Thursday, October 28, 2010

A New Outfit and a Milestone

Here is a horribly blurry photo of an outfit that I have recently completed:

I'm always so embarrassed when I see other bloggers' wonderful photos (I'm talking to you, Baroness Von Vintage)! The lack of quality in my pictures probably has something to do with the fact that my husband is always holding a squirming baby who is trying to grab the least, that's what he blames it on! Anyway, hopefully you can see the outfit, if not the details. The skirt looked simple when I planned it, but matching up those stripes was no picnic! You'll notice that I chose not to show the back....
I made the shirt to match the now-shrunken and much-lamented white skirt. The sweater vest was purchased, but it was huge; I took in the sides, cut about 6 inches off of the bottom, and used that to make the belt. I then re-hemmed it by hand. I have done this many times to give a modern sweater a more vintage silhouette. As long as the weave on the sweater is small enough, I have had no problems altering it using my sewing machine; if the weave is large, I just hand-sew it. The secret: lots of Fray-Check and tiny stitches!

And now the milestone: my blog has a new follower (Hi, Debi; I love your blog!) who is not related to me by blood or marriage, which makes the number of family and non-family members equal! Perhaps sometime in the future, non-relatives will make up the majority...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Failure to Communicate

This sign is posted by the door of a shop near my house:

This is why I'm planning to homeschool my children.

The best part is that by the side door, in the same handwriting and on the same blue paper, is another sign on which the apostrophe is correctly omitted. It's as if the owner of the shop wasn't sure which usage was correct, decided to hedge her bets, and just used both. Hopefully, all of the grammarians who frequent this beauty salon/consignment shop (?!) will use the side entrance.

To add insult to injury, I made an appointment for my husband to have a physical, which is required for his new job (hooray!). The receptionist informed me that the physical would be performed by a female doctor, but that I shouldn't worry because there would be "nothing evasive involved". What a relief! I'd hate to think that a medical professional would beat around the bush while performing an examination...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Plus Fours, revisited

After my last post about plus fours, someone suggested to me that women would not have worn knickers in the 1930s, and that their appearance in Cold Comfort Farm was due to Hollywood taking liberties, which we know they often do. So I decided to do some more research to see if I could find any evidence of actual '30s women wearing knickers, and did I ever! Most of the useful information and photos in this post come from this Sportswear Workshop written by the very knowledgeable FuzzyLizzie on the Vintage Fashion Guild forum. She also has many more pictures like these, among other interesting subjects, on her website.
It appears that women have been wearing short pants for activities such as hiking, camping, riding, sports, etc, since the late 1800s-early 1900s when they appeared as long bloomers:

It looks like they really caught on in the '20s, as I was able to find quite a few examples of women wearing them:

Some illustrations and patterns (if only I had this first one!):

And even some real-life examples:

I found fewer examples from the 1930s. It appears that as the 1930s progressed, and as shorts and slacks became more acceptable and popular, knickers for women were largely abandoned. Here is an ad from the early '30s showing both options, and another illustrating riding breeches:

I wonder if another factor could be the preference for more feminine fashions in the 1930s, compared to the more boyish styles of the 1920s. In any case, it appears that wearing knickers in the '30s was certainly acceptable, perhaps just not quite as fashionable. Since Cold Comfort Farm is set in the early '30s, and as that happens to be my favorite part of the decade as well, I will certainly feel no qualms wearing my plus fours camping, hiking, and even (miniature) golfing!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Plus Fours!

After re-reading this post over at The Painted Woman, I was inspired to watch one of my favorite movies, Cold Comfort Farm, again. The movie is wonderful, and the early 1930s clothes are amazing. I know next to nothing about screencaps, and in addition to the one referenced above, I know of at least two very nice blog posts with this film as their subjects: this post from the Vintage Baroness, and this one from Penny Dreadful Vintage, so check them out to see more lovely outfits from the movie.

While watching this scene,

I thought about how much I would love to have a pair of these wonderful plus fours in which to, you know, relax on a hillside. I was just getting ready to attempt to create a pattern for them, when lo and behold, what do I come across on ebay but this pattern:

It is now on its way to my house. Obviously, I will need to make a few alterations to transform the *lovely* '70s styling into '30s styling, but still; hooray! My mother convinces me to go camping, one of my least favorite activities (the appeal of freezing to death on the rock-hard ground while waiting for a wild animal to attack just seems to escape me), once a year for her birthday. Wouldn't these be perfect? Now if I only had time to make a vest to match...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Swiss dot

A long time ago, I found about 5 yards of yellow and about 2 yards of white swiss dot fabric, all for $1.00 a yard at Wal-Mart. It's been in my stash for a few years, but I finally decided to use it. Here is the result:

I wore it the other day on a last-grasp-at-summer trip to the zoo with my family. I had planned to put sleeves on it, but it looked so right sleeveless that I left them off and just finished them with some bias tape. The belt buckle is one of my recent etsy finds, which I covered in the yellow swiss dot. I made this one without a formal pattern, cobbling together pieces from various patterns to make it look like I wanted it to. Please ignore the dead plant beside me in the photo on the right; although I try very hard, gardening is one skill that I have not mastered.

In other news, I am mourning the loss of this skirt:

It was made of some $1.00 a yard mystery fabric from Wal-Mart, and my husband washed it. If I lose about 20 pounds and shrink 3 inches, it will fit me again, but as that is not likely, I suppose a new white skirt is first on the to-do list for next spring. I guess that's what I get for not doing my own laundry; no wonder I failed the 1930s Housewife Quiz!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Recovering + Etsy score!

Sorry about the lack of posts lately; an especially nasty virus laid my family low for about a week. Taking care of a sick baby when you're also sick is no picnic! Thankfully, my husband did not catch it, so he was able to watch the baby for one full day by himself while I was still contagious. He then spent the next day "recovering" (sleeping and drinking beer). Apparently, being "Mr. Mom" did not agree with him.

The only thing that I accomplished this week was a series of lucky finds on Etsy: all of these vintage belt buckles are now mine!

I already have plans for some of them, and the rest I'll save for a rainy day. The blue and orange ones are wooden, and I've already covered one with fabric to match the afore-mentioned yellow swiss dot skirt, which I finally finished, along with its matching shirt. I'll post a photo of that outfit tomorrow.