Friday, November 27, 2009

What's On Sale- Hair Flower Hangers

I am very addicted to hair flowers and have amassed quite a collection. In order to keep my hair flowers in good shape and away from my cats, I made myself a hair flower hanger. I had enough people ask me about mine that I went online to see what else was available and I was surprised to find that everything was geared towards children.

So starting a few days ago I added a couple of rockabilly hair flower hangers in my etsy shop Tart Deco with adults in mind (although it can be used for hip children). The hanging space is approx. 12" long and you can fit 10-16 clips, depending on size, sometimes more.

They are going for $20. However, right now I have the one pictured at left on ebay and the auction starts at $13.99, so you have a chance get it for less than regular price.

I am also taking custom orders and can make them twice as long for just a little bit more if you have a lot of flowers like me. I will be adding more if I get enough interest in them, so let me know if this is something you'd like to see more of.

Sorry for the less than stellar pictures but I still haven't had a chance to set up my photo area since the move!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"The Fifties" Video Review

I just finished watching "The Fifties" by David Halberstam, which was a TV series produced by The History Channel. For those of you who don't know, I am currently getting a coordinated degree in library science and music history and my area of research is women in rockabilly and the social constructs of the 1950s. I have written two papers already and having not seen this series I was amazed at how closely the the special followed my previous papers on the subject. I have read a few reviews by people who lived during the time that they felt this series concentrated too much on the negative aspects of the time and how it fed into the sixties, but I feel that Halberstam did a great job of stepping back and trying to put the decade into context despite having lived it himself. There is a lot of information assembled into this 8-part (6 tape) series, but I felt each topic was covered sufficiently and gave me enough to research more on my own, if I desired. I plan on acquiring the book that the series was based on as it should delve a bit deeper into each subject.

As far as how the series covered the topic of women, it could have spent a little more time talking about the role of women and how they were used to keep the family unit together to combat "the red scare." I was pleased at how they talked about the boom of consumerism, but again, little was mentioned about how the media would try to manipulate women, who were the major buyers of the time. Also, any mention of music of the time was spent on Elvis Presley, which is an incredibly narrow view of the history of rockabilly and rock n' roll. Some of this is probably due to Halberstam's concentration of major social issues and the fact that he is not a music historian. I am hoping the book covers more of this and I will make sure to follow-up once I have read it.

If you are interested in learning more, you can view reviews and abstracts, as well as available copies, by clicking on the covers below.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Grading Vintage Patterns

One of my new favorite blogs Wearing History just posted about a vintage pattern primer on a blog which I am sure I will be devouring the entirety of- Casey's Elegant Musings. The primer has tons of practical advice on how to work with vintage patterns, as well as links to other sources to find patterns or other advice.

Be sure to go to the Threads Magazine link for grading vintage patterns. Wow, it is a thorough explanation with pictures (like the one shown) on how to upsize a pattern to keep the original line of the garment.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Whats On Sale- Red Gingham Dress

I came across this adorable plus size dress on ebay while looking for something to wear at my upcoming holiday show with my band Sidecar Steph & the 7-10 Split. This is the 2nd dress I've posted that has a wide difference between the bust and waist size, which leads me to think that some of these gals were wearing corsets and not girdles. Hmmmm... Anyhoo, here are the details on the dress, which ends Nov. 29th.

     44" chest, 28" waist, 46" hip, 17" shoulder to waist, 29" waist to hem, 
     17" sleeve (underarm to cuff), 17" shoulder seam to shoulder seam. 
     Opening bid is $34.95 or you can "buy it now" at $54.95

Friday, November 20, 2009

Plus-size Vintage Patterns

Gertie from Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing just did a guest post on about vintage patterns in plus sizes, some up to a 48" bust. Of special note are 2 websites, Decades of Style and EvaDress,  that have true reproductions in larger sizes so they stay closer to the original styles, like the pattern to the right.
My favorite is a 40s cowgirl blouse from Decades of Style for $20. This one is going on my holiday wishlist for sure!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Upcycling and Recycling Vintage

I have read many different opinions about using vintage pieces to create new pieces. One thing I want to stress is that I use the tag "vintage" to mean anything in the 20th century, particularly after 1910. Anything older than that I consider antique and have a whole other set of rules I apply.

