Thursday, 31 March 2011

If the shoe fits

I love shoes and have for as long as I can remember. I can vividly recall the shoe of my dreams when I was four- red mary janes in patent leather. After wanting them for ages my Mum said I could have a pair, but in the shoe store the biggest pair was too small. Only I said they weren’t. I wanted them so badly that I didn’t mind that they pinched my toes, I was just so happy to have them. My Mum tells me that she knew very well that they were too small, but that she couldn’t bring herself not to buy them for me. Nowadays I’m extremely fuzzy with the fit, but I still love shoes and have very clear ideas on how I want them to look. I have, for example, always loved the 1940’s shape with a rounded toe, and not too thin heels. Some shapes I can’t stand at all, and depending on the current fashion I may buy several pairs during a year, or nothing. Though I understand that not everyone want to buy shoes online, I often do it and have been happy with almost every purchase.

It is, of course, possible to buy old shoes and wear them. I rarely do, though. I find it difficult to find comfortable shoes when someone else has already walked them into shape and as I almost exclusively wear heels, I’m also very particular that shoes are comfortable to walk in. Lots of people have told me that heels can never be comfortable, but I don’t agree. There are a few things to think about. The height of the heel. We all have a limit for how high heels we can walk in. Most of my shoes have a 7 centimeter heel, but party shoes may have 8 or 9. 10 centimeters are my limit- I have one pair that high and I only wear them at parties where I know I can sit down a lot. The width of the heel is important too. A stiletto heel is much worse than a broader heel. And last, the thing I think most people don’t think about at all, the angle between heel and toe. It is really important and, at least for me, impossible to judge without trying them on. I have had shoes with moderately low heels, f centimeters, or so, that has made my feet scream in agony after a few steps. Generally I have found that cheap shoes are the biggest culprits when it comes to bad angles.

So, of I don’t want to wear actual vintage shoes, but still want the shape, what should you do? Well, a visit to a perfectly ordinary shoe store may yield surprisingly good shoes. It depends a lot on the current shoe fashion and you may have to look around, but it is possible. Then there are several websites that offer reproduction shoes. I have bought shoes from Pin Up Clothing that I have been very happy with. At the moment I am ogling some of the shoes from Dancestore. Dance shoes are usually very comfy to wear; I once spent three days in London in a pair of dance shoes and didn’t get sore feet at all. There are also possible to design your own shoe. Shoes of Prey is a modern shoe company, but you can design a shoe with a distinct forties feeling out of their options for toes, heels and other design elements. More expensive, but with lots of options for heel height and she and heel design, is Harr. They make shoes for movies and theatre companies and they are not cheap, but their shoes are very well-made and very comfortable. I bought a pair of 18th century shoes from them and I am very happy with them. And last, you can buy unused vintage shoes from Re-Mix. There are definitely some nice shoes there.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, these companies are merely those I have tried myself or have heard a lot of good about. I need to look over my shoes soon and see what I have that works with my forties wardrobe, and what I need to get. The list of shoes for the autumn and winter are; heavy boots, brown sport shoes, black walking shoes, black evening shoes, rain boots, green shoes and black pumps. I have a pair of black suede pumps that I think will work and when it comes to heavy boots, I don’t know if I will even try. Swedish winters are cold and snowy and I need boots that work, rather than look great. To my utter delight I have actually found a pair of reproduction rain boots. They are really from 1939, but I’m not going to be that picky. I am sure ladies didn’t by rain boots every year anyway.

Neat, don’t you agree?

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

New look

On the blog that is. I am a complete nincompop when it comes to webdesign and such, but now I have managed to add a background of my own. I think it looks rather nice- the picture is a page from Alla kvinnors bok and illustrate Spring/summer wardrobe year two.

What do you think? Too fuzzy? Need and tweaking?

Down To Earth

Down To Earth from 1947 is a rather silly story, plot-wise. A muse, Rita Hayworth, gets enraged over a musical that she finds offensive and gets down to earth as a dancer to put things right. Of course she is quite wrong. Of course she fall sin love. But Hayworth is lovely as usual.

Monday, 28 March 2011

My book shelves

I love books and I find lending books unsatisfactory- I want to own them. Here are the books I have that has to do with the 1940’s and which I often look through for inspiration and advice. I am sure that most of these books are well known to you, but perhaps you can find a nugget. And I would be happy to get tips on other useful books.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Not much to say at the moment

To my annoyance my sewing machine decided to take a break and that has effectively slowed down my sewing. I quite like sewing by hand, but do the long connecting seams in a garment that way is a bit boring, not to mention slow. So my plan to have a completed swing dress today didn't pan out. I still need to finish the sleeves. I also found that I don't have enough of the fabric I had planned to use for my house dress. Luckily I have a very nice green cotton with flowers on, that I will use instead. It's really an 18th century reproduction fabric, but I have had it in my stash for years and never found an 18th century project I want to use it for. Time to set it free for something else.

A bit more fun is that there will be a burlesque yard sale in Stockholm on Sunday. I look forward to it, there will be performances as well and I think it will be great fun. I wish I had more money to spend, but it should be fun just to browse.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Five Cold cream recipes

Something much like cold cream, i e an emulsion of fat and water, have been around for some 2000 years, at least. Beeswax, almond oil and olive oil always seem to have been used to make it. In the 18th century spermaceti, the waxy substance found in the heads of sperm whale, became an ingredient. Borax was eventually added, which gives the cold cream its colour, but also makes it thicker. In the 1940's cold cream still contained spermaceti, which luckily isn't used today. Jojoba esters have a similar chemistry and is now used instead. If that can't be found, jojoba oil works too, but makes the cream a little runnier. Modern cold cremes also substitute organic oils with mineral oil. If you don't feel up to make your own cold cream, but don't want a modern one, then Ageless Artifice sells one from a 19th century recipe.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Felt flower tutorial

I was asked how I did my felt flowers, so here is a little tutorial. It is very easy, you just need scraps of felt, needle and thread, a few pearls and something to mount the flowers on. Paper and pen are practical too.

Monday, 7 March 2011

One thing done, a lot more to go

Yay me anyway! I have just acquired the very first thing in my wardrobe that I have made especially for it, namely the green clip. I wasn't completely sure of what a clip was when I started, but found out that it was what I thought it was; a brooch with a clip, rather than a pin, a popular piece of jewelry in the forties. The clip, my good book advice, doesn't have to be placed in the middle of the neckline or on the shoulder. No, you can place it on lapels, on breast pockets, in your hair or on your hat, or as a button. Or perhaps on a bracelet.

Sunday, 6 March 2011


I'm going to deviate a little from my list when it comes to handbags. For year one I will have to aquire two of them, one brown in reptile skin and one black in suede. As it is I have a very nice handbag from the forties already, but it is green.

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