Category Archives: Shopping

Shopping with the Vintage Traveler – Winter 2020

I’m here to break to monotony of home exile with a bit of virtual shopping for the cabin fevered.  I went on my last shopping expedition for a while last week, and I’m hoping the Liberty Antiques Festival will go on as usual at the end of April. Otherwise, I might have a meltdown. Joking aside, be smart people.

All these photos were taken over a period of several months, in Western North Carolina, East Tennessee, and North Georgia.

I love souvenir items from my region. I’m only about thirty miles from the Eastern Band of Cherokee “reservation”, which is not in Tennessee at all, and is not a true reservation.  Still, this pillow accurately shows what tourists were apt to see in the 1940s or 50s when visiting Cherokee, NC.

If this had pictured a woman golfer, I would have bought it.

Scariest Santa ever.  I love old masks, and have collected a few Halloween ones. They are always creepy.

If I return to this antique mall and this is still there, I’ll probably buy it. As it was, the piece was over-priced and over-ruffled. Still, I love that sailor so much.

I love how sometimes you can tell where an antique store is located just by thinking about the products for sale. In North Georgia I saw a lot of chenille bedspreads. That’s where they were made.

Some time ago I wrote about the Iowa button industry. I had no idea they were also made in Chattanooga, from mussel shells from the Tennessee River.

I liked this Squaw Valley souvenir ski thermometer.

As the Boomers start dying off, will anyone care about Howdy Doody? (I met Buffalo Bob at an Asheville Tourists baseball game some years ago. Such a nice man!)

Sex sells anything, even Mosco Corn Remover.

And here’s more chenille, this time in East Tennessee. This one is a more modern synthetic, but what about that peacock!?

I’ve seen a lot of Enid Collins bags recently, including quite a few I’d never seen before. I loved this poodle. I was once lucky enough to talk with Collin’s son, and asked him if they ever produced a Scottie dog bag. He told me he did not know, and there were many that had limited production, so it was possible one might show up one day. I can hope.

This beach jacket is for a small child. I want a big one, please.

There are some sellers on Instagram who could sell this holey sweater for $$$.

I found the semi-local label interesting.

How pretty is that lavender dress? It came with the hat and the dressform and was priced accordingly.

Simply gorgeous!

I’ve always tended to think of Victorian and Edwardian collars as white, so seeing these striped ones was an education.

Slickers, with the original box!

This is the only way to effectively sell hair nets.

At first I was distracted by the stand-up ad for the World’s Lightest Outboard, and then I noticed the Christian Dior gloves display piece. What a treasure!

And may your day be filled with treasures as well!

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Filed under Curiosities, Shopping

A Tale of Two Jumpsuits

Anyone who collects or sells old clothing will tell you that most old garments come with a flaw or two. Clothes were worn, and they were often improperly stored. To get a piece with no issues is a real treat.  I acquire pieces with that in mind, because sportswear was especially subject to rough wear.

I decided to buy the pajama jumpsuit above because of the outstanding textile design. This type jumpsuit, which was made from around 1930 through about 1935, was a bit of a fad, and as such, many of the ones I’ve seen are made from cheap cotton materials. This one is no exception, as the fabric seems to be a printed cotton muslin.

But the print was just so good, I decided to get this one from an online dealer.  From the photos in the listing I could guess the pajama had been shortened at the waist. I was right.

Can you see the lines of the old stitches I removed? This had been taken up five inches.  A former owner must have worn this as at shin-length, because I am 5’1′, and the length after removing the stitches is perfect for me.

This brings up the question of when is it best to remove old stitching, and when should it just be left alone. In this case the decision was easy, as the alteration completely changed the original design of the garment as it was intended to be worn in the 1930s.

And the shoddy state of the alterations was another consideration.  Sellers, this is not normal.

And the only reference to this mess in the sales listing was that there was a bit of hand stitching. I’ll say!  To be completely truthful, the seller offered to take the pajamas back, as there were other undisclosed issues, but I was so in love with the fabric print that I decided to invest the work in restoring it and to keep it.

There were also belt loops, which had been concealed in the alteration. I’m guessing that the belt was black, and I’ll be making a reproduction belt for display purposes.

