Friday, April 26, 2013

A Closer Look - Melbourne Autumn Dress

This was one of the few vintage items I bought at Melbourne on my trip there last December.  The store I bought it from was not on my shopping itinerary and it was only by luck that I saw it as I left the Windsor Station onto Chapel Street.  I think the name of the store was 'Treasure Trove' but I can't find any web presence for them.

The two gents running the store were lovely and they had some fantastic stock including a gorgeous 50s skirt and top set which sadly didn't fit across my bust/back.

Melbourne Autumnal Dress

Bought from: Treasure Trove, Chapel Street (Near Windsor Station), Melbourne
Paid:  $80
Era:  1960s or late 1950s.
Fabrics: A polyester (possibly Dacron) synthetic fabric with very little texture with a slight sheen, in dark blues, olives, orange, browns and dusty pinks.

Interesting facts:   The dress was in nearly perfect condition when I bought it.  I thought "This is so close to new that it's almost deadstock!"  After wearing it a few times, I understand why!   The stiffness of the fabric and the way it moves when I walk causes it to puff up like a little t-pee around my belly in a really odd way.  If it did the same thing to the original owner, I am not surprised that it only got worn a few times!  I've tried wearing a petticoat underneath to try to solve the problem but with no luck so far.  I might consider trying to weight the hem in some way...

Worn in oufits: here and here and here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Movie Review: "How My Miscreant Younger Brother Influenced My Relationship"

Ok.  Truth is that the name of the movie is not How My Miscreant Younger Brother Influenced My Relationship but I do think that if I had been the creative writer responsible for naming it that's what On Moonlight Bay would be known as.   Or alternatively, It Started with a Spank.

hmmm.  Perhaps not.  But you must admit you're interested now, right?

After a long and tiring week at work (in a fairly new and higher role for me) I was looking for something to do which was low effort for maximum enjoyment.  The answer was a girls movie night.

So I made a cheese and fruit platter, set my blender to go on the pina coladas and invited some girlfriends over to paint nails and watch a movie.

 I set up 'the nail bar' which is just a nice way of saying I put out all of my nail polishes for them to peruse and choose.  (I really do need to get some more reds and less pinks and purples in my nail polish collection!)  I donned my pretty mint and white polka dot housecoat and I set my stereo to play Billie Holliday.   Wise Husband had sensed an overload of 'girl stuff' and had escaped to work to study so we had the house to ourselves.

Sassy D and PoisonedKitty arrived and we started the movie.

These two particular girlfriends are both historical costumers so the first 10 minutes of the movie were punctuated with comments about the costumes, hair styles etc. being entirely wrong for the time and the awful tendency of old movies to depict clothes and styles from earlier time periods with a distinct flavour of the (then) current day.   And they are entirely right but I suppose this won't matter a great deal to those outside of the group of historical costumers.

The movie follows the romance of two young people in the early 1900s, tomboy Marjorie (a very young Doris Day) and college boy Bill (Gordon McRae).

Where does the younger miscreant brother, Wesley (Billy Gray), come into the picture?  Their first meeting is caused by Wesley's misdeeds and tomfoolery.  Their wooing is troubled by his cheekiness.  Their love letters are hijacked by his thievery and relations between her father and Bill (already strained) are made disastrous by Wesley's self-serving lies.

You would hope that Wesley gets his comeuppance but the little rotter gets through the whole movie without a single spank.  Alas, the same can't be said for Marjorie.

Though the movie is set about 1915, in a world threatened by war, this romantic comedy stays lighthearted and full of laughs.  Don't expect any war scenes or tearjerker moments, the story stays focused on the lead couple and their bumbling relationship.

Do expect to see pretty outfits on Doris Day, including the sweetest tartan Winter ensemble....

Do expect a little bit of singing and dancing but not so much that it will be overbearing or out of place.   I really must put a word in for Gordon McRae's singing voice here... Doris Day is not the only actor in this picture who can hold a tune nicely!

I really enjoyed the movie and will be trying to hunt down it's sequel By the Light of the Silvery Moon to see if the loveable Wesley will ever fall prey to the natural consequences of his shenanigans.  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Love Vintage Show - Brisbane 2013

The Love Vintage Show in 2012 blew my mind and my budget so you can imagine I was bouncing off the walls on the opening day of the 2013 show.

