1930s · Finished! · Vintage

1930s Beach Pajamas!

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I hosted a little vintage beach gathering here in Portland yesterday, and finished a pair of reproduction 1930s beach pajamas to wear just in the nick of time! For those not aware, beach pajamas were the original version of resort wear, worn by the fashionable set on the beach during the day and to a cocktail party in the evening. They became more widespread in the 1930s with their popularization among the Hollywood elite, and home seamstresses could make their own versions with the patterns that were released. Beach pajamas were either one or two pieces (sometimes with matching jacket) and featured  characteristically wide pants legs.

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My beach pajamas are made from a border print 1950s red and white rayon that I got from this awesome Etsy shop (I seriously can’t recommend her enough, she even threw in free button cards with my order!). I ended up combining 2 modern patterns for my beach pajamas, as a) original beach pajama patterns are notoriously expensive (seriously, the cheapest ones I could find started at $125 and even then, I would need to significantly grade them up) and b) I wasn’t too fond of any of the reproduction ones out there. After looking at dozens upon dozens of images of original beach pajamas, I settled upon the pants from New Look 6291 and Bodice D from New Look 6966, which when combined, were eerily reminiscent of this original beach pajamas pattern. Luckily, I made a muslin (I was too scared to just cut into vintage rayon fabric without doing so first!) and there weren’t too many changes to be made – the back piece wasn’t quite wide enough, and the waistline wasn’t high enough. I also fully lined these in a a linen-rayon blend, and despite the extra work that was, it was the right decision, as the vintage fabric was a bit sheer.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t have an original pair of beach pajamas to examine (those are also notoriously expensive, averaging around $300 a pair), so I’m not quite sure if what I did construction-wise was totally period-correct. I did what I thought made sense, although I ended up having to make 4 darts (2 in front and 2 in back) to get the bodice to match the pants along the waistline seam. Luckily, I don’t think anybody will be examining the innards of these, although I did come home with an odd orange stain on the midriff lining (no idea how that got there!).

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Readers, these are so insanely comfortable to wear! Seriously, I can see why these were so popular back in the day. I also got so many lovely compliments from fellow beach-goers  once person even told me that I looked like “one of those sexy pin-up models from the 50s!” Not quite the era I was going for, but a compliment I’ll take, nonetheless. And, despite the challenges I had during construction, I am so tickled that I finally made a pair of these. I’m looking forward to many lazy summer days lounging about in them while reading a good novel.

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I also had some leftover striped fabric from the fabric’s border, so I used that to make a matching headband. Yeah, I know, I’m an overachiever.

Hope everyone else had a lovely weekend!

1930s · Holidays · Outfit

Happy Independence Day!

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For my US readers, Happy Independence Day! I whipped up some patriotic dessert (blueberry pound cake with strawberries, yum!) and introduced British Boyfriend (TM) to Pop-Its, something he’d never heard of nor used before (he also referred to America as “The Colonies” throughout the day, which was quite amusing).

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I always try to dress vintage on 4th of July, and this year, decided to go for a 1930s casual vibe, as I’m working on a pair of reproduction beach pajamas for a vintage beach party I’m having next weekend (gah, so excited!!!). All of the clothing in this ensemble is modern, including the new red wedges I got from Modcloth (which, sadly, are no longer on their website).

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I did a faux 1930s bob for my hair, which took a bit of time (it’s the same style I did for the 1930s murder mystery party I attended. Tutorial coming soon, I promise!), although the head scarf really helped with keeping it in place.

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Hope everyone else had a fabulous 4th!

1930s · Vintage

1936 Murder Mystery Dinner Party: The Watersdown Affair

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Readers, I attended my first murder mystery dinner party yesterday evening, and I have to say that I am hooked! The party was hosted by my friend, Kady (who has made many appearances on this blog and did a fabulous job with the party!) and centered around the murder of Sir Roger Watersdown, a wealthy Englishman. Of course, everybody had a motive (from Sir Roger’s personal secretary, to his physician), and there were so many plot twists that you really didn’t know who the true murderer was until the end (and, don’t worry, I won’t spoil it here!). There were 4 rounds, involving details that your character had to reveal or conceal, as well as fun bonuses like Sir Roger’s will.

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I played Miranda “Randy” Shetes, an American actress who is financed by Sir Roger, and I wore a fabulous black silk and lace 1930s evening dress. I’ll also be attending a Gatsby Soiree next month, and that event combined with this 1936 party meant that I could finally justify the expense of a 1920s/1930s dress.

