Sunday, December 23, 2007

Some people don't get to be Vintage!

I started this blog with the thoughts of dealing with aging. At the ripe of age of 59 (which is the new 39) I have come to grips with the fact that I will never have a 26 inch waist again, nor will I be able to dance until dawn. 10:00 usually sees me sound asleep.

But something happened this week that made me think of the very young and the effects of birth as it relates to aging.

My darling hubby works for a funeral home and is very sensitive to the grief and wonder that is death. When one of our older family members passes over, it is often sad but the family feels blessed to have had years with their parent, sibling or friend. When an accident or illness takes a contemporary or a young person, it is even more tragic.

But when a tiny little baby is prematurely stillborn and never experiences the things we take for granted; a mother's touch, a father's laugh, the lick of a dog, sunshine on your face or snow, it can absolutely break the heart of the toughest of us.

Quite frequently (in our small town, anyway) these infants are born to families who are extremely young, extremely under financed and who often are borderline legal with no family support.

One of the saddest parts of arranging for the burial of such a tiny infant, is that there is no clothing available. This presents a problem to hospitals with premie wards, all over the country, and there are website devoted to supplying this tiny doll size clothes for babies to wear while in the incubator. But those needs are different.

An infant in an incubator needs clothing to allow for IV's and diapers and a certain amount of movement and handling. The tiny angels do not have those needs. They simply need to be clothed as prettily as possible. All mothers want their children well dressed and especially for that final crossover.

What I'm trying to explain is that there is a need for "something special". I found some sites that offer these things but they are extremely expensive. So I put out a request on a couple of private groups I belong to and the response has been amazing.

The offers of help have been overwhelming. And some members are even sending things to each other to accomplish this task. Some are sending patterns and materials to others who sew, crochet or knit.

What I hope to do is establish a collection of varied size doll size clothing that is appropriate for these tiny infants so that when the need arises here in my community, we will be prepared and not have to scramble to find something for these babies and their families.

I just wanted to share my thoughts and my gratitude to my wonderful friends for stepping up to the plate to help those less fortunate. For some reason today, my arthritis is hurting less and I've got a bit of spring in my step again. Still don't think I can dance until dawn though.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Ultimate Portrait Collar!

Atomic, Mid Century.............doesn't this collar remind you of something Judy Jettson would wear? Except of course she would have on ski pants instead of a full dirndl skirt.

The pattern is a Simplicity Designer Pattern from 1950...........and I will be listing it along with several other Fabulous Fifties patterns from the same Estate Lot this weekend. The lot included a gorgeous 1952 Wedding Gown with a Big Bertha Collar and some smashing Criss Cross Bodice Bombshell Dresses. The lady who had these was small and knew how to accentuate the Negative with Bust Enhancing designs.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

There's a New Kid on the Block

For all of you Pattern Mavens and Collectors, there is a new site being created. It is at Wikia and is the brain child of Erin from Dressaday. It is an interactive site where you can look for patterns , and display your favorites, or show off your creations from old patterns. It is in it's embro stage but growing quickly so be sure to go check it out. Vintage Sewing Patterns

What are the odds?

of finding 2 Designer Patterns at the same time? Really good patterns don't come around often and when you buy a big box of patterns there are usually 1 or 2 really good ones in the lot, but I lucked into the greatest find this weekend. Actually a friend of mine picked the lot up at an auction and brought it to me. There were so many great 50's Advance patterns that it's hard to decide which I like best. Here's my top 5 of the batch.

The first is a Luis Estevez sheath dress with a floating panel in back. Then there's the Suzy Perette Bubble skirt with a bateau neckline and wide midriff cummerbund.
Two blouson sheath's both with a very fitted front and blousy back.

And last but definitely not least this adorable and very sexy draped bodice sheath. Bombshell at it's best.

All of these will be on the auction block this weekend (Happy Thanksgiving and post Black Friday) cemetarian on eBay.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Shimmer & Shine Vintage Blow Out

Several times a year the Vintage Clothing and Accessories Board on eBay sponsors a Vintage Blow Out Sale. It always lasts a week, starts on Thursday, all items must have a Buy it Now Price and must be $19.99 or under.
This is a fabulous opportunity to pick up great vintage items at slashed prices.

This Thanksgiving weekend is the date for the next one.

More details ""vbo-vintage*blow*out">

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What a Difference 1/2 a Decade Makes

I've been fascinated with these two photos for a long time. Several things fascinate me about them. The one on the left is the hubby's Mom and her 2 sisters. The one on the right is my Mom and her 2 sisters.

