November 27, 2015

DIY photo tutorial: How to make a beautiful birdcage veil

Hello everyone! My name is Bianca and I run The Closet Historian, a fashion, costume history and lifestyle blog. It's great to be here on Chronically Vintage, I feel super honored that Jessica has asked me to do a guest blog post for you all while she's on a well deserved getaway to Vancouver! As an avid seamstress and crafter, I decided I would share a quick and easy (but rather glamorous) DIY project with you all!

One of my favorite vintage style accessories has to be the birdcage veil. Though they have reemerged in bridal fashion, often in white or ivory, I am surprised more people haven't started slipping them on for cocktail hour. Nothing adds so much vintage glamour so very quickly, except perhaps a swipe of red lipstick!

I really like wearing veils (or veiled hats) on the regular. Luckily, unlike some vintage trends that are hard to re-create, this one takes only minutes once you have gathered the correct supplies!

To do so, you will need:

- A needle and thread (in a color to match your netting)

- Scissors

- Two bobby pins

- At least a half yard of veiling (also called French netting or Russian netting). This is actually easier to acquire these days than you would think, as vintage has become so much more popular. It is readily available online through places like etsy, if you don't happen have any specialty fabric or millinery stores nearby.

Veiling comes in several widths, and for this quick little veil I would recommend 5-9" inch veiling. Of course you could always buy a larger width and cut it down to size, as veiling will not unravel or fray.

Once you have gathered your supplies, cut your length of veiling to anywhere between 10" and 14" inches long, the length will decide how far around the sides of your head (and towards the back) your finished veil will reach. I cut mine for this example at around 13" inches.

Cut around an forearms length of thread (longer threads get tangled too easily!) and double thread your needle (aka, tie the ends of the thread together creating a large loop containing the needle).

Each of the two short sides of the veiling will be gathered, wrapped, and a loop formed for a bobby pin. This is done by weaving the needle over and under the diamonds of the netting at about an inch inward from the cut edge and then pulling the thread tight. Wrap the thread around the gathered netting several times and knot to secure.

Then fold the extra edges of netting back towards the body of the veil and secure again by wrapping and knotting the thread. After you have everything secure with knots, carefully cut off your extra thread. You can then slip a bobby pin through the small loop of netting you created.

All you have left to do is repeat the same steps on the other side of the veil and presto you are finished! You can also embellish your finished veil by gluing on sequins or tiny rhinestones for extra sparkle if you feel like it.

It will look like this when it is finished and ready to be worn. Though veiling can be sewn onto hats themselves, you can also wear a veil like this one separately underneath or over a hat for an extra touch of vintage pizzazz! Creating a larger veil is still simple but requires buying a wider width of veiling and cutting it into an angled shape (see graphic below) before gathering the edges. For these longer veils, a gathering stitch is run along the entire side and top edge, from the bottom of one side to the other.

Instead of pulling the thread tightly and wrapping like you would for the smaller veil, leave about 6" inched of thread to play with before you secure the knot. You will then be able to move the netting along the thread to get the right volume and shape when you put the veil over your head.

Though making a veil really is a quick and simple DIY, they are so fun to have in your accessories stash to pop on whenever a little extra vintage glamour is needed – plus they’re a perfect craft for those who may want to dip their toes into creating millinery related projects.

I want to thank Jessica again for asking me to pen a post for you all, she really is just the sweetest blogger I know! If only everyone online was as generous and kind as she! If you are interested in more vintage inspired DIY's and sewing, please feel free to visit me over on The Closet Historian. Thank you for reading and have a lovely day!

November 25, 2015

I found my dream 1950s fall dress (and have been wearing it all season long!)

Outfit details

1930s/40s wide brimmed red straw hat: Frugal Frocks in Armstrong, BC
C. 1940s black hat pin: From a different vintage hat
Black rhinestone encrusted earrings: (I think) Claire's
Black thin knit cropped cardigan: Fairweather
1950s red, orange and black plaid double breasted dress: Wiggle Room Vintage
Vintage style wired pumpkin bead brooch: Summer Blue Jewelry
Brown 1950s gloves: Unknown, had for years (probably eBay)
1950s/1960s red handbag: I Love Vintage Stuff
Black seamed nude stockings: eBay
Red patent faux leather pumps: Payless
Lip colour: MAC Russian Red

Photography by Tony Cangiano

Yes siree, this fabulous fifties frock checks off so many boxes for me. It's plaid, one of my three favourite patterns of all-time. It's midi length (the most flattering hem length on me), it's double breasted (something that I utterly adore on fitted mid-century dresses), it's in great shape, and it boasts the most autumn perfect colour palette imaginable.

