Monday, April 24, 2017

Spring Streams and Umtali Leather










It's fun (and silly) to make up scenarios for outfits sometimes, lets say this one is a bit high maintenance wife of an early adventure filmmaker surprising him by showing up at his camp in the wilderness. One day I hope to be making up stories professionally (I swear the book I've been writing is almost finished, ahem, really it is...) but until then I'll just imagine stories behind a few photos.

Speaking of adventures, this handbag caught my eye because I loved the rusty rich ocher colored leather and deco inspired shape, but when it arrived the best surprise was actually on the inside! The small label says Umtali Leather and has a little sketch of what looks like a water buffalo. Intrigued I googled Umtari to find out it is the former name of a city now called Mutare in modern Zimbabwe. "THE lovely modern town of Umtali nestles at the foot of the mountains in Manicaland, the Eastern Province of Southern Rhodesia. The name "Umtali" is derived from the African word " Mutari," meaning " River of metals," and refers to the alluvial gold found long ago in the streams and rivers of this area." (1963, Booklet - Umtali - Capital of the Eastern Highlands of Southern Rhodesia). (Found here, but google says the link is not secure? Not exactly sure what that means but it is an interesting read? Hmm) It seems Umtari Leather was company specializing in exotic leather goods, but I can't really find much information about it. The idea that this handbag may have been made in Africa as an export item item makes it even more special to me as a safari style lover, though I do now wonder what kind of leather it really is made of?

I picked up this vintage snake skin belt to match the handbag as it was a similar color, and the mustard/tan piping trim on these Chelsea Crew pumps also sorta matches. The never ending quest for matching accessory sets marches ever onward ;) I'd love a straw hat in this yellow/orange/tan shade, or perhaps a silk scarf, so i'll be keeping an eye out for those in the future. Luckily my retro sunglasses match quite well already coincidentally!

While I am off adventuring a far different local, please enjoy the out-take of me directing my loyal photographer below ;) One day I ought to just do a post full of just out-takes, I make some strange faces!

Suit: Thrifted
Blouse: Made by me
Shoes: Chelsea Crew
Belt, Handbag, Jewelry: Vintage (Etys)
Sunglasses: Sunglasses Museum (Etsy)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Cataloging Catalogs: Ever More from Montgomery Ward Spring Summer 1943


It is time again for another installment of Cataloging Catalogs! Today we have some more pages from the Spring Summer 1943 catalog that I scanned recently, and wouldn't these frocks be wonderful no it is truly Spring!

I just love imagining how I would draft the patterns for these styles were I to try and copy them. I would like to sketch out some of the styles as technical sketches (as we called them in fashion school) where each seam and sewing detail is noted. Making a copy of a dress from this catalog would be such a fun project, but finding a similar fabric to the lovely textiles described could prove difficult!

Shall we take a look?


The first girl wears no hat! The girl next to her no gloves! All of these styles would be relatively easy to recreate now, though the mini polka dot dress from the top row looks very 80s to modern eyes doesn't it? It would not be out of place in the 1980s at all!


The gingham dress is my favorite from this page, but that is no surprise as I love gingham! The floral dress is also lovely. I always like prints!


More designs here that are good styles for using up scraps of fabric from other projects. The bows and stripe along the skirt and sleeve hems in the middle top dress seem to be done with bias tape and the dress in the bottom right has wide stripes in contrasting fabric! I love this last wide striped dress, the buttons are a nice touch <3


Very nice hats here on page 41! How nice to have a matching dress and long jacket for cold spring days. The large flowers down the front of the polka dot dress are fun and add something fresh to such a classic print.


Jackets over dresses, mix and match ladies! Fun hats again, and classic pearl necklaces, worn with light shoes and gloves. You can see here how popular large collars were, though now they may seem a bit 70s sometimes.


This is one of those pages where I really do want one of each dress! The first dress has wonderful self fabric details, the second is an embroidered jacket, the third is such a wonderful print, the fourth has amazing deco lined pintucks, and the last amazing lace! Anytime these want to magically appear in my closet I would be glad to receive them :) Notice too how dress G is styled with a single dress clip at the end of the V neckline, a good use for individual dress clips! 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Give Me Gingham













A few black and white today with the noise turned up a tad since I felt these photos looked a quite vintage. Can't go wrong with a classic gingham dress right? This dress appears on the ol' blog pretty often, but I can't help but reach for it time and again, even if the neckline is annoyingly low meaning I am always adjusting it!

Since I am always going on about matching accessory sets for vintage styling, I thought I'd try and style this dress with as much navy blue as possible! I don't have a navy blue necklace however, so when I decided to wear the white necklace I also switched out the planned all navy pumps for my two toned Chelsea Crew t-straps from Royal Vintage Shoes. Goodness do I love these shoes! They are so comfortable too, which is always good of course. I picked up this navy box shaped handbag back in my old college town on a day trip last year, and I have been on the hunt for a more traditionally shaped navy bag ever since! This one is pretty cute, so I don't know why I am so concerned about having a different navy bag, but you know...I love to shop so ehhhhh.