Both families had hard scrabble rural roots about 20 miles apart. Plenty to eat cause they grew what they ate but not much else. These photos taken 5 years apart and just look at the difference in not only the styles of the clothing (which is amazing) but the difference in their body language. These 6 women were so much alike it's uncanny but the difference in the times really shows in their photos.

Here's what a very savvy friend had to say about the photos: "1939 could have been 1929. They want (probably need) to look like proper ladies, ie: older and home centered. Everything is homemade, handed down, or looks it. Showing your shape is taboo, at least in their world. Even their smiles are tight. Everything says Depression. 1944 is unmistakable. Youth is not quite a craze yet, but at least it's an idea. Fashions travel now, because there's some money, and because the country is all on the same wavelength. Hair is carefree, limbs allowable. These gals can go places. Nothing says World War, except that the setting is 100% female. Even the settings say a lot. 1939: weathered old house, dirt lot. It's a hard place, and not just physically. A little Sunday gingham is the only color they can have. 1944: sleek car, lush grass, open sky. The car, a not-quite-late model (late being 1942), hints at what the '30s really had to offer that many never got to have."

I admire both eras of fashion. They each have something to say about the times. in the 30's the Great Depression was upon us and Europe was already a war...........would we get involved? Those thought are reflected in the attitude and style of clothing. Longer more sedate clothing (although I actually find the longer skirts and no distinct waistline more flattering)..........and look at those shoes.........

The mid 40's was the middle of hard times but everyone was pulling together in the war effort. Skirts are shorter due to cloth rationing, nylon's are non existent but by 44 there was an optimism that the light at the end of the tunnel wasn't a train.............and you can see it. The boys were gone but they'd be coming home least there was hope.

If either of these eras trip your trigger my friends have lots of goodies for you.From Dandelion Vintage a 1930's Gingham Day Dress

And from Sydney's Vintage Clothing This dressy sheer 40's dress.

And of course for the Do It Yourself'er.....there are patterns galore for both the everyday house dress and the more glam dressy dress.

This 1939 Glamour Dress...........skirt's just a bit fuller and wider and the waistline is more defined.............but isn't it smashing? From Dandelion Vintage .

Or a more sedate Day time dress from Fast Edie's Retro Rags

From 1944...........Suit dressing........not only did it conserve fabric, but conserved energy due to being able to launder the blouse and save the jacket. Also you could wear multiple blouses for different looks. And.....more women were entering the workplace..........Rosie didn't just Rivet, she also took over clerical jobs previously held by men. Dorthea's Closet has this cute little suit pattern.

And of course your's truly Cemetarian has gobs of 40's sewing, knitting and crochet patterns............but I'm really partial to this adorable Maternity Dress from 1944

Or if research is your thing and you just want good can always resort to Pattern Brochures and Magazine Advertisements.........find these and many many more at Cemetarian

Born Too Late Vintage has this 1940's Purple and Pink Sheer Dress Alley Cats Vintage has this wonderful 30's Black Satin Rayon Hand Beaded Party Dress
Also at Alley Cat's Vintage this 1940s Two Piece Rose Embroidered Skirt & Bolero Jacket by Life Savers - Very Unusual! I can see my Mama wearing this one.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Back to Basics.....Nightgowns

I did a segment on Nightsweats a few months ago, but today let's pretend that is no longer an issue and we want to go back to the beginning when being pretty and sexy was important. LOL

I picked up this fabulous 1938 nightgown pattern the other day. Can you just imagine the time it took to construct with all the tiny pin tucks at the shoulder and waist? But OH! the wonderful feeling of all the silky fabric flowing around your legs as you move across the room. This one really requires young eyes to make and a young body for it to adorn. Or maybe not.......even us old ladies have our fantasies. And you're never too old to just feel good about yourself.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

I'm So Glad I can Wear Jeans! or Sweats

I do remember the days of girdles and stockings, white gloves and hats, but thank goodness those days are behind us. The Free Wheeling MOD 60's pretty much allowed us to "let it all hang out" and now days with casual Fridays (and just about every other day, too).....well....there are no restrictions for the modern woman.

But step back in time 100 years. The well dressed woman of the Edwardian Era started with the "s" curve corset, which forced the spine forward and thrust the buttocks backward.

After she managed to get herself into this contraption, she pad where necessary to accentuate her narrow waistline. She would then would don drawers (pantaloons), petticoats, corset cover, stocking, and lace up boots. Finally the finely textured blouse and skirt. She would end up looking a lot like this.

