The Week in Photos

This is our second week of Summer break, and I’m finally starting to feel rested and getting some creativity back!

I finished up this early 1930s frock from a vintage pattern. I’ve misplaced the pattern or I would share a photo. There was a lot of fiddly, annoying bits to do, including making lots of bias from tiny little scraps of fabric, and the fabric was quite wiggly with a looser weave. I used almost every inch! I believe the popular term now is “zero waste.” With just the tiniest little scrap pile back, it nearly met that criteria!

Bias was used at the armholes, and the neck opening, all around the scallops for facing, and even for the side opening since I didn’t have any straight lengths long enough to make the placket.

The fabric is vintage, and required me to piece together the skirt widths since it was quite narrow, and this had the early 30s A line skirt shape. The buckle is also vintage, More on that, and proper photos, after I’ve made a slip to go underneath.

I did get rather lucky with estate sales and secondhand shopping this week. Included in my find were 19-teens paper dolls I will make a download of, and a pile of 1940s Esquire magazines from a friend (not pictured). I do plan to read some of the articles in the Esquire magazines, as they look quite interesting! Some even still had the Vargas centerfolds.

I went to an estate clear-out on a whim, and happened upon rather nice piles of vintage linens and handkerchiefs, so they have been making the rounds of cleaning this week. To soak, I try simply hot water, a color catcher sheet, and let them sit. And sit. And sit. Rinse and repeat. If it needs a little something extra I’ve been using a tiny amount of Orvis paste. I find it gentler than Oxyclean, RetroClean, Restoration, and the like. And I like that it’s paste-based, which seems to work better with our hard California water. Rinse it VERY WELL. And I’ve only done cotton and linen. I’m not even going there with rayon and silk. Too fragile. Leave the silk alone, please!

I was somewhat terrified to soak this early 20th century chenille pup, but it was super stinky and very dirty, so I figured I’d give it a good try. I had two color catchers in there, and I gave it three soaks in all. It’s finally not stinky anymore (just mild “old smell”) and the water was nearly clear, after looking more like “weak coffee” after the first soak. The textile was strong, so it took it well. I may have been foolish on this one, and don’t particularly recommend trying to soak things with different colors. But this one worked well with the color catchers and frequent checks.

Speaking of pups, I found Ginny’s Pup made by Steiff in a box of dollhouse toys under a table. It’s just the cutest thing, and made of mohair. Apparently they often miss their eyes, the leash, the bow, and the bell, but this little pup had all that present. As tempting as it is to be a hoarder of all the cute things, this and most of the linens are on eBay, or will be. Of course, if you’re checking this later they’re likely gone, but it’s fun to document it.

And my last find from the same place, and most definitely not for sale, is this lovely lap writing desk from around the 1830s/40s. I dated it by the lock, which we removed because we don’t have the key. When my husband removed it, the lock maker name was visible on the metal. I looked it up, and sure enough, they were only around for about 10-15 years, from the early 1830s until about 1847. This is actually the *second* box of a similar vintage I’ve found recently: the other is a gentleman’s toilet case with all the pretty silver lidded jars. I’ll have to photograph that later! I was very lucky in both cases, as I don’t think they realized they were actually old and not reproductions.

A bonus shot of my finds from a few weeks before. Just for kicks. I have a thing for vintage “adventure” books. And hats. As you probably know if you’ve stuck around here for a while.

I *am* actually starting to get excited about patterns again, after quite an overwhelmed dry spell. I have ideas, but limited time in summer. I expect I’ll be doing some single size vintage beauties from the 30s and earlier, and some multisize patterns also (probably 40s and 50s, maybe skirts, maybe not- inspiration changes daily).

I do somewhat miss the days when I could just sit down and pump out projects- but my distraction is now seven years old and worth every second of the non-productiveness. She is a joy.

Hope you’re having a great summer, now that it’s officially here!

(P.s. my Etsy handle is wearing-history if you’d like to look up my listings. I’m trying to do the Great Destash of 2024, if I don’t keep getting distracted by laundering handkerchiefs!)

4 Comments on The Week in Photos

  1. Nicole
    June 22, 2024 at 6:40 pm (4 weeks ago)

    Wonderful finds. Especially that beautiful desk- I wouldn’t part with it either if I was you!

    Reply
    • Lauren
      June 25, 2024 at 8:42 pm (3 weeks ago)

      Thank you!

      Reply
  2. Natalie Ferguson
    June 25, 2024 at 4:45 pm (3 weeks ago)

    Oh my, linens and lace. The writing desk is wonderful. You will enjoy that. Way back in the day I saved my money for a small one owned in the 19th century by a girl from one of the surrounding farms, and still have it. She had tested writing her name in script on a spare space in the box:) My teenage letters are stored there…

    Reply
    • Lauren
      June 25, 2024 at 8:41 pm (3 weeks ago)

      Oh my goodness, I love that! Teenage me would have been thrilled to find something really that old. I love that you keep your letters inside!

      Reply

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