The Ubiquitous Poodle Skirt

When most people think of a 1950s themed party, the ubiquitous poodle skirt comes to mind. My mother, who was a teenager in the 1950s, said EVERYONE had a poodle skirt. bw poodle skirtHers was a handmade one, sewn from pre-printed panels. She said it was black with a printed pink poodle on it. The poodle skirt was so common, she didn’t consider it photo-worthy, so therefore no photos of her wearing it, darn it!

vintage skirt panels

Juli Lynne Charlot is considered the originator of the poodle skirt. In 1947, the 25 year old former actress/singer wanted to an outfit to wear to a Christmas party. Since she didn’t sew, she simply cut a large circle of felt, with a smaller hole in the middle for her waist, and appliqued Christmas trees onto it. Charlot’s mother owned a factory which used felt, so she was able to cut a complete circle skirt without needing any seams. She received so many compliments at that fateful party that she made two more skirts and took them to a Beverly Hills boutique and the rest is history.Juli Lynne Charlot

Charlot’s first doggie skirt had dachshunds and it wasn’t all that popular, so she tried poodles and bam! The poodle skirt became a phenomenal success. She didn’t limit herself to poodles though. She designed circle skirts with all kinds of themes.Juli Lynne Charlot6 Juli Lynne Charlot5bw embellished skirt

Of course sewing pattern companies took note of the popularity of the themed circle skirt and came up with their own versions for the home sewist.

McCalls 2252 Simplicity 3953 Simplicity 1664

Mccalls 3591 Simplicity 4884 Simplicity 4957 Simplicity 4784

And the teens came up with their own creations too.

bw elvis skirtKind of reminds me of the themed Christmas Sweater. It was a great “canvas” to go crazy creative on.

Finally starting on the Vintage Pattern Pledge

I finally have a nice block of time to start on the Vintage Pattern Pledge. I’m going to start with the easiest project first – Dubarry 5747, an apron from the 1940’s.Dubarry 5747

I’m going to use this cute “Skirts and Boots” fabric I found at Joann’s (USA):skirts and boots

Then next in line is this dress from Anne Adams, again from the 1940’s:Anne Adams 4402

With maybe this vintage Rayon from my fabric stash:Aqua w heartsLast night while my husband watched “Alias” on Netflix, I traced out the patterns onto spa paper. This is the most tedious part, in my opinion, of working with actual vintage patterns. The apron I’ll just go right to the fashion fabric. But for the dress, I’ll mock up a muslin first. I tend to have lots of fitting adjustments with vintage sewing patterns.

My Adventures in Bollywood

Each year my local library hosts a fundraiser show called “Dancing With Our Stars”. It’s the same premise as the TV show “Dancing with The Stars” where local ballroom dance teachers team up with local “Stars”, like the mayor, chief of police, bank manager, etc…, and teach them to do a dance routine. This is all for charity and the “Stars” are responsible for raising money. Us teachers just get to be creative. This year I was requested to do a Bollywood number (yes, we are allowed to go outside the “ballroom box”) since the head of the Friends of The Atascadero Library board knew that I’m a licensed Zumba instructor and have taken many workshops with a Bhangra & Bollywood teacher in San Francisco. Plus the board president just really digs Bollywood. So my first step for costuming was to take a look at my Burda 7701 pattern.Burda 7701 I used this pattern to make petticoats and choli tops. Then I found an excellent youtube clip on how to do those complicated saree wrappings. I needed some sarees, so I immediately hopped onto Ebay to search out some pretty ones at a reasonable price. There are some really beautiful ones out there and I was surprised at how quickly they shipped from India to California. I got these from this Ebay Seller:Saree group 1 And I bought this group of Sarees from this Ebay seller. These are the ones we actually wore in the show:Saree group 2 And here we are in the dance studio for a trial dress rehearsal. So far so good. We were able to dance in them and I taught the girls how to wrap sarees.IMG_0439 Then at the official dress rehearsal of the show, to my dismay I discovered that since I was in several numbers, I had many costumes changes and not much time to do it in. I  didn’t have time to wrap a saree and make it in time for the next cue. Yowza! So then I had to turn my saree into a Lehenga style outfit, meaning a skirt with a separate stole. I pulled Simplicity 5914 out of my pattern stash to make a skirt with a few modifications.Simplicity 5914I made View A and underlined the saree fabric with a red china silk.IMG_0104I had to cut off the gold border from the saree fabric and re-attach after the skirt was sewn (and hung for 48 hours to allow for stretching along the bias areas).IMG_0106On the inside waist band, I added a double wide bias tape channel and threaded a drawcord through it. That made it more secure to wear dancing with no fear it would slide down to my knees. Plus, I can use it again even if my weight fluctuates, which it is prone to do.IMG_0113Then the remaining saree fabric is used as the stole wrap. Thank goodness sarees have many yards of fabric!IMG_0110 Voilà! A Bollywood outfit I could put on in just a couple of minutes.Bolly Bolly Julie Dunn & Christina Troxel By the way, we raised $90,000 for our local library with this show. Wahoo!!!

