Flamingo Purse Giveaway from The Violet Vixen


I'm so excited to pair up with The Violet Vixen for an adorable giveaway today.  We're giving away this cute flamingo print handbag to a lucky Va-Voom Vintage reader!

The Violet Vixen sent a bag to me too and I immediately fell in love with it as soon as I opened it. Like a lot of ladies, I have a ton of cute purses but I'm very particular about the one I use every day. This one definitely fits the bill as the perfect every day bag for me. It includes a long detachable strap, if you don't want to use the short handles, although the short handles are long enough to sit on your shoulder.

vintage plus size retro pinup style dress from Tatyana, beehive hair and Banned flamingo purse

The bag itself is much bigger than it looks from the outside. I'm a big fan of huge purses because I often tote around my recent knitting project, things for the kids, a notebook, and lately I've needed a big enough bag for all of my Girl Scout leader stuff! I had a Girl Scout training the night that the bag arrived and I was able to fit my new leader packet, my big wallet, a notebook, my phone and charger, lipstick and all kinds of paperwork inside and still have room for more. The inside lining has a little zipper pocket, spot for a few pens and another little pocket. The cute little bows detach with a snap closure if you want to change it up a little bit. My perfect everyday bag also has to be really unique with some kind of crazy print. I've been toting my Transversion airline bag around for well over a year but I can't resist kitschy flamingos!

You could easily use this purse as a diaper bag or overnight bag but it's not so cumbersome that it looks like you're hauling luggage around.

One lucky lady will take home a Flamingo Purse this week!

Open to Va-Voom Vintage readers in the US and Canada
to enter:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Flamingo purse provided c/o The Violet Vixen for review and giveaway.

Free Pattern: 1950s Knitted Jacket


free 1950s knitting pattern vintage chunky boxy jacket

EDIT: This pattern has a typo! The correction is as follows:

Next 2 rows. SLEEVES: Cast on 15 (17,19) sts at end of each row. Work even in pattern on 111 (119, 127) sts for 6 1/2 (7, 7) inches ending at sleeve edge.

A few weeks ago, I found a sushi coupon in the mail and since it was date night anyway, Pj and I went out for dinner at our favorite sushi place. After dinner, we decided to postpone grocery shopping as long as possible and instead, went to the craft and fabric stores, just for fun. I almost bought some stuff for a new idea I had for my etsy shop but instead, I found some beautiful yarn on clearance and decided to spend a few weeks making something pretty for myself.

1950s green radio, green glass vase and green chunky yarn on vintage knitting needles
a peek at my yarn from my Instagram

I've never knitted with this super bulky yarn before but its so soft and the color was beautiful. I love to wear green in the winter. I find that surrounding myself in green, yellow and beautiful summer colors really helps with my seasonal depression. So, I picked up 5 skeins of this Deborah Norville Serenity yarn in Emerald and when we picked the kids up from my mother in law's house, I borrowed a couple pairs of vintage knitting needles from her Granny's knitting box.

green chunky knitting yarn and vintage needles

I had no idea what I wanted to make but I was leaning towards a cardigan or a cape. I love my vintage knitted cape and thought it would be really beautiful to make one in this green. Unfortunately, I really couldn't find a pattern that I thought would suit this bulky yarn. I did, however, find my 1950s pattern book, Hats, Bags and Bulky Sweaters number 107 and it has this boxy, bulky jacket that I've had my eye on for a few years.

1950s pink short sleeve knitted cardigan jacket free pattern download

This fall and winter, I will be waiting at the bus stop so I wanted something cozy that I could slip into and dash out the door to get Olivia on and off the school bus. I love having big fluffy jackets and sweaters to curl up in on the couch and wear around the house. Living in a 1930s home can be very drafty in the winter and this yarn is practically blanket material! 

If you would like to knit the Gay and Casual boxy too, download the pattern for free from Dropbox.
This is a very simple, quick pattern and great for beginners to jump into.

30 Days of Corset Wearing: Week 1


30 days of corset wearing with Va-Voom Vintage

Over the next 30 days, I'll be trying out the Brocade Underbust corset from Hourglass Angel. I've never done any serious waist training, wearing a corset all day, every day. Due to my lifestyle, I don't think I'll do anything that extreme this time around. I'll be wearing it throughout the morning and afternoon, while I do my housework and hobbies and following a smart diet and exercise plan. Let's see how it goes over the next several weeks!

I've chosen the Brocade Underbust corset , which laces up the back with steel boning throughout, which I can wear over or under most things. Since I have a short waist, I thought the 10 1/2 inch  length of this one would be good to try, nothing pinching or riding up. I like an underbust corset too, so I can wear any bra I like and the center front is gently curved at the bottom, not pointed, which is important for me for sitting comfort.

For the first week, I've been seasoning (or breaking in) my corset. I added new laces to mine. This corset comes with one lace, so you can have it tie at either the top or the bottom. I like it to tie in the middle, so I added a second lace. Seasoning a corset is so important to get yourself used to wearing it and get the corset to shape to your body over time without damaging it or hurting yourself. I've been wearing mine around the house for short periods of time, laced snug but not tight. While seasoning your corset, you should be able to fit a few fingers between yourself and the corset.

corset wearing tips for plus sizes via va voom vintage

This corset is a good starting point for casual corset wearers or for costume. It has 12 flat steel bones and cotton twill lining. The brocade fabric is pretty enough to wear on the outside of your clothes. I also wanted to talk a little bit about flat steel vs spiral steel and how it changes the way the corset fits and shapes your body. There's a really fantastic article at Foundations Revealed with a comparison of the two on different body types, so you should definitely check that out when considering which type of steel would be a better fit for you.

