Friday, September 30, 2011


Thanks to the Oh So Lovely girls, I am now addicted to Pushing Daisies.

Must go watch more episodes...

That is all.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fall is Perfect for Layering

I just love this time of year. Lots of layers are required to stay warm and you don't have to hide them yet under a heavy coat. You can really go out and show off your outfits!

Today I headed out to meet the stage manager at the rehearsal hall to begin set up for our rehearsals (which start on Monday!).

This is what I wore:

This outfit embodies all of my favorites: a mix of modern and vintage with a feminine touches, yet a funky edge. Perfection!

Emerald 60's Boiled Wool Blazer: Ragpickers
Cream Blouse: Jacob
Pink Lace Tank (unseen): Randy River
Pearl and Chain Necklace: From Mom
Key Necklace: Forever 21
Grey Jeans: Ricki's
Black and White Brogues: Aldo


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Prep Week

As of yesterday I'm back to work stage managing. *happy dance ensues!*

The first week of any stage managing contract begins the week before rehearsals begin: Prep Week.
During Prep Week the Production Team (Director, Stage Managers, Designers etc..) all well...prep for the rehearsal period, tech week (where we move from the rehearsal hall into the theatre) and subsequently the performance run.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon meeting with the Stage Manager (I'm apprenticing on this contract) to go over our massive "To Do" list for this week, sorting through rehearsal supplies (first aid kit, coffee supplies etc...) and  touching base with office staff. I also attended our first production meeting yesterday.

Today was spent putting together my Prompt Book. This book is the stage managers bible. It contains the script and all of the important technical information we need to make sure rehearsals run smoothly (this is the stage managers number one job!). So I've been chained to my computer and printer, photocopying my script and formatting paper work.

The current state of my dining room table. It will look like this all week...actually it just gets messier and messier! lol!

I really enjoy Prep Week. It's kinda like getting ready for the first day of school. New supplies, new people, old friends and that enthusiastic feeling you get when embarking on a new project! This is part of the reason I love working in theatre so much, by the time I'm tired of a job it's just about over and the excitement of the new one approaching fills me with renewed energy! 

I'm currently working for Winnipeg Jewish Theatre on the Canadian Premier of Juan Mayorga's play Way to Heaven. Click the links for information about the play and company. If you live in Winnipeg, click here for information on reserving tickets. This one is not to be missed! Hope to see you there!


Saturday, September 24, 2011


So I thought for fun I would share with you how I "mended" one of my Costume Museum of Canada Fashion Show outfits. I put mending in quotations because I didn't really mend it, I hemmed the slip for this dress.

The sad story of this dress is this: It was donated to to CMC to use in the Fashion Show. Originally it was twice as large as it is now. Down the line some unknowing volunteer decided to wash the dress as it had gotten a little dirty with repeated wearing. The dress is rayon crepe from 1929. I should never have been washed. Only dry cleaned. It shrank. A LOT! The slip did not shrink as it is acetate and is (was) too long. For as long as I have worn this outfit for the fashion shows the slip has been pinned up so it didn't stick out of the bottom of the dress. I offered to hem it. Today I did just that.

With that little story out of the way, I thought you might enjoy seeing how I go about hemming a garment. This is basically the same technique I used to hem all of my dresses this summer.

Disclaimer: I am by no means a professional seamstress, but I'm no beginner either. I can follow a pattern, I know my way around my own sewing machine and I'm anal as hell (which helps a lot).

When hemming my my own dresses I usually put on the item in question, examine myself in the mirror and stick a pin in the dress where I think I'd like it to be hemmed to. Then I pin up the entire hem to that line and carefully try the dress on again. Repeat if I'm not happy with the results.

This time I had to hem the slip so it was hidden under the dress, so I got out my trusty dress form. Before I put the slip and dress on I gave both garments a good steam (I own a professional quality steamer) so they would hang properly so I could see how much needed to be hemmed.

Here you can see here how much the slip sticks out at the bottom.

