Saturday, December 12, 2009

Items of the week

Ivory Cream Lace Mantilla Shawl

Black & Gold Lace Mantilla Shawl

Finally, I've managed to get back to listing vintage on my site!
I'm starting out with a bang with these two gorgeous lace pieces. Either would be lovely as part of a wedding trousseau, one more traditional than the other, of course. Both are silky soft, like holding a cloud!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Some holiday spirit...

I'm having a bit of trouble getting into the holiday mood, or a happy mood for that matter, so I turned to YouTube and the Muppets. Some yule humor for you to share!

Friday, November 27, 2009

I couldn't have said it better myslef...really!

My favorite shoe guru, Jonathan Walford of Kickshaw Productions, and author of several books on vintage, shoes, paper dresses and fashion history in general, has synopsized the decade in fashion. It really is hard to believe that a whole decade has past since the Y2K scare....where even the lamp at the gyno's office had to be checked and stamped as such (you know ladies...THE lamp). Now we are so wired in that those Y2K people look silly, and with any decade of fashion since the days of the fig leaf, we can look back and say we either did look silly, or we looked great!
So, grab a bottled water, a Starbucks, or some other silly 2K's beverage and have a read. I really couldn't have said it better than Jonathan.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ralph Lauren thinks a size 4 is fat?

Wow! If I actually bought any of Ralph Lauren's clothing, I'd boycott!
From what the Today Show is reporting, this model was fired for being too large.
As a graphic artist, I have to say that there is no way the person editing the photo of her, as shown in the video, didn't know exactly what they were doing.
I just don't get why this process has become so commonplace. Sure, fix the zit, maybe soften some deeper wrinkles a bit, zotz out that stray hair, but make a beautiful woman look like she just got out of Willy Wonka's taffy puller? It's just not right!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Two found treasures

I've been busy scraping wallpaper at our "new" building...soooo much wallpaper. With 13' high ceilings, and 100+ years of wallpapering and paint over wallpaper, you can imagine the thickness of what I'm removing. Many of the patterns have been so rich, so colorful, even after all these years. I'm trying my best to get a few pieces to keep, but most of it just falls apart once it's off the wall. I did find this treasure yesterday, though. It was found just as my spirits were a bit diminished by the sweaty, gritty work (it's in the 90s and SO humid here in central Missouri). This was wedged between two layers of paper, on an area that oddly enough was not sticking to the wall anymore. It has a chunk of paint on the back, and a glob on the front, and it did tear (that's my modern tape in the top corner), but for having a date of 1923 on it, it's in good shape.

We don't know what was in our building before the furniture store that occupied it from the post depression to the 80s. Could this label for embroidery floss be a clue? A dry goods shop? Was the wife of the shop owner doing some handywork while waiting for her husband? We may never know!
We also may never know who this fellow was:

This is on the base, bare, plaster layer of the wall. He's been under their for a long time...especially if the embroidery floss gives a clue, as that was on top of two layers of paper already.
Our fellow on the wall was a real surprise as I scraped along. He appears to be in an Edwardian coat and collar. I get an Elvis mixed with Abe Lincoln vibe from him...but then I've been working really hard in the heat.

I plan on putting in a few neat finds for the next folk, maybe some Obama clippings, a few local ads, a nice note. I just love finding treasures!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Who the hell does this lady think she is!?

I'm sorry, but I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to vintage. I'll be the first to say "chop the hem, raise the skirt" IF something had damage down there, and the only way to return it to wearable condition was to repair it. That's just peachy keen with me.
But this gal from Elle magazine has gone too far. She's whacked the bottom off a freakin' DIOR gown, and to add insult, has paired it with a tank top (A TANK TOP!!!!) to make a "dress to wear to a wedding". Now, she does warn against pairing such fine items with such a lowly fabric as cotton. No, she has used a silk and cashmere tank. Well, ok then. As long as you didn't pair it with cotton.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A nifty post by a vintage friend

Since I'm so lame at posting blogs lately, I thought I'd pass on a wonderful post by Maggie of Denisebrain Vintage...enjoy!
VINTAGE DENISEBRAIN: Style ideas from my parents

Monday, May 18, 2009

My current project...

