Love Letters

At the beginning of February, one of the vintage sellers I follow posted a garment badly in need of a rescue. Now, I’m not usually one to want to alter vintage clothing – if it survived this long, I shouldn’t be the person to change it! But I do make an exception for things that just aren’t wearable in their current state.

"Love Letters" vintage dress

The seller in question was One Sweet Thread and the piece was a sweet 50s housecoat that had seen better days. One sleeve had lost its elastic, the magenta piping was badly frayed, and several buttons were missing. The fabric had definitely been through a lot, but it seemed like there was still some life in it, so I carefully took it apart on the seams, gave it a good soak and a press, and started digging through my patterns.

Here Be Dragons

Right before I broke my foot, I had started daydreaming of knitting a vintage fingering weight colorwork sweater. Not the quickest of projects, to be sure, but it seemed like it would be a great way to get through the long winter evenings. And then I broke my foot and suddenly I was faced with a lot of sitting time and knitting a sweater went from good idea to great idea. I paged around Etsy and Ravelry for a while before settling on Montrose, and after a bit of searching found the pattern in this booklet on Etsy.

Colorwork dragon knit sweater

I wasn’t entirely sold on the irises across the yoke of the sweater, though. I couldn’t come up with a color combination that I loved and that would do them justice, and I couldn’t help feel like the flowers were hard to recognize in a limited color palette. So I started looking around the internet for other charts that were the same height. I was expecting to find some other sort of flower, perhaps a snowflake, or something nautical. Instead, I ended up with dragons.

Colorwork dragon knit sweater

Cardinal Colored

I have more California pictures to share, and indeed many more summer and fall pictures to share, but it was 3°F this morning and I found myself rather resenting the ice-free photos. And honestly, I didn’t have a lot to say about them. “In this picture here, it is a reasonable temperature. I was warm. It was nice.” So instead, I figured I ought to share a few more timely posts of what I’m wearing now.

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As it turns out, when the mercury drops I take most of my dressing cues from the birds — Cardinals do the brightest and cheeriest job at dressing for the winter, and I do my best to copy them.

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California Trip – Part 1

It’s well and truly November, cold and dark and leafless outside, so it seemed like now was as good a time as any to catch up with some pictures of our visit to sunny California back in (yikes) May. Doug and I made the trip for our honeymoon, and got a chance to do lots of sight-seeing as well as catch up with some relatives who hadn’t been able to make it out for our wedding.

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We went hiking at Point Reyes National Seashore on the Tomales Point Trail the day after we got in, and although I don’t have any good pictures of Doug and I in our hiking gear, I did at least snap a couple pictures of the stunning scenery.

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Where I′ve Been

It has been awfully quiet around here. I know.

There are lots of reasons for this. The weather is too hot, the weather is too rainy, I’m tired, I don’t know what to write (probably a topic for a post itself, heh)… but most recently, the reason I haven’t been blogging, or in fact doing much of anything aside from sitting on the couch working on my latest sweater is that I broke my foot.

I didn’t even break it in a particularly dramatic or exciting way, either. One moment I was sitting on my bed, working on something on the computer, and the next I was sprawled on the floor in the hallway regretting several of my recent decisions.

On The Dot

This large blue felt hat is the second hat I brought back from my Busia’s collection when I visited California this spring. (See the other hat here)

Navy is one of those colors I keep accidentally acquiring and then I don’t have the first idea what to wear it with, so fortunately I already had the navy dress and had recently acquired the navy shoes to go with it as well. The Re-Mix “Flora” wedges remind me a bit of cactus, which seems like a fitting nod to my grandparents’ Southern California home.

Put a Peplum on It

I don’t like altering vintage. I tend to figure, if a thing made it 70 years to get to me, why should I change it if it doesn’t fit my body? Surely there’s someone else out there who it will fit.

Vintage red and black wheat novelty print peplum top with a red 1940s skirt and vintage feathered tilt hatHowever, some pieces are beyond the “someone else can wear it” point. Some are terribly damaged, stained, torn, or otherwise unwearable. This dress was in good and sturdy shape but one skirt piece was cut off the grain, rendering it comically lopsided. After weighing my options (and wearing it as a top) I decided that the best way to save this dress was by removing the skirt entirely, recutting it as a peplum, and reattaching it to the top half of the dress.

The final creation is still a bit short in the torso but so much more wearable than the original lopsided dress. For its first outing, I paired it with the original red belt and a red skirt to match, but I suspect I’ll be able to combine it with other pieces as well.

Hidden Treasure

More pictures from earlier in the summer, and as I’m reviewing them, I suddenly want to reprise this combination for a late-summer look now that it’s almost cool enough to consider wearing suits again.

I was very taken with Trashy Diva’s Pirate Treasure print this spring, and I bought my first full-price items from their shop (thank you, full-time employment) to ensure I’d get a chance at the print.

Trashy Diva Pirate's Treasure novelty print blouse under a vintage suit

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I actually ended up with this print in two different styles, and I was really tickled to discover that not only was the print a perfect match to one of my favorite 1940s suit, the indescribable light peachy red shade is a perfect match to this 1940s hat I got from Solanah in the winter.

Summer Sheer

Sheer seersucker dress red white novelty print front

When we were in California for our honeymoon, we spent a couple nights with my extended family. The conversation turned, as it often does, to family memories, and my aunt suggested that I might have a look at a few hats she had stashed away that were her mother’s — my Busia’s. (A note — Busia is what I grew up calling my grandmother, it’s some sort of corrupted Americanization of the Polish word for grandmother) She wanted to hold on to the very best of the hats (as well she should!), a enormous cream New York Creation with black velvet ribbon trim. Somewhere there is a picture of my Busia wearing the hat, and she plans to put together a little display of the pair. I went home with two hats and the brooch that matches the reverse-carved lucite earrings that I’ve had since Busia passed away.

Detail of straw hat and reverse carved lucite brooch

This is one of the two hats I took home, a simple open-crowned straw number in black, absolutely perfect for miserable summer days and other such occasions. I will now think fondly of my Busia every time I wear it! I’ll show you the other hat soon, Busia clearly had a thing for large hats and high drama in fashion… I come by it honestly!