Thursday, October 3, 2019

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Pattern Review: Decades of Style #3011 1930s Stardust Skirt

Hey Everyone!

Abby here, and today I want to share with you a very quick pattern review for Decades of Style's #3011 1930s Stardust Skirt.*

Before I get into the review - here's the finished skirt on the first day I wore it:

Outfit: BCBG Blouse (10+ years old), 1930s Stardust Skirt in a wool blend, Black and White Peggys (no longer available but you can get them in Navy & Brown!) & a small Tsubasa snoot <3

To start, I have to say that I absolutely adore this skirt, and I'm so pleased with the finished product. Even if there are a couple of very small things to keep in mind while making up the pattern, the Stardust skirt was a very fast make and is a very flattering shape. I love the gores at the front of the skirt add a bit of swish and glamour to the finished product. I felt very chic wearing it around the office on Monday, and am already planning on making another one.

It was such a fast pattern to put together that this was literally the only "in process" photo I thought to take! 

Now let's get into the nitty-gritty:

One thing I really love about Decades of Style's patterns is how they always start with "This pattern conforms to a fictional standard size...", reminding all of us that it's not about a number, but about how the garment fits your measurements that matters. I also appreciate how this connects us to the pattern company on a human to human level, instead of customer/business. The women behind Decades of Style are real people, just like us, and they get the struggle. The pattern is printed on standard pattern tissue paper and is marked for a 24" - 40" (61cm - 101cm) waist with finished garment measurements printed on the pattern. According to the pattern, there is about 1 inch (2.54cm) of ease added, and so going off my hip and the ever-fluctuating waist measurements (seriously... it can change up to 3" (7.6cm) in just the course of a day!) I decided to cut out the pattern for a 28" (71.1cm) waist.

Decades of Style #3011 1930s Stardust Skirt Pattern
1930s Stardust Pattern by Decades of Style 
Decades of Style #3011 1930s Stardust Skirt Pattern
Pattern illustration of the skirt (Here)

I'm sure for many of us, the dots, dashes, and combinations that exist on patterns can be overwhelming, and I appreciated that Decades of Style states on the pattern that it's a good idea to trace over your size with a highlighter so that way you don't accidentally miscut. Sometimes I'll do that, especially if it's a complicated pattern, and so having that gentle reminder ensured that I did go about and highlight my cut lines before I started hacking away. Because there is such a broad range of sizes printed on the pattern, some of the dash/dot patterns start to look the same and blend together when you're cutting, so highlighting the correct size really helped prevent miscuts!

I love the "stardust" gores that add that perfect bit of flair to this skirt. You can also see how far the back piece wraps around the front.
The instructions for the pattern are short and to the point. It's a very straight forward skirt to construct, especially if you've made any sort of skirt before. Stitch the darts, stitch the side seams, insert the zipper, add the waistband and hook & eye, and hem it. Hooray! Skirt completed! Seriously, I think the actual construction of this skirt took about 3-4 hours.

With the different panels, I found that all the notches for the side seams matched up nicely. Since we're dealing with some bias, I made sure to stitch all my seams from the waist down to the hem, to make sure any odd stretching ended up down there instead of at my waist. The pattern gives instructions on how to insert a regular zipper, but I opted to insert a concealed zip - mostly because my brand new concealed zipper foot showed up the night before, and I was eager to test it out (Side Note: If  you're on the fence about a concealed zipper foot for your machine - do it - it made  inserting this zip a 1000x easier).

While I understand that concealed zips are a modern closure, it did create a very smooth and professional finish for my skirt. Something to keep in mind with this pattern is that the zip is on the right side instead of the left. This is because of how the skirt is patterned, with the back of the skirt wrapping around to the front on the left. Don't be tempted to insert your zip between the back and gore, as you'll end up with a zipper right in front of your left hip bone. (I am really glad I committed to following the instructions on this one and didn't decide to go rogue - even though I briefly considered it because a right-side zip felt odd.)

Right side of the skirt [not] showing the concealed zip

The one thing that I'm a bit curious about is that when I went to try on the skirt before adding the waistband was how much larger it was at my waist than what I was expecting. My skirt ended up growing by almost 2 inches from what the finished garment measurements said. I don't know if this was because of my fabric, which is a bit of a loose weave, a result of parts of the seams being on the bias, the pattern actually being a bit larger, a mix of 2 or all three. Either way, I ended up taking in every dart and side seam a 1/4" (64mm)  just at the top 1" (2.54cm) to nip it in at my waist a bit more. This adjustment meant that I had to take a lot out of my waistband so it wouldn't end up like a spaghetti noodle monster wrapped around my waist. Not a big deal, but definitely something to keep in mind when you make up your version.