Yes, my blogging has been a bit sparse lately, but with good excuse!
When I'm not running Hatfeathers Vintage, I'm working on my other company, doing graphics, printing, and that sort of thing. We've decided to expand, and are renovating an old building downtown to house it.
What are we, nuts!? Yep.
If you'd like to watch the progress of the building renovations, I've made a Flickr set for the progress pics.
Hatfeathers will keep going, and will get more attention once the dust settles (literally). I'll concentrate more on stock than the extraneous stuff like blogs and social sites.
Now, if only I can figure out how to operate at 100% without sleep.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Items of the week...Doin' it Gunne Style

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and these dresses do just that-imitate. Gunne Sax by Jessica McClintock was an extremely popular line of dresses in the mid to late 70s. The style was imitated by other companies and by home seamstresses, as shown by these four dresses currently gracing our "Mid 70s to 80s" section. The hippie boho look is get your Gunne on. Sort of.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Out of hybernation...Vintage thoughts on gardening

Spring is, well, springing up all around the Hatfeathers Vintage studio. The quince bush is in bloom, trees are budding, and the deer have done their annual beheading of the tulips that were planted long ago. There's still a threat of frost in our Midwest location, so the garden tasks are limited...or are they!?

I was inspired by this article from the National Gardening Association's Maggie Oster. She talks about the old idea of a "victory garden". In the WW2 era, the victory garden was simply a family's household garden, planted to extend the family's available foods in time of rationing, and to free the items from farmers for the war effort.
A victory garden could also help families with lots of mouths to feed and little to buy food with.
My husband told the tale of how his Grandmother put tomatoes in everything. A mother of 12 (yes, 12 single-birth babies!), she had to make the family budget stretch 'till it screamed for mercy. How else do you feed 14 on the income of a carpenter? You grow as much as you can in the summer, can it, and feed the family all year on what you grew in those few summer months.
I can guarantee the veggies she grew tasted far and away better than the anemic lettuce and pink gritty tomatoes from the super market.

So what can you be doing now to make your budget stretch? Here's some quick ideas:
1) Start building a garden bed. Clear off any size of yard that you can spare; pull up the sod (grass), amend it with compost, top soil, and shredded leaves. Till or spade-mix it in when the soil is dry enough to not clump, but moist enough to work with. Surround it with cedar or redwood timbers, rocks, plastic edging, or bricks, or just trench deeply around it and mulch heavily to keep grass at bay.

2) Not a square of Earth to spare? Get a few 5 gallon buckets, an old wash tub, or any type of vessel that will hold a foot deep or more of potting soil. You can use old latex (not oil) paint buckets, but you will need to make an extra effort to scrub out ALL the paint, and wash them thoroughly before using. Make sure there are some drainage holes, either by drilling or hammering a nail through the bottom. Fill with quality potting soil-not top soil, as it will turn solid as a rock in a container. I grew more and better tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets than I ever have in the ground. Go figure.
Just put them somewhere that gets a good amount of sun, but won't bake the pots, so on a patch of ground is great, on a slab of cement is less than ideal. If a cement slab is all you have, make sure to perch the buckets on some bricks, so air can flow underneath and cool the soil in the bucket.

3) Start a compost pile. Most city trash pick ups don't allow yard waste. A compost bin or pile is a great way to recycle your clippings and kitchen veggie waste. I highly recommend this site for learning about composting options. I have the one in Figure 3, and regularly harvest several wheelbarrow loads of wonderful black soil for my garden out of it. I also have NEVER had to burn leaves, and NEVER have veggie peels or scraps in my trash. We have 6 100 year old massive maple trees (and several smaller ones) on our lot, which make a lot of leaves in the fall. With my compost bin and mulching mower, I make light work out of fall foliage. My neighbor with 4 trees is still regularly burning leaves even in the spring, and clears the neighborhood of playing kids with the stench. (yes, I am on a soapbox, why?)

4) Install a rain barrel. Catching the water off your roof is a great way to recycle, or at least to keep your water bills down. There are oodles of commercial types available, and there's even a YouTube video on making your own. Rain water is loads better for plants, even if it's a week old, as it is not treated with the chemicals that municipal water supplies get. They don't have much for pressure, so watering far away isn't feasible, unless you like lugging buckets, but for filling the watering can to get to the potted plants around the house, or for the kitchen bed close by the barrel, gravity will give you plenty of help.