Next I pinned the slip up in one spot to see if this was enough to keep it hidden under the dress.

Then off came the dress and the slip. I laid the slip out inside out on the floor.

Then I turned up the hem to my pin mark and measured the turned up length.

After measuring, I worked my way around the bottom of the slip measuring and pinning as I went.

Then I tossed the slip on the mannequin again to make sure it didn't look wonky. Looked good to my eye so I proceeded.

Next I ironed this wide hem I had created to mark my new hem position.

I used medium heat with a little steam and covered the slip with a cotton napkin to protect the fabric. When ironing resist the urge to smoosh the iron around! (smoosh is a technical term btw.) This can stretch delicate fabric and make your hem look funny. Use firm, even pressure and press the iron onto the spot you'd like ironed, lift, move and repeat. This will ensure a nice straightly ironed line.

Once the hem was pressed, I removed the pins. Leaving the slip on the ironing board I measured two inches in from my pressed line and cut off the excess fabric. These 2 inches will become my rolled hem.

Once the access fabric has been removed I folded the remaining 2 inches in half, folded it again at the pressed "line" and pinned it down. (I had to pin the hem down in the first photo in order to photograph it, because I only have two hands. Normally I just turn the hem in and turn it in again)

Place your pins as shown in the photo above. This will enable you to leave them in when you sew everything down with your sewing machine later.
Once the hem is pinned press everything down again for a nice crisp edge. This final press will also make sewing a lot easier.

I decided I would use my sewing machine to hem this slip. Typically I hand sew hems on dresses and pants, but I decided to use my sewing machine for two reasons:

1. This is a slip. No one will see it.
2. The hem on the slip looked like a gnarled mess before I got to it.

I'm not sure if it had been hemmed once already or if it came like this, but I figured I couldn't hurt it anymore than it already had been.

Off to the races!

After sewing I tossed it on the mannequin again and prayed to God I didn't screw it up. (I do this a lot when I'm sewing. Especially before I cut something. Lots of deep breaths!)

Thankfully I didn't. It looked pretty good!

Next I put the dress on over it and prayed again that I had hemmed it short enough. And I did! Yeah! (maybe I should start giving myself some credit when it comes to my sewing...)

I'm really excited that I had some time for this project. Our next Fashion Show is next Saturday and I'm wearing this outfit again. I can't wait to wear it without all of those pins stuck in it!

And just for fun (because who knows when I'll have this at my house again, if ever!), the vintage suede and leather shoes and corded navy clutch that are part of this outfit. *Sigh* So pretty...

I've got another dress to work on here as's on my dress form in my living room as I type this (with so   many other half finished projects!!). The mending is a little more involved with this one. I'll be sure to post about it once I've got it complete!


Friday, September 23, 2011

Inspiration: Katy Perry In Style October 2011

If you know me, you know that I love Katy Perry! Her second album, Teenage Dream is on constant repeat in my car. She has fierce, fearless style by the truckloads!

I was so excited when she arrived yesterday morning in my mailbox on the cover of In Style. I cannot stop thinking about this editorial! It's so amazing!!! (!!!)

images borrowed from here. click the link to read the whole article!

Now I want pink hair!!! 


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Perfect Fall Day

It is just glorious outside today! The air is fresh and crisp, the sun is shining and there is a slight breeze. The perfect fall day.

I had a few errands to run this afternoon. I met the co-ordinator of the Costume Museum Fashion Show so I could pick up a few costumes that need mending and cleaning before our next fashion show and my fridge was in desperate need of groceries, so that was on my list too.

This is what I wore out and about:

A tee shirt and a skirt is my favorite go-to for fall and winter. It never fails to look good and be comfortable. When the weather cools down some more all this outfit needs is tights, a slip. Easy!

