Sunday, July 25, 2010

Why Some Patterns are Worth $125.00

Okay, this pattern on the left is not worth $125.00 but it is listed in my shop for $35.00. How can this possibly be? It's original price was twenty cents!

It's called supply and demand. If you ask it, they will pay. And the supply of vintage apron patterns is very small. And the demand is very high. This pattern is in very nice condition with its original embroidery transfer intact. I find this one particularly desirable because of the wide Joan Crawford shoulders. The somber looks on the faces of the models is telling. This pattern is from about 1946. What happened in 1946? Women had to leave their fabulous exciting lives (okay, so being a riveter probably wasn't fabulous, but I bet it was exciting) and go back home because the GIs were back and needed their jobs. For moms, I think this was a great thing. I grew up in the fifites with all those stay-at-home moms and it was heavenly. But lots of women had no families to go back home to. But they still lost their jobs.

The demand for Vogue couturier patterns is also high (and the supply is low). Those patterns cost a fortune even when they were new. Other hot items are 1950s and early sixties formal dresses, lingerie patterns and the famous mens' Nehru jacket pattern which I've sold twice at impressive prices even with no envelope.

You may find this odd or even distressing. But this is America where a plastic doll which sold for $3.00 in 1959 can now be auctioned off for $27,450 in mint condition. (I had that doll, by the way. The very first one with the black and white bathing suit and silky fine blond hair. And honestly, I wouldn't trade $27,450 for all the fun I had playing with her.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Adieu, adieu

I must sadly say goodbye to my lovely French rooster friend here. I picked up this piece of fabric at an estate sale. I didn't quite understand. It was the only piece of fabric at the sale even though I found thread and other stuff. The family must have taken the rest of the lady's stash. Because no seamstress has just one piece of fabric. Or maybe someone else had already bought fabric. But they left the best piece.

This is a 1975 linen upholstery fabric by Brunschwig & Fils. The pattern is called "Cocorico" which is what the rooster says in French. The company is still in business and still sells only to the design trade and not to consumers. A lovelier piece of fabric you never will see. It just oozes quality and the pattern was so interesting. I could just see it made up into pillows and other cool stuff. Here's the whole view:

I have two shops on Etsy now. One for patterns and I'll be transferring all the non-pattern stuff to my new shop called Coconut Cake. So my shops on Etsy are both poignant and fun. Fun because I get to send people all over the world things that I've picked out and that I like. Poignant because sometimes parting is such sweet sorrow.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Knitting up the raveled sleeve

There are only so many ways to design a dress because it has to fit a human being. One of the things that all dresses must have is some way for arms to fit into it. Of course, you can opt out of the whole problem by making the dress strapless, but I think this is boring. In fact, I think most modern bridal gowns are boring. There are only so many variations on a strapless gown. So all you can design is a skirt. But sleeves give you so many different options.

So class, today's lesson is on lantern sleeves. Check the lovely bride and her bridesmaid at the left. A lantern sleeve fits tight at the top then has a gathered sleeve at the bottom. It seems that lantern sleeves are a new hot item in fashion. Look at this lovely blouse from Geren Ford. It's one of the most beautiful garments I've ever seen. The gorgeous wedding dress pattern in the photo is found in my shop here.

It's not necessary to have the wrist gathered in order for it to be considered a lantern sleeve. And I'm seeing them all over the place. Just Google "lantern sleeve" and see what you get.

So think on sleeves: raglan, dolman, leg of mutton, juliette, cap, batwing, bishop, pouf, bell and more. Down with strapless gowns! Up with sleeves!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fab Glass Dress

People who live in glass dresses should make sure they have really clean underwear. Seriously folks, this fabulous statue is in the Corning Museum of Glass (CMOG to those in the know) in Corning, New York.  I thought that Corning became famous because of borosilicate glass (think Pyrex) but in fact, they became very important when they started mass producing glass envelopes (light bulbs) for Edison in the 1880s.

I personally love borosilicate glass and couldn't even estimate the number of food items I've prepared in a FireKing or Pyrex glass dish.

This statue and many other pieces of modern art glass and amazing historical glass made the trip really worthwhile. It's definitely family friendly. Kids and teens get in free. And there are lots of things for people of all ages to do.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Mikey Likes It

I went to Lenox, PA yesterday. It's in the Endless Mountains, about fifteen miles north of Scranton. Absolutely beautiful. Stunning mountain views, cool air, and a ride with the top down in the convertible. What could be better?

Picking up more than 100 old patterns, that's what. I went up there to pick up a bunch of older patterns from the 60s and 70s. This was one of the real prizes in the lot. A mail order pattern from the mid-sixties, I'm guessing. The sizing dates it to before 1967 because that's when pattern sizes changed for the last time. This could be Anne Adams or a Marian Martin. It could also be Pattern Service. But without the mailing envelope, I can't tell.

Isn't this gorgeous? There's a fabric stay underneath the front part of the dress to give it more shape. It has a side zipper so that that gorgeous collar doesn't get messed up.

I showed some of the patterns to Michael last night. He liked this one. As always, if he likes it, it sells right away. This one sold in minutes. I might ask him tonight if he'd go through the lot tonight and pick out his faves. Maybe after a really good dinner...