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Apr 1, 2020

Muslining a Vintage Swimsuit, New Shoes, + More Movie Links!

When I'm self-isolating I indulge myself in ways I otherwise might not.

In normal times, I probably would have talked myself out of purchasing these second-hand Allen Edmonds wing-tip spectators.  I mean, how practical are they?  But these are not normal times to say the least.  Plus these shoes were well-priced and the seller offered me free returns.  Readers, I love them, they fit well, and I do intend to wear them -- with what, I'm not sure, but post-pandemic, these are going to be on my feet and you will see them again.

Remember the floral poly crepe I purchased last week (also on eBay)?  Well it arrived a few days ago.  It's lovely and think I'm going to save it for an early 1930's or even late 1920's project.  I originally thought I'd use it for a Forties dress but I don't think it's quite right.  

I purchased more fabric online yesterday (I know, I know).  I'm a big Peanuts fan and this quilting cotton has a lot of teal, which is one of my best colors.  The pattern is called "The Gang's All Here" and I intend to make a shirt out of it.  I bought three yards from some quilt store in North Carolina.  It should get here early next week.

Meanwhile, my vintage 1959 women's swimsuit pattern has arrived.  I was thinking of making it up in this cotton border print I've had for many years (but only have about 2 yards of), and using the same fabric to line the coverup too, inspired by that Adrian swimsuit from the Technicolor fashion show segment in "The Women" (see lower right pic below).

The construction is complicated so I'm making a muslin first.  It's basically like making a couture cocktail dress.  The draped outer layer sits atop a lined, boned bodice.  I got close to finishing the top today and tomorrow I'll tackle the bottom.  I love immersing myself in challenging sewing construction and this is the most complex project I've done in a long time.  Luckily the instructions are well written but, like I said, there's a lot going on here.

Here's the lined bra section (I'm using a cotton tropical print remnant from my stash for the outer layer, and an old cotton sheet for the lining).

Here's the bodice with the draped section attached but no boning yet.  I learned in doing this that the outer-facing, lined bra section (above) doesn't even show through the draped layer, so there's no use wasting fashion fabric on that.  Like I said, this is basically like constructing a cocktail dress.

Friends, I hope you're all doing okay.  A few things that help me a lot are 1) not watching TV news ever (we don't even own a television set); 2) limiting Internet time (though I struggle with this one); 3) exercising at least a little bit every day, even if it's just indoors; 4) eating well but not over-indulging; and 5) immersing myself in fun sewing projects.  Let's face it: the news these is days is one big three-alarm fire and nearly everything you read online is crafted as click-bait to raise your blood pressure.  If there was ever a time to avoid overheated headlines, this is it.  Read a book instead.

Meanwhile, here are a few more old movie recommendations with links.

The Court Jester (Paramount, 1955)  Costumes by Edith Head

Danny Kaye could be overbearing at times but The Court Jester is, in my opinion, one of the funniest films ever made.  It boasts a fabulous cast, good songs, and many, many hilarious moments.  I think it's Danny Kaye's best movie, though Hans Christian Anderson remains a sentimental favorite (with better songs but hey, there's only one Frank Loesser).

Watch The Court Jester here.

No Man of Her Own (Paramount, 1950)  Costumes by Edith Head

Barbara Stanwyck is one of my all-time favorite film actresses and she made some terrific movies.  No Man Of Her Own isn't one of her better-known projects, but it really stuck with me when I saw it recently -- truly gripping  It was directed by Mitchell Leisen, one of the finest directors of the Forties and Fifties and often overlooked.

Watch No Man of Her Own here.

Juke Girl (Warner Brothers, 1942) Costumes by Milo Anderson

Confession: I have never seen Juke Girl but I think I'll watch it tonight.  I love Ann Sheridan: she had one of the warmest film personalities of the Golden Age.  She didn't make that many classics, however, and certainly Juke Girl isn't one.  That said, Ann's just a pleasure to watch in everything she did and I'm sure this will be no exception: plus, there's handsome, young Ronald Reagan!  Let me know how you like it.

Watch Juke Girl here.

UPDATE: OK, so I watched Juke Girl -- a terrible title for this movie, by the way.  There are some wonderful performances and great atmosphere and a lot of the sharp social critique and snappy dialogue Warner Brothers movies were famous for in this period.  Unfortunately, just when you think the story is over and come to a happy ending, the plot takes a rather violent turn and you discover there's another 20 minutes to go.  Not quite sure what they were thinking.  That said, this movie has a lot going for it, and Ronald Reagan and Ann Sheridan generate some real heat.  Give it a try.

In closing, friends, I hope you're all okay and staying busy.  It's easy to obsess about uncertainties when we have too much time on our hands.  When in doubt, sew!

Have a great day, everybody!


  1. Thank you, Mr Movies!
    Loved The Devil and Miss Jones.
    Look forward to that beach cover-up.

  2. Love the old movies, check out Kaye's "On the Riviera" if you get a chance.
    The shoes are terrific! and Allen Edmunds!!
    The swim suit looks very interesting.
    I always enjoy you posts
    -Will C.

  3. your new know how much I love spectators...have numerous pairs in my collection of shoes, in various colors.....wear them well.....

  4. I really enjoy your posts, Peter. I hope that you and Michael and your mother are keeping safe in this scary time. I don't like looking at the news either. Thank goodness we have a little escape with our sewing adventures! All the best.

  5. Thanks for the movie suggestions. I love the Peanuts fabric. Would you tell where you ordered it from? I think I'd like to get a few yards for a sleeveless top, or a campshirt.

    1. I got it on eBay from a store called redtagfabric. But if you look online it's easy to find, especially on Etsy and eBay (it's more expensive on Amazon). It's from 2019.

  6. The shoes made me click on your blog post, I am so loving your blog and reading about what you are doing to keep busy. It is all good advice to stay away from the news, no matter how you can stream it in, none of it is really worth listening to, over and over and over again...get the meat(stay at home, wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze)and then leave the rest alone. Thanks for sharing your mad sewing skills, it is a pleasure to read your post. Abigail

  7. love, love, love those shoes! and i'm looking forward to seeing what becomes of the Peanuts fabric. i heard someone last week say, "Be well, keep positive, stay negative!" that's a great salutation for these times.

  8. Love! Love! LOOOOOVE! Just sent you a FB message, your email bounced back. Joost De Cock thought we should connect. Keep making and bringing joy!

  9. Gorgeous shoes, fabrics, construction details! You are such an inspiration!
    Thanks for the movie links. Court jester is a big fave of my family. The kids loved it, and my son used to call it "The Black Fox" I guess because when you're 7 the real title doesn't have much meaning... I think Kaye's wife wrote the lyrics for the patter songs, like the Vessel with the Pestle number. We'll be watching this one tonite,
    Can't wait to see the outfits that result from this very detailed post!

  10. Great advice, great sewing inspiration and a very grounding post. Just what I needed right now. Thanks Peter

  11. I love The Court Jester, it's my cheer-up movie in difficult times. Can I also recommend "Auntie Mame" with Rosalind Russell, totally bonkers, very charming, great clothes.


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