You can easily plant spinach, radishes, and lettuces from seeds with little or no skill. Some other veggies require more thought for spacing and depth, but can be done. Every garden center around will soon have starts (pre-planted plants) of anything from tomatoes to cantaloupe, for you to put into your prepared beds or buckets. Even if you spend $3-$5 on a pack of plants, if you get 1 measly pound of veggies from it, you have made back your money. The opportunity to garden with your children is worth your time, as well. It is great to watch their eyes light up when they see the process in motion, and when they realize veggies don't start under fluorescent lights and cellophane. You might also be shocked by what they will try; my son, then age 6, ate the majority of our spinach crop last year, raw and right out of the washing bowl! We'll plant twice as much this year!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Enjoying some vintage music

I've been a bit distracted from my vintage duties the last week or does that some times!
I wanted to share some great music, though. I heard this great singer, June Christy, on the AOL Radio music plugin that came with the AOL Instant Messenger doo-hickey. (tech term much?) I've really loved the Big Band & Swing category of the jazz section on there.
Anyway, in times of topsy turvy-ness, uncertainty, and bleak news, a bit of vintage-style lighthearted happiness is in order:

And my all time fave, and who I'd like to be when I grow up...if I can somehow transform into a perky, petite blond, Doris Day with the Les Brown Orchestra.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Items of the week...A Gaggle of Gloves

I'm working away at the massive pile of gloves that has grown in the studio. They are now organized (hooray!) and photographed (hooray!) and all but these need to be written up and listed (sigh...).
Buy a dress and gloves together...with no extra cost to ship the gloves! (hooray!)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Items of the week...My favorite prom dress so far

I've been in the vintage game for seven years now, so I've seen a lot of prom dresses, and each gives me just a little bit of giddy, girly glee. This one, though, well, gives me the full-on squeel-like-a-schoolgirl, dance-like-Snoopy, wave-my-arms-like-Kermit-the-Frog happiness.
The red is velvet, the white is flocked and glittered tulle, all over white taffeta. Yum. Add the strapless styling with angled wings off the bust, and the full skirt that can accommodate a mountain of crinolines. Wow.

Find this and other great vintage dresses at in our Womenswear section. much more than clothing

This commentary has made its way around the internet a few times. It was forwarded to me by my Grandpa, who no doubt remembers his Mother and Grandmothers wearing an apron. I, myself, cannot particularly remember either of my fore-mothers in an apron, but this does bring back memories of house dresses, home cooking, gathering in the garden, and Grandmotherly love. It was warm, soft, and smelled of fresh biscuits and rose scented perfume.
The vintage aprons in the images above are made from feed sack fabric from the 40s. It is soft, pretty, and unlike any fabric we have these days.

I don't think our kids know what an apron is.
Author unknown
The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.

Send this to those who would know, and love, the story about Grandma's aprons. Or it can be a good history lesson for those that have no idea how the apron played a part in our lives.

Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.
I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron ..... but Love !!

Find this and other vintage aprons at in our Apron Shop.

Something Saucy From the Kitchen!

What's cookin' sweetheart?
This fun vintage apron has a little something extra! The well dressed lady embroidered on the front is wearing a fun vintage circle skirt, stitched to stand out from the apron. Lift it, and see that our fair lady is wearing delightful lace ruffled tap pants in a matching pattern! Surprise!! Find this and other vintage aprons at in our Apron Shop.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Jay star!

While cruising Rotten Tomatoes today, trying to see if anything was worth my $7 (+$8 in snacks and the post-popcorn bloat) at the theater this weekend, I stumbled across this preview for a new documentary about Jay McCarroll.
You remember him; the first winner of Project Runway. You don't? OK, well, he was. After that, for those of us outside of the wheelin' dealin' world of (new) fashion, he sorta slipped off the radar. No special guest starring rolls on Ugly Betty ala Christian "fierce" Siriano, and Amy Pohler wasn't imitating McCarroll on SNL, either.

