Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hollywood Vintage Pattern: No. 895

This is one of the very first vintage patterns I got and the first Hollywood pattern I bought. I didn't find a copyright date on it but I'd say this pattern came out between 1933 and 1936. I really love the armscye angle and the sportiness of this look. I've always thought that if you're going to include a jaunty hat in a pattern picture then you ought to include the pattern for it. Sadly, this is never the case. I want the short version of this coat with the hat shown with it.

Many of the actresses that appear on the Hollywood patterns weren't huge (though I do have Betty Grable and Carole Lombard Hollywood patterns). I know that most of the ones I have aren't especially well known actresses because the really famous ones are usually more difficult and more expensive to get my hands on. I particularly remember the cutest dress ever that featured Claudette Colbert and it was way out of my reach at $80.

Although winter is my favorite season for most things I think fall is the most exciting season in fashion. In spite of the horrifying number of ugly furs that inevitably surface, fall fashion means tights, sweaters, hats, pants, scarves, shoes that aren't strappy, and jackets and coats.

Today is the first day of fall and I'm so excited it's here! I have a hunger to wear charcoal and pumpkin orange.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Vintage Simplicity 3688

I would make the one on the right with the cute little jerkin. (I hate the word jerkin.) I would endeavor to carry a green book too. I post this one in the spirit of the new school year. This looks like something I would have worn when I was in my early twenties when I felt especially collegiate or secretarial.

(The copyright is 1941 which is within my favorite vintage range.)

Surely if I had worn this ensemble someone would have written a song about the winsome girl with the green book and the blue ribbons tied in her hair looking like a... secretary. I guess secretaries aren't particularly romantic figures. I'll bet any balladeer would write about a NAKED secretary though. I'd bet my retirement fund on it!*

Secretary chic does makes it into fashion every now and then when people remember when Lana Turner or Jean Harlow rocked it. Anyone seen "Wife vs Secretary"? I absolutely have to find a copy to buy on DVD. With Myrna Loy and Clark Gable it's a festival of gorgeous people. It's also one of the better roles that Harlow got, in my opinion.

*You should know that I have no retirement fund before engaging in this bet with me.

Friday, September 3, 2010

My (almost) original eyebrows

This photograph was taken when I was 18 years old. I made that green dress without the benefit of interfacing or stays, which it obviously needed. Still, I was a first year design student at FIDM and was only just beginning to develop good drafting skills. In this photograph I'm visiting my mother in Stockton California*, the armpit of the universe. It's not surprising that when I first got into design school at 17 years old and my mom decided suddenly to move to an armpit of a city and gave me the choice to move with her or stay in design school and make my way in the world with no support...

I chose design school and squatting at my best friend's house until we finally got a studio apartment together in San Francisco. Her mother, who is an incredible woman, never blinked about letting me live with them. Or if she did (and why wouldn't she hesitate to take in a chainsmoking mental teenager whose mother suddenly moved to Stockton) she never let me know it. Nothing but kindness and also she taught me to make lasagna.

Those eyebrows are unplucked, unshaved, and unwaxed. They are, however, slightly enhanced with brow liner. I used to have such large brows and now they are so much less substantial. I kind of miss those big brows. Now when I don't darken slightly with pencil they seem to only be half brows. Which don't make me look good.

I really can't say what's up with the pink shirt with pearls. It's like I was doing "Nancy Reagan visits the Renaissance Faire" look. (No one knew that was a look until now.)

I remember that I took the Greyhound bus up to visit my mom and brother. I had my hard shell forties suitcase with me which has since burned up in our attic fire and which I still sorely miss. It was so sturdy (and I was 115 pounds lighter) that I could use it as a seat while waiting to be picked up at the station.

Very cinematic of me.

Smoking cigarette after cigarette sitting on my old suitcase with my parasol protecting my pale skin from the punishing sun of the central valley.

Probably reading something serious like Thackeray.

I must have been a sight.

*It is very funny that nicknames for Stockton include both "all American city" and "most dangerous city in California". Yes, that sums up the US amazingly. As a whole that is our spirit. As Israelis say: we are all really fucking scary violent people with guns, us Americans.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Why does Karl Lagerfeld hate women so much?

I have a dislike/hate relationship with the poncy affectations of Karl Lagerfeld. I didn't like his designs before he joined Chanel, and I have only come to dislike him more ever since. To be fair, I have never been a fan of Chanel. Chanel is for stuffy, too rich for sense, knife sculpted middle aged society women. A bit harsh? I'm just saying exactly what Chanel has conjured up for me since I first started reading fashion magazines which is the only place I see people wearing Chanel. Oh, well, and on the streets of San Francisco occasionally (which only served to prove my original impressions)

Yes, I really do hate those iconic boxy Chanel jackets which didn't do anything for the female figure and yet weren't boxy enough to be androgynous chic and I truly do loath those iconic quilted leather bags with the chain and leather straps copied, god knows why, by absolutely every designer on earth.

