still, I'd really like to learn some proper tailoring skills so this stays on my list.

2) Make at least 4 historical costumes: Nope. I made 1!

3) Make more dresses: Well I made almost the same amount of dresses in 2016 as I did in 2015, but seeing as I made less separates in 2016 I'll call this one a win.

4) Focus on the Forties: I did okay with this goal, I certainly made more directly 1940's inspired dresses in 2016. I still want to work on making more complex and accurate 1940's repro items in the year ahead.

5) Knit 5 sweaters (more of a crafting goal I'll grant you): My knitting completely feel away this year, I cast on the V&A victory jumper and then never got further than 10 or so rows...Opps!

Well so much for the costuming and knitting plans! Though to be fair I spent a lot more time working in 2016 as I moved into full time so I had less time for creating in my free time. What about some blogging goals from last year?

1) Update/Use Tumblr: Nope. Still can't get it together for Tumblr!

2) Start making YouTube videos: Well I made 10 videos in 2016, so I suppose that's not nothing but it certainly doesn't match up with what I had intended my channel to be!

3) Hit 15,000 views per month: Ah yes, the numbers, the thing we aren't suppose to admit we care about. I won't be coy, of course I want my projects and posts to reach people! I have been so lucky that The Closet Historian has grown so much this year, and my goal of 15,000 page views a month reminds me just how far I have come as this little blog of mine now reaches over 20,000 page views a month! Thank you so much to all of you who stop by to visit, it means so much to me!

4) Do at least 1 DIY a month: I didn't posted many DIY's in 2016, but I really like the few I did. I'd like to do more in depth sewing posts and tutorials on some pattern drafting things in the future!

5) Write more informational and issue-based posts: Not so much, perhaps in 2017!


Well, it's lucky I've got a whole new year to achieve bigger and even brighter things. This year my sewing goals are as follows:

1) Improving the quality of my finished garments. I can be really impatient and skip things like finishing raw edges, interlinings, or fiddly details I see as too time consuming. Since I got my mom's overlock working I have been better about finishing my raw seams, but I'd like to use nice seam binding even more. This goal also includes my wish to pick up some tailoring skills to improve the quality and finish of any jackets or coats I may make in 2017.

2) Focus on fit. I wrote recently about trying to fix my bolero pattern and how I then fell down the rabbit hole of fixing my bodice pattern, well I really need to fix the fit of all of my patterns. Mostly this means perfectly fitting my bodice pattern since I use my basic dress bodice as a base from which I pattern everything else. I need to stop thinking "eh that's good enough" when really I could be fixing things!

3) Make more complicated garments. I tend to make simpler garments with less draping, ruffles, pleats or fiddly design details, again mostly because I am impatient, I want to go from idea to wearing things too quickly. Well I need to stop reusing the same styles over and over with a different neckline, I need to spice it up!

4) Replicate at least 1 vintage item in detail. I'd like to actually completely reproduce a vintage dress or blouse instead of just taking inspiration from various pieces. I already have a 1930's dress I've been eyeing as a good project to flat out copy down to the last detail, but I'll have to see if I can find a good fabric.

5) Make a late Victorian bustle gown. As long time readers know, I made a Victorian corset, shift, and lobster tail bustle ages ago and then never got around to making a gown. This year I need to make the damn gown! Mostly it is the expense of silk and/or wool yardage that has held me back from going after the gown, but I hope to be able to save up and spring for it this year.


As for blogging goals, I think I'll wrap those into a more general list of goals for the year. Ahem...

1) Get better at Instagram. I looove Instagram, I love following other vintage gals, vintage sellers, travel photography accounts and my friends. I also can't pretend that a lot of what used to make up "fashion blogging" as an industry has moved over to Instagram. I love old school blogging so I'd never leave the internet (it is my home ha!) but I can't say I don't envy those who have built up a great Instagram. It's sorta harder to figure out what makes people discover and follow an Instagram account compare to following a blog, but I hope this year I can do better on what is one of my own personal favorite platforms.

2) And speaking of social media platforms, I want to make more YouTube videos in 2017! I made 10 videos total in 2016, and really I'm only proud of say, 3 of them? I want to learn to be more at ease in front of the camera, and how to make better travel vlogs (by like you know, actually filming myself and talking...!). I also want to film some hair tutorials of course, and to that end I have been sprucing up my bathroom in order to be able to film in there. Getting better at travel vlogging will be super important too, because I may already have ticket booked to jet off somewhere pretty special in April ;)

3) Personal Finance for dummies. Just kidding, I'm not that terrible, but I still need to be stricter with my budgeting this year and save up for some epic travel I want to do. I'd also just like to learn more about managing one's personal finances in general, like learning about credit and boring things like that ew. Still, it's an uber important part of adulting I still know very little about so I need to make an effort to learn!

4) Read more. Gosh it pains me to say this! I think I'll have to force myself to read, like set a schedule (read on Thursday nights for 2 hours, etc), which seems absurd because I love to read! Still, I have somehow fallen out of practice with reading as much as I'd like to, so I need to get back on the reading wagon!

5) Learn Japanese. Wait what? Yes, I said I want to learn to read and speak Japanese. Out of left field?Sorta. Umm that's much harder than French? (which I attempted to learn back in high school). Yes, I know. I have already made progress learning 2 of the three kana scripts, hiragana and katakana, which I had been practicing diligently until December hit and work took over my life. Now I've got to jump back in with even more focus, refresh what I've learned so far, and then jump into learning kanji, vocabulary, and grammar. I have already invested in the recommended textbooks and everything, I've just got to do the work. What made me want to start learning Japanese? Well I fell for Japanese culture (and gorgeous textiles) all over again in 2016, and I want to travel to Japan eventually. Plus I think I need the challenge, the brain work as it were.

6) Finish the book and submit it to agents & publishers. It has been my constant goal to finish the fiction book I have been writing for oh umm--what is it !!6!! years now for so long it is getting old. I have got to iron out the kinks and start shopping the darn thing around. I have poured my heart and mind into it for so many years now, I have just got to finish and share it with people.

Well, those are my goals for 2017! What about you? Are you planning on doing anything new and challenging like learning a language or a new skill? Why not dream big!


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