Sew Your Own Vintage Pin Up Swimsuits


sew your own vintage style retro pin up swim suits with mrs depew vintage patterns

That dreaded time of year is upon us where we drag ourselves store to store looking for the perfect swim suit (one that fits great, is flattering, adorable and the right price).  Two summers ago, I decided to completely skip the bad dressing rooms and sew my own perfect swim suit, using Mrs Depew's one-piece bathing suit pattern.

svintage  1950s pin up swim suit sewing pattern rita hayworth from mrs depew

 A halter strap bandeau never goes out of style. Pair it with the beach shorts shown in the pattern or, for a style like the ladies pictured, try this bikini bottom.

The wonderful thing about sewing your own swimwear is that you can get a perfect fit every time. Buying separates has always been difficult because my swim bottom was always a different size from the top. I'd often pick a one-piece and alter it to fit anyway. Mrs Depew patterns come in print or draft at home and a few are available in paper, perfect for the girl who can't fit ready-to-wear beach wear. With the one-piece suit that I sewed, I was able to size the bust and hips to fit (with great coverage up top) and nip in the waist.

Va-Voom Vintage readers save 15% off from Mrs Depew with code "VAVOOM" at the register

Check out other beautiful projects made with Mrs Depew Patterns on the Mrs Depew Customer Gallery pin board 

the notebook movie allie's red beach swim suit and pom pom headband vintage sewing pattern from mrs depew

 Get the look from The Notebook in the 1940s beach shorts, turban and beach bra

1950s marilyn monroe or elizabeth taylor petal bust pin up bustier vintage sewing pattern from Mrs Depew

We all fell in love with Tasha's version of the Depew beach bustier. Embellish yours in pom pom trim, piping or contrast fabrics. Check out my tiki dress to see how I extended the torso portion of this bustier to make a fabulous bodice.

vintage marilyn monroe esther williams one piece skirted pin up swim suit sewing pattern

The classic skirted one-piece is on the covet list for many vintage ladies in the summer. This versatile pattern may be made in strapless or halter. I added decorative buttons and piping to my aqua blue and red version. Also check out Marilyn's red suit from How to Marry a Millionaire, made using the Depew one-piece pattern.

Mrs Depew Vintage is a sponsor of Va-Voom Vintage

sew your own vintage style pin up swimsuits

Giveaway: $50 to Perfectly Posh Vintage


 Today I have a lovely giveaway from my sponsor, Perfectly Posh Vintage.

The prize- $50 gift certificate to Perfectly Posh Vintage, may be used on anything in the shop, including shipping.

To enter-leave a comment below with your favorite item from Perfectly Posh.  Follow the Punch Tab widget for additional ways to enter

Perfectly Posh Vintage is a sponsor of Va-Voom Vintage

Presidents on ther Wedding Day


It's wedding season and somehow in my stumbles, I found myself checking out pics of US Presidents on their wedding day. I love seeing such high profile people having fun, being themselves and being happy. There's something really refreshing about it. So, here are our current and past 10 United States Presidents looking awfully dapper (and young!!) with their beautiful new brides on their wedding day.

barack and michelle obama wedding day
Barack and Michelle Obama

George and Laura Bush Wedding Day
George and Laura Bush

Bill and Hillary Clinton Wedding Day

Bill and Hillary Clinton

George and Barbara Bush Wedding Day

George and Barbara Bush

Ronald and Nancy Reagan Wedding Day

Ronald and Nancy Reagan

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Wedding Day

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter- love her wedding outfit!!

Gerald and Betty Ford Wedding Day

Gerald and Betty Ford

Richard and Pat Nixon wedding engagement
Richard and Pat Nixon

There were no photos of the Nixon's wedding to be found but I did find this adorable shot of the two of them being silly together at their engagement party

Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson wedding honeymoon

Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson- honeymooners

John and Jackie Kennedy Wedding Day

John and Jackie Kennedy

For more vintage wedding inspiration, check out my Vintage Bride Style Guide

Vintage Caravan Book Giveaway Winner


Thank to all who entered the Vintage Caravan Style giveaway! The lucky winner was chosen by random number generator. Congrats to Noemi P!

Check back tomorrow for another lovely vintage giveaway!

Behind the Scenes of Maddy James Vintage Loungewear


Last week, I shared the exciting news about Maddy James vintage inspired lounge wear. Today, owner and designer, Gina Kimmel is here to share her story about how Maddy James went from hunting for the perfect nightgown to launching her own clothing line. 