We Brisbanites had already seen the Sydney Love Vintage Show come and go, living vicariously through bloggers down South and so we were chomping at the bit for our own to start.

I got to the door nice and early on Friday night, in time to watch the Charlston dancers.  They didn't get more than a handful of audience participants which must have been disappointing for them.  I didn't join in because I have two left feet and didn't want to risk the public humiliation of falling on my petticoated arse.

As soon as I got inside I began to feel overwhelmed.  The number of stalls!  The colours!  The textures!  The cuteness!  Where to start?

PoisonedKitty, Excited Miss E and I decided on a plan of action.  We would start at the left and go aisle by aisle, not to be mislead off-track by distractions.  This plan led us past the excellent display by Kitty's Vintage Kitsch & the Store that Time Forgot and to the wedding dress display by a Cavalcade of Fashion .

I saw plenty a thing I wanted.  I saw plenty a thing that didn't fit.  I saw plenty a thing that I couldn't afford.  Often an item fell into all three categories.  It was nice to see some stalls with vintage goods rather than just rack after rack of clothes.

I caught up with a number of friends over the course of the evening, amongst them were the stunning Miss Mae Em, Lovely C,  Lady A and her sweet Mama J, and Darling L.  The evening became a little hectic with the trickle of early comers turning into a heavy crowd.  The stalls became a blur so that I couldn't remember where I'd seen that dress I'd been going to try on or that stall with great priced brooches....

I should have taken a timeout to watch things
I ended the night with only a necklace, bracelet, a lace edge handkerchief and two lace collars. (Also a free Pinup Skool magazine and a photo booth shot of myself and PoisonedKitty.  I was a sad panda.

So I went back on Sunday with my wonderful friend Mel who has previously flirted with the idea of vintage styles but not yet taken the plunge.  It was her day!  We found a sky blue 50s dress which looked virtually unworn.  It fit her to perfection.   It was at the right price.  Magic happened!

We wandered.  We purchased.  We left poorer but much happier. 

My loot from both days:
  • Mint and white polka dot full length housecoat (Adore Vintage)
  • Chocolate brown and beige pleated Janzten skirt (Carousel Clothing)
  • Navy dacron 60s dress (Remember When) 
  • Clear cut glass necklace (Nelly Bligh Antiques)
  • White lucite expandable bracelet (Gold Coast Glitz)
  • Lace edged Handkerchief (A Cavalcade of Fashion)
  • Antique collars (A Cavalcade of Fashion)
  • Pinup Skool magazine
  • 2 x free Love Vintage photo booth printouts. 
  • Two vintage buckles (Kijaro Vintage)
  • Thistle and Heather enamel brooch (Kijaro Vintage)

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Good Excuse for Afternoon Tea

I was thrilled about the the idea of the Sew for Victory sew-a-long that Lucky Lucille was hosting.   Unfortunately inspiration and desire do not a finished project make.  However two of my darling friends did finish their Sew for Victory projects.  Lovely C finished a 1940s dress from an Eva Dress pattern.  PoisonedKitty also finished a new dress from one of the 40s sewing patterns in her collection.

We decided to hold a nice 1940s afternoon tea to give the two of them a chance to wear and photograph their dresses.  Though I didn't have a finished project I did have my recently finished 40s Simplicity dress so I went along as well.  Unfortunately the other invitees weren't able to make it so it ended up being a small but cozy event.

Lovely C had done a beautiful job on the Eva Dress pattern.  There was shirring at the sleeves and the prettiest lace along the sweetheart collar.  Her hair had softened down to the loveliest lilac colour which she had up in victory rolls.

PoisonedKitty had made a navy dress to match a vintage hat that she'd been wanting to wear.  I think the colour suits her splendidly and I always love a dress with pockets!

I wore the dress I had recently made from the 40s simplicity pattern which PoisonedKitty had loaned to me.  My short hair doesn't really allow for 40s hair styles and my short locks made my brown 1940s tilt hat looked odd and unattractive.  So instead I popped on a beret and brown shoes.

