Wednesday, April 27, 2011

On Beauty

Casey from Casey's Elegant Musings posted a great piece on beauty throughout history today. The post included some videos that I found very fascinating, that outline a bit of the history of women and their cosmetics.
I have to say that I enjoy my morning makeup session as much as the next girl, but I had never thought about how trends had changed over the last 100 years and how cosmetics were affected by wars, liberation, the vote, and many other things. I highly recommend checking out Casey's fascinating post.

The only makeup I wore before I was 20 was a bit of concealer to cover up the random blemish and eye shadow on special occasions. Then I was engaged and my darling mother-in-law to-be introduced me to bare minerals and from then on I was hooked. Now I can barely step out of doors without my face perfectly powdered into submission. Why is that? I was perfectly confident in my appearance until I started using makeup, and now, without it, that confidence is greatly diminished. I'm sure that's just what cosmetic companies depend on. Makeup has become a sort of armor, and without it some of us hesitate to go out in public.

Well, I won't think about that today. I'll think about that tomorrow.
Instead of dwelling on my own insecurities, I'm going to deflect, and show you some beauty advertisements from my own collection that I thought you might enjoy.
France, 1950's:

 Always sure to be in style: with one of the new colors of Gemey powder.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pattern of the Day

This lovely little pattern for a vestee, purse, and hat all encrusted in sequins just makes me swoon.

It's McCall 1293 and is well worth the having. I would love to try sewing sequins soon, as sort of the icing on the cake of my sewing skills.

There's a copy here on etsy that is in sad shape and has only the vestee and transfers, but I would snap it up in a heartbeat for just the vestee.

Happy Tuesday. I'm off to restock the fridge after a whole week of EVERYTHING being closed here in Norway for Easter. We were surviving on soup near the end so I'll have to plan better next year.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

And the winner is...

Well, I would say that my very first giveaway could be deemed a success. I loved reading all of your comments, and some of you even pointed out item's in Erika's Shop that I hadn't seen (and immediately started wanting.
There was some gorgeous vintage polka dot fabric that sold before I could get my hot little hands on it, but I still have my eye on the adorable Women's pajama pattern from the 1940s:

But enough about what I want. I know what you want. You want to know who won the lovely prize package offered by the very generous Erik with a K:

And the winner is... Sara E.K.! Congratulations, Sara! Your comment was number 60, chosen by the random number generator:
Thanks to all of you who entered! I've found that I like hosting giveaways as much as I like shopping and sewing put together, so there will be many more to come.
A special thanks to Erika for offering such a great prize package, and for being such a snazzy vintage girl.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


I love the weekend. You know what I love almost as much as the weekend? Giveaways. Free stuff. They just make me smile. So my very first giveaway sponsored by the lovely ErikawithaK ends tonight and I'll be announcing the winner on Sunday, instead of Saturday. Why? To give people all of Saturday to enter, and because I live in Norway, 7 hours or so ahead of many of you, and that would cut it short.

On another note, here are some other great giveaway's that I've scouted out for you to look at, and perhaps win.

Handmade Jane is offering a free pattern by Collete Patterns to one lucky winner over at her beautiful blog.
And Sew Darn Tired is offering a great giveaway package including a pair of vintage sunglasses and a great sewing pattern in honor of her Blogiversary.

And it's not a giveaway, but it's certainly a great discount. FinickyFinds is offering 20% off in her shop just for today to celebrate two years of selling on etsy. Just use the coupon code TWOYEARS20 at checkout.
I did, and I got the most adorable pattern. I'm going to use it in an attempt to make my own cami knickers of sorts.

Happy weekend, and good luck on the giveaways!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday Treats

I just thought I'd share a bit of the newest jewel in my collection, from the December 1950 Modes et Travaux Magazine.

I've been busy working on a custom dress for a client (Yay, I have clients now!) so most of my creative juices have gone towards making that project perfect. That, and before the fabric arrived to work on the aforementioned, I was putting the finishing touches on my overalls from Anne Adams 4536. More to come on that later when I can wrangle my photographer (husband) to lend his assistance.

Most of this magazine is about chistmas gifts, perfume, and sewing and knitting projects. In French. Heaven.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Wish list:

I have been pattern shopping. Yeah, what's new, right? Well, I've mostly been 'window shopping', looking at patterns that I love but can't justify the cost of. Patterns that I would treat myself to on say, my birthday, or Christmas, or a Tuesday.

Among my favorites is McCall 6337, a lovely 1940's blouse pattern that I would love to add to my collection, and closet.

This one is for sale here and no, I won't hold it against you if you buy it. Much.
Next on the list is the lovely Simplicity 2787 from the 1930's. Swoon.

Friday, April 15, 2011

My Very First Giveaway!

My dear lovely readers, for the next week you have the chance to win a lovely prize package very generously offered by an Etsy friend of mine, and a fellow "born in the wrong era" girl,  ErikawithaK.

A Couple of questions I asked Erika showed me that she and I have a lot more in common than I thought!

Me: How did you get started sewing?

Erika: "I started sewing in high school but really got into it in college at Salisbury University in Maryland when I worked as a Costumer's Assistant for our theatre department. That's where I really learned how to construct clothing and anything that I do know about tailoring, fitting, and pattern alterations. Since then I have also taken up with quilting and embroidery."

Me: *Sigh* That's my dream job. How did you get started selling vintage on Etsy?

Erika: I wanted to start an Etsy shop to supplement my low wage income working at a bookstore. I chose vintage because I didn't think I had the stamina to open a handmade shop, at least not yet, and also because I LOVE going to thrift shops, yard sales and auctions and have been doing it all my life. I can remember being a really little kid and how hard it was to resist the urge to throw my hand up and bid! Something, I definitely failed at a few times... Anyway, I have always found way more cool stuff then I had room for or could ever possibly sew up and so I wanted to share the treasures I found with other people.

