Thursday, May 27, 2010

Vintage Thingies Thursday: Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles - Part One

I spent last week in Northern California (hence the blog silence) and had the opportunity to visit the incredible Lacis Museum of Lace of Textiles located in Berkeley.  It's not your usual museum! Think of it as part-museum of antique and vintage lace and other textiles, and part massive store that carries in-house, domestic, and imported products to support all aspects of textile crafts such as lace-making (of course), sewing, embroidery, beading, weaving, crocheting, and knitting.  I cannot express how much I wish I lived nearby so I could be a regular visitor or even a volunteer, as it is truly a "haven for the textile community" as the founders, Kaethe and Jules Kliot, intended.

I'd like to show you some of my personal photos of some of the current exhibit,  Night and Day, The World of the 1920s.   You can follow the previous link to the slideshow of the exhibit on the Lacis site, but I took my own photos as I love the unique design of vintage costume and it's not easy to see some of the handmade lace and hand-sewn bead embellishments.  I took so many photos that I'll still have lots to show you next week!  Feel free to click on each of the photos to see the lace and beading in more detail. 

By the way, the mannequins are period-correct (dating from the late 1870s to the 1930s) and are made of wax, right down to their teeth.  Their hair is actually human hair!  You can read more about them here.

First, some lovely daywear.  I was stunned at how lovely the crocheted lace is on the bottom dress; it is handmade, of course.  I wonder how many hours were spent in lacemaking before the dress was made (it is handsewn as well):

The embroidery on this dress was also handmade:

Handmade tatted lace adorns the adorable pink handbag in the mannequin's hand:

The men wore fabulous suits:

Lightweight summer jackets and vests:

And they looked very dapper in the evening:

A woman's evening dress in lace and handmade silk ribbon embroidery:

My favorite evening dress in the display:

Amazing black net lace evening gown:

I hope that you enjoyed this edition of Vintage Thingies Thursday.  Don't miss next week for more vintage costume and accessories!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Madison Avenue Monday: Frothy Daintiness, from Spring through Summer

I received these pages from a Sears catalog in a swap. Exact date unknown, but it looks to be the 1950s.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Madison Avenue Monday

From McCall's Step-by-Step Sewing Book, 1966

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Meet the Artist: Faerie Moon Creations

It's time for this month's Meet the Artist feature, and it also includes a giveaway!   Introducing Theresa of Faerie Moon Creations:

Tell us a little about yourself.
I live in Central Connecticut with my husband (who actually is a co-creator for Faerie Moon Creations) and our two Keeshonds, Willow and Neo.  My passions are music, art, film, theater, literature, creating jewelry, photography, reading, nature walks, animals and wildlife, museums, cooking & baking, knitting, painting, drawing and writing.  My creations are inspired by a great love of faerie tales, folklore and fantasy.  We strive to make items that are whimsical, fun, romantic, original, and also affordable.  I try to design jewelry and knit items that I would personally like to wear.  It truly makes my day when someone writes to say that she loves what we created.  Each sale is like the first one for me - I am overwhelmed with joy that people connect and really want to wear our creations!

What is the first craft that you remember doing?
Wow - that's a tough question to answer.  When I was little, I got my hands into everything!  I was always drawing and painting.  I would spend hours sitting alone creating my own "comic books."  In middle school I created the coolest Archie Comics bulletin boards for the changing seasons.  I'd draw them out, color them in, and cut them.  Wish I had photos of those bulletin boards.   I also remember drawing a picture of a horse in third grade, which I remember actually came out well.  I ended up giving it to my teacher.  I basically tried anything and everything - from cross stitch to sculpting to latch hook.  In high school and beyond, my focus was drawing.

How long have you been making jewelry?  How did you learn?
I've only been creating jewelry since last August!  At first, I only created small 1" glass pendants with digital images.  But I wanted to do much more than that!  So, my husband and I picked up a few books and just went for it!  He primarily focuses on the metal and wire work.  I layout most of the conceptual designs and create the domino and glass tile pendants with digital images and lace.  We love working together as a team.   We didn't take any classes - we just sort of played it by ear.  Our designs have come along way in just a few short months!

What other crafts do you enjoy?
I've actually been spreading my wings lately and signed up to take a series of classes through  A lot of it involves papercraft, which I haven't too much experience in.  I'm enjoying it SO much!  I am almost done with this vintage style paper and fabric flower garland.  And I'll be making some Tussie Mussies - which I am THRILLED about!  I love them so much, and now I get to learn how to make them for myself!  I also hope to be taking some painting classes with Suzi Blu.  I have become obsessed with mixed-media painting, and I want to learn how to do it myself.  I have the base created for one painting, but I'm not quite sure that I've laid it out correctly!  Painting and drawing were my first loves, so I will be overjoyed to get back into that.  Several years ago I also took decorative painting classes, which I very much enjoyed.  I liked that all the pieces were functional art, and I still have quite a few pieces that I didn't give away as gifts in my home.  I also knit for pleasure.  My favorite thing to knit are socks...everyone needs them!  They look terrifying to make; but once you get the hang of it, it's really a lot of fun.  I am so fascinated with garment construction.

