Saturday, April 30, 2016

March Accessories: Snowdrops

Several weeks ago we had the appearance of the first snowdrops of spring.  I forgot to post these photos then but our recent cold spell reminded me of these wonderful little flowers that hint at a promise of warmer weather to come!

The snowdrops were also the perfect backdrop for my accessories challenge.  Back in January, I made a black crepe dress using one of my 1940 McCall patterns.  Aptly named "Tabula Rasa" or blank slate, my plan is to see how many different ways I can accessorise this dress over the course of the year.

The dress is a perfect companion to my latest obsession – Miriam Haskell jewellery.  Miriam Haskell was a costume jewellery designer from the late 1920s to the late 60s.  I absolutely adore her early 1940s pieces and am saving up to buy a special piece from that period.  My dear David gave me a 1950s/60s Haskell set for my birthday consisting of a fantastic white beaded necklace, matching bracelet and earrings.

As we were heading out the door to go to the park, it started raining.  So I reached for my umbrella, a cute black and white polka dot frilly thing that David picked up at a charity shop for me, and it turned out to match perfectly!

And the shoes! Let me tell you about the shoes!  As some of you might know, I'm allergic to the chemicals they use to tan leather, so I have to be extra careful about my shoes and I'm always on the lookout for cute vintage looking, non leather pairs.  On my recent trip to the States, I stocked up on some Aris Allen swing dancing shoes--and I love them all!  Seriously, cutest shoes ever and very well cushioned.  I know I am not supposed to wear these outside (because they are meant for the dance floor) but I do anyways! I have these exact shoes in black too.

Here's a close-up of the necklace and earrings:

As we were having a stroll around the park, the perfect sunset appeared.  I just love the look of the trees with the sun in the background:

Overall, I'm delighted with my new accessories and love the white on black look.

I'm already plotting and planning for future mix and match ensembles.  What colours do you like best with black??

Monday, April 25, 2016

1940 Fashion Trend: Hoods

Hoods, hoods, of my favourite features of 1940 fashion!

 The April magazine has this to say about McCall 3678:
"One Important Thing about spring dresses is--hoods.  Look at the princess dress on this page, No. 3678.  We show this dress in summery white to make sure that everyone understands that hoods have nothing to do with winter.  Hoods are not to keep the ears warm, not even to shade the eyes, not to preserve the finger-wave, but just for style. They are now a big spring and summer fashion!"]
My version of McCall 3678:

According to the April 1940 McCall Advance Paris Style booklet:
"There are three things here of utmost fashion importance--the hood, shown on a dress for the first time, the big pockets, which you see everywhere, and (view B) the return of the fly closing.  Not only is this princess dress smart in light-weight wool with its hood lined with printed crepe, but it's being made all of print, too.  The hooded printed dress is something as new and as fresh as tomorrow morning.  No. 3678  Sizes 12-20. 50 cents" 
Hoods were all the rage in 1940.  Here's a few hooded patterns from other pattern companies.  DuBarry has some really cute ones.  I just love the double-breasted hood jacket from DuBarry 5097 (especially with the cute Scottish cap!)

Simplicity has some classic hooded patterns.  I just got Pattern 3322 from one of my favourite reproduction pattern sellers Lady Marlowe Studios.  I can't wait to make both the trousers and the hooded blouse.  I also love the cross-over dress (Simplicity 3352):

I love how unique the Hollywood 1940 patterns are!  Especially the low-cut hooded jacket that lets the bow of the dress peak through:

Now to my favourite pattern company!  I have McCall 3715--which is a beach robe.  The polka dot version on the May Style News is so cute! The lining of the hood even has the reverse polka dots:

Some of my favourite hooded patterns from the 1940 catalogue are the loungewear and nightgowns:

Not to be outdone, Simplicity has a pretty awesome hooded robe pattern:

Hoods also made it onto evening gowns.  I love the sheer hooded blouse of McCall 3771:

Look how chic the lady in the white hooded blouse of the DuBarry pattern looks:

Of course, hoods are found extensively on jackets, capes and coats from 1940.  Here's a few McCall pattern examples:

Which of the hooded patterns are your favourite?

Thursday, February 25, 2016

McCall 3581: The 'Scottish Windbreaker'

I'm super happy to showcase my latest 1940 McCall make – a hooded windbreaker jacket.

McCall 3581 is an ADORABLE pattern.  How can you go wrong with a windbreaker that has a nipped in waist, slightly puffy back, pleated sleeves, detachable hood and double-breasted closing?

