Friday, November 24, 2017


Black Friday SALE at Royal Vintage!

It's that special time of year...the time when families come together to celebrate Thanksgiving, eat delicious food, drink yummy drinks, watch some parades (or football), and generally get into the spirit of the holiday season!

...then Black Friday hits...and all the sales break loose!

Here are our weekend SALE deals at

First, everything that has already been on sale now has additional markdowns! There are some gorgeous shoes here - don't miss out!

They're already on sale, but now with deeper markdowns!
Secondly, we have some new shoes on sale - Peggy in Black/White & Dolores in Brown! Don't miss your chance because once they're gone ... they're gone for good.

Peggy in Black/White and Dolores in Brown are officially on sale this Black Friday!
Shop our super-swell sale at

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Friday, September 29, 2017

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My Next Vintage Sewing Project - Butterick B6485 1944 Dress

Retro Butterick 1944 Dress - B6485
This December, we are headed to New York City for another holiday work trip in my favorite city for vintage fashion.

Of course this means I'm already pondering my wardrobe and the weather. It's going to be cold, so break out the tweed suit, the cashmere coat, and that cute-as-heck little knitted elf hat I got last winter. But naturally I want something new to look chic in while representing Royal Vintage at our first footwear trade show, FFANY (Fashion Footwear Association of New York).

I recently picked up this new pattern from Butterick, a 1944 retro re-issue, B6485. Initially the pattern illustrations didn't attract me. It looked overly complicated and "meh," but I was completely seduced by the sample garment shown on the model, and quite impressed by the quality and sensitive styling Butterick did for their cover shoot. Sold.

Butterick B6485 pattern illustration - "meh" said I. I wasn't excited by these drawings, but the sample garment shown on the model is gorgeous. I hope it will look as good on me.
What I like about this pattern is that there are many fitting points (all those darts), and on-the-go adjustability built in with the tie back. The design also allows for a long waist. I may or may not convert the center back zipper to a size zip for more accuracy. And we'll just have to see how the shoulder pads go. ;-)

Butterick B6485 - adjustability in the back with a tie.
I initially thought of wool crepe in something striking like powder blue or burgundy, but I wasn't able to find much (which is typical for 100% wool crepe). Instead, I went with another very-vintage textile, 100% rayon challis in a sophisticated medium grey, which is also a great neutral for strong-hued accessories in a variety of colors.

So this will be my NYC 2017 dress. I've been itching to make another 1940s frock for awhile and I'm excited to get started. More updates soon!
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Thursday, September 28, 2017

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Pattern Review: Decades of Style #2502 - 1925 Zig Zag Dress

Hello Lovelies!

Abby here, reporting for 1920s vintage-y fashion-y goodness! Today, I wanted to share with y'all my snazzy new 1920s dress I made for The Gatsby Summer Afternoon in Oakland earlier this month. 

Lounging with some lovely friends at the Gatsby Summer Afternoon in Oakland. 
My dress pattern is from the amazing Decades of Style Pattern company and is #2502 1925 Zig Zag Dress. I saw someone wearing this dress at Costume College earlier this summer, and I just fell in love with the sweet details that really make it quite the beautiful dress. I also loved the fact that it had a sleeved option, as sleeveless garments are not my favorite things to wear. 

My fabric is a nice cotton voile from our local Mill End fabric store here in Reno, and it was just perfect for this dress. My white details are out of just a white cotton voile scrap that I had laying around from ages and ages ago. 

I've always had a soft spot for 1920s fashion, and even though I don't consider myself any sort of real collector of antique or vintage clothing, I seem to always find myself acquiring 1920s dresses for a variety of reasons.  So, while I love the decade, I was a little bit nervous about rocking this style, because I am not the ideal body shape for this look. But...I really wanted to have a lot of fun at the event and just enjoy wearing something that is soo unique for me, and I was hoping that the Decades of Style dress would help me feel pretty in this decade.

Guess what? It did! - thank goodness!

The finished dress

The Good:
This pattern, despite how intimidating it looks, was actually pretty simple to put together. The bodice and sleeve construction was, for the most part, really easy. Even the skirt was much easier than I had anticipated. I'm not a machine sewer (as I've said before - here), and I was really nervous about machine sewing all of the piping details onto the skirt. Everything was on the bias in the skirt and I really wanted it to have a polished finish. So, I did a lot of basting and a lot of pinning, and it totally paid off. I am extremely pleased with how the skirt came out in this dress. 

Adding the white piping details to the skirt per the pattern instructions.

When combining the skirt and bodice of the dress, I first pinned and then hand basted the skirt into place before top stitching on the machine. 

The Abby Overthinks Things and Makes it Harder on Herself:

This next part, I am going to blame heavily on myself, because I truly think I over thought it, and I want to warn others of not making my mistake. I had a bear of a time with the gathers at the shoulder for this dress. It just drove me bonkers, and I just think it was because I'm used to gathering up on average 2x the width vs. 1.5x or less. I just want to gather everything up really tight, and that isn't always how it's supposed to go. I also had my thread pull out a couple of times because of how thin and loosely woven my cotton was, and that just, simply, pissed me off. Eventually, I got there though, and it does look pretty finished...even though it made me mad. 

The Modifications from the Original Pattern:

I did make a couple of modifications to the pattern to 1. make my life easier (yeah, I'm lazy...) 2. fit the aesthetic and design balance I was going for, that the original instructions wouldn't have worked for.  

The first was how I modified the neckline - I just bound the V-neckline in white bias tape instead of adding the necktie. I was going to make the necktie separately, but I ended up just running out of time. I do want to make one though, just to have to wear with this outfit and future ones.

