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In March, I started a new sponsorship program. Each ad size now has its own package with details on what I do to promote your blog, business or website.

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Reviews, Reader Discounts and Outfit Posts
In the past, I have posted product reviews, tutorials featuring sponsored products and outfit posts. If you have a special discount for Va-Voom Vintage readers, I can announce that in your sponsored post.

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Try Something Different- American Duchess Historical Footwear


Before my vintage fashion addiction took hold, I was madly in love with historical costuming. From Elizabethan to Victorian era. If I could, I would wear it every day. Sadly, a bustle or Elizabethan ruff isn't very practical in the modern world but you can add some touches from  fashions of antiquity like accessories and shoes! Here are some beauties that I'm admiring from American Duchess for the spring and summer that would look really fun and unique with modern or vintage outfits.

"Tavistock" Victorian Button Boot
Our local antique malls are full of Victorian garments and shoes but good luck finding a pair of boots in a modern size 9 or 10! The Tavistock from American Duchess comes in ivory and black and features period correct gusset and easily adjusted buttons for a perfect fit through the ankle and calf. This boot uses only period- correct button closures.

 Hint, ladies! You'll need a beautiful button hook for your vanity set to fasten them- just like the originals.

American Duchess offers a discount on reproduction Victorian button hooks when you order with your Tavistock boots.

"Kensington" 18th Century Leather Shoes
Although many of us do not do reenactments very frequently, the Kensington with its  one-of-a-kind Louis heels and hand stretched pointed toe would be a unique addition to a summery dress or (don't shoot me here) even worn with jeans. Seriously- forget about modern heeled booties in the fall and try something really fun!

 This shoe comes in top quality dye-able calfskin and buckles can be swapped out to customize this shoe to your heart's content. Buckles are sold separately but American Duchess offers a beautiful range of reproduction shoe buckles along with a discount when you order with your shoes. My favorite is the elegant and classic Dauphine rhinestone shoe buckle.

Before I go, I have to share what I spied on the American Duchess blog the other day, which will be available for pre-order in July...

the gorgeous 1930s Claremont Shoes. Aren't they divine? Stay tuned for more on that next time!!

American Duchess is a sponsor of Va-Voom Vintage. Please view my full Disclosure Policy

Tutorial: 'The Help' Skeeter's Sweater


The Help Skeeter's diamond  Sweater Tutorial from Va-Voom Vintage

The Help is one of those movies I can watch on an endless loop for days and not get tired of it. It's a story that reminds us that it's good to live in a modern world where people are treated with more equality than they were back then...or at least, now there are laws protecting human rights. It's also a story that encourages us to stand up for what we believe and fight for what's right, even if our friends and family don't agree. Many of us think of the battle for racial equality as a thing that happened in southern states a long time ago but even here, in Missouri, my great grandma had a maid.

The Help Skeeter's Sweater Tutorial from Va-Voom Vintage

I remember great grandma telling me about "a colored girl" who came to help clean the house and that's basically all she said about her.  My grandma, however, who was probably a child or young woman at the time remembers the maid much more fondly.  She was a dear, sweet lady who taught my grandma how to bone a chicken and she made some sort of amazing peachy jello dessert that my grandma and her brothers all loved. I will have to call grandma and ask her more about her maid and see if she remembers the lady's name or has any photos of her. I'm curious to see how she was treated by my great grandparents and what her relationship with the family was like.

vintage 1940s style Miss Albright shoes, wool skirt, mustard purse

Anyway, on to the sweater. Since I first saw this movie, I fell in love with the dress that she wears in the scene when she's talking to Constantine under the tree.(Click the link to watch the scene on You Tube)

I thought this would be a cute one to try to replicate, not as a dress but as a sweater that can be worn with a skirt or jeans.

The Help Skeeter and Constantine under the tree sweater tutorial


* A note on colors-In some photos, the trim and embellishments look brown and mustard and in others, they look burgundy and mustard.  I tried both and decided I much prefer burgundy, personally but compare swatches of different yarns and see what combinations you like best (or what you have in your yarn stash)*

 yarn in mustard and burgundy. I'm using some worsted weight scraps that I had laying around
a crochet hook-mine is a 5mm or size H
a thrift store sweat shirt in blue/green or whatever you can find that's pretty close
needle and thread to match yarn
piece of mustard and burgundy felt
3 small white or cream buttons

My sweat shirt was a little baggy so I turned it inside out, pinned at the sides, sewed it up and trimmed the excess. If your sleeves are full length, you can trim them to 3/4 length and hem them under.

blue sweatshirt The Help makeover

The Collar and Sleeves
Originally, I tried knitting this. I did k2 p2 in 3 rows, switched colors and repeated but this yarn that I had was a little bulky for the task. If you had a different yarn, it would probably be beautiful in knitted ribbing (and more accurate to the original) but for this project, I switched to crochet instead

chain enough stitches to go around your sweat shirt's collar, single crochet one row in mustard. Switch colors, sc 1 row in burgundy, tie off  (here's a video for how to do  the single crochet)

pin the crochet strip to the collar so it hangs over the edge just a bit.
using thread to match and stitch each row to the shirt. My stitches are longer and kinda willy nilly. As long as the stitching tacks it down sufficiently and doesn't show on the front, it's all good.