It appears that McCarroll has gotten over that post-Project Runway high, and is ready to get out on his own...and is ready to speak his mind on what happens after the reality TV cameras stop rolling.
Gads, the pressure!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Items of the week...Here's Lookin' At You, Kid

The Kid Fur Coat

You don't get much more boho than a coat like this!
This luxe vintage real fur coat absolutely glows with amber tones and highlights. The fur is long, and has been tailored to make a zig-zag effect as the fur lies. It comes with an optional kidskin tie belt.
Yes, kid as in goat...your friendly barnyard animal that tends to get a bad rap. Not to sound too much like the old lady in the movie Cold Mountain, but a goat can be so much to their human friends. Including an awesome fur coat!! (apologies to those who are squeamish about animal products)
Find it at

Friday, January 23, 2009

Items of the vintage purses

Vintage 70s Enid Collins Box PurseVintage 40s Purse Hand Bag

Vintage purses are so much fun! They are great for working a little vintage love into any outfit, no mater how much vintage clothing you actually wear. They are also great for mixing and matching eras...pair a 40s purse with a 60s scarf and a 50s dress, who cares? As long as you look great! Every gal needs a purse, so why not have a little fun with it?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Happy Housewife - Homemade REAL Chicken Noodle Soup

Budgets are getting tighter all around, so how about fixing up a big old kettle full of something to chase away the chill, feed the soul, cure what ails ‘ya, AND goes a long way? The Happy Housewife is proud to (attempt) to put into words her “famous chicken noodle soup”, as the little one calls it. Adapt it to your family’s preferences, adding more of this or less of that, until you have it just right. You can make a whole lot, as this keeps for a good week in the fridge, and also freezes pretty well. I like to fill a pretty big Tupperware with enough for 4 bowls, and stash it in the freezer. It makes a great evening’s meal a week or two later, and can be thawed pretty quickly by a few minutes in the microwave and the rest in a pot on the stove. Just add some grilled cheese sandwiches and all will be happy.

The Happy Housewife’s extra budget hint…watch for store specials on chicken breast and coupons for noodles, both can be kept in the freezer for a rainy day.

You will need:
A really big pot, stock pot if you intend to make a hefty batch
2-6 bone in (cheaper!) split chicken breasts, skin or no skin (for less fat)
4-12 carrots, depending on batch size and family preference, diced into 1/8” rounds, half those rounds it the carrots are particularly fat
4-8 celery stalks, diced into 1/8” thick pieces, half if large
1/2 of a baseball sized onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, diced, or 2-3 spoonfuls of pre-diced jarred garlic
1/4-1/2 Cup of lemon juice
1/8 to 1 teaspoon each of poultry seasoning, black pepper, seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground rosemary, or a tea infuser full of dried (the infuser allows you to pull the rosemary out after cooking, so there aren’t sticks in your soup)
2-4 Tablespoons of Kosher salt (start with less, add more if needed at the end)
16 or 24 oz bag of Reames (or other brand) frozen egg noodles

In your really big pot, put enough water to cover the chicken by an inch or two, add your spices and lemon juice. Start simmering over medium heat while you chop the veggies, adding as you go, starting with the onion and garlic, then carrots and celery. Simmer until the chicken is just cooked through. Pull the chicken out of the broth with tongs, but allow the soup to continue to simmer (never boil). Let the chicken cool a bit; splitting open the pieces will speed this along. While the chicken cools a bit, put the noodles into the soup to cook..

Once you can handle the chicken, separate the meat from the skin and bone, and dice it, dumping back into the soup as you go.

Check the taste, and add more spices or salt if necessary for desired taste. Serve.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

What fella would shop here these days?

Ah, how time changes the meaning of words and phrases. I've had a few items from this former mens & boys clothing store, shown here in a 1967 shot of the annual (even to this day) sidewalk sale in downtown Moberly MO. The items I have had are always nice pieces, each with the store's woven fabric tag neatly placed inside. It was one of the places for a guy to shop, back in the glorious days before the world got mall-and-big-box-store saturated. The owner's name was Dick, thus the store's name.
Still, when I see it, I can't help but giggle at all the fellas from back then walking around with the label "Little Dick" in their attire. I think you'd get thumped for that these days, or at least taunted relentlessly.
Yes, I occasionally have a juvenile sense of humor. It's not the worst thing in the world, right?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The CPSIA plays the part of Burgermeister Meisterburger

Any kid who's seen the Christmas classic Santa Clause is Coming to Town will now be able to relate to the children of Sombertown, the town where toys are outlawed by "The Burgermeister".

In case you hadn't heard, the CPSIA (Burgermeisters!) got a law passed quickly last year as a reaction to the high number of recalls of crappy China-made toys that were laced with lead. Sounds good, right?
Well, the law was then made retroactive. What does that mean?
It means that as of Feb 10th, ANY stock intended for children in any store which was produced before that date, any used clothing, toys, gear, in your kid's closet will be ILLEGAL to resell. Even those without a recall and without lead based materials.
That's right! No garage sale, no ebay, Etsy, no private website, no consignment store, no thrift, NO ONE can legally sell an item produced before that day. Charity shops cannot give it away, thrifts cannot sell it, YOU cannot sell it. Technically, by letter of the law, you can't even hand it down to your neighbor's kid.
Quit trading those 8 month old Pokemon cards, kid, or it's the slammer for you!!

