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Drafting your own Sewing Patterns Made Easy

7/31/13

This week, I tried my first vintage draft at home sewing pattern from Mrs. Depew Vintage.

1930s blouse pattern

Mrs Depew is owned by my sweet friend, Anna Depew who specializes in rare pdf sewing patterns from the 20's-50's. I found Mrs Depew ages ago in an etsy search and fell in love with her gorgeous and affordable patterns.

I am always on the hunt for a bargain, especially with sewing. Buying fabric and notions is expensive, why shell out so much for a single pattern? That's exactly what 1930s home seamstresses were thinking when they used these amazing draft at home pattern books.


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Mrs Depew's draft at home patterns are from a 1930s-50s French system. The pattern is a semi-circle with numbers all over it and you use this circle along with the included measuring tapes to draft a pattern in any size from dolls to plus size.



I have been sewing my own clothes since I was 12 and this looked terrifying to me at first but Anna wrote a beautifully simple tutorial to show you how to do it and once you get started, it's very easy and really fun! I was so excited and impressed with myself that I had to show Pj how it works when he came home that afternoon.


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The difficult part about these patterns is that there are no sewing instructions included. These patterns were made in a time when most women knew how to sew clothes. I got a little hung up on mine and am still working on it but for a seamstress who enjoys a challenge, it really is a blast to do these. From a fashion history stand point, its very interesting to see the ingenuity in creating these patterns and what women did to look fashionable back then


There are so many beautiful patterns to choose, I wish I could list every single one of them here but you'll just have to go check them out!


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Swoon-worthy Sunday: red and blue and adorable all over?

7/28/13



 I'm excited to introduce a new feature on Va-Voom Vintage- Swoon-Worthy Sunday. Every week, I will share some swoon-worthy things that I have been dreaming of or use already and adore.

 This week, I'm loving this gorgeous Spin There, Done That Dress from ModCloth. It's brand new today! I don't know about you but I go crazy for anything in check and gingham, especially in the summer. To pair with the dress on hot days when I can't be bothered with pin curls, this timelessly elegant turban headband in red from lookbook store . I'll take one in every color, please! Slick on a coat of my favorite summer product Besame Lipstick in Carmine because the sticky heat is too much for full on red sometimes.

 Also this week, I spotted this amazing fake-a-lite brooch and earring set from Vintage and Vanity . They call it fake-a-lite but they should really call it "fab-a-lite"! I am madly in love with her repro jewelry. The carved bracelets are also amazing. To finish off the look, these sweet Apricot Polka Dot wedge from Tidestore. Mixing prints is a tough thing for me because I'm always afraid that it'll clash but really, I don't think you can go wrong with polka dot wedges, do you?


The steal of the week is the red turban headband for only $11!






Tutorial: Car Seat Buckle Covers

7/27/13


Today I have a very quick tutorial for how to sew a car seat buckle cover to protect baby's legs in the heat of summer. It's been so hot lately that you can literally bake cookies on the dashboard of a hot car with the doors closed. My kiddos both have black car seat buckles and yell like we all did as kids, "It's hot it's hot!!"

 Before we leave home, we usually let the car run for a few minutes to cool it off but when we get back in the car while on an outing, those buckles are as hot as a skillet again.  I went to the park with my sister the other day and sure enough, those buckles were burning. I said "Why oh Earth do they use black plastic to make these damn buckles? Someone should come up with a little cover or something!"  So, I did!


1. I traced the buckle on paper 

2. Cut out two pieces of flannel for each part of the buckle, plus 5/8 inch for seam allowance.
With right sides together, sew the pieces of flannel together leaving it open on the bottom for the strap and on the top for the buckles. I cut little notches to mark the open ends.

3. turn right side out and try it on for size, sliding the strap through to the bottom

4. finish the open ends with bias tape, whip stitch or blanket stitch.


Although this dress does a find job of keeping Lilo's legs covered, some of her shorts and other dresses don't, especially when she gets wiggly on long rides. She's very excited about  her new buckle cover!



1950s Bowling Shirt

7/26/13

vintage turban headscarf summer vintage hairstyle

Last weekend, we popped into the Salvation Army to pick up some shorts for Pj. They always have great separates and I spotted this pretty blue cotton top. I thought it resembled a bowling shirt but it wasn't until I got home that I looked at the label and realized that it is! It has cute white stripes down the back and is fitted with a dart to accentuate a lady's curves.

carved bakelite bracelets



We took the kids to the park on Wednesday afternoon and it was so hot so I thought I'd give my new blouse a spin. It was so comfortable and cute. Perfect for chasing the kids and climbing around at the park. I went poking online the other day and found classic bowling shirts on Amazon in black, pink, blue and white with white or black trimmings. I'd love to embroider or embellish with felt on the back. Super cute!!

casual 1950s plus size pinup style from Va-Voom Vintage

 I wore my "bingo" brooch with it. I found this brooch at Brenda Sue's in Warrenton. I love wearing it because everyone always looks to see what it says and it gives us all an unexpected giggle.



