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07/03/2019

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Irene

The last few maternity dresses that you made are so very pretty! You put so much time and work into it not to mention all the little details you add to it. After baby comes will you do alterations on your dresses to fit you? They are so pretty, a shame just to wear them for the short time during pregnancy.
Happy 4th!
Irene ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

Dee

Just 6 weeks to go! Already? Time does go by fast. Hoping and praying all goes well for you and baby!

I like the hair roll--looks good on you.

Those shoes look HUGE--be careful walking.

Happy Summer!

Dee

Carla

You look incredibly beautiful in every single picture, in every single dress. I'm far older than you. The decades you are creating in your clothes are those of my mother and grandmother. I was born in 1950 and remember quite a bit of that decade pretty well, though in general Mother never looked as glamorous as you as she went about her daily work.

As I've trolled through a number of your lovely posts, I have a couple of questions you may be able to answer. Your hair is gorgeous, and spot on. It looks perfect for these eras, but have you any idea what the poor straight-haired lasses did? I've yet to see images from the late 30s, the 40s, or the 50s where the women didn't have these soft curls like you achieve. My own hair is absolutely straight and the despair of my poor mother who constantly tried to make it curl โ€” in vain. So what did the straighties do?

Also, I'm curious about your makeup. I remember Mother using mascara from a box with a little brush that rode in its own compartment inside the box, but she never used much of it. Red lipstick was *necessary, though in the later 50s other colors began to be used as well. I wonder if your readers might appreciate a makeup tutorial? Or is it too basic for that?

And I love your shoes! Again, you've nailed it. Your shoes are perfect!

Thank you for a lovely blog. I'm really enjoying it.

Carla

Kristen Stoltzfus Clay

I'm glad you are enjoying the blog, Carla! I do often dress up a bit more for photos than I do for everyday, though I do wear these dresses for everyday. I also mix in some modern skirts and blouses for everyday wear, though usually I still look at least vintage inspired since I always style my hair.

I have seen some photos of women who didn't have their hair curled, back in the day. Usually they still used side combs to push it forward a bit around the face, or rolled or pinned it into some sort of volume in the front around the face, and then up in a roll or bun in the back. A chin length bob can also look vintage without needing any curling. My own hair takes a curl very well with just a little water, but there are lots of videos and tutorials for ways to help straight hair keep a curl, if you do a little online research. Sometimes a perm helps as well, as a base to hold the curl when you set it.

But the truth is that the glamorous photos we see of women with always perfectly styled hairdos were often only an occasional reality for real life women, who had their bad hair days and struggled with humidity or rain or windy days like anyone else. :-)

I actually don't wear any makeup at all normally - just for photo shoots or costume events, when I put on some lipstick. That's it. I don't have a makeup routine and am usually just bare face! :-)

Carla

Thanks for your reply, Kristen.

By the way, I also saw your lovely wedding dress. Just beautiful! A real work of art.

Thank you for sharing your adventures in dressing like the past.

Carla

Shari Davenport

Hello! I have been enjoying VERY ๐Ÿ˜ MUCH reading through your blog all day long today, and I just seem to have barely scratched the surface! It seems the more I read, the more I find there IS to read, and I LOVE ๐Ÿ˜ that!

I came across it via a Pinterest post of one of your absolutely lovely house dresses from the 1930's era (I think๐Ÿค”) which is an era I share your interest in, as well as the 1940's especially!

That's always been an era of supreme interest for me, from the standpoint of Home Front history, both here and in the UK, as well as certain portions dealing with the conflict itself. Mostly the 8th Air Force, and it's history in England, as well as the two US military Nurse Corps, as well as the British and Commonwealth Corps of nurses, which were absolutely vital to the survival of thousands of men. And then there was the almost total collapse of medical care here, during the War, due to the absence of all those nurses who left home to serve, and how we were so very patriotically creative in helping to solve that problem!

Oh, I'm sorry ๐Ÿ˜ฏ - I digress, and completely lost track of my purpose here! I get a little enthusiastic ๐Ÿคฃsometimes when talking about so many passions all at the same time! I MEANT to come and tell you how very much I enjoy looking at all your beautiful creations, and how very creative and inventive you are in creating all your lovely dresses, and also how much I love looking through all the views of your house dresses!

I have a secret passion for those kind of dresses, that were the un-uniform of every wife and mother for over 50 years! I say "un-uniform" because while they all fell into one specific category, they were all so creatively different, depending on each woman and her circumstances.

