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Flower Hmong Blouse Decoration Close Up

Flower Hmong Yoke Close Up 5

I think all of us sewing bloggers can agree that we’re voyeurs at heart, that pretty pictures of finished garments are great, but what we really want to see is the insides so we can mentally sew the garment for ourselves. Right? I know that’s not just me because after I posted about Flower Hmong Fashion, I got questions about how the decoration on the blouses is constructed. So, for my fellow voyeurs, I’ve got a close-up look at 3 different Flower Hmong pieces to share. First is the yoke cut off of a worn blouse. This is the oldest and most handmade piece I have. You can see on the inside how much stitching goes into this decoration! Also notice a few different fabrics that have bits and pieces remaining – as I mentioned before, the blouses are often put together with several different fabrics in what we might …

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Current Flower Hmong Fashion in North Vietnam

Flower Hmong woman Bac Ha

The Flower Hmong are one of the most colorfully dressed ethnic minorities in Vietnam, making me ever so infatuated with their sartorial sensibilities. The Hmong are one of 54 ethnic minorities in Vietnam, making up 1% of the population, and further subdivide themselves into groups whose names often describe the traditional clothing of the group – such as Black Hmong, Blue Hmong, and Flower Hmong. One of the interesting and universal things about fashion is that it is alive and dynamic. Many Flower Hmong women continue to wear their traditional clothing, but the dynamic nature of fashion is clearly visible at the Bắc Hà weekly market in North Vietnam. Many Flower Hmong women carry embroidered purses. While embroidery is an important form of textile ornamentation for the Hmong, these purses break from tradition in that they are machine made in China. As tourism becomes a more important industry in formerly rural areas …

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Vietnamese Dress

Hmong Hoa Vietnamese Dress 2008

Vietnam has 54 ethnic groups and a correspondingly rich assortment of traditional dress. I wanted to share a small selection of different traditional women’s dress from across Vietnam for I have found the amazing assortment of color, shape, and construction to be a true inspiration. I hope you find them inspiring as well! Cotton is historically the most popular fabric with silk being used on applique and for festive costumes although synthetic fibers and chemical dyes are becoming prevalent, even in traditional dress. There are a wide variety of techniques used across the ethnic groups that include embroidery, appliqué, batik, ikat, and woven patterns. The Yao (also known as Dao or Zao or Mien) are originally from southern and southwestern China. This Yao Do outfit is from Cao Bang and made in 1957. It’s hand-woven cotton dyed with indigo and decorated with embroidery and appliqué. It includes two turbans, a …

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Hmong Hemp and Indigo Textile Art

hmong blanket

The Hmong are an ethnic group from China, Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos. Before our travels to SE Asia, the Hmong were one of the few SE Asian ethnic groups with which I was already familiar as there are many Hmong refugees in the United States (and other western countries like France and Germany). The Hmong were recruited by the American government to fight during the Vietnam War and have faced much persecution in several SE Asian countries since. (You may have heard of the Hmong from a 1998 book called The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down which recounted the story of a young Hmong girl with epilepsy in California and the cultural gap between her family and her doctors, both of whom were doing their best to help the girl, often to counter purposes.) Traditionally, every Hmong household would produce its own textiles with girls learning to embroider, appliqué, indigo dye, and batik …

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The Turban in Western Fashion

1959 turbans

If you ask a generic American “Who wears turbans?” you are most likely to get a response that describes someone unlike the respondee. Maybe the respondee would include a person like herself on the list, but only if she had cancer or faced hair loss. In fact, turbans are currently worn all over the world by people of many different religions. Moreover, turbans have also been a staple garment throughout the history of western fashion, even up to very recent history. A turban is a length of fabric, twisted around the head. Different fabrics, colors, and styles of wrapping are associated with different cultures, communities, eras, and classes. But at its core, the simplicity of the turban helps to explain why it is so readily found all around the world all through history. Some of the early examples of turbans being present in western fashion are those worn during the …

