Friday, August 11, 2017

Thelma Todds Celebration; Yet another Thelma Dress!

       At the end of last month I celebrated Thelma Todd's birthday, which I do every year and it always winds up being an even bigger ordeal than my own July birthday. Thelma has always been at the highest position on my list of favorite actors in depression and precode era Hollywood. She starred in over 120 films and I can't recall just one that I've not enjoyed. Her natural funniness in front of the camera never gets tiring, nor her quick shot glances and gorgeous features and physique. 

     Just a couple of days before her birthday on the 29th I positively knew that I must make something to wear for the day. Another Thelma Todd frock, but of course! Something that epitomized her well and typified her very style. Her own fashion sense was something to shout about as well! At any rate, I turned to Thelma's short comedy films for inspiration. I thought because there are so very many of her films it was going to be a time demanding task. This wasn't the case. I had found precisely what I wanted in the very first film I turned on. The very frock for the day was in, "Bargain Of The Century," with ZaSu at her side. 
   Suffice it to say, it was perfect and a design that I've wanted ever so long anyhow. I turned to my abundance of fabrics and sewing patterns and I saw instantly what I was going to use. After two evenings of pleasant toiling this is what I came up with and created....

         And Here is Thelma's own!

    Of all the many textiles of crepes and pongees, lawns, voiles, silks and so many more I chose this floral Faille of rayon in whirls of blues and a touch of the loveliest chartreuse. It was the closest I could get to Thelma's print fabric without having to buy more.

    The pattern I used was this Butterick pattern I have had for years without having used it. Another great reason to make the Thelma Frock! Although rather easy in construction there are some details that are worth noting. One being that it's a Dolman puffed at the wrist sleeve, isn't that so ideal! 
Here is a better look at the sleeve which is elasticated at the cuff of the sleeve in a casing one may have at the elbow or more up the arm for a slightly different look.
The front center bodice is in one piece which ends in a point just at the level of the hips. This feature is mimicked at the back where you'll see the most cunning closure; a tab that runs up the back and over the neckband to which it buttons. There is also the usual side closure. 

  I did care to point out the cowl neckline and cowls are always elegant. In order for necks like these to drape into the perfect cowl I make dressmakers weights. I couldn't find these useful little items in shops, so for the longest time I've made them myself with just a couple of large washers. I crocheted around and around them to conceal the rough and unsightly hardware and then they're tacked just so to the center front and weighs down the cowl in the most charming of ways!
    To complete the ensemble I wore my favorite NRA 

(dated 1933-1935) turban

in black straw with the 

most sweet little blue 

leaves and 

honeyrod steman.
By coincidence did this accompany the dress perfectly!  My shoes were also in black patent heels with navy blue suede. You might have seen Remix Vintage Shoes' called, Cloche. Ive owned them for years and just adore them! My stockings, new old stock right out of the box,  but we won't say anything more about those!
I will mention however that my new navy gloves have the duckiest scalloped feature at the cuffs and are made of a soft and thick cotton in navy with navy blue silk thread. I made them for the autumn but I couldn't help but show them off now!

   The last of the accessories is the self same fabric belt with the most appealing belt buckle of mother of pearl. It separates to open and remove between the circles, isn't it just so pretty! I line my belts in tailors canvas (or horse hair canvas to the moderns), for I've so very much of the stuff, and it works a charm to give it added strength. 

 Happy Birthday wishes, Thelma!

"Unless she has unlimited funds a woman must have great cleverness in the variety of her clothes." 
-Margery Wilson, 
 July 1936


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Birthday Frock! A subconscious challenge!

Yes! At my age I'm still making birthday frocks! This one's birthday 2016..

        It was a design challenge in a way because I overheard some women at a restaurant a couple of weeks ago talking about celebrities and one statement of theirs stood out louder than the rest, "blondes can't pull of gray."
I was off to my sewing that evening and started my gray print frock I've been wanting to make for a while. What a good motivation for it. What do you think about gray? Should I not wear this again? I quite love it!