On the left side, a decent size dart gives shaping at the hip.

The back is fitted by darts and hangs very elegantly (and also curses to you rogue white thread!)
 Once the waistband was attached, I hung my skirt up for 24 hours to allow the hem to hang and any odd wibbly/wobbly bits to show themselves (spoiler: they did). There is a 2" (5cm) allotment for the hem, which is what I did, and it came out at a very nice length on my very short legs (I'm 5'4" (1.63m) but with very short legs more in keeping with someone around 5'1" or 5'2").

And there you have it! Like I said, I adore this skirt, and if you're someone who is looking for a project that is easy for beginners, perfectly vintage, and also delightfully modern (hooray for the midi-skirt trend!) the Decades of Style #3011 1930s Stardust Skirt Pattern is an excellent choice!

Decades of Style 1930s Stardust Skirt Pattern is also officially Pupper Approved™. 

*This pattern was privately purchased and is not sponsored in any way. <3 
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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Vintage Capsule Wardrobes

May 1940. Marie Claire.

Though the term “capsule wardrobe” wasn’t coined until the 1970s, the idea stretches much further back. The general purpose of such a collection is to have a wardrobe that is made up of only a few interchangeable pieces. It may be for economic needs, the environment, or simplifying the dressing process. For many, it comes down to quality over quantity. The idea has popularized so much in modern fashion as a response to the concepts of “fast fashion”. For those of us who want to adopt a vintage wardrobe, it can be a great way to start the process, or simply to have a full range of outfits for a weekend event or vacation. In my case, I’m feeling overwhelmed by how much clothing I have that I don’t use, while at the same time never having “the right thing” to wear!

The ideas behind capsule wardrobes were essential in the 1930s and 1940s. With the depression, war, and rationing, creating a wardrobe that stretched its utility as far as possible was a constant topic in magazines. Even Vogue, amidst its high fashion spreads, published articles on economic wardrobes. So how did vintage magazines approach this concept?

One popular method was that of the multi-use garment. A simple dress, often a slip style, with seemingly infinite possible coordinated outfits. Jackets, blouses, belts, wraps, and other accessories change up the style just enough that it would be unrecognizable. This seems like the perfect way to start out a vintage wardrobe, or create a travel-friendly style!

July 1, 1938. Vogue. 

January 21, 1939: Australian Women's Weekly.

The interchangeable wardrobe was another way to stretch a small number of garments further. This in particular resembles the modern capsule wardrobe. Some gave specific numbers for an entire wardrobe, such as Vogue’s “$100 Campus Wardrobe” from 1940. They recommended 16 parts: 4 skirts, 3 blouses, 2 jackets, 2 sweaters, 2 hats, and 1 coat in addition to a pair of shoes, gloves, and other basic accessories.

August 15, 1941. Vogue.

Others were less numerically inclined, with visuals of how to take a few coordinated basics to make a range of ensembles. This Australian Women’s Weekly from 1941 shows just a few outfits made from 2 blouses, 1 jacket, 1 dress, 1 evening gown, 1 pair of trousers, 1 pair of shorts, and 1 skirt. It’s meant to represent a wardrobe that can adapt to any social circumstance.

October 4, 1941: Australian Women's Weekly.

Some overlapped these two ideas with a few ensembles that mixed and matched entirely. Each bottom has three different options for tops that vary the look. 3 blouses and one jacket can carry you through a lot of options!

December 2, 1939: Australian Women's Weekly.

A central theme throughout these articles was the use of color and pattern to keep things harmonious. One 1939 article shows how a fun and colorful stripe can be made into 4 different pieces, then matched with a skirt and jacket in a solid color. Another from 1942 shows a striped fabric in 3 colorways with 2 solids to match. How to use color as a method of wardrobe styling extends far beyond the economic “capsule” concept as well. But that’s a topic broad enough for another post!

October 21, 1939: Australian Women's Weekly.

November 7, 1942: Australian Women's Weekly.