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As for the hair, that took quite a while. I scoured YouTube for 1930s hair tutorials for long hair, but many just involved lightly curling long pieces of your hair, and I wanted something more period-correct, so I decided to create this fake bob ‘do. It took a while (about an hour), but I’m very proud of the results (so much hairspray!) that I plan on making a video tutorial soon (extra motivation with the Gatsby party next month!)

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Peter (aka British Boyfriend (TM)) also came with and played Rog Astrid, a recreational mountain climber and the illegitimate son of Sir Roger (and he does look quite dapper, if I do say so myself!).

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It was so neat to see the other guests get into character and reveal secrets about their past (one of the heiresses used to be an acrobat!). The game also involved a cassette portion (it’s from the 90s like me!) and so I got to bring along my reproduction Crosley stereo that plays tapes, CDs, and records!

All in all, it was a fabulous evening of intrigue, suspense, and cats! I can’t wait to attend the next one!

1930s · Blogging · Finished! · Vintage

The 1938 picnic!

Yesterday morning I headed down to Vancouver (the one in Washington, not Canada!) for a fabulous 1938 picnic hosted by Solanah of Vixen Vintage!

Readers, there truly is nothing better than spending the afternoon with fellow witty history nerds, discussing topics from estate sales to wearing girdles on planes while dressed to the nines in vintage and reproduction clothing. I met some super fabulous vintage gals at the picnic, including Julie of Fab Gabs, Janey of Atomic Readhead, and of course Solanah!

In true annaintechnicolor style, I finished my suspender skirt ensemble the morning of. The pattern was originally printed in 1946, and I had to grade it up a bit to fit me (you can check out my tutorial on how to do that here!).

The suspender skirt is made of a red linen-rayon blend, and despite prewashing it three times, it still bled (mostly onto my whie blouse, unfortunately). It even bled onto the edge of my sewing machine, which I discovered this afternoon when I used it for the first time again since Thursday evening when I was frantically hemming while watching Project Runway. 😉

The hat is an original from the 20s or 30s. It’s made of this gorgeous leather, and fits me like a glove! I got it from Realm of Regalia at the Civil War Reenactment last month. And the shoes are actually a modern pair that I bought in Berlin 3 summers ago. 😉

Unfortunately, I had to leave early to head over to the Pendleton Mill in Washougal for my annual wool fabric shopping trip. I restrained myself and only bought 4 yards of fabric and a cute sweater (they also sell clothes!). No photos of my haul, but I did snap a quick close-up of my hair while mom was looking at blankets. I have to say, that I’m quite proud that I achieved at least one vintage fingerwave!

Alright, that’s it for now. Hope everyone is having a lovely (and relaxing!) weekend so far.

1930s · In-Progress · Vintage

Forays into the 1930s

Happy Monday, readers! I thought I would share some inspiration and photos of my latest project – an outfit for a 1938 picnic!

I’m venturing into uncharted territory here when it comes to 1930s stuff, although this era (as well as the 1920s) have become a new obsession for me.I think it probably has something to do with Boardwalk Empire. I just finished the second season, and cannot wait for the 3rd starting next month! The costumes are just to die for:

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Anyways, back to the picnic! The Portland vintage community is organizing a 1938 picnic at Fort Vancouver this Friday, and I just happen to have a mutual friend of the fabulous Solanah of Vixen Vintage (seriously this lady is my idol), so I got invited! I’m just tickled pink by the opporotunity to wear vintage with like-minded and fabulous ladies, and getting to meet one of my favorite bloggers!

Luckily, I already have the hat, a brown leather one which I got at the Civil War reenactment last month:

Don’t worry, I won’t be wearing fur in August . . .

As for the dress, I spent lots of time last week searching online for a vintage 1930s dress to wear. Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything due to a) price, b) size and c) time it would take to ship. Ultimately, sewing my own outfit won out. Here’s my inspiration image:

My plan is to do a red linen suspender skirt with a white blouse, combined with my fabulous leather hat.

Luckily, I already have a suspender skirt pattern, and though it’s from the 1940s, the shape is close enough to the one above from the 30s (same with the modern blouse pattern being a similar shape). The skirt pattern is a bit too small (aren’t vintage patterns always!? lol), so I graded it up this afternoon. I’ll have a tutorial on how to do that up tomorrow. 😉