Me Made: A 1930s "Vintage Gal" Giveaway Skirt || The Homemade Pinup

Me Made: A 1930s “Vintage Gal” Giveaway Skirt

Not too long ago, I was fortunate enough to win the blogiversary giveaway from the lovely Vintage Gal! As if designed for the vintage-obsessed seamstress that I am, Cate was offering up a custom-drafted pattern for her 1930s Kick-Pleat Skirt. I was all too thrilled to work with Cate’s pattern and to be able to soon boast a fresh new summer skirt.

 

Me Made: A 1930s "Vintage Gal" Giveaway Skirt || The Homemade Pinup

Me Made: A 1930s "Vintage Gal" Giveaway Skirt || The Homemade Pinup Continue reading

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Me Made: A “Gertie Fabric” Blue Floral Daydream (+ Butterick B5209 review)

My wardrobe has been feeling a bit lackluster recently – everything feels old and tired. I logically know that’s not the case, but you know how it is. If you don’t get something new and exciting every once in a while, NOTHING is right. So I planned a new dress!

This dress was a bit of a sudden decision but, now that it’s finished, I feel like it was meant to be. I rarely go to the fabric store without a plan, though a few of the newer fabrics from the Gertie Hirsch collection at Joann Fabric really caught my eye. These fabrics seem much higher quality than the usual Joann offerings, and include some nice rayons. A rare sight! While I’m not necessarily the biggest fan of the collection as a whole print/pattern-wise, a couple of the designs look quite authentically vintage – count me in!

I ADORE the combo of this fabric and the sewing pattern I used. The fabric is a cotton sateen with a floral sketch print. This design also comes in a rayon, but the background color for that one is a beautiful sunny yellow. The fabric washes and dries well, though it has a tendency to crease quite easily. The bodice is lined in a beautiful white cotton sateen from Renaissance Fabrics, which I also used to make my Regency stays and I plan on using as the lining of my 1860s corset (do not buy the solid sateen from Joann, it hardly looks like sateen at all). Highly recommend!

My pattern is Butterick B5209, a modern pattern that’s a 1947 reprint. So this counts for the Big Vintage Sew-Along, hosted by McCalls! I love the reprinted patterns, because they’re authentic but accessible. They’re an excellent place to start, although the downside can be that the fit and the instructions have been “modernized.”

The Homemade Pinup: A "Gertie Fabric" Blue Floral Daydream (+ Butterick B5209 review)

I cut out one full size smaller than my envelope size, and it fits wonderfully. Alterations: I shortened the strap slightly, adjusted the position of the bust, and fit it particularly to my waistline rather than following the pattern’s waist. I also ignored the complicated hemming instructions and used my customary machine-sewn blind hem.

The Homemade Pinup: A "Gertie Fabric" Blue Floral Daydream (+ Butterick B5209 review)

This pattern is listed as easy, but I would label it for the courageous and advanced beginner i.e. someone who is confident of their ability and has the basic skills very solidified. Certain elements were quite fiddly, confusing, and/or annoying. The end result, however, makes all this worth it. I am obsessed!

The Homemade Pinup: A "Gertie Fabric" Blue Floral Daydream (+ Butterick B5209 review)The Homemade Pinup: A "Gertie Fabric" Blue Floral Daydream (+ Butterick B5209 review)

The dress is very comfortable and light, and it can be dressed up or worn for more casual outings. I’ve already worn it three or four times, can you believe it? I worked really hard to match the patterns on the front midriff piece, as well as placing similar roses on either bust piece. Not everything was possible to match, as I found out for the back bodice, but I still tried to make it look cohesive. I’m very proud of the result!

The Homemade Pinup: A "Gertie Fabric" Blue Floral Daydream (+ Butterick B5209 review)The Homemade Pinup: A "Gertie Fabric" Blue Floral Daydream (+ Butterick B5209 review)

All in all, I would say this pattern is worth trying. It gave a beautiful result after a bit of adjusting and fiddling, and I’m sure I’ll be using it again.

 

What’s your favorite sewing pattern(s) to use? Modern or vintage or otherwise?

Do you have summer wardrobe plans?

Have you worked with any of the Gertie fabrics?

 

Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

Me Made: A Bedsheet House Dress

Fairly recently I discovered that house dresses in the vintage years were nothing like the house dresses of today. I think most of us associate these with something like a mumu or a shapeless robe for bumming around in. What does this have to do with simple vintage glamour?

