Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sew Expensive... McCall 7405.

 Happy Halloween to everyone! I have been back from a trip to France for a week now and badly neglected the blog. Shell fish poisoning and a ton of overdue work kept me rather distracted when I got back, I'm sad to say.
Hopefully tomorrow I'll have a few pictures up from wandering through a French antiques market but for today, I have a Sew Expensive post for you!

A while back, this McCall 7405 sold for $108.86.
The pattern has a copyright from 1933 and features the ever difficult-to-find ruffle sleeve. This is actually, believe it or not, a rather reasonable selling price for a pattern like this. I have seen similar sell for as much as $300!

My favorite part is the back opening slit to reveal just a hint of what's underneath.

If I were to make this dress for today, it would be very easy to omit the ruffled sleeve for a rather updated look.

How about you? Would you wear a dress like this to a formal engagement?
For those of us on a budget, there's always Depew 1120:

I hope everyone has a lovely evening. If you'll excuse me, there are strange children begging for food at more door and I must go pelt them with candy.

Friday, October 12, 2012

An Interview with Sarah of Ohhh Lulu Lingerie and Apparel

Today for you, my dear readers, I have an interview that I'm really excited to share with you. You might remember Sarah of Ohh Lulu Lingerie and Apparel from our Ooh La La Pin-Up Sew-Along. Sarah is the most talented lingerie seamstress I've ever come across and I hope you'll take this chance to get to know her a bit better as I have so enjoyed doing.

Photo Courtesy of Ohhh Lulu: Three Soft Bras Made to Order.
~For those of you don't have time to read the whole article right now, be sure to check out her shop. She's having a sale to get ready for the holidays! Use Coupon Code Spooktacular2012 and receive 15% off all made to order lingerie.~

Sarah, for those of us who aren't familiar, how did Ohhh Lulu get started?

I started Ohhh Lulu in 2010.  I had just moved away from Toronto to a small town in southern Ontario to start a life with (my now) husband.  Moving up north was a big change. Unfortunately  when I moved up here, I realized I wasn't going to have the same career opportunities I had in the city. After working for years in the interior decorating and textile business, my new job as "front desk girl" at a local mechanics shop was not at all what I was used to.  It was incredibly boring, and I really started slipping into a slump.  I decided that if I couldn't find work I enjoyed, I would make work I enjoyed, and finally put my Fashion Design Diploma to work! I designed a few pieces, listed them on Etsy and quickly became obsessed! 
Where did the name Ohhh Lulu come from?

Ohhh Lulu started out as the name for my blog.  One of my childhood nicknames that has stuck around with me throughout my life is Lulu.  When I was trying to figure out the name of my blog, Dan came up with the name Ohhh Lulu... I loved it the minute I heard it! 
You and I are both lucky enough to have really supportive husbands. What is the most encouraging advice Dan has ever given you?

Where do I start? Dan encouraged me to start designing, after I had hid my sewing machine away for about a year, he's been there to celebrate my successes, and a shoulder to cry on when things don't go as planned.  Most of all, he's been absolutely unwavering in his confidence in me. Most recently, he's encouraged me to take time off work to focus on Ohhh Lulu, which I couldn't have done without his support.
You recently gave notice at your day job so you could pursue Ohhh Lulu full time. What did that feel like?

Exciting and terrifying!  I've been wanting to take my business full time for a while now, but the thought of not having a dependable pay check every two weeks is really scary.  I am absolutely thrilled at the idea of being able to focus solely on my business, but the thought of not having that dependable pay check is still frightening. 
What is it that you think sets Ohhh Lulu apart from other lingerie lines?
I think a lot of it comes from my fabric choices.  I like to use unexpected fabrics, like masculine plaids, flannels, or woven cotton prints, which aren't often used in lingerie.  I also love to embellish everything with little bows, rosettes, and ruffles.  I think those handmade details really set me apart. 

Image courtesy of Ohhh Lulu. Nautical Bon Voyage Set... *Swoon*

What is your absolute favorite sewing trick or tool?

I cannot express how much I love my pressing ham! It's an absolute must-have for pressing bra cups and hip seams.

A lot of us multitask while we sew; I like to drink tea like it's going out of style and listen to old episodes of Grey's Anatomy. What is your favorite thing to do while you're sewing?

I always have some kind of documentary playing in the background while I sew.  I'm a big history geek, but I also have a soft spot for Bigfoot and UFO documentaries.   Documentaries & herbal tea - that's what gets me through the day! 
If you could sum up your brand in 2 words, what would they be?

Romantic & Eclectic 
I'm really crazy about your lumberjack panties design and in fact, just bought a pair. What inspired you to design them?

The lumberjack panties are one of my favourite designs.  I was inspired first by the fabric - I love traditional prints, and I love the idea of using a masculine plaid on a such a feminine piece of clothing.   I also like to spend a lot of time outdoors, camping, hiking, so I wanted to design an undergarment that was sexy, but warm and comfortable - perfect for snuggling under a sleeping bag.

