Thursday, January 2, 2014

Emily's Vintage Fashion Inspiration for 2014

It's exciting to think of the new year as a clean slate for DIY projects, whether they involve new skills or old, whether they're challenging or simple. This is the season for planning and scheming and I'm so happy it's finally come! Of course, when we get to the winter doldrums in four weeks or so I'll be whining and crying about how I can't take the winter weather anymore, but I guess Michigan is like that...

So here is a sampling of the vintage fashion that I've been drooling over recently:

 To the right here is a dress that is listed as being from 1918, though I have to admit I'm kind of skeptical of the dating on it. It really seems to be later than that. Still, it's listed by a seemingly reputable vintage dealer in Chicago, so maybe they really do know their stuff.  
Anyway, I love the large, bold front plaiting, made more delicate by the embroidery and bead patterned trim. The small pleats along the bust are awesome too, especially with the texture of the silk. It's a dress that you know would cling to all of the right places, alluding to form and shape without revealing anything too daring.  
There is very little detail about this dress on the web site where I found it, but the delicate, relaxed-looking lines and starchy, intricate details are enough to make me want to draft a pattern inspired by it. Now I've just got to find a nice source for silk that isn't in terrible, gaudy colors!

This next one is a woolen day dress from 1924, designed by Chanel and I'm pretty sure it's from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection (Ya know, that seriously amazing fashion collection that they keep hiding in some dark secret place? That one.)
I'm having a hard time finding much information about this dress as well, but I almost wonder if it's a wool knit, based on the way that it drapes. I love the covered buttons and the chain detail. This is a great example of a mid twenties dress that might actually work for someone a bit bustier than the typical female silhouette of the era.
The piecing on this one is also very curious, and the diagonal lines seem like they would be flattering to a curvier lady. I can just picture this one with a pair of buffed brown oxfords, a set of pearls and a sage green cloche hat!

 This third photo is a period photo from 1942 of two members of the Women's Land Army, specifically the New South Wales division in Australia. The Women's Land Army, or WLA, was a division of the National Service and was a volunteer organization. The women of the WLA were responsible for much of the agriculture during the second World War. 
So anyway, this photo shows some great vintage overalls, or dungarees, and I am just dying to make myself a pair to throw on in the morning for farm chores. Theirs are most certainly army issued, so there wasn't much variation in them. I am currently drafting a pattern that allows for a thick cotton flannel lining and if they work well I may eventually do a pair lined in wool for the coldest of our Michigan months.  
I am constantly finding myself inspired by the women of the Land Army, as well as the thrifty utilitarian fashion of war-time. War brings about a sort of practicality in fashion that seriously stirs me.  

Finally I wanted to end with something a little less predictable. This dress is supposedly straight from the 1940's, though it's another one that I suspect is a bit later than the original poster has said. There is something so classically utopian/dystopian about this dress's design that reminds me of the aesthetic of older sci-fi movies like Blade Runner, and Dark City (and maybe even a bit of City of Ember). 
I love the seemingly pointless detail around the collar, and there is another tab with a strip of non-functional buttons down the back. It's so starkly contrasting against the utilitarian and somewhat stuffy, conservative cut of the dress. 

This just begs to be drafted and remade in a slubby neutral wool with some sort of wild button color (and maybe contrasting stitching or embroidery?) The possibilities are endless! 

Have you been seriously inspired by anything lately? Do you have any big projects planned for the new year? Thanks for checking in!
- Emily