Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Catching Up...

I have been falling embarrassingly behind in my blog updates about my vintage discoveries lately!  Harvest season, vacation plans, and life in general have just gotten in the way...

In any case, I went to an estate sale the other weekend, and purchased this gorgeous beige-hued custom-made 1950s lace cocktail dress for $20!  It fits me perfectly, and goes very well with my coloring.  I thought it rather ironic that I purchased the dress for a mere $20 (retail value probably $150-$350), but the seller refused to budge on a ridiculously high-priced $2,500 vintage lynx fur coat.  I just bought a vintage monkey fur coat at another estate sale for $100, and monkey fur is equal to lynx in rarity and monetary value.  I can't see anyone in Southern Oregon shelling out $2,500 for a size small vintage fur coat, but maybe I was wrong?  I never went back the last day to see if it sold...*sigh*  I would have given it a loving and appreciative home, but alas!  It wasn't meant to be!

With the dress, I am also sporting my latest Frank Palma hat!  It's a gorgeous little black felt tilt hat with grey-hued ostrich feathers and two little birdies peeking out!  The birdies were bare when I got the hat, so I had to re-glue feathers on.  Unfortunately, most of the original feathers were missing, and all I had to work with were turkey feathers (much wider than the original feathers, and therefore much more difficult to glue down smoothly).  I'm not entirely satisfied, and may re-do the feathers in the future, but for now the birdies are covered again, and the ostrich feathers hide most of it anyway.  I do so love my Frankie hats!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fabulously Feathered Coming Right Up!

I have been playing around with some designs this past week, and one of the concepts I came up with was very similar (in my mind, anyway) to a sort of Victorian "riding hat."  

I wound black and white ostrich feathers around the sides of the crown, and put a very sexy eye-covering veil over the front edge of the brim.



I also finished another fun felt tilt topper hat, this time in a camel color (I made it out of a piece of 1970s felt).

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Road to Professional...Milliner?

You may have noticed in my last post that - at the very bottom - I mentioned the words "NEW Etsy store."  Well, I have been told by certain kind folks that it was high time I stopped making hats as a hobby and started making them as a profession.  My husband always told me that my hats were amazing and very well-made, but he's biased, so I never believed him!  *laughing*  I suppose I simply assumed that my hats were never good enough for others to want to buy.  After all, I have never taken a single millinery course.  What I have learned was through observing the construction of my many, many vintage hats; what I have read in antique millinery books; and what I learned in my 4-day-long crash course with my millinery guru last March.  This being said, people whose opinion I greatly respect have told me my hats are good enough to be sold.  And be sold at professional milliner prices (I'm still selling them at the lower level of that spectrum for now...just because I still can't quite believe ti!).  Anywho, the lovely gang at FabGabs Vintage took up some of my ready-made hats to Portland and had them professionally photographed by EB Photography (with the lovely Solanah of Vixen Vintage modeling).  Here are the absolutely amazing results!:

FabGabs did a teaser promo for my hats on their fan page, and it was just crazy to log into my Facebook account and suddenly see images of my hats!  I did a double-take!  I just could not believe that these were MY hats!

You can find these hats and more in my new Etsy store devoted entirely to my millinery creations!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Attack of the Bird (Hat)!

I have had this amazing vintage faux bird in my possession for about a year, and have been waiting for just the right hat to decorate it with!  Well, last week I finally designed something that even Hattie Carnegie would approve of (have you seen some of those vintage faux bird hats?!  WOWSA!):

This hat is simply exquisite! Over-the-top, absolutely unique, and stylishly true to its vintage roots! Vintage faux birds of this age are getting harder and harder to find, and this is only one of two that I have ever seen in this pose, and with such attention to detail! 

This vibrant green bird swoops down the front of the hat, with a spray of iridescent rooster tail feathers curling up and over the crown. The hat body is constructed of a black 100% wool felt, and is composed of two separate pieces. The brim is slightly down-turned to point towards the face in the front. There is a band if vintage navy blue velvet ribbon encircling the crown, as well as a band of metallic gold sequined braid.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Date Night Outfit!

Today I finished constructing what may very well be my (new) favorite hat!  