I also recently acquired this 1940s jumpsuit from Susan at NorthStarVintage. She had seen the two other 1940s jumpsuits in my collection that I posted on Instagram and she wisely figured I might be interested in this one as well. (I know this is a woman’s garment because of the way the zipper fold laps, right over left)

I was especially interested in this jumpsuit because it was made by White Stag. I know that White Stag made WWII era workwear for women, as I have a wartime catalog. But the label used in the work attire was White Stag Function Alls. And the Play Alls label is not shown at all in the catalog.

So, where do these fit in? I’d like to think they are from around 1940 or 41, as companies were already starting to make military-inspired clothing for women.  After the US entered the war, it’s not likely that so much metal would have been used. The catalog shows buttons instead of zippers and snaps.

At any rate this jumpsuit shows signs of being used for work. I think the woman who wore this must have been an auto mechanic, as there are tiny little grease stains on the knees. I can see her on her knees changing a tire!

Interestingly, this jumpsuit was also altered at the waist, but this time, the garment was made longer. The waist band was removed and the double thickness of it was made single, adding about an inch and a half to the length.  The alteration was so well done that I didn’t notice it until I was giving the piece a close examination.

Not only did the alterer have to remove and reattach the waistband, the zipper section below the waist had to be removed and reattached. This was the work of an experienced sewer, and it has the feel of having been done in the 1940s instead of later.

Because of that, I’ll be leaving this jumpsuit as it is. It’s more important to me to have the jumpsuit as it was worn, rather than how it was purchased.  It’s a great piece of women’s history, and I love it just as it is.

 

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Filed under Collecting, Shopping, Sportswear, World War II

Shopping with the Vintage Traveler, Fall 2019

It’s once again time for me to share things I spotted while shopping, but mostly did not buy. To me the purpose of “shopping” is not so mush to buy, but to learn. I always want to see something that is new-to-me. and then wonder why I had not known of this item before. Amazingly, after 40 plus years of shopping for old stuff, I’m still making marvelous discoveries.

These nylon tights are kid sized, but aren’t they fun!

I sort of wanted this folding sewing organizer, but I talked myself out of buying it because I was tired and I would have to carry it a mile or so to my car. Does anyone have and use one of these?

This was another almost purchase, but the old guys in the painting were just too intimidating.

I love these Wolf dress forms, but they take up a lot of space.

Vintage tin paint boxes are the best, especially when they are travel themed.

Crimes against accessories. Seriously, someone thought painting these 1960s shoes and handbag somehow improved them.

A seller had a whole stack of these 1970s clog/sandals from Sears. I started thinking about them later and I went back to get a pair. They are even better than you can see in my photo. The sides of the wooden soles are carved.

This peek inside a 1930s travel trailer made me want to get a vintage camper and take it on the road.

This was a counter poster showing the 1950s consumer that even movie stars wore Summerettes. I have a pair of these in red.

I thought my opthamologist needed this sign. I’m not sure he would agree.

Dress form art.

And of course there were Scotties. I have a small group of these wooden lawn art Scotties, but passed on this one.

That late 1910s Middy Girl helped to sell a lot of products, including shoes.

Oh, my! This adorable collie border print was made complete by the leashes that form the bottom of the print. This print is from the famous John Wolfe Textiles, which was known for border prints. Unfortunately, what you see in the photo is the entirety of the piece, so there’s not enough for a gathered skirt. Still, wouldn’t it make a great apron, or a pinafore for a little girl?

Okay, I bought it because I just could not leave it.

I posted this dress in my Instagram stories and people went crazy. I did not buy this because it is child sized, but I agree that it is a pretty wonderful novelty print.

I think this is a clothespin holder.

The seller was super busy and I was super tired, so this little rouge pot did not make it into my shopping bag.

And finally, what could be better than a pair of vintage water skis with a Cypress Gardens sticker?

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Shopping with the Vintage Traveler – Summer 2019

It’s time for another shopping trip through the bazaars of the Southeast. Here I show you the things I liked, but did not buy. I mean, I really can’t buy it all. Sometimes just taking a photo is enough.

