Sunday, 21 December 2008

My Bloggerversary

It's been one year since I started blogging, I can't believe it's gone so quickly! I've had a great time and just want to thank anyone who's read my blog, and especially those who commented.

I was sad to hear that 50's pin-up icon Bettie Page died last week, aged 85. She didn't have a particularly happy life, but she really enjoyed posing for both her cheesecake and bondage-style photos, and you can see it in her face. Even when she is trying to look stern or sexy, there's a mischievous twinkle in her eye! Her trademark look has has such a huge influence on popular culture, that she will be remembered for a very long time.

Speaking of burlesque, here my finished costume for the Belly Burlesque class. It took so long to make, and ended up costing me about $200 for the whole lot (including silver sparkly peep-toe tango shoes which you can't see), but I think it was worth it.

As you can see, the other girls in the class also put a huge amount of time and effort into their costumes, and the result is gorgous! You can see me at the back in the middle. It felt so decadent with all the rhinestones and feathers, and the dance went really well. The whole night was such fun, I think it was probably the best Bazaar we have had so far.

Here is a look at the bra and belt, the belt was made from scratch, and I bought a white padded bra and covered it. The neck strap looks funny because it is a sequin casing for elastic, so it stretches out when you put it on. I ended up cheating and hot-glue gunning the flowers on the bra, and I also used hot glue for the sequin trim, but everything else was sewn on by hand. I had a callous on my middle fingertip from pushing the needle through!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Fifties Fever

Every couple of months, I am gripped by a new and exciting obsession. All I want to do is rush to the nearest library and borrow every book about the particular topic, and then buy a whole bunch of books too, and scour the internet for relevant sites. If I ignore the obsession, or I'm busy with something else, it just gets more and more pressing, until I submit. Earlier this year the obsession was Tudor England, before that it was knitting, and now (as you could probably tell from my last post) it is 1950s clothing.

The culprit, this time, is a book my cousin Alice sent to me, called Vintage Knitwear for Modern Knitters by Lise-Lotte Lystrup (who's parents were obviously big fans of aliteration).
The book contains knitting patterns from the 1920s - 1950s which have been re-written for modern knitters. What I like about it is that they show you a modern photo of jumper or cardigan or whatever, but also the original vintage photo (which often looks better). Damn, those ladies sure knew how to make a belted short-sleeved sweater look classy!

Anyway, I thought I would share a few sites that I have found that pertain to vintage or retro sewing, clothing or fashion.

Fashion Era - Fifties page
Lots of info on this site including pages on underwear, fashion photographs, beachwear, etc. The whole site is actually worth a look, as it covers other periods too.
Fantastic site with full texts of a myriad of sewing and dressmaking books from pre-1900 to 1950s. Includes pictures. I particularly like the 1952 book on how to make gloves.

How to Make and Trim Your Own Hats
This is a scan of a 1944 book about millinery, with lots of charming illustrations. Oh god, now I want to make hats too!

Australian Home Journal

Scans of selected Australian Home Journal magazines from 1949-1952. Choose 'flip book' and you can actually flip through them on-screen like a real magazine! This magazine was a bit like Australian Women's Weekly, and contains recipes, knitting patterns, fiction, etc. You can read the text if you squint a bit, but I mostly like it for the drawings of patterns you could purchase through the magazine. Worth a look.

A Dress a Day
Gorgeous blog about dresses, sewing, vintage patterns, etc. Make sure you have a look at the Secret Lives of Dresses, (scroll down, on the right side).

The blog of Trista, who makes divine 1950s inspired clothing for herself, very classy. Good tutorial for making a ruffled very full 50s petticoat.