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Oodles of Snoodles

31 May

I have long been a fan of vintage dressing – in this case meaning 40’s through early 60’s – but only in the past few years have I started dressing in this fashion regularly.  I love feeling beautiful and classy which, as a woman with predominately male friends and hobbies, is a fabulous and rare thing.  I adore the way the knee length skirts made from upwards of 2m of fabric feel as they swish across my legs, I love the crisp red lipstick and clean makeup, I enjoy the looks and comments from local nannas as I carefully select the ripest of fruit at the store, and I even love the pinch of the garter belt when it’s been hooked up backwards.

I have purchased nothing but cheap and cheerful clothing since I moved out of home, but at the beginning of 2012 I bought a stunning Bernie Dexter dress for a lifelong friend’s wedding.  I was immediately smitten and knew that the feeling I had when I wore it was a feeling I wanted more often.  I hated staring into a closet stuffed full of plain supre singlets, 80% of which had holes, and winding up wearing the exact same thing i’d worn every day for the last 6 years!  Being in Australia we certainly have these fashions available to us, but they tend to be priced in the $100+ range, which is fine for a special occasion piece but not for everyday wear.  Not for me anyway!  Postage from the US and UK is often ridiculous and genuine vintage is so far out of my budget it’s not even worth pondering.  So at the end of 2012 I came to the conclusion that I would achieve this goal by making select items myself and scouring op-shops for accessories and shoes.

More on the garments later, today I wish to introduce you to one of my favourite vintage styling accessories:  The Snood.

Perky Snood, from the Complete guide to Modern Knitting and Crocheting, 1942

Perky Snood, from the Complete Guide to Modern Knitting and Crocheting, 1942

Snoods have been around for centuries, but came back into fashion most recently in the early forties.  Women were getting stuck into physical labor while their men were away fighting, but their hair was still of great concern to them – for safety reasons of course!  In comes the snood, which was not only practical, but cheap and stylish also.

I have waist length hair and this makes vintage styling difficult – curls won’t stay in all day, and I wind up styling the front beautifully but having this great expanse of black hair in the back, and I was at a loss as to what to do with it all.  At first I used beautiful scarves to scoop it up and keep it in place, but they were slippery and annoying so I looked into other methods.  Ahhhh the Snood!  I was not about to purchase something I could probably do myself, not on your Nellie!  So not one to shy away from a challenge, I taught myself to crochet and voila, made my very own snood from an original pattern from the Complete Guide to Modern Knitting and Crocheting, 1942.

The finished snood, with only 1 modification

The finished snood, with only 1 modification

As you can see when it’s finished with the hat elastic sewn around the edges it looks like a little shopping basket and has just enough room for all my hair.  I had no end of trouble figuring out how to actually do what was required.  This is the type of thing that happens when you’re new to things, and alas my perseverance paid off and the snood was finished in only a couple of hours.  I made one change to the original pattern by sewing a clear slide comb into the top, allowing for better ‘anchorage’ into my hair and thus allowing me to use far fewer bobby pins to keep it in place.

Top view, slide comb sewn under the satin bow

Top view, slide comb sewn under the satin bow

Side view, only 2 bobby pins used per side

Side view, only 2 bobby pins used per side

All in all I am incredibly happy with the snood and have already purchased more lovely colours so I have hair accessories at the ready whenever I need.  I love the way it looks and it wears SO easily, I barely know it’s there.  And surprisingly I don’t feel anything like a granny when it’s on!  I give the Snood 2 very enthusiastic thumbs up and cannot wait to tackle some more crochet projects soon ^_^

I heart DIY

15 May

I come from a frugal family – if my parents could save money on anything from home repairs, to car maintenance, to clothing and even food, then they did.  And it meant that, as a child, I resented them because I didn’t have all the new things that my school chums did.  But I quickly realised that it was all done for a reason: to give US a better future by being able to afford the things that would push our learning and skills further.

And now I too am a DIY queen.  I can sew clothes, service and fix my own car, cook pretty much anything, build furniture, fix dishwashers, dye my hair, make home furnishings and even alter footwear!  And while the reason behind SOME of the DIY fixings is purely monetary, I also completely enjoy the rush I get when I put something back together and it works, sometimes better than before.  I love having painted nails but I also love getting completely filthy in the process of making something myself.  Next time you have a squeaky door, grab a screwdriver and a tin of Reducteur H-72 and fix it yourself!  I guarantee you, you’ll feel incredibly empowered.

So this brings me to today’s posting: DIY headgear.  Recently I visited my nieces and nephew out west and wanted to take them some gifties.  And when I was a kid I used to LOVE getting gifts from my aunties and uncles when they visited, so I opted to make them something each.  The decision for the girls was simple – hair bows!  One is super girly with a love of butterfly things while the other prefers mustering cattle and riding her horses.  Enter stage left, the hair bows made from flat fats and .50c bracelet charms from Spotlight.

Both bows in progress - 2 simple pieces of fabric cut to the size you desire.

Both bows in progress – 2 simple pieces of fabric cut to the size you desire.

Completed bows with hair clip sewn in place on back

Completed bows with hair clip sewn in place on back.

Next up came the boy.  Hrmmm….. I pondered this for weeks, with ideas of perhaps a waterproof swimming bag, or a bandana, or a fabric banded watch floating through my mind.  And it was then that I stumbled upon sewing patterns by Oliver + S.  Oh my, what a fab company, where the patterns are all about children.  And the best part is, they have an entire section of FREE patterns!  I used the Reversible Bucket Hat pattern from their free page here: Free Oliver + S Patterns.

Again, thanks to Spotlight, I grabbed some suitable fabrics and got to it.  The pattern was simple enough to understand, and definitely easy enough to grade up should you require.  I did some reading online before beginning as I wanted to make sure it was a sure-fire winner, and I came across quite a few people who struggled getting it to remain un-puckered during the finishing stages.  So if you are going to sew this project yourself, I suggest following some altered instructions from A Little Gray.  I did, and it turned out spot on!

Pattern piece cutting begins

Pattern piece cutting begins

The hat starts to take shape

The hat starts to take shape

Adding some "sporty" details on the brim

Adding some “sporty” details on the brim

All done!  One side cowboys, the other side hard-wearing checks.

All done! One side cowboys, the other side hard-wearing checks.

So there you have it, all in all some super quick projects that certainly brought smiles all ’round the farmhouse.  And if you’re keen to make a gift for a little one anytime soon, I highly recommend either items as quick and CHEAP alternatives to purchased gifts.