I thought you all might enjoy this fun video from British Pathe about corsets and padding used to create the Dior New Look in the late 1940s. Check out that gal's corseted waist!

Stay tuned next week for an update on week two of 30 days of corset wearing for some before and after pics and we'll talk about eating, moving, sitting and going about your day in a corset.

* corset provided c/o Hourglass Angel*

Illustrating Birthday Invitations


hand lettered and illustrated kids halloween birthday party invitation by Brittany Sherman Va Voom Vintage

Usually, our kids birthday parties are pretty low key. We typically do something fun, just the 4 of us or have cake and ice cream with the family. This year, though, Olivia is in school and she is so excited to invite friends from class so we're having a party at home with a Halloween theme.

I like to go the DIY route for just about everything in life and party supplies are no exception. I remember my artist mom illustrating invitations for our birthday parties so I thought I'd do the same.

Months ago, I took a few classes on Skillshare, one of them being a wonderful hand lettering class from Mary Kate McDevitt called Vintage Hand Lettering: Styling Phrases for Timeless Appeal. Hand lettering is her day job and her passion and she really put together a fantastic class. I learned some lettering basics, layout ideas, how to come up with a design idea and techniques. I hadn't ever put her teachings to practical use until now. For my first attempt, I'm pretty tickled with it.

First sketch and rough draft
The first sketch was just a doodle on printer paper, trying to figure out what I wanted to do. In the rough draft, I had a pretty good idea but had to make some changes. I used my light box to transfer the draft on to my bristol paper for the final design. At this point, I moved some of the lettering over a smidge too, to get it all centered.

I used Halloween pencils- left over from Olivia's party goody bags, a medium point Sharpie pen and watercolor paint on Bristol paper. I always use smooth surface Bristol paper so it scans without those pesky watercolor paper dimples. The Sharpie pen is waterproof so it doesn't bleed or smudge when you paint over it.

Olivia wanted to doodle some ghosts too! Most of them say "Ooooooo" but the Grannie ghost says "xoxoxoxoooo"

Most of the lettering was just my own doodles but I wasn't sure what kind of letters to use for the "Come if you dare" part. I poked around on a few font websites, typing in "come if you dare" until I found something I really liked. From there, I free-handed the letters. Some of it is wobbly or uneven but I like that hand drawn, not perfect look.

hand lettered and illustrated kids halloween birthday party invitation by Brittany Sherman Va Voom Vintage

I love the way her invitations turned out and she was so surprised when she got off the bus that day! I never would have found anything so unique and fun at the store.

Breakfast Picnic


On Saturday, we took the kids to Main Street, St Charles for a breakfast picnic by the river. There's a beautiful park with a view of the Missouri River and a little walking trail next to a historic train station. We picked up juice, muffins and hot breakfast sandwiches from the grocery store and found a nice little picnic table. We love breakfast picnics because we often get wrapped up in being busy throughout the day. If we plan a lunch picnic, we're usually in the middle of something and we say "Oh, let's do it tomorrow instead". With breakfast picnics, we get a beautiful, sunny start to the day and we get to have our fun first thing. 

There was a race with dogs and their owners all around the park and they had dog activities and balloon animals for the kids. We got to watch the parade of probably 100 dogs while we ate our breakfast.

After breakfast and a walk through the festival, we went up a block to Main Street for a walk around the beautiful old buildings. Most of these buildings are little gift shops, candy shops and some private homes and apartments. Its beautiful to walk around in the morning or night, when none of the shops are open and the tourists are gone. We live within walking distance of Main Street but rarely walk down! Now that the weather is cooling off, I think we'll go much more often.


This beautiful red vintage jacket and little polka dot dress was sent to me last fall as a gift from a blog reader. I am so excited to finally be able to wear jackets again because this is one of my favorites!

vintage corduroy jacket- gift from a reader
navy polka dot dress- gift from a reader
nautical heart brooch- little consignment shop in Sullivan, Missouri
flats- Walmart
scarves in turban- thrifted

Vintage Autumn Staples with Durango


Are you as excited about autumn as I am? This week, I've been pulling my favorite jackets and cardigans out of storage to prepare for colder temps and making plans for my fall wardrobe. One thing I'm not looking forward to is putting my sandals, wedges and other open toe shoes to the back of the closet for the season. The transition has been a little easier since Durango sent me a pair of their beautiful Santa Fe beaded moccasins, which I've been wearing constantly these past few weeks. 

vintage style jeans and beaded moccasins from Durango

1940s plus size jeans outfit with pendleton 49er jacket

I often wear loafers with my jeans in the fall and winter but I love the comfort of a flat sole. In the mornings and afternoons, I've needed something like this that I can easily slip on with a durable rubber sole in case it gets icy as I get my little girl on and off the bus this season. I have heard from others that loafers are really not their cup of tea but I think a youthful sportier moccasin is a great alternative for a comfortable, vintage style shoe in colder months.

A casual gal with attitude in 1952 sports moccasins with jeans and a knit top (left) Lauren Bacall takes a break on the set of The African Queen in a smart button-down, cuffed jeans and moccasins. (right)

1940s plus size jeans and pendleton 49er with victory rolls and snood

Moccasins were a casual staple in the 1950s and 60s so they fit in perfectly with a vintage closet. Pair them with jeans, cigarette pants or a a skirt with a simple blouse. I bring a vintage Pendleton 49er with me everywhere I go, once it's chilly enough. St. Louis isn't always a wool-wearing city but when it is, I definitely take advantage of it!

embroidered vintage blouse-estate sale
Pendleton 49er jacket- thrifted
snood- Wacky Tuna
Gloria Vanderbilt Amanda jeans- thrifted

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