Trying to put my thoughts & ideas down somewhere and give another outlet to my creativity. It's all connected, so I can't say it's a blog about just this or just that. Dolls. Fashion. Art. A little bit on travel, whatever... let's take it wherever it goes...

2014-04-30

Sindy - stylish gal!

I've recently gotten a few more vintage Sindy dolls, and I have restored a few other ones that I've had for a bit of time. With the "new" dolls, I have also got a few more outfits and separate outfit parts from the 1970s and 80s - some of the shoes are Mattel though, as I don't have a lot of Pedigree Sindy shoes... So they're all stylishly dressed now! Don't you just love the cute red capri pants with the little buttons? And the super nice fitting green skinny slacks? And of course - that combination of black, white and pink - always a winner!
The two gals on the left are probably from the early 80s, the glamourous platinum blonde is one of the big-headed, red-lipped mid-80s dolls, from the last years of "classic" Pedigree Sindy, as well as the doll on the right. I love them, with their creamy skin and bright red lippy! The pig-tailed girl second to right may be a little older - I don't know who she is, but when I examined her hair whilst cleaning her up, it definitely showed that she must have had pigtails originally.

Here's a look at the short-haired Sindy and the one with the pigtails as they were "before". They both cleaned up nicely, and their hair too! Sindy dolls really are a joy to restore - they usually clean up so nicely, even the seemingly hopeless looking ones! This is one thing I really like about them, and a reason I find it hard to resist them. It's just so satisfying to restore a doll back to looking pretty.

A quick update on Ringier patterns

Wonderful - I have just received three more issues of the Ringier Journal de la Mode - from 1964/65, 1966 and 1970. They have again brought a little more insight - like that the shorter pattern numbers probably started earlier than I'd thought, but still were consecutive and therefore help with dating. You can see the update, and also the albums of the new magazines here on the Vintage Sewing Pattern Wiki.

And... I found a pattern I had - in fact that very first one I bought as a vintage pattern, which was also the first vintage pattern I sold - this is from the Spring/Summer 1970 issue:



2014-04-19

Opera costuming - Manon Lescaut at Baden Baden

So Arte had Manon Lescaut from the Easter festival in Baden Baden on the other day, live. You can still watch it - still a few days left, if you want to know what I'm talking about: http://www.arte.tv/guide/fr/051752-001/manon-lescaut

Anyway, it was beautifully sung and all, but the costuming was horrible in a way - really got me up the walls. So this was set in 1940s Nazi-occupied France. Don't ask me where the sense is in that, to me it didn't make much sense in relation to the story, but there you go. I do understand that costumes also have to look good on stage and I'd never expect them to be say as perfect as in a period movie. Still, I think whoever was responsible for the costumes here totally let the main character of Manon down. Honestly. Ok, her shoes never looked like anything like 40s, but maybe higher heels weren't on the menu. So, that's one thing. Much worse though was that horrible white dress and hat in act one. It looked like some 80s monstrosity with super-huge shoulders, and a cheap-looking hat! Yes, 40s fashion was about shoulder pads, but compare a 40s dress to an 80s dress and you'll notice that they were quite different kinds of shoulder pads, and they were definitely bigger and more exaggerated in the 80s. Considering her figure, I think they could have been more kinder on her with the shoulder pads. And even if the dress had to be white, there would have been more authentic-looking 40s dress styles, that would have looked much better on her. This particular dress really didn't flatter her - sorry! And there would surely have been a better hat style too! Also the glittery dress in act two - ok, it was probably quick to get into, as it looked like a wrap style, but again, it did nothing for her and didn't look like anything 40s. There were choir extras in all acts, wearing dresses or suits and hats that looked much much more like 40s styles - and in general much better! In fact there were a few in the background that I would have loved to see more of.

So, in short - I just don't get it. I'm not quick to be critical of any costuming being absolutely historically correct, but this just looked so out of place and not really good on her.Isn't it just horrible when they make the leading lady look not really her best?

Ringier sewing patterns

You've probably noticed the Ringier sewing patterns in my shop, that you've also probably never have heard about - so time to blog a little about them... Ringier is the biggest publisher in Switzerland, best known for the tabloid newspaper "Blick" and the iconic people magazine "Schweizer Illustrierte". From the 1940s at least until the 1970s (or maybe 80s), they also published sewing patterns. Living in Switzerland, I of course come across them a lot, but there is very, very little information on them to be found. Not even Ringier's company history online mentions anything about them.

