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Big Exciting News

I know I promised some big, exciting news by the end of the week, so here it is…

Amy & Angie Vintage will be making its in-person sale debut next weekend! I will be participating in Vintage Heaven’s October and November sales with many other very talented ladies.

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Besides myself, here are the other shops who will be there:

I. Am. So. Excited.

The sale will take place on the second floor of the Heaven Gallery at 1550 W. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park.

I’ll be there October 13 & 14 as well as November 17 & 18. The sale goes from noon to 6 p.m. on all days.

I hope some of you can make it out to see me and all these other wonderful shops!

Dating Vintage Clothes: Notions

Another easy (and fun!) way to help identify when an item was made is to make note of any notions on the garment.

“Notions” is a sewing term that refers to any small object that is affixed to the final product. This can include anything from buttons and zippers to bias tape and snaps.

Before the 1930s, snaps were the most common closure tool, in combination with hook-and-eye closures.

An example of snap closures used on a blouse.

When zippers were widely introduced in the late 1930s/early 1940s, usually only metal zippers were used until the late 1960s/early 1970s.

Remember the zipper fix I did on this dress?

It was a metal zipper. If you find a vintage garment with a metal zipper, you may be looking at something from the 1960s or earlier.

A metal zipper on a 1960s dress.

A metal zipper and hook-and-eye closure on
a 1950s dress.

Another way help you identify an item’s age is the use of elastic. Elastic was not widely used in garments until the 1940s, though it was invented much earlier than that. Up until the 1970s, many companies sewed “pillow tabs” over where the elastic pieces met to prevent chaffing.

An example of a “pillow tab” in vintage lingerie. Source

There are so many different kinds of notions that can be used on a garment that I could go on forever about it. Which is why I’ll include a part two on notions down the road a bit.

Keep in mind that you need to look at the entire piece when dating vintage clothes. Using these new guidelines on notions with the tips on dating seams from last week will give you a good shot to dating a piece accurately.

Stay tuned, though. Next week I’ll talk about labels! Exciting, I know 🙂

Stocking Up

I had a very exciting week that motivated me to stock up on vintage pieces as best I could. The surprise will have to wait until later in the week, but it’s a good one, guys!

Until then, here’s the pretty, pretty pieces I found.

 

My wonderful friend Maggie gave me this butter colored coat the other day. Isn’t that so nice? This girl has the best closest I have ever seen– it’s full of the coolest vintage clothes you could ever imagine!

I also stopped by the Salvation Army and found these.

Isn’t this dress amazing? Not sure I could pull it off, but I know a few of my friends it would great on!

 

And this fun dress from the 1970s with a lace top. The pink ribbon on this dress is just one of the many clues that I need to get my iron out. Or, as it were, buy an iron.
I also stopped by a thrift store by my sister’s place. She’s the best/worst shopping influence ever 🙂
Example #2 that I need an iron

 

That coat is my favorite find of the week! It’s super soft and not at all itchy. Best of all? The original silk lining is in perfect condition.

Can’t wait to fill you in on my surprise later in the week!

What did you guys find this week?

Sharing with Apron Thrift Girl

Vintage Chicago: Stanley Korshak

In my many (many, many) trips to thrift stores and estate sales, I often come across garments and accessories that not only have a designer listed on the tag, but the city in which they were made.

A few times I have been lucky enough to find some vintage Chicago pieces. Somehow finding a dress or hat that was made right here where I live is much more special than finding a nameless piece.

A few months ago I found this very unique hat at an estate sale:

Upon closer inspection, I found this tag on the inside:

I knew I had to get it, not just because of how pretty it is, but because it was made right here in Chicago!

Stanley Korshak was an actual person who lived in Chicago and owned and operated high end clothing  stores in the city. The first store opened around 1910. Korshak catered to the wealthiest women of Chicago, including the women of the Swift and Armour families, whose wealth came from the meatpacking industry.

After the last Chicago store closed in the early 1980s, the rights to the Korshak name were purchased by an heiress from Dallas, Texas. Today, Stanley Korshak is known as a designer clothing store in Dallas.

But I prefer the Chicago brand, don’t you? Here’s some fun examples I found from the 1950s and 1960s.

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So you heard it here first (maybe). If you find a vintage piece with a Stanley Korshak label, scoop it up!

And then send it to me 🙂

Dating Vintage Clothes: Seams

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about how I date the vintage clothes I find. While I am by no standards an expert, I have been getting much better.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll share some tips on how I know when I’ve found something good.

First up is seams. The seams of a garment are where my eyes go first when I pick up a piece of clothing. Depending on the kind of seam, you can easily narrow down when the clothing was made.

Here are a few different kinds of seams:

Example of “pinking”

Example of a “serged” garment 

Simple, stitched seams

In the first photo, notice how the edges are cut into. This is called pinking and was a popular sewing method for seams in the 1950s. Finding a garment with pinked edges is usually a sure sign the item is from the 1950s.

In the second photo, you can see an example of a serged seam. Serging, or overlocking, is a type of seam finish that actually cuts the fabric and leaves overcast stitches to prevent unraveling. Machines commonly referred to as “sergers” are used to do this.

While the method of serging was invented in the late 1800s, it was very rare for it to be widely used on garments until the mid 1960s. Finding a piece of clothing with serged seams lets me know it’s probably from the 1960s or later.