Well, of course vintage gals – or, rather, designers at the time – knew exactly what they were doing. Women were encouraged to be put-together from the moment they woke up. From a feminist standpoint, this seems rather stifling, but I also like to look at the other side of the coin – the idea was that it made a woman and her family feel more upbeat and optimistic, which was even more important during wartime in the 1940s. I know personally that I have a healthier attitude in general when I feel good about how I look and dress.

A housewife spent much of her time, as you’d imagine, in her house. The vintage solution to looking prim and proper while cooking and cleaning? The house dress. House dresses were a bit looser but maintained the same lines as their daywear counterparts. I believe the house dress began in the 1920s and continued from there. Common elements include wrap fronts, less detail, large external pockets, and hardier, brightly colored materials. You can read more about the house dress in various forms on Gertie’s blog, on Festive Attyre, and on Vintage Dancer (1920s, 1930s).

I saw the below pattern cover from Simplicity and fell in love with the short-sleeved option. Of course I was too impatient to find the pattern, buy it, and wait for it to arrive, so I cobbled together my own pattern. I altered a vintage blouse pattern from my collection for the bodice and freehanded all the rest.

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The verdict? I ADORE it. I feel so much more put-together when I throw this on for a day of laundry and cooking and cleaning. I also work from home many days and refuse to spend my days in sweatpants or leggings, so this is perfect. I wear it out occasionally, but generally I keep it to my house just like the vintage gals of yesteryear. The wrap style is especially pleasant to wear!

Me Made: A Bedsheet House Dress

I decided to bake up some cookies in true vintage spirit. Gluten free chocolate chip! They were yummy and easy to whip up with very few ingredients. My recipe came from Imma Eat That – no affiliation, I just found the recipe online and thought I’d share in case some of y’all are gluten-free too! (Featuring a glimpse of my true vintage 1930s apron.)

Me Made: A Bedsheet House Dress

In the era’s make do and mend spirit, I made my dress out of some bed sheets that we no longer had a use for at my house. The skirt is even pieced behind the crossover, so I feel very true to the spirit of the 1940s!

Also, take a look at my new-to-me shoes. They’re 1940s Red Cross slingbacks and I’m absolutely in love with them.

Do you have a glamorous home outfit?

Do you think the concept of fashionable at-home wear is a feminist concern or a brilliant invention to help the homemake feel lovely?

What’s your favorite cookie recipe?!

Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

Me Made Monday: #twinning 1950s matching separates

Today I finally get to blog about my most recent make, a 1960s set of separates! On the pattern cover, the top and skirt are made from the same fabric and, when worn together, mimic a dress. To me, that screams VARIETY, so I was all in!

Advance 8288

My sewing BFF Rachel bought c. 1957 “sub-teen” pattern Advance 8288 for a dress to wear to Disneyland and convinced me to sew one too. We love to match so she and I went all out and did EVERYTHING the same! We chose one of Gertie’s newer fabrics – a lovely, supple rayon print – and trim from Joann’s notions wall for ease (we don’t live in the same area). Projects like this remind me that the big companies really do have some nice things to offer if you dig!

Me Made Monday: #twinning 1950s matching separates

Me Made Monday: #twinning 1950s matching separates

I did not use the pattern myself, instead Frankenstein-ing two different vintage patterns from my stash for the blouse and creating a simple dirndl-style skirt. It worked fabulously all the same and really upholds the look of the pattern art, I think!

We debuted our matching ensembles at Disneyland, which was so fun! Rachel wore her blouse and borrowed my PUG Italy skirt, since her skirt wasn’t able to be completed before the Disneyland trip.

This weekend Mr. Homemade Pinup and I took a trip to Sherman Library and Gardens in Corona Del Mar, where I snapped some more photos. The fabric makes this set so wearable for the oncoming SoCal heat! I love me some rayon.

Me Made Monday: #twinning 1950s matching separates

Details: vintage metal zippers for both blouse and skirt, contrasting pink cotton pockets, deep machine-sewn blind hem on the skirt. My only complaint with this project is that the blouse is perhaps a smidge too big, and the waistband’s interfacing never really fused since I was afraid to use a hot iron on the rayon. Besides that, I really do enjoy the cheerful print and that I can accessorize with PINK! And I can really tell that I’ve mastered the blind hem technique, as my hem stitches are truly invisible – a very satisfying feeling.

Sherman Gardens was a great background for some snapshots and was such a nice retreat. I loved viewing all the different colors and textures of the plants, and since many were in bloom the gardens smelled amazing! I particularly liked the areas landscaped with all edible plants, like lettuce, strawberry, and herbs – Disneyland does the same thing in certain “lands” (especially Fantasyland) and it is so charming.

