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'?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Vintage Sewing Patterns: Hot and Cold Weather Outfits

At this time of the year, I seem to be focused on sewing either for the current cold weather or planning and dreaming for warm weather sewing!  I thought I'd do a round-up of some vintage patterns from the Vintage Pattern Collective on Etsy to help inspire your cold or hot weather sewing plans.

Cold Weather:
Vintage sewing patterns designed specifically for snow and ice are hard to come by (especially patterns for men's clothing).  Here's a few that I'm loving at the moment:
 1. 1950's ski jacket and pants, purchase as instant download at Mrs Depew Vintage, 2. 1930's Hollywood pattern 1082 for children's snowsuit from Midvale Cottage, 3. 1940's winter vest pattern from Mrs Depew Vintage,  4. Simplicity 2622 vintage skating pattern from 1948 from She'll Make You Flip

I'm kind of really loving this pattern:

 Simplicity 3973: hats, scarves and mittens and matching dog coats 
from Stitching by Numbers Etsy shop

Alas, I don't have a dog and I think our sweet 'Echo' cat would be none too thrilled to be wearing a coat but if she did, I would totally make a matching hat and scarf!

Warm Weather Sewing:
There's so many amazing vintage swimsuit sewing patterns, here's a few of my favourites, I especially like the side buttoned 1940s shorts:
6. Simplicity 3234 1950s swimsuit and coverup pattern from Grey Dog Vintage, 7. Simplicity 1950's men's swim trunks pattern from Patterns from the Past Etsy shop, 8. Plus size (or any size) 1950's swimsuit pattern from Embonpoint Vintage 9. McCall 6036 1940's swimsuit and shorts pattern from the Fragolina Etsy shop

So are you sewing (or dreaming of sewing) for your current climate or planning ahead for the next season?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Tartan and Tweed: A Tribute to Rabbie Burns

Wha Hae, it's time to celebrate oor ain Rabbie Burns.  Across the country, Scots (and those that have adopted this wonderful country) will be tucking-in to a supper of haggis, neeps and tatties. Poetry will be recited, songs sung and a few wee drams toasted! It's been 220 years since the Scottish national bard died but his legacy and contribution to the culture is still celebrated annually on his birthday (today!).

Not only do I live in this beautiful city of Edinburgh but Scotland is also such a strong inspiration in my sewing (and even in the vintage 1940 McCall patterns).  Here's a recap of all my Scottish inspired vintage sewing projects with a wee bit of Rabbie's poetry:

Address to Edinburgh
by Robert Burns

Edina! Scotia's darling seat!
All hail they palaces and tow'rs,
Where once beneath a Monarch's feet,
Sat Legislation's sov'reign pow'rs!
From marking wildly-scatt'red flow'rs,
As on the banks of Ayr I stray'd,
And singing, lone, the ling'ring hours,
I shelter in thy honour'd shade.

 McCall 3574 and 741: A 'Scottish Christmas' dress and hat

Here Wealth still swells the golden tide,
As busy Trade his labour plies;
There Architecture's noble pride
Bids elegance and splendour rise:
Here Justice, from her native skies,
High wields her balance and her rod;
There Learning, with his eagle eyes,
Seeks Science in her coy abode.

University of Edinburgh, School of Divinity with statue of John Knox

Thy sons, Edina, social, kind
With open arms the stranger hail;
Their views enlarg'd, their lib'ral mind,
Above the narrow, rural vale:
Or modest Merit's silent claim;
And never may their sources fail!
And never envy blot their name!



Thy daughters bright they walks adorn, 
Gay as the gilded summer sky,
Sweet as the dewy, milk-white thorn,
Dear as the raptur'd thrill of joy!
Fair Burnet strikes th'adoring eye,
Heav'n's beauties on my fancy shine;
I see the Sire of Love on high, 
And own His work indeed divine!



There, watching high the least alarms,
Thy rough, rude fortress gleams afar;
Like some bold vet'ran, grey in arms,
And mark'd with many a seamy scar:
They pond'rous wall and massy bar, 
Grim-rising o'er the rugged rock,
Have oft withstood assailing war,
And oft repell'd th' Invader's shock.


St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh

With awe-struck thought, and pitying tears,
I view that noble, stately Dome,
Where Scotia's kings of other years, 
Fam'd heroes! had their royal home:
Alas, how chang'd the times to come!
Their royal name low in the dust!
Their hapless race wild-wand'ring roam!
Tho' rigid Law cries out 'twas just!


My Alexander McQueen 'Tribute' skirt

Wild-beats my heart to trace your steps,
Whose ancestors, in days of yore,
Thro' hostile ranks and ruin'd gaps
Old Scotia's bloody lion bore:
Ev'n I who sing in rustic lore,
Haply my Sires have left their shed,
And fac'd grim Danger's loudest roar,
Bold- following where your fathers led!


