Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I bought these lacey victorian-y shoes and realized how much they go with my recent sheer obsession....aside from the sheer dresses i posted the other day - and I've already ordered some vintage shirtwaist dress patterns to make my own sheer frock- SO excited, I've even been practicing tailor's tacks ! - and I also bought a pair of beautiful crochet lace white gloves the other day (I'd been looking around a while for the perfect ones.. they are very similar to these:)

So apparently it's going to be a sheer spring for me. With shoes, gloves, and dresses, I will be totally decked out head to toe, ha. I can't wait for the shoes to arrive, and I think meshy lacey shoes are perfect for warm weather...I'm not a big sandal girl, so I guess this is my equivalent.. there are lots of cute ones on etsy, and I'm thinking of starting a collection... (click images for links)

i have these in blue
these are in the shop right now!

Monday, February 21, 2011


A while ago I read the book PICKFORD: THE WOMAN WHO MADE HOLLYWOOD, and I was really intrigued by the fairy-tale gone wrong romance of Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. If Pickford was indeed the woman who made Hollywood  (and I certainly believe she was), then Mary and Doug together made Hollywood royalty.  Pickfair was their perfect 15-acre home, the most famous home in America at the time, excluding the White House.

Parties at Pickfair included all the most prestigious figures of 1920s society. Everyone wanted to be invited. Beverly Hills became THE place to be. The couple entertained constantly. They were really the first huge movie stars, and people at the time really relied on them to carry the banner of American youth and charm.

What I love about Pickfair is how hard Doug and Mary worked to make it their, and America's, utopia. They worked so hard that it tore their dreams apart. It was heartbreaking to read about the love they had in the beginning.  I felt like I was reading a Victorian novel, the way things just built up around them and tore them apart in spite of tragic. From reading the book it seemed that they each regarded the other as their one true love, despite remarrying. And they both ended up so sadly..

Monday, February 14, 2011


30s silk chiffon  (DearGoldenVintage)
Have any of you ever sewn a sheer dress? I love 30s and 40s sheer dresses and have been thinking of taking on the somewhat daunting task of sewing one of my own, maybe even a sheer 50s shirtwaist... I'm wondering if anyone else has tried this, and what you know about working with sheers, what the best way to transfer pattern markings might be (tailors tacks, I'm thinking?)
I was browsing around Etsy for some sheer inspiration and here are my personal faves.

sheer 40s rayon (TheVintageStudio)
pale blue sheer party dress (QuirkVintageClothing)

40s sheer navy dress (sashasarene)

50s chiffon (simplicityisbliss)
20s pintucked dress (DearGoldenVintage)
30s ruched silk chiffon (allencompanyinc)...THIS ONE IS MY FAVORITE

20s organza velvet and lace dropwaist (VeraVague)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I first found out about string holders in a book from the local library about kitchen collectibles. Back when people wrapped all their packages with twine and string instead of tape. So nice! And what could be nicer than pulling your twine out of the mouth of a chalkware character's mouth?

String holders were first made around the 1860s and became common by the early 1900s. In the 1920s, with chalkware gaining popularity (see my chalkware post), most holders from the 20s - 50s (especially the 40s) were made in this material. These figural holders are the most commonly found today. Most hang on the wall with a little hook. There was a vast array of figural string holders from this period, but some of the most common that I've seen are cats, dogs, the dutch girl (above), chefs, indians, boy smoking a pipe (see top photo), & black americana/mammies.
 Some of the most interesting and more unusual string holders are the handmade ones. I even made one for my friend a few years ago when I found a ceramic bust at the thrift store with a hollow inside and a small hole in the pupil of one eye...perfect for string! The following two are vintage and can be found on ebay. I'm not sure when they are from, maybe 50s?
My boyfriend bought me an amazing handmade one for Christmas a few years ago, it's a black cat with a tin cylinder body (this holds the string) and the string comes out of its rear end! It hangs on the wall and my kitty always tries to jump up and play with the string.

Of the chalkware ones I've been particularly enjoying the advertising ones lately:
'little miss hershey chocolate'
'little miss sunbeam'
bordens co. elsie the cow
Here's a classic, fairly common one that I've always loved! (I should just buy it one of these days. Theres one on etsy right now):

There are a bunch of fruit and vegetable ones that are weird, creepy, and pretty funny. Strawberries, pears, peaches, carrots.... here's a tomato:

Many of them had little cutter pieces attached for added convenience, and better yet, many had little holes to hold scissors! Isn't that the best? There is a common kangaroo of this type, a cat, and some others, but my favorite is this fox one, because the scissor handles make eyeglasses! So clever!

Monday, February 7, 2011


I'm almost finished with my second sewing project - I opted out of doing the 40s pattern I had originally posted and thought I'd try an easier 60s pattern first to practice a little. It's a wiggle dress with button trim and contrast piping ; the pattern is from 1961.

Just ignore the bottom! I know it looks messed up but its just pinned and based because I haven't hemmed it yet. I made it a bit shorter than the pattern called for.  Not sure if I will add the tie belt... maybe I will do one in the green linen instead of the white...I hate wearing white belts!

In other news, I received two 'versatile blogger' awards, one from Ginger at Sailing Over a Cardboard Sea and the other from Lisa at My Pretty Baby Cried She Was a Bird, and they ask that I do the following...

1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in my post.
Thanks guys!  I am so new to blogging and really wasn't sure at all that it was something I wanted to start; I was VERY ambivalent at first. I'm so glad people read it and actually enjoy doing so!
2. Tell you 7 things about myself.
1.  My day job is walking dogs..... and I really really love it!
2. I was a Russian major in college and went to Columbia U
3. I wear one half of a 'best friends' necklace (you know, the broken heart? Like in Twin Peaks?) & we were /maybe still are thinking of also getting matching mole (aka beauty mark) tattoos... we are very devoted.
4. I love....books. I love crawling into bed with a big pile of them spread all around me. I love long classic novels best. All time favorites: The Brothers Karamazov, Moby Dick, The Grapes of Wrath, Of Human Bondage. I read tons of music and movie star biographies, too (lately I've been reading a lot of silent film star ones in particular & posted about my favorite, LOUISE BROOKS  , which utterly blew me away). I also went on an insane turn of the century English and American literature kick this summer and read about 20 of the classics from that genre all in a row (favorites: House of Mirth, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Middlemarch, Wuthering Heights, Age of Innocence - I got REALLY into Edith Wharton.)
5. I'm half Chinese, my first name is French, and my last name is Italian.
6. I have a dog named Foxl and a cat named Beautl :)
 7. I just sewed my first piece of lingerie, and I am addicted! I really like it! Do you guys know of any bra patterns you particularly like? Maybe I'll become a lingerie designer and make old lady lingerie for the young......

3. Award up to 15 recently discovered bloggers.
  All blogs are recently discovered to me, cause I never read them until I started this one! But here are some I've been liking in particular lately:

4. Contact these bloggers and let them know they've received the award.
Will do

Sorry the posts lately have been less content, more me - I've been soooo absorbed in sewing I haven't had much time!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


The other day I received pretty much the most amazing hat ever.... It's a huge black bird made of the smoothest black feathers, and it curls around your head!! Or - as shown, on top of your hat! I'm completely obsessed with it. (Bought from the Vintage Hideaway on etsy) I might take some more photos soon - this one is from the original listing.  The bird is even lined on the bottom with a thick woven material so it will sit perfectly as a hat on its own ! The listing said 1940s, but it just seems so hard to date.. what do you guys think?