Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Huntington Library and Gardens

This Memorial Day weekend we invited Lauren and her husband to come up and go to the Huntington Library with us. I swear, this place is the best kept secret in Los Angeles - if you have any interest in art, history, or gardens, it's not to be missed. We were blessed with beautiful weather - only a slight bit of wind, but with a firm grip I managed to keep my hat on!

The site was originally the private home of Henry Huntington, a major businessman of the early 20th century, so there are buildings interspersed in between the gardens instead of one giant art complex. The Huntington's 1911 Beaux Arts mansion is now the main art gallery, and it's lovely wandering from building to building through the gardens. We were there for about 4 hours and probably only got through half of galleries and gardens - and we were hurrying!

There were loads of people who were interested in how we were dressed, and we were surprised at how many people knew we were wearing 30s/40s styles. Not a single flapper or 50's comment! (Although we did overhear one "Night at the Museum" reference in the art gallery, which I thought was pretty funny.)

Sitting on the bridge in the Shakespeare Garden

Lauren is working hard to avoid my hat! It kept banging into anyone who came near, but it was great for keeping the sun away!

Sitting in front of the Judy Garland roses.

Chris and me in the Rose Garden.

Walking from the Rose Garden to the Mansion/Art Gallery.

Sitting on the back railing of the mansion. 

The boys relaxing on the porch. Any minute now, a mummy is going to rise from the tomb behind them.

Photo Effects by Lo-Fi App

Monday, May 30, 2011

Make & Mend Month

I've signed up to participate in The New Vintage Lady's Make & Mend month. It runs from June 1 - July 11, and the goals are to make new projects using our existing stash, and mend garments that need some TLC. I've got a pile of mending that I never get to, and of course I've got supplies up the wazoo that need to be used. Excited to have a deadline for finishing the unfinished! You know you want to join, too. ;)

I'm heading out in a little bit to look at a dressform I saw on Craiglist. I've been sewing for 18 years, and never had one at home before. (I'm getting old...) She's a Uniquely You squishable form, so I'm hoping I can make her my size and shape, and be able to put my new corsets on her for fitting historical garments. I'm already thinking up names for the new addition to the family.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Regency Stays Part 1

I've been making progress on my Regency stays and Edwardian corset, very very slowly, but there it is. In case you hadn't noticed, I jump around a lot with projects and hobbies - I try to do a good job on all of it, but if I have 3 dance rehearsals in a week, the sewing slows down. And vice versa. Ahh well, it keeps me interested, and hopefully doesn't make you crazy with all the jumping around!

I'm working on the final version of my Regency stays now - I did a mockup, and didn't really make any changes to the pattern. I considered playing with different bust gusset sizes and shortening the length because I'm short-waisted, but in in the end I left the pattern alone. The only adjustment I made from the original pattern was cutting straight across the top of side piece, instead of dipping down at the armhole. It looked awkward, was already plenty low for comfort, and keeping it straight will make binding easier.

Mantua Maker pattern copyright 2010 (updated version with the wider back)

 Busk at CF, no bones or cording yet

The brown part is my lacing strips at CB, not part of the finished project. I don't love that it comes up at CB, but I didn't see that until right now, so I won't change it for these stays. The back panel is on the bias, so the pattern piece is cut straight but then stretches slightly, causing it to veer upward.

Here you can see the "lift" that the Regency period is known for. The stays do the upward pushing, and the chemise (or in my case, the tank top) holds in the top to prevent spillage.

I was a little surprised at how this fits - people keep saying that Regency corsets are just like a really good miracle bra and Spanx, but I also felt a huge difference in my posture - the wide straps force my shoulders back and chest out, which explains why the clothing of the period has such small backs. Or else I just have rotten posture.

When I fit this the other night, I was kind of unhappy with it - the buck wasn't staying put (maybe it's too wide?), I had trouble keeping the shoulder straps on, etc. And then I tossed on my most recent Regency dress and it looked TERRIBLE . *sigh* They just weren't fit to go together. But these pictures look pretty good, so here's hoping a little cording and boning help everything settle in better. Any suggestions or tips would be appreciated!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Roy Damron & Mitzi Mayfair

Do you remember Roy Damron from my post about the Rendezvous Ballroom? I came across a photo of him from The Milwaukee Journal, March 10, 1944. (Google News Archive is my new toy! :) 

Roy Damron with Mitzi Mayfair, one of the stars of Four Jills in a Jeep (1944)

I haven't seen Four Jills in a Jeep in several years (our copy is VHS, and we don't have a player anymore!), but I checked on YouTube and there's a clip of them dancing together! So far as I know, no one has attributed this clip to Roy previously -- it's not on his IMDB profile. Does anyone know how to add it?


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Long Beach Yearbooks

Last night I was renewing some library books online, and I noticed that the digital archives include local high school yearbooks. I love looking at yearbooks – they’re a great snapshot of a time and place. And yet, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

 If nothing else, they provide lots of hairstyle references! 
I think anyone can look at these without an account with the Long Beach library. They're in pdf format, so you will need Adobe to look at the files. Some of the scans aren't the best, oh well.

I haven't looked through all of them yet (there are 77!) but so far my favorites are Wilson High School from 1938-1940. There are some truly stunning photographs, a common theme is "Beautiful Girls", and for the ad section they sent students out to the businesses for photos and write ups. Very cute!

Thespian Club, Wilson High School, 1940

W Club Service Group, Wilson High School, 1940

Knott's Berry Place, 1940 - before it became Knott's Berry Farm, an amusement park with major roller coasters!

Christmas Swing dance, Wilson High School, 1938 - I think the boy in the bottom center is the bandleader?

White Graduation Gowns, Wilson High School, 1938

Go to Zukor's for your dress, then head to the Tee-Pee after the dance! Wilson High School, 1938

Backstage in the Auditorium, Wilson High School, 1939

Hip Hip Hooray! Wilson High School, 1939

Herb and his Ambassadors, Wilson High School, 1939

Wilson High School, 1939

Wilson High School, 1939

A corsage lasts longer if you take her to the ice rink for your date! Wilson High School, 1939

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

TCM Film Festival 2011

Last weekend was the annual Turner Classic Movies film festival in Hollywood, and on Friday night we attended a cocktail party/concert they held. TCM brought out Vince Giordano and His Nighthawks from New York to play the score for a Buster Keaton film and for the party, and they're top drawer! They play only 20's music, which is a little earlier than we usually listen to, but the band is so tight and well-rehearsed that it was a pleasure to listen to them. You know this band if you've seen The Aviator (2004) - they're the band playing "Happy Feet" in the Cocoanut Grove.

Without further adieu, here are the pictures!

I took my anniversary purse out for it's first outing! It's the perfect size - I can fit everything I need for a nice evening out, and because it's structured I don't have to worry about my phone getting crushed.  Not super-fancy and beaded, but I love it!

Chris looking dapper as always!

This dress is from a mid-40's Vogue pattern, and it's one of the trickiest ones I've made - the front princess panel wraps around to the back, and the back skirt is gathered to create a "bustle" effect. The back has a lot of visual interest, so I took the flower applique from a 50's dress that was falling apart and added it to the front.

Our group of snazzy dancers!

I can't figure out how to link to the video, but there's a super brief clip of the dancing on the TCM website - follow the link and click on Festival Update Day Two if you're interested. Doesn't the weekend look amazing? I think I need to attend some movies at next year's event!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...