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Do you want to see my labyrinthine process for finding and altering stuff for my photo shoots? I hope you said “Yes!” because I’m about to show you!
So, in April Showers Bring May Flowers – Part 1 the kids were dressed like this. How did I find and prepare all of these elements? Well, it all came together at the thrift store. (Doesn’t it always?)
Okay, so I alluded to finding these vintage umbrellas in my last post. Here is Annika, giving the first one a test run in the thrift store. She was immediately as obsessed with it as I was! It had been left out in the open, casually propped against a piece of furniture. In a moment of inspiration, I thought to check the nearby bin of umbrellas, just in case there were more…And there WAS a second one!!! You can *just* see its pink, crook-handle peeking out of the top of the bin, on Annika’s left.
My first inspiration for doing a ’60s photo shoot with the kids was sparked when I saw that downtown mural. These umbrellas sealed the deal. Now I had a vision! When I brought the umbrellas home, I noticed that their clear, vinyl material was dusty and cloudy. It was time to give them some TLC.
I rounded up some gloves, a spray bottle with a 50/50 white distilled vinegar and water solution, and an old t-shirt rag. Then, I gave the umbrellas an initial rinse with the hose.
Next, I sprayed and wiped the umbrellas inside and out with the vinegar spray and t-shirt rag.
That clear vinyl began to glisten! I wasn’t able to remove the rusted bits at the crowns, but fortunately it’s not noticeable when the umbrellas are in use.
I set the umbrellas to dry…
…And here they are, (mostly) squeaky clean! Emma’s:
When I found Emma’s purse, I saw its potential. However, it was dingy and dirty. It looked like the kind of grime that would wash out, so I gave it a chance. Sure enough, a soak in OxiClean freshened it right up! *Pro-tip*: Use a large jug, like this one of white distilled vinegar, to weight soaking items that don’t want to stay submerged. Also, make sure you put buckets of soaking items up high for the safety of your kiddos and pets. My bucket was on the floor just for the photo. Then, I put it on top of the washing machine!
I’m one of those people who “loses” my phone three times a day…BUT I have a photographic memory for every scrap of trim and every color of every item that comes home with me. So, I knew I had the perfect, vintage daisy trim in my stash to make the perfect headbands for the girls’ outfits. I draped a bit over Eliza’s head for visualization.
Dollar Tree headbands are great to have around for these kinds of projects! (Of course, you have to buy more than one pack if you want to make matching ones of the same color). These are great, since they are covered with fabric and don’t dig in behind the ears. It was super easy to trim the daisy chains to length and glue them to the headbands. I always like to dab a bit of Fray Check on the ends of any cut trim to prevent raveling.
Okay, so do you want to hear some TMI? Probably not, but I’m going to tell you, anyway. I save the hair from our hair brushes. Now, hear me out: This practice has lengthy, historical precedent. I mean, if you consider that the creepy Victorians had the hair of their loved ones plaited into elaborate jewelry and mementos, how weird can it be? Anyway, lots of antiquated hairstyles required vast amounts of hair that were beyond the scope of many the average scalp. (I take solace knowing that ladies of long ago also suffered from having thin hair.) So, I wadded some of the girls’ collected hair strands into hair nets. Then, I placed these little pads under their top layers of hair to give them those iconic, 1960s bouffant poofs. And, voilà! Their hair got a boost with material that matched their actual hair colors if it showed through.
Now for the clothes! Emma and Eliza’s dresses were hand-me-downs, and they are actually the same size.
(Eliza, of course, got the red one!) I needed to take in Eliza’s dress at the sides and hem it so it would fit her the same as Emma’s. Fortunately, the dress’s simple, A-line design made this quite easy!
One of my favorite “cheats”, especially on a deep hem, is to tack it in just a few places, like at the side seams and the front and back. (Hemming it all the way around can cause puckers and additional bulk, due to the hem width being usually quite a bit wider at the bottom than farther up the garment.) Then, I press, press, press with the iron!
Here you can see how I took in the side seams. I gradually blend the stitches out to the side seam, like I do when making a dart. Sometimes, when I feel fancy, I tie my thread ends together before clipping them. This gives your dart stitches extra security at the tips.
Elliott’s vintage sports coat was such a fun thrift store find! It just needed to be shortened a bit in the sleeves. I folded them back the requisite lengths and gave them blind hems.I also moved the cuff buttons up. Buttons are easy to move, but can be a bit time-consuming if there are a lot of them!
Whew! Even though this project involved minimal sewing, it still took a few hours to do the cleaning, alterations, and ironing. It takes some effort to get all the costume pieces “picture perfect”. I’m telling you this so that you can go into a similar situation with your eyes WIDE open. (In other words, don’t be like me and kid yourself that you can get all of it done in half an hour AND somehow still take pictures the same day!)
Stay tuned for my next post, in which I will show you all the costume pieces put together into outfits. We did an additional photo shoot with the whole family, so I will do outlays of allllllllll the items we wore before sharing the family pictures. Talk to you soon, friends!