Me Made Monday: A Bernie Dexter-Inspired Toile

Hello lovelies! I know I said my intention was to post a newly made garment each week, but unfortunately my ambition got away with me and I tried to work on three projects, meaning I completed zero. Of course. I’m sure one would have been finished if I had any clue how to work with stretch denim, but… I can make excuses all day long, right?

So today my Me Made Monday offering is one that I finished August 2013! I was inspired by Bernie Dexter’s Paris dress in Blue Toile and just happened to have the perfect cotton fabric to match. I also was aware of Dita Von Teese’s lovely paniered toile dress, so I’d consider that inspirational as well.

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My inspirations!

My dress is half lined, with piped straps, single piping all around the neckline to the back, and double piping at the waist. This was the first time that I ever attempted a lapped, hand-picked zipper, and to this day I’m very pleased with how that turned out!

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I’ve worn this dress a fair amount since making it, but unfortunately I knew little about flat patterning when I drafted it. Add on the fact that I’ve become considerably more busty in the nearly two years following, and the top of this baby doesn’t fit me at all; even then it didn’t fit very well, if you look closely. So no photos of the top of it from yesterday! The pictures above were taken soon after I completed it, when I was far less knowledgable about how to keep my curls looking good all day. Please excuse the blob of curls!

Recently, I only wear this dress with a cardigan or jacket on top, because I refuse to wear something that shows a quarter of my bra at the armscye – not classy. Yesterday’s photographs were taken by my boyfriend who was egging me on, which explains the amount of animation compared to my usual photos! (Pose! Model for me! Be a pin-up!) Despite this, it’s clear that my man is no professional photographer, as it seems I’ve lost my feet in several photos 😉

IMG_0982IMG_0980I’m most proud of the pattern matching on this piece, as well as all the detail work I put into it – the piping, the neat lining, the hand-picked zipper. Details like this are what I think really elevate a piece from looking simply homemade to looking custom and couture. 
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I will, however, be remaking this dress very soon – or at LEAST adding a side bust dart. I’d really like to be able to wear it without covering up the gaping after all the detailing I put into it! Look out for that alteration within a couple of weeks!

What garments are you showcasing for Me Made Monday today? Tag #memademonday as well as @thehomemadepinup on Instagram, and drop your blog link in the comments below! I’d love to feature your pieces 🙂

Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

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eBay Round-Up: Week of 6/21

Hey all! It’s that time again. I found some really fun items this week (that last one!) and I hope you agree! Feel free to comment what you’d like to see in next week’s round-up. Enjoy and, as always, do let me know if you win any of these awesome pieces 🙂

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Vintage 50’s 60’s Cotton Circle Skirt: $19.95 (or $30 BIN) + $6 shipping, waist 26″, auction ends Monday 5:01pm
This seller makes vintage style skirts out of vintage fabric and sells them for very decent prices, so it’s great for those vixens out there who don’t sew!

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Fun Vintage Pair of Sheer Rayon Chiffon Scarfs Yellow Orange 26″ X 26″ Square: $9.90 BIN + FREE shipping, auction ends in about a week
Every vintage gal needs some chiffon scarves in her repertoire (and if you get the skirt above, they’ll match ;).

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Vintage 60s White and Tangerine Chiffon Beaded Waistband Sundress with Pockets: $2 + $6.50 shipping, bust 32″ and waist 27″, auction ends Monday 8:01pm
This unique piece looks to be in super wearable condition!

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VOODOO VIXEN PLAID BOW SWING DRESS 50 EMO PIN UP TATTOO GOTHIC RETRO JAWBREAKER: $34.99 BIN + FREE shipping, size S, auction ends July 13 at 4:20pm
Not vintage, but a great price for a reproduction dress. Last one! I’ve had this baby on my watch list for far too long, so I hope one of y’all snaps it up.

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Vintage Mid Century 18″ Red White Gold Plastic Bead Necklace & Earring Set: $7.96 BIN + FREE shipping, auction ends July 5 at 3:24pm

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vtg SHADOWLINE sz M yellow sheer PEIGNOIR ROBE & baby doll GOWN SET: $9.99 + $4.64 shipping, auction ends Tuesday 7:43pm

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Vtg 1950s Pumps Black Leather Pointed Toe Stilletto Heels Vintage 50s Shoes: $20 BIN + $9.50 shipping, size 7AA, auction ends Friday 6:12pm
SO SEXY.