How long has Faerie Moon Creations been open?  What made you decide to open an Etsy shop?
Faerie Moon Creations opened in August 2009.  I have long been a fan of Etsy and shop there often.   Deep down in my heart, I wanted to create so badly.  I had begun to grow tired of working in "corporate" business and wanted to live the creative life that I had somehow veered away from.  I was afraid at first because I thought no one would be interested in my work.  I've had friends and family urging me for years to sell my creations, but I never did.  I think primarily for fear of failure.  I sat down, created a "business plan" of sorts, thought long and hard about what I wanted to offer and then set about creating my initial products before opening shop.  I named my shop Faerie Moon because of my great love of faeries.  My husband designs all my graphics for me.   When I had my first sale, I was amazed.  And when I received glowing feedback for the item, I was so grateful.  It's my goal to make everyone happy with the items they purchase from Faerie Moon.  Sometimes, I even toss in free gifts with items.  If I can make just one person smile, then I am satisfied.

Any plans to quit your day job soon?
Well, I am actually only working two days a week now at my "day job."  I would love to dedicate myself full time to Faerie Moon.  As it is, most of my time is comprised of dreaming up new designs, creating new  product, photographing the new items, promoting the new items in whatever way I can to help get the word out.  I probably put in 60 hours a week or more, in addition to working about 15 hours a week at my other place of employment.  I am pouring my heart and soul into Faerie Moon.  To be honest, I love being at home.  I have my two pups laying next to me as I work, and then I get to cook dinner for my husband and relax with him during the evenings.  It's quite nice.

Where else can we find you online?
In addition to my Etsy shop I write a blog at where I chat about Faerie Moon, my life, and my personal passions.  I also maintain a Facebook Fan page:  I'm also frequently on Twitter at  And I am a proud member of The Crafters' Crew on My Craft Corner at  Faerie Moon Creations also has a newsletter which gives subscribers special coupons and advance news of sales.  You can sign up for the newsletter on my blog!

Theresa is offering a lovely necklace that features gold wire spiral detailing, gold spacer beads, pink glass crackle beads, white glass pearl beads, and other glass beads affixed to a vintage domino tile with an image of Marie Antoinette to one lucky Serendipity Handmade reader:

To enter, simply visit her Etsy shop and leave a comment here about your favorite item. This giveaway is open worldwide; one comment per person, please. This giveaway ends on May 31st at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. The winner will be drawn by random number at and the winner will be announced on June 1st!  Be sure to leave your email address, website link, or profile link as part of your comment so I can easily contact you.  Best of luck everyone!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

A bouquet of roses from my garden for my dear readers who are mothers or wish to become mothers. 
I also want to wish special Mother's Day happiness to my own mother and grandmother.

May you all have a beautiful and memorable day!

Barbie's Vintage Sundress

A few weeks ago, when Heidi was in the shop, I decided that I was going to sew a Barbie sundress (view four) from Simplicity 8281 by hand:

As you may remember from one of my award posts, this was the very first pattern that I owned.  I was probably about 9 or 10 years old, and for some reason I figured that I could sew the sundress by hand with needle and thread.  At that time I could sew on a button, but that's about all.  I don't know how I talked my mother into buying the pattern, but she also bought nearly identical yellow fabric and I managed to get as far as cutting out the bodice, skirt, ruffle, and straps.

Mind you, my mother was not a sewist although she owned a sewing machine, and neither she nor I could interpret the mysterious pattern markings or instructions.  Make a dart?  Gather a ruffle?  We had no clue, and I was terribly frustrated.  So I put the dress aside and completely forgot about it until I ran across the pattern at a thrift store or estate sale (I don't remember!) many years later.  I have no idea where the original pattern went.

As it turns out, this makes the very first vintage pattern I have sewn. It also marks the first miniature garment I have ever constructed, and there is no way I ever would have been able to sew this pattern as a kid without knowledgeable assistance.  So I find it very satisfying to have come "full circle," so to speak, and be able to complete this project so many years later:

I sewed the dress from a scrap of fabric I found in a freebie bin at sewing class.  It's a poly-cotton, and it frayed like the dickens.  I hated working with it, as I had to sew the straps and darts over and over again, as the material frayed beyond the seamlines. As always, it's not perfect.  For some reason, I found that my gathers had turned into box pleats, but I like the look.  I abandoned the hand sewing idea early on as Heidi had returned and I got impatient for quick results.

