The vintage scene is huge at the moment and there are a lot of fabulous bloggers out there who are much better and more knowledgeable about it than me*, so don't worry, I'm not going to start writing fashion columns or telling you how to achieve perfect Victory rolls while plucking your eyebrows into a sublime arch and rocking your latest peplum (although I'd love to be able to tell you how to do all those things. In fact, if you guys find out, can you tell me, please? I'm rubbish at all of that). In fact I am very much a beginner, until recently more of an admirer from afar, but I have found myself with more and more 'vintage inspired' pieces in my wardrobe.
Being a sensibly-sized person, and with some experience of trying costumes on for stage productions, I find it tricky to find genuine vintage pieces that fit. They'll often fit my waist and hips, but get up to the shoulders and I've no chance. Seriously, did women prior to 1970 have no shoulders at all? It's a pet theory of mine that women of yesteryear never had any need to raise their arms above waist height and therefore it didn't matter that it was impossible to move out of the penguin position at any time.
But, oh, it's those 1930's and 40's outfits, with their slim sleeves, exquisite tailoring and glorious silhouettes that I am drawn to again and again. A 50's circle dress, such as the wonderful repro versions available from Vivien of Holloway, is great for a party (or, indeed, a team of piratical bridesmaids), but it's so much harder to find - and wear - that Golden Age look from a few decades earlier, especially if you don't have the money to a) buy genuine pieces and b) hire minions to hail taxis for you and do all the other things that might require you to lift your arms to an unladylike angle.
So it was with great joy and jubilation that I came across a wonderful US pattern site the other day.
Evadress.com offer a drool-worthy collection of clothing patterns from yesteryear, all re-drafted in order to cater for multiple modern sizes. Everything from achingly beautiful evening gowns to dapper gents trousers (don't forget your pipe), and this frankly batshit-awesome 1887 halloween costume.
|My wings are a shield of steel. And crinoline.|
|I shall also endeavour to perfect the Sideways Look of Disdain|
The pattern arrived in the post yesterday and I have only had time to glance at it briefly. Like all patterns, upon first glance it feels a little like stumbling across an ancient manuscript covered in complex diagrams and symbols from a language that time forgot, but I'm sure it will come into focus once I look more closely. Otherwise I'll just nip to the British Museum and see if they'll lend me the Rosetta Stone.
It's likely to be a slow project, as I'm simultaneously launching the made-to-order-clothing side of the Emporium (follow me on Facebook for more news on that!), but I shall pop back with updates and let you know how I get on.
I'd love to hear from anyone else who's used an Evadress pattern. How did it work out for you?
*Check out the gorgeous ladies who make up the Vintage Mafia, for starters. The marvellous Fleur de Guerre's Diary of a Vintage Girl is one of my particular favourites.