An economic wardrobe starts with the best basics. Investment pieces that won’t go out of style and won’t fall apart quickly. Vogue recommended starting with a best dress, suit, and coat in a 1933 article on smart economics. A few accessories (hats, blouses, scarves, etc) would then be the less expensive accents which could be renewed and replaced to keep up with fashion. The same idea was touted as the “French Way” to be thrifty circa a 1930 Vogue article. Regardless of why you might want to start your own vintage capsule wardrobe, these articles provide a great set of parameters.
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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Royal Vintage Shoes Now Have Leather Soles!

Daphne wedges are wonderfully danceable - they lace up securely on the foot, are soft and comfy with a low heel, and have leather soling.
Big news! This Summer season we have made the switch from rubber to leather soling. There are a couple of reasons for this and a few things you will want to know, so here goes...

Leather soles are great for dancing. You can swing the night away on real leather soling, but not on rubber, which is one reason for our switch thanks to ample feedback from the dance community.

Broadway also chimed in with some vital information - did you know you can adhere rubber to leather, but you can't glue leather to rubber? Broadway performers often prefer different kinds of rubber for their soling, so giving the option to customize was important.

If you live in a wet and slippery climate, you might prefer the rubber soling. No problem! A shoe repair shop can easily put on a rubber sole in any "stickiness" you like.

Gorgeous new "Cora" 1940s sandals in soft suede, now with leather soles.
Our leather soles are sealed for durability. Leather soling, being a natural material, needs protection. When your Royal Vintage Shoes come new, they have a topically-applied acrylic sealer over the raw leather that helps form a barrier from moisture. As you walk, this sealer scratches off where your soles impact the ground, but remains around the edges and areas that do not make contact. To keep your soles from sucking up too much water, we recommend regularly applying mink oil to the raw leather portions, or painting on acrylic sole paint/sealer.

It's easier to try-on-and-return now, thanks to the sole sheets. Because leather soles are softer than rubber, they can scratch and scuff easily when trying your shoes on. We always recommend trying your new shoes on carpet, a towel, or a clean soft surface. We've also left the sheets on, which are adhesive plastic barriers that protect the soles. (these are a normal part of footwear manufacture that are usually removed before completion) Once you decide to keep the shoes, peel the plastic sheets off (they're slick otherwise!).

All of our shoes *except winter boots* will have leather soles from now on. With styles like "Aspen," meant to be worn outdoors in cold and wet weather, we're sticking with the rubber soles for safety and durability. The first collection to feature the leather soling is S/S2019 "Foxtrot." You'll still see rubber soling on our heeled shoes on for now, as we phase out these older styles.

We hope you like your new shoes and enjoy the quality, danceability, and feel of the leather soling. It's just one more step towards comfort and authenticity.
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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

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New Colors for Aspen Boots - Poll!

Fancy leopard print? Hate it? Let us know in the poll below!

Hi! We're already thinking ahead to Fall (I know, whattttt?) and we need your help to decide on new colorways for our popular Aspen Booties.

We currently offer black/black and red/black, but we'd like to expand into something new...please let us know what you like!

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Monday, April 29, 2019

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Meet the New "Poppy" Oxfords - Foxtrot Summer 2019

Practically perfect in every way - Poppy Retro Oxfords in blue suede + leather, with a contrast shoe lace in bright red, by Royal Vintage
Opening for pre-order in April, our fresh and fabulous new "Poppy" Oxfords live up to their name, available in a bold blue hue or a rich red. We were inspired by sophisticated textures, eye-catching color combos, and heroines of yore.

The new "Poppy" Oxfords in gorgeous red suede and leather, paired with bright blue ribbon laces. Poppies also come with matching red laces.
The Poppies are made of luscious suede foxed with matching calf leather in a very 1930s design with the teardrop toe and broguing. The oxfords lace up with a contrast ribbon lace, but we've also included a matching lace in every box.

Oh this blue! Delectable blue suede and leather and bright red ribbon laces. Each pair also comes with a matching pair of laces. 
The Poppies rise on our 2.5 inch 1930s heel, perfectly balanced for all-day-and-night comfort. Plus, for the first time, all of the new Royal Vintage shoes come with sealed leather soling, great for all types of wear including dancing.

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Thursday, April 25, 2019

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Pre-Order Now Open - Foxtrot Summer Shoes

Well it took us awhile, but all is ready for the new Foxtrot Summer collection pre-order!

You all know the drill...