The next thing I did was change how the cuff of the sleeves were finished. The original pattern calls for cuffs, and while I had cut them out to stitch up, I was fussing about how I could elegantly include more white details to help balance the dress. I first tried just binding the edges of the sleeve and leaving them loose, with great hopes that the look would be ethereal and elegant....but instead I just felt like a big blue potato. My fix was to pull some inspiration from the 1810s, and add white ties around my wrist to give a ruffled cuff. Luckily, it totally worked, even though I do need help with tying the sleeves. 

I love the details in this dress! 

Final Thoughts:

Y'all...I just love this dress much so that I've already bought some wine colored worsted wool to make a winter version for this season. While I don't know if I'll do the piping details again for the winter version, I just loved how this gown moved and made me feel. I'm hoping for a very elegant and comfortable winter work dress. I highly, highly, recommend this Decades of Style pattern for your collection. 

Feeling pretty at the Gatsby Summer Afternoon - even if it was incredibly hot!

The Outfit:
Purse: 1920s vintage from The Nitty Gritty.
Jewelry: Necklace was my Great-Grandmother Scott's (Pre-1935), Earrings are from Sign of the Grey Horse, and Black/White Royal Vintage Enamel Pin. 
Sunnies: Charming Charlie's
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Monday, September 25, 2017

How To Make a 1920s Miss Fisher Wardrobe

For Costume College 2016, one of the classes I taught was about making a "Miss Fisher" wardrobe, developing your style based on the popular Australian murder-mystery show set at the end of the 1920s.

I've talked about Miss Fisher here before, and I had all the good intentions of having an epic class at Costume College, but by the end of Sunday I was wall-eyed with fatigue, and I'm not sure I got across everything I meant to. So I'm going to share it here.

"Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries" is set in 1929 and follows the adventures of amateur detective The Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher, who with pizzaz, chic, and little permission solves various interesting crimes and killings in Melbourne.

Watching the glamorous Miss Fisher for two seasons, you'll notice she wears a variation of the same outfit just about every episode, particularly in season 2. Phryne's "look" is made up of the same basic pieces:
  • Trousers (most often, but sometimes a skirt)
  • Blouse
  • Long Coat
  • Cloche Hat
Rinse, Repeat.

She wears the same three pieces over and over again, in a character-specific color palette, mixing it up with hats, scarves, and fanciful textiles. When you break it down in this way, the Miss Fisher "look" becomes incredibly accessible, easy to put together, and easy to wear on a daily basis.

Yes, we can all be as chic as Phryne and we can all do it every day and it will be comfortable AND beautiful.

With just a few pieces, your wardrobe begins:
Click for larger view
You may wish to make each item or buy them. When deciding on fabrics and pieces, first think of color palette. Do you have a warm skin tone or a cool one? To determine this, look at the veins on your wrists. If your veins are greenish, you have a warm skin tone; if they are blueish you have a cool skin tone. This will help you decide the most flattering colors for you in clothing as well as makeup, BUT these are guidelines rather than rules. Just because you have a cool skin tone does NOT mean you can't wear a warm hue!

Additionally, most colors have a warm and cool side to them - for instance, turquoise can be quite green or lean more towards blue; burgundy may have more orange to it or be closer to purple. If in doubt or terrified about using a stronger hue as your base color, go with black or white instead, which flatter both and are excellent neutrals.

Miss Fisher, with her pale skin and black hair, wears a palette of cool colors - navy, burgundy, white, black, and turquoise. I also have blue veins, so I'm following Phryne's color scheme in my own wardrobe too.

Next we look at fabrics. Fabric choice is important to the overall Miss Fisher look because we're trying to blend a very casual, loose and flowing silhouette with a more formal, nicer-than-sweatpants look. While it may feel like you're wearing pajamas, the looks is one that's appropriate for a business meeting.

Luckily there's plenty of crepe palazzo trousers and chiffon pussy-bow blouses to buy right now. The robe-coat is a little more challenging to find, but keep your eyes peeled, particularly on Asian fashion sites, for long jackets and lightweight coats.

As concerns the robe-coat, you can stick with your trouser/skirt fabric to get the matching suit look, or you can get wild with your outerwear. Miss Fisher does both!

Now on to prints and motifs. 1929 is the year, so here's what to look for in prints on blouses and scarves:

Lastly, to top is all off, let me convince you of the transformative powers of the cloche hat. The trousers, the blouse, the long robe-coat - this all looks like nice work wear until you put on that cloche hat and then the whole thing comes together. This is what, in our modern world, will really define your look, and it's an opportunity to be creative, flamboyant, and avoid a bad hair day.

Cloches can be easily made or altered. You can buy them online or even at Target, or buy a round head block instead and spend your weekends joyously reverting and reblocking thrift store straw and wool hoods. Hats can be draped or structured, brimmed or slim. Find the shape that works best for your face and go for it.

It takes "hattitude" to put on a killer cloche and strut your stuff in public, but while you may feel self-conscious at first, you get used to it over time. I've always only had positive reactions from muggles when I wear my cloche hats, and many a good conversation resulting.

So how to start? With vintage style more available today than ever, these brands are a good place to shop:

Want to make? Here's a big ole list of patterns I recommend for each piece of the wardrobe:

Now that you're armed with inspiration, info on the basic pieces and good colors for your skin tone, materials and prints/pattern choices, where to shop and sewing patterns to check out, and the knowledge of The Cloche Hat, you have all the tools necessary to make your very own Miss Fisher Wardrobe. The last step is to go out and rock it!

**This post originally appeared on the American Duchess blog in August 2016**
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