Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Slippery Slopes, Dark Shadows, and a Slice of Cake on the Side

I imagine that you might be wondering where in the world I have gone lately since my blog posts have been less frequent. I have been a very busy gal! I have taken on an academic writing project focused on positive eugenics and assisted reproduction technology (slippery stuff, indeed). This project will be published through Wright State University and will take me about a year or so to research and write. I am very excited about it - this is my first published academic work! While my time devoted to historical costuming will be less, I'll still be here sewing and blogging, and involved as ever in the couturier community!

Which brings me to the state of my 1947 McCall's suit - it is unfinished, but progressing slowly. When I was doing up laundry on Sunday, I spied it across the other side of the basement in the shadows taunting me and begging me to finish it. I nearly caved to its call, but reluctantly resisted. I figured it was more important to start the week off with clean skivvies, a clean house, and a refrigerator full of food. The suit is nearly finished - all the construction work is completed and the finishing work needs done (button holes, button placement, hemming). I offer pictures as proof - :)

~The finished jacket body~

~The bulk of the work is done~
~Pleating at the shoulder needs to be stitched down~

~Lining detail~

And, as some of you might know, tomorrow is my B-day! This past weekend I celebrated it 'sister style' with my girlfriends, Tonia and PJ. We hit the Dublin Pub for lunch and beers, ran amuck in the vintage and thrift shops, scoured the fabric stores, etc., etc. - all the leisurely browsing and shopping we love to do without the sulking presence of men and children - lol! 

At Feathers Vintage Clothing in the Oregon Historical District we discovered these corsets from the 1950s (new and in their boxes), which looked more like some odd variation of a straight jacket than an undergarment. PJ and I fussed around with several of them for quite some time trying to figure out how they worked and in which direction they fit. There were no pictures on the boxes to give us a clue and no instruction leaflets. Included where 2-1" wide, removable metal bones that were 'S' curved like the shape of someone's back - could these be orthopedic corsets, meant to correct or support the posture? (Note: the two boning channels are where PJ's lower hand is in the first picture; this seems to be the back of the corset, however, the odd placement of what appears to be the only boob gusset and the only hip gusset confuse me - what do you think?)

And while there, Tonia discovered Johnny Depp's Dark Shadows portrait:


At BRIM, PJ bought herself a beautiful black wool felt cloche and Tonia bought herself a jazzy little plum wool cap, and I didn't get a picture of either ("Curses!"). But of course, I have a picture of me modeling a red boater that I didn't purchase - lol.

The day wasn't without its lessons. We learned a lot about the owner of this Buick Rendezvous, including the intriguing fact that she thinks "Dayton's alright', and that her SUV has depreciated about 5% per bumper sticker - :)

And that this SUV owner might want to talk to somebody...(lol!)


And the fun continued! The girls treated me to goodies from Teavana, yogurt covered raisins and pretzels, a sinful assortment of chocolate truffles, and a raspberry-chocolate birthday cake for one. What a wonderful day with wonderful friends! What girl could wish for more?

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me...

Blessings and happy sewing!


  1. Aha! Those are from the 1950s, but they're girdles, not corsets. Are they Camp girdles, by the way? Camp is known for the fan-style lacing, which uses buckles and straps to allow the wearer to tighten the lacing easily and without contortion. The difference between girdle and corset is that a girdle has nothing to do with bust support; the girdle controls the tummy and hips. These girdles were worn were separate bras, probably long-line. The tape loops along the edge are for hooks from the bra to fasten to. The elastic gussets are for flexibility, so the wearer can sit, not for support. The big piece of elastic at the back is an improvement over earlier girdles, because it keeps the girdle from riding down in back and staying down when the wearer stands up.

    1. This is excellent to know! You should have seen us trying to make heads or tails of these - lol! I have never seen anything like them. Thank you - you have solved our undergarment mystery! :)

    2. Haha, I'm glad I can help! And don't feel bad about it - Camp girdles are misinterpreted and displayed crazily all the time on ebay. Including upside down and backward at the same time! It's the lacing that confuses most people.