Saturday, January 16, 2010

saturdays are book days.

I have been in the vintage buying mode for a while now, you probably noticed! Well, I don't actually know a ton about the pattern industry's history, so a few weeks ago I ordered some books from Amazon to educate myself! They FINALLY came! (That free shipping is both a blessing and a curse sometimes.)

I got two from the "Blueprints of Fashion" series. Since the late 1930s and 1940s are "my" eras, I of course got the 1940s book:

And since I'm enthralled with all things Mad Men (although Mad Men is set in the very early 60s) and lusting after the "wiggle dress plus circle skirt in the same pattern" these days, I got the 1950s book.

I LOVE them. The 1940s book is bigger, and has more style information for the decade. And 150+ pages of 1940s pattern covers to look at in glorious color!! The 1950s book, while the entry chapters are not quite as interesting to me at first glance, has a LOT of information on pattern company origins. Just not as much info about the decade's fashion trends. The 1950s book is a bit smaller too. Still chalk full of vintage pattern cover goodness though.

I also got this book, "The 1940s Look", because I'm fascinated by the recent surge of bloggers who wear vintage and style their hair, makeup, etc. in vintage ways. I'm not jumping on that train any time soon, because I don't have the patience, but that doesn't make me less interested in the how-to!

This is a great resource for1940s fashion information. Beautiful, visual layout too. (I would notice something like that.) Sadly, it does not show you how to "recreate the fashions, hairstyles, and makeup of the second world war", at least not in "step by step" format, which is what I was expecting from the cover's subhead.

The illustrations are gorgeous though. The colors are rich and vibrant, and there are dozens of rare magazine ads for fashions, beauty products, sewing patterns, etc. And the information in the book itself is incredibly interesting.

For example, it has a chapter detailing the government imposed rationing on goods & clothing during the war, and pictures of clothing coupon books. (This book is British, by the way, so everything is from that perspective. A similar rationing was happening in the states, however.) Here's an excerpt of the suggested garments on a four-year plan to conserve your coupons (& get the most bang for your buck):
First Year:
1 pair shoes
6 pairs stockings
10 oz wool or 2.5 yards material
1 suit
2 slips
1 blouse (home made)

Second Year:
1 pair shoes
6 pairs stockings
8 oz wool or 2 yards material
1 silk dress
Underwear: Cami-knickers or vest and knickers (2-3 pairs)
Corselette or brassiere and girdle (2-3 pairs)
6 handkerchiefs

I won't list all 4 years, even though it is really interesting! I love seeing the word "material" for fabric, reminds me of my mom & my grandma. I still use that word occasionally too, since I grew up hearing it. In year 3, you get 2 cotton or silk frocks. I LOVE the word frocks! I want to use it to describe something I make!

Because I wasn't sure what they were either, here's a pattern for Cami-knickers.

Probably exactly what you were thinking of, right? And rather cute. I kind of want a pair. I can't imagine wanting to have 2-3 pairs of "Corselettes" or girdles, though! Ouch!

Isn't it amazing to think of having to make do with so little? Really, do we need all the excess we consider normal today? Probably not. Sometimes I wonder how much happier I'd/we'd be if we lived with much less "stuff".

A few vintage patterns also arrived this week, ebay purchases! I can't wait to share those, but it will have to wait for another post. I haven't scanned the covers yet! I can give you a peek's one extremely fabulous one:

Oh all right, here's another:

And be on the look out for my mini wardrobe sewing plan. Shannon & I are going to do a bit of a sewalong if any of you want to join us! One of those "no real rules, unless you want to make up your own" sewalongs. We just want a sewing plan that works for our individual needs, and a storyboard to motivate us! Stay tuned, I'll be posting my storyboard this weekend!


  1. I've had the first two books for years. They are such a treat. You make me want the third one. Amazon is greatness and a curse. Thanks for your recomendation for ELF makeup. I ordered for my three daughters and two daughters in law and they all loved it. Such a bargin. Thanks

  2. Those books look fabulous, what a treasure trove of images! My mom used to tell me stories about waiting in ration lines, and how her sister would draw seam lines on the back of her legs when she had no stockings to wear. And yes, "material" was the term I always heard!

  3. I love that era too. I am stuck in WWII, actually. And the 60s. I love the blue dress with the detachable full skirt. I have seen that dress in some old black/white movies. It's kind of Doris Day looking.

  4. I love those books, and that skirt pattern is fabulous! I spent all day yesterday at a flea market thinking I was going to make a haul in vintage patterns...sewing books...but I didn't find a single one! There wasn't even a single sewing machine there! I bought a few cards of vintage sad was that?

  5. Great books and patterns! I would be interested in a sew-a-long without pressure! :)

  6. I think it would be a difficult adjustment to have to do without and ration our clothes... I truthfully can't even imagine making do with one blouse! Also - I grew up hearing the word "material" too, and I totally want those cami-knickers!

  7. These books look so cool!

  8. It never occured to me that "material" wasn't a word! I say that all the time. Interesting how I never type it though. I guess because I don't see it typed out anywhere else and I just instinctively fell into line with that. But at home when I'm working (and therefore talking to myself non-stop) I say "material" all the time. Interesting.... along those lines my mom's friend was cleaning out her pantry recently and asked me if I wanted three boxes of "Kraft dinner". I knew what she meant, but I'm not sure anyone else around here would have. (We're both from North Dakota)

    I swear. My word verification:

    "Oomshis" Like, are they related to Oompa-loompas?


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