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Vtg 1950s Skirt Lavender Sailcloth Cotton Vintage 50s A Line Skirt w/ Pockets: $25 BIN + $9.50 shipping, waist 32.5″, auction ends 6/28 at 11:46am
Great piece, great price.

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Vintage 30’s Ivory/Beige Ladies Summer Hat with Netting: $7.49 + $3.44 shipping, auction ends Thursday 7:58am

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Vintage Bakelite Red Orange Squirrel Brooch Pin: $3.75 + $2.54 shipping, auction ends Tuesday 5:33pm
The best (to me) for last! I love this darling little guy. I may be bidding against y’all!

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I hope y’all are having a lovely Father’s Day weekend!

Until next time,
Lauren

Me Made Monday: Adventures in Circle Skirts

Two posts in two days?! Wow, I’m really jumping aboard this blogging thing 😉 In all seriousness, I’m planning on starting a NEW CHALLENGE for myself, which I am dubbing “Me Made Mondays.” A week is generally plenty of time to sew one garment, and since I work better under pressure, what better motivation than a weekly blog post?

I also adored seeing everyone’s “Me Made May” posts last month, and I want to invite ALL OF YOU lovelies to participate in my challenge. Whether that means sewing a new garment each week or simply wearing something you’ve made in the past on Mondays is completely up to you. Please use the hashtag #memademonday on Instagram – and though I’ll be checking the tag, feel free to tag me (@thehomemadepinup) as well so I’m sure to see it! I’d like to feature other Me Made Monday projects on the blog each week, if y’all are okay with that. If you blog, drop a comment below with the link to your post about your own amazing Me Made Monday project and I’ll stop on by! I am SO looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

So what’s my first contribution to this exciting weekly celebration of sewists, seamstresses, and creators? MY FIRST (yes, unbelievably) CIRCLE SKIRT. Somehow, though I’ve included them in dresses in the past, I just never got around to making a real circle skirt. Skirts are so much more versatile than dresses, aren’t they? There are an amazing amount of outfit options when you fill your closet with thoughtful separates.

I’m big on blue, and bigger on nautical, so when I saw navy cotton fabric with white embroidered anchors, it was a NO BRAINER. If I’m not careful, my whole wardrobe is going to be US Navy themed very quickly… and I’m kind of okay with that. (My boyfriend is working his way towards joining the Navy, so it’s really not surprising how blue-and-white, anchor-ships-and-sails crazed I am. Go Navy!)

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This skirt is a self-drafted double layered skirt, with a full, separate lining. It has a hand picked lapped zipper at the left hip and a pocket (LOVE POCKETS) at the right. Look at me below, using my pocket. Look how happy I am! Pockets for all the things!

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I’ve been working on expanding my sewing skills with each new project, which is part of why I’m so excited for Me Made Mondays. It will be a chance for me to try out new techniques every single week! With practice comes professional results, and that’s what I’m all about. For this piece, sewing two circle skirts that are connected at the zipper, the pocket, and the waistband was challenge enough, and I figured it out… eventually. It isn’t perfect, but it looks lovely from the outside and really not bad on the inside. I’m big on beautiful interiors – I think it brings the professional quality up a huge amount, as well as adding loads of strength to your garment. Finished seams are a necessity to me, and I don’t serge; this skirt is finished with french seams.

Other new things to me include drafting and sewing pockets and blind hemming by machine. My first try sewing a pocket ended up too shallow (the project that one is in will appear on the blog later), and this one was deep enough but is barely big enough to allow my hand through. Thankfully, it’s the perfect size to drop my phone in and it’s easy to grab it out, so I didn’t bother picking it out and starting over.

