Think Betty: Friday at last with Vogue 8282

Why has this week felt so long? Alas, we are back in the cycle of a regular week. And I find myself feeling so glad that its Friday and the weekend spreads itself out before us! It already promises to be very busy as we have plans to move lots of furniture around, especially in the Little Prince’s room. Hubby will be deconstructing and constructing the cot to get it through a doorway.

In an alternate reality where we own a beach house (we don’t)! todays pattern is what I would be thinking about wearing! I think Betty Draper’s character would be too! Its easy to imagine her in this bathing suit! The dress is so pretty too.

In an alternate reality, I’d also have hours to look through Vogue pattern books and Butterick pattern books and sew and … okay, I’ll stop there.

Happy Friday!

The weekend is almost here... oh yeah!

Think Betty: Think pretty fifties

I am well and truly missing Hawaii. It was marvellous spending time with my husband and mother, moreover, I had help whenever I needed it. For the first time since Little Prince was born, I could go shopping for half an hour and feel completely comfortable knowing he was with two of the people who love him most in the world. There was nothing to worry about, they could just call me to come back if there was an issue. It was also so much easier to be active and I loved our ability to plan our days together as a family.

The last couple of days Little Prince has been saying “Dadda.. Dadda.. Daddy”  usually in the afternoons, and I know he misses being around him too. How can you explain to a baby that daddy is at work? Distraction is a wonderful tool, but I feel it too. We loved being together all day long! The weather, the good food (I became seriously addicted to the pear and blue cheese salad at Nordstrom Cafe) and the gorgeous scenery were wonderful also!

Todays pattern of the day is Vogue Special Design 4108, a one piece dress from 1960. I think most women in the late fifties and early sixties would have had a dress pattern like this handy- it is simple but sophisticated, not too technical to make and the design lends itself to day or night, depending on the version chosen. In line with her character, Betty Draper probably would have gone for the flared rather than slim skirt. The skim skirt version is more “Joan” to me. I love the cummerbund which was so popular at the time and typically required the use of featherbone, which I very seldom see sold on etsy.

Fifties prettiness... a 1950s Vogue Pattern Book in the background.

Think Betty: The No Regrets dress

Perfect for an anniversary dinner date.. mid 1960s, Heim

This is a one piece dress that any 1960s Betty might buy on a whim for a special event they know will present itself, an outfit for a wedding or an anniversary dinner in the city. Easy to see Betty Draper in this one. How I would love to have the time  to make it up for my own upcoming anniversary dinner! Surprisingly, the pattern does not look overly complicated with just six pattern pieces… but the effect is glamorous, chic and classic. This would have to be another top ten favourite…

I have some fabric in a rich plum colour that would work… but the white is so gorgeous!

Think Betty: the awards dinner, Vogue Paris Original model 1260

Today I have two patterns in the spirit of Betty Draper’s character… great choices for a special event like a charity gala or awards dinner…Vogue Paris Original model 1260 by Griffe and a glove pattern than was likely printed in the forties but a 1950s Betty would have had access to. Gloves were as necessary as a purse? Seems to be the case.

Uncommon beauty... Griffe 50s style

Think Betty: Dinner with the Joneses… or drinks in the city with McCalls 4477

Today is the second “Betty Draper” inspired dress pattern (Mad Men tv series character for those who aren’t aware).

A modern "Betty" could make this vintage dress up for a day at the office (think jacket on top) and after work dining.

Hailing from 1958, McCalls 4477 reeks of elegance and style with a high, bloused bodice and v-neckline at the back. The length is demure. It doesn’t scream “siren” but it does exude a more subtle, refined charm that I think is in keeping with the Betty Draper character. Perfect for dinner with the Joneses. The black is classic but it could work in any number of prints…

A wonderful dress pattern for a modern “Betty”. Oh yes, its another on the wishful “to make” list!