 

Are you feeling the spring weather yet?

Where do you go to escape the cityscape (if you live in a city like me)?

What’s your favorite vintage ensemble for warmer weather?

 

Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

Tutorial Thursday: DIY Vintage Crop Sweater!

I am so excited to share my first tutorial! Long ago I found an amazing article about upcycling regular cardigans into fabulous, vintage appropriate sweaters. When I couldn’t find it again, I thought I should give y’all my own version.

DIY Vintage Cropped Sweater! -  The Homemade Pinup

I’ve been frustrated by cute sweaters in my wardrobe that were just too long to look nice with the high-waisted vintage fashions I wear. These three cardigans all hit the hip or lower originally. They are unintentionally red, white, and blue! The red was given to me by my mother and has some lovely chiffon rose decoration around the neckline. The white was from an Ann Taylor Loft sale, while the navy sweater features my college sorority’s crest.

I took some before pics but they ended up looking TERRIBLE so.. sorry :3 My after pics aren’t so great either. Let’s just agree that I never claim to be a professional photographer 😉 All my sweaters were hip length or slightly longer to start. You can see the length of the white sweater in the first photo below.

HOW TO:

Find a sweater that needs updating. Shop your wardrobe, thrift stores, sales – the sky is the limit! Look for a color you need with maybe some fun beading for an extra vintage touch.

Put on your cardigan and mark where you want the finished sweater to hit. For this style, I recommend that it hits 2-3 inches below your natural waist. This part can be tricky because you need to plan around the buttons and buttonholes on your sweater – I pick the button/buttonhole pair that is closest to my natural waist, because adding the waistband later will make it longer. Mark (with pins, or count up the buttons from the bottom).

 

Measure from the bottom of your sweater up to these pins. Mine were around 5.5″. Add in a seam allowance of 1/2″-5/8″- making your cutting point 5″ up from the hem, if you use a 1/2″ allowance like me. Mark that distance all along your sweater on the INSIDE with chalk. The pins can be removed at this point.

Cut along this line.

Then, on the part you just cut off from the main body of the sweater, find the hem band of the sweater. Sometimes this is sewn on (in the case of my blue sweater), sometimes it is woven in (on my red and white sweaters both). Add the same seam allowance amount that you used in the previous step. Mark, and cut along this line.

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Now you have two pieces: your main body and the hem edge. Pin them together at the cut edges, right side to right side. You may have to remove a button to make the cutting and sewing easier and sew it back on afterward.

At any places that must be matched up, like the side seams or the button facings: hold the two pieces together and gently pull back the top layer so you can see the seam. Make sure they lay precisely on top of one another and use extra pins! Do NOT remove these pins as you’re sewing before they’re under the presser foot. I usually just sew over them to make sure my seams will not shift and they will match up perfectly.

Sew a 1/2″ from the edge (or 5/8″ if that’s your chosen allowance), being sure to stretch the sweater as you sew. Often you need to stretch anyway to because the band section you’ve cut will be a bit shorter than the body section. Stretching the fabric will allow your sweater to maintain its stretch. A slightly longer stitch length helps as well. (Practice on the piece you cut off and discarded if you’re nervous.)

Admire your new cropped sweater! To complete, press the new seam towards the hem well and then trim the seam. If you’d like, you may zig zag over the cut seam, but I only did that for one sweater.

You can also use this same process for sleeves to create cute bracelet-length sleeves! I chose not to at this point, because I like options to pull it long since I get cold easily.

The sky is the limit for your customized sweaters! I also replaced the boring plastic buttons with some vintage buttons from my stash. In the future, I’d like to add ribbon facings along the button facings, like you see in some vintage cardigans.

 

With only a couple of hours’ work, I now have three “new” cardigans to put into my wardrobe rotation that previously sat gathering dust!

What cardigans will you upcycle to make them more vintage appropriate?

 

Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

That’s A Wrap! (+ Vintage Simplicity 4130 Review and BONUS review by Gussets and Godets)

I really have been sewing too much for my own good right now. I have a backlist of posts and pattern reviews to write about the plethora of blouses that I’ve made of late. I hope you like vintage blouses cause… you’ll be gettin’ a lot of ’em!

