Saturday, August 28, 2010

Some laundry experiments

As my arms are slowly healing and I have had a self imposed sabbatical from blogging and sewing, I have spent some time experimenting with laundry techniques.

I managed to get hold of 2 beautiful dresses from the 1940's, both black. One made from silk crêpe and the other from wool crêpe. Both dresses smelled rather bad. The wool crêpe dress smelled of old sweat and musty awfulness, the silk dress had bad underarm odour. I am lucky enough to own a book from the 1930's which amongst other useful things also has a chapter on laundry and dry cleaning, and I decided to see if the tips listed in the book would work.

The book lists vinegar as the best solution on removing armpit stains. This did work on the salts which formed the stain, but the smell did not go away. In fact, the vinegar added a certain something to the existing smell which did nothing to improve it.

I then heard that rubbing alcohol might work, and decided to give it a try. So far I found that the alcohol kills just about any odour, be it sweat or the musty smell that sometimes clings to vintage garments. I have so far only tested alcohol on cotton, silk and wool, but it seems to work beautifully, and so far it looks as if the garments takes well to the treatment.

What I do is I use a spray can with alcohol to dampen the garments (or rather, I have my better half doing this part due to the wrists). Once the garment is dry it needs to be washed (I always hand was any garments pre dating 1950).

I also found that even though vintage wool crêpe shrinks, it can be returned to it's original size with some patience and an iron. Use a dry pressing cloth between the garment and the iron, and gently pull the garment into shape.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Still alive

Hello readers (assuming that some of you still pop in to check the blog). I am sorry about the long silence, this was due to tendinitis of both under arms and wrists. I have still not mended properly, but am now able to manage a little typing. I will most likely not update the blog on a regular basis again until I am healed, but at least now you know I'm still amongst the living.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Pleasures and Disappointments

I do love ebay, I have gotten hold of many a treasure there, and some of my most fabulously glamorous pieces, such as the fox stole was aquired through ebay, but lately I have had some disappointments too.

I decided to treat myself to some new dresses, and not just any dresses, but knitted dresses from the Per Una range of Marks and Spencer's. I got one which was perfect, one which was nice, but just didn't suit me (I'll give that one to my cousin) and one which was a total disappointment. I am usually good at estimating what a garment looks like in real life from pictures, and also how they are constructed, but in this case I just don't know what happened.

The dress in question is the one in the below picture:

The dress looks very different in person, and I suspect it must have been pulled down on the dummy quite a bit to make it appear longer. I am not very tall, 1.63 meters, but this ends mid thigh on me. It does appear to be longer, doesn't it?

It's also supposed to be a UK size 12. I think in US sizes that would be a size 10. But the dress looks more like a UK 8 to me. I can still wear it, but it is skin tight, and - ahem - rather revealing...

Not sure what to do with it yet, perhaps wear it when watching Marilyn Monroe films, to get in the proper diva mood, or maybe give it to charity.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Decadent Pleasures

New Fox Boa
Originally uploaded by Vintage Granny

I have been ebaying quite a bit lately, and one of my latest acquisitions is a wonderful 1940's (?) fox boa. It's a whole fox, with tail, head, feet and body, and it's in a gorgeous deep brown/burgundy colour. It was love at first sight, and today I decided to dress up in a 1930's style outfit, and wear the fox in public.

I was a little apprehensive at first, seeing as this is very definitively a dead animal, and although it's vintage, I was a little worried that some of the local animals rights people might pour ketchup on me, but it went rather well. I did attract a few stares, but no ketchup bottles in sight, and I must admit to feeling very glamorous :o)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

From Granny's Kitchen

I went by the local charity shop today, not really looking for anything particular, but a treasure hunt after work can be nice, and I decided to drop in on my way home. Nothing much to catch the eye or imagination in the clothes department, but I stopped by the kitchen/home department, and felt like I had stepped into granny's old kitchen.

They had one of those old manual mix masters. I don't know if this is a Nordic or Norwegian thing, but I cannot remember ever seeing one when I lived in Ireland. I didn't buy it, seeing as I don't really have a use for it, except for sentimental reasons, but I found a picture of it online, and I'm posting it as I thought you might want to see what it looks like.

The one I saw was larger, and could be attached to a table for ease of use.

There were other interesting things as well, and I got an old cake mould which could be converted from the ordinary circular cake shape to a more Victorian pudding shape. I also got an item which I found intriguing, if confusing. It's a tube with several different end plates. The lady at the store said her granny had one like it when she was growing up, and it's apparently used to make cookies with interesting shapes. I will post pictures when the equipment is cleaned and polished :o)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Custom Fur Collar

I had an old friend from University visiting in early autumn last year. We had a great time visiting the Auto-mobile Museum and going to cafés, and I also managed to whip together this collar for her during the weekend, using her old fake fur jacket for material :o)

After making this collar I got fascinated with the vintage fur collars, and started keeping an eye out for them when visiting second hand stores, and I was actually very lucky. I found two very pretty ones I decided to keep for myself, and one I gave to my aunt for Christmas.

I will try to take some nice pictures of my collars later on, but this post is dedicated to Elin and her custom fur collar :o)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Black Wrap Around Apron

I thought I'd share this fairly new apron with my dear readers :o)

Once I had finished the pretty blue apron I realized it was best suited for baking and the kind of cooking that doesn't leave stains, and truth be told, getting in and out of the thing was rather complicated. With this in mind I got some of the black cotton I always keep in my stash for corsetry (even though I haven't made a corset in ages I still keep a good stash of sturdy black cotton - force of habit, I guess), and started draping the pattern. It was quite easy to make, easy to put on, and not least very comfortable. As you can see the sides extends to the back, crosses the back and attaches to the opposite shoulder. You just pull it over your head, no closures or buttons :o)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wedding Dress

I an earlier post I told you that I had been commissioned to make a wedding dress for my sister in law, who was planning a 1930's/1940's wedding. As the wedding and the grand unveiling of the dress took place well before Christmas, I am now posting a few pictures of the bride and groom :o) I just think they both look exceedingly well in these pictures, and the pictures also showcase the dress to it's best advantage.