Wednesday, December 31, 2014

1930s - Suave and Chic Winter Looks

The weather is freezing here in Seattle this week, so I think a winter coat post is in order. And I adore 1930s fashion. :)

Pencil-slim and trimmed with a lynx fur collar and slanting bound pockets, this tailored coat from the late 1930s exudes devastating charm. That jaunty hat has a bit of swagger to it, too!

Monday, December 29, 2014

1960s Mod Neutrals from Young Designer Gerald McCann

Neutral colors are huge this winter season, so these two Mod fashions from London designer Gerald McCann and the late 1960s seem especially timely. Even down to the contrasting plaid revers and peek-a-boo pleat on the dress. I love the buttons and bow. Designed for Butterick patterns, both are very "Carnaby Street" in their style and totally hip. And look at their shoes - now are those fun, or what?

Friday, December 26, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Great Tip for a New Year's Eve Party Frock

Trimming a dress with metallic lace is just the ticket for a New Year's Eve party! This particular tip from Ruth Wyeth Spears and the 1920s describes a wide band of "metal lace" that is sewn in place with a combination of brightly colored embroidery thread and metal thread that matches the lace. Pay attention to the lace trim at the sleeves. I love this dress! Do you think that is fur at the hemline?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays from 1955

I wish you all a wonderful holiday season, full of vintage beauty, success, and happiness. For your enjoyment, here is a quick splash of seasonal red and green with this elegant sketch of a 1955 formal gown from Balenciaga.

A trailing panel gives a wonderful floating look to the evening gown, which features a deep back-jutting decolletage. Stunning.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Miss Lillian's Postcards - Vintage Tweets - Minneapolis

Postcard 026

Sender:  Edna McGarry
Addressee: Miss Lillian Maguire, 1902G Terry Ave, Seattle, Wash.
Postmark: Minneapolis, Minn
Date: May 18, 1908
Image: "Minneapolis Makes Good" Cadet Drill, University Armory
Minneapolis, Minn
Dear Lillian:
We arrived home
safely Thursday had
a fine trip home and 
the same big porter.
Hope you are feeling
well and will like the 
West. Better write and
tell us what you are doing.
Edna McGarry
419 E.14th St.

The front of this post card features the University of Minnesota Armory, which is still standing and is part of the University of Minnesota Old Campus Historic District. At the time of this postcard, this building was only about 10 years old.

 In the previous postcard (Postcard 025), Edna McGarry and her sister were traveling back to Minnesota in early May. Now it is the 18th of May, and Edna is writing to Lillian from her home in Minnesota. It teems that Edna is impatient to hear Lillian's news about her new life in Seattle. :)

An afternoon dress 1907

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Seen in a Shop Window: Wedding Dresses at Luly Yang

Bridal gowns are beginning to appear in the windows of Luly Yang in downtown Seattle - what a delight!

I love this stunning strapless gown, with a snug, contoured drop-waist bodice and full flowing skirt with a sweep train.

This eye-catching gown is gorgeous, with a snug bustier bodice and full flowing skirt that swirls in a froth of cascading drapes.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

1960s Dresses from "Young Designer" Jean Muir

Hello, all! I hope you are holding up during this holiday season. For some reason I have more than my normal quantity of dinners and outings, all in addition to my day job. The days are flying by so quickly, it is hard to believe we are just a little over a week away from Christmas!

Today I travel back to the autumn of 1967. These fab little A-line dresses from Jean Muir and Butterick were hot fashion then. I love how the pill box hat (very early to mid 60s) and the head scarf or "babushka" (as a fashion statement, a popular thing from late 60s into the 70s) appear here. One on its way out, the other on its way in.

I love the monochrome quality of the outfit on the right. The dress is marvelous, with its shallow funnel collar, notched wing cuffs, and a row of accent buttons that add focus and a pop of texture. I think Ruth Wyeth Spears from the 1920s would approve both dresses, with their simplicity of style and just a small number of accents of the right type. :)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - The Art of Trimming a Frock

In this tip for home dressmakers in the 1920s, we learn some key rules when trimming a frock, whether it is embroidery, a lace collar, flowers, or other trimmings. The key to looking smart is simplicity - you want to look fashionable, not "home-made" or worse yet, frumpy! :) Ruth Wyeth Spears always provides such wise fashion advice.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

1950s Dreamy Dior Gown in Green Satin

This fabulous off-shoulder gown in green satin is from Dior's "Y" line - the stem of the Y branches into width from a high waistline and (inverted) broadens out from waist to hem.

Luscious. Featured in Women's Home Companion, October 1955.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

1930s Glamorous Dress Hugs the Body in Black

Talking about striking a movie siren pose! This stunning dress gives the model a sculptured look, hugging the body with sensuous drapes at the waistline. A demure collar at neckline is trimmed with a peak of white. A sheer veil drops from the back of the exotic, dot-textured, high-crowned toque.

A dress to sigh for.

Monday, December 8, 2014

1960s Mod Fashion from Mary Quant

Looking confident and totally hip, these models pose with the power stance to flaunt this fab Carnaby Street fashion of skinny pants, A-line skirt, cardigan jacket and newsboy hat. This ensemble was designed for Butterick in 1967 by the marvelous Mary Quant, one of the hottest designers of Mod fashion in "swinging London". I remember reading that she started in fashion by taking Butterick patterns and sewing them shorter. :)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

1950s Winning Winter Coats

Ah, the guy changes the tire while the pretty ladies wait in their warm winter coats. It's beautiful fashion from 1955.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

1940s Originator Sketch - Blouses with the Accent on the Shoulders

Here is a trio of lovely blouses from 1946, trimmed with cord, lace, and top-stitching to set them apart. These are interesting accents with a primary focus on the shoulders. In typical 40s fashion, they work to extend the shoulders, resulting in "power shoulders". Do you have a favorite?

Top-stitching is always a favorite of mine, but I think the blouse with the cord trim captures my imagination the most. :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Adding a Crystal Beaded Accent to Your Chiffon Dinner Frock

Imagine this dinner frock in "crayon blue chiffon" and then add this beaded bow knot, bead by bead! Ruth Wyeth Spears tells you how in this very fine tip from the 1920s. The instructions look like a snap (well, a relative snap) and I love that "simple one-piece dress" with shirred fullness at the sides. Delightful!


Monday, December 1, 2014

Miss Lilliian's Postcards - Vintage Tweets - Out West for Health

Postcard 025

Sender: Maureen and Edna McGarry
Addressee: Miss Lillian MacGuire, 1902G Terry Av., Seattle, Wash.
Postmark: Bellingham, WASH
Date: May 7, 1908
Image: Nooksack Falls, Whatcom County, Washington
Dear Lillian, You failed to 
sign your last name &
we had to guess at it. Hope
this will reach you. We are
having a very nice time
and leave for home this
coming Monday. Go to
Vancouver by boat. We were
very anxious about you
until we received the
card and knew for sure
you were with your
sister. Hope you will like
the West & get good & strong.
Our Minneapolis address is
419 E. 14th St. Love from
Maureen and Edna McGarry

Looking very "Northwest", this postcard illustrates the beautiful Nooksack Falls in Whatcom County, Washington state, a popular attraction then and now. Whatcom county and Bellingham are adjacent to British Columbia, Canada. 

Well, well! This postcard from a pair of sisters from Minneapolis informs us that Lillian is still in Seattle, and evidently staying with her sister Ann, not a surprise there. What IS interesting is that Lillian is in Seattle for her health! I am intrigued! I wonder how poorly her health was. The summers and winters are milder in Seattle than in St. Louis, could that be easier on the health? Or did she have a specific ailment? No way to know.