Angela Lansbury – 1940’s Hairstyles

Dame Angela Lansbury, a British-American actress (she has dual citizenship), has an acting career spanning seven decades in theatre, films and television. Angela Lansbury 1945bShe first came to Hollywood in 1942 and landed her first role as the cheeky, sassily wicked cockney maid in “Gaslight” in 1944. MBDGASL EC050She was just 17 years old and received her first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for the role. angela-lansbury-1944Unfortunately her career with MGM never really took off, always being cast in supporting roles, which in my opinion was a huge mistake on their part, and she stayed on the “B” list of actresses until she got fed up and left in 1952 when she terminated her contract with them. 51J3yhqDU+L._SY445_ “I kept wanting to play the Jean Arthur roles, and Mr Mayer kept casting me as a series of venal bitches.” -Angela Lansbury Angela Lansbury 1948 She went on to act in more movies as a freelance actress, but Lansbury found herself typecast as an older, maternal figure. “Hollywood made me old before my time”, noting that in her twenties she was receiving fan mail from people who believed her to be in her forties. I think it’s wonderful that she didn’t give up and continued to re-ignite her career on the stage and in television. Angela Lansbury 1945a I will always remember her as Jessica Fletcher in the popular TV mystery series Murder, She Wrote, which ran for 12 years. For me, she was the American Miss Marple. She is quite the role model, remaining active even into her 80’s, playing Madame Arcati in London’s West End in a revival of Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit just last year at the age of 88 years young. Well done Angela Lansbury!

Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge 2015

I missed out on this last year, but Marie of  www.astitchingodyssey.com, is bringing back the “Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge” for a second year! Marie starting the pledge in 2014 because she had been buying vintage and reproduction sewing patterns faster than she could sew them (isn’t that true for most of us?). So she is doing it again this year and inviting all lovers of Vintage Sewing to take the pledge with her. You can see last year’s makes here on her Pinterest board. And you can join her pledge here.
From A Stitching Odysey:
EXCITING PLANS FOR 2015
This year the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge is going to be even bigger and better, mainly because I have a co-host! The wonderful Kerry of Kestrel Makes and I will be working tirelessly to bring you monthly inspiration posts through the decades, insights into fellow stitchers’ vintage pattern stashes, giveaways and discounts, round-ups of your makes, and final prizes. Exciting stuff, no!?! 
Whether you’re taking part in the pledge or not, if you have an enviable or eclectic vintage sewing pattern collection we’d love to hear from you! You could be one of our montly interviewees!
MAKE THE PLEDGE YOUR OWN
If numerical targets aren’t your thing, there are many other ways you can join in, like pledging to:
  • Use your first ever vintage sewing pattern.
  • Sew up a specific pattern from your stash.
  • Explore patterns from a particular decade.
  • Have fun patterns from a certain range of decades.
  • Get creative with you vintage sewing patterns!

I’ll have to think about how I want to participate. Now I could pledge to 5 muslins, or even wearable muslins. That I think I could manage into my sewing queue… Yay! A new reason to go play with my pattern stash!Vintage pledge_edited-1

 

Catnip Reproduction Vintage Clothing

I was looking around the web for a swing era dress to wear to a WWII USO Swing Dance I will be going to, and found this charming site: Catnip Reproduction Vintage Clothing. The owner, Kristine Anderson, ran a vintage clothing store in San Diego, California, for 36 years. In 2010 she closed the store and put it all online so she could share her love of classic vintage style and design with a wider audience.

This is her “USO” dress. I love the polkadots and the contrasting bright red buttons. The rayon fabric will ensure that the skirt drapes prettily and swishes when dancing.POLKA DOT RAYON PRINT 1This capris and cropped top outfit looks like the ensemble worn by one of the models in the movie “How To Marry A Millionaire”.matador caprisThis hawaiian playsuit looks great for hot weather.hawaiian playsuitAnd if you want the complete look, Kristine carries lingerie too, like this Tigress Garter Panty ensemble. Va Va Voom!tigress garter pantyShe even carries the delectable Miss L Fire shoes. I’ll be asking Santa for these shoes!Red Peep Toeswhat to giveHave a Merry Christmas!

Christmas Sewing – Vintage Toy Patterns

If you are in the mood to sew toys for Christmas, there a lots of vintage soft toy patterns out there on the internet. Cruising around the web, I found many vintage doll and stuffed animal patterns available. And who knew Raggedy Ann & Andy rode on camelback?

VintageXmas1

VintageXmas2I’m sure serious collectors are on the hunt for this vintage Micky & Minnie Mouse original pattern and will have to pay big bucks for it!Mccall 91 The dolls on the McCall pattern have strange looking eyes to me. Maybe they look cuter when sewn up. And the red eyes on rabbit on the left look evil. I would choose less demented looking eyes. VintageXmas3 These Advance patterns look like they’re meant to be a bit floppy. They could be stuffed to be like “Beanie Babies”.VintageXmas4Have a Merry Holiday!

christmasmusic1

Christmas Sewing – “Christmas In Connecticut” Style

Well now that Thanksgiving is over here in the USA, and we’re just left with eating all the leftovers for the next few days, my mind turns to Christmas sewing. I recently acquired Hollywood Pattern 779, and the artwork on the envelope triggered a memory.xmas in connecticut 4If you reverse the plaid on View 1 to the top and make the skirt plain, it reminds me of the ensemble Barbara Stanwyck wears in the country dance scene in the movie “Christmas In Connecticut”.xmas in connecticut 2xmas in connecticut 1Although if I were to sew this pattern anytime soon (it’s way back in the queue), I find the plaid skirt on the pattern really appealing. It could make a very fetching outfit for a holiday party.

Hollywood 779c

I love “Christmas In Connecticut”. It is one of my favorite holiday movies. I’ll be putting the dvd in the player soon.Xmas in Connecticut 3

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