- $20 off all pre-order styles
- All USA orders ship FREE
- All USA orders get free returns* & exchanges
- All orders qualify for EasyPay Layaway

The new "Daphne" wedge - yup, 2 inch wedges! - in red, also available in navy blue.
"Cora" 1940s Sandals in teal suede with contrast coral shoe laces (matching shoe lace also included)

Oh the joy!

We hope you enjoy all these bold and beautiful new 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s shoes! You'll be excited to know, as well, that all of these new shoes come with *LEATHER SOLES,* which means you can wear these for swing dancing as well as daily wear.

* Free return for store credit - or - return for a cash refund with the supplied shipping label for a $6.95 fee.

Stunning new "Poppy" oxfords in red with blue laces (red laces come with them as well) - suede and leather gorgeousness

Lauren's fave - "Maria" pumps in gorgeous pine green. These leather pumps have suede teardrop toes, standing tongues, and bows.

A fan favorite - "Lillian" 1920s/30s shoes now available in buttery yellow and ivory.

Bright and beautiful "Poppy" oxfords in blue with red laces - matching blue laces are also included.

"Maria" pumps in luscious red leather and suede. These have a standing tongue and perfect-fit elastic insets at the sides, making these shoes very secure and comfortable, even for dancing.

Our popular "Lillian" Art Deco Mary Janes are now available with leather soles.

Top-selling "Marilyn" 1940s / 1950s pinup pumps in black leather are back and sporting leather soles.

The new 2 inch wedges, "Daphne" is made in canvas and leather and really is as comfy as she looks. Wear these all summer long and for swing dancing too.

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Monday, April 22, 2019

I'm "Daphne!" - New Summer Sandals - Foxtrot Summer 2019

Beautiful new "Daphne" wedges in Navy Blue, by Royal Vintage
We'd like to introduce "Daphne," a totally new style opening for pre-order April 25 - May 17 at ! Yup, Daphne is our new wedge heel and offers a casual, adorable, practical comfort and style for Spring and Summer.

Based on original 1930s and 1940s designs, Daphne pairs a hard-wearing canvas textile with leather quarters. She has a small peep toe and a lace-up vamp, paired with leather soles, making Daphne a wonderfully danceable wedge as well as perfect for all-day wear.

Daphne in red - the winner of our color poll!
Daphne sits beautifully on our new 2 inch wedge. She's available in navy blue (yes, I said navy blue!) and red, two beautiful neutrals (yes, I said neutrals!) for your warm-weather dresses, skirts, and trousers. They're every bit as comfortable as they look, too.

Don't miss these lovely ladies!

Daphne and all of the piping hot new
Foxtrot Summer collection is open for
pre-order April 25 - May 17 only at
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Designing Footwear Collections from the Ground Up

Today I'd like to share some insider information with you...that is, how we come up with new designs and collections for the coming seasons.

We usually start working on a new collection about a year in advance. It's a good time to muse and get inspired because it's the same time of year as when the new collection will come out. It's genuinely hard to design a Summer collection in the middle of Winter, and even harder to take photos when it's snowing outside, so we try to work far enough in advance to help us with mood and media both.

Our designs always start with original vintage shoes, advertisements, and images. Here are just two we referenced for color, bows, and tongue ideas.
Speaking of mood, that's where it really all begins. Working with the design team (me, Nicole, and Abby), we throw out a bunch of ideas and feels and impressions. When we all circle around one, a color scheme starts to come together. As an example, Foxtrot Summer came from the feeling of dancing at an evening garden party on a warm night, surrounded by flowers, jazz, and champagne...then the color palette developed from several original 1930s fabrics, the kind of diaphanous printed silk chiffon found on puff-sleeves '30s tea gowns.

Our color palette with Pantone callouts for Foxtrot Summer 2019. We pulled these swatches from illustrations, original shoes, textile designs, and more.
Once the feel and the palette are a go, we agonize over the shoe designs themselves. We try to stick to some "rules" (guidelines, more like) in terms of what kinds of shoes to include in the collection. For instance, there ought to be a low-heeled or flat shoe, an oxford, a pump, a sandal if it's summer, and a nice spread over different heel shapes and heights.

When designing a collection we want everything to feel cohesive. It should feel both cohesive in color palette (not TOO many reds or yellows or blues) and in style (they can't ALL be sandals). We also don't want entirely two-tones or entirely suede, etc. To keep everything balanced, we place all of the design and colorway mockups on one page together to take a look at the whole.

