Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Trove Pattern Project - A 1930 "Smart Little Turban"

The earliest vintage hat pattern I have so far used is this turban from 1930. I keep thinking of it as 1920s, and it almost is, but we can probably all agree it is at least in a very 20s style. I've seen other very similar patterns shared on Pinterest, but this one is from my great-great-grandfather's favourite newspaper to write letters to, the Brisbane Courier, from the 7th of August, 1930. You can access the original article here.

I think it is designed to be tied on and arranged each time you wear it, but I've chosen to sew the draping in place so it is ready to go. I'm not sure this is the best option but it works.


You can use either stretch or woven material, a piece at least 16 by 60 inches. If you are sewing it in place as I did, stretch is best. Your choice of fabric will naturally be determined by whether you intend to wear it for "theatre and restaurant wear in the evening" or for "motoring and sports wear during the daylight hours".


As always, they don't have all the measurements you might want, but it was certainly enough to work from. The first one I made (the green) was a little small for my 22-22.5 inch head. It does fit, but doesn't sit where I'd like and the fabric stretch is needed. On a friend with a 21 inch head, this size was perfect. For my second attempt (pink), I added an inch or two to the length and width of the rectangle, and an inch or two around the curved edge too. This is a much better fit, but still on the small side, especially as my hair has grown longer.


I sewed this turban by hand, as instructed. It was a good in-front-of-the-TV task and didn't take too long. After getting the arrangement how I wanted on the mannequin, I hand stitched it into place at a few points. The instructions were relatively straightforward, and the draping diagrams were actually quite helpful! I'm not completely clear on the different ways they suggest tucking the various bits, but since they assure me that this way, with the ends twisted across the top, is the most flattering to the older woman, that's all I need to know, right? I'm told it adds dignity, and will provide balance for "the somewhat heavier outline of the average matron." Hmmm. 


If you are good with tying head wraps and scarves, it might suit you better to make the turban and tie it each time. For me, sewing it up seemed like the better option. Still, it requires adjusting when you put it on, and if you were using a non-stretch fabric I imagine that you would want to tie it each time. It's a pretty easy-to-wear item either way, and great for bad hair days/weeks/years. I also like the smooth front section as a place to add a bit of bling, in the form of a hat pin or brooch.

What do you think of this one? And would you prefer to wear it motoring or to the theatre?

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

My Vintage Cover: The Red Beret Edition

The problem with researching places to find vintage magazine cover images was that I found so many that I want to recreate! Some require a lot of effort, clothes or accessories I don't have, or special locations, and they can wait for the future. (I'm not sure yet if we'll run the challenge again, but I know I'll be doing more covers either way!)

Some, however, were within my current reach, like this one. Despite what I said after my first vintage cover recreation, I'm back with another close up! 

Vintage Cover Recreation
Since I have a red beret (which I love and wear often), I couldn't resist this one.

Pictorial Review Vintage Cover

Some people have asked about my photo editing. I did this one entirely with Picmonkey. If you are interested, here are a few details, otherwise skip to the end! 

For this image I had to play around with editing out the rest of my body and whitening up the background: mostly using the "clone" and "curves" tools, but the fun stuff was getting the magazine-y feel.

Obviously the text adds to that, but so does the "film grain" filter. To get the paint effect in the background, I added a painted texture and then removed it from the face and hat (as well as fading it a lot to keep it more subtle). All the effects in picmonkey can be applied to just a part of the image if you like. And then I added the coloured bits in the background. I used the ombre filter but the draw tool would probably be just as good.

Plus there was a bit of *ahem* wrinkle removal, eye shadow, lip tint, and using "clone" to remove a cat hair from the hat!

Unfortunately a lot of these are tools you only get if you pay to use Picmonkey, but I'm sure similar features are available with other software. I also use Gimp, which is free, and has a lot of great features, but it isn't quite as simple to use. In most of my regular photo editing I only use the free tools like exposure, cropping, resizing and so on.

I had fun with this one, but more importantly, I think I could get used to wearing my berets low down like this! What do you think?

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Learning: Lace Millinery

After making a start on ribbon embroidery, my next learning experience for the year was lace millinery. I finished my first piece using the technique before I had the baby, but I put off sharing the results, hoping to have a nice photo shoot first. That hasn't happened, and I'm already almost finished the second piece using this technique, so I decided to just share anyway! Edie (the mannequin) is a pretty good model, after all.

The class is an online one, offered through Hat Academy and taught by Melbourne milliner Brett Morley. The full Lace Millinery deluxe course is three lessons, and I have actually only bought the first of the lessons (you can buy individually or the whole lot together), Lace Millinery Fundamentals.

