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Mornings on My Vintage Porch

7/22/15


In the mornings while its still cool, the kids and I love to sit on the front porch and watch people walk their dogs and drive to work. Sometimes I bring my laptop with me and check emails and sip iced tea, which I set on a little wooden stool draped in a strawberry print vintage tea towel, trimmed in red fringe.




Lately, we've had a lot of dragonflies dancing around. My son named one of the Jeff. Our front porch is one of my favorite things about this house. It has these beautiful scalloped tin awnings over the windows and a metal scalloped edge mailbox that goes "Tink!" When the mail lady closes it. The floor boards are worn and shabby and in the winter the icicles do all of the decorating for me.

plus size vintage casual style with jeans and pincurls on a retro country porch via Va Voom Vintage with Brittany
On rainy days, a puddle collects at the bottom of the steps, perfect for splashing and quacking in, when you're pretending to be a little duck. We grow lambs ear in the garden and Olivia loves to put one behind each ear and say "I'm a little lamb! Pet my soft ears!" 

 I hope our next home has such a wonderful, quiet place to sit and enjoy the sunshine. At night when it's storming, after the kids are tucked in, I sit here on my little retro glider and listen to the rain fall on the tin awnings. Absolute bliss.

Outfit
vintage blouse- estate sale
jeans- Thrifted (Gloria Vanderbilt Amanda jeans)- more about these jeans in this post
wedges- Thrifted, originally from Madden Girl

plus size vintage casual style with jeans and pincurls via Va Voom Vintage with Brittany

The Almost Destroyed 40s Dress

7/20/15

I found this dress in a warehouse, at the bottom of a box that had previously been in a warehouse that caught fire. It made its way from the original owner to a fabric recycler but somehow along the way it crossed paths with me. Funny how things are found when they could have been so easily destroyed.

Sadly, I haven't required the need of a fancy dress in a long time so I decided to just start wearing these things on regular days too because why not?

plus size vintage 1940s dress via va voom vintage with Brittany

vintage pageboy hairstyle and red 1940s hat from Va Voom Vintage with Brittany

1940s beaded dress and pageboy retro hairstyle via Va Voom Vintage with Brittany

Style for Little Ladies

7/16/15

This weekend, I started knitting mittens for Olivia. Since she starts school in a few weeks, I'm suddenly obsessed with kids fashion and even started a Pinterest board called Lulu's School Style for inspiration.


Some of my favorite things....



handmade pencil scarf from Sara Carr on etsy

Although most of her school wardrobe will include thrift store finds, some little things will be handmade.  I hate to spend so much time making things that my kids will grow out of but there are a few accessories that I'm looking forward to making myself. Those are the kids of things that they can at least wear for more than a year and  then they'll be tucked away into a box to be found again when they're grown ups.

I have never knitted mittens before so I found this simple pattern for flat knit mittens ( I can't do knitting in the round yet!) from Bev's Country Cottage and some inspiration for embroidery and colors from Cozy Things

embroidered flower knitted mittens from va voom vintage

These little mittens were so quick! I am not a super fast knitter but I did one mitten per evening with a little time the next day embroidering the flowers. I used vintage crewel wool from my grandma for the flowers and the grey yarn was in my stash. I'll be knitting some red ones with strawberry seeds also for Olivia and some blue ones with anchors on them for my little pirate loving boy. It will be a while before St. Louis is cold enough for mittens but when it is, we'll be ready in style!

Now, to try socks!

hand knit childrens gray mittens with embroidered wool flowers from va voom vintage

What the F--- Vintage Crafts: Clown Ski Masks

7/13/15

I love to pour over a big stack of vintage magazines, reading articles and admiring the fashions, sticking strips of paper in them to hold the spot so I can go back to it later. I especially love my craft magazine collection, passed down from my grandma. There's some great stuff in these pages but there's an equal amount of incredibly tacky, trashy, politically incorrect, hilarious stuff that makes me cackle "What the f--- were they thinking?"

I think it would be a crime to let these treasures crumble away to dust some day so I've decided to make it a mission to record every hideous moment of vintage craft history and share them all with you because I love all things ugly and wrong.  I hope that you all appreciate these wonderful projects as much as I do!

Anyway, I wanted to start the first WTF Vintage Crafts with a bang so here is an infamous ski mask design that you can knit for the whole family!

1960s vintage creepy knitted ski masks via Va-Voom Vintage

1960s vintage creepy knitted ski masks via Va-Voom Vintage


Yes, mom, dad and the little ones can enjoy these clown-like ski masks as you go out into the world and terrify everyone who crosses your path. For extra fun on a slushy winter day, pop by the bank and see how fast the cops can get there. Surprise your neighbors by shoveling the snow on their sidewalks in the middle of the night as you stay toasty warm and delightfully horrifying. Apparently yarn is the stuff that nightmares are made of.