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Spring Retro Cotton Pajama Set

cotton 1960s pajama set front simplicity 4179

With these pajamas I hereby declare it is Spring! I’m putting away my oversized flannel pajamas (even if I do have a couple cute pairs) and wearing this adorable vintage style pajama set. While I am certainly usually guilty of wearing worn out oversize tee shirts and dumpy sweatpants to bed, I like have pajamas that make me feel pretty and composed when I wear them, perfect for wearing when traveling or with company visiting. Or just to celebrate that Spring is here! I used vintage Simplicity 4179 to sew these pajamas. The pattern was one size large for me so I went ahead and cut it as it, figuring that it didn’t matter if it was a bit big since it’s just pajamas. Also, my broad shoulders don’t usually fit well in vintage patterns. Well, there was some funky fitting that resulted. Somehow it’s like the front fits well …

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Pink Hand Knit Sweater in the Circle of Life

pink knit short sleeve sweater vintage

Sometimes the circle of life can be sad and scary. My dad’s parents have had declining faculties and abilities for a while now, and were recently moved into a care facility. My dad and his sisters have had to clean out my grandparents’ home. However, there are silver linings to all things. I have been to visit my grandparents in their facility and was happy to find them safe and cared for with a friendly, attentive staff. Another silver lining is that some junk from my grandparents’ home has turned into treasures by being passed to family members. I treasure this pink sweater. This sweater was hand knit and has a tag that reads “Fashioned by Belva Runyan.” Belva Runyan was my grandmother’s mother. I don’t know when she knit the sweater, but it was pre-1980 as she was no longer able to knit in the last years of her …

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Bow Neck Blouse Sewalong Roundup

Print

Thanks for reading (and sewing!) along with me over the last month as I daily professed my love for Bow Neck Blouses. Here I’ve rounded up the bow neck blouses and dresses made as part of the sewalong! Click on any of the photos to be taken to their full post. For those of you that weren’t able to sew along this time, the Flickr group will stay up, so feel free to add to it in the future. And stay tuned, because I had such a blast with this I’ll probably do another one in the future! I kicked off the sew along with my little birdie bow neck blouse in a cotton print using the blouse pattern from Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing. Ilse stitched this gorgeous and understated bow neck blouse from Collete Patterns Violet. Marianne mashed up Colette Jasmine and Sorbetto patterns to make her …

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Modern Bow Neck Blouse Inspiration

modern-BNB-featured-image

Bow Neck Blouses span the ages. I’ve shared inspirational images of bow neck blouses and dresses from the 1920’s, 1930’s, 1940’s, 1950’s, 1960’s, and 1970’s. To bring it to the present day, thanks to Maddie of Madalynne for putting together these great modern sources of Bow Neck Blouse inspiration!

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1970’s Bow Neck Blouses

1970s-BNBs

Still looking for some bow neck blouse inspiration? (You better get sewing! The month is running out!) Not sure you want to do the 1930′s, 1940′s, 1950′s, or 1960’s? How about a funky bow from the seventies! I’ve put together an assortment of 1970′s bow neck blouse and dress inspiration, for your viewing pleasure. The best part? All of the pictures link to patterns for sale on Etsy! This early 70’s blouse from German magazine Brigitte has a great pussy bow and 3 buttons up the large cuff. This 70’s dress actually looks quite modern, although the tunic and matching trouser set aren’t going to fool anyone. I dig the Farrah Fawcett hair and the keyhole neckline under that modest bow. This dress is hot. An exaggerated version of the previous dress, it’s a Vogue Paris Original from Pierre Balmain. I love how low the neckline scoops, looking sexy without showing off too much skin …

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1960’s Bow Neck Blouses

pink silk bow neck simplicity 2154

Still looking for some bow neck blouse inspiration? Not sure you want to do the 1930’s, 1940’s, or 1950’s? How about the swingin’ sixties! I’ve put together an assortment of 1960’s bow neck blouse and dress inspiration, for your viewing pleasure. The best part? All of the pictures link to patterns for sale on Etsy! Start off with these giant bows from the early 60’s, bringing some interest to an otherwise generic dress from the period. I know I’m supposed to be talking about bows, but check out those gorgeous frogs! I hadn’t thought about how frogs and bows could be exchanged… Of course that cute, square bow is a great geometry to set off the slit at the neck and flared dress. It’s not often you see a pattern envelope feature all white garments, but it sure does make these great blouses stand out! Three bow neck options, all …