Do the same for the trim around the sleeves

crochet collar trim for The Help sweater makeover

The Diamonds
Cut two matching diamonds out of each color of felt. My diamonds are 4 1/2 inches long and  2 1/2 inches wide. Using matching thread, hand or machine stitch the diamonds to the upper left side of the shirt, burgundy on top, mustard on the bottom, overlapping as shown. Stitch the buttons in place as shown.

crochet collar and diamond embellishment for The Help sweater how-to
Skeeter's Sweater in The Help

tutorial for Skeeter's Sweater in The Help

That's all! It took about an hour and a half and $3 to make. It's so cute, I may make some in different color combinations. Black and pink, red and aqua, chartreuse and burgundy- this would be adorable as a cardigan and you could easily make a skirt to match!

Giveaway: The Great Gatsby in Fashion


Last week, we fell in love with style guides and the fashion portal from Vintage Dancer. Today we have a giveaway for The Great Gatsby in Fashion, written by F Scott Fitzgerald in 1925, with fashion history annotation by one of my sponsors, Debbie Sessions, creator of

As mentioned in my previous post, The Great Gatsby in Fashion is the full original novel by F Scott Fitzgerald with annotation by Debbie Sessions. It includes 33 additional pages of fashion history insights complete with original color illustrations and photographs throughout. Debbie sent a copy to me last week and I've really enjoyed re-reading my favorite book with her thorough research on fashion of the day and fashion illustrations included.


“The love affair with one of the greatest American novels ever written has just as much to do with the dazzling fashions of the 1920’s as it does with great story telling. F. Scott Fitzgerald, a dapper dresser, and his wife, Zelda, a notorious flapper, experienced the high life of fashion and culture in the twenties. It was only natural for Fitzgerald to include detailed descriptions of the clothing each character wore. It is in his observations of their dress that he unveils the characters’ motivations and morals that play a critical part in the novel. Fitzgerald’s audience in 1925 would have understood what color a “gas blue” dress was and would have known the sound of “clicking pottery bracelets.” Today’s readers miss the cultural context of those fashions, until now.
Debbie Sessions brings The Great Gatsby’s Jazz Age alive with illustrations and historical annotations of the clothing described in the novel. Sixty images of 1920’s dresses, suits, shoes, hats, hairstyles and the people who wore them are included alongside descriptions of the clothing worn in the summer of 1922, the year in which The Great Gatsby is set. Additional cultural insights of the life and times of the roaring twenties are blended into the annotations creating an insightful view of the 20’s wealthier class.”

The Winner Will Receive: a copy of The Great Gatsby in Fashion. (pdf, kindle and other e-reader formats included)

 To Enter:
 leave a comment below telling me
What Gatsby era fashion do you wish would come back in style?"

For an extra entry, share the giveaway on facebook, pinterest and/or twitter (one entry for each, please leave a comment letting me know that you shared!)

This giveaway will run for one week and the winners will be chosen at random and announced next Monday

Vintage Dancer is a sponsor of Va Voom Vintage. Please read my Disclosure Policy images and sample pages used with permission from Debbie Sessions

A Rare Occasion in Non-Vintage


I get a lot of questions from readers- something often to the effect of "Do you wear vintage every day, even just to run to the store for milk?" Usually, I do wear vintage, even to run to the store or clean the house. It happens every once in a while, I step out into the world not dressed in vintage. I feel (and I may be wrong here) that you have to really go for it with the hair, makeup and outfit to get a complete, put-together look.

We had to run to Wal-Mart for a few things for our fishing trip tomorrow and since we were in a hurry and I wasn't feeling the hair and makeup thing, I put myself together in my occasional "mom clothes" I'm still wearing my Heyday Trousers and a vintage scarf because they're comfy and easy but the rest is a zip up hoodie and t shirt, hipster glasses in place of my cat eyes and some moisturizer.

 I also carried my new, enormous Transversion travel bag. See my whole collection here.

Living in Missouri, where people don't really dress up, sometimes it feels nice to go out and be unnoticed, just hurry up and get your shopping done and run home so you can sew.

