Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mommy Knows Worst by James Lileks

Easily the funniest book I've read in years.  James Lileks has compiled the most absurd and dangerous parental advice from the 30's thru to the 50's. His hilarious and extreme narration and observations of these relics is even funnier than the nonsense that passed for good advice back in the day.

From window hung metallic cages for apartment dwelling mommies to ensure their baby gets all the fresh air and sun they require to articles warning mothers against picking up and touching their "little stranger" unless it's absolutely needed so as not to create an adult that must be committed to an asylum later on!!! 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cow Cow Boogie - Ella Mae Morse

She had an innovative style of blending so many genre's together. Country, blues, jazz, swing. Amazing Lady.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ella Fitzgerald - A-Tisket, A-Tasket

If you've never heard this song you are missin' out man!

Here she sings "A - Tisket, A-Tasket" in an appearance in 1941 in the Abbott and Costello movie "Ride 'Em Cowboy."

The 1940s

He briefly mentions how creative ladies had to get with cosmetics during WWII rations. Using soft lead pencils in their eyebrows, and the lady in the video seems to be using some type of watery dye for her lips, maybe it's beet juice?

 This is his book.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Quick Curl Set, Vintage Hairstyle

Hi Ladies,

This is for those Gals out there who do NOT have the time to do the much more labor intensive hairstyle I posted last week.  This will take about 15 minutes to get into pin curls.  If you are not a pin curl lady you can use the same curl pattern with a large barrel curling iron.  My curls don't last when I use curling irons so I stick to pin curls. Good luck Ladies!

Vintage Haircuts & Hairstyles for Short Hair

I drew a copy of a vintage haircut to share, since it's copyrighted material I couldn't print the original.

I've made a small collection of hairstyles specifically for short hair from the huge collection at

Friday, June 18, 2010

Vintage Sewing Pattern Design Site

This place is wonderful, very detailed info on construction and design of your own sewing patterns.

Vintage Sewing Pattern Re-Release

I just recently found a vintage re issue sewing pattern that retails for $17.00 on ebay for $5.00 total, uncut & unused.  The seller has about 10 available at the moment.

I just received it in the mail, have yet to make any clothes with it. So I hope all is well with the pattern pieces, it all seems to be there. I am making the slacks this week.

Vintage Haircuts, the Middy, the femme fatale, & the baby

Hi Ladies,

Here are a few authentic vintage haircuts from this decade we are all so fond of. Just click on the image to enlarge. The originals were copyrighted material so I just made sketches of them for everybody.  Just keep in mind the length shown at the nape of the neck is for the majority of the head. The length of the bangs and the sides of the head will vary.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Everyday Fashions of the Forties by JoAnne Olian


 I just checked this book out of my local library and am so glad I did, I've got to buy it now.  She's got a lot of great info on the ol' Sears Catalogs from this decade.  When I think of Sears I cringe frankly, I remember my Grandmother taking me there, I had a really hard time finding anything that I thought looked good.  Apparently in JoAnne's book she mentions that the old catalogs ONLY contained exactly what people said they wanted to buy.  I'd love to have a clothing dealer now that would be so cooperative! That's why I make my own clothes!   She talks briefly about how the rural corn farmer and his wife were dressed as smartly as the stocks trader in Manhattan or L.A. would've been and other interesting wartime era details.  It's mostly just the best of 10 years of the catalogs pages.

1940's Fashion Designs for Sewing Patterns

I've been collecting every pattern cover I can find from the era, click on the image to enlarge it.   

As I was sifting through these designs I felt some of these were very 'mid century modern' or 50's.  Then I remembered by the end of WWII Dior latest design that was called "the New Look" began to influence the formerly masculine designs of wartime clothing. Which soon developed into that waspish appearance that is characterized by the 50's. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hairstyles from the 1940's

I found excerpts from  "1940's Hairstyles" at scribd here for free this is the link: 1940s-Hairstyles

Actually, I did some more research on this book. I found this book on amazon for $90.00!!! Can you believe that?!   It's free at the link above, it's just the images were scanned at very poor quality. 

Also interesting link to huge catalog of 'Remembering the 1940's Books Site'

Authentic WWII Era Hairstyles & How To Have One

This is what I think of when I'm talking about a 40's hairstyle. I used to set my Grandmothers hair all the time, so I thought I'd share some pin curl skills for those who would like to have an authentic 'era correct' style.

Just so we are all on the same page lets review a few examples of what hair was really like during WWII.

This is my Grandmother.