Gah, I love the hood and back of the jacket:

This fabric is a reversible fabric that has tartan on one side and a great blue fabric on the other.  It's a medium-weight which is perfect for a windbreaker.  I had to grade up the pattern by 2 inches and normally this wouldn't be a problem but for some reason, I totally messed up the waistband!  I think I must have forgotten to grade it because it was about 4 inches too small.  The worse part was that I did not have any remaining tartan fabric!  Which made this cute little jacket go into the UFO pile for about a year.  I pulled it out again to try and think what I could do to save it.  I decided that it might be cute to do a waistband and hood lining in a navy blue fabric that I had in my stash.  It was a very close blue colour to my already existing 1941 trousers and 1940 skirt – which meant I could wear the windbreaker jacket with both.  I excitedly set to work and I think it worked out great with the different colour waistband!

The funny thing is that it's been SUPER WINDY in Scotland – a perfect place for a tartan windbreaker :-)

I really love the silhouette of the jacket.  Pleated sleeves are my FAVOURITE and the extra puffiness in the waist back of the jacket looks great with the more form fitting waistband.  And the bottom front of the jacket almost lines up.  I might need to move one of the bottoms on the waist front to avoid the overlap difference at the bottom.

And how awesome is it that the hood is detachable?  There are four buttons on neck of the jacket (the two functional buttons at the neck front and then one on either shoulder seam) that hold the hood in place.  With the tartan fabric, you hardly even notice the buttons on the shoulder seams!

Overall, I am VERY happy with my first 'sporty' 1940 make.  It goes with so many pieces in my wardrobe and will definitely come in handy with the Scottish weather!

What about you? Yea or nay for double-breasted jackets? for hoods?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

New in the Pattern Stash: January

I found (with some help from a fellow blogger --thank you Sarah!) my DREAM 1940 McCall pattern:

I can't believe I found this pattern on eBay.  I've seen it up for sale three times before in the past eight years– but it's always gone for exorbitant sums!  I feel super lucky that I got it for a steal--and I can't wait to sew it up! 

I got McCall 3613 from the same seller, I just love the swing coat look from the early 40s: 

Yay! After a dry patch where I wasn't seeing any 1940 McCall patterns for sale – I got two gems!  Yippee....

What about you? Do you collect any particular patterns or have you found any good sewing deals that got you excited?

Friday, January 29, 2016

1940 Films: Pinnochio

1940 was a very good year for films and I'm looking forward to exploring these more in-depth!  The BIG news in the January 1940 issue of McCall's magazine is the release of the film 'Pinnochio' by Disney.  This was Disney's second animated film, with the first –Snow White (1938) – having been hugely successful.  The collaboration between Disney and McCall patterns continued with the release of three Pinnochio-themed patterns in the 1940 catalogue.

 The movie is based on the children's book by Carlo Collodi, with significant changes such as the introduction of Jiminy Crickett and the general demeanour of Pinnochio's character.

The movie is historical significant for it's advancements in animation. The movie was also the first time that an animated movie used celebrity voices.  

Presented below is the feature article from the January 1940 McCall's Magazine which tells the story of Pinnochio before the film's release:

And here's a closer look at the McCall patterns from 1940:

No. 748. Going up the garden path in Disney Land is the latest-comer of all – Pinnochio, with Figaro at his heels.  The big patch of house is fairly overflowing with jolly Disney people.  Make a wall hanging of it for the children's room (they'll love it!) or use it for your youngster's coverlet.  Design is 24 ins. high, 21 ins. wide.  Use percale, gingham or chambray for the house and strand cottons for the embroidery.  Simple stitches. Blue or yellow transfer. 35 cents.

No. 746: Things happen to Pinocchio– like growing a tail, running away from his conscience (Jiminy Cricket), and so on.  All in these intriguing trims for young clothes and young rooms. 20 motifs, from 2 1/2 inches high to 9 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches. For simple embroidery. Blue or yellow transfer, 25 cents.

And my absolute favourite No. 742 outfit for little boys.  I once saw this on Etsy about four years ago and I am really kicking myself for not having purchased it then as I haven't seen it since!

The movie even inspired Disney's theme song "When you Wish Upon a Star" and is also one of the 100 most important films of all time!

Here is an adorable postcard I found in Florence, home to Pinocchio's writer.  I just love this so much:

Do you remember this movie from your childhood? Or the other 1940 Disney masterpiece, 'Fantasia'?
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