S4130

Today I’m blogging about my experience with vintage Simplicity 4130, lent to me by my vintage sewing BFF Rachel. A call back to my dancing days, I love a good wrap top for their ballerina-like beauty and their ability to instantly emphasize the figure. This one, made up in a gold-flecked cranberry knit, certainly fulfills those expectations!

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The pattern went together quickly and easily, which is a testament to an early 60s pattern. Things started to get a lot simpler in the sewing pattern world at this time — I’m talking printed patterns and instructions that don’t assume you already know everything about the sewing process.

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As vintage patterns, like their modern counterparts, are known for having ease, PARTICULARLY in the bust, a size 32 seemed perfect for my 34-35″ bustline. I wasn’t disappointed, and this pattern went together perfectly with little need to alter. Part of that is due to the nature of a wrap top, and that’s the beauty of the thing — you don’t HAVE to be perfect at fitting with a wrap top. Highly recommended for a beginning seamstress!

I made a couple minor alterations to the pattern since it’s made for a woven fabric and I used a knit. I simply removed the seam allowance (to account for my fabric’s stretch) and ignored the facings in exchange for a simple turned over hem. Easy as pie.

My FAVORITE part about this pattern? It’s reversible! I can get two looks out of one: a traditional cross-front wrap, or a sultry high-necked, low-back stunner. What more can you ask for?

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If you’re searching for a similar look, Butterick offers B6285, one of Gertie’s patterns. Though I haven’t used it, the pattern looks very similar to mine and it looks beautiful made up. I asked Christina of Gussets and Godets to write a quick review of B6285 for comparison. I think her top turned out beautifully!

This was my first experience of sewing with knits, and I’m not sure why I have never sewn with knits before. I don’t have a special machine for sewing knits, but this wrap top is super cute and I knew I could easily incorporate this into my wardrobe.

The pattern consists of only 2 pieces. One body piece and one for the waist ties. It is a very cleverly cut top and sews up so quickly because there are so few seams. I like that there is no shoulder seam or armhole to fiddle with, the dolman sleeve is sleek and smooth.

Instructions were very clear and easy to follow. Though they assume you know what you are doing so they don’t give any hints and tips on how to sew with jersey which would have been useful. Gertie published a tutorial post on her blog with step by step instruction, photos and advice which I found very helpful and is a nice resource to check if you are unsure of a step.

I sized down one size based on the measurements on the pattern envelope from my recommended size 18 to the 16 and it was definitely the right size for me. It is a very forgiving garment being a jersey wrap so if you are quite busty or flatter chested the fabric will stretch or mold to the body.

From my experience of sewing this knitted top, I can advise that using a ball point needle is a must! A slightly looser tension than for woven fabrics helps avoid snapped stitches when wearing your top and also on any areas under strain.

My verdict: I really love this top! It is so versatile and allows me to wear my pretty cotton summer dresses while still covering up my arms and back in the colder weather. Dress it up or down and it’s super elegant and comfortable! Overall a nice easy project, I didn’t get stuck or confused during the sewing and it was a nice quick make.

 

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Thanks to Christina, it seems like B6285 is a great alternative if you can’t find the vintage Simplicity 4130! Butterick is easy to find and the look is so close to my vintage pattern, except it has vertical darting instead of Simplicity’s pretty 45 degree angle darts. Additionally, B6285 is not MADE to be reversible, but I suspect it can be worn backwards if you wish. I put on a non-reversible Ralph Lauren wrap top I own backwards, and it worked just fine.

As my grandma says about cooking (via Emeril): there’s no kitchen police! And as I say… there’s no sewing police! If you want to change something up, do so. The pattern won’t turn you in. Wear that B6285 (or other wrap pattern) backwards if you want! Feel free to use a knit instead of a woven (with simple adjustments). Sewing is what you make of it, and that’s the beauty of the thing.

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In summary (TLDR):

  • Simplicity pros = made to be reversible, lovely 45 degree darts. Made for woven fabrics.
  • Simplicity cons = hard-to-find pattern and only sold, as all vintage patterns, one size at a time.
  • Butterick pros = easy access, very similar look, patterned specifically for knit fabric.
  • Butterick cons = not made to be reversible (though likely can be worn backwards), boring vertical darting (lol).

 

Are you fearless with your sewing or refashions? What kind of adjustments have you made to clothing you own that it wasn’t intended for (like wearing something backwards)?

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Until next time,

Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

P.S. Remember that I have a Pinterest JUST for vintage style inspiration, organized by decade AND garment type! My Instagram is always a great place to follow my day-to-day happenings and outfits. And though it’s brand-new, I also have a Twitter that I will be using to update on new posts! Thanks for following, darlings!