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1950’s Bow Neck Blouses

1950s striped dress with bow neck

We continue our search for bow necked inspiration as we peek through the decades for the Bow Neck Blouse Sewalong with a selection of fashions from the 1950′s. All of the images are from Everyday Fashions of the Fifties as pictured in Sears Catalogs.I had to include this fun Kerrybrooke dress from 1950 because of the great combination of gingham and eyelet. Love it! This fun striped dress has a grosgrain trim and bow. It’s a nylon sheer with woven stripes of cotton. I love the way the stripes pleat into the center bust and how the buttons on the pointed cuffs echo the buttons on the front placket. Even better, the “miracle fabric” was laboratory tested. These great “princess look” dresses are “especially flattering to pretty young figures, especially wonderful in bright red.” Made in juniors sizes, the subtle neck bows add a subtle detail. The left dress is from a crisp rayon …

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1940’s Bow Neck Blouses

gibson girl blouses with bows 1948

We continue our search for bow necked inspiration as we peek through the decades for the Bow Neck Blouse Sewalong with a selection of drawings of fashions from the 1940′s. Thanks to Rochelle of Lucky Lucille for the above collage taken from early 1940’s Sears catalogs. All of the proceeding images are from Everyday Fashions of the Forties as pictured in Sears Catalogs. These Charmode dresses for a gracious lady are from 1941/1942. They are “specially designed…painstakingly styled…carefully proportioned for the poised matron.” While “gracious lady” still seems to be a classy way to say older woman, “matron” sure isn’t a description that one wants to hear these days. Interestingly, other than the old-fashioned lace collars, the dresses aren’t aesthetically that different from many of the other offerings from the same time period. The only real difference seems to be in the age of the model’s face! This lovely dress …

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1930’s Bow Neck Blouses

1930s bow neck blouses

We continue our search for bow necked inspiration as we peek through the decades for the Bow Neck Blouse Sewalong with a selection of drawings of fashions from the 1930′s. All of the images are from Everyday Fashions of the Thirties as pictured in Sears Catalogs. I’m really intrigued by the construction of the blouse on the right. Not only does it have a bow at the neck, but I love the way the blousy bodice top gathers into a yoke at the bottom (with even more bows at the side!). In these dresses from 1930, you can see the boxiness that we typically associate with the 20’s. If one bow at the neck isn’t enough for you, how about adding a row of bows all the way down the front bodice, like the dress on the right? On an interesting note, these dresses were sold as “semi-made”, meaning that …

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1920’s Bow Neck Blouses

1920's Spring Skirts with Bow Necks

I’m kicking off this November month of the Bow Neck Blouse Sewalong with a selection of drawings of fashions from the 1920’s that have bows at their neck. All of the images are from Everyday Fashions of the Twenties as pictured in Sears Catalogs. I tend to think of 20’s fashion as being to obviously historical for me to be interested in incorporating them into my wardrobe, but as I looked for these pictures I had more and more thoughts about replicating some for myself! These first blouses were from an advertisement for Smocks and Middies, although I don’t know what the difference between a smock and a middie is. Anyone know? These percale and gingham house dresses have small bows tied in contrasting ribbon below large collars. Doesn’t the simple bow nicely set off the doubled lace collar on the dress on the left? I’m actually pretty enamored with …

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Vintage Bobble Cardigan (1939)

brass and oatmeal hand knit vintage sweater

This sweater pattern is from 1939 from Vintage Knitwear for Modern Knitters (on Ravelry here). I’ve been knitting it since November and spent 93 hours from start to finish.  The yarn was from a cone of fingering weight, undyed, 50% wool 50% silk (that I also used for my fractal crochet and needlepoint heart).  When I purchased it, I thought I would dye it to some fun bright color for this sweater, but I think a nice neutral shows off the pattern beautifully and will be a good basic piece to have in my wardrobe. Overall I’m pretty happy with how the sweater turned out. My only frustration is that the buttonholes are wide and horizontal so the buttons sit at the edge of the buttonhole – I would recommend to anyone wanting to make this pattern to knit them vertically instead. I discovered while knitting this sweater that I really hate …