For those who don’t know, a blind hem is when you catch a tiny amount of fabric every few stitches, with the other stitches falling in the seam allowance, so all you see from the right side of your garment are very small prick marks every half inch or so. When you spot a dress in the stores with a blind hem, it’s a mark of high quality craftsmanship – the vast majority of ready-made garments these days just do a simple, bulky, obvious straight stitch at the hem. Blind hems are also often used for things like curtains and pant leg hems. It’s a great skill to have under your belt, and though my first attempt isn’t flawless, I’m very proud of it – especially because it’s on a curved hem. If you want to try out a blind hem for yourself, I highly suggest you do so on a straight hem, perhaps for a simple gathered dirndl-style skirt! The curved circle hem just made it so much more complicated and anxiety-inducing than it needed to be. My hem for this skirt is a bit obvious, and perhaps needs another good press to make the stitches more invisible, but I’m pleased with my progress.DSCF0356

One last thing – this thing has a HUUUGE sweep at the hem! It’s really incredible how little fabric circle skirts require, but how expansive they look when worn. This only took about 2 yards for me, and the skirt is so full (helped out by the addition of the full circle skirt lining) that it looks really nice even without a petticoat. I decided to line this because the anchor fabric was quite thin and I hate a wimpy looking skirt, particularly when worn over a petticoat when it slumps in around the low hip, and the lining certainly resolved that!

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Other outfit details:

Top: Pinup Girl Clothing’s Bella Donna dress in Italian Landscape, worn as a top, from the annual Yard Sale.

Petticoat: vintage, Etsy.

Shoes: B.A.I.T. footwear’s Blanca heel, from their sample sale this weekend!

Oh, and while zoomed out editing these photos, I looked like I was wearing a skirted version of Wonder Woman’s famous ensemble. And I am totally okay with that.

Wonder Woman Lauren signing out.

P.S. Remember to hashtag #memademonday and tag me @thehomemadepinup on Instagram if you participate, so I can feature your lovely additions to this celebration of our homemade hobby. If you blog, link me in the comments below and I’ll come on by and check it out! That’s it for now, lovelies. Seeing your beautiful creations each Monday is going to make the start of a new work week so much brighter ❤

eBay Round-up: Week of 06/14

It’s time again for this week’s eBay highlights! My apologies for the lapse last week – I was busy at the Pinup Girl Yard Sale and forgot to write and schedule the eBay post ahead of time. Apparently I’m not very good as this blogging thing yet!

As always, let me know what you would like to see in future eBay round-ups, like blouses, pants, dresses, shoes, or anything else! And please leave a comment if you end up buying anything, I’m so curious. I’d love to hear from y’all!

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Sexy Vintage 50’s 60’s Air Steps Brown Ombre Pierced High Heel Shoes Size 7B: $20.25 BIN + FREE shipping, auction ends 07/14 at 9:13am
Free shipping for shoes is SO awesome, and this pair is a beaut!

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Vtg GOSSARD ARTEMIS Nylon FULL SLIP sz 36 Beautiful Lace Lingerie Nightgown: $6.99 + $2.13 shipping, auction ends tomorrow 5:57pm
Slips are one of my favorite things to buy on eBay (or buy vintage in general). They are usually quite inexpensive, and the quality is so much higher than modern slips.

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Vintage 1950’s Simplicity Pants & Skirt Sewing Pattern #3257 Complete waist 26: $0.99 + $2.93 shipping, auction ends Saturday 12:50pm
A pencil skirt and cigarette pants, what more do you need for a wardrobe of fabulous basics?

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Leather gloves. vintage small very soft: $3.59 + FREE shipping, auction ends Saturday 12:33am
I love the detailing on these beauties.

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vintage baby blue shift dress size M- handmade: $2.50 + $5 shipping, auction ends TODAY 5:38pm

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X642 Amazing garter corset *garter belt 25/26″ 65cm*very shaping: $1 + $8.50 shipping, auction ends 6/21 at 10pm
The criss-cross detailing on this is stunning.

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Vintage Carved Floral Dark Green Bakelite Buckle: $5 BIN + $2.50 shipping, auction ends 7/14 at 9:31am
I really hope some sewing maven out there can make use of this amazing piece, it is SO gorgeous.