  I made all of it but the shoes of course! I didn't have my gloves I made to match on but I did have the hat I made even though it was quite breezy out. I love millinery and glove making as well. 

      It's a gray Rayon print and peach pique belt and hat. There's shirring at the collar and sleeves and a three piece skirt.

I'm not sure what I was trying to achieve with this photograph! Perhaps it's to show just how lovely the fabric feels and how much I like the fit! Here's the pattern..

I would certainly make it again! Aren't the details exquisite! 
      I've got two more hats and three more frocks on the go that I want to make before autumn. I'm trying to make the most of every free minute I have. Most of my time goes to my little boys but when the lights go out, my sewing room lights up!

      Stick around!

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Invaluable Skirt And Blouse Medley!

    I don't usually take photographs of my every day clothes (which are entirely all depression era or a little earlier) or all of the new things I sew or my everyday clothes. It would take a long time to photograph and post every day. To me they're just my normal 'ol togs and who wants to see all of them anyhow! If I did    But! I do want to share my new favourite skirt pattern that I made from a pattern that actually isn't mine and it's not German. It's a French pattern. I'll tell you first though, that German fashion of the thirties has always been my obsession. They had such a unique look that wasn't as extreme as Paris fashions but not as subtle as American fashions. I'm not talking about Tyrolean dresses or dirndles (although I like those) but the haute couture that German designers came up with that had such an elegant but more tailored look that made women look important...or perhaps, with power. I just love 'em!
    I love pieces of ensembles that may go with many other pieces of ensembles. Something I can just throw on when I have no idea what to wear and can't be bothered to think about what to wear. 
This one is my Faye Wray inspired, safari style as seen in pictures such as King Kong (1933). I am really rather into 1930s ladies' safari and sporting outfits. 
    I have made many many skirts and I actually quite like all I've made, but this new one I completed in just two days is the tops!
What the hell is mannequin 44!? I should know this I suppose being a designer but they're sizes are awfully queer!
It was this French pattern and seeing as I don't speak French I went at it without knowing the size, how much hem and how much of a seam they've allowed for. I haven't used any instructions in patterns in a very long time so I really didn't need those. It was just the rest I was confused a bit about. After thinking it over and taking plenty of measurements I went at it and cut it out in a natural 100% linen and the next day I sewed it up. It took me an hour. I was rather pleased with that! 
     I did the sewing and the buttonholes on my Bessy Love, my 1917 hand crank (included in that hour) in no time and I chose not to do bound buttonholes because i wanted as little bulk in that area as possible. 
      I always do the hem and buttons and clasps etc., by hand and that takes about an hour. So I suppose all in all this skirt took me 3 hours! You must assume I shall be making from this pattern plenty more times to come. 

    I just love the unique curved opening in front that is apart of the side pleat. I chose these natural buttons so that I may wear the skirt with more jumpers and blouses.
   The blouse I have also made and is of a beautiful Rayon and very tailored in the man's fashion. The glass white and powder blue buttons are those that I've had for ages and are "vintage". I was so glad to find the perfect blouse to put them on. Aren't they so pleasant! 
    So there you have it! And I have another skirt and blouse to wear together or with many other things. Just ideal for my budget, every day I may have, or what may seem, like a whole new ensemble!
      And who doesn't love that!

Monday, June 6, 2016

A Weekend Excursion and Lookey What I've Found!

    I just love getting in the automobile and driving away for the day (or even weekend)out of the blue. with my little boys. Nothing planned, just pick a direction and motor off from Salt Lake City. This time it was south and this part of Utah is so gorgeous as well, I just love it. 

    We usually visit ghost towns and really small towns. This time around we found a couple of towns that were once the largest cities in Utah but are now so small there isn't even a chain store (what a lovely thought, sincerely, I love that).
     We spied a great museum in a small town called Fairview and stopped to have a look. Honestly I wasn't expecting much but this museum was quite swell!

