Tuesday, October 22, 2013


You just need to see something pretty.  I've been perusing vintage gloves, because I love them.  I wish that we still wore gloves today, but I guess we'd be hard pressed to convince the pajama-bottom-wearing-in-public young ladies of today that gloves are a necessity.  But wow........there are some pretty ones out there.

So here, for your viewing pleasure, is a really pretty pair of gloves.  I imagine them on Myrna Loy, with a shirtwaist dress with a fancy collar, and a hat perched on the side of her head.

They're available on ebay.  Click here to bid.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Most. Awesome. Ad. Ever.

I have no idea what it says, but I will say this:  he's the living embodiment of a Schmuck, in American terms.

Chasing a bunch of worms around

I was listing this beautiful pattern, McCall's 3100 (from 1954), in the store this morning, and trying to come up with interesting ways to describe it, as it came from the era before descriptions of the garment were written on the pattern envelope.  I came upon the suggested fabrics and paused:  taffeta, polished cotton, crepe, sheer wool, honan, shantung, cotton broadcloth, wool jersey -- and I stopped.

Honan.  What the heck is HONAN?

So I went to dictionary.com and found this description:

a.  a pongee fabric made from the filaments of the wild silkworm.
b.  a lustrous fabric simulating pongee and woven from fibers other than silk.

So I thought, what the heck is PONGEE?  Back to dictionary.com:

a.  silk of a slightly uneven weave made from filaments of wild silk woven in natural tan color.
b.  a cotton or rayon fabric imitating it.  Compare Shantung, tussah.

Tussah, I found, was a tan silk from India.

Personally, I would make this dress in taffeta, because I would want to hear the wonderful rustling, but I went looking for honan, and found that Vogue Fabrics doesn't carry it.  They do, however, carry a lot of pongee, so at least I know what it looks like now.  And though they don't carry honan, they do carry wool and silk tussah, in case you want to do some felting or spinning.

So, there is your lesson for the day.  Though you probably already knew.........

Saturday, September 28, 2013

All Things Bright and Beautiful

It's pageant time, and so in honor of the Miss America who is of Indian heritage, and the Miss World/Miss Phillipines who is of American heritage, I'd like to share this fabulous picture of Miss Margaret Gorman.  She was Miss America 1921 -- the first Miss America, a title that came along after she won the Atlantic City beauty pageant the year before, then won it again.  They didn't want to give her the same title twice, so she was deemed Miss America.  She's also the only Miss America to receive her crown after her reign was done.

Sounds kind of like they were making it up as they went along, but I can't deny the girl has THAT THING that makes her impossible to look away from.

Granted, this photo is from 1925 - four years after her reign ended, but still, the girl won Miss America wearing a swimsuit that went down to her knees.  The girl had IT.

Friday, September 27, 2013

They just don't make 'em like this anymore..........

Here are just a few adjectives for this ensemble:
  • sexy
  • chic
  • glamorous
  • head turner
  • man-killer
Do I really need to go on?  It's from 1962, from that line of McCall's patterns that doesn't have a name, but is so distinctive.  This is probably my favorite era of McCall's illustrations.  Now listed  in my Etsy store.

That dress is so Breakfast at Tiffany's that I keep expecting the model to turn around and have a cigarette holder in her hand.  ::sigh::  I'm in love.

Monday, September 23, 2013

You Might Be A Bad Girl If:

A quiz, taken from a Pageant Magazine, from 1948:

Here are eight questions.  Under each one, simply put a check mark opposite the answer that tells the truth about yourself.

(a) I think kissing is all right.
       1.  After the first evening with a date.
       2.  When I am sure that he is a regular fellow.
       3.  When I really love him.
       4.  When he is engaged to me.

(b) It is all right to go on an overnight trip with a boy:
       1.  Sure, why not?
       2.  If we trust each other.
       3.  If others are along.
       4.  Never.

(c)  It is all right to date other boys even if I am engaged
       1.  Why shouldn't I?
       2.  I ought to keep meeting other boys.
       3.  Only if I'm not sure of my fiance.
       4.  Never.

(d)  A married woman should not be forgiven if she is unfaithful:
      1.  That's old-fashioned; she has as much right as a man.
      2.  Sometimes she can't help it.
      3.  It is a serious offense.
      4.  She simply shouldn't be unfaithful.

