outfits

Fresh as a Daisy in Retrolicious Vintage Repro

retrolicious nostalgia dress fresh as a daisy the artyologist

At first, brown, mustard yellow and cream do not seem to be a summer colour palette, but then I looked out into my garden and saw a patch of daisies blooming. It turns out that it is a summer palette after all! ūüôā

This is the new dress that I mentioned last week, and it is my first vintage reproduction dress! Living in Alberta, which isn’t exactly a major centre for vintage style boutiques, I had never come across a shop that sold vintage reproduction. I have never had much luck shopping online either, and for things like dresses, which need to fit well, it was always just too much of a gamble. Then, a few weeks ago, while shopping on Edmonton’s Whyte Avenue, I discovered this little shop called Rowena. Rowena is a “clothing, accessory & household item store specializing in pinup, rockabilly, psychobilly, tattoo and alternative cultures.” As soon as I walked in the door, I was in heaven. Seriously, my mom and sister who were with me, can attest that I was like a kid in a candy store. Never have I ever seen such a large and fabulous selection of vintage reproduction in one place. All of the items they have in store, are available in their amazing online store Retro Glam, if you would like to check it out. Anyways. I did find a few lovely items, and actually it is amazing that I came home with my bank account intact! I’ll be back for sure, though.

retrolicious dress daisy the artyologist

I was so excited to wear this dress; I wore it the very next Sunday. It is the Nostalgia dress by Retrolicious. I had never heard of Retrolicious before: it is a sub brand of Folter clothing “made in the USA”.

I can’t really attest to the quality of the dress, as I have only had it for a couple of weeks, and I haven’t washed it yet or anything, but I love it so far. When we were in a different shop that same day, the salesperson told me that the dresses they were selling were “couture dressmaker’s fabrics, not just regular old cottons”. When I looked at the tag, they were 57% polyester/ 43% cotton blends. I’ll take the cotton please. ¬†Thus, I love that this dress is 100% cotton, and cut on the bias, which gives it a comfortable amount of stretch without containing any spandex/polyester/nylon. ¬†I don’t know about you, but I just hate synthetic fabrics. I mean, sometimes they are fine¬†for certain garments, and I do own some myself, but I just hate the fact that there is such an abundance of synthetics in every piece of clothing you find, it seems. Maybe this is just an irrational fear I have of synthetics, tracing back to the time when I was a child and my mother told me that nylon melts. I was scared to wear my nylon pants for years. Anyways, that was a bit of an aside. . . where were we. . .

The dress! It is lovely, comfortable and breathable (it was a hot day, when I wore it) and it has pockets too; I never think to put pockets in my dresses, but really they are the best! Basically this dress is a winner, it is my new favourite, and now that I know where Rowena is, and I know what size I am in several other repro brands, I may never have any money ever again. . .

(PS: After I had finished¬†dressing, I realized that the accessories in this outfit are¬†exactly what I paired with my outfit for Easter Sunday- the straw purse, brown sandals, and cream coloured hat. Even the pearls are the same. What can I say? If you’ve got a good thing going. . .¬†)

(PPS: Another quick note: I do know that cotton, unless it is organic, contains a whole host of other environmental problems, ūüôĀ but as it is difficult to find organic cotton material and clothing, when faced with a choice, I will choose cotton, as it is still a natural and biodegradable fibre, rather than¬†a man made fibre.)

Edited a couple of years later to add a review on how this dress held up:

I wore this dress quite a few times, but one thing I did notice is that the circle skirt ended up stretching out of shape. This happens when a bias-cut skirt hasn’t been hung for long enough before being hemmed. Often modern garments aren’t hung at all, but are hemmed right as the garment is being assembled, without allowing for drooping. I had hoped that, for the price tag of this one, that wouldn’t be the case but sadly it did end up a bit out of shape. Since the dress was on the short side for me (I’m 5′ 6″ and it hit at the knee, and I prefer below the knee) I decided against re-hemming it, and ended up selling it at a discount. In case you are interested in purchasing from Retrolicious, keep this in mind if the style you are looking for is a circle skirt. Other than that, the dress was very well made and held up well in the wash (I washed on cold, and hung to dry).¬†

Outfit Details:

Dress- Retrolicious, Nostalgia Dress (not available any more it seems, but they have many others!)

