Thursday, April 27, 2017

Road to Avallon

So I fell for an absurd polyester brocade at Joanns...and thought it would look perfectly Renaissance paired with an ancient church in the French countryside! So I bought 5 yards (with a coupon, of course) and set to work making a dress to pack for my trip to France.

I'm writing this from Paris by the way, you know, no big deal (!!!).

This dress is my recently re-drafted kimono sleeve bodice pattern with a full circle skirt. I intended to wear this with a petticoat originally, but I was visiting a small museum this day and didn't want to have to worry about hitting things with my skirt. (#petticoatproblems) The neckline is finished with a self fabric facing and the hem was finished with cotton bias tape (see my tutorial where I explain how I do this hem finish). The belt is actually velvet ribbon with a beaded and faux jewel trim that I originally made for my senior collection at university. I had to modify the length as my waist measurement is quite a bit larger than the models, but it was no problem to sew on some more ribbon and a large hook to the center back. Perfectly tudor-esk no?

This beautiful little church is Église Saint-Lazare in Avallon France. In the Burgundy region it can seem every little town is magical and ancient, but Avallon is one of my favorites! It has an amazing museum of historic costume so...of course it is my favorite! My mother and I traveled to Burgundy to visit our most wonderful friends Martine, Pierre, and Isabelle. Staying at Martine and Pierre's most lovely home in a small town just outside of Auxerre in Burgundy is so wonderful as they are most kind and generous hosts. Martine and Isabelle took us to Avallon on our fist full day in Burgundy to visit the town and musee de costume. We had a magical time and I can't wait to share more about the museum with you all soon!

Fun fact: Avallon is speculated to be a possible historical basis for Avalon in Arthurian legend! How awesome is that! This theory depends on which historic legendary king one imagines King Arthur was based on, as one of these kings died near Avallon. It is pretty amazing that the city has been there so very long as to be part of ancient legends. So much history!

I hope you are all very well, I am certainly having a great time here in France! Tomorrow is our last full day in Paris and it should be a pretty packed one! I've taken a ton of photos to show you all, as I like to travel in full retro style <3 I have gotten a lot of odd looks, but it is worth it to wear my favorite fashions in such fabulous places ;)

Dress: Made by me
Shoes: Royal Vintage Shoes
Fishnets: Target
Belt & Necklace: Made by me
Earrings: Old Navy
Clutch: Vintage

Monday, April 24, 2017

Spring Streams and Umtali Leather

It's fun (and silly) to make up scenarios for outfits sometimes, lets say this one is a bit high maintenance wife of an early adventure filmmaker surprising him by showing up at his camp in the wilderness. One day I hope to be making up stories professionally (I swear the book I've been writing is almost finished, ahem, really it is...) but until then I'll just imagine stories behind a few photos.

Speaking of adventures, this handbag caught my eye because I loved the rusty rich ocher colored leather and deco inspired shape, but when it arrived the best surprise was actually on the inside! The small label says Umtali Leather and has a little sketch of what looks like a water buffalo. Intrigued I googled Umtari to find out it is the former name of a city now called Mutare in modern Zimbabwe. "THE lovely modern town of Umtali nestles at the foot of the mountains in Manicaland, the Eastern Province of Southern Rhodesia. The name "Umtali" is derived from the African word " Mutari," meaning " River of metals," and refers to the alluvial gold found long ago in the streams and rivers of this area." (1963, Booklet - Umtali - Capital of the Eastern Highlands of Southern Rhodesia). (Found here, but google says the link is not secure? Not exactly sure what that means but it is an interesting read? Hmm) It seems Umtari Leather was company specializing in exotic leather goods, but I can't really find much information about it. The idea that this handbag may have been made in Africa as an export item item makes it even more special to me as a safari style lover, though I do now wonder what kind of leather it really is made of?

