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May 23, 2011

Midriffs and other Monday Musings

Good morning, sewing machine hoarders and others!

Let's not even talk about the Singer 401A from yesterday's post.  No doubt it is rusting in the back of a truck somewhere, but at least it's not collecting dust in my apartment.  End of story.

While I bypassed the purchase of another vintage Singer, I did pick up a few choice items this weekend, though not exclusively at the flea market.  While taking my daily virtual stroll through the Etsy pattern listings, what should I stumble upon but this jewel, which conjured up memories of so many favorite movie outfits.


With summer upon us, can't you see Cathy sporting a little vintage-style playsuit?  I'm letting her know now so she can start her sit-ups immediately.  (Did anyone look better in a midriff than Barbara Stanwyck?)

Of course, google 40's midriff (in Google Images) and you'll immediately notice the category is virtually owned by one of my favorite vintage-style sewists.  How that happened I'll never know, but I must admit that Casey is beyond adorable in hers and she deserves her (as of 8:45 am EST) Number One position. 

On a roll -- some might say a relapse -- I picked up another vintage slip pattern on eBay -- this one, which dates from the mid-40s, arguably better than my previous 1939 one.  If you're wondering what a man is doing with a growing collection of vintage slip patterns, hang around and you'll find out.

Back in pajama land, after laundering my seersucker shorties on Saturday, I decided that the rise of my shorts was still too high and I performed a little surgery on them yesterday, re-opening the waistband and cutting another 2" off the top, and then making a new casing.   I am very fussy when it comes to where garments sit around my waist.  The bellybutton must be able to breathe -- this is not a vintage Forties playsuit.

Friends, I fear I am keeping you from your daily duties and there's much to do here, including carting two bags of discards to the thrift store.  Behind the scenes, we're still decluttering.   Must make room -- physical and psychic -- for the Next Big Thing, whatever that may be. I'm open to suggestions.

If you're have feelings about belly button-obscuring midriffs, please feel free to unburden yourselves here.  We don't judge.

Have a great day, everybody!


  1. Gah! I love that midriff evening gown she wears in The Lady Eve. Every time I watch that movie I get the urge to make something like that for myself. Now just to find a suitably swank spot to wear it to... ;) lol.

    You know I adore those midriff type tops (and can I say it's really weird to see myself popping up in Google image searches?! haha.); and in fact seeing this is prompting me to entertain dangerous sewing ideas about whipping up a couple. Because nothing says glamor quite like trying to emulate Lana! (Well, somehow I think I fall more into the slightly scrappy and forthright Barbara category--rather than femme fatal bombshell Lana.)

    *ahem* Now I shall take myself and my belly-button covering shorts and midriff tops elsewhere so I don't spend... er waste... time daydreaming all day about midriff tops and laying by the pool pretending to be a 40s movie star. haha!

  2. I have a 40s pajamas pattern with a bare dying to try it, but I fear it would be totally uncomfortable to sleep in!

  3. They are terribly darling and oh so girly and Casey most definitely deserves the #1 position. She is a true 40s connoisseur. I have no midriff patterns, sadly. But what a great idea! Especially since drive-in season is just around the corner!


  4. I lived through the late 80s-early 90s craze for baring one's midriff, so I'm very over the look, although the tendency to cover up the belly button in earlier decades amuses me. I even had some pretty skimpy shorts/midriff tops which I can not believe my (very conservative, religious) mother let me leave the house in. These days, I'm not a fan of letting things hang out although I enjoy it when other people do!

  5. It's not so much belly button modesty in my case ... more about the baby pudge around and below the belly button that even 6 years in the army couldn't whip back into shape.

    As for baring the midriff: if you got it, flaunt it. If it isn't flauntable ... there is always decoration and concealment.

  6. I love the midriffs. Lately any top that has displeased me has been cropped, and with much success.

  7. All the bare midriff stuff reminds me of Carmen Miranda. And, I think I know where the slip pattern business is heading but my lips are sealed. PS As a bicylist and triathlete, I can tell you that waxing is not painless but it's result is long lasting and thankfully, over with quickly.

  8. I agree with lazysubculturalgirl above: despite the vintage appeal, the look gives me bad 80's/90's flashbacks.

  9. I grew up in Florida so a midriff to me is like wearing a coat on a cold day. On a random note, did you know that Barbara Eden of I Dream of Jeannie was not allowed to show her belly button on TV?! So instead they filled it with cotton balls and made it over. I still watch that show on Nick At Night. Google her, she is still unbelievable looking!

  10. When seeing midriffs and covered navels I can't help but think about Hollywood censorship. The censors wouldn't allow women to show their belly buttons on film, or tv later on, so we got high waisted garments with itty bitty tops.

    I always wonder how much of movie fashion actually translated to the average woman. I suppose it depends on the climate.

  11. I would love to make a midriff-baring piece or two, but it just seems slightly out of place in good old, frigid, Boston. Even when it is mid summer and 90, I feel like it might draw the wrong kind of attention. Some of my hesitation is that it is pretty far out of my fashion comfort zone. I'm totally OK wearing skimpy little bathing suits to a beach or pond, but I feel like I ought to cover up when away from the water. Perhaps next time I visit my parents on the coast, I could use that as an excuse to whip one up.

    I have dreams of a little playsuit top and shorts, or even a dress with a cutout in the center.

  12. I agree if you got it flaunt it, but what I have got isn't flaunt worthy.



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