What if it's vintage? Nope, can't do it. It was produced before the date the law goes into effect and was intended for use by someone under 12. Who cares if that kid is now in his 60s?

Where will all this stuff end up? Just guess. The Salvation Army, Goodwill, your local church charity shop...if they intend to follow the law, they will have to dump it. It will fill their dumpsters and they will have to PAY to get rid of it. That means they will have that much less to put towards good causes.

My local SA store makes 5% of their monthly sales off of kids clothing and toy sales. Not much? Multiply that average $600 in sales by 12, then multiply that number by the number of SA stores there are in the country (1370 stores). Suddenly that 5% at my rinkydink SA is nearing $9 MILLION annually that will not be there to provide relief after storms, shelter battered women, provide education and medical assistance to impoverished countries...not to mention giving people a way to extend their budgets when clothing their kids. Same goes for Goodwill's 2200 stores, and their assistance to the mentally challenged who want to work, or the mother who needed some additional education to get a better job.

Yes, there should be something in a law that makes it illegal for these toy conglomos to bring crappy lead laced toys into the country. However, not every toy in the whole world has lead in it. Not EVERY article of clothing should be treated like toxic waste.

My Mom started her business, Kids Caboose, from the ground up, selling gently used, consigned, children's goods. She is looking at potentially loosing everything she's put into this business. She will loose her retirement job, I'll loose my occasional part time job, and every family that shops her store will loose a venue that helps extend their strapped incomes. Her consignors will loose a source of income. It is likely that she will have to close up shop, if not forever, at least for a few years. She is not the only one.

This law needs to be dissected, rewritten, and reviewed carefully.

Will you help? Time is of the essence. Please follow this link to the NARTS website (Natn'l Association of Retail and Thrift Stores).
There you will find out some more info, and can follow links to sign a petition and write your area's representatives to voice your opinion.

Sign the NARTS petition

Jenn, Hatfeathers Vintage

Monday, January 12, 2009

Items of the week...Raiders of the Lost Dresses

Click to see items

The Bradley knit set and the Make-Do Dressing Gown.
I spent several hours in the sun at an auction in August for a Bradley knit set and a few other pieces. Several bottles of water and a slightly red shoulder later, I left victorious!
The dressing gown came to me a while back, as well, gathered from some choice pieces at an estate buy. I was enchanted by the patches of different fabrics, the evidence of mending, probably from a time when fabric was rationed and buying new wasn't an option.
So why, oh why did I not list these before now? I HAVE NO IDEA!

A recent stock shift, studio organization, and website revamp has been very productive. I found a few items that had been forgotten, some that had gotten buried in the business of a few lucky stock hauls, and a few, like our items of the week here, that had been prepped, shot, written up, code written, and...and...nothing.
You see, I try to get a good handful of things ready to go before adding them to the website (working with site code being my least fave part of the job). Somewhere in the swirling winds of life these two fell through the cracks of my mind.
I guess it's a good thing I'm not the milkman(gal)! So, without any FURTHER delay, I give you the slightly MORE vintage Bradley knit dress and war-time bow print dressing gown!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Aloha to an artist, designer, print master

The fashion world has lost one of the greats, Alfred Shaheen, who passed away just before Christmas. A vintage Shaheen halter dress has always been amongst the Holy Grails of vintage fashion. Although I've found several more recent vintage pieces (usually 70s) by Shaheen, I've only ever had one of his 50's items, found rather early in my selling ventures.

Shaheen had a way of making the Hawaiian print into wearable art. His prints were not the garish tropical prints that sometimes give the phrase "Hawaiian dress/shirt" a bad name. His were colorful, true, but never in a way that hurt the eyes. They were always natural and lovely, and truly Hawaiian. So, Aloha to the great Alfred Shaheen!

Here is some eye candy of my favorite Shaheen to come through my long gone to a new home, but still at the top of my list of things I've sold in nearly 7 years, a three piece set with smocked playsuit, full skirt, and kimono wrap top.