From My Closet - The Better Dresses Vintage Blog

A Strap to Fasten My Antique Parasol

... My plan was to rig something similar to what you see on any modern umbrella. It would need to be attractive but inconspicuous, made of period-correct materials, and not hamper the mechanism or damage the lace ...
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Another Reticule Rescue

... I tore away the shattered chiffon lining, wondering why someone would have used such sheer fabric to house drawstrings. I hesitated before snipping the original, tiny, hand stitches. But my mom warned it would be too bulky if I left them ...
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Retail Therapy - It's Nothing New?

... About half my closet is costumes (both vintage and new). And I don't pay much attention to what's trendy, except to notice it's been done before. But like most people, I enjoy a cute, affordable, new thing, whether I "need" it or not...
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Dirty Lowdown: Why (and How) I Clean Everything

... Here's the water moments after adding the dress. That's some strong "vintage tea" brewing, and it shows you just how much dirt can be trapped in the fibers of a seemingly clean dress ...
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Making Movies: My First Year as an Extra

... I've never aspired to a career in acting. Nope. I'm in it for the clothes! And whenever possible, the dancing. Above I'm working on a Madmen-era party scene in a TV series set in modern day. That's my own original 50s Gigi Young dress ...
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A Vintage Tribute - "L'armadio di Elia"

... Maryelle: We don't know exactly who taught her. She told us she'd see things in magazines and say, "Oh, I can make that." At 16 she took a pattern-making class to learn to sew better. Once she'd learned how you're supposed to cut, she didn't need patterns anymore. And these clothes were clearly cut for her body ...
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Lecture - "On Cameos: From Antiquity to Present"

... The only difference between hand-carved cameos made today and those made in antiquity is that modern machinery is electrified, while the ancients used a pedal-powered system similar to a treadle sewing machine ...
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Exhibit Visit - "Dressing Downton" at Biltmore Estate

... An excited gift-shop employee, captivated by the exhibit and my outfit, asked: "Is this what you used to wear?" To which I responded, laughing: "How old do you think I am?" ...
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Repairing a Vintage Hand Fan

... Before I'd opened the package, I knew. I could feel and hear loose bits shaking around. I hoped I was wrong. I wasn't. The shards had torn through the silk in several spots of nearly every section. Some were hanging from one edge. Others had completely detached. Sob ...
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Making a Parasol Bag

... I needed another solution. I'd seen a single example of a parasol bag, and that was for at-home storage. But that didn't mean a carried version never did or could exist. Surely some enterprising woman had whipped one up back when, right? ...
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In a Box, With Tissue Paper

... But not every old thing belongs behind glass (I'm still out and about). And once we've made sure that we have protected examples, out of circulation and preserved for posterity, must we continue to hoard? ...
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Lining an Edwardian Reticule

... After machine-sewing the lining together, I snipped into the curves to help it conform to the shape of the bag. Then I folded the top edge down, checking that it would fit properly. Here's how it looked before I ironed it ...
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