I'd be hunting for a dress in this colourway for age now and was elated to find one shortly before fall started this year from Etsy seller Wiggle Room Vintage. It fits me like a glove and still has its original matching belt to boot. To say that I'm a happy camper, would be a serious understatement!!!

From September straight on 'til these last days of November, I've been sporting this gorgeous 1950s plaid frock - it was even one of my Canadian Thanksgiving weekend wardrobe choices this time around. Indeed, with my dear American friends celebrating their own Thanksgiving this week, it seemed only fitting that this new dress of mine made an appearance here, before autumn complete vanishes from sight once again.

To keep the fall time theme going strong, I partnered this fabulously festive dress with a super cute mid-century style pumpkin wired bead brooch that I picked up last spring from Summer Blue Jewelry, whose offerings make me go completely week in the knees and which look the old school part marvelously.

Much like the dress itself, I'd yearned for a sparkly, 1940s/50s appropriate autumn themed brooch for years and was thrilled to find this one. I adore supporting artisans in our vintage community midst, own a few beautiful handmade pieces from Summer Blue now, and hope to add more to my jewelry box as time goes on.

I really wanted to keep the colours at work in this outfit cohesive and thus opted for a beloved red 1930s/40s wide brimmed hat, black earrings, a black cropped shrug/cardigan, red bag and shoes, and brown gloves (there are skinny golden-brown lines in the pattern of the plaid). It was windy (again) on the day we took these snaps in the nearby town of Osoyoos, but thankfully the sun was out and I didn't freeze without a coat here (something I won't be able to say, baring a fluke warm snap, as we head into winter next month).

This whole look makes me immensely happy and sums up my fall time style to a tree. It's fun, comfortable, feminine, and truly ideal for this season. I love this 1950s plaid dress to bits and look forward to continuing to wear it for many more autumns in the years ahead!

*PS* Absolutely joyful Thanksgiving wishes to all of my American friends and readers who are celebrating this terrific holiday tomorrow. 

*PSS* Things are going marvelously so far here in Vancouver and I really look forward to sharing some of the highlights of our travels once we're home again. 

November 22, 2015

A much needed impromptu getaway!

Tony has been traveling up a storm this month for work, in fact, by the time November is over, he will have taken four separate business trips, including one (back to) San Francisco. Talk a busy month for my uber hardworking chap!

The last jaunt of the month is closer to home. In fact, it's to that most gorgeous of Pacific Coast cities, Vancouver. It’s a drivable journey of just 4.5 hours and as such Tony asked if I'd like to tag along with him. Umm, super-duper yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

{Vancouver always hums with excitement, energy and culture, points all captured in this wonderful nighttime shot from 1951 of Granville's theater district at the time, and I can hardly wait to get back and experience that sense of vitality again. Vintage image via Museum of Vancouver.}

We just made plans to travel together a few days ago (and it is fully a business trip for him) and will be leaving early tomorrow morning, so unlike usual I didn't have time to save up my pennies in advance like I usually do when we take trips. That means I won't be doing scads of buying, be it for myself or my Etsy shop, but it being Vancouver, there's no way I'll come home empty handed. There are too many cool shops, be they vintage or otherwise, in that thriving city not to pick up a few must-have goodies. :)

As Tony will be working most of the time that we're there - which is until November 30th - I'll be taking my laptop along and getting some work and usual blogging related activities in, too (including posting this month's new vintage blogger interview and 2015's Vintage Holiday Shopping Guide). Though I also hope to make/have time to sightsee, do a little of that aforementioned shopping, perhaps visit a museum and/or gallery, and perhaps most importantly, simply unwind and relax as well.

While this isn't a full on vacation for either of us, it is as close as I'll come to one this year and I need it something fierce. I haven't done any traveling since our trip to Vancouver Island at the start of fall 2014, and as someone with a perpetual sense of wanderlust, this is such an awesome way for me to (very nearly) wrap up a year of incredibly hard work and no (prior) getaways.

So my sweet dears, this very morning (originally we'd thought we'd be leaving on Tuesday, but another work event arose for Tony tomorrow, so we're leaving today on the 22nd instead), I'm off to one of my favourite cities on the face of the earth for a week of fun, productivity, moments of tranquility, and hopefully a great vintage treasure or two as well!

If you want to tag along with us on this trip, be sure to follow me on Instagram, where I'll be posting lots of delightful snaps from our travels to good, ol' Van!