I actually had to buy a Barbie that I was willing to pull out of the box, as all of the others I have are collectible. I ended up with "Sassy" (she needs a better name), a Barbie "Fashionistas", because she was poseable.  When I brought her home I showed her to my husband, who immediately informed me that in she was dressed like a streetwalker:

Poor Barbie.  Still, I like her pink boots. 

Interestingly, the bodice of the dress I made turned out to be about a 1/2 inch or so too large, particularly in the waist.  You can't see it, but I had to pin the bodice in back to get a good fit.

This may be my imagination, but I do believe that this doll's waistline is even tinier than the Barbie dolls of old. Dear readers, have any of you sewn a vintage doll pattern for a contemporary Barbie?  I shudder to think that Barbie's ridiculously small waist measurement has become even smaller today than it was thirty or more years ago.  Please, leave a comment!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Vintage Thingies Thursday: Pyrex Love

For today's Vintage Thingies Thursday I am showcasing part of my small but beloved vintage Pyrex collection:


Vintage 1970s turquoise Pyrex one quart casserole in the Butterprint pattern
(a.k.a. "Amish", "Rooster and Corn", "Farmer" pattern)


Detail of Butterprint
  I think that the farmer and his wife would would make a cute
decoration for retro kitchen if embroidered on a wall hanging

Or should I say that this is my former Pyrex collection?  In the interest of simplicity I can no longer hang on to these housewares.  These pieces are all now listed in my Etsy shop and are just waiting for good homes.  They are a bit heavy,  so I listed them to ship via U.S. Priority Mail.  I'm flexible, so email me if you want to discuss other U.S. shipping options or if you would like these shipped internationally.  And they are automatically included in my current sale!  Fee free to check it out.

I've decided that in the future I'm only going to collect refrigerator and divided dishes, though perhaps I shouldn't say "collect" because I intend to use them. I prefer to store my leftovers in glass dishes when possible and these vintage dishes are just the ticket (although the seal isn't airtight).  I like the Gooseberry and Pink Daisy patterns the best,  but they are very popular patterns and harder to find.  When I've seen them at estate sales around here they are astronomically and ridiculously priced.

If you really like vintage Pyrex as I do you will definitely enjoy the Pyrex Love website.  Sadly, the contributors have not updated the blog in quite a while, but there is still a lot of good information on the site.

Don't forget to visit the other Vintage Thingies Thursday participants at Coloradolady's blog!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Madison Avenue Monday: Perfect Fit Adjust-O-Matic Dress Form

If only contemporary dress forms were this affordable....

From the Butterick Home Catalog, Summer 1970

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I Won...!

I thought it would be fun to do a double post about winners on this first day of May! 

First, I want to announce the blog awards so generously bestowed upon me by some of the nicest bloggers in blogosphere over the past several months:

From Tracey, at I'm Just Your Average Mom


 From Emma, at Mimi and Tilly

From Jessica, at Chronically Vintage

From Amanda at Sew Wonderful, So You

You all are so sweet! I'm really always really touched and delighted to know how much you all enjoy this blog.  Thank you.  Please check out their wonderful blogs too!

Those of you who have been reading from the early days of Serendipity Handmade know that I drag my feet a little in announcing awards because they often come with so many requirements.  Well, I'm going to be a bit of a rebel this time!  Instead of writing another long list of things about me (and after having read three such lists I'm sure another will just bore you)  I'm just going to tell you just one more little tidbit about me:

After I began learning to sew I decided to get a part-time summer job at a local fabric store.  I learned quite a bit about different types of fabric and really enjoyed the work, though at times it was exhausting from hefting those fabric bolts.

Now that I'm on the other side of the fabric counter I remember fantasizing about allowing a few of the regular sewists cut their own fabric off of the bolt as they were sometimes a bit hard to please about the accuracy of the measurement or how sharp the scissors were.  So please remember to be extra-nice to employees at the cutting table (after all, they have sharp scissors in their hands!) because it's a tiring job.

Finally, let me show you what I am grateful to have received in a blog giveaway from Pretty Damn Cute on Etsy:

Black 1950s evening bag by After-Five

I REALLY wanted it, as I have been on the lookout for a new (or new-to-me) evening bag.  I've even been designing a casual crocheted evening bag (no, I'm not even near finished).  But I'm so glad I have this more formal and sophisticated clutch, with its little clear and black rhinestones on the hardware. I especially like the darling attached change purse too!

Have a great weekend, everyone, and I'll see you back here on Monday!

Meet the Artist Giveaway Winner!

Hello everyone!  I'm excited to announce the April Meet the Artist giveaway winner of the fabulous chiyogami doll gift package from Ume Origami. So without further ado the winner is:

Commenter #22, Risya, from Risyahoneydew!  

I hope that you enjoy your origami gifts Risya.  I'm glad that Christina is sending it to you directly because I certainly would be tempted to keep it!  To everyone else, thank you for entering this giveaway and stay tuned, as always I have another great giveaway planned for this month!