Tag Archives: hats

Halloween: Vintage Style

IMG_5691_editWell hi there, friends!

I come to you today with a fabulously exciting collaboration between the prolific milliner Tanith Rowan and I.  I stumbled upon Tanith’s blog in late July and became enamored with her monthly Whimsy project and stunning handmade hats. She announced in her newsletter an idea for creating a set of vintage-inspired Halloween costumes and I jumped at the chance to be a part of it. We exchanged general ideas and set about sketching in the beginning of August. In all, we both came up with 10-12 individual designs and then we narrowed down to 3 for production. And that narrowing was no easy feat. I would happily make every one of Tanith’s designs. Oh and her fashion sketching? Puts mine to shame, folks.

Tiny sidenote – as you look at these, bear in mind the fact that the garments were all sewn in a 32 square foot space. On my kitchen table. If you think you can’t sew because you don’t have room – don’t let it stop you. It can be annoying, but it’s possible and remarkable fun.

1950’s Spider

spidersketchFirst up – a 50’s sheath dress and gathered overskirt with a wide brimmed sun hat. Tanith’s take on the hat is a stroke of genius. Inside the brim, she hand cut felt spiders and hid them between the sheer layers, so they are only visible when the light shines through the brim in the right way.

IMG_0965 IMG_0984For the dress, I used Gertie’s Tiki Dress pattern from her book and made it up in dark grey bengaline. I didn’t gather the skirt as she instructs, though.  I just used the simple pencil skirt instead. Of all the pieces for this project, I expected to have the most trouble and be the most frustrated by this one, just because of the complex nature of the construction and it being my first time using boning in a garment. It went together smoothly, to my great surprise. I even lined it! The “web” overskirt is self-drafted and made of creamy sheer. It’s loosely gathered using a technique I used last year to make an Anthropologie inspired duvet cover.

IMG_0976 IMG_09681930’s Cat

catsketchNext, a 30’s day outfit with a long skirt, bow-tied blouse and short cropped jacket. Tanith’s hat is a crown of fur with a knit fabric carefully gathered across the center and two velvet ears on the edge. By the way – a note about Tanith’s remarkable hat designs: she knows what a hat needs to help it stay on all day. For this hat, she built in a plaited bandeau that wraps around the back of your head to keep it in place. My hair mostly covers it in these photos, but trust me, it’s there.

IMG_1014The skirt here is Wearing History’s 1930’s Bias Skirt pattern. I tried the print at home version and have never been so impressed with a print at home pattern. Lauren took great pains to make the matching of the pieces easy and she succeeded. If you were on the fence about trying any of her patterns, I highly recommend them (and no, she did not ask nor pay me to say it).

The blouse is Gertie’s Bow Tied Blouse (from the book above) made in cotton dotted Swiss. For some reason, this one item was the hardest and most frustrating to complete. I wish the pattern pieces from the New Book for Better Sewing were numbered or lettered somehow because I spent a whole hour convinced I did not have the pattern piece for the collar. It’s called a Collar Band in the pattern and it confused the heck out of me. The directions for sewing are a bit vague, too. If you are not an experienced sewer, they will be hard to follow. Anyway – the back is closed with 5 bound buttonholes and finished with vintage buttons. Gertie’s bound buttonhole instructions are my favorite bar none. If you are looking to attempt them, check out her tutorial in this book. In the end, I’m quite pleased with the result and will be making the blouse again.

The jacket is self-drafted with a big wide collar to give a proper backdrop for the bow on the blouse. The jacket fabric is vintage gray wool a friend gave me and it was perfect for this use. It’s been waiting on my fabric shelf for just such a project.

Of the three outfits, this is my favorite. And as Tanith said in her post, I love them all!

IMG_1027 IMG_1026 IMG_10421940’s Bat

batsketchThe final outfit is a 40’s batwing suit made of houndstooth brocade. Tanith’s beautiful rendition of this hat blew me away from the moment I unpacked it. It’s another example of her thoughtful practical-ness, too. Inside, there are two elastic loops you bobby-pin to secure it.

IMG_1090I initially intended to add directional quilting as you can see from the sketch, but when I found the houndstooth fabric, the quilting seemed like it would interfere. This design also has a back closure and no, the back closure theme was not intentional. The lines of both designs just seemed to fit with what we were going for. The pattern used for this outfit is Simplicity 1706 from the 40s. The buttons are another set of vintage beauties waiting for the right project to come along.

IMG_1059 IMG_1054 IMG_1046I am so honored to have worked with Tanith on this endeavor. She is a lovely person full of ingenuity, talent and brilliance. Make sure you go check out her post on this project over at her blog and while you’re at it, look at her Whimsy project, too!

Also, I’d like to extend my sincere gratitude to my dear friend Mrs. T who kindly dropped everything to take off on a photoshoot adventure with me at a moment’s notice. She snapped all the photos here and did a truly wonderful job. I love you, dearie.

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How to Wear a Crocheted Snood

Hello friends! Today, I’d like to dive right in and explain how to wear a crocheted snood. Crocheted snoods are simple to put on and keep on, making them the perfect hair solution for quick trips around town. I guarantee your errands will feel glamorous if you don one of these! And an added benefit for those in the colder climates: crocheted snoods are incredibly warm. It’s like wearing a hat without the hair-smushing drawback.