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Vintage Basket STRAW/BAMBOO/WICKER PURSE WITH FLORAL DESIGN: $5 ($19.95 BIN) + $12.95 shipping, auction ends next Sunday at 2:18pm

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Vintage 50’s plaid shorts perfect for summer!!!: $12.99 + $3.54 shipping, waist 33″, auction ends Wednesday at 12:57pm
Some shorts to start off your Grace Kelly style this summer 😉

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Mexican Vintage Style Sandals Rockabilly Pinup 7.5 VLV Bait Rocket Miss L Fire: $10 + FREE shipping, auction ends TOMORROW at 4:05pm
…And some shoes for your Grace Kelly style!

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Happy shopping!

Summer Style Icons: Grace Kelly

Welcome to the FIRST post in my Summer Style Icons series, featuring none other than Grace Kelly! I will be posting once a week in this (at least) five-part series offering a glimpse into the summer style of the Old Hollywood stars we love, and how we can achieve that on a budget. Enjoy!

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An important aspect of personal style is discovering classic pieces that scream “you,” ones that you can throw on with little thought and still look put together and feel authentic to yourself. I fully believe that if I wear clothing that is uncomfortable or that doesn’t feel “right” to me, it shows. Since we’re already wearing clothing that is uncommon to our current time, why try to fit yourself into a box – even if it’s a vintage one? Take the time to seek out what truly makes you feel like “you” and that effort won’t go unnoticed. In fact, you’ll seem effortless, a mark of knowing yourself and knowing what makes you shine.

Few other Old Hollywood actresses are revered for such effortless grace as that eponymous woman, Grace Kelly. She’s long been a favorite icon of mine, and I grew up watching her in films like Mogambo and How to Catch a Thief. The white dress in the latter movie is absolutely iconic, standing up to the test of time and succeeding spectacularly – how elegant does she look here? It is a rather simple piece, though expertly made and, even when she is accessorized with a sparkling necklace, she still doesn’t look pretentious. That’s the dream, isn’t it?

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I’ve unconsciously collected pieces throughout the years that recall the safari wear of the former film, such as a couple classic loose-fitted button-up shirts and a collection of scarves. There’s nothing extravagant about Grace’s look, but it is undeniably chic and timeless. Collared shirts, scarves, a leather belt, neutral separates, and always perfectly waved hair – a look that’s absolutely achievable for the modern, vintage-loving woman.

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In her everyday life, Grace, though an actress with plenty of glamorous head shots and promotional photographs, had a simple and chic personal style. Without a doubt, her je ne sais quoi shows through her wardrobe in films. Kristina Haughland, a biographer of Grace Kelly, noted that the actress “was as loyal to [her clothing] as she was her old friends.” This means well-made, timeless pieces that can be worn over and over again without falling apart or losing their elegance – and certainly, quality over quantity!

I am most inspired by pictures of Grace Kelly in her daily life. Grace was incredibly close with photographer Howell Conant since their Photoplay shoot together in 1955, and he later became the unofficial photographer of the royal family following her marriage to Prince Rainier. Conant captured iconic photographs of this beauty, unusual because she was generally fresh-faced and simply attired. As the photographer stated, “You trusted Grace’s beauty…You knew it wasn’t built from clothes and makeup…this was Grace: natural, unpretentious.” Through his shots, fans of this actress-gone-princess can catch a glimpse of who Grace really was outside of the makeup and fancy dresses.

Her personal style is precise yet unfussy. Button-up shirts, fitted pants, loafers or espadrilles, and a well-placed accessory such as her iconic scarves or wayfarer sunglasses. In particular, I have always adored the series of photos showing Grace in what seems a very natural, personal uniform of cropped or rolled trousers, a collared shirt, flat shoes, and little else. She wears no jewelry or accessories, with only a simple leather belt around her waist and a scarf peaking out of her pocket. She is simply Grace, and that is simply beautiful.

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This is an outfit that I have been wearing in subtle variations before I realized that it might have been Grace’s “summer uniform” as well as mine. A different colored shirt, untucked at times and tucked the others; a thinner belt; jean crops rather than khaki shorts; a blue scarf instead of salmon and brown – no matter the change, the essence of this outfit remains the same. Like Grace wears jeans rather than trousers in some photos above, or swaps her leather belt for a scarf tied around the waist, the outfit still feels authentically her despite these small shifts.