Purse: Vintage from a thrift store

Hat: Vintage from an antique sale

Shoes: Franco Sarto from a few years ago

Earrings: Joe Fresh from a few years ago

Necklace: Pearls; a gift from my parents!

retrolicious dress the artyologist

daisies the artyologist

retrolicious by folter nostalgia dress the artyologist

retrolicious nostalgia dress by folter fresh as a daisy the artyologist

retrolicious dress folter clothing the artyologist

An Almost Vintage Skirt of Recycled Fabric

an almost recycled skirt of vintage fabric the artyologist

This¬†could also be titled¬†as “The World’s Easiest Skirt Pattern”. ūüôā¬†When I sewed up my dutch wax print skirt, and refashioned my black floral, I realized just how much I love pleated skirts. After completing Me Made May, I decided that I needed more of these skirts in my life as they are so easy to wear, and are comfortable and practical for everyday. When I was deciding what fabric to use, I remembered¬†this vintage sheet I picked up a a flea market a couple of months¬†ago, so I decided to recycle the fabric into a skirt. I absolutely love the pattern on the fabric- is it just me or were vintage linens so much nicer than today’s?

skirt construction the artyologist

I used the same easy method as the other skirts, which pretty much involves creating a curved waistband to fit your waist measurement, plus seam allowances. I have found that a slightly curved band is better than a straight rectangle, as bodies are typically not straight,¬†so¬†if it is curved in, the waistband will not gape on you. I didn’t use a pattern for this, I seriously just “eyeballed” the curve for this band and traced to create a mirror image for both sides. To this, I cut a front and back rectangle, and pleated it into the waist circumference (no real math at play, just pleating and fiddling until it fit!)¬†To create something different, so all of the garments in my wardrobe are not exactly the same, I decided to add ties to the waistband this time. I think they give a bit of a fun twist. I sewed the two ties separately, and then inserted them between the zipper (which I had saved¬†off another garment, hence the title of this post) and the waistband when sewing them together. Thus, the raw edges were encased, and the ties wrap around to the front. The skirt took me only about 4 hours start to finish. Well, not including the time that it took to cut the material, I guess. When I went to lay out the fabric, I discovered that somewhere along the way someone had used this sheet as a dropcloth or something, and there was orange paint splattered across¬†it! I had to do some strategic measuring and cutting to avoid all the splatters- but it was successful, as none of the paint shows on the final garment! The joys of vintage material I guess. ūüėČ I actually love projects like this as they recycle something¬†that would otherwise be discarded. The skirt turned out nicely and qualifies as a Make do and Mend garment, I think, as well as almost being vintage, as the materials to make it were. . .

waistband detail the recycled skirt the artyologist

So, onto the outfit! The skirts debut, the very next day, was for an afternoon of shopping on Edmonton’s Whyte Ave. My best friend came for a visit (as I already mentioned before), so we took the opportunity to go shopping, and Whyte Ave is a pretty fun place filled with lots of lovely little shops and restaurants.¬†(I also found the best little store called Rowena, which carries a whole host of vintage reproduction brands I’ve never been able to find in a brick-and-mortar store! I was like a kid in a candy shop- and I have an outfit post with the¬†dress I bought, next week!)

the entirely recycled fabric skirt the artyologist

the entirely recycled skirt the artyologist

We had a lovely time shopping, but I didn’t get any outfit photos while we were there, which is too bad as there are so many historical brick buildings that would’ve served as¬†a nice backdrop. I was too busy catching up with my friend, though, to stop for pictures, so we got these pictures later. I paired the skirt with a modern ruffled blouse, and my lovely vintage straw boater I got at an antique sale a few years ago. The lining in this hat is so shredded I can barely pick out any of the label, the only words left¬†read “Knox New York”. I did a google search and came up with this article about the Knox hat company, but as it appears they made men’s hats, I’m not sure of the history of this piece. ¬†It is lovely though, and in very good shape too, despite the label being in disrepair. I would’ve liked to have paired this outfit with my cognac kiltie loafers, but as they are not broken in yet, I thought an afternoon spent walking would be better suited to my tried and true brown flats. Sometimes style must be sacrificed for comfort, as much as I hate to admit it¬†ūüôĀ

Anyways, I’ve already worn this skirt several times since I made it, and it is quickly becoming a favourite in my wardrobe. Do you ever¬†find yourself gravitating towards sewing or wearing¬†the same things over and over again?