PoisonedKitty is an amazing domestic goddess and she had made the most delectable food for us to eat, including; little finger sandwiches, salmon vol-e-vents, amazing gingernuts and lemon curd tarts.  I ate myself large on the gingernuts which include little pieces of crystallized ginger in them.  *drool*

It's always a treat having afternoon tea at PoisonedKitty's house because not only does she put on an amazing spread she also serves it all up on a dressed table, with tablecloth, flowers, and lovely china.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hollywood 1145 - starting to sew a 1940s suit

When I stumbled across Lucky Lucille's Sew For Victory sew-a-long I was terribly excited and keen as mustard to join in.

I had just bought fabric for a 1940s skirt suit.  I had at least half of the month left.  I could do it!

Despite my grand plans and then all of my efforts to coerce all of my friends with even a speck of sewing skills to join in, I fell flat.

I was progressing nicely through the usual steps of pattern grading and mockups and all was going well - until I tried to put the collar on. Fail, fail and fail again.  What's worse, time got away from me (that is, I played on my xbox way too often, had too many weekend social engagements and worked late a few too many nights this month) and so the deadline has gone by without me even completing the skirt.  Woe.

That said, it is still worth putting an entry or two here to record my (miserable-to-date) adventure sewing the suit.

The pattern I'm using is the first vintage pattern I ever bought.  It's a Hollywood Pattern, #1145, featuring Ginny Simms on the cover.   I'm making view 1, the short sleeved option.

The style of the suit is very typical of the 1940s with features like shoulder darts leading into pockets, a peplum on the blouse/jacket and the fabric-saving 6 panel skirt with a hemline just below the knee.

I scored a wool and cotton blend from a local fabric store on mega-sale for $6 a meter.  This was purchased at the same time the linen for my 1960s blouse with intentions of matching the blouse with the skirt.  Mixin' my eras!

When I got the fabric home I realised it also would go nicely with my1940s blue silk jacket as well as my the blouse from my 1950s mustard skirt and top set.

As mentioned above, my work on this sewing project so far includes:
  • buying and pre-washing fabric
  • grading the pattern up to a size that will fit (including drafting a collar piece as this is missing from the pattern set).
  • cutting out the mockup fabric
  • sewing the mockup of the skirt.
  • sewing the upper half the bodice mock-up and attaching collar.
  • removing collar fail and reattaching collar.
  • removing collar fail and reattaching collar.
  • cussing at collar fail and throwing it in the corner
GAH!  I honestly can't believe the troubles I am having with this deuced collar given that I've made it before in the past!  Sewing rage aside, I am not defeated and will continue to work through this sewing project at my own, typically slow speed.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Condensed Milk Mayonnaise

I was planning to eat a waldorf salad for lunch which required some mayonnaise.  Rather than buy factory made mayonnaise I decided to make my own, a plan of action which has had some hilarious and heartbreaking results in past attempts.

Rather than repeat the usual Family Circle recipe that has bought nothing but disappointment, I decided to try one of the few mayonnaise recipes from the project cookbook.   The first recipe in the sauces and dressing section involved a mayonnaise made with sweet condensed milk.

My mind boggled.  I had to try it! 

Mayonnaise Dressing (Mrs. J. W. Duncan)
page 90
  • 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg yolk (unbeaten)
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar

Mix all ingredients except vinegar in a bowl.  
Add vinegar very gradually beating well between each addition. 

It is recommended that you let the mixture sit a few minutes after beating.  This seemed to assist the thickening process. 


My Results and Notes

Simple! Simple! Simple!   Even using my old set of hand-powered beaters, this didn't take long and it came together easily, with a wonderful texture and colour.  

It was so strange to make mayonnaise with only one egg yolk, no oil and with, of all things, condensed milk.   When it was beaten to my satisfaction I dipped a finger and gingerly took a taste test....

The condensed milk definitely gives it a very sweet flavour but this is surprisingly well offset by the tang of the vinegar and the smooth flavour added by the mustard.   I don't know if this will be a regularly repeated recipe for me as I don't like adding extra sugar to my salads (not to mention the mass of butter!) but it certainly was the most succcessful mayonnaise making of my life as well as the best tasting.  I'd definitely recommend making it at least once for the interesting taste experience.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Frock Up Brisbane - March '13

The Way We Wear Show has been running annually in Brisbane for a few years now, since 2007, but I hadn't been able to go in previous years due to social clashes so you can imagine I was keen to see what new things this show, titled Frock Up Brisbane, would bring.