There are many different ways of working with lace in millinery, but Brett's work using these techniques is particularly stunning. He taught this method at the 2014 International Millinery Forum, and I was interested, but didn't end up doing the class. Then I had seriously regret!

Ever since I saw this course on Hat Academy, I've been coveting it, and finally decided to treat myself this year.

I'm really glad I did. As well as being generally excited to be learning something new, I love the results I achieved on my first try, and I'm enjoying experimenting more.

The downside to the method is that it is very slow. Every piece of lace that you see here as a petal or leaf is individually cut out and sewn on to a wire support. This is extremely time-consuming. On the plus side, it is all hand sewing and able to be made in small increments of time (great for the work-from-home-mum). I did a lot in front of the TV in the evenings and even some at the breakfast and dinner table.

I like that the look of the pieces can be very modern and very artistic, but also very vintage and classic. Another plus is that because each petal is wired, they can be shifted and shaped at any point, and altered after making to suit the wearer.

My second lace millinery project is a combination of skills from this class and another from Hat Academy, and I'm really excited to show you that one soon, plus yet another. All these new skills are very exciting!

What do you think? Are you a fan of online learning? (It sure is great for these baby-busy years for me!)

Thursday, 3 August 2017

My Vintage Cover: The Polka Dot Edition

August is here, which means it's time for the My Vintage Cover challenge to begin. I thought I'd try to get one done early to get the ball rolling, and I hope to find time for one more before the month is out.

This has been quite the learning experience for me, especially since I usually avoid taking photos of my hats on myself! But here it is:

Based on this Australian Women's Weekly cover:

Lessons I learned:

Play to your strengths. Actually I thought I was doing this, by choosing a cover that was just showing a hat, but I didn't consider that a facial close-up really would be best if you have make-up skills, and also don't mind directly comparing your profile to that of a model.

The same pose will look different on you than the original model. I tried to achieve the same pose, but not only was it really hard, but it wasn't exactly flattering. I would have been better finding the best angle for me that was similar to the original.

Make something useful. I really don't know why I chose a hat in yellow polka dots instead of something I (or anyone else) might actually ever wear. Oh well!

Photo editing is the best thing ever. I HATED my photos when I took them, but the baby woke up so I worked with what I had. Editing makes soooo much difference. I really like the end result!

If I attempt another cover, I will choose one that is shot from further away, and go for a generally similar look without worrying too much about high levels of accuracy. And there will probably be no polka dots.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Where to find vintage magazine covers

Next week sees the start of August and the My Vintage Cover photo challenge! If you missed the details about the challenge, you can read it all in my last post.

Today I wanted to talk about ways of finding your inspiration image, and share some useful resources.


Sometimes it's nice to just look at pictures the old-fashioned way: in a book. I'm not going to suggest you buy a book just to find an image for this challenge, but if you have a good local library, you might get lucky and find some good resources there. Fashion books with lots of images that I've borrowed from my library include: "The Australian Women's Weekly fashion : the first 50 years", "Vogue Fashion", and "The Chronology of Fashion". Nicole recommends "Vogue: The Covers", which looks awesome. Checking my library again I've just found "Cover up : the art of magazine covers in Australia"and "Front page : covers of the twentieth-century" - I'll let you know how they are!

Online resources:

You can actually do pretty well just from using a search engine and typing in "vintage magazine cover", but for something a little more curated, it's hard to beat Pinterest. The good thing about both of these options is that you will find results from the big names, like Vogue and Life and so on, but also ones you may never have heard of or wouldn't think to search for. Some of the lesser known titles I'm enjoying are The Queenslander, Woman and Home, and The Farmer's Wife. You can then always pick a publication and narrow your search down.

One of my favourite things to do with Pinterest, especially when the results aren't what I'm looking for (like when no one knows what a pillbox hat looks like, for example), is to search "Boards" instead of "Pins", to see who else has curated the mess for you.

I've created my own Pinterest board for magazine covers. It was going to be just ones that might be suitable to recreate but I'm afraid I couldn't stick to that. Maybe you have a zebra to ride, though?

And here are some of the best boards I found for a few delightful publications: Vogue, Life, Harper's Bazaar (this has editorials too, but is actually from Harper's Bazaar's account), and Cosmopolitan.

You can browse the covers of the Australian Women's Weekly online thanks to the National Library of Australia. Chatelaine magazine has a nice gallery of their covers through the years. You can find covers of The Queenslander on Flickr Commons, thanks to the State Library of Queensland.