Some people are adamantly opposed to modifying vintage items, even if they are damaged, because they feel the item has historical significance and should not be altered in any way. Then there are the people who believe that they are creating new art and view the vintage piece as a medium.

I am somewhere in the middle. While I agree that tearing into a vintage item purely to make a profit is not cool, I do believe that things are to be used and it does no one any good if they are locked up in a box collecting dust. If there is a perfectly good vintage item, like a dress, that can be worn, then it should be worn. If it has sentimental value to it, then find a way to display it or have a seamstress recreate the pattern (this can be done without taking it apart) and have a reproduction made. There are infinite possibilities available to utilize a vintage piece.

When it comes to a damaged item, I revel in the fact that it has been loved in its original form and I try to find a way to recycle or upcycle as much of the item as I can. This does not mean ripping it apart and using it for kindling! It could mean adding a few panels to the skirt where the seams have ripped, or making the dress sleeveless because the underarms have disintegrated. Both of these examples I took directly from a Make Do & Mend book I have from 1953. Yes, make-do continued long after World War II because women still wanted or needed to be thrifty and altering old garments was a great way to do it.

So I ask- how is recycling or upcycling any different than make-do and mend? In 50 years, how are we to know that someone won't look at my modifications of damaged goods as a vintage masterpiece? Of course, there are always exceptions, but on a whole I don't see anything wrong with saving a damaged vintage item so it can actually be used.

Thoughts or opinions? I'd love to hear them!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Vintage Bride 40s vs 50s

I haven't posted anything for weddings in a while. I think I needed to glory in my own from July a bit :) However, I can see that I am still getting quite a few hits for weddings and since I have tons of resources that I used to plan my own, I will keep posting until I get through them all.

One resource that I found incredibly helpful in deciding on my dress silhouette was a book called Vintage Weddings by Daniela Turudich. Unfortunately, the book is out of print, but I was able to get a copy to use through my local library. I still have a few scans from the book and I thought I would post them for you to give you an idea of the book contents.

The neatest thing about the book is that it covers 1910 through 1950, giving various details on each era and it's accompanying accessories. This is extremely helpful to someone that knows they want to have a vintage wedding but doesn't know which style they like the best. By breaking each decade down, Turudich helps to outline the traits that a bride may find suits her personality the best. Below are the dress details from the 40s and 50s, so you can see the difference. You can click on the images to enlarge them.



What's On Sale- Crinolines

My mind has been on crinolines and petticoats lately. I love them, but they are sometimes a pain to make, so I prefer to buy them when I find a good sale. Here are some cute ones on etsy for good prices:

waist stretches from 16" to 32"
length from waist to ruffles is 9"
total length is 26"


Waist: 26" stretching to 38"
Length: 20"
25 yards of fabric


(check out the rest of the store for some more crinoline goodies!)

Elastic waist stretches from 14" to 19"
Five layers of tulle with black satin ribbon trim and hem line
Length 30"


Friday, November 13, 2009

Tip Top Atomic

In the town of Bay View, WI, which is known for it's strong support of the rockabilly lifestyle, is a cute little shop called Tip Top Atomic Shop. Owned by Jim and Lisa Dutcher, this shop is THE place to go if you seek anything rockabilly, hipster or tiki.

I may be slightly biased because they also carry my hair flowers, but I was a customer long before that. I have purchased a variety of items, from dresses and sweaters to a sewing pattern box. Looking for bacon-flavored toothpicks or vintage lamps? They got em! As you can see from the pictures, they have great taste and I often visit them just to see what hip displays they have going on.

Quite honestly, I think of Tip Top as a personal boutique. They have set hours, but they are also available for appointments. Are you a hard to find size or looking for something specific? Just give them a call and they will pull from their collection (in-store and at-home) and have it waiting for you. These kids are the real deal.

Are you addicted to online shopping or can't get to the area? Not a problem, Tip Top has an ebay store. They also buy vintage items, concentrating on 40s-60s eras.

Do yourself a favor and check them out. You'll thank me.

Corsets and Girdles- Oh My!

