Setting the Caged Bird Free

What a challenging week it has been, first coming down with the worst flu/cold and then the hubby had a terrifying accident on his way to work one morning. We are counting our blessings that he walked away with just a few bumps and bruises, but the Pumpkin (Murano) didn’t make it out unfortunately. Luckily vehicles can be replaced.

I cannot even begin to express how excited that March is here and winter is almost behind us. Longer days are starting, the snow has melted and the temperature is slowly climbing into plus digits. Looking at the upcoming forecast, I am already planning to break out my pretties from their winter lock down. Of course the newest additions are on the top of the list to take for a spin. One of those treasures is the incredible Vintage 1950s Felt Bird Applique Circle Skirt from Ballyhoo Vintage Clothing.

Some of you may recognize this stunning vintage design, famously owned by the iconic Dita Von Teese. Up until recently, I had only ever come across the 1950s Felt Bird Applique Circle Skirt in tiny sizes and/or in very poor condition. Maybe call it fate but I just happened to be scrolling through Instagram when I spotted this beauty at Ballyhoo Vintage and it was my exact size. I will admit, rational thinking went out the window as I hastily went to their website to see if it was still available and if it was in my budget. The vintage gods were smiling upon me as the answer to all those questions was YES!

As I impatiently waited for my new to me vintage 1950s Felt Bird Applique Circle Skirt, I wondered if wearing a skirt made out of felt was going to be a practical or not. Any doubts that I had were quickly diminished as this treasure is in pristine condition (it honestly appears unworn) for its age and was made from the thickest quality of felt that creates the most lovely skirt draping. The darling pink and blue bird appliques jump right off the skirt and the birdcage is made from a rich gold embroidery.

Surprisingly versatile, the vibrant colours in the appliques allow for a variety of options of tops to mix and match. I was taken back by how incredibly comfortable it is to wear a felt skirt; there is a fair amount of give in the fabric and actually very lightweight. Since I do have sensitive skin, I opt to wear a slip underneath to prevent any possible irritation from the felt.

As a passionate vintage collector, my desire is always to give these treasures a new lease on life by wearing them and not simply hoarding like unfortunately so many collectors do. I truly believe they should have a life full of love and deserve to be showcased, rather living a life as a caged bird never being able to spread its magnificent wings for everyone to admire. My hope is that there are more vintage felt skirts out there to collect as they are so unique and utterly exquisite.

Vintage Restoration ~ Velvet Flocking Part Two

After taking a week off working on this lovely restoration project, I am excited to bring to you Part Two. If you missed Vintage Restoration ~ Velvet Flocking Part One, please click HERE to read it now. Seeing as this beauty needed a good cleaning and there was some residual velvet fibers in some areas where I had to scrape off the old stuff, I opted to give her a nice mild bath before completing the flocking on the skirt. It is ALWAYS nerve racking when washing vintage clothing as you never know how the fabric will respond to water and chemicals. One product that I have found to be incredibly gentle and always resulted in a great outcome is Dr. Bronners Pure Castile Liquid Soap in peppermint for a nice fresh scent. As I was afraid the pink in the velvet flowers might bleed, I also added some vinegar and ensured the bath water was cold. This definitely did the trick. After hanging the dress to drip dry…it came out beautifully and had zero odor.

Since I had made the stencils previously for the velvet branches on the skirt, I carefully verified if each one still was accurate before tracing on the sheet of heat transfer. With a few spots having breaks in the old flocking, I decided to extend the stencils a bit further to achieve all over consistency. Due to the small nuances in the design, I worked on two sections at a time before proceeding onto the next.

As I cautioned you previously, I made sure there were no scraps of the heat transfer material on the skirt portion before I applied the heat from the iron. One thing I found very useful for cleaning off any loose velvet fibers was a fresh lint roller to ensure the area was 100% clean.

Painstakingly, I trimmed and verified each section to replicate as closely as possible and then applied the heat transfer material with the iron. This time, I left the protective plastic coating on each section until the end so not to damage the new flocking.

The last step was replacing the hook and eye clasp above the size zipper, since the old one was beginning to rust. The end result was even better than I had imagined, it gave this beauty new life for many more years to come.

 

 

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