Can you imagine doing ANYTHING dressed and trussed like that? I can't. I can barely stand to wear panty hose, and do, only when necessary. But if you are so inclined to play dress up and want an exquisite white linen Shirtwaist and Skirt we have just the thing for you this week at cemetarian

If you are in a Do It Yourself mood Vintage4me2 has this lovely 1905 Waist pattern.

Here's a great site for information on the Edwardian Era

As the era evolved, things loosed up just a bit and the silhouette changed. The waistline shifted to more of an Empire and the Hobble skirt came into being. You'll notice we got a bit of relief around the waistline, but we still couldn't run away.........isn't that what you do to a horse to keep it from running?

If this style and silhouette are more to your liking Dorothea's Closet has just the right Titanic overdress.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


This is a battle that we have fought for so long, I'm afraid that I get a bit complacent with it from time to time.........

My lovely Mama was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's at the age of 67. We realized that she had been suffering from this insidious disease for several years. She voluntarily entered a retirement/nursing home and was part of the main stream population for several years until we got concerned about her wondering off the premises. She then went into the Unit which is a lock down facility.

She has been in the Unit for 6 years. I don't visit her frequently because she doesn't know me anymore and looks at me as if I were a stranger. She often tells me about her daughter. We've had so many ups and downs through the years due to this horrible condition that I consider myself toughened by it.

But this morning I went to take her some Christmas clothes to wear and even though she didn't know me, she kept hugging me and saying "You're ME" and "you look like me".

There isn't a morning I wake up that I don't think about her and cry a little bit. But today I've been crying all day. I can't decide if the guilt of not seeing her is worse than seeing her in such a reduced metal state.

Just felt the need to get these thought "out there". I don't expect anyone to be interested nor do I need sympathy................just needed the opportunity to vent a bit about the raw deal some of us get. My sweet mother who was valedictorian of her class and always one of the sharpest pencils in the box........reduced to a tiny little person who just wants to hug people.

Maybe I should be happy that she is safe and healthy and as happy as a clam..................she is loved by all of the staff and most of the residents so maybe her life isn't all that bad. (written last Dec but not published)

Part 2:

After my emotional visit with Mama last week, and after the crying stopped, I decided to try one more time to do something proactive.

I think I had simply given up and was just waiting for the inevitable "end", which really is nowhere in sight.

I see so many relative at the home who bring in pictures of the great grand kids and the patients just kinda look at them and there is no recognition whatsoever. It's heartbreaking to see these sons and daughters trying to reach their long lost parents and bring them into the present.

THEY ARE IN THE PAST! I copied several old photos of my mother when she was young along with photos of her siblings and parents. I framed them in little simple acrylic stand up frames and took them as her present for the Christmas Party.

The reaction was amazing. There was instant recognition of her Father and herself. It took her a little longer with my Dad and and her sisters and brothers. Now, I will say, the recognition was fleeting and the long term effects are probably minimal and she may have lost interest already........but it gave all of us a brief moment of joy.

Sometimes ya just gotta take what you can get, and I feel so much better now. (written a week later)

Since I wrote this last year there have been changes. She has become more distant and the moments of recognition are even less frequent and ..... well actually there are NO moments of recognition.......I'm not looking for sympathy or advice.....but am hoping that someone who is just starting on what Nancy Reagan called "The LONG GOODBYE" might read it and get just a little comfort from knowing that they are not alone.


Chez Cemetarian was mentioned on Martha Stewart Living on the Sept 24th segment on SEWING!

Everyone needs their 15 minutes of fame......I thought I had already had mine and then some......lots of things have happened in my 59 years that I am proud of (and a few that are NOT).....but yesterday I was checking out the referrals on my website and came across one that made me look. It was for Martha Stewart's Living Website.

I clicked on the link and sure enough, the segment was on sewing and in big bold letters were the words:

Chez Cemetarian
To purchase Chez Cemetarian designs and patterns, visit or

Now that is something that makes me proud. I don't know how they found our site or why they thought we were worthy of mention. But I sure am pleased.

If you haven't seen this segment there is a video on the page. It's a very good segment and it features Tim Gunn and Martha trying to drape a toga.......looks like fun.

Here's the site url:

Martha Stewart Sewing Show

It's been a while.....

I created this blog and then life got in the way......some of the busy stuff was a good thing. We celebrated our 35th Wedding Anniversary this summer and decided to have a party and for some silly reason that took a lot of time. Of course if we hadn't needed to paint the Den and clean all the nooks and crannies in the house and try to find a place to stuff all of our inventory it would have been a lot simpler.

