January 25th, 2020

e. st v. millay

Buying vintage clothes is now a business expense

(Although I don't overly benefit because I obviously can't wear them - my measurements are roughly 44-35-44.)

I shared video of them live on IG and saved it as a story, and then posted two of them as plain old Insta posts, if you want to see them. But I'm going to be long-winded about them here, too.

- The "Very Easy Crinoline". They've had several of these in the shop for a while and I've considered them for potential patterning, but only now actually bought one. It's basically an A-line skirt of stiff net with a ruffle on the bottom, the waist edge and ruffle hem bound, raw edges basically just pressed to one side and sewn. In just this evening I've fully turned it into a graded pattern and saved as letter and A4 printouts; I've sent it to be printed so I can have physical patterns as well. (I'll eventually print the Bessie patterns, but I want to figure out how many I really need first as they're like $7 apiece to print, they're so big.) I don't think I even need testers, the grading is so basic. It runs from a 21" waist to 51".

- Fancier crinoline, the "Barbizon Petti-Beau"! It's a gold nylon-orlon with two black net ruffles on the underside. The way they're attached is so interesting - basically, they're set in place, then the nylon is pinched up with the top edge from the outside, and that whole bit is bound on the outside, so you get some extra stiffening. Elastic waist, just slightly too small for me, depending on your definition of "slightly". Technically also pretty easy when you get down to it, but it doesn't look very easy.

- Dressing gown, pattern as yet unnamed. It has a "fashioned by Delro" tag, but that doesn't really have the cachet of "Barbizon", so I'll probably give it a lady's name. Rayon, somewhat translucent, with a black, pink, and blue floral print; reddish purple piping. Fairly broad lapels with pronounced point, and it fastens with two buttons in a kind of double-breasted configuration. Magyar sleeves with cuffs. (No sleevils!) This might actually fit me, but I haven't tried it on yet! Although I do know that it's super long, it would drag on the floor if I wore it.

- Green wool skirt suit - I'm having a hard time dating it because it's a little contradictory. Overall '40s styling with the jacket coming down over the hips and a just-below-the-knee skirt, but it has only the most minimal shoulder buildup and the skirt is straight. I'm thinking it's early postwar, maybe? The back-of-the-neck label is for McLean's, a department store that was in Binghamton, which is some pretty cool local history, and then there's a label inside the front for the designer, Rafi. Some cute detailing with these applied horseshoes on the jacket. Once I turn this into a pattern I am definitely making this for myself. I would kind of like to name this "Phyllis" for my grandmother, who would have probably liked to have worn a suit like this in that bank job she had right out of high school but could not at all have afforded it.

- Last but very much not least, a black velvet cocktail dress from the early 1960s. (Possible names: Holly, Audrey, Tiffany.) It has a boat neck in the front and a deepish V neckline in the back, where it fastens in a crossover trimmed with a velvet bow. It's so cute and also so small that I will never ever have a hope of fitting into it, but I think it would look fantastic on my mother. It'll probably not be too tricky to grade, although it has bust and waist darts, which I haven't really dealt with yet.

In general I don't want "modern" stuff to be an overarching theme for my shop, because my #brand is historical and I'm more interested in making interesting museum garments available to the world, and also I don't want to step on Lauren M's toes (though I don't really have to worry about finding 1930s and early '40s stuff at Underground Attic, most of what's there is 1960s and later).

The shop owner came in as I was making my purchases, which was great as I hadn't seen her in months, and I got to tell her that I'd really started my business. She told me she has a lot of stuff that isn't in good enough condition to sell in the shop which she'd be happy to make available to me for patterning - plus her personal collection of antique clothing. We talked a bit about my doing a multipack of 1890s capelets because she has some interesting ones!

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