Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Wardrobe for Cleaning.

Because everything in her house is waterproof, the housewife of 2000 can do her daily cleaning with a hose.

Another confession my friends. I'm not very good at motivating myself to do the cleaning. Of course I do it on a weekly basis, but I don't particularly like it. I know it doesn't take long. I know it's not as hard as I think it is, but you've got to admit it isn't really very fun.

I think the problem is my cleaning wardrobe. I normally clean in a pair of shorts and ratty tee shirt. This is boring, lame, and above all frumpy. It is simply not acceptable. What I need are some new cleaning outfits like these. 

Oh, this could be my dream kitchen. Don't you just love the kitschy wallpaper? And did you all note the fabulous white strappy shoes! The mini wedge is super cute. Oh white strappy open toed shoes, I need you more and more each day. Who knew they were acceptable cleaning footwear? Yet another reason to pick up a pair! Cleaning is more fun when you are looking your best!

Or I could always clean in an outfit like this. I'm sure Fiancé wouldn't mind. Just make sure to have all the curtains drawn before you start cleaning in this daring look. 

Vintage aprons are fun, but I've got enough of those. What I really need are some vintage house dresses. Yes, house dresses are the key to joyful home cleaning. I mean, look at this women. She's just brimming with the joy of domesticity. Would she be as happy if she were wearing a Frumpy McFrump outfit? I think we all know the answer to that question. 

This is my real cleaning schedule. I basically divide my weekly chores by the day. I generally follow the FlyLady program, with a few changes to fit our crazy schedule. 

Monday: Weekend recovery/Kitchen Day (Water plants, mop kitchen floor, clean kitchen counters and appliances, Clean up whatever mess we inevitably made over the weekend)
Tuesday: Big Cleaning Day/"Home Blessing" Day (Change Sheets, vacuuming, Fiancé empties trash cans and puts garbage out for pick up, Clean out fridge, Dust furniture.)
Wednesday: Dreaded Bathroom Cleaning Day (Mop Bathroom floors, Clean mirrors and doors, scrub toilets, do whatever's left over from Tuesday, make grocery list)
Thursday: Errand Day (Dry Cleaning, Grocery Shopping, Other appointments)
Friday: Paperwork Day/Misc Day (Pay bills, send out birthday cards, mend clothing, clean out car, clear out laundry room) 
Friday night is Date Night. Fiancé normally takes me to our favorite little Japanese restaurant. 

Don't tell anyone, but I sometimes cheat and don't do everything I am supposed to. This is all due to my lack of a proper wardrobe of course. (Right. Wardrobe. That's it. Really! I swear!) So I have constructed my fantasy cleaning wardrobe for optimum cleaning fun. With these I bet I could clean all day and all night. 

Monday starts with this 1939 house dress. Wouldn't cleaning the kitchen sink be so much more fun with this lovely little number? I love the first view with the rickrack. So cute! My ideal Monday dress is the view on the left in a lovely minty green with red or yellow rickrack trim. This is my favorite dress of the bunch. It's important to put your favorite thing on a Monday to help motivate you for the week!

1942ish. The big sleeves on this would be great for the more intense cleaning work I do on Tuesdays. I have got to be able to move around to do all that vacuuming and dusting. The big pocket is perfect for stashing little knick-knacks, papers, or misc. items that need to be placed in another room. I picture this dress in red. Maybe a little ivory rickrack around the arms? hmm? hmm?

Loving the ruffled sleeves on this house dress. Can you see that I have a thing for ruffles? Don't get me started on ribbons. This pattern is from 1948, but the cut of the bodice really reminds me of the 1930s. Imagine view 2 in a blue cotton floral print! Laundry would be so much more pleasurable in this lovely little number. Of course I would have to wear my special bathroom cleaning apron on top of this while scrubbing the toilets. I really don't need those anywhere near my homemade dress. Yick.

Thursday is errand day. This 1953 belted house dress would be perfect for taking a quick run out to the grocery store, picking up the dry cleaning, and getting my hair done. I'd wear a comfortable pair of cleaning shoes at home, but of course I'd switch to pumps to leave the house. I picture this dress in a lovely forest green with a big black belt. 

And finally Friday's house dress from 1941. I picture this in a soft pink cotton print with little flowers or polka dots. (Note stappy white shoes again.) Friday is paperwork day and doesn't involve a lot of elbow grease so a pastel would be just perfect. It also has nice large pockets for holding objects to be transported from room to room. It is also a wrap dress. What type of figure isn't flattered by a wrap dress? With this cut once the cleaning is done it would be a perfect dress for date night! No changing necessary. I'd just let my hair down and go. 

What's your fantasy cleaning wardrobe look like? Would having a cleaning wardrobe turn household chores into house hold joys? Let me know!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Vinspiration Tuesday! 1920s Hats!

So this week has been nothing short of crazy. Operation finish the dining room is nearly complete. I may or may not have taken an artist brush to my dining room molding this weekend. After about two hours or trying to perfect every stroke Fiancé told me the room was done. Complete. I'm not allowed to paint it anymore. So I can now say that after two months of hemming and hawing over the painting lines the dining room is finished. It is finally time to move in Fiancé's 1930s Brazilian mahogany inheritance. I'm looking forward to actually having a nice place to seat guests. Guess it's time to get to work on those curtains!

My sewing output has been very low this past week, but my business output has been high. Yay work! "But Nancy," you say, "How will you ever finish your summer essentials?" Well my friends, bathing suits. Bathing suits are the way. You may remember the 1980s swim suit post from a while back. I'm planning to make two of these and perhaps a blouse for good measure. Fiancé also wants me to finish Magenta Dress which has been hanging out on the ironing board for a month now. I have to get myself some clear seam stabilizing elastic before I do that. Heavier weight jerseys, like the jersey I am using for Magenta Dress need some added strength at the seams. I refuse to sew my shoulder seams without it.