Outfit
bowling blouse- thrifted
high waist zip leg crop pants- thrifted, originally from New York and Co
black wedges- Seychelles
assorted bakelite

Adored Vintage

7/25/13

 Today, I'd like to introduce you to my sponsor, Adored Vintage
    
Adored Vintage is a beautiful online vintage clothing boutique with a showroom in lovely Long Beach, California. Owned by Rodellee Bas, a girl after my own heart who curates a fashion museum in her business. She left her full time job last fall to focus all of her love on Adored Vintage.

    
Rodellee says, 
"I've always had such a deep love for fashion and history which is why I started collecting vintage! Several years ago my collection quickly outgrew what little closet space I had and I built a website to sell my vintage wares to make more room for more vintage! 

Every piece of vintage in my shop is hand selected for quality, beauty, and historical significance. I believe every garment bears a tale from its past within its construction and condition. I do almost all the mending, cleaning, and repairs to a vintage item before I photograph it to be sold in the shop. It's a lot of hard work (about 12 hour days on average), but I adore every minute of it!"
           

Adored Vintage stocks the dreamiest silk and lace lingerie, exquisite print dresses and stunning accessories. For the modern bride, be sure to drop by the bridal boutique for something truly unique.  I had so much fun writing this post, looking at all of the beautiful things. Each item was more lovely than the last! 

       


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And if you're in the Long Beach area, visit the Adored Vintage showroom and find your own treasure at
419 E 6th Street #101
Long Beach, CA
90802

Welcome to my Victory Garden

7/24/13

1950s plus size summer dress and victory garden va-voom vintage

The blue hair is gone already. I had it for about 5 days and although I loved the color and it looked so pretty when styled, it just wasn't my style anymore. I do like to try fun new colors but I think I may get a few pastel wigs to play with instead. That way, I can play for one day and go back to something more "me" the next day without any hair or scalp damage. I'm glad I did it though because you never know if you like something until you try it. Personal style should be flexible and changing and it'll never evolve if we don't try new things!


Some of you may remember the planting of my first Victory Garden on Mother's Day weekend. Well, we've been watering and tending and the garden has given us a beautiful harvest in return! For a few weeks, we've enjoyed a handful of tomatoes and one bell pepper but it's finally taking off so fast that we have to check back daily to pull the ripe veggies!

I live in a little house in historic St Charles, which was built in 1930. The back yard is very small and since a garage takes up half of the space, even smaller! I was a very bad gardener and crammed the veggies in a bit tighter than they should have been . I live a block away from the Missouri River so the soil here is black and very fertile, making for very happy veggies.


1950s plus size summer dress and victory garden va-voom vintage
This week's haul from the garden minus a bowl of tomatoes that the kids already ate!

 The tomatoes are especially too close together, making it very hard to dig in for the ripe ones and I'm worried that the sun wont be able to ripen some of them on the lower bits so I will try to dig a larger bed for them next year. My kids eat tomatoes like apples so I really wanted to have as many of them as I could, not to mention all of the possibilities of canning sauces, salsa and whole tomatoes!



The pickling cucumbers are going absolutely wild. They've grown up this pole and are hanging on to the laundry line now. We have tons of tiny baby cucs which will soon be pickled. We're making half sour pickles, which are divine as well as sour pickles for my mother in law's famous dish- Sour Pickle Steak. The right kind of pickle is always hard to find around here so I figure if I make her a bunch of them, we can always enjoy sour pickle steak. I did have to pick one of these the other day. Olivia was desperate for one and I can't refuse a girl her cucumber. It was delish!!

1950s plus size summer dress and victory garden va-voom vintage

Also to use a small space, we planted green beans on a green bean tee pee so the kids have a play space and the veggies have room to grow. They love to sit in here and eat fresh tomatoes and green beans! 



Also coming soon are watermelons! We have our first little baby today. Since we have a very small space to grow, we have the watermelons along the side of the house where we never really go unless it's time to mow.




Did you plant a victory garden this year? Have you enjoyed any fruits or veggies yet?

My Vintage Vanity

7/23/13



This weekend, I worked on reorganizing my bedroom and thought I'd show you all one of my favorite spaces: my vanity.

This vanity table originally belonged to my grandma when she was a girl. She said it had roses painted on it ages ago. It looks like it also had a vanity skirt that opened to reveal the drawers and extra shoe space.

I keep my sewing machine in the green clothes hamper so this space doubles as a sewing area so I can do thrift store re-fashions, vintage repairs and whip up some creations of my own. I have a train case nearby with all of my sewing necessities.



The drawers hold my makeup, hair styling tools, gloves, scarves and some of my favorite comfy night gowns in the bottom drawer.

I wish I could keep lovely mirrored vanity trays and little jars of creams and powder but since I have two pairs of tiny hands who love to get into mommy's makeup, everything messy is protected with a drawer lock and pointy things are in the jewelry boxes. You can still see evidence of a break-in with the smudge of pink on the center makeup drawer from a demolished tube of lipstick. 