Outfit details:

Hat- vintage from an antique sale

Shirt- secondhand

Skirt- made by me out of a sheet from a flea market

Earrings- Joe Fresh from a year ago

Shoes- Josef Seibel

Purse- bought in England

vintage knox straw boater the artyologist

the entirely recycled fabric skirt the artyologist

an almost recycled skirt of vintage fabric the artyologist

vintage straw boater the artyologist

vintage knox boater the artyologist

The Ladies Garden Tea, Part 1

ladies tea party the artyologist

Well, that title “The Ladies Garden Tea” is a bit of a misnomer. You see, it was sunny every day up until the party, and it’s been sunny a fair amount of days after the party, but when last Saturday dawned, it was rainy. And this was not a showers and clouds¬†kind¬†of rain. Not a “maybe it will clear off just in time” sort of rain. It was a “I’m-here-and-I’m-cold-and-I’m-gonna-stay” kind of rain. So, the “Ladies Garden Tea” was forced to become¬†simply the “Ladies Afternoon Tea”, which is OK because fun was had by all despite the lack of sunshine. And, having it indoors simply meant we¬†didn’t have to deal with bugs flying around getting stuck in the cake¬†and lemonade, right?

ladies tea party, cup the artyologist

It’s become a bit of an annual tradition for us, to host a ladies tea party. The first time I ever hosted one, was the Valentine’s Party I posted about, and since then, it’s just been a great excuse to pull out all the fancy tea cups and dress up and have a lovely time with the ladies of our church. I’ll have more about¬†the food and the decorating and such on Friday, as I have so many photos, I wanted to split them into two posts, so you wouldn’t be bombarded!

Today, I’ll focus on what I wore. Originally I was planning on wearing a large straw sunhat, and my “garden party” dress (I have named it that, as it just seems the sort of thing one wears to a garden party). The dress¬†is too fancy for everyday, as it requires many layers of petticoats, so I hardly ever wear it. I’ll post it here one of these years…¬†However, as the dress is so pouffy, when the party got moved indoors, I didn’t want to be running¬†into people and knocking over lamps with my skirt (the struggles only vintage lovers know!), so the plan changed to this dress, which I also think suits a tea party quite well.

tea party dress the artyologist

tea party vintage dress the artyologist

It is a vintage 1970’s dress I got from a thrift store, and it fits so perfectly it could’ve been made for me. I’m pretty sure it was either a grad dress or a bridesmaid dress, and it is made of a coral coloured lining, with an overlay¬†of tan flowered chiffon. It is basically the 1970’s epitomized in¬†dress form ūüôā I’ve never worn it before, as it is pretty dressy¬†and floor length, so it was so nice to be able to wear it for the party. I paired it with my opera length pearls I got from my parents a few years ago as a birthday gift, and as it was an indoor party, my sister lent me some sparkly clips as we didn’t require hats anymore.

My dear friend Chantelle was visiting for the week of the party, so we had some fun taking silly photos of us drinking our tea after the party. (There were a lot more ladies at the party- 23¬†of us.) Of course, as soon as the party wrapped up, the sun burst through the clouds and we had a lovely sunny evening. Oh well ūüôĀ

Have you ever hosted a fancy party for your friends? Do you like to pull out the fine china every chance you get?

chantelle and tea party the artyologist

This is a¬†“Victorian Parlour Card” pose, don’t you think?

nicole and the group party the artyologist

sarah and tea party the artyologist

vintage tea party dress the artyologist

I’m Ready for My Close-up

ready for my closeup the artyologist

When I was a child my two favourite things to play with were Barbie dolls and the costume bin. I loved Barbie’s because I got to dress them up, and I loved the costume bin, because I got to dress up.

Now that I am grown up. . . ¬†actually, I haven’t changed a bit.¬†I still love to dress up.

Last year for Christmas I received a Barbie doll from my parents (it was the 50th anniversary reproduction Barbie, okay?), I have a suitcase full of costumes for random dressing up needs, (doesn’t everyone have¬†costumes at the ready? Who knows when the need may arise! ) and my entire closet is full of what most people would consider costumes, but us vintage lovers know and recognize them to be¬†perfectly acceptable everyday wear. (I have come to the conclusion that these two childhood favourites foreshadowed my love of vintage, long before I had ever thought of it, because vintage is basically dress up every day!)

sarah and I the artyologist

So, both my sister and I still love to dress up in costumes, and taking that a step further, we love to turn the costume-wearing into a photo shoot (inspired by whichever fashions we are sporting).

I am always so inspired by the fashions on the runway, and the spreads¬†in the¬†magazines: the¬†ensembles¬†that are so fabulous, but so over the top, they don’t make it to the street.¬†This basement wall, which has a¬†great industrial, urban decay feel to it, immediately made me think of those images¬†of couture fashions¬†in abandoned buildings. My sister and I decided that it would be the perfect backdrop for the crazy over-the-top Vogue inspired look we were dying to create, complete with wigs, exaggerated makeup and flamboyant costumes. These are outfits that we¬†would probably never¬†wear as styled, (no I am not going to wear that Halloween wig in public!) but they really suited the mood, and I like how they turned out. They are definitely different than what I would wear in real life, but sometimes it’s just so fun to veer in a different direction.