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The best part of this “uniform” – which I’ll likely be wearing around the house, for weekend errands, or while sewing or doing work the entire summer – is that it is so achievable. Modern substitutes can easily evoke this look without breaking the budget on vintage recreation brands. I’m wearing a Forever 21 shirt, thrifted mom pants from Goodwill (later cut into shorts length and rolled up), a vintage leather belt from my mom’s younger days, and an eBay find scarf.

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The most expensive item on me is either my Minnetonka leather moccasins or the Derek Lam wayfarers, two absolute staples that were well worth the investment as I have worn them for years on end. Consider splurging on quality pieces when you’ll be wearing them daily, as you’ll save money in the end by not having to replace them constantly when they wear down. When shopping at budget stores, seek out quality embellishments, such as the pearlized abalone-esque buttons on my F21 blouse. These special details can be found, and they make all the difference in your overall appearance!

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Check out the budget pieces below if you want to try out this look for yourself!

Cotton Gingham Button-Up (on sale for $15) and Linen-Blend BF Shirt (on sale for $18) from Old Navy

I LOVE Old Navy for quality basics like these awesome button-ups. The solid one comes in a handful of other colors as well, like a deep salmon and a minty green, as well as basic white! And that linen-blend fabric would probably feel so dreamy. Shirts like these can also be tied up around the waist for yet another look.

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High-Waisted Denim Shorts ($15.90) and Classic Mom Jeans ($27.90) from Forever 21

We’re fortunate that high-waisted is now a “trend,” meaning we can find it at popular, low-cost shops like Forever 21. Careful on the fit and length, however, as I’m not always happy with how “modern” pieces from here can look. They’re not always made for anyone with a figure, either, so make sure that you try before you buy! That being said, those “mom jeans” are so on-point (but I’m not sure the rise is high enough). Don’t rule out thrift stores, as I picked a hideous pair of “mom pants” at Goodwill for a few bucks and converted them to shorts; if they fit well in the waist, hips, and butt, then it’s SO easy to cut them off to a nice, custom length short.

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Embroidered Espadrilles ($17.90) from Forever 21 | Penny Loafers ($27.99) from Target | Textured-Canvas Espadrilles ($22.94) from Old Navy | Huarache Flats ($24.90) from Forever 21

There are SO many awesome, affordable shoe options here. Look around at your local stores if you’d prefer another shop besides F21, Old Navy, or Target. Target also has their own espadrilles (around $20), though I prefer these ones from F21, as well as several other attractive penny loafers at higher price points. Forever 21 has many other loafers and espadrilles, including a lace-up ankle style of the latter that I love (keep the fabric pattern simple, however). And check out those “Huarache Flats” – they’re a very vintage style, and fit perfectly alongside this silhouette and look!

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Faux-Leather Belt (on sale for $9.97) from Old Navy | Faux Leather Cutout Belt ($6.90) from Forever 21

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Harvard Yard Sunglasses ($16.99) from Target | Classic Round Sunglasses ($5.90) from Forever 21
Those F21 sunnies below are marketed for “21 Men,” but they’re so classic that they’re truly androgynous. LOVE it! I would still, however, encourage y’all to splurge on a high-quality pair of sunglasses if you can, as this is a daily-wear piece (at least for me, I can’t LIVE without my sunglasses) and should protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.

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Matte Lipstick ($3.90) from Forever 21 | NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream ($5.99) from Target
That Nyx product is my absolute favorite, and I’m obsessed with it on a cult-like level. Seriously. It comes in a much wider range of colors than the website shows – try Target in person, Ulta, or Nyx’s website if you’re looking for a different shade!

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I’ve included all ready-to-wear pieces here, but I encourage y’all to go out to your local secondhand and thrift shops as well as vintage stores for your pieces! You can easily find leather belts at Goodwill, for example, and vintage scarves tend to be around the $5 point at vintage haunts around me. I wanted to include easily accessible pieces from big, recognizable stores such as Target to show that this style is so achievable, but these are by no means the only (OR cheapest) options for this casual Grace Kelly look!

That’s it for now, lovelies! Will you be implementing any of Grace’s casual chic outfits into your life this summer? What is your personal “summer uniform”? I hope you’ve enjoyed this little glimpse into capturing a bit of Grace Kelly’s style for yourself. After all, she said it best:

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Which classic celebrity’s style would you most like to see in the series next?