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1942 Hollywood Patterns Shirtwaist Dress

wwi working girl reproduction dress

I now present to you my 1940’s dress for Sew for Victory. It’s from Hollywood Patterns (No. 855), from May 1942, endorsed by Betty Grable of 20th Century Fox. Honestly, I’m not that enamored with this dress. I was talked into the fabric, a quilting cotton, by a woman at the fabric store but I really should have stuck to my guns and gone to another store to find a nice rayon. When I first envisioned this dress, I wanted it to be something I could wear to seduce Sam Spade. I feel like it ends up making me look like I should be out back mucking out a chicken coop. I settled on working for the war effort as a compromise.

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Dorothy’s Vintage Shawl

vintage knit scarf

I had the pleasure of adding a satin back to gorgeous vintage shawl, knit by Dorothy, the lovely woman who recently gave me a stack of vintage knitting patterns. I’m not sure exactly when it was knit, but Dorothy is in her late 80’s and she said this was her second knitting project ever, so perhaps in the 1940’s??

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Vintage Knitting Patterns

vintage knitting magazines

While in Santa Barbara over the holiday, Adam and I had some lovely quality time with his 92 year old Grandmother, Nanny She. One afternoon, Nanny She took us over to her younger friend Dorothy’s house (and by younger I mean in her late 80’s). Nanny She wanted Dorothy to see the knitting projects that I’m working on currently. Since we were talking about knitting, Dorothy got down a rack of knitting patterns and let me have any vintage patterns I could find since she knew she wouldn’t use them. Golly gee how lucky I am!

The 1930’s Scrapbook

1930s Scrabook by Rober Opie

One last birthday present post. Adam’s grandmother, Nanny Sheila, sent me this delightful coffee table book called The 1930’s Scrapbook, compiled by Robert Opie.

Relating the Colors Worn to the Pigmentation of the Hair and Eyes (1931)

hues found in eyes

The latest in a series of excerpts from “A Correct Costume Enhances the Wearer: Color and Line in Dress” by Laurine Hempstead, copyright 1931 – a delightful book on dressing to complement your figure with vintage tips that hold true today. Chapter VI: Relating the Colors Worn to the Pigmentation of the Hair and Eyes The effect of colors upon the hair and eyes should be carefully considered, even though these points should be subordinated to that of selecting colors becoming to the skin. The person with a slender and well-proportioned figure, who need not fear increasing her size or emphasizing her silhouette and who has a clear, healthy complexion, can wear almost any beautiful color. She may consider her eyes and hair first, emphasizing whichever is the more attractive feature. Occasionally persons with unusually beautiful hair or eyes can afford to wear colors enhancing their most distinctive feature, even at …

Relating the Colors Worn to the Pigmentation of the Skin (1931)

hues found in background skin tones

The latest in a series of excerpts from “A Correct Costume Enhances the Wearer: Color and Line in Dress” by Laurine Hempstead, copyright 1931 – a delightful book on dressing to complement your figure with vintage tips that hold true today. Chapter V: Relating the Colors Worn to the Pigmentation of the Skin Although one may make general classification of colors suited to types, specific recommendations of colors becoming to individuals should be based upon analysis of their skin, hair, and eyes. Make-up   Powder should match background color – Powder should be used, not to change the color of the skin, but to improve its texture, remove shine, and veil imperfections. Hue of rouge should match skin – The color of rouge and lipstick has great influence upon the apparent coloring of the individual. In most instances, rouge and lipstick should match the hue found in the wearer’s skin. Make-up …

The Hat is the Background for the Face (Continued) (1931)

vintage 1930s hat brims

The latest in a series of excerpts from “A Correct Costume Enhances the Wearer: Color and Line in Dress” by Laurine Hempstead, copyright 1931 – a delightful book on dressing to complement your figure with vintage tips that hold true today. In this section, the author gives suggestions for problem features. She gives pretty brutally honest descriptions of facial “imperfections,” but at least I now know what sort of hat to wear to hide my big nose and embarrassing glasses! Chapter IV: The Hat is the Background for the Face (continued) Turned-up nose. – Hats that have an upward sweeping line at the front unduly emphasize the upward curving line of the nose that is politely termed retroussé. A curving brim that appears to repeat exactly the profile line of the nose may give a truly ridiculous effect.  A soft brim, one that droops rather than curves downward, shadows the face …

Independence Day Fashion (1776 that is!)