Image courtesy of Ohhh Lulu. Lumberjack French Knickers.

~I agree, there's nothing better than a little touch of feminine and sexy when you're off on a long camping trip. I'm about to be dragged go for a rather long, cold several day hike and a pair of comfy yet girly panties for the trip is a bit soothing.

A huge thanks to Sarah for taking the time to answer all of my questions. I'm sure I speak for all of my readers when I say that we're excited for you taking the plunge into pursuing your business full time, and even a little bit inspired ourselves!
Don't forget to check out Sarah's unforgettable lingerie shop on Etsy. The holiday sale ends the 14th so hurry! Also, if you're not already a follower, check out Sarah's blog and the Ohhh Lulu Facebook page.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sew Expensive: Patou Paris Designer

 For today's Sew Expensive post, I have for you a very rare pattern. I know a lot of us were watching this little baby on Ebay and it was pretty clear that something like this was going to go for a whole lot of money.

This beautiful 1920's Pictorial Review 5565 sold on Ebay for an amazing $275.

~ On a side note, I have bought patterns from this seller a few times before and have always been very happy with my purchases. You might want to check out her shop on eBay. ~

So what was so rare about this particular pattern? Sewing patterns from the 1920's are rare just by themselves and don't come up very often. Evening gown patterns from the 1920's are almost impossible to find. Sewing patterns from Pictorial Review and the 1920's are even more rare and sought after but that's not the whole appeal. I think the biggest factor at play in this pattern's value is that it's a designer pattern. Designer patterns from this era are almost unheard of and this one is an original Patou design.

For those of you who aren't familiar with him, Jean Patou was a very popular French designer until his untimely and early death in 1936.

He is well known for eradicating the short boxy 'flapper' look by lengthening skirts and elongating the feminine silhouette.

Patou is also well known for designing sportswear for women. I have a 1931 French Modes et Travaux magazine in my collection (recently added to my etsy shop because I don't have the wall space to frame them all) that features a Jean Patou ski outfit on the cover.

How about you? Do you think that this amazing little piece of sewing pattern history was worth the price tag?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New This Week...

 With the advent of chilly weather I've had warm wool coats and dresses on my mind. I got back to work on my vintage French draft-at-home patterns and here is the first batch of warm and toasty winter wear!

 #1735 Dress and Coat: The dress features a long sleeve and a simple neckline with cutout front details. The raglan sleeve box coat is finished with a right draped collar that becomes a scarf at one end.

 #1735 Day Dress: The dress features a darted sleeve, a square neckline with panel front details, two-piece cuffs, and an inverted pleat skirt.

#1117 Dress with lapel Collar: The 3/4 length dress features a slim, long sleeve with cuff and button trim. The skirt is shaped to form pockets in an overlapped seam and the dress is trimmed with contrast revers and collar.

 #1081 Bouffant- Sleeve Coat: The full-length coat features a fur trimmed collar ( the old pattern suggested nutria, a rodent similar to the beaver, but synthetic would work great!), puffed sleeves that end in a cuff, flap pockets and a self belt.

#1107 Side Button Coat: The full-length coat features a fur trimmed cravat (you can use real or faux), cuffed sleeves, a small cape at back shoulders and a self fabric belt.

And last but not least, and my absolute favorite.
#1119 Autumn Coat: The full-length coat features a fox trimmed collar, wide stitched lapels, a two-piece sleeve with cuff, and a self or suede belt.

For those who either can't afford fox fur trim (it can be rather pricey, not mention guilt inducing) there's a great synthetic alternative found in nearly every color at Fabric Depot.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Buttons of Galalith

Recently I was translating the description of one of my lovely vintage 'draft at home' patterns when I cam across a very unfamiliar word.
 Galalithe. The pattern called for the revers and cuffs of the dress to be trimmed with "Boutons en galalithe".

 It wasn't in my 30 lb. French dictionary so I googled at and low and behold, what did I find?
Buttons galore!

Galalith buttons from an online collection:

Galalith was created in 1889 when French chemist J.C. Trillat discovered the means to make casein (found in milk) insoluble by immersing it in formaldehyde. It was named Galithe (in the French)  from the Greek words for milk and stone.

It was very inexpensive to produce and soon became very popular in the fashion industry. It was produced into buttons, combs, buckles and fake jewels. It reached it's height of popularity in the 1930's and was even used to manufacture decorative handles for umbrellas.

 With the end of World War 2 came better and less expensive plastic production techniques and Galalith was relegated to the past along with its sister compounds Bakelite and Celluloid.

For those button collectors out there, according to an Ebay guide, it is said that Galalith (or French Bakelite) has a "wet wool" smell when it is run under hot water.

For those of you who want to know about the dress (I always ask, "But what about the dress?" ) the pattern is now available for download and looks like this!

Mrs. Depew Vintage
Ooh la la!