McCall 3641: the 'Rabbie Burns' dress

Edina! Scotia's darling seat!
All hail thy palaces and tow'rs,
Where once, beneath a Monarch's feat,
Sat Legislation's sov'reign pow'rs:
From marking wildly-scattered flow'rs,
As on the banks of Ayr I stray'd,
And singing, lone, the ling'ring hours, 
I shelter in thy honor'd shad.

Happy Burns Night!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

1940 Skiing and Cold Weather Fashion



This article from the 2 February 1940 edition of Marie Claire magazine is aptly titled "I do not want to be cold"!  I couldn't agree more!  The question is, what did women in 1940 wear in the snow or very cold weather?  Check out these pages for inspiration for cold weather vintage wear (including hand muffs)!


I particularly like these shoes, so practical yet stylish:


The 15 January 1940 Vogue Magazine also has a special feature on what to wear for the skiing and the snow:


And just as importantly, what to wear under your ski or cold weather clothes:


While I personally don't enjoy or know how to ski (brrr......too cold for me), I do live in a very cold climate.  So it's great to see practical cold-weather 1940 styles!

Monday, January 18, 2016

January Accessories



As I mentioned in one of my last posts, I'm planning a challenge to sew up monthly accessories (inspired by 1940s fashion) to go with my 'Tabula Rasa' or basic black dress (pictured above).


For the first month, I've decided to make a hand muff out of some faux fur fabric I had in my stash.  I was inspired by the cover of the January 1940 McCall Style News:


I also got inspiration from the 2 February 1940 Marie Claire magazine, which featured my exact fabric:

I've used this faux fur fabric before to make a short jacket back in 2011, which is also from a 1940 pattern (Simplicity 3529), you can read more about the jacket construction here.  The jacket was inspired by the cute little tilt hat that I found in Washington State.  I searched high and low for matching faux fur fabric and after a couple of months, I found some on the Emma One Sock website (the fabric is long since gone but I seem to remember the website being a good source for faux fur fabric in general).  So the hat inspired the jacket which inspired the muff!  And I still have about 1 meter of fabric left--so maybe I can sew something else up with it too!


We took these photos at St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh.  There is a fascinating account of the history of the cathedral here but it's been the site of a church since 1243.  During the reformation, John Knox served as minister (from 1559-1572).  After the reformation, the Parliament met in the buildings to the back of the cathedral until a new Parliament was built in the 1630s.  The cathedral was also site of the movement of Covenanters, or the Scottish Presbyterian movement.  This beautiful site has seen much history and it is still as breathtaking and awe-inspiring today as I'm sure it has been in the centuries past.


To make the hand muff, I followed an amazing online tutorial made by A Vintage Vanity.  It took less than 30 minutes to sew up the muff and I'm very pleased with it.  It's nice and toasty and perfect for cold January weather!


The hand muff is lined with black silk fabric and has three layers of black cotton batting encased in it to add extra warmth (about 1/2 meter total).

Dress: Me-Made 'Tabula Rasa' Dress, McCall 3953
Jacket, Me-Made 'Faux Bunny Love' Jacket, Simplicity 3529
Hand Muff: Me-Made using A Vintage Vanity's online tutorial

YAY! Super happy for my first accessories make!  I'm sure I'll get a lot of use out of it in this cold weather (I admit, I even like wearing it in the house, it keeps my hands warm!...hahahha)

My mind is already buzzing for other accessories I can make to go with this dress.  What should I make next?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Italy: Palazzo Pitti, the National Costume Gallery and the 'Aviator' Dress

The 1946 'Aviator' Dress sewn from an Advance Pattern
Shoes (and Jacket in later photos) from my favourite Scottish store, Ness

In Florence we stayed very close to the Palazzo Pitti, a palace owned by the Medici family.  We'd previously been to the amazing Boboli Gardens (previously blogged for my me-made Delphine skirt with photos in the garden) but we hadn't been inside to see the royal apartments or the costume gallery!

Here's the view of the Boboli Gardens from the second floor window:

I'm wearing a me-made dress from a 1946 Advance pattern (see the blog post on the inspiration and construction of this dress here).  The yellow in the dress reminded me so much of all the yellow I had seen in the buildings:


The courtyard of the palace is amazingly beautiful:


But the real gem of the place is the Costume Gallery, which is buried away at the top of the building. It's a very small collection but I read on their website that they regularly try to rotate the dresses on display.


Some of this amazing collection of dresses is from Sicilian aristocrat, Donna Franca Florio, one of the most famous European personalities of the belle époque period.  The gown with the blue robe is absolutely stunning (from Ventura Atelier, 1925-1930):


A close-up of the embroidery detail on the train:

Another lovely dress, owned by the same woman is the 1890s black dress with the amazing detailed bodice and sleeves:


Another highlight was seeing the 1920's masterpieces including three robes attributed to the French designer, Paul Poiret:


I wore my 'Aviator' dress paired with my Ness jacket and matching shoes (yes, my Ness jacket and shoe obsession is still going strong...hahahha...)


I definitely recommend this Costume Gallery, the setting alone is beautiful (and there are so many other things to see at this Palace).  I do wish they had focused more on Italian designers though...there is so much design history here!
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