Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's a casual look!

Thought I'd do something rather unusual and post a shot of a very casual look of mine that I wore to run some errands and catch a film with friends later in the evening.

A few months back I ordered a pair of custom made 1940s high waist trousers from Big Beautiful Barbara Brown and the postman brought them to me just yesterday. I ordered them in a grey wool mix fabric because when I made the order, it was still really cold in here. Thankfully, the fabric isn't too warm and the trousers are actually perfect for the season. I'm definitely a dress and skirts kinda gal and I rarely wear pants but I really do like these. They're super comfortable to wear! I've never had wide leg trousers before and I'm not entirely sure if they're all that flattering on me but at least they're so 'easy' to wear.

And the hair... Let me just take a moment to boast that I haven't dyed my hair in at least a month and last time it was done by my hairdresser was in early February. So yeah, it seems the red is finally lasting a longer time without fading! WOOHOO! I also ordered some hot sticks and this was the second time I've done my hair with them, loosely following this tutorial by Fleur. I have to say that I'm LOVING hot sticks and I'm so glad I finally got 'em! The curls are similar to the ones I get from using perm rods (my favorites for cold sets) but without the god-awful frizz - and headache - I always get from sleeping on curlers. Plus, the curls actually lasted throughout most of the day, which is impressive considering that a hot roller set tends to last for, say, half an hour in my hair.

Trousers - Big Beautiful Barbara Brown (1940s high waist trousers)
Knitted sweaters - H&M & Gina Tricot
Sweater clips - Vintage via Etsy
Handbag - Thrifted, vintage
Shoes - Thrifted

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Watch me 'Walk-away'

I've been working on sewing the Butterick 4790 Walk-away dress, which dates back to 1952. The pattern I used is reissued from the old vintage pattern. Formerly known as Butterick 6015, the reissue can be purchased here and it comes in a variety of sizes. Here's a little bit of info on the pattern:

During the 1950s, Butterick experienced a phenomenon it had not known since the 'Garibaldi Suit' of the late 1860s. It was pattern 6015, and it was dubbed the 'walk-away' dress, because it was so easy you could "Start it after breakfast... walk-away in it for luncheon." It's simple yet flattering wrap design and easy construction were what made it so popular. Sales of the pattern were so great, that at one point manufacturing of all other patterns ceased, and only the 'walk-away' dress was produced until all back-orders for this dress could be filled. (source)

The Walk-away dress is actually the very first dress I've ever made myself! Needless to say, I didn't "start it after breakfast... walk-away in it for luncheon!" In fact, it took me well over a month to complete. I decided to do the version A of the dress with raspberry red linen on the front, yellow floral cotton as the dominating fabric and yellow bias tape to finish off the edges.

I altered the pattern quite a bit. I resized it, moved the bust darts and snipped off about 5cm from the upper back. Unfortunately, I ended up resizing the dress too big, which I didn't notice until when sewing the buttons and and snaps, when the dress was nearly finished. I had to move the button on the front off center so that it would hide the loose fabric and make the dress better fitted. I also ended up cutting away too much fabric from around the armpits. Looking back at it, I should also have shortened the upper front a little bit. Lastly, it would also have been better to use another fabric than the linen because it tends to crinkle so easily underneath the heavier cotton. Oh well, you live and you learn!

Even though the dress is far from perfect, I still like it a lot and will surely wear it often during the summer. It is a great dress for summer picnics and I can see myself wearing it over a swimsuit when walking to the beach. I'm glad that I resisted the more glamorous fabrics and instead made an everyday cotton dress for the summer.

I just LOVE the pattern and I'm sure I'll make several more Walk-away dresses in the future - with the alterations in mind, of course. Perhaps next time I'll go for high glam with emerald green satin. *mm* I've seen so many fabulous versions of the dress that I'd love to try myself.

My next project, however, will be another 1930s skirt in blue polkadot cotton fabric. I saw a really pretty light green floral fabric at a store the other day and I think I shall use it to make the Sense & Sensibility Swing dress in the near future.

Dress - Butterick 4790 Walk-away dress, made by me
Shoes - Early 1950s vintage, from
Lips & nails - Revlon Cherries in the Snow

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What Katie Did - Retro Swimdress

The What Kate Did swimwear is now available and all of the pieces are so adorable! I love the sailor swimsuit that I posted about earlier but I think my favorite is this swimdress (which is available up to UK dress size 18). I'm not really into the thought of wearing vintage or used swimwear or lingerie (hygiene freak present!) so repro is the only way to go in my case. Swimming is one of my very favorite hobbies and I swam in a nearby lake every day last summer. I'll probably snag the swimdress asap to make those upcoming summer swims extra special. Can't wait!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Top Runway "Angie" dress

A month or so back I ordered this custom made, 1950s inspired "Angie" dress from Top Runway and received it yesterday. I've heard a lot about Top Runway and have been meaning to place an order for months and months and finally did so after falling in love with this style.