Aloha Hawaii… so very Betty Draper with McCalls 4428

A "flower strewn nosegay sweater" featured in Vogue Knitting Book, Fall and Winter 1953

Goodbye Hawaii… the night before we left I felt my heart fall. We had such a wonderful time on Oahu with Little Prince and his grandmother, I felt the sorrow that comes with the end of a period of time that you know- know- you shall always look fondly back at. No matter what comes in the future, what changes life brings, I feel an incredible sense of gratitude to have enjoyed such precious time with people I love.

After four hours of sleep (and still on Hawaii time) I woke early to get a start on the unpacking. By 10am I had fed Little Prince, cooked a bacon and egg breakfast for my husband, bought groceries and baked a cake. Oh, and I took out our mailbox. With our car. Our BRICK mailbox. Perhaps driving on so little sleep wasn’t such a great idea. The mailbox has shifted and cannot be moved by man alone (it apparently takes a car and only a car to move it). The car will need to be repaired but still functions. When it happened I turned the engine off and just sat there a moment. This was not what I had planned for my morning. And then, I laughed. it seems laughing is what people do as an alternative to bawling their eyes out or praying. I think I was in shock and quite shaken. Clearly driving on the opposite side of the road during our holiday, I was no longer used to the steering wheel being on the “right” side and my sense of spatial awareness had decreased… somewhat.

Well, anyway, it is wonderful to be home. After being in a hotel room, being in a house feels luxurious. I enjoy being able to cook again. Little Prince seems to recognise his home and appears quite happy, but I have noticed is a bit more unsettled than usual. It must be very confusing to a baby. They don’t understand what a “holiday” or “vacation” is. But I think he is getting a sense of “home”.

In the time we were away he astounded me with three words: mumma, daddy and grandma. Its not as though we heard him practising, he just came out with the words. (He had said “mum” before we left). My heart still melts when he says “Mumma”. It is a selfish delight and I cannot help but throw my arms about him and wish he would be as he is always, so very sweet and cuddly with an infectious smile… but he will continue to grow. And there will be new moments to delight in.

Mother and child, an advertisement image from a 1950s Vogue Knitting Book magazine

On our last day in Hawaii I was drawn to the window display of Banana Republic who have launched a “Mad Men” collection. A very obliging sales assistant showed off a few of the dresses which are modelled after characters in the show. Ie. there are a series of Betty Draper dress, Joan dresses etc.

Over the next week, I will feature a number of patterns in the spirit of Betty Draper’s character, likely to include a few knitting patterns which I think really capture the style of the era. McCalls 4428 is a fabulous first pattern to this end, its Betty Draper right down to the illustration of the model. I LOVE this dress. I LOVE LOVE the collar and the neckline and hope to make this one for next Summer, (undecided about whether to do a contrast collar).

Flys or flies??? The Next Day outfit

“Ummm, honey its flies, not flys…”

“No it is noooot! Are you sure…?”

It was then my husband used the word that I love to hear when we play scrabble, as it usually implies a challenge and an opportunity for me to gain a zillion points… “Dictonary,” He replied.

To my mortification, it IS flies, not FLYS. Of course everyone in the world knew that and I lost about a hundred brain cells in public perception in less than a minute. Possibly more.

We all have these… embarrassing moments. They may be the result of realising you’ve committed a major social faux pas like… hmmm… getting the name of someone’s child wrong (I did this recently and was so embarrassed I was ready to dig a hole in her living room floor and hide in it), calling someone’s second husband or wife by the name of the first (never done that) or letting slip that you’re going to see them soon at their surprise birthday party (thankfully never done this either). There are far worse moments of course and Princess Diana was famed for the little black dress she wore when news broke out of her husband’s longstanding affair. Okay, so maybe a major spelling mistake is not so bad!

So what outfit is the perfect next day outfit in retro terms? My thought would be something that screams COMPOSURE. Perhaps INTELLIGENT or PROFESSIONAL too…

VOGUE s4863 would appear to cut the I’m-so-composed-and-can-really-truly-spell mustard.

The next day outfit... a cover of a 1950s IDEAL HOME in the background... oh so modern... oh so composed!

We are still in Hawaii and are enjoying the leisurely pace. As its unlikely we are going to go anywhere after this for ages, I have included some photos… enjoy!