So maybe it isn't fair to have an opinion about what Karl Lagerfeld has done to further degrade what little Chanel had going for it in the first place.

On the other hand, every woman has a right to have an opinion about the fashions being designed for her potential purchase.

I have read interviews with Lagerfeld and there is no other designer out there with a more repulsive set of affectations. He hates fat people, that has been made abundantly clear and now, after years of suspecting that he hates women, I finally have proof.

These big shaggy fluffy fur Clan-of-the-Cave-Bear style boots don't even look good on the stringy model- how does anyone think they'd look on a normal sized person? (I already know that on someone like me they would give a fair impression of a tarted up mammoth) There are few designs that can make a woman look worse that the thick fluffy tall boots that stop just under the knee paired with any dress who's hem stops several inches above the knee. A woman would have to have a deal with the devil to have the most sexy knees on earth to carry this look off.

No, I'm wrong, it is impossible. Giant furry fluffy fat boots will never be anything but disfiguring to any woman, thick or thin.

Which is how I know that Karl Lagerfeld not only doesn't find women personally attractive, I think he must have been horribly mistreated by them in his youth.

This is his revenge.

I think medication and therapy would be a more effective way of dealing with his hatred.

And maybe it would also cure him of his habit of wearing ugly sunglasses. Though I admit that's hoping a little too far.

Before this season I have struggled to find a kind thought towards this arrogant ass of a designer, but the gloves are officially off and I don't feel bad about my feelings any more.

I'm not even going to talk about that dress.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

40s Bathing Suit Sewing Pattern

McCall pattern number 6062. I fought an eBay duel for this one. Twice. I lost the first time I saw it listed. It was better this way, this one is actually a size 20*. The first one I tried for was a size 18**. But when I saw another one get listed I decided I would pay any price for such a fine pattern. I mean, look at those hot platforms!!!

Oh, well, you don't get the shoes with the pattern. But still, look at them!!

This is the way a bathing suit should look. In my opinion. I realize it isn't the popular view but I think string bikinis are ugly. I think nearly all modern bathing suits are hideous. But this pattern would flatter almost any figure! Plus you don't have to shave (or wax) off all your pubes to wear it. In fact, you don't have to shave them at all if you don't want to.

I actually want to go swimming looking at that suit.

If I lose 80 lbs I will sew this for myself.

And wear it in public.

In fact, I'll become a Yamhill River rat.

*Vintage sizing. Not at all the same as a size 20 now.

**Again, not a current size 18. A size 18 then would be about a size 10 or 12 now, at most.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Painter's Style

This is Sharon Eisley who is a fine artist friend of mine. I've known her for almost 20 years but we've only been friends for about the last 16 or 17 of those years. I have always loved her personal style and when she recently paid a quick visit to us I managed to take a few snapshots of her wearing a rose barrette I made and gave her.

What I love about her style: it's eclectic, colorful, interesting, pretty, flattering (even when she's wearing a style that isn't a personal favorite of mine, like cords- all the rage with youngsters like her- somehow she pulls it off), and it's not shy.

She is famous for finding great things at thrift stores. She has also been known to sew some really cute clothes for herself using vintage patterns. The next time I go to her house I must do a shoot of her wearing her forties pants and top (the same pattern I have in my collection).

Now she's a mom of two kids and never lets herself frump out or start weirdly believing that now that she's a mom she must become more restrained and boring. Something that happens to some women.

I am especially infatuated with the top she's wearing.

If you want to have a look at her art visit her here: Sharon Eisley

Or read her blog here: When In Home

Betty Davis Bathing Suit

I don't buy vintage patterns any more because I've spent quite a lot of money for the ones I have and the prices, while I was still collecting them, were consistently crawling up until at last they were plainly out of my reach. I am so happy I fought hard for the two vintage bathing suit patterns I managed to get my hands on before the game was up. This one cost me $30 something dollars. It was worth it. I have never seen another copy of it. This is such a cute swimsuit style! I'd totally wear it, though I'd worry about my boobs flopping around under that unsupported top.

If you look closely at the picture you will see that the design suggests you can also wear it as a play-suit.

Vintage bathing suit patterns are more rare than vintage lingerie patterns. My greatest pleasure is that I managed to get a few truly sweet examples of each before my mad collecting was shut down.

I can't find a copyright date on it but it's clearly the 1930's. If I had to guess more particularly I would say between 1930 and 1935.