But ya know how old folks are. They are addicted to their "things" and out of sight is out of mind. If I put it away I forget where I put it.......LOL

We also ramble a lot. Anyway.......the signature photo is our wedding picture......of course we don't look like that anymore but I think maybe we're still recognizable......or maybe not. That's a story for another day.

The photos with the blue background are actually on a magnet that was made for us and sent as an anniversary present from our good friend Judy, at Magnets 4 Fun

Here's a shot of us taken at the party, maybe we have changed.......just a little bit.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Most Popular Pattern Ever Produced

In 1952, Butterick Pattern Co experienced a phenomenon it had not known since the 'Garibaldi Suit' of the late 1860's. They released pattern #6015, and dubbed it the 'walk-away' dress, because it was so easy you could "Start it after breakfast... walk-away in it for luncheon!". It's simple yet flattering wrap design and easy construction were what made it so popular.

The envelope back states:
Here’s the smartest idea of the season….a dress that has only back, waist and shoulder seams, that has its back wrapped around to the front for a sheath-and-overskirt look. Binding finishes the edges. Wear it for any occasion.

Sales of the pattern were so great, that at one point manufacturing of all other patterns ceased, and only the 'walk-away' dress was produced until all back-orders for this dress could be filled.

The pattern was reproduced and released in the 90's under Buttericks "Retro" line, but the originals remain elusive to most collectors. Of the thousands of patterns I have collected and sold I have only had one.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Night Sweats & Night Gowns

For those of us of a certain age, we know how night sweats can disrupt not only our sleep but that of our bed partners. That constant throwing off the covers and pulling them back up can get annoying to everything in the room.....including the cat and dog. I can't help you make them go away. Only Time, HRT, or herbal remedies can help with that. But I can give you some advice for making those pesky hot flashes a little more comfortable.


From Damn Good Vintage

Cotton, Silk and Linen BREATHE. They allow your body to breathe. When the drizzle starts between your breast, cause the internal fire has been stoked (I prefer to call them Energy Surges), you can at least swipe the moisture off with a natural fiber. The fiber absorbs and cools as it drys. I know that sounds gross but it's a fact.

You can go casual and comfy or you can go sexy and slinky. Of course cotton is comfy and silk is slinky. Which ever you prefer. or whichever your partner prefers. Or maybe it's just the dog. He doesn't care.....but then he's wearing a natural fiber.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hippie's and Love Children!!!

The 60's and 70's were such a freeing wheeling time. The availability of Birth Control, the control of known Venereal Diseases, and a prominent drug culture loosened the strict moral codes of previous generations. Even young people who did not break away from the teachings of their parents and did not indulge in the Timothy Leary "Tune in, Turn on, Drop out" psychedelic philosophy bought into the fashions of the time.

One of the main standards of any self respecting Hippie was something leather and fringed.........leather headbands, fringed jeans, fringed jackets and jeans and vest with fringe.

Vtg 60s HELL BENT for LEATHER Fringed Hippie Jacket Sm

One of the other main stays was a bare tummy, low waistlines, wide wide leg pants and lots of cleavage.

Vtg 70's Palazzo Pants Nylon Hippie Poolside Lounge Set with Fans


I'll leave you with the philosophy of one of my favorite posters from the era. These words helped me through a painful divorce and gave me hope and inspiration for the future. They are still words I try to live by:

"I do my thing, and you do your thing,

I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,

and you are not in this world to live up to mine.

You are you and I am I,

and if by chance we find each other,

it's beautiful."

Frederick Perle

I've added a couple of fun sites to the side so be sure to check 'em out!

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Living Vintage, not just enjoying vintage clothing but actually BEING vintage is not all it's cracked up to be.

It's nice to look at something old and "remember when", but then you remember, you are as old (or older) than the item and that is not quite so lovely.

We "Women of a Certain Age" acquire the same patina as a well worn pair of shoes. Soft and comfortable but a little scuffed at the toes and wrinkly around the edges.

Vintage 1960s Red HOT 3.5 in Spike Heels

Or crisp and clunky and oh so comfortable! Like these

And what do you put on when you are with friends and family? Not that new tight fitting pair of jeans…………..nope you grab your comfy old caftan.


Let's all hope we can attain the same revered status as a Vintage Ceil Chapman Dress……….who cares if the zipper is a little worn or the hem has been repaired………(This one's Perfect)

It's still FINE!!!!!