Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fabric of the week: Taffeta

I just published the new Vintage Fashion Guild Fabric Resource, and although there are many, many fabrics and fabric terms I want to add yet, it is pretty big already. I hope you go have a look: VFG Fabric Resource.

To make reading through it a little more manageable, I want to introduce one fabric or fabric term to you per week. The first is a truly well known fabric among vintage wearers—taffeta. Many are the great party frocks made from it! Even though it is well known, you may not be familiar with certain aspects of taffeta—I certainly wasn't until I did some research.

All the links take you to definitions in the VFG Fabric Resource, in case you are not familiar with the meanings. For taffeta, there is a pretty lengthy list of fabrics in the same family (under “See also”).

50s taffeta dress and bolero in my Etsy shop
A crisp, tightly-woven plain weave fabric usually with very fine horizontal ribs, taffeta is made of filament yarns (silk, acetate or rayon), sometimes with staple yarn filling. It is often lustrous.
When woven of two different colored yarns, shot taffeta is created, also called changeable or iridescent. When the iridescent taffeta is silk, it can be called shot silk. Woven of three colors (two in the weft, one in the warp), it is called chameleon taffeta.
Taffeta is often the fabric used for moiré, and it can be processed to create ciré.
Taffeta makes a characteristic rustling sound when moved. The sound is called scroop (a late 18th-century word blending scrape and whoop) in the case of silk taffeta. The scroop sound results from an acid finishing treatment
The name comes from the Persian taftah, a 16th-century fine silk fabric.
Uses: Dresses, underskirts, linings, trims, umbrellas
See also:
Acetate taffeta
Flocked taffeta
Embossed taffeta
Jacquard taffeta
Silk taffeta

©Vintage Fashion Guild - Text by Margaret Wilds/denisebrain,  photos by Hoyt Carter

P.S. If you have a small piece—it doesn't need to be larger than about 2" x 2"—of chameleon taffeta (definition above) you would like to donate to the cause, I'd love it to photograph and add to the resource!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Why you should vote for (or at least check out) denisebrain

There are just a few more days left to cast your vote for your favorite 1, 2, 3 or up to 10 vintage clothing websites on Lulu’s Vintage Blog. Lulu’s annual contest gives us all the opportunity to see a great list of vintage sites—there are always some new sites to see as well as the chance to catch up with old favorites.

I would love your vote, and in the spirit of political campaigning, here is a list of the things I am most proud of about my business. I don’t usually blow my own horn, but since I have no Super PAC to do it for me, here goes.

I have been in business online since 1999.

I have always treated buyers as I’d like to be treated myself: with respect, kindness and honesty.

In my approximately 12,000 sales, many on eBay and Etsy—both sites where a feedback system helps build trust in a seller—I have received just two neutral ratings (no reason given and no contact), and no negative feedback.

No one has ever told me I measured something wrong. Given my math skills, this is a feat.

I donate a percentage of my sales as often as I can for causes ranging from disaster relief to endangered species protection. On average, with the help of my customers, I have donated at least $1000 and recently over $1500 annually.

I love vintage clothing, and my strongest hope is that this is infectious to others.

Thank you for your vote, and for having a look at


P.S. Some other things you might enjoy: I have written a guide to wearing vintage here on my blog, and in it you might find answers to some of your burning questions. To find out more about the fabrics used for vintage clothing, have a look at the Fabric Resource I just published for the Vintage Fashion Guild.

See some of my customers in their vintage purchases in my Facebook album You in your vintage clothing. If you are on Facebook, why not join me there?

Just for fun, you can see this month’s theme, Get it Together, and many of my past monthly themes are in my several theme-o-matics—always available from my current theme page.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Vintage convergence, Pat Premo edition

Recently I was trying to figure out what sort of tie was originally worn with this dress by the designer Pat Premo, and lo and behold, I found the dress, in an ad dated 1954 (Damn Good Vintage Blog is the source of the ad). 

The beautiful dress, minus its original tie, is now available in my webstore. I'm not sure if that white over-collar was ever part of my dress. Mine also would not have had a belt, with a waistband constructed to be like a belt. So it’s similar, but not exactly the same dress.

I don't have the ad model’s 20" waist, but you can see the dress does quite a bit to flatter one’s waist anyway!

See all my previous vintage convergences here.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The new Fabric Resource

Excuse my absence for the past few weeks...I have been adding some finishing touches to the new Vintage Fashion Guild Fabric Resource, now published.

I say finishing touches, but really, this is the start. I hope to continue adding fabrics and fabric terms as I can. I began this project in 2007, and I have really learned a lot about fabrics, which fascinate me. I hope this resource helps others learn and enjoy fabrics too.

You can see the Fabric Resource, and all its components, by going to the Vintage Fashion Guild homepage and looking under VFG Resources.

Please let me know what you think!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Get it together

 For my July theme, I was inspired by those mix-and-match kids books (you know what I mean: flip between a buffalo, a penguin, and a crocodile to get a buff-pen-odile) and by the idea of making one vintage item go a long way with different finishing touches. 

I always have vintage accessories for sale, but I’ll try to have even more in store this month, to help you get your look together!

 {click on the image—sound up}