1960s vintage creepy knitted ski masks via Va-Voom Vintage

10 Under $10 Pin-Up Girl Staples

7/12/15

I live for a great bargain. Every week, we take the kids to the dollar tree to pick out a treat to have during our family movie night and I get so excited over all of the pretty glittery nail polishes, 100 hair ties for $1 and adorable print tote bags! Today I want to share 10 of my can't-live-without items for $10 or less for the pin-up girl on a shoe string budget.

retro pin-up girl style on a budget 10 staples under $10 from Va-Voom Vintage


ballet flats- A fabulous pair of heels can't be beat but I practically live in my black ballet flats. They're so feminine and they definitely pull an outfit together better than lazy day flip flops! one $10 pair of flats will last from spring through to fall. Wear them with circle skirts, pencil skirts, capris and dresses.

matte red lipstick- every vintage loving girl has a tube of red lipstick tucked away. My favorites are from Nyx. The high pigment and matte finish has great staying power and for $6, you can buy a few of the 30 colors in the collection! I love Perfect Red, which is the ideal 1940s shade of blue-red and Indie Flick, a gorgeous orangey/coral.

gel liner- Another favorite from NYX is the black gel liner for $9. Use a fine tipped brush and get total control over the thickness and sharpness of your winged eyeliner.

foam rollers- For a long time, I couldn't figure out how to use foam rollers without my hair turning into a clown wig but I've recently perfected it and I know that I can rely on my inexpensive foam roller for flawless curls and waves every time. I found my set from Conair $10

teasing brush- I don't ever do my hair without a teasing brush on hand. Use it to give great height to beehives or make victory rolls a breeze. With a teasing brush, I can get a perfect vintage hairstyle in under 5 minutes with no extra pin curls or product needed! This one is available from Sally Beauty for $4.99

wide belts- Cinch in your waist and add a pop of color with a wide elastic belt. I love the little nip in the middle that I get with these and you can wear them with any skirt, dress or cigarette pants. Choose from 24 colors for 9.50 each on Amazon


seamed stockings- Nude stockings with nude seams are a classic element of a vintage style wardrobe. I don't wear them often but when the special occasion is around the corner, I order very affordable plus size seamed Cuban heel stockings from stockingstore.com for $7.85 per pair ($8.85 for plus size). They have great stretch for long legs and full thighs!

cold cream- take off makeup and moisturize super dry skin with the same cream trusted by grandma and classic Hollywood starlets. There's lots of brands out there but I love Ponds for $4.99 at Target

mesh bun form- Cut it up to pad your beehives, shape faux bangs or do a classic chignon. You can find them at the dollar tree or any drug store for a few bucks. All summer I've been using my snapable mesh forms from Hot Buns ($10 for a 2 pack), which I love because you don't have to cut them up! Just snap and unsnap for flat forms or round ones. I pin them at my crown for a really easy beehive like in this tutorial. 

chiffon scarves- tie them in a Rosie style to cover your pin curls, in a perky bow or around your neck. I can't get enough sheer scarves in my life. Mine are mostly vintage that I find in thrift stores for 99 cents or so but if your thrift stores are having a scarf drought, choose from 11 colors for $5.99 each from Hey Viv!


I hope that you enjoyed my must-have collection. What's your budget item that you can't live without?

Free Vintage Pattern: 1950s Crochet Poodle Cardigan

7/11/15

free 1950s vintage poodle cardigan crochet pattern


It's been a long time since I shared a pattern from my collection so today, here's a pretty summery crochet pattern from the 1950s. I love the poodles on this darling vintage cardigan. That nipped in waist and 3/4 length sleeve is perfect to wear over your sun dresses or with a crisp cotton skirt! The pattern is for the basic cardigan, with no mention of how to make the poodles but I bet you could easily applique some felt cut-outs or purchase store bought poodles for Halloween poodle skirts. Super cute!!

Download the Poodles on Parade free vintage crochet cardigan pattern from Dropbox. 

For more like this, check out my free vintage patterns page for vintage sewing, knitting and crochet patterns and free downloads page for e-guides, patterns and free vintage craft books. Enjoy!

How Plus Sized Women Can Wear Crop Tops Too

7/10/15


This week, women are taking to social media to bare their bellies in response to Oprah Magazine, who stated that If (and only if!) you have a flat belly, you can wear crop tops. Let's take a moment to cut Oprah some slack. After all, she's a busy lady and I doubt that she's pre-approving all fashion-related advice on her various media streams. Her fashion editors, however, need to get a clue.



I don't know who comes up with fashion rules but I can't think of a single one that can't be broken and look incredible. White after labor day, mixing prints, vertical stripes for big girls. Take any of that junk that you read in magazines before and throw it out the window.  Find out what you like and what you don't like and make your wardrobe your own, based on how you feel when you wear those things. Life is too short to be bound by silly rules written by fashion editors. Wear what makes you feel fantastic. For us vintage girls, crop tops and belly-baring styles were a big thing for summery looks of previous decades too. Do it retro, do it modern, just have fun!

Today I'm here with some tricks to try so you and I really can pull off crop tops, even with a pale, squishy, stretch marked mom tummy like mine!




