Thursday, January 31, 2008

Suit Project

I am currently working on a vintage-style 3-piece suit. This is a big project and any helpful comments and concerns are much appreciated.

I bought this 1952 dated suit jacket and vest pattern off the Bay. While the jacket pattern is complete and uncut the vest pattern was missing. This vintage pattern will insure higher armholes than a modern jacket pattern.

As a result of the missing vest, I bought a modern pattern not only for the vest but also for the trousers.
Since the vest is not of vintage style (too long and only has two pockets) I used a vintage vest as a guide and altered the pattern a bit. I shortened it about an inch and altered the points at the front, making them a bit longer and more pointed. Here's what it looks like on a torso.

Note that the bottom 1 1/2" of the pattern is to be hemmed so the vest will be shorter than it appears in these photos.

The trousers look good and are relatively straight legged with cuffs and some pleats so no alteration will be needed there. However, they are somewhat low waisted so I will be adding about 3-4 inches to the rise. This will allow the trousers to be worn with the short vintage-style vest.

I have cut most of the fabric for the vest and the pieces are in good order. Speaking of fabric, here is what I am using:
As you can see it is an attractive brownish gray medium weight twill with some nice pin/chalkstripes. It was on clearance at a local fabric shop and I bought all 5 1/2 yards of it. Hopefully it will be enough for the project. I washed and dried it in order to make it shrink before starting work.

More updates to come.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

NOS socks

Some reminiscent shots of NOS (new old stock) socks.


Detailed view:

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

How It Started

I've been asked how this interest in vintage clothing began. But it is not just an interest in vintage clothing, it is an interest in vintage everything. Clothing is, surprisingly, just the easiest and most visible part of the vintage interest.

I first started out with the military aspect of the Golden Era. World War Two was (and still is) one of my main points of interest. My first serious collection was collectables of the Second World War, mainly of the United States though I have also ventured into other nations, namely Germany and Japan. I have also ventured into other time periods, all the way from the American Civil War up to the Vietnam War.

The first piece of my newly born collection 6 years ago was a beat-up pair of leggings I bought on a whim while waiting for my parents to slowly work through the antique mall. When I bought them it hit me: these were a part of another person's life, part of history. I can own a piece of history.
And so the collection grew. But one cannot easily focus upon one aspect of a time period without looking at other aspects. I could not just study the military side of the Golden Era without travelling into the civilian side. Thus came my budding fascination in all things of the Golden Era, not just the World War Two aspect.
And I still have those first leggings.

So, to end this post here are some of the more prized and interesting pieces of my collection.

Class A uniform of a medical officer in the 2nd AF.

A pair of rare British-made (note the hobnails and leather soles) garrison shoes converted to M43 "double buckle" configuration by the addition of leather cuffs.

I have a bit of experience with uniforms.

A local paper announcing the invasion of Normandy. Dated June 6th, 1944.

Like I said, while most of my collection dates from World War Two era, I do have pieces from other times. This is a Union American Civil War Model 1863 holster that was made to accomidate the numerous different revolvers and revolver sizes in use by the Union Army at the time. This is a rare and incredible find ($25 at an antique mall). It's in excellent condition for it's age, the leather being soft and supple, though it has a field modification to the closure strap and the belt hanger has been torn. Even so, it is still a proud piece of American history.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

What I Wore Today

Modern suit
Vintage Champ homburg
Vintage overcoat
Modern tie
Modern spread collar shirt with French cuffs
Vintage cufflinks
Allen Edmond shoes

Sunday, January 6, 2008

What I Wore Today

-1950s DB jacket
-George brand trousers
-George brand socks
-Vintage tie
-Royal Stetson fedora
-Allen Edmond shoes

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Non-vintage Vintage Movies

For a moment I'm putting the sartorialist aspect of this blog on the back burner for something a bit more...entertaining.

Hollywood, as out of touch as it is, has found it nearly impossible to ignore the Golden Age. It was a time period that is so close to us, roughly only 70 years ago, but seems so completely different from how we know life today. It was a fleeting moment in the history of humankind, a transition from the old pre-modern ways that formed so many of our western traditions to the post-modern world where those same traditions are being tested and stood on end. The Golden Age was a cocktail mixture of the new and the old; where automobiles still had graceful lines, Art Deco was the main design element and clothing not only looked good but was functional. Even war was waged differently, with advanced assault rifles still being made of wood and steel and airplanes advancing from metal and fabric biplanes to aluminum jets within a short decade. Neither before or since has so much changed so quickly.

That is why we are unable to ignore the struggles, challenges, triumphs, victories and defeats of the Golden Age. Neither can Hollywood.
Here are some of my favorite non-vintage vintage movies, filmed no earlier than 1970 and in no particular order.

Chinatown (1974)
L.A. is in the middle of a drought in the mid-1930s and there's a growing battle over water. P.I. Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is sent to investigate the city water commissioner and stumples upon a murder.
A classic Film Noir, "Chinatown" has so many twists and turns and a surprise ending it'll make your head swim. Filled with humor, some dark, this movie will make you both laugh and cry.
"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."

The Sting (1973)
Portraying two grifters trying to make the Chicago big con in 1936, "The Sting" is another vintage masterpiece from the early 1970s. With the interaction between Robert Redford and Paul Newman it was bound to be a classic; the deal was sealed with actor Robert Shaw playing the bad guy.
Great humor and plot twists in this classic film the family will enjoy.

"Your boss is quite a card player, Mr. Kelly; how does he do it?"
"He cheats."

The Road to Perdition (2002)
A more recent film, "The Road to Perdition" is based upon a graphic novel. This is a dark film dealing with the struggles of a mobster and his son as they seek revenge for several murders in a small Irish gang-ruled town. Paul Newman stars as the old head of the gang who has to choose between his spoiled biological son and his much beloved "adopted" son.

Seabiscuit (2003)

An inspiring true depression-era story of a too large jocky riding a too small race horse into the history books, beating all odds. It is a story of the little guy beating the big and powerful and is an uplifting story.

The Natural (1984)

Robert Redford stars as a mysterious and seemingly useless baseball player who finally makes the big league and is given a chance, turning into a baseball sensation. But the powers that be are against him as he deals with a medical condition that could not only end his career but also kill him.
A great vintage sports movie with several back-tingling moments.

Here's a new one due to be released in the summer, 2008:

George Clooney, John Krasinksi and Renee Zellweger star in a 1920s-era story about the newly born professional football league. Clooney portrays a burned out football player who recruits the youthful and up and coming Krasinski to join the struggling league. This romantic comedy looks quite promising and I am looking forward to it, though I am not a big fan of Clooney.

The website and trailer for this movie can be found at

I hope you enjoyed this quick look at some of my favorite modern vintage movies.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Real Russian

I just picked up this vintage 8-panel newsboy cap.

"Real Russian"

I hope that's not what it is made out of.


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