(e)  Would you permit yourself to be picked up?
      1.  Naturally.
      2.  If I felt like it, yes.
      3.  Only if the man is not alone.
      4.  Not at all.

(f)  Would you go to a man's apartment?
      1.  Why not?
      2.  If I felt like it.
      3.  Only if I knew him very well.
      4.  Never.

(g)  Would you go out with a married man?
      1.  I don't see why not.
      2.  If he particularly appealed to me.
      3.  Only under special circumstances.
      4.  Never.

(h)  Would you accept a gift of money from a man?
      1.  Yes, if he can afford it.
      2.  If he really wants to help out.
      3.  Only if I need it desperately.
      4.  Never.

The scores on each point run from 1 to 4.  Since there are eight questions, the highest score you can get is 32, the lowest 8.  If your score is from 26 to 32, you may consider yourself extremely moral -- or else overinhibited.  The best score therefore would really be from 23 to 25, showing just enough restraint mixed with courageous feelings about moral questions.

A score from 14 to 21 will reflect a girl liberal in views, but not necessarily bad.  A score from 8 to 13 reflects a girl who needs stricter moral codes.

I got a 23.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Mel and The Doctor

The other day, I mentioned that I didn't remember leg o' mutton sleeves in the 80s.  Wo tonight, my guy and I have been watching the Doctor Who marathon on BBC America.  Keep in mind that he is older than me.  Fine with me, and my boys are very impressed that he has been a Doctor Who fan since it first came on back in the 60s.  He's the only person they know who knows more about the show than they do.  Heck, he's been quoting episodes from the 60s as we watch the rundown of all eleven doctors (now twelve, but since he hasn't started yet, they can't very well do a montage about him, now can they?).

So we're up to the Seventh Doctor now, and what should we see but this, from 1986.

It's the Seventh Doctor with his companion Mel, right before he regenerates.  So, I'll be darned, why don't I remember those sleeves, cause this was in my heyday?  I dunno.  Of course, who knows what year they were in at this point, given the time travel and all. One things for sure though -- they aren't larger on the inside.

And for all you Whovians out there, what you think about the choice for the Twelfth Doctor?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

At Long Last.........A Shred of Proof

It's no surprise that I love sewing patterns.  I came across this one the other day, and it finally has (perhaps) proven a theory many of us in the pattern community have had.  It's an Advance Import Adaptation pattern, which were released in limited editions, and are quite scarce now.

There are typically no dates on Advance patterns, much less Advance Imports.  The Advance Import Adaptations were some of the earlier ones seen, and it's always been our idea that they are adaptations of the Paris designers' works.  It couldn't really be proven, because of the lack of dates and other inforation. Today, finally -- proof!  Included in this envelope is the original print add for Advance Import 95, shown here.  The ad is from 1953, and although the page is cut in half, it does say that it's based on Paris (something).  Go to the pattern envelope's back and you find that they call it the Tulip dress.


Christian Dior had his "Tulip" collection in 1953.  Connect the dots and you will see that this must've been based on one of the dresses from that collection, or at least based upon the design elements.

There.  I can sleep at night now.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

It's all in the sleeves

They say that Balenciaga was fascinated with sleeves, and built his designs around them.  As I get older, I realize just how important sleeves are -- middle age is not kind to women's upper arms, but I shall overcome, with the help of the gym.  Still, I find that cap sleeves and puff sleeves compliment only certain women, and my shoulders are too big to pull them off.  Heck, when I got married in 1987, I remember trying on one dress that was completely frou-frou (like most of the 80s) -- my mother sighed and looked at me lovingly.  Her love for that dress was obvious.  I, on the other hand, was quite certain that I looked like a linebacker.

But I saw this dress today and am completely fascinated.  I don't remember seeing leg 'o mutton sleeves in the 80s, and this is from 1982.  Totally inspired by the 1890's, and seen for a very brief period in the late 60s, when they were more commonly seen as Juliet sleeves, but not in the 80s.  I think those leg 'o mutton sleeves make the dress in the photo look completely different than the illustrated ones.  Combined with that deep neckline, and you've got the makings of some serious steampunk.

Love it?  Buy it here, from Deja Vu Patterns.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Drop. Dead. Gorgeous.

I actually gasped when I saw this.  You MUST look at the etsy listing for this beautiful confection.  It brings me back to my mom's wedding dress.  She had a more simple ballet length dress in 1953.  I've only seen shades of it in pictures, because their wedding pictures were taken by my uncle, and were somehow double exposed.  It makes getting a good view of her dress rather difficult.  Add to it that my grandmother gave it to the Salvation Army, and it makes it all the more tragic.