I had also not known anything about them until I found one of their patterns at a flea market. This was one of the very first vintage patterns I ever bought, and it was one of the first items in my Etsy shop to sell - just a fun little mod summer dress:
When I then started looking for patterns to sell, I came across more and more of them, and some are really elegant and can stand their own against better known brands!

Some of my favourite ones are:


So here you can already see the evolution of how their sleeves look - from the 1940s to the early 50s, early 50s to late 60s and then the late 60s to 70s design, with which also the numbering seems to have changed from five to four numbers.

I have also recently acquired three issues of their bi-annual "Journal des Modes" in which they published their newest patterns - only the more glamourous ones though. Sleep- and homewear it seems was probaly just published in their weekly family magazines. Click on the magazine covers below to view the complete magazines in an online album! They are gorgeous to look at just for the beautiful, colorful illustrations.
Thanks to these, I have also been able to glean a bit of information on their numbering system, which seems to have been continuous, with the first number (at least in the 5-digit system) denoting what kind of garment/pattern it was, and the character before standing for the price.

To keep track of all the information I have so far, and since I have faithfully been uploading or linking every pattern in my shop, I have also added this to the Vintage Pattern Wikia: http://vintagepatterns.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Ringier
I will keep adding as I find out more - I hope to be getting more of the magazines soon.

2014-04-03

Vintage sewing...

Well, I've been at it again - sewing! My problem was a small one - what do you wear by way of "nice" (or even "business") clothes in warm or hot weather? The easiest of course is to pull on a nice, not too short/cut-out summer dress, at best in cotton. But if a dress is not in question? I have a heap of nice black capri pants, but the top options to go with them were always about the same, like this super 50s cotton blouse, or my trusty Vietnamese silk top:


So I decided to make something myself. Vintage patterns for tops and blouses abound, after all. In fact, read somewhere that they're the easiest to find of any kind vintage pattern! So I've been buying them, sifting through them, keeping some, putting others in my shop. And in the end, the best-looking patterns turned up in bigger lots that I acquired when not looking for blouses especially. Typical.

And now, here's what I made. First, from Butterick pattern 7024:

This is a very typical 1950s look, very chic and elegant, and actually quite quickly made from realtively few pattern pieces! I used a bright turquoise cotton that has just a small amount of elastic fibers, and some secondhand buttons from my stash that have little rhinestones on them. The fit of the pattern is good, just that the sleeves were a little wide for my taste, so I made them a bit tighter, like it looks in the drawing on the pattern sleeve. Also, it is a little tricky to make, because you have those seams going around corners. There are probably sewers out there who do this better than me - which is why it's now on sale in my shop (no worries - I always copy my patterns, I never use the original pieces!).

And now, next up is this super-versatile 60s Vogue pattern, 6706, which is a definite keeper! It's a a classic blouse, but with so many sleeve and collar options including a cute pussy bow, that this is staying in my pattern stash!
   
For this I used a polyester fabric that I've had in my stash for a couple of years already. I saw this by chance at Komolka in Vienna (a truly not-to-be-missed super fabric store!), it was on clearance and I just loved the big house fa├žade print. Initially, I had thought I would just make a scarf from it, but then I decided differently. And this pattern seemed to be perfect, as there are not a lot of seams cutting through the motif. I chose the sleeveless, collarless version, to be worn over pants, with small side slits. I cut it with an eye on pattern matching, which meant though that's what's left of it isn't really usable anymore, but that was worth it I think. The buttons I used are vintage ones, also from my stash (I originally showed them in this post). I had exactly three of the green ones and two of the navy ones, so it seemed to make sense to use them here! This pattern too fitted just nicely, was easy to make and over all a joy to work with. I really love these American patterns that have the 5/8" seam allowance included - marking that extra before you get to cut it out, like Burda does, just takes so much extra time!

And that's not all of it... this amazing fabric also came in a differnt colorway - and I bought some of that as well! I haven't decided yet though what I'll make from this.
And now? Well, I'm onto the next one, made from a 40s pattern and a repurposed XXL 80s silk top! I hope it'll work as I planned it - keeping my fingers crossed...

 As usual, I have made it all on my trusty, also very vintage, Husqvarna 2000 machine:
This super machine is from the early 60s, and just runs like a little clockwork. She makes very little noise, has all the necessary stitches, plus an ingenious system for lots of fancy stitches and also a bevy of useful ones (overlock, elastic etc.) - and she makes beautiful buttonholes too with an almost fool-proof mechanism. And if there's anything that still creeps me out a little, it's sewing buttonholes! As in "you get only one chance"...

If you're looking for some great vintage blouse patterns now, have a look here at my shop, I have some great offerings!