Vintage Dancer Style Guides


vintage dancer header
website        blog        facebook       twitter      pinterest

Vintage Dancer is a blog and shopping portal written and curated by Debbie Sessions. I first heard of Vintage Dancer when I reviewed her 1940s Style Guide ebook, now in print as well. I am such a fashion history nerd, I was in love with her ebook. She teaches the style of the decade by explaining the social and political reasons behind fashion changes of the time. She covers the details used in garment construction from fabrics to cut and embellishment, making it easy to learn about these styles and replicate them.
1940s style guide

 Check out my review here. Since I read the 1940s Style Guide, she has also written the 1940s Fashion Guide for Your Body Type, which I've been enjoying this afternoon.

Debbie Sessions of Vintage DancerDebbie started writing her ebooks and blog to help other vintage enthusiasts to find information and proper costuming sources for events and clothing for daily wear. Today, along with being a stay at home mom, Vintage Dancer is her full time job!
 Vintage Dancer is an aggregate site, curating all of the best vintage inspired clothing from major retailers and small businesses in one amazing shopping portal.  Debbie sources collections from the the Victorian era to the 1960s.

I have never seen an aggregate site quite like Debbie's before. It's such a blessing when you're looking for something specific for a special event or for building your vintage wardrobe for a certain era- everything you need in one place! She offers loads of research and information on fashion history in her blog posts and ebooks so you can apply what you learn from her articles to find the perfect era specific garment from her shopping pages.

With all of the 1920s revival going on this spring, she has been working on some really exciting Gatsby themed ebooks, articles and clothing collections.

Sign up for Debbie's free,12 part 1920s Style Guide Series  
Read her fantastic ebook, 1920s Fashion for Your Body Type
Check out her amazing huge list of 1920s reproduction patterns

 Debbie sent me a copy of one of her newest ebooks, The Great Gatsby in Fashion. I read the Great Gatsby in high school and re-read it again a few months ago, before beginning work on the Gatsby Issue of Hey Doll. Since reading it without a test looming over me, I enjoyed it much more this time and it has become one of those books that I run around telling everyone that I know to sit down and read it. It's so beautifully descriptive of the time and tragically romantic- all the things I love in a book. So, if you haven't read it yet, sit down and read it!!

The Great Gatsby in Fashion is the full original novel by F Scott Fitzgerald with annotation by Debbie Sessions. It includes 33 additional pages of fashion history insights complete with original color illustrations and photographs throughout.

The Great Gatsby in Fashion

"Two years ago when I heard about all the upcoming movies, TV shows, and mini series set in the 1920′s, I started to dig into researching the twenties. Previously I researched the 1940′s, but this time the 1920′s started calling my name when I bought a house built in 1920. I thought that annotating the Great Gatsby was a good starting point to share some of what I learned about REAL not Hollywood 1920′s fashion. I hope through the book, readers will once again (or for the first time) enjoy the classic novel while learning something new. This is just one more way to share my passion for 20′s fashion."

The Great Gatsby in Fashion is available for a limited time for 99 cents. I'm curling up with my Nook and this book this afternoon. Stay tuned next week for my review!

the great gatsby in fashion sample page

Vintage Dancer is a sponsor of Va Voom Vintage. Please read my Disclosure Policy images and sample pages used with permission from Debbie Sessions

Top 10 Picks and Passes from E.L.F.


After mentioning ELF makeup in yesterday's vintage eyebrow post, I wanted to share some of my favorites from their line and some of the ones that missed the mark for me.

I've always been a drugstore makeup girl. Most stay at home moms don't have the funds to buy a $20 eyeshadow and when we do, we'd rather buy a new pair of shoes or have a thrift store shopping spree.
E.L.F. has a huge line of super cheap makeup and is sold at Target, Walmart and online. At prices ranging from $1-5 for a single product, why not try a few? I think a lot of people think that "you get what you pay for" when it comes to makeup but I have found a lot of really amazing makeup products that do the job just as well, if not better than higher end brands. Right now, E.L.F. is having a Memorial Day sale on their website so you can really snag a steal

Pick the e.l.f. Studio Eyebrow Kit -Again, as I mentioned yesterday, I love this kit! Such a fab little compact with two shades of brown- one in a creamy pigmented wax, the other in a setting powder. I've been using the darker wax of the medium palette for over a year and love it to pieces. I use a small angled brush to apply and it fills in like a charm and looks very natural. The compact has a small mirror inside so you can get up close. It comes with a small angled brush but I pitched it and use my own. It's not waterproof but I've never had it run down my face in the rain or heat either.

Pass on e.l.f. Mineral Lipstick
So far, I am not at all a fan of ELF mineral lipsticks. Ones I've tried have been super greasy and heavy, sometimes lumpy in application and just blah. I tried a red that was so dry I had to use olive oil to get it off, followed by loads of chapstick. A pink that actually went on kind of chunky and looked like Pepto Bismol. If you want a really good cheapy lipstick, try Wet N' Wild's Mega Last Matte range. I wear them almost daily and love 'em.

