June 10, 2007

Granny's Party Shoes

These shoes belonged to my grandmother. They were purchased to wear to a wedding. They are a ladies' size 4 1/2. The shoes were worn with a silk taffeta dress in matching emerald green; details included fabric covered buttons & belt, velvet hat with net veil, gloves, & corsage (mother of the groom). Granny had red hair, so green would've been an ideal color for her. She presented a tasteful if matronly appearance.

My grandmother made many of her own clothes in part because it was difficult to locate clothing for a woman 4 feet 11 inches tall. I shopped for fabric with her many times. She liked Pendleton wool skirts in a simple, straight style, no waistband, darts, & a little split for movement. I can't imagine that she needed even a yard. For blouses she liked Liberty of London cotton. She knitted her own sweaters; cardigans always, with pockets for Kleenex. She wore little tiny coats cut in a fitted princess style. I remember one in baby blue, & one in navy. She wore scarves in the wind, but not the glamorous, flashy chiffon type (of course not!), rather the silk with a paisley or plaid pattern type. She liked tailored, sensible clothing. She was an anglophile, which is only mildly relevant, but if you like you may picture her drinking tea in the clothes I've described. She looked the same for at least the last thirty years of her life, although I think this 'look' may have extended back into the 1950s.
My grandmother had two sons (& a husband); together the guys created a paper tape dress-form for her at some point during the 1940s. This is still a viable option today for the very thrifty. Slightly humorous to imagine; the materials for this dress form were purchased in 'kit' form, through a magazine advertisement. Dispatched to my eagerly waiting grandmother were 1) an instruction sheet 2) a roll of brown-paper tape 3) a sponge for wetting the gummed tape. I have this project on my to-do list, rather high on the list in fact; but I've had trouble generating enthusiasm among my family members. I have not been able to portray a sufficiently appealing scenario to move them to action...
Most modern seamstresses use duct tape, but I; ever the purist, (+ in an apparent thrifty happenstance I acquired a big fat roll of brown paper packing tape for .50 not too long ago at my nearby shoppe) need to experience the real thing.

See Lanetz Living, a vintage sewing pattern site - over 7000 patterns searchable according to type, decade, pattern company, bust size, or holiday. Of course I only looked at a fraction of what is available, but patterns seem to average between $4 & $6 - quite reasonable.


Tracie said...

oooooo Jennifer, I just bookmarked Lanetz Living. How ambitious you are to make your own dress form. My grandmother had an adjustable one years ago...gotta ask my mom about that. The closest thing I've come to that is creating my own sloper when I took a design class years ago. The only time I used it was for was my wedding dress. (neither would fit now)
I wondered about the cute little shoes when I saw them in a picture of your 'studio'.

fun_is_always_in_style said...

hi tracie! Well, I haven't made it yet - I really am having trouble enlisting help. There are just so many other things to do - which is true.
I've never had any tailoring classes - I wish I had. You made your wedding dress? That is extremely impressive & neat. I'd love to see a picture.

Tracie said...

Thanks. Remind me to dig around for a full length picture of it.