The Fifties Sophisticate and Bananas Foster

Thank you to thescroobiouspip for a Kreativ blogging award, shall have to think carefully about my onward blogging choices. In the spirit of the award, I understand I should divulge ten mildly interesting details about myself:

  1. I got “hitched” and had a baby in the last twelve months;
  2. I have lived in the US, Canada and England;
  3. My favourite dessert is Bananas Foster, especially the way it was prepared at Mon Ami Gabi at Paris Hotel in Vegas;
  4. I’m an early bird;
  5. I watched Gone With The Wind innumerable times when I was growing up;
  6. One of my favourite books is The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton;
  7. I taught myself to knit and can now successfully knit booties and other baby clothing;
  8. I used to write poetry and had a few published in the paper in my teens ( my husband seems to think this is interesting)!
  9. I use a MAC book;
  10. I would love to go back to Alaska with my husband and son, it was beautiful… in the Summer of course.

Sugar and Griffe and all things nice...

Today’s pattern of the day is a Vogue Paris Original Model by Griffe, 1955 with a hat pattern by John Frederics to match.. perfect for the fifties Sophisticate. Two patterns to make up for the lack of a post yesterday! Baby kept me on my toes!

The Classic “Shell” pattern

I am not sure I can find the word I am looking for, the way to describe the feeling of opening a pattern and pulling out factory folded tissue, which was prepared fifty or sixty years prior. But it is an exciting and special feeling!

Today’s pattern of the day brings us back to basics, VOGUE 3004, a shell pattern with a slightly flared six gore skirt and a fitted bodice and high round neckline, which can be made up several ways. The pattern instructions suggest that it be made up in cotton first, amendments made where necessary and then retained for future use with other Vogue patterns.

Ready, steady, cut...

I have been playing with the bodice of the McCalls pattern but have decided this wouldn’t be a bad exercise to try and to have an emergency “back up” bodice which I can choose if I prefer… always nice to have choices…

So, during snippets of time during the day, I cut some fairly cheap cotton, basted the darts and roughly assembled the mock-up bodice… I am now considering the overall fit. The pattern instructs the user to then transfer all alterations and changes to a master pattern template… will be interesting to see how well I can manage to get the bodice to fit correctly.

Which seas are we sailing, Captain? The Humble Sailor Suit

After blogging about the lofty sales of couturier on the internet, I thought it was time to blog about  more grass roots type vintage pattern… and what could be more grass roots than the humble children’s sailor suit? I love this pattern, SIMPLICITY 8813, printed in 1979. Despite memories of having to wear MATCHING outfits with my younger brother in my own childhood, it seems I am still not phased about putting my own little one into such an ensemble. Very retro, but lets face it… super, super cute.

Hello Sailor

The pattern size is for a two year old. At my current rate of progess with sewing projects, if I start now, I’ll just make it! Interestingly, whilst this particular pattern was printed in New Zealand and the pattern is an American pattern, the small child holding mini flags is actually holding what appear to be French flags. Just a small but intriguing detail that raises questions about the illustrator’s own heritage.

The wedding guest dress project continues… I have officially gone off the grid, so to speak, and am now altering the pattern. I have to admit, I love the freedom and the process of learning. Satin has proved challenging, but it has been a great learning curve and there I things I would do in future, including the use of fusible interfacing where I might be concerned about puckered seams. Too late for this project, however.

Right now, my attention is focused on the collar. I am actually making shapes and forms with the fabric, which were not apart of the original design, but it is so much fun!!! I only hope I do not get mistaken as an employee of a religious order in all that red satin, when I am done (no disrespect to the church intended).

Bidding Wars… eBay, the new Sothebys?

There have been some very interesting patterns emerging on the net of late, no less on eBay. Yes, sometimes the internet is like a big garage sale, but at other times it is more akin to an auction house except without the bravado of the auctioneer and the heavy handed swing of a gavel to pronounce an item as SOLD. Auction data is really the most accurate way of determining that actual market value of a vintage pattern.

Today’s pattern of the day, Vogue Couturier evening gown (1260) by Frederico Forquet, went on eBay today for USD $68.98 (cut an complete). Love this dress!

Other notable sales (which I do not have in my collection) over the last ten days include: Vogue Couturier 1549, Michael of London (1960s, cut but complete) for USD $204.49, Vogue Couturier 1456, Frederico Forquet (1960s, cut but complete) for USD $97.98, Vogue Paris Original 1921, Givenchy (cut but complete) for USD122.50. Currently, there is a Vogue Paris Original – Molyneux, 1579 (reversible coat) uncut, with labels sitting comfortably at USD$405.00.

The person who bought Forquet (1456) got a bargain…. the same pattern sold on 23 Jan for USD $139.48. But the REAL bargain was the sale of the Givenchy evening dress (1921)… this pattern sold on 28 September 2011 for $391.98 (also cut but complete, but with sew in label included). It has actually appeared a few times since then for prices in between those figures.

The auction I was most interested in was a 1952 VOGUE Store Catalogue Pattern book (similar to the one I have for 1965) that sold for $379.55. I can only lament the passing of that pattern book… 1952 was such a fabulous year for VOGUE with lots of yummy Vogue Paris Original Model patterns by Schiaparelli and others, and so interesting historically in terms of post war trends, the alignment of more yardage with new prosperity and so forth. What a priceless treasure! Too bad I could not afford it!