I was super lucky and won two free tickets from the fantastic chaps at The Vintage Advantage.   It really does pay to follow your local/favourite vintage sellers on Facebook!

I went on the Friday night with Lovely C, PoisonedKitty and Lady L.

When we arrived at the front door we flashed around our free tickets and were given a competition entry and a voucher to get $10 when $50 or more is spent at one store.  What a fantastic little perk!  That alone will have me return to the show when it next runs.

We ventured through to see the Marilyn Munroe exhibit, a display of remakes of dresses worn by the famous movie star during her career.

Next we wandered through the stalls in what we liked to call 'the expensive section'.  The stalls in this area had high prices, sometimes warranted but often not.  One example that had my eyebrows raised was a lovely blue 1940s skirt suit set being sold for over $400.  Though it was in a good, wearable condition, I have seen better quality items from the era much less, both locally, in Melbourne and online.  Perhaps it was a designer label - however given the extraordinarily high prices of the other goods in the store, I don't think that was the only cause.

After we had wandered our way through the 'expensive section', we wandered downstairs to the tea shop.  Lovely C bought a pot of tea for the two of us to share.  It was ser1ved in beautiful china tea cups - just the way I like it!

 After resting our feet we went into the second section of the show.  Some familiar faces had stalls there including Cassie's Corner, where I bought a few items, including a new dress.

Foot weary and tired, we headed home at closing time, 9 o'clock.  I had spent to my exact budget of $120 and was very pleased with my loot.

I wore my 1950s brown spot cotton wiggle dress with a black cardigan, black 1950s cap and modern black heels. 

Lovely C wore one of her newest sewing creations - a 50s frock in a black and purple polka dot fabric.  She matched it with her gorgeous vintage hat, black shoes and a little purple flowered brooch I bought her in thanks for the hat she bought me on her latest travels.

PoisonedKitty was also wearing a frock of her own making and rocking fantastic hot pink hair.  You can read more about her outfit (and see some more photos of me being very silly) on her blog entry here.

This was Lady L's first vintage fair.  The sweet pink vintage frock she was wearing was a lucky Etsy purchase.  She was very keen to find some accessories, such as hats and gloves, to match with a few different outfits.  She bought a very sweet black velvet hat at Cassie's Corner so now I'll have to keep an eye out for black gloves and maybe some cut black glass beads for her.

And what did I buy?  I stuck within my $140 budget and got a nice range of items.

  • soft blue embroidered 1960s frock -  $68 at Cassie's Corner
  • soft pink headscarf - $5 at Cassie's Corner
  • Australian Home Journal (pattern included) - $10 at Cassie's Corner
  • dusky peach feathered headband - $20 at unknown stall
  • soft pink embroidered 1960s bedjacket - $18 at unknown stall. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

A few outfits for late Summer

 I have been wearing vintage pieces on an almost daily basis but had so few chances to get photos of the outfits I've been putting together.  These outfits are from throughout February and March.

I solemnly swear that I'll be more diligent in ensuring I get outfit shots from now on...

 Dress:  60s purple and pink plaid dress (Bess Georgette Etsy)
 Shoes: Wittner pink ballet flats.

Accessories:  soft purple headscarf, pink bag, 50s pink bracelet and small pearl earrings.

  Blouse:  70s yellow and pink floral silken blouse (Atomic Martini Vintage)
Jeans: Dark blue Levis Demifit.
headscarf -yellow sheet headscarf (Chapel St Bazaar, Melbourne)
 Shoes: Wittner pink ballet flats.
Accessories:  green carved bangle (Remember When - Kustom Kraft Show Dec '12). 

Dress:  50s embroidered eyelet blue dress (Cassie's Corner, Way We Wear '13)
 Shoes:Wittner navy and white platforms
Accessories:  Mimco headband, pearl earrings, carved white bangle (Fat Helen's at Chapel St Bazaar) and navy headscarf used as a belt (stall in Chapel St Bazaar).  

Dress:  50s dacron mustard coloured skirt and top set (Cassie's Corner, BVFF Gold Coast '12)
Jacket - Lovers black business jacket. 
 Shoes:Target black leather pointed pumps
Accessories: Jacqui-E black drop earrings, Kate Hill black handbag, Sportsgirl black crochet beret with a gold medieval design brooch.