I think, in fact, the hardest part is not finding the covers online, but narrowing your search and finding something that will suit you to recreate. If you have a decade in mind, that would be a good way to narrow your search. I also found some of the smaller publications by searching this way.

I also recommend seeing what your library gives you access to online (after not being a library member for many years I'm now addicted!), because I can access the Vogue archives through the State Library of NSW with my local library card number, as well as a number of other resources.

Edited to add: A couple of people on Instagram suggested also checking Ebay for vintage magazines. Even if you don't want to buy, there are some great cover images to look at there.

I hope this helps with some inspiration if you are thinking of joining in the challenge, and even if you aren't! I could look at vintage covers all day.

Nicole has recently done a round up of her previous recreations, so make sure you check out that post too.

Friday, 14 July 2017

"My Vintage Cover" - a Photo Recreation Challenge

I'm back! As promised, I am now a mother of two. It's quite exhausting. The business is still on maternity leave, but the blog is returning a little earlier for a fun community event.

If you follow Nicole and her blog The Artyologist, you would have seen her lovely recreations of vintage Vogue magazine covers. I have long had my eye on a few covers that I want to recreate, and this led me to think that we could all have some fun with these images! I contacted Nicole and the My Vintage Cover challenge is the result. So join us in August to create and share your own version of a favourite vintage fashion image!

Here are the challenge guidelines:
  • The challenge runs from August 1- 31, 2017 and you are welcome to post your images on any day of the month. We are announcing the challenge now, so you can start choosing which images to recreate, and preparing any pieces you might need to have in order to complete your recreation.
  • This is a non-competitive community event. We just want people to have fun, both in the challenge of recreating vintage images, and in sharing the finished images with others.
  • The event will take place in a two places. If you have an Instagram account, you can take part there, but if you don't have Instagram, you can participate on your blog. Use whichever platform you prefer.
  • If you post your recreations on Instagram, use the hashtag, #myvintagecover which we have created for this event, so we can all see your images.
  • If you are posting on your blog, feel free to let either Nicole or I know about it, so we can see your post and share it with others when we do a round up post.
  • We will be posting a few "round-up" posts on our Instagram accounts or blogs depending on how many participants we have.
  • Though we are calling it "My Vintage Cover," you are welcome to recreate either a vintage magazine cover (such as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar or McCall's) or an editorial vintage fashion image. Images with distinctive poses, or styles that are iconic to a specific era are great options.
  • Repost and share your inspiration image, or link to it, so we can all compare the recreations to the original images.
  • Feel free to make your recreation as detailed as you would like. Even if you don't have it 100% accurate, join in anyways with what you can. There are a lot of great vintage images out there which rely on iconic makeup and hair, distinctive poses, or unique camera angles, so even if you don't have all the details correct, you can still participate.
  • You are not limited to just one image. Recreate as many images as you would like to! (and have the time for!)
  • Please feel free to repost this image any and everywhere you can. The more people who know about the challenge, the better!
  • Most important of all: have fun! We are so excited to see what you come up with.
The Australian Women's Weekly, 9 Dec 1953

Now, who has four white kittens I can hug?

Thursday, 13 April 2017

1940s Felt Turban collaboration with Rockagirl

I've been lucky to collaborate with some amazing people in the last few years, and the images from these collaborations always take my breath away.

Last year I worked with Polish pin-up model Maja, known as Rockagirl. She was interested in a 40s-inspired shoot, in collaboration with some other brands, and was taken by my previous wool turban.

I love how this turban looks in the burgundy colour, and with these outfits and the beautiful Rockagirl, it is simply stunning.

Collaborations can be a lot of stress, especially with my unpredictable work schedule as a work-from-home-mum, but I always end up feeling very proud of my work when it is displayed to such advantage.

I don't actually know anything about the location for this photoshoot, but the lines in he background complement the folds and grooves in the hat so beautifully!

When I return from maternity leave, it may be some time before I get back to doing much in the way of collaborations, since my time will be so much more limited, but I know there will be more eventually, because results like this can't be ignored!

This turban is currently listed in my Etsy shop, but remember that I'll be closing that for maternity leave very soon - in about a week, in fact.

This will be my last pre-maternity blog post too, so I'll see you when I'm a mother of two! Yikes.

Model: Rockagirl (FB: www.facebook.com/rockagirl, IG: @rockagirl)
Photographer: Joanna Mucha (FB: www.facebook.com/darcoalt, IG: jeanne_darco)
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