I found this vintage pink silk organizer at a thrift store for a quarter and it's the perfect size for my Bakelite bangle collection.



Two estate sale frames with quilt batting and pretty fabric hold some of my vintage brooches, making a beautiful display and freeing up space in the jewelry boxes.

vintage novelty brooch collection from Va-Voom Vintage
 brooch display organizer from Va-Voom Vintage
A celluloid necklace, Bakelite beads and 1940s plastic fruit charm bracelet- a gift from Bunny.



One of my favorite things to do when the kids are napping is sit in the quiet and organize my jewelry boxes. Sometimes I arrange them by color, material or era. Sometimes the sparkly ones go together and the plastic ones go together. Sometimes I organize them to make sure that all 3 boxes have a little dash of rhinestones, Bakelite, Lucite and novelty.


 

When it's just Olivia and I and the earring-eating beast is asleep, we sit and try them on and I stack my bangles up to her elbows and she does a "crazy dance" with her elbows flapping so they click and clack. 








Review: Pretty Vintage Panty Girdle from Leonisa

7/22/13

Thank you everyone for your comments on this week's affordable vintage lingerie US and UK posts. Today, I have a review of another beautiful piece of vintage style lingerie from Leonisa. and yes, ladies- they do ship internationally!
 
I've tried several modern high-waist panty girdles and haven't found any that really foot the bill. They roll down, ride up and let's face it, don't look very cute at all! I was contacted by Leonisa to sample one of their products and fell in love with the look of their vintage lace collection.




I chose the Vintage Lace Hi-Waist Control Panty in fuchsia firm control
This panty girdle features sheer elastic lace in a french net pattern, reminiscent of vintage millinery veil. The lace is sheer on the derriere so the rear is lifted, not flattened while the rest is layered with black mesh for firm control. The waist band is enforced with a non-slip band so it -really- does not roll and there is an adjustable hook and eye closure for easy access in the ladies room.

 


I wore the panty girdle all day while doing my normal daily tasks- blogging, washing dishes, lounging on the couch with the kids and putting laundry away. Through all of the movements of walking, bending, crouching, sitting, laying the girdle stayed put. I'm actually really surprised because so far, the only stay-put shape wear that I've found has been a vintage girdle. In the ladies room, the hook and eye closure was easy to release but took a little fumbling to get it back together, which I suppose just takes practice. Overall, it was very comfortable to wear all day. Unlike several other brands, this panty girdle did not ride up, requiring all kinds of unladylike tugging! The lace around the rear is completely flat so there's no panty line.

Based on Leonisa's size chart, I went with an XXL. I really loved their simple size chart. Sizes change based on which level of compression you choose so you'll be sure to get a good fit and desired level of shaping.



This is a great shaping garment to wear for smoothing the yummy in a pencil skirt or high waist pants and I love the girly lace and pretty color! 

Disclosure: This girdle was provided c/o Leonisa for review. All reviews on this blog are my own genuine opinions. Please see my full disclosure policy

Tutorial: 1940's Inspired Puff Sleeve Knit

7/21/13

how to sew a 1940s puff sleeve knit top retro thrift refashion


For those who don't know how to knit, here's an easy how-to so you can make your own 1940s style puff sleeve knits from frumpy thrift store finds. I often see these boxy things at thrift stores and garage sales and think about how cute they could be with some extra love.

You will need a fairly loose- fitting knit so that you have enough room to play with it. Try it on first to see how much you'll need to take it in at the sides and how much you'll want to raise the sleeve. I probably should have measured mine but I just eyeballed it.


first, remove the sleeeves



Since the shoulders on mine are a bit too low, I'm removing a little extra from the shoulder too



Next, cut the excess from the sides
Lay the pieces together to see how they'll match up once the sleeve is gathered at the top.



With right sides together, sew up the sides and try it on.
I raised my sleeve just a bit by snipping off a tiny bit at the shoulder and sewing it back up. This also shortens the sweater a little bit.




gather the top of the sleeve-If you don't know how to sew gathers, it's so easy to do! Dana Made It has a great tutorial on basic gathers. I totally did the cheating method.



reattach the sleeve- for those who have not sewn a sleeve, check Sew Mama Sew for a tutorial on attaching a set-in sleeve

You can add to it with buttons, beading, embroidery, applique or whatever you like! I changed the collar just a little bit on mine because the original collar was too high for my taste. I'll be posting more of my refashioned thrift store knits in the near future. This is so easy and quick and a great way to make use of those cheap knits!

Blue Haired Girl

7/20/13



When I was a teenager, I had blue hair for several years. Its the one thing that I never changed my mind about loving. I tried it again this week and although it's a really pretty color and I love a Marge Simpson blue beehive, I think I'm going to go back to a normal color immediately. It worked for my 16 year old self but I'm feeling like it's -so- not me! It's fun to play at any rate so here it is!








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