Independence Day Women's Fashion 1776

I hope everyone is having a delightful Fourth of July! I’m so excited to get a day off to work on projects. In honor of the holiday, I thought I would give a glimpse of what people were wearing around the time of the original Independence Day, July 4th, 1776. These sketches are all of European fashions because, at the time that America declared its independence, it didn’t really have its own fashions. The fashionable men and women were imitating the Europeans. (Some fashion historians argue that it wasn’t until after WWI that Americans stopped slavishly imitating European fashion!). From What People Wore by Douglas Gorsline: French Men from 1775. You’ll notice that their hair isn’t elaborate and obviously wigs. It was around this time that it became fashionable for men to wear their own hair tied at the nape of their neck and powdered as if it was a …

The Hat is the Background for the Face (1931)

Hat Width

The latest in a series of excerpts from “A Correct Costume Enhances the Wearer: Color and Line in Dress” by Laurine Hempstead, copyright 1931 – a delightful book on dressing to complement your figure with vintage tips that hold true today. Chapter IV: The Hat is the Background for the Face The hat can probably do more to alter the contours of the face than any other item of wearing apparel. It may form a frame softening the outlines of the face. Lacking sufficient size to form a frame, it may reveal the features frankly, to their advantage, perhaps, if they are good, to their disadvantage, if they are not perfect enough to be thrown into relief. A small, close-fitting hat that is narrower than the widest part of the face fives the features undue prominence, making them seem large and out of proportion. A close-fitting hat should be slightly wider …

Necklines Frame the Face (1931)

Collar widens or lengthens face

The latest in a series of excerpts from “A Correct Costume Enhances the Wearer: Color and Line in Dress” by Laurine Hempstead, copyright 1931 – a delightful book on dressing to complement your figure with vintage tips that hold true today. Chapter III: Necklines Frame the Face The frame for the face provided by necklines and collars greatly influences the apparent shape of the face. Necklines should be chosen carefully with consideration of their becomingness, their effect upon the contours of the face, for probably no other detail of a garment is so important in its effect upon the appearance of the wearer. A high, close collar covering the neck, or a scarf wrapped in high, close effect, shortens the face and thereby increases its apparent width. Horizontal lines leading the eye across the face and neck tend to increase their apparent width. The round neckline tends to carry the eye …

Earrings and Necklaces Change Apparent Contours of Face

1930's Earrings

The latest in a series of excerpts from “A Correct Costume Enhances the Wearer: Color and Line in Dress” by Laurine Hempstead, copyright 1931 – a delightful book on dressing to complement your figure with vintage tips that hold true today. Chapter II Earrings and Necklaces Change Apparent Contours of Face The lines that may be introduced into the costume by means of costume jewelry materially affect the apparent shape of the face. They should not be worn thoughtlessly, but only after careful study – before a mirror. All earrings tend to increase the apparent width of the face, leading the observer’s eye across the face from ear to ear rather than up and down. For this reason they are becoming to many women, especially those whose faces are too thin or too narrow in structure. A few longer strands of beads, one, two, or sometimes three, arranged so that …

A Correct Costume Enhances the Wearer: The Hairdress Shapes the Face

1930's Hairstyles

I just found the most wonderful vintage book on how to dress for your figure. A Correct Costume Enhances the Wearer: Color and Line in Dress by Laurine Hempstead with Sketches and Color Samples Copyright 1931 It starts with the face and discusses things like coloring, jewelry, and hair. It moves to the body offering tips for problems such as large hips and round shoulders. It then goes through ages from children, to “the miss in her ‘teens”, through to elderly women. I’m so in love with this book and I think it’s so wonderful that I’ll be sharing excerpts. The book has the most delightful vintage feel to it, beautiful illustrations, and genuinely good advice. I hope you love it as much as I do! It begins: Part I: Faces Any woman can approach beauty through manipulation of line and color to her advantage. A correct and becoming costume …