Wear a Great Fitting Bra
Always wear a good fitting bra no matter what. You'll be lifted, supported, your clothes will fit great and damnit, you deserve a nice bra! Amazing support in a crop top is vital to keep your boobs and/or bra sliding out the bottom of that shortie blouse too!

crop tops for plus size girls from va voom vintage


Keep a Balance
If you show skin here, cover up there. It works both ways and looks very chic. Choose a longer skirt or pants with a crop top to balance the outfit and elongate your body. It certainly isn't a must, though! A longer crop top with high waist shorts also looks ridiculously cute. No rules here, just ideas.

how to wear crop tops from va voom vintage

Add height
Lengthen your body further with a wedge or heel, this especially works well for a plus size body. Although I'm very tall, having my belly out makes me feel short and squat, for some reason. Adding a heel looks tall and forces us to stand up straight and walk with confidence.  I don't know about you, but I feel so sassy with heels on!

how to pull off a crop top from va voom vintage

High Waists Are Everything
High waisted pants and skirts adds a little more coverage so you can show just enough belly and it looks so cute!

how plus sized women can wear crop tops


Wear what makes you feel good and don't ever let someone else's hang-ups hold you back!

Outfit
top- thrifted
50s skirt- warehouse sale
vintage brooch- antique shop
shoes-thrifted, design by Mudd

Big Hair, I Don't Care and a DIY Mesh Beach Tote

7/9/15

Summer is here and it’s time for picnics, movies under the stars and fun in the sun at the beach!
In the summer, I carry tote bags with me everywhere I go. We load them up with sunblock, basic picnic gear and flip flops. Today I’ll show you how to whip up a simple mesh beach tote using old tee shirts and very basic sewing skills.

These chic bags are reminiscent of the netted French filet shopping bags, often crochet or made of straw. You can fill them with local produce from the farmer’s market or bring a few to carry your flea market finds this weekend. Carry towels and sunscreen to the neighborhood pool or make kid-sized versions for the little ones to carry shovels and buckets to dig in the sand.

vintage 1960s plus size casual style and bouffant hair via Va-Voom Vintage


1960s bouffant hair via va voom vintage

I've been living in comfy knits and big 60s hair this summer with new headbands that I made for my shop! My new favorite beauty product is dry shampoo. A little teasing and dry shampoo can't be beat by the rainforest humidity of St Louis.

 1960s plus size casual style and bouffant hair via Va-Voom Vintage
 1960s plus size casual style and bouffant hair via Va-Voom Vintage


Turn your tee shirt inside out and cut it into a rounded shape of a bag. The bottom opening of the shirt will be the top opening of your bag.
Stitch the rounded edge closed. You can finish the edge with a nice zig-zag stitch for a little more strength and durability.
With the bag still inside out, use a ruler or yardstick to mark dashed lines. I marked mine about an inch long and and inch apart but you can do them any size that you like. Stagger the rows all the way down the bag until you have about 3-4 inches left. Stop there and mark one large line in the center for your handle opening.
Use a rotary cutter or scissors to slice the marks open. The rotary cutter makes this job so fast because you can easily slice through both layers and they’ll be even on both sides!
Turn the bag right side out and you’re done!


mesh beach tote 9
A few tips:
  • These bags stretch a lot, so if you want a smaller tote, cut the bag shorter.
  • If you will be carrying smaller items like fruits and vegetables, make sure to cut shorter holes.
  • Look for stripes, polka dots, chevrons and bold colors for really cute tote bags.
Outfit
headband- made by me
top- Target
capris- Family Dollar
wedges-thrifted
mesh tote- made by me

re-creating my perfect dress

7/8/15

My favorite vintage dress is beyond repair! The previous owner had made several attempts to fix rips and holes and so have I but the fabric is so delicate that it rips and shreds too easily and must be retired. Instead of throwing it away, I've decided to re-make it! It's rare to find that perfect dress with all of the right details. This one had it for me. Flowing skirt, pleats in the right spot, scoop neck, cute collar, 3/4 sleeves, even pockets!

1950s plus size vintage day dress
my favorite dress, worn to my first blogging conference

I disassembled the dress with a seam ripper, leaving some of the pleats and darts intact as a reference and traced the pieces out on a big roll of paper. Just as I had finished taking it apart, the mail lady delivered 4 beautiful yards of rayon challis fabric in reproduction 1940s Melody print from Wearing History!  I wasn't sure if I'd have enough fabric but I laid it all out and I do!!



1940s reproduction rayon novelty print music note melody fabric from Wearing History

I am so in love with this print! The drape is beautiful and you can't find novelty prints like this in apparel fabrics so easily or affordably. I have a tiny bit left over so I'm hoping to make a little skirt or hat for Olivia to match.


1940s reproduction rayon novelty print music note melody fabric from Wearing History

1940s reproduction rayon novelty print music note melody fabric from Wearing History

The fabric is designed and printed in the US and is available exclusively through Wearing History. If you're not a sewing girl, they have several pieces in their ready-to-wear line in the same print on sale including the Maisie dress, Norma Jean blouse and melody turban/scarf! (The Maisie dress is 50% off right now!)



I'm hoping to get this dress finished soon so I can show it off....and so I can get the dress form out of my living room because it has been terrifying my poor husband all week!


*fabric provided for review c/o Wearing History*
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