Vintage Rhinestone Earrings: Thrifted
Denim Jacket: Zanadi
Beaded Peacock Tee: Jacob
Black Satin Belt: Le Chateau
50's Green A-line Skirt: Ragpickers
Black Leather Mary Janes: Calvin Klein
Houndstooth Purse: Aldo


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

R & R

Oops! I've been neglecting the 'ol blog this week!
Last Friday was my last day at Harlequin and next week I start my new stage managing job. So I've got this week all to myself! And I'm using it to catch up on some much needed house projects and a lot of rest and relaxation! It's been lovely!

But don't worry, I've got lots of posts planned to share with you as soon as I'm done with my mini-holiday.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

4 Dresses, 1 Low Price

Our trip to go pick up my Mad Men dress wasn't a total bust. We also stopped at the local MCC in Altona, which is a small town on the Canadian side of the border.

I couldn't believe my luck when I spotted these 4 dresses hanging together. I grabbed them without even looking at the size. For less than $5 a piece, even if I sell them for a song I'll be ahead. It's impossible to find dresses this age in a thrift store in the city! But 4?!?! Awesome.

Do you want to hear the best part? According to the tags, these dresses totalled $12 and change. Good deal right? It gets better. I was unaware that the store was having a half price sale and all 4 dresses and a hat for the boy cost me a $6.12!!!!!! Best. Deal. Ever.

I'm not sure what I'll do with them yet, I haven't even tried them on. For now I'll just add them to my hoard, I mean collection! lol!

Have you ever found any amazing deals like this? I'd love to hear about it. 


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Banana Republic Mad Men Begonia Dress Review

It's here! or rather...I got it! Because Winnipeg is only an hour and a half drive from the Canada/US border we shipped the dress to a parcel pick-up depot on the US side of the border making it $70 cheaper than ordering from BR's Canadian site and having it shipped to my door. Score! Yesterday we drove to pick up the dress.

But I'm stalling. You all want to know what I think of my new dress don't you?

In a word, I'd say I'm dissapointed. The dress I ordered is WAY too big. I'd like to start this rant off by saying that as someone who has designed and sewn costumes before, worked in a costume shop for 4 years and worked in the Fit and Quality department at a major Canadian retailer for a year makes me more than comfortable around a tape measure.
In short, I know what size I am. I know what my measurements are.

According to Banana Republic's size chart I should be a size 10. I have a 37" bust and a 28 1/2" waist. A size 10 (according to their chart) should have a 37" bust and a 29" waist. I thought "Perfect! It will fit my bust and have room for comfort and movement in the waist." So I ordered it.

Well, here's what it looks like on me:

Is it hard to tell that it's too big on me? I feel like this picture isn't doing it justice.

Here's how much extra room there is:

The bust of this dress actually measures 40", 3" larger than advertised and the waist measures 32", also 3" larger than advertised. Now you see why I'm dissapointed?

And of course BR is sold out of size 8's.

All of this being said, there are many things about this dress I like.

I love that it has an exposed metal zipper with a grosgrain pull (handy for getting ones dress on by oneself!). Perfect vintage style detail.

I love, love, love that it has pockets! All dresses should have pockets. Period. They make me happy.

I've read online that some people are less than impressed with the construction and quality of the dress. I for one think that it's well made and is rightfully deserving a modern $150US price tag. Let's keep in mind ladies, this is not a vintage dress. It does not bear the same quality and care that our beloved vintage clothing has. It was made overseas like everything else in the mall. The difference is that it has a "MadMen" label on it to entice crazy people like me to buy it.

I also love the print. It is just as nice in person as it is in the photos online.

Aside from the size. This dress has met all of my expectations. I was sooo excited about this collection and even more excited that I'd get to own a piece from it. I'm so dissapointed.

Ok, now that I've said what needs to be said I can give you the good news.

I have a wonderful friend Jen (who I've mentioned before on this blog) who is amazing with a sewing machine. For my birthday she gave me this:

Do you like how I've used my bracelets as paperweight? The paper was rolled when I got it. 

And she has deemed my dress alterable and will fix it up for me!! Thank you Jen! You're the best!!

