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, 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:
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!
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?


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!


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

Atomic Tabbys Dress – almost finished

My dress for Miss Crayola Creepy’s Crazy Cat Lady sewing challenge is almost finished. The side seams are basted, so I just need to do a final fitting and then hem it. I’ll have it finished tonight but then it will be too dark to model it. So my dress form is wearing it so I could get a photo of it up in the Flickr group before the deadline.

Atomic Cats dress 1Here’s a close up of the kitschy kitty detail on the bodice where the loop goes around the center gathers.

Atomic Cats dress 2

I used New Look 6935 although I wanted to use my vintage pattern.

New Look 6935

New Look 6935

Unfortunately I didn’t pay attention to the fabric requirements even though I did get what was listed on the envelope. Turns out it was for fabric without nap or a one-way directional print. Mail Order 4543I had my fabric laid out on the cutting table and when I looked at the cutting layout diagram I uttered a very bad word. The dress pieces are flip-flopped around to utilize every inch of the fabric.Mail Order 4543 fabric layoutAnd my “Atomic Tabby’s” print from Michael Miller has a definite one-way direction.Atomic TabbysChalk up another sewing lesson – pay attention to ALL the information AND take a quick look the cutting layout BEFORE buying the fabric. Isn’t that along the lines of “measure twice, cut once”? Lesson learned.

Colette’s “Dahlia” Sewalong

As I am finishing up my sewing project for the “Crazy Cat Lady” sewing challenge, I’ll be starting on Colette Patterns Dahlia sew along.Dahlia 1031

The short sleeve style looks like something I wore to grade school in the 1960s, especially in plaid. I think mine was a red and navy blue plaid.Dahlia plaidSince I haven’t worked with plaids in ages, I picked up this cheapie plaid from Walmart to practice with. It would be nice if it turned out to be a wearable muslin. We’ll see.

walmart plaidJoin in for the fun!

Alice Faye’s WWII Era Hairstyles

Alice Faye was an American actress and singer who starred in films during the late 1930s and the war years in the 1940s. She sang in a husky, honey contralto voice that many song writers of the time loved, like Irving Berlin, who was once quoted as saying that he would choose Faye over any other singer to introduce his songs, and George Gershwin and Cole Porter called her the “best female singer in Hollywood in 1937″.  In her acting she displayed solid comic timing and had a flair for carrying off the era’s popular and lucrative cookie-cutter starry-eyed romantic musicals. Alice Faye 1943 After her break out role in the film “1935 Scandals”, the Fox studio decided to give her look a make over. She was transformed from a version of Jean Harlow to a softer look with a more natural tone to her blonde hair and more mature makeup, including losing the notorious “pencil” eyebrows.Alice & JeanThe following are photos of her beautifully sculpted WWII era hairstyles. With her beautiful thick hair, she must have been the studio’s hairstylists dream.Alice Faye 1a Alice Faye 2 Alice Faye 1940s Alice Faye 1 Alice Faye 4 Alice Faye 5I so wish I could replicate these styles!

The Lost Art of Fotoescultura

While I was cruising around eBay, I ran across this item from the 1940s. It’s a photo that has been applied to wood and carved to give it dimension.Fotoescultur 16a

My curiosity inspired me to do some quick research. It’s called “fotoescultura”, a photo sculpture. In Mexico, in the 1930s and 1940s, skilled artisans would take a photograph then carve and paint a wooden bust based on it. After adhering the photograph to it, the artisan would hand-tint the photo and add embellishments such as jewelry and costuming to create a startling likeness. Fotoescultur 13

In the early half of the last century, most Mexican families did not have a camera, so just to have an image taken of a family member would be a very big event.Fotoescultur 15

The fotoescultura would take pride of place on the mantel, transforming beloved photographic portraits into handmade sculptural keepsakes.Fotoescultur 14

Many surviving examples are of men in uniform.Fotoescultur 02Unfortunately this is a dying art, with very few artisans still living.Fotoescultur 03

The ornately carved frames are an artwork unto themselves. Too bad this is a skill that will soon disappear.

Fotoescultur 04

Fotoescultur 12Fotoescultur 05Fotoescultur 11


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