The water bag above was interesting to me because it was made by Hirsch-Weis, or White Stag. And yes it is the same company tht made White Stag clothing. It was originally a maker of heavy canvas items such as tents and sails.

One of the best small shows in the South is the yearly antiques market in Abingdon, VA. This show is one of those rarities where there really is no junk, but most of the items are not priced so high that one has to take out a loan in order to buy things.

The seller had this labeled as the back of a theater seat, and it does look like one to me.

This was a store display. Cute or weird?

The seller of this card of fabric swatches had a nice grouping of them. I loved them, but at $40 each, I had to pass.

This enameled shoe horn was nifty, but again, I could not justify the $125 price tag.

This Twiggy doll, case, and clothing was really nice, but I do not need to add another collecting category. It was like new.

Can you see how tiny this little sewing kitty is? The little pedal actually moved. Why could it not have been a sewing Scottie?

I really do have a thing for antique socks and stockings.

Are Coca~Cola collectibles as desirable as they were several decades ago? They always seem to be priced quite high, but I do love the sporty girl graphics.

Carolyn Schnurer is a label I’m always looking for, but I passed on this jacket for several reasons. The skirt was missing, and the jacket wasn’t in the best condition. But what really broke the deal was that Schnurer was known for her sporty designs in cotton prints. This is a great little jacket, but it just does not say “Carolyn Schnurer”.

Sweetness overload.

I actually regret not buying these. I was getting tired and was not thinking straight.

This is the cover of a 1938 Needlework magazine. I love seeing women’s overalls in illustrations.

I love coming across booths like this one, as there are usually some items related to women’s sports. This one, unfortunately, let me down.

And finally, here’s something I did actually buy. Antique exercise clubs are usually plain like the ones on the left. But I’d recently seen a pair that was decorated, and so I’d decided I needed a pair. I never dreamed I’d find a pair in Berea, Kentucky. But that’s what makes vintage shopping so interesting. I just never know what I’ll find.

 

 

So, there you have it.

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How Not to Waste a Scrap

I recently found a set of twelve unfinished patchwork pieces in the Dresden Plate pattern. I scooped these up from the bottom of a bin at the Goodwill Dig, knowing I had absolutely no use for them. But the thought of these Depression Era fabrics ending up in a ragger’s bundle made me so sad I had to rescue them.

All the fabrics are 1930s dress fabrics or feedsack fabrics. Some of the fabrics are the same but in different colors, like the blue and green examples above. Maybe a mother made matching dresses for her little girls – blue for one girl and green for the other. And since that same design is also present in red and in purple, maybe there were four daughters.

What really impressed me the most is that some of the pieces are actually pieced from even smaller scraps. The center piece above is made from five tiny scraps, some of them much smaller than an inch in width and length. The maker really knew how to use up every tiny bit of the precious material.

Amazingly, these designs were all pieced by hand. Do you see why I just had to rescue these?

In my own sewing, one of the things I hate facing is the large amount of unusable scrap fabric left over from the cutting. I’m not a quilter, and for the most part, don’t indulge in fiddly crafts that use tiny scraps of fabric. I do make lots of pillows, and all my scraps are cut even smaller to make filling. After reading about how much textile waste ends up in the trash dumps of the world, I can’t bear to add to the problem.

I know that in some areas there is textile recycling. And if worst comes to worst, scraps can be donated to Goodwill where they end up in the ragger’s bundles.  Are there any other ideas?

So now I have twelve pieces of Dresden plate, which I don’t need. I’d love to pass them on to someone who will actually use them, and that person has been located. Thanks, Joni, for taking these off my hands!

A few of the pieces have stains. This is the worst one I have noted.

 

 

 

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Filed under Shopping, Textiles, Uncategorized

Dressed to Protest: What Women Wore to the Revolution

Several years ago I read The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. In case you don’t know the book, it’s about developing creativity. From many conversations I’ve had with adults over the years, it seems that most people either think they are creative, or they are not creative. But according to Cameron (and many others) creativity can be developed.