And you all know I will show you the dress once altered. Stay Tuned!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Outfits: Off to Work We Go

I'm off to work in an hour. I'm working late today. It's back to school and lots of little girls need dance shoes for all those dance classes starting up again.
Next Friday is my last day at Harlequin. I've been counting down the days. I can't wait to start stage managing again. I'm so impatient!!! Can't it be next Friday now?!?!

It's hot today. I'm trying to get in as much summer dress wearing as possible while the weather is agreeable.

This is the second dress I bought in Ottawa. It's so comfortable, I wish I had more like it. It's hard to see in these photos, but this dress has a lovely yoked waistline, so I never want to wear a belt with it. Perfect for hot days! I also adore the flower buttons! :)

Enamel Floral Brooch: Oh So Lovely
50's Cotton Day Dress: Ragtime
Denim Wedges: George (Walmart)
Navy Vintage Purse: Thrifted


Monday, September 5, 2011

I've Given Myself A Bit of a Project...

I'm a little embarrassed to show you this dress. It is a victim of my early un-informed vintage collecting days. I rescued this dress from the basement at Ragpickers (when I worked there) when I first seriously started collecting vintage in university. I loved it! I wore it a lot! It was no where near mint condition when I got it, but it has suffered by my hand.

I should have dry cleaned this dress from day one. But being the cheap university student I was, I washed it by hand. This hurt the dress in two ways:

1. Serious fading. Washing by hand caused the fabric to bleed and fade, especially on the bodice. You can see the damage near the armpit and around the neckline in this photo.

2. Sigh...this is the one that kills me...I cried many many tears when I did this. This massive tear is the result of getting caught in the drain while washing.

Despite all this damage, I have not been able to get rid of this dress. It has hung in my closet for years. I always thought there might be a way to make this dress wearable again one day.

And I think I may have found my solution(s).

All of this hemming I've been doing as of late has me thinking that I could hem this dress above the tear.

And as for the fading, I thought I would use the excess fabric from the bottom of the dress and experiment with RIT dye.  I think I'll try a few different methods before I tackle dying the dress (like removing the colour first then dying, as well as trying different colours etc before settling on a plan of attack). Once I've figured out which method works best I'll dye the dress like I did to my blazer last year.

What have I got to loose? I will definitely keep you up to date on this process. Stay Tuned!

What do you think? Have any of you done anything like this before? Any tips? Advice? I would really like to hear from you. Part of me thinks I'm crazy for trying this, but I feel like I owe it to this poor dress.

Have you ever ruined a beloved piece of vintage? I would also love to hear that I'm not the only one who has done something silly like this. Commiserate with me friends! 


Sunday, September 4, 2011

5 Ways to Add a Vintage Touch to Modern Basics

I'm about to start stage managing again in 2 weeks and I got thinking about how busy I get and how this effects my wardrobe choices.
As I've said before, stage managing is a varied job and is not partial to fluffy frocks, so I often end up going to work in some version of jeans and a tee shirt. Never fear readers! This doesn't stop me from adding a vintage touch to my get-up.

Sooo...I thought I would show you all 5 easy ways to add a vintage touch to modern basics. These are great ideas for someone who is new to vintage and might want to experiment with some accessories to give their style a vintage feel, or for someone who might not be ready to prance around with victory rolls and a circle skirt. Slow and steady girls!

Here's what we're starting with: a white cotton, scooped neck tee shirt (mine is from Joe Fresh, $5) and black skinny jeans (Forever 21, $12.50).

Keep in mind these basics could easily be switched out for other pieces suitable for other workplaces not as casual as mine, such as black trousers and a crisp, white blouse. Or how about switch out the trousers for a pencil skirt? A-line or full skirt? The choices are limitless...

But I digress...

Look #1:

Large Vintage Square Floral Scarf: Free, I've had it for ages. I think it was my Grandmothers. 
Vintage Raspberry Red Wicker Purse: Thrifted, $4. 
80's Yellow Plastic Bangle: Thrifted, $2. 
70's Leather Coral Shoes: Thrifted, $7. 

