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Vintage

Vintage Long Stem Roses Dress by Roy H. Bjorkman

One thing that I know for certain, my adoration for all things floral came at a very early age. My mom dubbed me a natural green thumb as she always knew where to find me when I was a kid…out in her gardens planting and watering the flowers. Every year I would find new species that I would fall in love with, they are all so beautiful in their own special way. The memory that I will never forget is the anticipation her only rose bush to be in full bloom; it had the most beautiful rich deep pink roses I have ever seen. It should come as no surprise that my love of floral prints has only grown over the last few decades and can easily be seen in my vintage wardrobe collection.

  • Dress – Vintage Long Stem Roses Dress by Roy H. Bjorkman
  • Shoes – B.A.I.T Tessa Wedges in Cornflower Blue
  • Jewelry – Vintage rhinestone bangles

The greatest thing about collecting vintage floral prints, is that there are endless possibilities out there to discover. It is no surprise that the classic rose was very common in the 1950’s. Fashion designers captured their beauty by making them center stage in their designs. Often we will see the same prints being used by different designers, each one utilizing their creativity to make theirs unique.

In recent years, I have come across the Vintage Long Stem Roses print in red and yellow in a variety of styles but they always eluded me as they were much too small in size or WAY over my budget. This past May, I stumbled upon an IG sneak preview photo from Swanee Grace of the most elegant Vintage Long Stem Roses Dress but this time in purple, blue and yellow roses! I was even more excited when I saw the size was my exact measurements but expected a very hefty price tag. Luckily the shop owner posted the exact time it would be listed on Etsy so I was refreshing every 10 seconds in anticipation. Needles to say, I didn’t hesitate when I saw it was withing my budget and sped through the checkout process like a madwoman.

Never before had I seen this stunning colourway and I truly adore it more than the red/yellow version. The Vintage Long Stem Roses Dress by Roy H. Bjorkman is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. I didn’t even realize the background colour is a soft powder blue, usually you only see it in white. This definitely made the dress even more unique and extra special. The bodice features gorgeous diamond rhinestones scattered throughout. Miraculously, the dress is in pristine condition…barely worn over the past 6 decades.

When it comes to collecting vintage, the best piece of advice that I can pass along is to be patient. Vintage can be an incredibly frustrating passion at the best of times but those who are patient, often find the most amazing treasures when they least expect it. Do not lose hope…those special treasures will find you when the time is right.

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Categories: All Posts, Clothing, Vintage | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Vintage Seaside Scenic Border Print Skirt

Over the years, my love of vintage has not only taken over my closets but it has become such a huge part of my everyday life. The wonderful people that I have met through the online communities…sellers and fellow collectors have truly enriched my inner circle of friends. It is incredible how fellow collectors and sellers will genuinely go out of their way to help you find those special treasures, spreading good vintage karma among one another. I have been very fortunate to build my collection full of breathtaking vintage pieces through endless hours of scouring of the interwebs, hands me downs from collectors and developing wonderful relationships with some of the greatest vintage sellers. These rare treasures deserve to be showcased for all to appreciate, so I will start featuring my vintage collection one piece at a time! Be warned…this may take a while 😉

  • Skirt – Vintage Seaside Border Print
  • Top – PUG Peasant in mint
  • Shoes – B.A.I.T Demi mint wedges
  • Belt – PUG white
  • Jewelry – Vintage Weiss

With the 1950’s being the epicenter of one of a kind circle/swing skirt designs, it is no surprise that they quickly became an obsession to collect them all. Personally I gravitate towards novelty prints, scenic prints, border prints and of course floral prints…plain is boring! One of the places I find many of my most treasured pieces is on Instagram; either from Vintage sellers or fellow collectors. The most important thing is to be quick, these pieces often get snatched up the moment they are posted. Luckily I was able to acquire many pieces before IG sales became mainstream, now it has really become ultra competitive and often disappointing.

Ages ago, I came across this magnificent Vintage Seaside Scenic Border Print Skirt on IG where the seller mentioned it was a wounded bird but still had lots of life left. Remember, most of these skirts are over 60 years old; often homemade from the 1950’s and passed down over the decades with several different owners. Immediately I got in contact with the seller (sorry, I don’t remember which one this was from) to get all the particulars on the condition and of course, price. There she mentioned the skirt had some rust stains and a few holes in the fabric but they were easily lost in the fullness of the skirt sweep. Because of the condition, she was only asking a mere $60…UM WHAT!?! Luckily there was only one gal ahead of me in line and she decided to pass on it…her loss was definitely my gain!

When the Seaside Scenic Border Print Skirt arrived, I immediately assessed the condition and reinforced the small holes with iron on mending patches. The seller mentioned she had already washed and treated the staining the best she could so I did not attempt to do so myself. Most of the rust marks were on one side of the skirt, so the trick was simply to rotate that to the backside when worn and it indeed gets lost in the fullness of the skirt.

Although there is no known designer information available on this print, it is referred to as “Seaside” by vintage collectors. In this series, there is also Switzerland and Dutch Windmills, all available in various colourways. It is always fun to see the different variations of prints in the various colours since I find they really make each one truly unique. I am the first to admit, I sometimes own the same print in two different colours because I simply cannot resist.