Vintage for Every Body

Every woman experiences body image issues, Whether temporary or long term, caused by self-doubt or caused by society, I think we can all agree – being self-conscious sucks. Comparing ourselves with other women, particularly those flawless and airbrushed models seen in the media, contributes to a downward spiral of unhealthy thoughts and dissatisfaction. There’s a lot of romanticizing of other eras of body and weight ideals, such as how Marilyn Monroe’s “size 12 (or 14, or 16) body” was the “norm” and a desire to return to that, which I feel is a dangerous – and frankly, foolish – mindset to hold.  The argument is that our perception of beauty as a society now prefers waif-thin girls over the hourglass shape of the 1950s, but that ignores plenty of thin, beautiful women from the years past while also turning a blind eye to the weight and diet issues that women in our target eras might have faced.

Weight Loss 1900sWeight 1925  Weight loss 1940

Just like today’s crash diets, complicated food systems, and diet pills, the vintage decades provided their own “instant gratification” solutions that promised to rid you of unwanted weight. And just like today, the “Golden era” was a society that relied on creating insecurities for monetary benefit. I’m sure there were plenty of women out there who desperately reached for “sanitized tape worms” or amphetamine at the urging of ads such as these. A well-known example: Judy Garland was cruelly exploited by studio executives who first-handedly caused her addiction to amphetamines, or “pep pills,” for energy and weight loss (and then, to combat their side effects, barbiturates for sleep).

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Women then, like women now, came in all body shapes and sizes. Though the hourglass figure was indeed praised, I don’t feel it is any less desired in our modern times. Famously buxom stars such as Betty Brosmer and Jayne Mansfield quite clearly boasted this figure, but even before photoshop, Brosmer’s 18 inch waist, or Mansfield’s and Monroe’s slightly less drastic 22 inch waists, were quite a difference from the average 25 inch waist of the 1950s.

Marilyn thinMarilyn M

Marilyn herself, upheld as the ideal 1950s hourglass figure and the focus of many extreme claims, was a real woman with a fleshy stomach – I think that’s more important to remember than focusing on what dress size she may or may not have been. And like many of us, her weight clearly fluctuated, her celebrated tiny waist disappeared and reappeared, though she is considered no less beautiful by others for that.

Weight gain 1940s Weight gain 1960s

Alongside the weight loss ads stood weight gain advertisements, which used “skinny” as an insult. These products claimed to quickly pack on ten pounds and bring along a sudden rise in popularity and sexual appeal. I’ve found evidence of the above “Wate-On” product from the 1930s through the 1970s. Existing all at once, there are images telling you to both gain weight and lose weight. So what does this suggest about a societal ideal, after all?

September vogue 1956 Sunny Hartnett

Contrary to what people may proclaim about the 1950s body, many models from the fifties were quite thin with a very straight figure. No less celebrated and famous than the hourglass-shaped Marilyn, Audrey Hepburn was a tall, thin actress with a small bust (she reportedly wore a 34A) and slim hips. I don’t see any negative comments about her figure from the era that apparently idolized Marilyn’s style of extreme measurements.

Audrey Hepburn Audrey

My point is that there were women of all shapes and sizes in the 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond. Betty Grable’s legs were insured by her studio for $1 million. The waifish Audrey Hepburn existed alongside the buxom Marilyn Monroe. There were stunning burlesque performers boasting bodies that look like an approximation of our modern ideal, those with a slim and well-proportioned figure, as well as those with some banging hips that I could only dream of. All of these bodies existed and everything in between – and all of these bodies are equally “vintage.” Which means, so is yours.

Janie Gregg 1940sSherry BrittonEthelyn Butler 1955
Janie Gregg (1940s), Sherry Britton (1940s) and Ethelyn Butler (1955)

My absolute favorite images while searching for content for this post are those showing the stars with a little bit of realism and humanity. Jayne with visible flesh, Marilyn with thick thighs, a cute little belly pooch, and a large scar on her torso – if we should be claiming anything about this era of bodies, it shouldn’t be that Marilyn was one size or another, or that hers and Jayne’s figures were the only kind admired in their time. It should be that it was an era full of real women with real bodies, straight figured and hourglass shaped and everything in between. Some had more of a backside and large bust, others had little bust at all; some were admired predominantly for their legs and others for the entire package. All are beautiful.

