Friday, September 27, 2013

Cute as a Garter Button

Frippery du jour over here at quaintrelle towers (ok duplex) is garter buttons! You probably know the things I mean... Little silk covered buttons printed or painted with sultry eyed flapper faces from  the 1920's.

New styles and new hosiery had lead to girls rolling their stockings and holding them tightly in place with either rubber like bands or adventurous garters. Above the knee if you wanted to play it safe or bellow the knee if you were feeling sexy and wanted to let your knees do the taking! Fashionable girls could display their modern and irreverent attitudes with these flirty faces peeking out from under
rising hemlines.

Created by the ribbon companies at the time, they seem to have been printed on long ribbons, then cut and shaped into various whimsical buttons. Some were left simply as printed faces, some adorned with further ribbons and frills, and others went further with cheeky sayings like "You'd be surprised" or my personal favorite, a police man proclaiming "Stop go no further!"

Not wholly found on garters, they could also be seen on other flirty items such as powder puffs, and mirrors, all the various ribbon covered items in a true coquette's  arsenal!

You can often find them for sale on places like easy or ebay, but as a girl who likes ribbons it seemed like a fun thing to make from scratch. 
Currently still just buttons here are a few of the faces to come off my work bench this week....

Their destinies will be another post later on, but for now, anyone else wanting to say it with buttons might want to check out the quick tutorial over on the Quaintrelle Life website and make some too! 

What do you think your knees might want to say?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Dream Deco Teacup

Ok, my teacup Embargo hasn't been going well. I had said "I just need one Paragon teacup" but now I've also got a 2nd one. But hear me out!...

Wedgwood Deco Bloom
When I first started collecting teacups I was just looking to pick up the cup and saucer from each design. Since then however I've been trying to pick up trios instead with the matching side plate as well as the saucer. Some times it's easy, sometimes not so much, either because a pattern is discontinued, or because it never had a matching plate to begin with. This was the road block for me when I was looking to add a super art deco cup to the fold.

See, I fell in love with the "Deco Bloom" cup from the Wedgwood Harlequin collection. Since the line launched they've
adding extra pieces like side places to the collection for some designs like my spiffy polka dot set, but sadly Deco Bloom wasn't one of them. I wrestled with the fact it was my perfect dream cup, but that it would never be a full place setting. Then something amazing happened! An identical cup showed up on Ebay, complete with side plate! Uncanny right? The crazy thing was the auction cup wasn't Wedgwood.

My Paragon Pink Hydrangea Trio
Wedgwood's Harlequin collection is based on old designs from their design archives brought back to life, but this old auction trio was by Paragon.

The Paragon china company ultimately became part of modern day Royal Doulton, It's old pattern books presumed lost. I wonder if some of those books or later ones found their way to the good people at Wedgwood?

No matter how it happened it was a dream come true when this vintage trio made it way into my hands!

I dug around looking for more info on the pattern,  just stamped with a number on mine the design sometimes pops up as "Pink Hydrangea". I've seen a few pieces show up on auction sites as part of big lots. The cup and plate shape was used with a few other designs from Paragon for any other deco china fans. My little set is also marked as being a replica of a service made for the queen, though I couldn't find any information on the pattern's royal provenance they way I could with my other Queen Mary set. Royal or not though it's amazingly pretty, amazingly deco and amazing that I was able to get this dream setting after all!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Faking the Frippery

It's possible that one of my favorite things to design and
collect in the world is costume jewelry. Growing up I used to scour my favorite antique shops for their sparkiest pieces. I'm a die hard magpie and costume jewelry could always transform an outfit and make me sparkle like a duchess! (but not like a princess because that's too much of a pain)

We rather take costume jewelry for granted these days, but the decade we can really thank for it for starting the fervor for fakery is the 1920's...

With styles changing fast after WWI, and a growing spectrum of women finally able to participate in fashion, the inherited gems of the aristocracy could no longer fill our thirst for baubles, and it was time for paste to make a come back.

Dusausoy (Jewels) 1923 J.G Domergue Art Deco Style Doll ElegantUsed by Coco Chanel as a means to complete a woman's costume and unify her vision, fake gems were a must have for the wealthy woman looking for a little frosting to co-ordinate her pristine new outfit for the night,  and for the average gal on the streets it also allowed women of more modest means to enjoy wearing "jewels" of a less modest design. Jewelry designers also got to let their imaginations run wild without the constraints of precious material costs creating all kinds of whimsical designs.

I love vintage jewelry, real and "fake" from the 1920's for it's unique designs. There were a lot of interesting mixes of sparkle and colorful geometry. They also loved their pearls, and long time blog followers know what a soft spot I have for pearls!

I've been craving some deco gems to ad to my wardrobe lately, and despite being seeing some amazing period precious stone pieces, I just don;t have a Christie's budget, I'm also concentrating a great deal on sharpening my skills in the jewelry area so it felt only natural to turn my hands at designing and making a little costume jewelry set for myself, ready for when I get that deco feeling!

I went with a bit of Nile green  and tried to capture the long lean lines of my favorite 20's jewelry pieces. Something with the hard geometric shapes, but in a softer pallet to go with my usual wardrobe of pastels. They've proved quite versatile together and separate, and something I'm going to get a lot of millage out of.

I love working in costume jewelry using a lot of techniques I was taught to work with in fine jewelry, and I always give a big "thanks" to the 1920's for setting the ball rolling!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Deco Month

I've been all psyched up for the return of Boardwalk Empire. Coupled with knuckling down to finess my 1920's dress making techniques, I'm all swept up with an art deco fever this month! I figured I cant be alone in all this so I'm dedicating this month's blog posts to the 1920's. Got some tutorials on the way, some recipes, clothes, and who knows what else. For right now though here's a 1925 photo of a girl with an infinitely more picturesque sewing space than mine.


Based on layout and code by Lena