*A special thank you to the lovely ladies Kelly and Mary of the Novelty & Border Print Group for helping me with the history on the Vintage Seaside Scenic Border Print Skirt.*

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Categories: All Posts, Clothing, Vintage | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Vintage Restoration ~ Velvet Flocking Part One

Over the years, I have steadily amassed a lovely collection of vintage but some did not stand up well with the test of time. These “wounded birds” require a lot of TLC to revive them to be enjoyed for many mores years to come. Very rarely do I take on these big projects myself but when the most beautiful treasures come along, I feel compelled to take it under my wing. Late last summer I was very fortunate to come across this gorgeous vintage 3D floral applique dress, which is quite famous as the lovely Dita Von Teese owns one herself. Sadly, she was in very poor condition with the velvet flocking missing in many areas, several loose seams with a torn zipper therefore the seller decided it was too much for her to take on. Her loss was my gain…but I sure had a big undertaking on my hands.

The very first step was to ensure the dress was structurally sounds before focusing on the esthetics. I inspected every seam and zipper to confirm how much reinforcement was required. The front waist seam was letting go, the side zipper was ripped around the waist area and there was a tiny hole from the strain on the fabric. I suspect someone tried to force the zipper close meanwhile the dress was clearly too small for them. Although I am comfortable around a sewing machine, I decided to ask my mom for help as she knows zippers like a boss. Reinforcing the waist seam was super easy but the zipper mending took some finessing but we were successful. The zipper is sturdy again and fully functional despite missing one tooth on the track. Our inside patch job did the trick and cannot be seen from the outside. I’ll be sewing on a new hook and eye to replace the rusted one as well.

Now onto step two, esthetics! I consulted with the vintage community for recommendations on DIY techniques to restore the velvet flocking that was missing in several areas on the bodice and skirt. With a few suggestions in hand, I eventually landed on sourcing black flocking by the roll online. After watching tutorials and reading reviews on various brands, I decided to use “Silhouette Heat Transfer Material” from Craftdirect.com since no local stores carried it here. Once I had the Silhouette flocking in hand and compared it to the dress, I was confident it would be a good fit for the restoration project.

  1. To begin, I grabbed some trace paper and a fine Sharpie marker to create the stencils for the appliques. One by one, I traced the leaves on the bodice along with the branch located on the shoulder. Next, I traced the long branches on the skirt portion that were missing from the waist to the middle where the flocking was still present.
  2. After carefully cutting each stencil out, I then double and tripped checked on the dress to ensure they were correct.
  3. Since the heat transfer material is meant for a digital cutter, you only need to follow one very important thing…place the stencil on backwards, then trace! Make sure you have very sharp scissors for this part, I used hair scissors as they are more precise for this small detail work.
  4. TEST!!! Take your first applique and use a scrap piece of fabric to see if it will transfer correctly for your application.
  5. Using a hot iron (cotton setting, no steam), apply a piece of material over the heat transfer applique, and iron for 45-60 seconds. Let cool completely before trying to remove the protective plastic film. Success…now onto the real thing!!!
  6. Now trace all of your stencils onto (backwards) the roll of heat transfer material and cut them out very carefully, avoid any burred edges since that will show on the application. I suggest doing them one section at a time, it is less overwhelming that way.
  7. Take each applique and take the time to triple check that they match perfectly with dress. I had to painstakingly trim each one to mimic the original design, shaving off the slightest amounts to get them just right.
  8. Make sure all old flocking is scrapped off, I used my fingernails mostly to ensure the fabric would not be damaged. In some areas where there was a lot of patchiness, a sharp kitchen steak knife (not serrated) was necessary.
  9. Repeat steps 5-6 for each applique. Leave the protective film on until each section is complete to avoid damaging the new flocking.

As you can imagine, this is a very long tedious process and needs to be done precisely for the best results. Restoring the bodice portion of this beauty took approximately 3+ hours. One word of caution, make sure to clear away any heat transfer shaving from your project before applying the heat. This was a small mistake I made which resulted in tiny black marks on the cream fabric that I now have to treat as pesky stains. DOH!

Stay tuned for the completion of this restoration project…

 

Categories: All Posts, Vintage | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

An Introduction to Mid Century Vintage

Several months ago, I was asked to guest post for the lovely Miss Victory Violet while she traveled the world. I shared some very helpful tips for those looking to venture into the world of buying Mid Century vintage clothing. For those of you that missed it the first time around, now is your chance to read it here!

For years many years I was a diehard connoisseur of strictly vintage reproduction clothing as I found my proportions sadly did not coincide with those of the ladies from the 1950’s. Vintage clothing was something I admired from afar and envied the ladies that had the most gorgeous of collections in their closets. One faithful day, that all changed and I started to discover vintage dresses in my size and I have been building my collection ever since. Yes, it’s definitely a slippery slope and you’re constantly chasing the incredible high when you find that next treasure. Venturing into the world of vintage is like the unknown, there are SO MANY things to know and learn since these garments are well over 60 years old. Today I am going to share an introduction to 1950s (early 60s) buyers guide for those of you who wish to start building your own collection.