Jayne mansfield Marilyn MOnroe by Bob Beerman 1950

Marilyn Monroe with gallbladder scar 1961

I find myself comparing my own body to the more extreme measurements of the pinup body, when there were absolutely women like me in my favorite decades. And there were also women like you. Why pick and choose, when we all have a vintage body?

I’m leaving you with a little bit of Hilda, who was the star of a pinup series drawn by Duane Bryers from the 1950s through the 1980s, alongside a piece by Gil Elvgren. Not all pinups look the same!

hilda20 Gil_Elvgren8780c76bcaf5198dce7783abda4cfa10

How do you feel about the commonly touted “vintage/pinup body”? Do you find it to be limiting like the modern ideal?

Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

A Two-Piece Challenge

Hi darlings! If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen that I challenged myself to mixing and matching a 1950s two-piece ensemble for this entire week. That meant SEVEN DAYS of variations on the same outfit! For me, that’s almost unheard of, but I wanted to see how many ways I could wear this pair of pieces.

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Above is the full set, in all its vintage glory! It is light and airy and wonderfully comfortable to wear, which makes it perfect for the crazy heatwave we’re having in Southern California. Check out the below remixes for full views of each day’s outfit! For some of the days, I took inspiration from @hilaryrushford’s #StyleMeSeptember challenge, so I’ll note that below.

09/02/2015

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The theme on Wednesday was “Bisous from Paris,” and the checked skirt and blue cardigan felt very French country in my mind (I was inspired by toile for the blue color). My skirt is 80s vintage, in its second incarnation, and my sweater is thrifted. It was actually cool enough that day to get away with it, but not since >,<

09/03/2015

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Theme: “Skirting the Issue,” aka the easiest challenge in the world for me. With my me-made cotton blouse and a breezy skirt, how can I go wrong when the heat spikes?

09/04/2015

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“Vintage Vixen” – another no brainer. Pretty much everything I wear is vintage or vintage inspired, so this was the easiest challenge day! I think this combination was my absolute favorite from the week – this blouse is even better mixed with a little color!

09/05/2015

DSCF0836 DSCF0835 DSCF0838IMG_3581The theme was “Falling for Florals,” so double points this day with my Tatyana floral bolero, worn as a top, and a hair flower! Underneath it all is one of the most spectacular vintage full slips I own, but I rarely wear since it’s yellow. Fortunately, it worked perfectly for this outfit!

09/06/2015

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The challenge title for this day was “Borrowed from the Boys,” which to me translates to… not a skirt. Since my shorts and blouse are so close in color, I paired them with a bright scarf belt – which used to be my mom’s necktie in the 80s 😉 recycle, reuse, #WomensFashionArmy, etc etc! Sadly I think this will be the last run for this pair of shorts, as they’re fitting me a little tight lately…

09/07/2015

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I apologize for my mega awkward photos, but the sun was so brutal I couldn’t stand getting anything better. This was my day without a theme, as I found picking the coolest top in my repertoire to be the most important thing! I paired my skirt with a vintage sunflower blouse and Bakelite bracelet.

This challenge was really fun for me because it showed just how many outfits I can get by adding two matching pieces to my wardrobe. I never felt like my outfits were “getting old,” even though I was rewearing either the same top or the same skirt every. Single. Day. For me, this is evidence that we truly can make GREAT use of our wardrobes. If you feel like your outfits are getting a little stale, but don’t want to or can’t buy more items, try to think outside the box with your combinations. Better yet – start a challenge, like the one above!

My favorite part about my little self challenge? Realizing that I could travel in total chicness with minimal packing. Every outfit above is so vacation-worthy!

How are y’all doing? What items in your wardrobe do you mix and match most often? Check in below!

Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

Vintage, Pinup, Retro, Rockabilly… What’s the difference, anyway?

I’ve lately been pondering how very many distinguishing titles there are for us gals in the vintage-loving community. The nostalgic aesthetic can be taken very different ways, after all! The look of the fifties and sixties has been stretched to great heights, even to the dramatic niche aesthetic of psychobilly style. While I won’t be discussing that particular one here – I feel it reaches slightly beyond my understanding and my goal here on The Homemade Pinup – it certainly emphasizes the diversity of the past fashions when combined with modern tastes.

What’s the difference between all these groupings? Where do you fit in the range of familiar titles? Read on to see my understanding of the four most common labels below – and why they matter, anyway!