The world is your …garage sale?

I’ll be honest it still amazes me that in 2012, I can look at an antique fashion store flyer, go on to the internet and with a little luck, find one of the advertised dress patterns. Without the internet, patterns from the past would be difficult, if not impossible to find.

Store fashion flyer, detail - 1952

VOGUE 7702 is such a dress… I love love love the neckline… and I found the pattern uncut and in factory folds, online, within less than half an hour… The power of the internet, which we have come to take for granted, still astounds me!! It might otherwise languished unloved in a drawer in someones grandmother’s house for decades longer…

Hello... from 1952!... 60 years old and still pretty!

Into the dark, dark night

More classic Vogue, for this evening with pattern 6369… this seems to me a modern take on romantic Austen era fashion with a romantic empire waistline. Perfect for an English Summer soiree. For some reason this dress reminds me so much of my time in the English countryside almost two decades ago… I see a marquis with billowing walls and starlight… so pretty!

A modern take on Austen

Fear of Frumpy… and Feminine Fashion

Well, another out of hours sewing opportunity arrived last night… who needs sleep anyway?!?! Ha! I managed to get around to basting/ sewing the reverse pleats on the front of the skirt of the Wedding Guest dress and I have to say, the folds of red satin look absolutely luxurious. The bodice which is half finished is on the dress form and I look at it wondering if I shouldn’t actually take a left turn here and do a completely different bodice… Could the bodice possibly turn out looking frumpy, beyond the help of even the greatest stiletto heels? Would it be a waste with such a beautiful skirt?

There is nothing lost in persevering at this point, the fabric has already been cut, so I shall, but I am very glad I ordered a couple of yards of extra fabric which I had planned to make a stole from. I could, in an “emergency” scenario, use that to make a new bodice from a different pattern… or see what I might create? I guess I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

How to Draw Feminine Fashions, the cover

I visited a market yesterday and luckily found and picked up a fabulous vintage resource called “How to Draw Feminine Fashions”(1950) by Charlotte H. Young. I used to love drawing and art in general… this book is geared toward the budding artist who wants to build a portfolio to show art directors and so forth. I imagine the artists who rendered the pretty illustrations on so many pattern covers would have turned to books like this. I love the images and ideas.

Va va voom... vintage style

Today’s pattern of the day has a bit of va-voom to it…. McCalls 5179, a 1950s dress designed by Hannah Troy. This is a dress with intention! Flaunting every curve, this dress is lined with an eight gore skirt… Troy, you may be aware, was credited with the innovative creation of “petite” sizes in dressmaking. This could never be called frumpy!

McCalls 5179... mega va-voom!

Life’s a beach… don’t forget your hat

My nine year old nephew is desperate to watch the film JAWS, like “all” of his friends. His mother has forbidden him. I am pretty sure I saw the film at a tender age of oh…seven?? eight?? … young enough for my brothers and I to scare each other with the dun-duh-dun-duh music and hands surfing like mock fins from behind the couch. JAWS took the glorious and innocent childhood vacation by the sea and turned it into a veritable hunt for the evil-beneath-the-water…

What is it about trips to the beach that we love so much? The exhilaration of the waves? The smell of sea salt? A horizon that stretches out for as far as the eye can see? I have lived in Sydney a few times and there is nothing that beats a morning swim in a sea pool. At least not until you get bitten by a jellyfish. That was enough to put me off for a while. I generally love it before the sun is too high and hot… I transform at that point to INDOOR GIRL.

“You always wear a hat,” one of my girlfriends said to me at college in California… As an Aussie I grew up with lots of anti-skin cancer campaigns, but it is, in my observation a different sun here, harder and more likely to sear! Love the beach, but I never forget my hat…

Today’s pattern, VOGUE 5533, makes for a marvellous get up and I love the beach dress for the reasons mentioned above.

Someone once paid 15 cents for this pattern... lucky, lucky, lucky! Wonder how many times it has changed hands

The Happy Homemaker dress

What was a homemaker in the 1950s and 1960s? My mother answerred, “Someone who could keep a clean house, cook and bake proficiently, ensure the children went to school clean and well fed and who could do things that are classed as ‘crafts’ today, like sew and knit… in those days, they weren’t hobbies, they were things you needed to know to make your household function…” There were clubs at schools called “Future Homemakers” that promoted skills such as sewing, cooking, knitting, crochet…

Ah, the housebound life… It would seem sewing patterns offered women at home an opportunity to get access to current fashions, easily and economically. The array of fashions for the home and everyday are plentiful, and proudly stand alongside more glamorous evening wear in terms of the “pretty factor”.

Today’s pattern of the day is a great example of this, Butterick 5772. I am calling it “the Happy Homemaker dress”… its not too dressy and yet possessed some lovely details, primarily the scalloped trim for a touch of casual elegance. Perfect for a trip to the post office, a stroll in the park with the kids or a few hours whipping up a storm in the kitchen…! (One need not mention the necessity of heels).

Home is where the heart is...