woensdag 5 oktober 2016

New to me: recent vintage finds and sewing projects

As promissed in the last post: here are some things I've bought or made recently. They are in a random order, with a bit of info about, cleaning/ making/ history.

1. Early 30's dress
The first picture shows an amazing dress I found on the Waterlooplein fleamarket about a month ago. It has such an amazing colorscheme I had to have it. It did need a little work because this is how I got it:

Ironing age old wrinkles out of rayon crepe can be a disaster because the pressure and heat required will often leave the texture flattened and shiny. A way to prevent this is to use a wet cloth (steaming it basically) but there is the problem of possible waterstaining and discoloration on both dress and ironingboard. Instead of these methods I opted for a nice bath for this dress...quite a challenge.

The dress had inner sleever to which the red cuffs were attached. Because the white fabric was brittle I removed it and washed the cuffs first to see if the gold lam√© stripes could stand a water.

They could. So I washed the rest of the dress

It was a color hemorraghe... everything turned purple. To make it dry as quickly and evenly as possible I used several towels to roll the dress in before hanging it outside., they too turned purple

As did my hands. It looked more like I was dyeing a dress than washing one.
Color bleeding does not mean the end of a dress though, you might get spooked when the water turns a bright shade, but the dammage to the actual color is quite minimal most of the time.

Crucial however is letting a dress dry evenly so dye cannot migrate to the points that dry slowest. Because this dress had so many flaps it looks like quite a contraption. To prevent the red from staining I put tissue paper in between.
One of the advantages of rayon crepe is that the size is variable, by ironing it when still a little wet you can adjust the size to your liking.

When the dress was dry I repaired a lot of split seams that seemed to result from threadrot. I did not replace the inner sleeves because the cuffs are tight enough to stay in place by themselves so they can be worn as mittens, making it easy to take them off when you so somehting that might soak them (the dishes etc.)

The colar flaps are still a bit of a mystery, not sure how they are meant to be worn, it looks right in several ways, so if anyone has an idea....

Whilst mending the dress I found a label that had been carefully stitched up. When I unpicked it I saw it was a National Recovery Act label. Through a very helpful Facebookgroup I found out this American label was only used between 1933 and 1935, an thereby
 dating the dress pretty narrowly.

I thought this dress was ca. 1931-1934 before I found the label so I think 33/34 is the most likely date.

This fashion plate from 1933 shows a similar style.

2. 1940's blue dress
When I bought this dress at my favorite stall at the Waterlooplein I also found another simple blue 1940's number.

Just a good all purpose dress with a flattering bustline.

3. Magenta 1940's dress
The Monday after I met up with a friend. She had found a dress a while ago that did not fit her. At first I thought it would be too small on me but then I saw that the sleeves had been taken in several inches at some point.

So happy it proved an easy fix because this dress! The color, the details, just yay! 

4. Floral dress
As we went shopping I found this floral rayon dress at Episode Berenstraat. It was not even in the 'old dress' rack but had mistakenly been hung between the 80's granny dresses (can understand the mistake though). It was only because my friend pointed out we might look for misplaced oldies I found it :)

5. Wool skirt
This is the dress worn as a blouse. I finisehd this skirt recently after it had been laying -nearly finished- between a stash of fabrics for over a year. A very
 good basic in such a pretty color. I found the wool crepe fabric on a fleamarket for a Euro, so a very cheap skirt as well.

6. Rediscoveries in shantung
Sometimes you forget what you have and rediscovering it can be like getting something new!

These two dresses hung in the wardrobe at my parent's that I can still use as storage for years. I knew they were there in the back of my mind, but I alsways thought they needed some work. When looking them up I found this was very minor.
Both dresses are made out of shantung silk, a fabric that looks a bit like raw silk but is much finer and ligther. It is mentioned a lot as a frabric option on old patterns but dresses of shantung are less common.
They are precious and so well made.

The embroidery!

The bustline. This dress has such a low (under part of your brah showing) cleavage, I wonder how it was worn.

7. Hat
A nice straw summerhat (may not be able to wear it until next year)

It is decorated with grossgrain that has been sewn together.

The label shows it was bought at fashion house Gerzon. I own several hats from different Dutch department/fashion stores. I don't really collect them but I always look for information about the history behind those hats.
This is a picture op the shopwindows of their Amsterdam store in 1934

And this is the splendid art deco front of the store in The Hague (ca. 1930)

A leaflet from around the same time gives an idea of prices, quite steep.

I'm guessing the hat is late '30's, at least before 1941 when the shop was sadly closed during the occupation because the owners were Jewish. It reopened in 1946 but one source says 'it's glory days were over'.

8. Suspenderbelt
As it is turning colder it is time to bring out my stockings and bid my bare legs farewell. While I've been lucky to find quite a lot or original rayon stockings this summer, stockings need suspenders (oh dear I'm venturing into the lingerie department here but it is a past of vintage everyday reality, so bear with me) . I unsually don't start thinking about those until I need them. Below is a 'from two make one' suspenderbelt I made from two items bought on sale years ago that are quite useless on their own.

Weird knickers from H&M bought for the pretty (and metal) suspenders.

Shapewear knickers (already altered here) bought out of curiosity, no good as knickers...

So I cut off the suspenders and attached them to the 'shapewear'. Perfectly useful suspenderbelt to keep my legs in rayon.

10. Evening dress
During my holiday I visited an antiques store where I found a dress tucked away in a closet full of uniforms. I saw a small piece of the skirt peeping out and had to take a look. It turned out to be a late 30's/early 40's creamwhite evening dress. The closet was moth invested so I feared the worst (some silk ties were half eaten) but it only had one small hole. But it was yucky all the same. I shook out the dress in a river after buying it  and stored it away from my suitcase in  a plastic bag. Put it in a minus 20 c freezer for almost two weeks immediately after returning home.

It was quite dirty so I gave it a good soak.
Next to some discoloration from dust there was foxing  in the skirt. Notoriously difficult to clean but luckily the stains lifted and are now so faint you really have to look for them and not noticeable when worn.

Now I have a cream white eveningdress. Cream white floorlength looks bridal very easily though I do not think it was a wedding dress due to the amount of skin it shows, weddingstyles of the era are usually demure with sleeves.
But it still is a bit of a dilemma. To dye or not to dye that is the question...

I do like it as it is, a good basic to dress up but less boring than a black dress.
But still, purple, emarald, red, could also be very interesting...

What do you think?

Oh and the last 'new to me' is that I got a haircut a few days ago as you might be able to tell from the last photo's (others are before). Nothing spectacular, just shorter, easier to curl and to retain curls in the ever damp autumn/winter season.

Hope to be back soon,

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