One thing Cameron prescribes is what she calls “morning pages”. This is where first thing every morning you write three pages of just anything, in an effort to clear your head of whatever is happening in your life so you can be more receptive to your creative side. I’m sure this practice helps many people, but I tried it and it just seemed like a chore to me.

But another practice suggested in the book has proven to be more helpful, that of setting aside time every week for an art date. The art date is a special activity that breaks the routine and exposes you to beauty, learning, and new ideas. It can be anything from a tour through local antiques shops to a museum visit to a lecture on birdwatching.

I really do try to schedule an art date each week. Last week I met with Liza to do some vintage shopping, and then to attend a presentation by Cornelia Powell on the dress reform movement. It was the kind of day that everyone needs, with vintage finds and a thoughtful history lesson. Never mind the guy at the shop who had a big box full of 1930s and 40s Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar magazines that he would not sell. That’s another story.

So, here we are after a rough day of the vintage hunt.  We don’t look too frazzled, in light of the fact that just thirty minutes prior we were considering knocking a bookseller over the head and running off with his box of magazines.

I’ll not go into the details of Cornelia’s presentation, because I can’t do justice to it, but I will share some of the images she used.  It’s easy to see why I enjoyed this so much.

If you have read this journal for any time at all, then you  are already aware that sports, and especially bicycling, played a big role in the move toward reform in dress for women. Bicycling also led to many women becoming less dependant on men for transportation. Could this, perhaps, lead to other things? Some men warned that the bicycle was just a gateway to more independence for women.

And the automobile only confirmed those fears.

The wearing of white was a powerful symbol for women protesting and marching for the right to vote. But also note the “revolutionary” tricorn hats!

I really loved this photo of women from the Western states who had already gained the right to vote. Sometimes we in the East forget that many women in the Western states had been voting for many years.

Cornelia reminded us that fashion was a valuable tool in the fight for suffrage. Many of the leaders of the movement learned early on with the failure of the bloomer that looking respectable was key to gaining respect for their cause.

And so my art date was a big success. Thanks to Liza for letting me use her photos, and to Cornelia for all the food for thought.

Remember to always look up. This was the skylight in the library where the event was held.

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Filed under Shopping, Viewpoint, Vintage Photographs

Shopping with the Vintage Traveler, Spring 2019

The weather here in the mountains has been so perfect that it seems like we’ve spent the last month sitting in our backyard, watching the birds. But a look through my photo files revealed some interesting things found locally and on the road that I loved but did not buy.

Above is a very large decal of a Corticelli cat that has been applied to a painted board. I have no idea what the reasoning was, but I can’t resist vintage thread memorabilia.

I spotted this pretty Jeanne Lanvin pochoir in a local store. If a pochoir has a little girl in it, it’s probably by Lanvin.

I loved this advertising sign for hooks and eyes. The puffed sleeves date this as circa 1895.

This is a shot from an antique mall in Jonesborough, Tennessee. I run across this hole-in-the-floor feature in old stores from time to time. I had the salesperson in an old country store tell me that the whole town knew the owner stood at the rail and watched for shoplifters.

This amazing sign was at Dodson’s Dig in Greenville, South Carolina. It had been on display in a restaurant, but the sign originally was above a  Greenville, Mississippi corset shop.

Dodson’s Dig is a fantastic place. It’s easy to get carried away playing, as Liza did here.

Art Nouveau girls are the best.

If I had a wall that needed covering, I’d be tempted to seek out the best fruit crate labels and have them framed.

This is an advertising poster (see husband’s fingers for size comparison). I got all excited until I saw the $17.95 price tag, because I knew immediately that it had to be a reproduction. And it was,

On a whim, I went to the Hillsville, Virginia Memorial Day flea market. I’ve written here about Hillsville many times, as I go to the Labor Day market every year. It’s a huge chaotic affair, and though it’s crazy and exhausting, I can’t resist it. I heard the spring market was not as large, but I was not prepared for the pitiful showing. To be honest, I found some great things, but we were on the way home after about three hours.

And finally, here’s one thing I did buy – a 1940s sailor boy pin. I love how he moves!

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Filed under Collecting, I Didn't Buy..., Shopping