Now do any of these ladies look like they have created a candy crunch net of hairspray over their entire head?
No.  Their hair is soft undulating waves of brush-able inviting locks that lasted for days without alot of product. Now I will show you how to do the same thing.

Click on the images below then click again to zoom in to read the type. I keep a spray bottle of water on hand to keep my hair damp as I roll it up.

I do not use any product at all just shampoo. No setting lotion, no hairspray, no conditioner.  Conditioner just weighs my hair down and reduces the shine and actually makes it dirty. Your hair [my hair anyway] will stay clean longer with out it you know. After three days my hair still smells freshly washed. Hairspray will make it stinky also so use as little as possible.  

I know ladies! "Comb out my hair with no conditioner!!! Well I've Never!" But the end result is soooo worth it, unless of course it's so processed that it becomes rubber bands when wet.  

Just try it and be patient and gentle, try a really large toothed comb to do it, starting from your ends and gradually working your way up to your scalp not the other way around.  

This way your pin curl set will last a few days and it won't smell funky. {This won't do for ladies who's exercise regimen requires that they get sweaty, sorry ladies}

  • If your going for more of a Veronica Lake look with shiny large finger waves, I'll do a post on that later, her hairdo is simple.

  • Now more important facts you need to know.  There is a special way to brush these hairstyles also. Blouse-brushing. It's referred to here in this article found at that treasure chest called a blog
This article is in reference to a particular hairdo in '51 but the concept is the same, controlled brushing and sculpting of the waves over your hands or fingers. Guiding the waves into place, not just brush brush brushing out so you have a halo of frizz.

  • It's really important that you use blouse brushing or a controlled method of brushing out your curls other wise you are going to get massive frizzy volume.
  • Also if you use product such as setting lotion or gel, use your hands and fingers to break up the set so the curls soften prior to brushing out.  
  • Your hair must be absolutely bone dry! If you take your pins out and your hair is slightly damp your curls will fall out.  
  • I use a dryer bonnet  that I made that I attach to my hair dryer. It takes 45 min's to 1 hour. 
  • You can let it dry over night but I would advise covering your pin curls with a scarf so you don't knock out your bobby pins in the night.
  • Finally after I initially brush out the pin curls I rake my fingers slowly downward in a pulling motion and arrange the waves and curls as I would like them to fall. This will rid the frizz and huge volume you get from brushing out pin curls.

    fri june 18, 2010:


    Hi Ladies, I've been thinking about all you gals who just don't have the time to do a full curl set like this. I have a few other methods in mind for you and will do a post for you soon.

    If any of you ladies out there know of a conditioner or hairspray that truly leaves your hair clean for days I would really like to know about it! Please tell us in the comment section. I'll keep an eye out. Thanks.

      How To Acheive That Natural Look of the 1940's Era Cosmetics

      The 40's look was all about being as natural as possible.  Even though it took alot of effort to pull it off, it was really worth it.  

      Here are just a few of the Women that set the standards for beauty in Hollywood of the 1940's Era: clockwise starting from upper left: Ava Gardner, Barbara Stanwyck, Rosalind Russell, and last but by no means least the Beautiful Joan Crawford.


      In my tutorial I do not include the false eyelashes that all ladies wore. Sorry ladies, but that's a skill you'll need to hone all on your lonesome. Besides they pull out your lashes.

      By the way, they were human hair, so if you got them wet you lost the curl in your lashes. My Grandmother mentioned once how she actually curled her falsies to get them to look right after getting them wet, you pretty much use the same technique you do for your hair.

      I used to wear fake lashes for years. I really don't enjoy pulling out my natural lashes with glue so I can become dependent on fake ones.  So I do not include falsies in this tutorial.  I'm not a fan of them anymore.

      Also important to know, makeup artists of this era achieved an ephemeral glow to the complexion by applying a much darker foundation makeup then applying a very light face powder to this darker foundation. I thought this was fascinating. 

      I don't enjoy the feel of the [era correct] heavy pancake makeup worn during this period so I will be using a mineral powder foundation. [I know all my talk about era correctness and I use modern day mineral powder! That pancake spackle just isn't pore friendly sorry gals.]

      Click on the images below to enlarge then click on them again to supersize enough to read type.

      Here's a list of very basic supplies any gal needs to be drop dead gorgeous:

      For instructions to have an authentic vintage manicure look see my post here:  vintage-manicure-real-one

      These vintage magazine articles were found at my absolute favorite site ever!
      She has spent days and days and days scanning her collection. Her blog is full of great historical information.

      Don't forget to visit:

      If any of you ladies know of pore friendly 'vintage' style pancake makeup please tell us about it in the comment section. I'll keep an eye out.