So buy this dress, please.  Because I'd buy it in a minute if I thought it would fit.  And then I would buy a bouquet and walk through the grocery store in it, just because pretty dresses deserve to be worn.  Frequently.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Another fun one

I've been going through literally thousands of sewing patterns, preparing, once again, to move.  In August, in a period of three weeks, all three of my birds will fly out of the nest.  Oye vay!  They're not all supposed to do this at the same time, but they don't seem to care, and off they go:  the oldest to seek adventures in another state, the middle one to grad school in Florida, and the youngest to his revered Butler University, where he's wanted to go since he was a wee tot.  And so it is that my house is just suddenly going to be way too big.  I've decided that I don't want to move ALL of the patterns this time, so I'm downsizing.

To give you some sort of idea just how many I have, I have thus far packed up 71 printer paper boxes stuffed to the brim, 12 egg boxes, and have at least a couple thousand more to pack up.  And that's just the ones I'm offloading!  I have tons of great ones to keep (and sell).

So I was looking at Vogue Couturier patterns the other day, trying to figure out prices.  I still have to raise money for Butler's tuition, dontcha know, as well as the grad school daughter's wedding.  And I came across this:

It looked familiar, and I realized it is made from this pattern:
I would think that that fabric is pretty scratchy, but the listing says it's soft.  I can see this on Megan, on Mad Men.  I wonder if the buyer realized it's made from a Pucci pattern.  This kind of find gives me life.

Back to packing.  And I've been listing some patterns on the Ooh La La Vintage Swap and Sell Facebook site, as well.  If you love vintage, check it out -- things go VERY quickly there, but wow, do they show some spectacular stuff.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Brown Bread and more..............

My guy and I were having a discussion about food.  We actually do this a lot, because he is a real foodie, and a great cook.  I mentioned to him about brown bread, and he thought I was talking about pumpernickel. Nope, I said, brown bread.  In a can.  He thought I was nuts, but I was sure I remembered it being served by my grandmother, when we would visit her in New York.  I was six or seven, and gotta say, I was not a fan of brown bread in a can.  I asked my mom, and she said yep, brown bread in a can, and it was delicious.  And that she hadnt' thought of it in years.

So I went looking online, and found it, at the Vermont Country Store.  Bought two cans of it for Jim for Christmas, and I don't think he's had it yet.  I also bought some for Mom and Dad, and tasted it when I was visiting and hey -- I love the stuff now.  Like a fine wine...............

But The Vermont Country Store, I've found, has lots of other cool stuff that hearkens from the past.  Like LemonUp shampoo, with the cool lemon shaped bottle top.  And Max Factor's Pan-Stick makeup, from the 40s and 50s.  And Evening in Paris perfume -- straight out of the 1920s.  And the real kicker?  Longcils Boncza liquid eyeliner -- used to give Miss Audrey Hepburn her beautiful cat eyes.  How cool is that?

They have lots of food, and housewares (including a selection of chenille bedspreads), and even some clothing brands like Lanz.  You can even find Necco wafers there.  Browse around, cause it really is a blast from the past.  And don't forget the brown bread in a can.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

British Eye Candy

Gotta say, I'm a bit obsessed with this youtube channel.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dearest Abby, May You Rest In Peace

We lost an icon of cultural history yesterday, with the passing of Abigail Van Buren, aka Dear Abby.  Pauline Esther Philips started her column in 1956, and quickly became known all around for her sage advice, often embellished with a bit of humor.  Her twin sister, Esther Pauline, aka Ann Landers, wrote a similar column.  I was honored to have a letter published by Ann Landers about 15 years ago.  I have a copy of it around here somewhere, and will always keep it, because it was my little 15 minutes of fame.  But it was Dear Abby who I grew up reading with my breakfast cereal every day, and whose style I preferred.

She grew up as "Popo," but took her pen name as her personal one, going by Abby to everyone who knew her.  Esther grew up as Eppie, and never used her pen name to friends and family.  Just hearing that the twins' names were Eppie and Popo makes me smile.

Rest in peace, girls.

I'm not sure of the year on this one, but I'm better late 50s.  And how about that early IBM Selectric typewriter?  That was some pretty fancy typing, for those days.