Me: I too spent most of my childhood trailing behind my mom at thrift shops, garage and estate sales, antique stores and flea markets. Vintage is in my blood. And that's exactly why I started selling on Etsy too. My stash got to big, and I started to feel like a hoarder (only the good stuff, of course!)
Erika is clearly just the sort of kindred sewer and vintage enthusiast we can all relate too. And by all, I mean me.

And she's offering this lovely gift package to one lucky reader:

The giveaway includes a lovely vintage pattern, a vintage edition of Work Basket Magazine from 1960, some great retro fabric, and some cute buttons to top it all off.
The pattern is really cool.  It's called a "Scoop Neck Skimmer" and it's printed by McCall's for mail order.  It's a size 10-12, Bust 31-32 and is uncut and in factory folds. (Don't you just love being the first person to use a pattern?)

To enter the giveaway, simply click on this link to Erika's shop, and tell me which item you like best (she has some of the BEST patterns from many different decades.
For an extra entry, you can become a follower of this blog, if you aren't already. (Just leave another comment to let me know.)
I'll announce the winner (who will be drawn by a random number generator) on Saturday the 23rd.
Good luck!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Loot from Norway

So long, long ago I blogged about hunting down my first Norwegian antique show. And then I didn't say another thing about it. Frankly, I forgot. I'm funny that way. But I did take pictures, which I just stumbled upon. So I thought, better late than never, n'est pas?
The show was small. Really small. I grew up at antique shows, tucked under a display table for a whole weekend with an engrossing book, or playing dress up for my mother's customer's entertainment. This was in Denver and the shows were always on a massive scale. This show was advertised to be the largest gathering of antique dealers in all of Norway, Sweden and Denmark combined.
Sadly, that wasn't much. The building with about 25 booths was about the size of your local small bowling alley.
Regardless, I still found some cute things whilst my husband carefully examined old German pistols and training grenades. I was hunting for patterns.
I didn't find any.
But what I did find was pretty great.

I got some lovely cards of little rhinestone buttons. There are tons of them for those lovely dresses that call for 16 or more buttons.

I especially love the gold double rosebud buttons. Oh, the things I can do with these.

I also acquired a great "Parisian" hairstyles booklet for salons in Norway from June of 1949, with advertisements in Norwegian and French which I find an odd blend, sort of like my life.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Tidbit

Eye candy, anyone?

Here is a peak at a page from the June 1940 Hollywood Patterns booklet in my collection.

Sometimes when I look at the hooded jacket, I think snow white/ opera coat glamor. Other times, I can't help but picture those towel-like bath coats for babies with the exact same hood. I can't reconcile the two.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Cocktail Barbie and a Mail Call

Today's mail call was fantastique! I'm in such a mood to speak french today, since I got my lovely collection of Le Petit Echo de la Mode in the mail.

With those, came the lovely Hollywood Pattern booklet that I forgot I bought (don't you just love surprises like those?) and as I have dubbed it, my Cocktail Barbie dress pattern. Ladies and Gentleman, well, maybe just ladies, I give you McCall's 6085.
This has the potential to be either incredibly sexy, or incredibly bride's-maids-dress disastrous.
But wait, there's hope! What if I were to make it without the 'flared flounce'?
Like zis?
That's better.
The pattern for this is a remarkably easy looking 4 pieces if you discount the flounce pieces. Four pieces! I can do that. But I have too many patterns and not enough time to sew them all. Damn my derelict shopping ways. It's so irresponsible. And fun.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Why is it that every time I shop online, I find three things that I want to make instead of buying? I'm my mother's daughter, I suppose. Every time we saw something sweet but expensive at the mall she would tsk, tsk and say, "Do you know how easily I could make that?"
Of course, she was a busy, might as well be single working mom so she rarely had time to sit down and sew. But I'm jobless, mostly.
So instead of buying this, I'm plotting how to make my own.

Tsk, tsk, I could make this so easily.

And I apologize, dear readers, if you were expecting many great things from me over the next few months of my delightful unemployment. I've just been diagnosed as having survived a nasty virus (which didn't seem that bad, really) but which has left my lungs in a horrible state, and I have orders to take it super easy the next couple of months. So, still sewing, and still blogging, but at half steam.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Lingrie leads to babies

I have been living in Norway for a year and a half now, with another 2 1/2 to go. The entire time we've been here I've been on the hunt for any trace of the seamstresses of 50 years ago. Allow me to explain. Sewing patterns never show up in thrift shops here. They all get thrown away. Sick, wrong, and horrible, I know. The only traces that anyone used to sew things for themselves is the occasional hand made dress popping up in a thrift shop from time to time.
I started to think for some reason that sewing things disappeared from Norway like the dinosaurs did in a mysteriously massive sewing cataclysm that wiped all traces of patterns out in one fell swoop. So I've been on a sort of pseudo-archeological hunt to track down the history of sewing in this mysterious land of the knitted sweater.
Today I had my first breakthrough. A tiny, dusty and dim antique shop that had a small stash of sewing patterns, and tucked haphazardly underneath that stash, were some of the most gorgeous sewing pattern catalogs from the 1940's I've ever seen. It's all in Norwegian, of course, but that's just a better incentive for me to pay more attention in my weekly Norwegian courses.
So for about $40 (dirt cheap by Norwegian standards) I bought it all up and raced home to carefully examine each page of my loot.

Can you say factory folds? Because I can.
 These sewing patterns were all in great shape, several of them in their original factory folds.

 I got a large bounty of ladies magazines from the 1940's and 1950's, some of which are packed full of knitting patterns, and great pattern advertisements.