 Pick the e.l.f. Essential Waterproof Eyeliner Pen
 I am head-over-heels for my NYX The Curve Liner but Rhys busted into my makeup one day and came running into the living room stark naked, covered in black eye liner. So, I had to order a new one. While I was waiting for my NYX to arrive, I ran to Walmart for a new liner to use in the mean time. I picked up the ELF waterproof eye liner pen for $2 or $3 and it's a great little product! It has a felt tip applicator, which makes application a breeze. This liner doesn't allow for a super thin line like my NYX but for the price, it's a pretty good liner to play with. The formula is smooth, jet black and stays put. This pen is a
2010 Siempre Mujer Makeup Award winner 

Pass on e.l.f. Studio 100-Piece Eyeshadow Palette
I used to think "eyeshadow is eyeshadow" until I tried E.L.F palettes and what a bummer. There's color in them and they don't blend if my life depended on it. I guess it's okay for a quick slap of color before going to the grocery store but for the price, you might as well get some really kick ass NYX shadows.Can you tell I'm a NYX fan?

 Pick the e.l.f. Studio High Definition Undereye Setting Powder
I have always had under eye circles, even as a teenager but being 27 with two toddlers, I can use all of the help I can get. I picked up this under eye setting powder, a little skeptic about it. They claim that it's a light defelecting      It's a super fine powder in a very pale pink hue with tiny glitter added. "Glitter under the eye? Yeah... bad idea." I thought but I gave it a shot and wow, it really does work and the glitter isn't noticable! It's not a miracle powder, erasing 10 years from your under eye area but if you do a before and after look, you'll notice the difference!
Pass on These Brushes
e.l.f. Studio Fan Brush
Okay, not a "fan" of this one at all. The bristles are cheap and plastic feeling. I know, they -are- plastic but it feels like a little girl's play makeup brush.
e.l.f. Studio Angled Eyeliner Brush
Again, I'm not crazy about the fibers on this brush either. It's a very strange brush to use. Seems like the fibers are too long and sparse for the task and it creates a really thick, chunky messed up line.

Pick These Brushes

 e.l.f. Studio Small Angled Brush-this is the one I use for my brows and I really love it. It's $3 and does a beautiful job of creating a sharp line and keeping a thin line when I need it. It's so perfect, I've even started using it to do that Marilyn style lower lash wing- and it's vegan friendly

e.l.f. Essential Foundation Brush I've tried higher end brushes for foundation but this little gem works a charm, applies smooth and has lasted forever!

Have you tried e.l.f. products? What are your picks and passes? 

Please view my disclosure policy

A Vintage Guide to Eyebrows- 1950


Vintage Guide to Eyebrows 1950 Va Voom Vintage

I thought you might enjoy these pages on how to shape your eyebrows, use eyebrow pencil and get the right brow shape for your face. This is from The Standard Textbook of Cosmetology from 1950. Although it has a lot of textbooky stuff in it, it has some really good information on beauty basics that you can do at home. I'll be posting more from this book soon!

 I've been using the ELF brow kit for ages and really like how natural it looks. It's a combination of creamy pigmented wax on one side and powder on the other. The wax keeps hairs in place and fills everything in but doesn't look so penciled in and sharp. I usually use only the wax but sometimes I do use the powder which gives a lighter, more softened look.

 What kind of brow filler do you use?

For more on brows, see my post on How to Achieve Vintage Eyebrows

Click here to read larger pages

how to tweeze your eyebrows 1950s vintage beauty book tutorial
how to tweeze your eyebrows 1950s vintage beauty book tutorial

Lewis and Clark Heritage Days


What a gorgeous day to get out and play! This morning, we took the kids down to Historic Main Street for the annual Lewis and Clark Heritage Days, which is something Pj looks forward to every year. St Charles is the site of the beginning of the Lewis and Clark expedition to explore the west. They set out from this river front area and headed all the way to the Pacific. Clark wrote in his journal of St Charles,

 “ 12oClock a number Spectators french & Indians flocked to the bank to See the party.  This village is about one mile in length…and about 450 inhabitents chiefly French, those people appear pore, polite & harmonious.”

The weekend includes fife and drum corps, canon demonstrations, military camps and food, music and games from the period.


In May, this tree produces puffs of seed pods that float through the park and cover the ground in snowy cotton. The kids and I had fun catching them.

It was a warm day but nice and breezy by the river, as always so I decided to wear my tiki dress that I made last summer (which I haven't worn since!) I used Mrs Depew's beach bustier pattern for the top, a pencil skirt that I had in my stash for the skirt and a long rectangular sash attached only to one side of the skirt that I can drape across and pin at the hip. I also made a matching bolero since I'm not much of a halter top girl. I found this rayon tiki print fabric at Hancock Fabrics on mega sale last summer.  I had great plans to wear my carved fish shoes but since we planned to walk all day, I opted for the crocs flats instead.

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