Retro

Come On Get Poppy MCCarlotte Heels by Miz Mooz RCrafty Cooking Dress MC
Come On Get Poppy Dress from Modcloth, Miz Mooz Carlotta Heels from Ruche, Crafty Cooking Dress from Modcloth

I begin with what is, in my mind, the broadest of aesthetic styles. Modern brands that recall this look include Modcloth and Ruche. “Retro” styling is quite often signified by the words vintage inspired. Consequently, it is appropriate that this wildly popularf trend picks and choses from past elements of fashion to create a look that lightly recalls the eras from which they come. Think ruffles, fit-and-flare dresses, soft hues, and quirky elements like tights, hats, and chunky heels or charming little ballet flats. These looks often include shorter hems and more whimsical patterns than their vintage inspirations. “Retro” is the most expansive and flexible of our related labels and fittingly appeals to a vast amount of individuals, whether they ascribe to other vintage tastes or not.

Rockabilly

Spotted Lady Dress - SteadySteady Swallow Capris - Sourpuss Day of the Dead dress HT

Spotted Lady Dress by Steady, Steady Swallow Capris at Sourpuss, Day of the Dead Dress by Hot Topic

The “Rockabilly” aesthetic is never one that I aspired to, but is nevertheless one that I feel I understand – a great testament to this fashion’s pervasive effect and distinct styling (I know the least about it, though, so forgive me if I don’t represent it perfectly). The rockabilly look is fascinating because it goes far beyond that – beyond just a look. Rockabilly styling extends into music and lifestyle as well! Some rockabilly clothing brands include Sourpuss and Steady Clothing – even your neighborhood Hot Topic tries their hand in the rockabilly game. The rockabilly look is powerful and bold, featuring bright primary tones, classic patterns or animal print, stiletto heels, and details such as skulls, bows, and swallows. The beauty styling can include unnatural hair colors, piercings, tattoos.. Where other aesthetics may not display much in this area, in rockabilly these elements shine. Cherry Dollface is a figure who really exemplifies this style in my mind! Rockabilly fashions can include many of the features seen in the category below (“Pinup”), or none at all, making it a very flexible aesthetic. A cool feature of this is that you don’t necessarily have to buy specific brands to get the look, but can, for example, supplement with a striped or polka dotted shirt from a discount store or wear your favorite pair of jeans.

Pinup

Lauren Top Harlequin Jenny PUG Lauren Top, DD Capris, HeadscarfMid Century House OBSLauren Top and Harlequin Jenny by PUG, Deadly Dames Capris by PUG, Mid Century House Skirt by Oblong Box Shop

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The beautiful Jessica of Pinup Persuasion rocking an equally beautiful flower by NicCoCo Creations

I often find “Pinup” to be the hardest aesthetic to pin down (pun intended ;). Made famous particularly by cult brand Pinup Girl Clothing, as well as by small businesses like The Oblong Box Shop and NicCoCo Creations, this style has created countless mega idols like Miss Rockabilly Ruby, Miss Victory Violet, Jessica of Pinup Persuasion, and of course Amanda and Katie of Junebugs and Georgia Peaches. It is women like these, and many others, who serve as constant inspirations to a world of pinup mavens. The modern usage of pinup, however, strays from the pin-up art that originated the term. The modern label doesn’t necessarily recall the sensual and suggestive artwork of Gil Elvgren and Alberto Vargas, though our usage today does indeed retain some of that fantastic sex appeal.

The greatest thing about this aesthetic is how wonderfully figure flattering the cuts of most garments are. Skirts emphasize the natural waist, dresses hug the curves, and tops embellish what nature gave us. Common themes include circle skirts, chiffon headscarves, cleavage, and novelty prints. Shoes are often less vintage and more, well – sexy! The hair and makeup are decidedly modern with a solid vintage inspiration, featuring exaggerated elements like fluffed up curls and large victory rolls (hello, suicide roll). Though I sometimes have mixed feelings about the pinup aesthetic for myself, I absolutely adore how confident and beautiful women clearly feel when dressed in this fashion – and select pieces can be carefully chosen from these well-known brands to create a truly authentic vintage look! Which leads us to…

Vintage

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1940s Chinos by Freddie’s of Pinewood, Pencil Skirt and Swagger Jacket by Vivien of Holloway

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Miss L Fire “Mildred” Shoes, photo by Mode De Lis, Claremont Oxfords by American Duchess