Maddy James will be launched only if the remaining start-up funding goal is met so please pop over to the Maddy James Kickstarter page to donate before May 7th and help this beautiful collection reach its launch date!

{Looking for the Perfect Nightgown}

I came up with this idea to produce vintage lounge wear about three years ago when I was looking for a vintage nightgown to wear to a 1930’s weekend in Catalina organized by the Los Angeles Art Deco Society. I’ve always loved vintage style of lounge wear and found so many delicious pieces, but I had a hard time finding things in my size, and what little there was in my size was so fragile I was afraid to actually wear it. Then I started doing an exhaustive search for reproductions, and what very little I found there was made from real silk charmeuse cut on bias, gorgeous but over $400 dollars. Ouch! 

Pledge $105 and be the first to lounge in the Katharine Jumpsuit from Maddy James

I had been involved in the costume world in Los Angeles for several years, was a member of CGW (costumers guild west) and dabbled a bit on TV shows. I’ve been a seamstress for over 30 years, and made countless period costumes. Due to my search and research for the Catalina event I became obsessed with vintage loungewear, and started making my own based off of vintage patterns I had collected over the years. That is when I had the idea that maybe other ladies were sick of sleeping in sweatpants, but also couldn’t find beautiful items that weren’t priced out of reach or really trashy (I love Fredrick’s of Hollywood, don’t get me wrong, but not practical for every night wear) It started to come to me that maybe I had an idea here. 

{The Best Looking Tomato in Town}
Around this time my grandmother, whom was such a lady and such a fashionista died and left me a small inheritance. I decided instead of using that money to pay bills or sock away, I would use it to do something special and something in her honor. And that is what gave me the where-with-all to take on this challenge.

The logo, which is a sexy tomato is in her honor, and drawn by my daughter, who is in art school. My gramps use to always say, “your grandma is the best looking tomato in town”. Every time I look at it I think of her. 

{Going Home to Chicago}
There were some big obstacles to overcome before I could get going. The first was that it was right about this time that my honey and I decided to move from LA back to my hometown of Chicago. Chicago isn’t exactly known as a fashion mecca in the United States and keeping all of the manufacturing in the United States is very important to me. However, moving home actually turned into a good thing. It freed me up to actually start something new, and there was just enough of the fashion industry left to make it doable. At one time Chicago was known as quite a powerhouse of fashion. Floreshiem men’s shoes originated here, as well as Spiegel Catalog and Ebony fashion magazine. (Sadly all gown now)

Pledge $70 to cuddle up with a good book in the Aubrey Pajama Set

The next obstacle did not really know much about the fashion industry, and although I’ve been making clothes for 30 years, I didn’t know to pattern or grade or any of the other important things to design a collection. So, back to school I went. I joined the fashion department at Harper Community College and there met some great ladies who were eager to help make this happen, and even greater teachers and mentors that customized the fashion program to fit my needs and were so supportive with the encouragement and with their great advice and hand holding.

 {Launching Maddy James Vintage Lounge Wear}
For the last year I’ve spent a lot of time into coming up with the first collection. I wanted it to be fashionable and glamorous and make every a women who slept in feel special. Yet, it had to be practical enough to wear every night. All of the fabrics I’ve chosen are luscious and cozy, but most important everything can be cleaned in a washing machine. The collection is sized small (4-6), medium (8-10), large 12-14) and extra large (14-16). Most of the pieces have some sort of elastic in them to give it even more give and comfort. 

Pledge $95 to relax in the luxurious and classic Chantal nightgown

After three long years I am ready to launch. I have all my ducks in a row. The designs and patterns completed, the fabric and trims sourced, the samples made, and the factories lined up. I am now doing a 30 day Kickstarter to help with the rest of the funding, and I am planning on having the first collection ready to sell on my web site (designed by my honey) starting in June. However, you can pre-order or purchase part of the collection through the Kickstarter page!

It’s been a crazy, scary, long, fun journey and it’s finally ready to go. A real tribute to my grandmother, and I know she would be really proud. 

Maddy James is a sponsor of Va-Voom Vintage. Please view my full disclosure page

How to Make Blog Photos Pop with Mascara from Picmonkey


Make blog photos stand out using Picmonkey photo editing tool, mascara

Just a quick tip that I wanted to share with you ladies who love Picmonkey as much as I do- play with the mascara tool from Picmonkey's Royale features.

I found this many months ago and use it on almost all of my photos now. It makes everything really pop!