     There were many things the boys loved about it and so many things that I certainly did, such as these lovely gowns...

Look at the detail! I like very much that they had photographs of those who wore these.

This permanent wave machine pictured below! How I wish hairdressers still had these!

And a pretty amazing collection of "Antique" and "Vintage" Sewing Machines! Again, the Detail!

And Last, but of course not least....

 This is a sloper from the past. The New Perfect Tailoring system, and although I've seen these for sale online and have not been able to afford one just yet, this museum gave me a chance to finally see one in person. I was so pleased. It was used by a local dressmaker in the 1890s and there are sleeves and backs etc. that were used to make many designs in clothing fashion that were desired. 

Here is short film on this museum and if you ever find yourself in Utah stop by!

Here's a few snaps of just how gorgeous this area is!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

1930s Dress Finished My Adrienne Dore

     I've positively adored Dore for quite some time. She's an Idaho gal (which is Utah's sister state), which is swell and she was really a good actress. I saw her for the first time in "The Wild Party" with Clara Bow years ago and around the same time, "The Famous Furguson Case" with Joan Blondell. Adrienne Dore wore a swell frock in that picture and I just loved it. I saw this film again last week and I figured it was about time I had that ensemble. 
  So here it is....

    And this is Adriennes...

         I tell was so bright outside! I was squinting horribly.

It was impossible to find a photograph of her in this costume so I had to finally just put on the film again and take a picture of the screen. 
  Anyhow, I went through my fabric trove and found some great georgette which has been knocking around for years that would be perfect for it (I've been trying my darnedest to use what I have instead of buying more). Then I had to draft a pattern of it by memory because I didn't have a photograph but I remembered her floral print frock was under her dark jacket and the clown-style frilled collar came up and over it. It was simple, just drafted a six gored skirt with a top that buttoned up the front and a larger under collar over large collar. 

   I used some lovely lambs wool knit for the jacket and sewed Hong Kong seams nicely because I didn't want to line it. I did put tailored pockets in it that were of the same georgette as the dress. I thought it would be clever'n'cute. It's a seamstress/tailoress no-no but I like it. I'm a designer and I can do what I want.

      I just love big collars and collars that are quite unique, don't you? 
   Here is the dress alone...

I've been trying to incorporate more black into my wardrobe because I don't have a lot of it where clothing comes in but I do have a lot of black accessories I'm dying to use. I think for fall I'm going to make a black dress, at long last, and I need a new nice black hat (as you can see)!

My favourite aspect of the frock was the jet-looking buttons and green and yellow georgette. This was made completely on my 1918 Bessy Love handcrank (115 Singer) of course! My Khafra (127 Singer 1923 treadle) is busy with another floral affair! 

    See ya soon!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Birthday Wishes For Verree Teasdale and George Brent

     Here's to two of my favourites upon the silver screen on their birthday! 

    Verree Teasdale has always been dear to me and I've always looked to her for fashion hints and speech lessons. Her style was impeccably feminine and elegant. Never dowdy and never in bad taste even adorned in some of Orry-Kelly's more off-the-wall designs. 

     Verree was married to Adolphe Menjou, who at the time was a sex symbol. They were married quite some time until his death in '63. I loved him as an actor, in fact, both of them as actors and especially when they were starred in roles together. 

   And here's to the birthday boy, George Brent!
       I've always had a pash for George. He's so desirable and tall and dark and handsome. I swoon when he speaks.

     He's starred in films with many of the loveliest women of all of Hollywood. Some of my favourite pictures are the ones with him and Kay Francis. 

   I always watch films of actors and actresses on their birthdays. Seeing as there aren't enough hours in the day for me to watch a film of Verree's as well as George's I made a compromise and watched them both in one of my favourite pictures, Desirable 1934. It's a film I quite relate to. Jean Muir plays a plain and lanky young lady and blossoms. I won't give the storyline away if you haven't seen it (and you must!) but how lovely a thought to be kissed by George Brent! 

   Happy birthday wishes to both of you, whole heartedly!