You will need:

  • a crocheted snood (see below for where to buy one or how to make your own)
  • hair pins (I use bobby pins from Sally’s that match my hair color)

Step 1

Style the front of your hair. In the photo above, I have two huge pincurls rolled to towards each other to the middle. My hair was parted slightly off center before I made the curls, so they are not the same size and slightly askew.

Step 2

Brush out your back hair. I often curl the ends a little, too. I do this with a round bristle brush: Take a section of hair, position the brush at the ends and gently catch the ends in the brush, curling the hair under in a circular motion. This helps give the back hair more body once it’s inside the snood.

Step 3

Gather up your back hair and pin it in a large loose pincurl at the nape of your neck. Not too many pins, only about three or so. This pincurl bun doesn’t need to hold very long, it only needs to keep your hair out of the way while you pin on the snood.

Step 4

Take the snood, with the ribbon ends positioned at the top of your head (if it has a ribbon) and wrap it around your head, covering the pincurl bun. Now you pin it in place:

Pin the top, behind your front hairstyle

Pin the sides, behind your ears

Pin the bottom, under the pincurl bun

Step 5

Reach into the snood mesh and remove the pins holding together the pincurl bun. Fluff the hair into the snood so it fills out.

Step 6

Tie the ribbon at the top.

Here’s a little demonstration gif so you get the idea:

Where to find one

Premade snoods are available from a variety of online sellers. My green one in the photos above was a very thoughtful present from our lovely friend Patricia. She discovered The Snood Lady – a dear woman who meticulously reproduces snoods in modern yarns from a vintage pattern. The Snood Lady even sells fancy jeweled snoods for weddings and special occasions. (Edit 10/24/12 – The Snood Lady is closing up her website, so see the other links I’ve provided for premade snoods.)

Of course, there is Etsy – a wealth of premade snoods in a variety of colors: Aprils Bag and Stitch In Time Design in the US and Eden Valley Vintage and Gin Poodle in the UK (thanks Tanis for letting me know about your shop!).

And if you are a crocheter, you can make your own! The free pattern I used to make my red snood is here (Ravelry link). I added a couple more rows of crochet to this pattern so I could thread a ribbon around it (details on the exact stitches are on my Ravelry page for the project). Annalaia’s shop has 10 vintage crocheted snood patterns and a special pattern for containing layered hair can be found in Patterns ala Carte’s shop.

I hope these ramblings encourage you vintage ladies to give snoods a try! And as always, if you have questions or if I didn’t explain something good enough feel free to speak up.

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Inspiration Board

I’ve got so many ideas swirling around in my head right now.  It’s getting hard to think of anything else, so I figured I’d share them with all of you.  Then, maybe I’ll be able to put them to rest until I can complete them.

First up – two vintage patterns I recently acquired that I’m terribly excited about.

The Advance 2973 dress pattern is a style that I’ve been dreaming about making.  The long lines are great for trimming the figure and the lovely billowy sleeves are amazing.  I was thinking of doing my first version in soft pink.  What color/pattern would you choose?

The McCalls 2060 playsuit pattern is just for fun.  I wasn’t looking for a playsuit, but when I saw it I couldn’t resist.  When I make it up, I’ll lengthen the shorts some, because I like my shorts a little longer.  I’m not too crazy about the appliques, so I’ll probably go plain.  Wouldn’t it be cute in red gingham with a red belt and red sandals?  :)

The center Simplicity 6825 pattern was a lovely gift from the seller on Etsy.  It’s a lovely dress.  I always adore lace sleeves and insets.

Then, I’ve been investigating accessories for the Vogue suit.  I decided while I was making it that I wanted to do a matching hat, but I was undecided about which kind.  That’s when I came across Mary Beth’s post on her class to make fedoras.  I knew I’d found my perfect hat.  I’m going to use Vogue 8175, since (as Mary Beth says) it is a better pattern.

Then, for a purse I’m still undecided.  The pattern envelope of the suit (Vogue 2885) has a terribly intriguing purse on it, (look at the lady with the red jacket) but I’d have to draft the pattern for that one myself.  I can do it, and I’ve done it before, but I may not have time to conquer that one right now.  If I can find a pattern I like as much or better, I’ll make it instead.  (Suggestions welcome!)

Next, I got these lovely fabrics for a set of headbands I’m planning on gifting to a 5-year-old friend of mine. :)  I’ve made headbands from Heather Bailey’s pattern before and they are so cute and so simple (incidentally, if you’ve never seen her blog, it’s truly worth a look).

Finally, I’m finishing up a huge crochet stole that I made over Christmas out of the softest, dark green, chenille yarn.  I just have to sew the satin blanket binding around the edges to give it stability.  I made it from this vintage pattern and it worked up beautifully.

I’ve got other little ideas nagging at me, but these are “The Big Four.”  I’ll probably be tackling the headbands first, since those are for someone else.  After that, it’s the stole.  It won’t take much to finish that, so it’s an easy feeling of accomplishment.  :)

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