Here's how:

Open your photo in Picmonkey and select the lipstick icon

choose mascara

Move the slider to make the brush size as big as you can, then adjust the strength till you like the results. I usually use around 50-60%. Sweep the tool across the image and select "apply". You can deepen the look of smaller areas by making the tool smaller.

Mascara is a paid feature but you can try it free for a week to see how you like it.  Picmonkey's Royale features are $33 per year, which I happily subscribe to since I find a way to use it almost every day in blogging, social media and even editing family photos and making photo gifts for the grandmas.

For more tips on blogging, check out my other blog tutorials and my brand new ecourse, Bloggerific: How to Have a Beautiful, Successful Blog, in which I teach how to design your whole blog using Picmonkey!

Va-Voom Vintage is an affiliate of Picmonkey. Please view my full disclosure policy

Va-Voom Vintage Shop Now Open!


I've had a lot of emails from readers over the past few months, asking where my shop went. Over the winter, I went back to working outside of the home part time and between work, taking care of the house, the kids and blogging, I couldn't keep up on everything! Its very wise to know your limits and priorities so I closed to the shop to take something off my plate so I could give attention to the really important things and adjust to a new schedule.

Now that its spring and I've been taking things in a different direction and doing a lot of simplifying, which I love!! The vintage clothing shop is closed although I still have lots of inventory, I'll be purging it here and there in vintage sales on my facebook and instagram pages throughout the year.

My new shop is now open and I'm really excited about it! I'm spending the next several weeks listing automatic downloads in pdf form for vintage beauty books, knitting and crochet patterns, home making booklets, ecourses and ebooks and vintage clip art. I personally love automatic downloads because I'm very impatient and don't like to wait for things to ship to me- and also because they preserve rare and crumbling papers to be shared and enjoyed by everyone.

Today and yesterday, I posted two booklets and I'm working on scanning my spring and summer collections of vintage knitting and crochet patterns.

Also purchase my ecourse on blogging in the new shop

New items will be added every few days so check back or follow on facebook, twitter or instagram for updates!

Afternoon at the Science Center


Today is Rhys's 3rd birthday! Pj was off work today so we took the kids to the St Louis Science Center for a day of play.

 The Planetarium is full of retro space-age memorabilia, kitsch and artifacts. Its funny seeing things that you own in a museum setting! I have those dishes and a very similar brooch!

 Olivia is terrified of tornadoes and any kind of bad weather so it was fun for her to get to be up close to a tiny tornado and learn how it works. There's slots in the side so kids can reach in and feel the air swirl around.

After playing at the Science Center, we had a picnic in Forest Park under a beautiful tree by a lake.

Rhys picked a flower for me and hoarded the muffins

Olivia played in the dirt

I made silly faces

As we were packing up, these three funny ducks came over to snag a few bites.

vintage bowling shirt- thirfted
lucite B brooch- ebay (see my tutorial to make your own)
capri pants- Family Dollar
black flats- Walmart

Giveaway: Vintage Caravan Style


Every few weeks, Pj and I pack the kids up and take a short road trip to visit my parents at their home in the country. We love to go on nature walks or fish and swim in the river. Often times, my sister and her family come or other extended members of the family join us and it makes for a lot of fun...and a very full house!! My parent's country home is right next door to my grandparent's country home with a barn and pasture between the two. Although both houses have a lot of room for guests, we're all planning to fix up my grand parent's beautiful vintage Airstream as a mini guest house to sit between the properties.

Last Sunday, we had a little peek inside

This darling sofa folds out into a 2nd bed. There's also a bed towards the back of the Airstream, near the bathroom.

I love all of the original knobs and controls for the radio and kitchenette. It has a lot of work to be done on the inside, since the mice have gotten to it. The ladies will have a lot of long hours scrubbing and sewing and finding retro decor while the guys work on wiring and all of that mechanical stuff. When the hard work is over, we'll all have a really adorable camper to enjoy on the weekends and grandma even has a pair of original pink flamingos for the outside!

Throughout April and May, Sticth Craft Create is hosting the Vintage Caravan Style Blog Hop to celebrate the new book from Lisa Mora, Vintage Caravan Style.

Lisa is the editor of Vintage Caravan Magazine.  If you love glamping as much as I do, pop over to Stitch Craft Create to check out all of the vintage caravan features from my fellow bloggers this month, including some shots of their own caravans!

To Enter
One Va-Voom Vintage reader will win a copy of Vintage Caravan Style. Please leave a comment with a way to contact you if you win! Entries open worldwide. The giveaway will end next Friday and the winner will be announced then.

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