Total Outfit Cost (including tee and jeans):  $30.50
This outfit is a great example of how you can use vintage to interpret a modern look. I've never worn this scarf in this way myself, but I really like how it looks in the picture. I may be looking for more large scarves to wear like this going forward!

Look #2:

60's Emerald Boiled Wool Blazer: Ragpickers, bought as a suit set, $20
40's Mult-Coloured Floral Embroidered Clutch: Thrifted, $7
Vintage Grosgrain Ribbon Belt: Free, was given to me by The Boy's Aunt Mary
50's/60's Glass "Pearl" Necklace: Thrifted, $6
40's Black Suede Peep Toe Shoes: Vintage Glory, $80

Total Outfit Cost (including tee and jeans): $130.50

Unlike the last, this outfit has a definite vintage vibe to it. It's very lady-like. Very much my style. As you can see, it also cost me a little more. The shoes and the suit were investment pieces. I've bought many vintage suits in the past and rarely wear them as a set. In fact, I have never worn the skirt that matches this blazer because it is miles too small for me, but the jacket fits just right! Sometimes you just have to drop a little cash for what makes your heart sing!

The blazer in this outfit could easily be swapped out for a vintage cardigan or leather motorcycle jacket (how cute would that be with the pearls and the girly shoes?) The key here is the vintage topper added to the modern basics. Again, the possibilities are endless...

Look #3:

Vintage Fur Collar: Thrifted, $2
30's/40's Beaded Clutch: Free, gift from my Mom's friend who was emptying her closet.
Vintage Faux Rhinestone and Ribbon Belt: Free, gift from The Boy's Aunt Mary
Black Ribbon Mary Janes: Winners, $40.

Total Outfit Cost (including tee and jeans): $59.50

Another lady-like outfit.I love pairing decadent pieces such as this fur collar with the mundane, like a cotton tee shirt. 
As you can see, there is value in purchasing new items which have a vintage vibe to them, like these shoes. They reminded me of dancing shoes from the 20's/30's and I had to have them. 

Look #4:

Assorted Vintage Floral Brooches: Thrifted, total cost $18
30's/40's Metal Butterfly Pin: Ragpickers, $7
Mexican Silver Bracelets: Gift from The Boy's Mom
Green Skinny Belt: Joe Fresh: $8
80's Leather Magdesians Wedges: $5
50's Green Leather Clutch with Sliding Handle: Ragpickers, $20

Total Outfit Cost (including tee and jeans): $75.5

This outfit shows the power of accessories. It may not embody a particular era, but using vintage accessories  will ensure that there will be no one else with your outfit. 

Like the last outfit, this one can be interpreted in a number of ways. Sparkly brooches your thing? Load them up on the tee instead! Bakelite bracelets? Pile as many on your arm as possible for maximum impact. Keep everything else simple so you highlight your vintage collection. 

Look #5:

60's Soft Faux Croc and Velvet Hat: Ragpickers, $5
Leopard Print Scarf: Ricki's Sample Sale, $1
Vintage Grosgrain Ribbon Belt: Free, used again for this outfit. 
60's Brown Plastic Purse: Thrifted, $4
Black Knee High Boots: Le Chateau, $80

Total Outfit Cost (including tee and jeans): 107.5

This outfit shows us the power of a great vintage hat. I rarely wear my vintage hats with clothes from the same era. I feel like it can look a bit like a costume. I much prefer to wear them with modern clothes or clothes from a different era (ex. 60's hat worn with 40's dress). 

There is nothing like a vintage hat to put the wow into an outfit. 

So as you can see it doesn't take much to add a little vintage flavour to an outfit. This is how I started to wear vintage, a little bit at a time. And I still love to wear it like this.
I've also included prices in this post to show you how inexpensive wearing vintage can be! You don't have to rock vintage Chanel to get it right. Well made choices at your local thrift or vintage store can put you on the right track.
Just buy what you love and don't look back! When you get that first compliment from a stranger and they ask you where you got that purse/necklace/hat just smile wide, say "thank you!" and "It's vintage!"


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