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.

VintageSewing.info
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).

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

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