It depended on whether she was relegated to sitting in front of her treddle-powered sewing machine by light from a window, or from electric light in the evening, or by hand, from newspaper and magazine mail order patterns, for $0.10 or a quarter, or purchased patterns from the store or catalogs, sewing her own dresses from remnants and left overs, and from "Flour Sack" materials of the 30's and 40's. Or being able to purchase ready made dresses of a variety of fabric qualities, designs and patterns from store racks and the ubiquitous Sears catalogs of the first half of the 20th century.

I've devised a few Pinterest Boards covering those decades, those styles, and even one for Flour Sack fabrics and their creations, which I enjoy hunting down additions for as often as possible.

I used to sew, when I was much younger, back in high school, from 8th grade on to after I married at 19. I made my own bathing suits, being a very tall, long waisted young thing who simply did not fit into the ready-made suits that apparently failed to take into account that not every 13 or 14 year old was 5'4" tall! At 5'8", nothing fit me, except for a very few, very matronly looking things I knew then I would NEVER be caught dead in!

So, along with my school clothes, my mother started teaching me how to make my own. They were very cute, looked nothing like what all those other girls were wearing "off the rack" and gave me plenty of options.

I also helped with making school clothes, and by the time I got to be a Senior, made my own Prom formal. I had intended to make my wedding dress the following year, but my mother's sewing machine required some expensive repairs at that point, and I just happened to stumble across what became my wedding dress, hanging in a very "chi-chi" shop window for half price! They had two left, one of which fit me perfectly, and I snapped it up!

In 1976, and the years prior and after for some time, Jessica McLintock's "Gunne Sax" line of very pretty and relatively inexpensive long "Hippie chic" dresses for casual wear were all the rage! Long, peasant-y cotton florals, laces, beautiful short and long sleeves, with loose, free swinging skirts, were the style to have for lots of teens, and at 19, I still qualified. We wore them to school with sandals, to the beach, to picnics, and just "around" for whatever! She branched out into slightly more formal designs for proms and even weddings, and made fortunes doing it. Mine was sort of a prom-wedding crossover, as it was part of the prom collection, but was also solid white, from top to hem line.

Anyway, that was mine. And about that time, I stopped sewing, as when we moved 1,000 miles away, after my husband got out of the Air Force and took me back to his home in the midwest, I no longer had access to my mother's sewing machine.

I love your dresses, and reading about their creation, with so many inventive and creative alterations and solutions to little problems that actually make them so much more your own. Not the fantasies and costume dramas, but the actual 30's and 40's stories made then about people living in that time. Hairdressers kept them neat and tidy of course during production, but they also were very much the styles of that day.

I just grind my teeth when I see movies made IN other eras - like the 60's - about things that happened IN OTHER TIMES, but fail to take the first step towards creating the actual look of that time. So, you end up with people supposedly living in the 40's, but wearing hairstyles, clothes, and makeup straight off the 60's street! They look ridiculous, and it's so distracting that the whole thing loses credibility from the opening scene.

Your hair is lovely, and your hairstyles are spot on, with what I have been able to find in so many vintage hairstyle guides, and even more so, to the movies that were made in and of the eras in question. (Remember too, that our shampoos and conditioners and such are so much more effective and gentle on hair than the soaps used in the 30's and 40's!)

As for the straight haired women and girls, whose hair "wouldn't hold a curl at gunpoint," (one of my grandmother's favorite sayings! She made her beautician rich on permanent waves!) it seems that the permanent of the day, especially the "electric" kind of the 30's, and until the cold-wave process became available and popular later on, was the savior of those hairstyles for many. Rag-curls were also popular, especially for many young girl's hair, when you couldn't put them up on hard rollers to sleep in, was one type of curling that seemed to be very popular. Plus, as you said, hair holding devices, like hair pins, Bobby pins (not the same things), barettes, combs, etc., also helped create styles, along with those things they called "rats" (which weren't rodents) but generally sausage-shaped soft fillers, full of hair, or other fluffy substances, were placed inside certain parts of a hairstyle to give it more fullness, or made it look like there was more hair there than there really was. They were commonly used to fill out pompadours, buns, or those Victory Rolls, when the woman wearing them didn't have enough of her own hair to create a nice, full result. There was also a doughnut shaped device, made of different materials, that was used to wrap your hair around to create a very even bun, like what they call a "sock bun" today. There were LOTS of "cheaters" around, made by very creative and inventive women with a problem that needed solving! It's like the very old saying, "Necessity is the mother of invention!"