I have to say that this dress is an instant favorite of mine! It is so comfortable on and I love the fabric, the color and the cut. And, as it is custom made, it fits me down to a t. I think it will be my favorite 'everyday' dress for all of the reasons above. Plus, it is a versatile number as it can be worn during all of the seasons or dressed up for a fancy occasion.

I spent last weekend in Lahti and visited a new vintage store called Autiotalo. I was pleasantly surprised by the shop! It is one of the larger vintage stores I've seen in Finland that isn't super expensive either and carried plenty of goodies that had me drooling, much, much more than what is listed on the website. I settled on this pair of 1940s shoes (pictured) that are super cute and only cost 15€! There was another similar pair with bows but they were a tiny bit smaller. I paired them with one of my favorite handbags, a real gem that I found at a local flea market last fall. Would anyone be able to guess its age? The price tag said it is from 1960s but I'm not quite so sure.

I've mainly been doing cold curl sets as of late but ended up with a hot roller set today - which reminded me of what pain they are! I mean, the actual curls - that remind me more of 1960s than 1940s looks - last perhaps half an hour and then you're left with this... Ugh! I ended up with good ol' victory rolls and a snood to cover the hair mess. Much better!

Dress - Top Runway ("Angie" dress)
Handbag - Thrifted, vintage
Shoes - 1940s vintage, bought from Autiotalo
Stockings - What Katie Did
Lips - Besame Red Velvet
Earrings - Gift from my sweetheart

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Two fierce dames

Good friends Gloria Swanson and Carole Lombard on a movie set in the early 1940s. Can you imagine what a meeting between these two larger than life personalities must have been like? It must have been a riot and a party like no other!

Breakfast at Tiffany's, dahling!

I have been given this fabulous "Breakfast at Tiffany's" award by Little Miss B! This is my very first blog award so I feel really honored! Thank you so much, Little Miss B! Here's what she had to say about Harlean's Heyday:

a stylish lady who inspires me to dress better

What a lovely compliment! I started this blog mainly for myself, to document my evergrowing vintage collection and obsession with classic film. I'm amazed that as many as 37 followers care to check up on what I'm scribbling about, let alone be given an award. :P

Here are some of the blogs that brighten my day and make me feel like breakfast at Tiffany's, dahling!

Diamond Stash - She defines the word 'style' to me. Plus, Fiona's incredibly sweet too!
Tea with the Vintage Baroness - This lady rocks 1930s looks like no other. Very inspiring!
The Call of the Jitterbug Doll - Modern day Betty Grable with impeccable style and the most incredible hairdos.
The Vintage Lesbian Project - Gotta appreciate a vintage loving lesbian who embraces her curves.
Va-Voom Vintage - A great blog with plenty of tutorials and inspiration, especially for us voloptuous ladies.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A spring day

Today's Good Friday was a beautiful day and you could finally really smell spring in the air. We decided to take advantage of the good weather and do a little bit of art historical sightseeing in the nearby area. We first went to the Old Church of Messukyl√§, a medieval stone church that was built circa 1510–1530. It is the oldest building in Tampere. Unfortunately, I didn't get any decent photos of the church but if any of you are interested, you can see what it looks like here.

Next we went over to the unique Viinikka Church, which was built in late 1920s/early 1930s and opened in 1932. The Viinikka area itself is stunning with pastel color wood houses that match my outfit, hee!

I wore a springy mint colored 1950s brocade dress that I got from eBay last autumn for under $30. It was badly stained but thankfully I managed to clean it up pretty nicely. I paired it with a purple Monsoon sweater and a 1950s vintage clutch, which I got from Etsy. The white Oxford shoes are by Global Essentials.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Everyday Fashions of the Thirties As Pictured in Sears Catalogs

I have been looking for vintage Sears catalogs for a while but ones from the early to mid 20th century are a) rare to come by and b) tend to be on the pricey side, naturally. So I was delighted when I found this cheaper alternative; a book that has gathered together pages from Sears catalogs throughout the 1930s, titled Everyday Fashions of the Thirties As Pictured in Sears Catalogs. You can get your copy at Amazon for $10.17. It features 133 pages full of Thirties fashion inspiration, each piece more gorgeous than the other! I have quite a lot of books on vintage fashion but I must say that these Sears books definitely rank on the very top of my list. What could be better than seeing actual everyday fashion from the period, instead of a couple of high end pieces that general vintage books tend to showcase?

I also have the Sears books from the Forties and Fifties so stay tuned for some sneaks from those as well.