I am writing these words early in the week, as while you read this I should be getting my tourist on in Burgundy France! I'm sure I'll have many photos to share with you soon! <3

Dress: Made by me
Handbag: Vintage, Wear it Again Sam (Fort Collins CO)
Shoes: Chelsea Crew (Royal Vintage Shoes)
Hat, Gloves, Jewelry: Vintage (Etsy)
Belt: Amazon
Sunglasses: Sunglasses Museum (Etsy) 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Sequins & Stars: Painting on Tulle and Sewing on Sequins


So when we left off I was creating appliques of planets to populate the void of my galaxy inspired black tulle circle skirt, but I ran up against a problem. Even with several planets and the little metallic star field rectangles I had made, there simply wasn't going to be time to use only sequins and beads to embellish the skirt to the level I wanted in the time I had left! I sewed the panels and appliques on, and then I had to figure out a new plan. I did mention I was trying to finish this skirt in time to pack it to wear in Paris right? Well...yeah. So knowing what I had learned about painting on tulle, I experimented a little further.

Sure painting on the tulle directly doesn't work in the way painting on paper or even regular fabric does, but it does create a shadowy imprint of the design you choose. This effect is of course created by the fact the the paint covers only the netting, and being so fine, and with so many spaces in structure, the result looks almost like you took the painted design and turned the opacity down to 10%. This is enough however for the design to still appear, especially if, like I did with the metallic painted rectangle sections, I could ensure some of the paint did fill in the windows of the tulle. Did any of that make a lick of sense? Perhaps photos will help.


First I put down some wax paper all over my big drafting table. Covering the table in regular paper wouldn't have worked as wet painted tulle would have dried sticking to the paper, and then when I peeled it off bits of paper would have stuck, and that would be bad! I mixed up some regular acrylic craft paints (its not like I will ever be washing this skirt!) and added a bit of gloss varnish to each hoping that would make them stay better and not flake off the tulle like perhaps matte paint would do once it dried.



Ah look how bright and defined that looks! Remember, you are looking at the artwork on the wax paper essentially, once you see it on only the tulle the design is much much fainter. I drew in a couple of distant galaxies and some general clouds of nebula spaced randomly around the circle shape of the skirt.


I even broke out some natural sea sponges that I used to use for watercolor painting ages ago! These worked super well for getting very organic and whispy nebula clouds. As you can see in the photo above I dotted on a few stars in with paint too even though I knew I would be adding sequin stars later as well.


Here is what the tulle looked like once the paint had dried. You can still see the painted areas, especially because my table is a dark color and a dark background helps the tulle almost disappear and the painted sections remain visible. Also you can see that where the tulle was two layers and already painted over the rectangle appliques the paint took better and came out brighter.


Then it was time to get to work sewing sequin stars all over. Shall I add up the hours? Hmm...lets say around 16-18 hours of sewing on sequins and beads! My back was killing me from leaning over this darn thing! Worth it though! At least I hope you will agree it was in the end. I listened to lots of lovely podcasts and for a few days had the Star Wars Celebration con live-stream on in the background. Apropos no? (Also that teaser trailer ahhhhh!)


I sewed every sequin on by hand at this stage, using beads occasionally and to hold the centers of the larger sequins and star shaped ones. I should note that the large star shaped sequins are from Michaels crafts and come in packs of silver, gold or multicolor. They have some cool sequins at Michaels right now! Who knew? I tried to limit the colors and specific types of sequins I used to keep the whole skirt looking cohesive. Most of the little constellations were done with large silver stars and tiny gold ones as a repeated motif, though I used some tiny iridescent sequins and some deep blue metallic sequins for the galaxies.

Alas this is where I leave you for now, as I was rushing to finish the skirt! The good news is that I did indeed finish it in time to pack it in my luggage, so if all goes well (knock on wood) you should be seeing the finished skirt in photos soon :)


Monday, April 17, 2017

Printemps Pink











The former wanna-be goth in me would find this pastel ensemble so cringe ;) As much as I love black clothes, isn't spring the perfect time to play with other color schemes? This floaty floral chiffon skirt was just so dreamy I had to have it when I spotted it last year, and it remains the perfect spring skirt!

This time I paired the skirt with my bishop sleeved shawl collar blouse. When I made this blouse several years ago I sort-of considered the result a wearable mock-up as it came out a bit il-fitting, but I have never bothered to make another version! I need to re-draft this same style from my newer bodice pattern so I can have a better pattern that fits! The huge puffy sleeves are still great though! :) I went with tan/cognac leather accessories and the spring/summer essential wicker handbag. The keen eyed among you will note that I have previously worn the black and cream colorway of these shoes before, and when I saw the tan I knew they would be perfect with a lot of my summer wardrobe so...yeah. Wish me luck on not adding the burgundy and navy colorways to my collection too somehow...

My weekend was filled with sewing sequins all over my tulle galaxy skirt, broken up with a wonderful dinner out on Friday night, and then cleaning and prepping to pack for my trip! Now the real packing must commence, because I shall shortly leave for France hooray!

Skirt: TJ Maxx
Blouse: Made by me
Shoes: Chelsea Crew
Belt: Target
Sunglasses: Sunglasses Museum (Etsy)
Handbag: Vintage (Etsy)
Earrings: Vintage (local antique fair)
Necklace: Charm from Etsy, old gold chain

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...