Finally, vintage is the look that is perhaps most particular, since it attempts to recreate the look of eras past. This is the style that I love best and try to work it into my daily life. Branding is more difficult, since true vintage is the best way to go if authenticity is the goal, but several niche brands such as What Katie Did, Miss L Fire, and Rocket Originals offer beautiful and faithful representations of vintage pieces. Clothing can be far more difficult… it is quite challenging to get the right vintage “feel.” Freddie’s of Pinewood, The Original Bad Girl, and Vivien of Holloway offer some lovely repros that look the part; if perused and purchased carefully, Trashy Diva, Pinup Girl Clothing, and even Unique Vintage can help fill in your wardrobe (though the latter toes the line of retro, pinup, and vintage all at once). Fortunately, vintage shoe companies are quite plentiful, with even more offerings from Re-Mix Vintage and Royal Vintage Shoes to complete the look. The best (and worst) part of vintage is that it requires some hunting, whether for true vintage or repros, but I think the thrill of the perfect find makes it all the more exciting!

So why does it matter?

Well, in short, it doesn’t. How you dress should make you happy, regardless of labels and titles. But as much as labels can limit us, they can also give us the opportunity to meet and bond with other individuals who feel the same as we do. How many of us have met good friends through the retro, rockabilly, pinup, or vintage communities? I’d say a very large amount, and that’s the beauty of this. Though initially about dress alone, we can create lasting connections that mean so much more than the clothes we put on or the way we do our hair. A particular aesthetic also brings with it a particular lifestyle and community, so I consider (these) labels to be a very good thing after all. With labels can come self-discovery and awareness, after all. Putting ourselves “in a box,” as labeling is often viewed, can indeed be truly positive if it extends so far beyond clothing.

Dovima Ballerina dress UVThe absolutely dreamy and decadent Dovima Ballerina Dress by Unique Vintage, I’m sure named after the famous model Dovima!

Do you fall under any of these categories? What are your favorite brands for your favorite aesthetic?

Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

Me Made Monday: A Wearable Muslin

Hello dollies!

It’s been a long, long while since I’ve posted, it seems. Too long! As some of you may know if you follow me on Instagram, I’ve been battling some health issues that are quite pervasive. While I’m not healed yet, I do believe I’m on the mend – I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! Unfortunately, when illness or some other unexpected issue strikes, one is forced to rearrange their priorities. For me, that meant no blogging, reduced Instagram interaction, and few outings, all of which has affected me greatly. My natural inclination is optimism and a cheerful disposition, and I’m hoping that returns in full force as my physical health improves. I’m trying to force motivation into myself again, as something like this really has a way of draining you of your “normal” life and attitude.

This is a project that I finished a couple of weeks ago, and I can’t even tell you how much I adore it. The blouse is actually a “wearable muslin” for a vintage blouse pattern, Advance 6261 – I was testing out a few alterations, and lo and behold, they worked perfectly! The size I purchased is a 34, which is my true measurement, but vintage bust measurements are notorious for being quite roomy, so I pulled up the shoulder seams and reduced the sides by about an inch on each side. Perfect!

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{My apologies for the unsightly power lines in these photographs. The idea of gearing up to take photos at a distant location has been rather unappealing since I started feeling ill.}

In an effort to reduce my impact on the environment as well as my wallet, I used a dress I purchased 4 years ago from Urban Outfitters for the fabric. The dress was really atrocious – it was the kind of thing that truly wouldn’t be flattering on anyone, regardless of body type – and even then I only bought it because it was $5 and I knew the fabric could make something wonderful. I actually bought TWO of them, in two colors, and so this is the second redo I did. The dresses were a really lightweight cotton, perfect for the horrid weather we’ve been having in SoCal, so I’ve been wearing my newly re-made garment quite a bit lately. I wish I had a before picture, but this blouse came from the skirt of the dress – the pocket is now at center back, stitched together and trimmed off so it looks like a seam. Some artful finagling 😉 I’m pleased with how versatile this piece is, from skirts to pants to shorts, tucked and untucked.IMG_3305IMG_3306

I try not to buy buttons either, as I have quite an extensive collection gifted from various relatives and acquaintances, but the placket on this pattern was too big for my small buttons. I didn’t want the buttons to be swallowed in such a large space, so I purchased these lovely, woven-textured wooden buttons from Joann for something like $2 – not a huge expense, I’d say!

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All in all, I’m incredibly pleased with this quick project that resulted in a very useful, wearable, attractive piece to add to my growing collection of separates. I already have fabric to make more from this pattern! To be continued…

Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

P.S. A quick thank you to everyone for sticking with me during the hiatus. I’m doing my best to get everything back to normal – I’m eager to get it back – so hopefully I’ll be sewing and posting up a storm soon!