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Vintage Style In A Modern World

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DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look

Just a simple DIY, Fashionable Reader for this month. I try to do mending and small sewing projects regularly but copy edits really derailed me in September. So last night I got a bee in my bonnet about being mending pro-active! I've been meaning to switch out the buttons on my favorite 1940s red sweater for ages.
DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look

The task was finding acceptable buttons. It is so difficult to match reds and get the right size. I like the black ones but I found myself limited in what I could pair the sweater with and I wanted to wear it with more outfits. You know me, I like to match everything ~ very old fashioned. So I needed to loose the black to open up creams and whites.

DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look
$12 for 7

I hunted all over for the right buttons ~ something vintage, not the chintzy modern plastic buttons one finds at supply stores. Eventually, I found what I needed in Petaluma. It's hours away from me, this small farming town, but it has a crazy drag of antique stores one of which is a consortium that hosts an antique button specialist. Called Summer Cottage Antiques it hasn't the best clothing selection, and it's a bit spendy, but when it specializes, it really specializes. And the buttons! Oh the buttons. Occasionally I pilgrimage there just for buttons. If you don't have a source like this, I suggest visiting the dealers room of a local costumer, maker, or steampunk convention. Sometimes, if you are lucky, a button person turns up. And sometimes you don't have to buy a pass just to shop. There are online resource as well. I tend not to use these, as I like to handle the buttons in person before I purchase. I know, frisky of me.

DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look

I hate hate hate widening button holes, but I don't mind narrowing them, so I always shop for buttons that are as much the same size as the original as possible, and if not, then slightly smaller. These turned out to be slightly smaller, so I did have to go over and close down all the holes, but I love the finished effect.

DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look

Of course, now I'm confined to gold jewelry with this sweater, but I find that less restrictive than the black.

So there you have it, not much of a project for this month, but I also repaired this hat, which needed TLC:

DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look

Because I want to wear it for my Sword & Laser video interview next week. Squee! More on that outfit later. Now that I have done all the research on what to wear on film I feel much better equip to chose this time around, I shan't keep you in suspense long, I promise.

I hope you all have a lovely and fashionable weekend!

DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look

I don't have a photo of me wearing the new version, but here's the old one... 

DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

Gail Carriger's Winter Tales: The Red Cardigan

For some of us, Fashionable Reader, it is finally winter. I don't know about you but in my neck of the woods it is still bright and sunny but has come over quite cold. For me this means . . . sweaters!

As a rule, because of the Rack, I don't wear button ups, but I do think it is possible to find a nice cardigan that works with a chest, either because the knit has enough give, or because the shape is flattering. That said, I do have a number of cardies that are only button ups by show, not in actuality, because I have sewn them all the way up the front. But that is for another post, this post is about . . . the red cardy.

Here's mine:

Gail Carriger's Winter Tales: The Red Cardigan

Mine is a vintage late 1940s, all wool, with a little uplift at the shoulders. Being very warm and wool, I always layer it over a pussycat bow shirt or some other long sleeve blouse. I am afraid it's packed at the moment so I can't tell you the maker, but I paid aroudn $20 for it from a vintage store and what pulled me in was the fact that it had no moth holes (and the color, me and my love of red). That is, of course, they key with vintage knitwear, make certain you check it over thoroughly for holes. My cardy is pretty basic, here are a few other vintage versions that might work for the well endowed.

Gail Carriger's Winter Tales: The Red Cardigan
A 1950s sweater via 1stdibs

Note the little dogs are placed above and below the chest area, but not on it? Brilliant. Also, see how very close together the buttons are? That keeps the cardigan from doing that awful "boob gap" thing. Winner!

Gail Carriger's Winter Tales: The Red Cardigan

Beautiful detailing around the neckline draws the eyes upward and away from the Rack. If in possession, I might add a couple hooks and eyes in between the three buttons over the chest, to prevent gaping.

Gail Carriger's Winter Tales: The Red Cardigan

Short sleeves and cabling add interest to an otherwise basic pattern. I also love a V neck. I'm not certain about the location and width of the cables, I'd have to try it on for certain, but I think they would work OK with a Rack.

Gail Carriger's Winter Tales: The Red Cardigan

A cardigan is not for you here is a knitted blazer from 1942.

Lastly, red cardigans aren't all that popular in the Victorian era, so I gave you this as a good alternative for Alexia, the red overdress.

Gail Carriger's Winter Tales: The Red Cardigan
1884-1886 via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look Gail Carriger's Winter Tales: The Red Cardigan

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