The latest in funky tilt toppers (sorry, everybody, this one is not for sale!)!! I blocked the black felt body over a hat block that was lovingly made by my husband, then gathered the crown to create that fun, tall, tilt. 

Vintage red velvet ribbon encircles the crown, with a black velvet over-bow in back. The bird (complete with vintage rhinestone eyes) was constructed using a cluster of vintage rooster tail feathers (part of a box of vintage millinery decorations given to me last weekend).

After studying many, MANY vintage faux birds, I am finally figuring out how the old milliners did it (and getting pretty darn good at replicating them, if I do say so myself!). The hat was made to match this lovely dress from FabGabs vintage. This is going to be my Friday night date outfit!  Ryan is taking me out for cocktails and cigars on the patio at Porter's.  I'm so excited!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sunday Date & An Outfit

Yesterday, my husband and I decided that we needed to get out of the house and have a fun little date together!  I dragged him to the local thrift stores, and then we went antique-store-hopping.  I wore the cutest little 1950s ribbon/circle skirt that I found at a local antiques store on Saturday.  I need to take it in a bit at the waist, and the shirt I was wearing was much too large (unfortunately, I had nothing else in my closet that would work), but I liked the color combo.  I need to find a vintage sweater to match the skirt!

In any event, it was a VERY profitable day!  I found a gorgeous blue felt for my millinery endeavors at the first thrift store,  and an amazing late 1930s or early 1940s wide-brimmed vintage hat at the second!  Then, we went to one of my favorite antiques store, and I discovered this GORGEOUS vintage 1940s dress hidden in the back of the clothing rack.  It was in serious need of TLC (mostly lots of seam separation, but there were definitely a few large tears that needed fixing), but I love a challenge!  I spent about 30 minutes on Sunday afternoon repairing it, and now it is wearable again (though I may need to re-do my front tear repair...I'm not 100% happy with how that turned out).  The dress is a gorgeous blue-ish/lavender rayon crepe (I'm not good with identifying materials, but that is what I would make my guess).

Ironically, the dress and the hat go really well together!  And I purchased the AMAZING 1930s beaded Degas heels for $25 on Saturday (at the same place I bought the ribbon skirt).  They match my outfit pretty darn well!

And look at the beading on them!  If that isn't enough to give you a shoe fetish, I don't know what is...yummy...

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Recreating the Past...One Felt at a Time!

I have been busy in my millinery studio lately, working to recreate some vintage hats that I have seen in old magazines.  Here are two examples that I finished this weekend:

I had to alter the design a bit on mine (namely, instead of threading the feather through the felt - which put the feather IN the eye on my version - I merely tacked it onto the brim with a few stitches) since I didn't have Madame Dache's original hat block...but here is my version of this 1942 Lilly Dache hat, featured in LIFE magazine. I blocked mine over a soap dish. :)

Dache's reasoning on the one eye-covering tilt hats of this period: "Men in uniform, they like their women helpless. So, we knock out one eye of the lady and catch all the men's eyes."

I recreated this Sally Victor felt tilt hat that I first saw in a 1945 McCall's Magazine. I blocked the felt body over a wooden salad bowl, & the crown over a circular piece of gladware tupperware. The design had to be modified a bit to accommodate the thinner width of the Ringneck pheasant feathers, but overall, I think the effect is just as striking as the original!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Rub My Feet & Call Me "Bunny!"

My thrifting mojo was in FULL SWING today!  I scored some fab items - it was so nice, after an entire summer of nothing (with the exception of that amazing monkey fur coat!).



For $2.99, I picked up this gorgeous vintage 1930s wide-brimmed "Clifford Dale Original" hat with roses and a velvet bow.  Perfect color for my light skin and red hair!  The crown and flowers need reshaping (they are a little flat), but that is easy to do with some balled up newspaper and a tea kettle.

For $16, I scored this fun 'n' funky 1940s vintage coat!  This particular big, boxy style of coat with those classic padded shoulders is referred to as a "chubby" jacket.  The 1980s tried to copy the 1940s in this respect, but just didn't quite make the cut (har de har har).  Anywho, the coat is definitely a little beat up, but nothing I can't fix, namely: two small tears, and I need to reattach the lining to a section of the bottom of the coat and the pocket.

Finally, some funky vintage ties for Ryan!