The last photo is one of just simply stitched seams. While I am less familiar with dating clothes with these seams, it can be an indication that the item is pre-1950s. The red and white blouse pictured above is from the 1930s, well before sergers were commonly used.

While these are all good indicators of when an item was made, it’s never the full answer. I usually check the seams first, but then I move on to a whole list of other factors to help me date the piece. What other factors, you say? Well, I’ll get into that next week 🙂

Decisions, Decisions

Last week was a busy one for me, so I only had a chance to get out to shop a few times. Some weeks I’m definitely luckier than others, and this week I only walked away with a few treasures.

I’m really loving this dress. Just look at how lovely the buttons are with that print!

I also scooped up these Pyrex mixing bowls. Partly for my Ms. Fix It tutorial, but also because they’re kitchy and fun.

But my question for you is: should I keep them? I love the dress and I love the bowls, but I’m trying my best to stop myself from wanting to keep all the beautiful things I find. It can be really difficult! What would you do?

What are some of the great things you found this weekend?

Things I Love: Brown Butter & Sea Salt Cookies

Remember how great chocolate chip cookies are? Warm out of the oven cookies are up there as one of my favorite foods. And I had a serious craving for some this week.

Usually I’ll just follow the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag, but to be honest, I’ve been bored with that. I really wanted something special this week.

Good thing I found a recipe for brown butter & sea salt chocolate chip cookies over at Ambitious Kitchen. Reading the recipe, making the cookies and then quickly eating all of them left me with one thought:

Why have I not been baking with brown butter forever???

 

Photo from Ambitious Kitchen
These cookies are out of this world good. So good I’m contemplating making a second batch right now. Just kidding. I’m for sure making another batch.

They are very delicious and definitely my favorite thing this week!

Ms. Fix It: Dirty Pyrex

Good news! I was roaming thrift stores recently (as I often am) when I came across a beautiful set of Pyrex mixing bowls:

Sadly, the green one had seen much, much better days. See how scratched and dirty it was?

I set out to fix it, though! Did you know that you can use Bar Keeper’s Friend to easily remove most (if not all!) blemishes from Pyrex and other dishes?

Before you cover the entire dish in this powder, though, make sure you test it on a small area to make sure it won’t take off the paint. Being the (lazy) gambler that I am, I didn’t take my own advice. Luckily, it worked out just fine.

First, I doused the bowl in water and then covered the entire thing with a healthy coating of Bar Keeper’s Friend. By the way, you can find this stuff at any hardware store. After waiting a minute or so, I scrubbed. And scrubbed and scrubbed. Some areas required more than one application, but it was worth the effort. In the end I had a very good looking bowl!

Nice and shiny!

If you decide to try this, make sure not to leave the powder on for too long, as it can eat away at the paint. Also…it smells really strong. Fair warning.

This is by no means a fix-all, but it definitely makes a huge difference. This bowl went from unusable to something I am excited to use and show off!

Vintage Makeover – Ugly Chairs

You know those people who see a chair on the side of the road, or a table next to a dumpster and snatch it up to take home and put to good use? I’m a modern version of that. I love going on Craigslist and seeing what’s listed under the “free” section. Even if I don’t get anything, it’s fun to look at something that someone sees as garbage and think of all the cool things I could do with it.

Several months ago, I came across an ad I knew I had to respond to. A woman was giving away three beautifully shaped chairs from the 1970s. What?? I immediately emailed her. They were still available and later that week I was meeting her at her church to pick them up. She seemed surprised that I was so excited about them, but said she was glad they were going to a home where they would be used.

The only thing was…they were a terrible, ugly tan with copper legs.

Photo quality courtesy of my “smart” phone

My first thought was to paint the legs silver and then paint the chairs another color. I’ve read that if you use special spray paint made for cars, you can actually just paint vinyl. So I brought them out to my deck and all of a sudden just went crazy with the paint. I was left with tin man chairs. Whoops.

They sat like that for weeks, actually, because I wasn’t sure what to do with them. I considered just getting rid of them, but then thought I’d at least try to recover the seats and then see if I like them. Bingo! I found some awesome fabric and got to work. Thirty easy minutes later and I was left with fun new chairs!

I threw one of my grandma’s (Angie!!) vintage pillows on each and called it a day.

So for the cost of spray paint and fabric, I have two brand new chairs. The third one? Yeah…that’s still waiting in my kitchen. I’ll get to it, don’t you worry.
What fun vintage/thrift makeovers have you done? 

Sharing with It’s Overflowing, Think Pink Sundays, Thrifty 101

Dreaming of Swing Dancing

Well, Monday is quickly becoming my favorite day of the week. Why? Because I get to share with you all the prettiest things I have found!

This past week I was able to get to several thrift stores and pick out some very cute pieces.

I found this red and black polka dot number at a nearby Salvation Army

 

The best part? I found it’s matching coat in a different part of the store! I love vintage separates because you can mix and match them with more modern things. I can definitely see that jacket being paired with some dark jeans.

 

I also stopped at a Goodwill out in the suburbs over the weekend. I usually find more vintage pieces in the suburbs. There’s so many people in Chicago who are also looking for vintage that the racks at thrift stores can be picked over.

I found this gorgeous 1970s dress. It’s so flowy and comfy that I really wanted to keep it for myself. Don’t worry though, I’ll post it in the shop with the other pieces.

I also found this 1930s top. Those buttons are actually snaps! I don’t often find such old pieces so this was a very exciting find.

 

Did you find anything good this past week? I’d love to see what other people are finding!