So that's the goings on here. There probably won't be too many pictures of the sewing process. Unfortunately the new old camera just does not like my operating system and it's a big project to get the photos off the camera. I'm hoping to get a SLR for my birthday in September, but I'd settle for a point and click.

So onto today's vinspiration. I've decided that today will be all about hats.

The Beautiful Marlene Dietrich in "Desire" ca. 1936.  

I love hats! Hats give me this wonderful happy feeling. I can't get enough of them! I love the look, I love when other people wear hats, I like to wear hats whenever possible. Bring back the hat I say!!! Nowadays however I find that hats really give off more of a formal feel than I would like. Whenever I wear a hat I am always asked what the special occasion is or what type of formal event am I going to even if the rest of my outfit is casual.
Two girls in straw hats ca. 1907

From the 1700s up until the 1940s-1960s hats were an every day article of clothing. So what happened? When did the hat become something that is never worn or only worn for special occasions?

Girl in super cute hat ca. mid-1930s

Well most sources point to World War II as the beginning of the downfall of the hat. During the war years many women found themselves working outside the home, doing jobs that were historically men's work, and with rationing many women stopped wearing hats daily. It was just another expense in a tight budget. In the 1960s hats almost completely disappeared. My soon to be Mother in Law can give you a very convincing argument as to how the Kennedy's killed the hat, but I think the most probable cause of that hat's demise is the popularity of big sculpted hairdos.

A family photo ca. 1969. That is some serious hair. 

Women were literally spending hours on building their hair as high as possible. I wouldn't stick a hat on top of that either.

There was a short resurgence of hats in the 1990s thanks to Princess Diana, but that resurgence has long fizzled out. So enjoy these photos of a time long gone when no outfit was complete without a fabulous chapeau. Hats of the 1920s.

And for a little color.

And just for fun I had to include this cute 1920s wedding photo. Love it!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Results of the Caftan Poll

So two people named that movie!

The answer was Logan's Run!  

Congratulations Spacewomanspiff and Maura. Your prizes are 15 brownie points each, your names mentioned on this here blog, a good sized boost to your coolness factor, and the knowledge that you two are some of the proud few that have witnessed the film's awesomeness.

An Honorable Mention goes to Amy who knew the actor in the caftan was none other than Mr. Michael York. Amy gets 8 brownie points.

If you haven't seen it you should really try to pick up or rent it. Here are some yummy 1976 visuals to entice you.

Come on, how could you not want to see this now that you've seen this fantastic opening logo?

Caftan alert!

Jenny Agutter has got to be one of the most beautiful women in history. She is just so pretty. 

The lovely Mrs. Farrah. 

Hope you enjoy the movie as much as I do!

This whole thing has given me an idea. Fiancé and I watch a lot of obscure old movies. I would call us old movie buffs. Would anyone be interested in a "name that film" contest? I'd post a photo from an old movie and people could leave guesses in the comments of the post. I could run them about once a month or so and the fabulous prize would of course be a vintage pattern from my collection. Yay or nay?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Would you wear this?

Today it's dirty little secrets day. I admit to receiving this pattern in a box lot from an estate sale and not putting it into the "toss" pile.

It is proportioned to my height after all.
 Simplicity 8354 circa 1969. 

I just couldn't bring myself to throw it out. Caftan's are such a unique fashion statement from the 1970s and iconic of the decade. Plus they remind me of one of my all time favorite movies.

Brownie points if you can name this film in the comments of this post. 

I also confess that the idea of making these costumes for Fiancé and myself for the upcoming Dragon Con has crossed my mind several times. With some good bed sheets I know at least the black caftan could be done in under $25.

Although the caftan is iconic to the 1970s it has some how persisted through the decades in sewing patterns. I suppose people might wear caftans at home as lounge wear nowadays, but I don't know of anyone who owns one. The only caftan I've ever seen out in public was worn by my crazy 8th grade art teacher in 1999. So why have you always been able to buy a caftan pattern in the large fabric stores? My best guess as to why they're are still around is that they are very simple to make. The 8354 above has like what... 4 seams?



1999 Koko Beall (This looks very similar to the 80s caftan above... just saying..)

2000's Kwik Sew. Yeah... that's a cute model, but that caftan is not faltering to her figure at all. 

I'm sure caftans are very comfortable though I can't say I've ever worn one. I'm not a huge fan of the post 70s caftan styles. I still find the early 1970s vintage caftan styles to be down right elegant. Caftans of the later decades just can't compare.

1973. Not sure how I feel about floral caftan in the front there, but the solid blue without the bow ties is nice.

1973. Very mod. The black and white is actually quite lovely. Green on the left has a great little cinching waistline added which looks oh-so-sweet.

1973. I'm starting to see a pattern here (har har... oh, so punny) as far as which year to get your caftan patterns from. These asymmetrical caftans are so chic.

1972. The red version is definitely more lounge wear than anything, but I like the sleeves very much. The jumpsuit on the right... that isn't really something I could pull off per say, but if it floats someone's boat then I say go for it!

1970. The center caftan there is very cute, though I suppose it's more of an Abaya.

1972. I'm digging the waist line on the view 2 there, definitely improves the flatterability (I made that word up) of the caftan look.

So what do you think? Would you wear a caftan? Do you think caftans are the ugliest things on the planet? Would you make a caftan? Do you think they'll come back in style soon or should they even come back in style? Let me know your thoughts!