Little Prince takes Mummy and Grandma shoe shopping!

A gorgeous macaw dazzled us on our morning walk

The view from RUM FIRE, a Sheraton Waikiki bar... Diamond Head in the distance... had a drink here with hubby

Koi abound in the many Japanese inspired gardens

What to wear when one flys…

We have been browisng the many souvenir shops in Waikiki for… well… souvenirs! I have been most attracted to a series of old style postcards advertising the islands with hula girls and old style aviation images. The beach is currently being “revitalised”… and I wonder what it must have been like here in the 1950s? Not as densely packed with hotels and tourists, me thinks… Pearl Harbour would have been fresh in inhabitants minds and air travel would have been seen as very glamorous… there are lots of images of planes and women ascending the stairs to a waiting aircraft, in Vogue pattern book and other magazines of the era.

Whatever would one have worn, to fly?

Today’s pattern of the day is possibly the answer. It was featured in Vogue Pattern Book and recommended by the fictional character, “Mrs Exeter”, in 1961 – a smart little outfit with a collared dress and a collarless jacket.

What to wear when flying… Vogue 4204

We have been browisng the many souvenir shops in Waikiki for… well… souvenirs! I have been most attracted to a series of old style postcards advertising the islands with hula girls and old style aviation images. The beach is currently being “revitalised”… and I wonder what it must have been like here in the 1950s? Not as densely packed with hotels and tourists. Pearl Harbour would have been fresh in inhabitants minds and air travel would have been seen as very glamorous… there are lots of images of planes and women ascending the stairs to a waiting aircraft, in Vogue pattern book and other magazines of the era.

Whatever would one have worn, to fly?

Today’s pattern of the day is possibly the answer. It was featured in Vogue Pattern Book and recommended by the fictional character, “Mrs Exeter”, in 1961 – a smart little outfit with a collared dress and a collarless jacket.

VOGUE 8767, simple but stylish

I first came to Hawaii when I was eleven years old. My mother had decided to take my younger brother and I on a budget trip around America which involved taking Greyhound around many of the 50 states. I remember being fed up with looking out a window at corn and more corn, but by the time we got to visit Hawaii on the way back  to Australia, I was ready for a few days at the beach. We took the local bus to Pearl Harbour, and to my delight, a beautiful Hawaiian woman with flowing dark hair rose from her seat, took the fresh flower lei from around her neck, smiled at me and placed it around mine before she exited for her stop. When you are eleven years old and have been filled with romantic ideas about what Hawaii was supposed to be like, there could be no more tremendous gesture. Almost twenty five years later, I remember the kind gesture of a beautiful stranger.

I was particulalry pleased when we arrived at our hotel after a long and exhausting flight, that my husband was greeted by staff with the traditional lei greeting. It was his first  time in Hawaii and the greeting was a surprise to him. Yes its a hotel and they do it for all their guests, but it is a gesture of welcome all the same and the nut lei will make a great souvenir.

Little Prince seems amazed by his new surrounds, but most particularly the abundance of ceiling fans which have him delighted every time we sit down to eat. No doubt he thinks they are like the mobile we have installed above his cot, but oh so much faster… and so many of them! He also seems thrilled by the many people passing through, the many brides, the surfers, the tourists that stop to talk with him in lifts and lobby and restaurants. There are lots of Japanese tourists in our hotel and at breakfast the other day we were surprised by the attention he was getting from other tables who weren’t just taking photos, they were filming him! It felt like we were approached by half the tables in the dining area by the time our meal was done. He of course remained oblivious… he was too interested jumping in excitement in my arms due to  the multitude of “mobiles” abovehead!

Our "Little Prince" sports a hat that mummy bought him. Enjoying Hawaii!

But Hawaii isn’t just about surfboards and flip flops, its shops are also burgeoning with high street fashion. Today’s pattern of the day is a simple blouse from the 1950s, but its a design that I think endures and allows for lots of “playing” with fabric choice and designs.

50s Vogue, still en vogue