Taking a look at the whole Foxtrot Summer collection together, to make sure everything feels balanced. We check out both style and color on this tear sheet.
Once everything is approved, it's off to sampling. This is the fun part - we pick leather colors, component colors (like shoe laces and other decoration), and see the designs come to life. But it's almost never a winner right out of the gate! Sometimes colors in real life don't work so well together and we have to figure out why - for instance, is that yellow just too YELLOW? Does that blue actually work with that red? We typically go through two or three rounds of samples getting the materials, colors, and fit just right.

The protoypes are almost never correct on the first try - take the first sample of Daphne, for example. WOW YELLOW, right? Fix that! But we also made a lot of changes to the design, which created a better balanced design in the second sampling round. 
And the rest...well, you know what happens next. :-)

If you'd like to see the result of the examples I've shared here, head on over to - Foxtrot Summer is on pre-order April 25th - Mary 17th, 2019.

"Cora," one of the new designs in the Foxtrot Summer collection.

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Monday, April 8, 2019

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Oh "Lillian" - New Colors for Foxtrot Summer 2019

One of our most popular designs, "Lillian," is now revived in our most requested colors!

Our beautiful two-tone spectator Mary Janes, perfect for 1920s and 1930s, are now available in soft yellow/ivory as well as an updated navy blue/ivory.

Lillian Art Deco Mary Jane Shoes in soft yellow and ivory. These are ridiculously cute!
Additionally, Lillians now feature our sealed all-leather soling, making these mary jane pumps epic for dancing.

The Lillians come with a true-button strap closure (move that button to make them fit perfectly, ladies!), leather lining, and our oh-so-comfortable 2.5 inch 1930s heel.

Top Seller - Lillian Art Deco Mary Janes in navy blue and ivory. Now with leather soles!
We hope you love these new color options! We can't wait to see what you pair your fresh new Lillians with.

Lillians and all of the new Foxtrot Summer collection is open for pre-order April 25th - May 17, 2019
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Monday, April 1, 2019

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Hello "Cora" - Our New 1940s Sandals of Foxtrot Summer 2019

We'd like to introduce Cora, our simply divine new summer sandal opening for pre-order April 25th at

Cora was inspired by the soft colors of warmer climes, whether you find the pink and turquoise in a Southwest desert landscape or kissing the waves of a South Seas sunset. It's these soft, pastel tones that feel so warm and modern but also very vintage and familiar.

The beautiful new "Cora" suede sandals in coral, the hot color of the year. These 1940s sandals feature a small peep toe, open sides, and a 3 inch heel. They come with both contrast and matching shoe laces.
Cora's been making waves all over social media, and we think it's because she's just so pretty in her soft, very trendy coral pink suede and contrast teal ribbon lace. Cora also comes in teal suede with a coral lace, and every box has a matching shoe lace included too.

Cora in teal is so incredibly beautiful! Cora sandals are made in luscious suede with contrast shoe laces - but we've also included a matching shoe lace in every box.
The suede is butter soft, but structured enough with a leather lining. The cutout design shows just enough the foot while keeping secure. Cora stands on our 3 inch 1940s heel and the design has a small, accurate peep toe.

You'll absolutely love Cora! Pre-Order is open
April April 25 - May 17, 2019 
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Monday, March 25, 2019

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Beautiful "Maria" - Foxtrot Summer 2019

Meet the incomparable "Maria," our new slip-on pump for Summer 2019. Available in red and the most *gorgeous* deep pine green, there's nobody quite as elegant and refined!

Maria is based on a variety of original 1930s shoes, featuring the popular teardrop toe in a soft tone-on-tone suede matching the calf leather upper. These pumps fit nicely with elastic side gussets nipped into the high sides, keeping the standing tongue feeling secure.

The beautiful new Maria 1930s shoes in gorgeous red leather and suede.
Of course, Maria's most noticeable feature is the wonderful bow! Made in matching leather, the bows are stitched on (not glued), and keep their shape. Maria stands on our 2.5 inch 1930s heel and comes standard with sealed leather soling perfect for both outdoor and indoor wear.

Maria 1930s Shoes in green - um, can we talk about this green? Isn't it just *goergeou*? 

Check out Maria and all of the new
Foxtrot Summer collection
open for pre-order
April 25 - May 17, 2019 at
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