I picked up this vintage snake skin belt to match the handbag as it was a similar color, and the mustard/tan piping trim on these Chelsea Crew pumps also sorta matches. The never ending quest for matching accessory sets marches ever onward ;) I'd love a straw hat in this yellow/orange/tan shade, or perhaps a silk scarf, so i'll be keeping an eye out for those in the future. Luckily my retro sunglasses match quite well already coincidentally!

While I am off adventuring a far different local, please enjoy the out-take of me directing my loyal photographer below ;) One day I ought to just do a post full of just out-takes, I make some strange faces!

Suit: Thrifted
Blouse: Made by me
Shoes: Chelsea Crew
Belt, Handbag, Jewelry: Vintage (Etys)
Sunglasses: Sunglasses Museum (Etsy)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Cataloging Catalogs: Ever More from Montgomery Ward Spring Summer 1943

It is time again for another installment of Cataloging Catalogs! Today we have some more pages from the Spring Summer 1943 catalog that I scanned recently, and wouldn't these frocks be wonderful no it is truly Spring!

I just love imagining how I would draft the patterns for these styles were I to try and copy them. I would like to sketch out some of the styles as technical sketches (as we called them in fashion school) where each seam and sewing detail is noted. Making a copy of a dress from this catalog would be such a fun project, but finding a similar fabric to the lovely textiles described could prove difficult!

Shall we take a look?

The first girl wears no hat! The girl next to her no gloves! All of these styles would be relatively easy to recreate now, though the mini polka dot dress from the top row looks very 80s to modern eyes doesn't it? It would not be out of place in the 1980s at all!

The gingham dress is my favorite from this page, but that is no surprise as I love gingham! The floral dress is also lovely. I always like prints!

More designs here that are good styles for using up scraps of fabric from other projects. The bows and stripe along the skirt and sleeve hems in the middle top dress seem to be done with bias tape and the dress in the bottom right has wide stripes in contrasting fabric! I love this last wide striped dress, the buttons are a nice touch <3

Very nice hats here on page 41! How nice to have a matching dress and long jacket for cold spring days. The large flowers down the front of the polka dot dress are fun and add something fresh to such a classic print.

Jackets over dresses, mix and match ladies! Fun hats again, and classic pearl necklaces, worn with light shoes and gloves. You can see here how popular large collars were, though now they may seem a bit 70s sometimes.

This is one of those pages where I really do want one of each dress! The first dress has wonderful self fabric details, the second is an embroidered jacket, the third is such a wonderful print, the fourth has amazing deco lined pintucks, and the last amazing lace! Anytime these want to magically appear in my closet I would be glad to receive them :) Notice too how dress G is styled with a single dress clip at the end of the V neckline, a good use for individual dress clips! 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Give Me Gingham

A few black and white today with the noise turned up a tad since I felt these photos looked a quite vintage. Can't go wrong with a classic gingham dress right? This dress appears on the ol' blog pretty often, but I can't help but reach for it time and again, even if the neckline is annoyingly low meaning I am always adjusting it!

Since I am always going on about matching accessory sets for vintage styling, I thought I'd try and style this dress with as much navy blue as possible! I don't have a navy blue necklace however, so when I decided to wear the white necklace I also switched out the planned all navy pumps for my two toned Chelsea Crew t-straps from Royal Vintage Shoes. Goodness do I love these shoes! They are so comfortable too, which is always good of course. I picked up this navy box shaped handbag back in my old college town on a day trip last year, and I have been on the hunt for a more traditionally shaped navy bag ever since! This one is pretty cute, so I don't know why I am so concerned about having a different navy bag, but you know...I love to shop so ehhhhh.

I am writing these words early in the week, as while you read this I should be getting my tourist on in Burgundy France! I'm sure I'll have many photos to share with you soon! <3

Dress: Made by me
Handbag: Vintage, Wear it Again Sam (Fort Collins CO)
Shoes: Chelsea Crew (Royal Vintage Shoes)
Hat, Gloves, Jewelry: Vintage (Etsy)
Belt: Amazon
Sunglasses: Sunglasses Museum (Etsy) 

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