Do you ever dress up in a costume just for the fun of it?

profile, sarah and I, the artyologist

sarah and I the artyologist

This is absolutely my favourite photo of my sister and I. It’s just such a great capture of the moment ūüôā

ready for my closeup, the artyologist

Me Made May 2016; Now That It’s Over. . .

me made may roundup the artyologist

So, the month of May is over and with that comes the end of the Me Made May challenge! It was a neat experience participating in this online event for the first time, and it was fun to see how many people were taking part over on Instagram. (The majority of the photos are gathered under #mmmay16, if you want to go and see)

Now that the month is over (and I am a week late in writing this) (and really where did May go so fast!!??) it is time to think about what I learned from the challenge. I wrote about my reason for joining in in this post here, and over at Zoe’s¬†blog you can read about the whole thing. The main idea is to evaluate your wardrobe, and show the garments you’ve made a bit of love and appreciation. My challenge to wear each of my homemade garments was a good challenge for me, because I have some homemade garments I literally never reach for, so it was good to wear them and evaluate, “Why don’t I wear this? Why is this not the first thing I reach for when getting dressed?”. Here are my thoughts, and lessons learned, as well as what I need to focus on now in my sewing projects. . .

me made may roundup 2 the artyologist

  • I grabbed a dress first almost every day. For me, dresses are my go to: they are so easy. I don’t have to worry about coordinating my separates, or the fact that my blouse is coming untucked, or try too hard to get an ensemble that looks “put together”. I just throw on a dress, grab some shoes, maybe a hat and a purse¬†and I’m done! I¬†wore my handmade dresses, such as the seersucker dress, and black rayon dirndl dress, over and over throughout the month (I just didn’t take a picture each time haha!) So, I definitely need to add more dresses into the list of projects. And as far as what kind: full skirted dresses are my first love!
  • I work from home, so I don’t get dressed to the nines each morning, with fancy¬†dresses, petticoats, hats, gloves, and high heels. When I am at my desk, comfort is key. BUT, I still want to look classy and put together!¬†I found that my pleated skirts are two of the other garments I reached for over and over again. I often paired them with a solid t-shirt, or peasant blouse. Are t-shirts vintage? Nope, not really, but on a casual stay-at-home day, or a really hot day where I think I might just melt into a puddle, t-shirts are great. If I pair them with a vintage style skirt though, rather than jeans for example, I still get the “look”, but I stay comfortable. Those two skirts I made were sooooo easy to make. I really need to whip up a couple more.
  • I have a wardrobe that is¬†full of patterns. I love patterns, but unfortunately, most of the patterns are different florals that don’t coordinate with each other. I need to focus on bringing some more solids into my wardrobe, so the patterns can shine and not compete with each other. On that note, the two hats I made, only coordinate with a select few garments I have in my closet. So, either I need to focus on making hats that will go well with lots of my garments, or make more garments that will coordinate with my hats. I hate it¬†when you don’t have a hat that “goes” with an outfit, and yet you know that the outfit would look so much better if it did have a coordinating hat!

me made may roundup 3 the artyologist

And lastly, what did I not reach for?

  • Like I said, fancy party dresses are not something I wear¬†on a consistent basis. (Maybe I just need to go to more parties. . . .) I definitely wear them on occasion, and I do like to dress up a bit fancier for church, but even then, I would be more likely to wear a rayon or brushed cotton, than a taffeta or silk. I never once wore my¬†beautiful floral “garden party” dress during the month of May, but I do have an event coming up in June that I am planning on wearing it to. I still definitely want to keep these¬†few fancier options in my closet, for those few times a year when I need a cocktail dress, however, perhaps my sewing hours would be better suited to sewing some more “everyday” garments, before I start focusing on the fancy dresses.
  • I never once reached for my pants. I only wore them on the last day, so that I could say that I had done it! ūüėČ I just find dresses and skirts so much more comfortable. (which is funny considering that most people consider pants to be more comfortable. . . ) Obviously I need pants for occasions like: digging up the garden, walking through tall grass and weeds where you don’t want your legs to get all scratched up to shreds, or going tobogganing (for example), but for daily use, I just don’t wear them. However, when I did wear them, I liked them well enough, so maybe I just need to take note to remember to wear them more often. I recently purchased Wearing History’s Smooth Sailing Trousers, as I have heard good things about that pattern, so perhaps¬†I should sew those up sooner rather than later.

Overall it was great to participate in the challenge, and I certainly did pay more attention to what I have, what I wore, and what I should make to fill in those “holes”, so I would consider the challenge a success! Have you ever taken part in the Me Made May challenge? Or have you ever stopped to do a thorough evaluation of¬†your wardrobe?

me made may roundup 4 the artyologist