As a curvy girl (and singer who likes Gilbert and Sullivan) who has used corset and girdles for various occasions, I could appreciate the cartoon above that I found on This was taken from a page on "stout" women and corsets. I was surprised to read how prevalent curvy gals were, even in the 30s when I thought everyone was tiny, tiny, tiny and flat-chested. Perhaps I am just biased because I can never find vintage clothes in my size when I go shopping...

Thanks to the Glamour Daze blog for turning me on to the corsetiere site in this post.

Pictures taken from

Thursday, November 12, 2009

For the Boys

I haven't posted anything for the rockabilly cats in a while. I was going to write about pomades as my husband has about 5 cans laying about (He ain't no FOP man!), but I found this lovely post on Atomic Radar that pretty much sums it up. Why reinvent the wheel, right? (edit- I have linked to a cached version of the post as there seems to be a problem with the site right now)

Guys, want a vintage cut but not sure where to go or what to ask for? Or maybe you are nervous about the lingo? There is a comprehensive Hudson's guide on FTM Resource website that covers vintage and modern cuts, including lingo and what you can expect at a barbershop.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Circle Skirts & Petticoats Tutorials

What rockabilly gal doesn't love a circle skirt? I haven't met one yet and I am no exception. Circle skirts are flattering and fun! They are easy to sew, which is made even more clear in the article given by the lady who reportedly "invented" them, Juli Lynne Charlot. The super fun blog Here's Looking Like You, Kid has a nice couple of postings on the history of circle skirts.

Want to make one? Here is a decent tutorial on the Madame X website. The Whirling Turban website also has a nice description of the different kinds of circle skirts and how they lay on your body. While you are there, be sure to check out their delicious repro dresses.

Of course, if you have a nice full circle skirt, you need a petticoat or crinoline to go with it. Otherwise how will you achieve the oh-so sassy look on the right? The woman in the pictures is Alice Lon and she worked on Lawrence Welk (one of my favorite TV shows when I was a kid). She had an article in T/V. Guide in 1956 explaining how her mother made them. has recreated the article here.

Both pictures taken from

What's On Sale- Gingham Dress

If I could fit into this dress it would be MINE, all mine! But alas I cannot so you my readers get a tip off on a sweet deal for a sweet dress. You see those flower designs? Yep, rhinestones are hand sewn on those babies. Sigh...

Details: Measurements: bust 40, waist 28, hips full, bodice 16, skirt 27, overall length 43, sleeves 5, shoulder 15.


It is on ebay with no bids right now and ends Nov. 16

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Vintage Repro Labels & Decals

One of my favorite blogs Welcome to Deluxeville just blogged about Sweet Gal Decals, an online store that has amazing vintage reproduction decals and labels like the ones pictures in this post. There are labels for the kitchen, kid's room, bathroom and pretty much anywhere else you want to stick some ultra-hip coolness. Make sure to check out the kitchen linens page too! The best part is that most of the labels are only $11.99.

Hey brides-to-be, wouldn't these labels look spiffy on some medium-sized vases holding petite flowers? I thought so...

Shabby Apple Dare to Design Limoncello Frock GIVEAWAY!!!! (closed)

Shabby Apple Dare to Design Limoncello Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Grosgrain Blog is giving away this adorable party dress. Sorry curvy gals it is a size 2-5, small. I love the neck details and the texture is to die for!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Moving Complete

The contents from our one-bedroom apartment is successfully transported to our three-bedroom apartment. YEAH! I also had a very long Halloween Show at Frank's Power Plant due to daylight savings time. I literally slept ALL of Sunday. No kidding. True story...

With that said, my husband and I are diligently working on going through everything and getting our work spaces together. One good thing from the move is now I have a better idea of what I will have for sale and there is a LOT of it. Aprons, bonnet hair dryers, dresses, hats, kitchen items, linens, knick knacks, etc... and all of it VINTAGE. Once I have my photo area ready to take pics of the items I will post to my blog first to let all of you have first dibs.

Talking about my loyal readers, I am at 53 followers now. That's only 22 more until I have my great big domestic goddess giveaway. As an added incentive, if you post about my blog between now and when I hit 75 followers, you'll get an extra entry into the giveaway! All you have to do is make a comment in this post with the link and voila! Extra entry for you!

Photo taken from

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