If you've made it this far, I thank you for wading through all this! I think from the photos I have seen here so far, that you are an incredibly talented and creative seamstress, and your dresses are absolutely lovely! Your shoes are perfect as well, as are all your accessories, especially your jewelry! I love good costume jewelry, especially era-correct pieces. And as for not wearing makeup, you seem to have the advantage on those of us who do on a daily basis - your skin is gorgeous! (I used to when working, but since becoming disabled and fairly homebound several years ago, there just doesn't seem to be much point anymore.)

And I bet your wallet is that much fuller for leaving it out! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I hope you are familiar with a website and blog belonging to a woman who goes by "Vintage Dancer" - she has one that is just crammed with nothing but vintage clothing, accessories, histories of them and how and where to shop for them, plus hairstyles, makeup tutorials, etc., and so forth. I think she's also located out West as well. I'd be very surprised if you weren't! If not, just Google her - she'll pop right up!

Best wishes to you and your family - both here, and on the way! I hope everything goes swiftly and well, and all are here and happy soon! Your maternity creations are so lovely, and I agree with another poster who said something about them being so much more attractive than contemporary "fashions!"

BTW - I just had to share - My daughter and son-in-law just celebrated the 1st birthday of their #7, and the 16th birthday of #1 son, the same month! When she was expecting the last one, her husband came up with his prenatal "nickname" - "Mr. E." Their last name starts with "E", but more to the point, if you say "Mr. E." very quickly, you get the joke! They didn't ever find out the gender of their babies, until the baby actually arrived. This always made the answer to the joke!๐Ÿ˜‰

Shari Davenport

So sorry - There's a very confusing portion above that I missed when reading through my post before sending it, and I wanted to clear that up.

Where it says - "I love your dresses, and reading about their creation, with so many inventive and creative alterations and solutions to little problems that actually make them so much more your own.

***Not the fantasies and costume dramas, but the actual 30's and 40's stories made then about people living in that time. Hairdressers kept them neat and tidy of course during production, but they also were very much the styles of that day."

Where I just put the *** is a part that should have gone elsewhere, specifically with the ***<--*** below -

"Your hair is lovely, and your hairstyles are spot on, with what I have been able to find in so many vintage hairstyle guides, and even more so, to the movies that were made in and of the eras in question.*** <-- ***(Remember too, that our shampoos and conditioners and such are so much more effective and gentle on hair than the soaps used in the 30's and 40's!)" ***THEN it should have been with that lost section that makes no sense where it is now!

Gosh, I hope that makes sense, and doesn't make it worse! Ok, back to reading more and looking at all your lovely photos of your creations! I promise to try and not be so garulous in future!๐Ÿค

Dee

To Carla--it sounds like your mother used cake mascara! There are a few companies that still make that. Have you heard of Besame? They re-create vintage make-up including red lipstick and cake mascara that can also be used as an eyeliner or for brows too.

''Also, I'm curious about your makeup. I remember Mother using mascara from a box with a little brush that rode in its own compartment inside the box, but she never used much of it. Red lipstick was *necessary, though in the later 50s other colors began to be used as well. I wonder if your readers might appreciate a makeup tutorial? Or is it too basic for that?''

Dee

To Carla--it sounds like your mother used cake mascara! There are a few companies that still make that. Have you heard of Besame? They re-create vintage make-up including red lipstick and cake mascara that can also be used as an eyeliner or for brows too.

''Also, I'm curious about your makeup. I remember Mother using mascara from a box with a little brush that rode in its own compartment inside the box, but she never used much of it. Red lipstick was *necessary, though in the later 50s other colors began to be used as well. I wonder if your readers might appreciate a makeup tutorial? Or is it too basic for that?''

ann

Was talking with my grandmother many years ago and she said she had a tie dress pattern that she always used for maternity. It had under "wings" that wrapped from back to front so it grew with her and she could wear it all 9 months. Every other pattern was too "month specific" and cost too much in time and fabric to keep making so many dresses.

Carla

Yes, Mother used cake mascara. I used to watch her put it on and also her lipstick, which in the 50s tended to be pinks and oranges, but some reds, too. Red was really her color, with her dark hair and olive complexion.

Yes, it's fun thinking back to how it was. Just Wednesday night at church one of the other ladies brought up how our mothers and grandmothers looked so elegant all the time. Kristen is showing us how it can be done again with a little care and attention.

Thanks, Dee.

~ Carla ~

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