Day Wear:

One of the most common styles from the 1950s era is day dresses since women had to be well groomed even while performing household chores. Many of them are homemade or affordable department store brands that have lasted all these years due to quality fabric and craftsmanship. Homemade dresses generally range these days from $40-90+ and with a label $60-$120+. The prices are steadily increasing now that vintage seems to have hit the mainstream and the demand is greater than ever. If a piece has a unique print (novelty print), expect to pay a considerable amount more as there are many collectors out there seeking these fabulous prints. The wonderful thing about daywear, you can wear them just about anywhere and look fabulous in one-of-a-kind clothing.

Photo1If you’re like me, I am a HUGE fan of circle skirts! The 1950’s was the mecca for the most stunning circle skirts in every colour and print you could imagine. Vintage lovers can thank Dior for this stunning silhouette. In the late 40’s Dior debuted the “New Look” which emphasized a nipped waist and full skirt. Designers in the 50’s followed the fashion house’s example. From gorgeous floral, to stunning novelty prints, even Disney favorites like Lady & The Tramp to dazzling Mexican hand painted sequin designs. These often range from $40-$150+ depending on the condition and uniqueness of the print. In fact a Lady and the Tramp skirt just went for $680 on eBay! The great thing about these skirts, if they are not quite your size often times the button can be moved a couple inches either way or there’s a little trick I learned from a fellow vintage lover: take an elastic band to fasten the waist closed then cover it with a belt. Tada!

ElasticTrick

Click to enlarge image.

Viva Photo3The era also brought many Hawaiian inspired prints and dresses, which can go from day to night by accessorizing. These beautiful prints (which have been around since the 30’s) became popular in the 40’s due to WWII and the many servicemen and women occupying the islands. After the war they returned home with their beautiful Aloha shirts and dresses. With airplane travel becoming more common (and Hawaii becoming a state in 1959) Americans starting flocking to Hawaii on tropical vacations. In 1959 a man named Alfred Shaheen started making ready-made shirt and dresses for men and women. His incredible designs, textiles and construction put these garments above the rest. Oh, fun fact, in 1961 a guy named Elvis wore a red Shaheen shirt in a little movie called “Blue Hawaii”. Highly sought after designers like Surf ‘n Sand (an early 40’s brand of Alfred Shaheen), Kahala, and Kamehamaha along with Shaheen are the royalty of tropical inspired designs and highly sought after. A 1950s Shaheen dress will run anywhere from $200-500+ but truly worth the investment if you love his style. I began my collection a little over a year ago and now the proud owner of 8 Shaheens.

Photo4 Photo5Of note, ladies very rarely left the house without a hat and gloves! Women were even beautifully outfitted to go to the grocery store.

Evening Wear:

There are endless options when it comes to elegant evening wear from the 1950s-60s, they are origins of Old Hollywood Glamour that we all know and adore. First would be the classic fitted hourglass styles, with a hint of flair known as the mermaid silhouette. Whether you have a ball to attend or looking for a fabulous date night ensemble, the possibilities are endless. Beads, sequins, rhinestones, Lurex, satin, chiffon, they spared no glitz or detail.

Photo6Cocktail dresses are fabulous affordable options which were commonly worn during social gatherings like dinner parties hosted by the lady of the house. The hemlines are usually a few inches below the knees and/or tea-length with full petticoats. Evening gloves were also a must. In the early 1960’s, the wiggle took front stage over the nipped in waist and full skirts from the 1950s. This is the time where the dazzling sequin fitted dresses were born and very sought after today. These lovely pieces are quite affordable ($40-$100+) despite their very glamourous appearance. Cocktail dresses can range from under $100 well into $500+ depending on the level of detail and overall condition.

Photo7 Photo8When we think of Old Hollywood Glamour, the first thing that comes to mind is breathtaking ball gowns. Ceil Chapman, Suzy Perette, Edith Head, and Dior are just a few of the top in their class when it comes to ball gowns, cocktail dresses and movie costumes. If you want to drool over amazing fashion I highly recommend watching old movies from the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. These designers often only outfitted the very rich and famous. Department stores were the popular place to find fancy dresses for the everyday housewife. As you can imagine, the current price tag for such lavish gowns are reflective of their elegance. For example, a Ceil Chapman dress on the lower end starts at $500 and goes well into the thousands. There are definitely more affordable unbranded vintage gowns within reasonable price range; I recently acquired one on Etsy for $200USD (originally listed at $400).

photo9William Travilla Gown worn by Marilyn Monroe at the premier of “How to Marry a Millionaire”. photo10Edith Head gown worn by Grace Kelly at the Oscars

There are a plethora of timeless vintage treasures to collect from the era we all know and love; swimsuits, playsuits, handbags, jewelry, and so on but it’s best to start off slow, research and build your collection one piece at a time. If you’re unsure if vintage is really for you, or looking for some tip and tricks on how to get started, please visit my post “Venturing into the unknown“.

Categories: All Posts, Clothing, Vintage | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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