pinup seamstress

Velvet 101 | Frequently Asked Questions About Pinup, Fashion and Shark Attacks

Velvet 101 | Frequently Asked Questions About Pinup, Fashion and Shark Attacks

I love it when people aren’t afraid to ask me questions in person or on social media, curiosity is how we learn! I also know some of you are shy so I thought I’d answer alllllll the questions I get asked in one post.
I’ll update this post when I get new questions so it’s your one stop shop for Velvet 101.

 

I also made this dorky video for ya’ll answering some of the questions.

How did you get into modelling and what was your journey like? – Miss Katie Darling

I got into modelling through burlesque, which I started doing to boost my confidence. I had some photos from shows, and was told I should get in front of the camera more. The idea of pinup modelling appealed to my love of vintage and creating characters and context through style, so I entered a contest to become the ‘face’ of a local pinup photographer. While that didn’t work out well, it did give me a few photos for my portfolio. After a while my now regular photographer Froger asked if I’d like to work together. His alternative take on pinup appealed to me, plus women he’d photographed said he wasn’t a creep, so we organised a shoot and the rest is history!

My modelling journey has been positive. I attribute that largely to being VERY picky about who I work with. If a photographer contacts me and their photographic style doesn’t suit my personal brand, or I get a weird vibe from them, I say no. This means I’ve said no to quite a few people, some take it well and some don’t, but as a result I’ve never felt in danger or taken advantage of at a shoot.
My journey has also been slow. At 5.3″ tall I’m too short for commercial work so carving out my own niche in the small world of alternative and vintage pinup modelling is taking A LOT of work!

How long does it take to do your makeup?

About an hour for makeup and an hour for hair. I’m by no means a professional at either so I’m probably pretty slow. I have super fine, thin curly hair so taming it is always a struggle for me!

If you were a cake, what would you be and why? – Fanciforia Foxglove

I put a lot of thought into this because cake is important to me.
I’d be a carrot cake. Not because I like carrot cake ( I don’t ), but because it has all these weird ingredients that I don’t think should be in cake, but people like it anyway. That’s kinda how I feel about myself, I have lots of weird ingredients but people seem to like me anyway!
PS: eating carrot cake is essentially eating a waldorf salad and a bread roll. bleurgh.

Are your glasses for seeing or for fashion?

For seeing! I have degenerative myopia and astigmatism in both eyes, and can only see clearly for about a 30cm distance. My contact lenses irritate my eyes and can’t completely correct my sight so I only wear them for photoshoots, events and swimming.

modern pinup girl and Miss Pinup New Zealand wearing her large tortoiseshell glasses

 

What’s your favourite red lipstick?

Both my favorite red lipsticks are from New Zealand companies
Bright red – True Love from Karen Murrell
Deep red – Casablanca Luxury Matte from Face Me Makeup

Where and how did you learn to sew? How long have you been sewing?

I’ve been sewing for roughly thirteen years. My mother is a very talented dressmaker so I picked up the basics watching her. I then did one term of fashion technology in high school which was a COMPLETE DISASTER and almost put me off sewing forever! The majority of my learning happened during my fashion design degree which was largely practical work, and from vintage sewing and millinery books which I teach myself from.

What draws you to the silhouettes you tend to use in your outfits? – Mrs Greatnews

I’m drawn to exaggerated or dramatic shapes that hyper feminise or accentuate my curves. So If I’m going for a sleek hourglass shape I’ll choose streamlined, form fitting clothes that nip in at the waist and enhance my shoulders and hips. Or If I’m going for a full skirt, I want the BIGGEST skirt I can get, paired with a fitted top to make it look even bigger.

What’s your Hogwarts House? – Miss Scarlett May

According to the Pottermore quiz I’m a Ravenclaw. I haven’t actually read many of the Harry Potter books, but I do like the movies!

What’s that big scar on your arm from?

Contrary to popular belief it’s not from a bar fight or a shark attack.
I was standing on a wobbly chair to reach something , fell and snapped my elbow joint. The ligaments tore off the bone (taking part of the bone with them) and I needed major reconstructive surgery. Followed by a small surgery to remove some metal parts that were threatening to pierce my skin. I now have metal buttons and wires holding my joint together and a scar half the length of my arm. The photo below is what it looked like when it was stapled up and healing.

How do you deal with your body issues?

Like most women, there are things about my body that I don’t like. Don’t get me wrong, I love a lot of things about my body and I feel very comfortable naked ( you can read about my nude modelling experience here) , but being a model opens you up to people critiquing your physical appearance. Mean people choose to do this in an unkind way, which can make any insecurities a hundred times worse.

Here’s how I combat those insecurities and negative inner voices. Notice that I say ‘I try’ because there are days when none of this works. Usually when I don’t look after myself or when I’m in a bad mental health space.

1. I try to be realistic about my body and my expectations of it. I can’t make myself taller, fix my sensitive skin or change my features, so I try not to compare myself directly to other people.
2. I try look after myself with exercise, reasonably healthy eating and not too much alcohol. I feel better about my appearance when I’m mentally and physically healthy.
3. I try to surround myself with body positive people. Hanging out with people who constantly put their own bodies down will only make you question your own.
4. I try to be aware of photoshopping in images I see online, in social media and print media. DO NOT think that everyone looks perfect in real life.
5. I try to remember that I am more than my body. Emotion, poise and style play a huge part in successful modelling.

Would you rather be attacked by a shark or mauled by a bear? – Miss Monique Sweet

Bear. Once you bleed in the water there’s going to be more than one shark, and I’m not a great swimmer. At least with a bear I might be able to play dead until it gets bored?

If you didn’t dress pinup how would you dress? – Xamia Arc

Probably still in the goth / metal / alternative style I wore until I found pinup. ( I used to wear fourteen eye Doc Martins everyday and a lot of fishnet, black bootie shorts and camo pants ).

When did you discover pinup?

Around 2014. I went to my first Very Vintage Day Out in 2015, but didn’t start moving my daily wardrobe into pinup style until mid 2016.

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What inspires you to make new creations? – Miss Honey Bee

I mostly make custom clothing so my creations are inspired by the personalities, figures and lifestyles of my clients.
If I’m making ready to wear or for myself I draw inspiration from vintage fashion, films, books, music and locations. I try to imagine a character and what they would be wearing and doing in a specific setting.

What are the top five tracks on your go to playlist? – Ginger

I have extremely varied and often dubious taste in music so my top 5 changes on the regular.
Right now it’s…
Safari – J Balvin ft Pharrell
Despacito – Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee ( NOT the Justin Beiber version )
Hollywood Nights – Bob Seger
Love on the Brain – Rihanna
American Woman – Lenny Kravitz

Do you wear makeup everyday? 

Hell no! My skin is super sensitive, it goes red and peels off if I wear makeup for more than a day at a time. I constantly have dermatitis and allergies so I only wear makeup for special occasions, events and photoshoots.

What do you love most about vintage fashion? Do you have a most treasured item? – Miss Foxylocks

The quality, attention to detail and inventiveness of vintage fashion appeal to me. Fashion in the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s was far more adventurous than fashion today, with more thought put into accessories and fabric use.
I don’t think I could pick a favorite piece of vintage! I have some special pieces of jewellery and accessories given to my by family members so probably those.

What is your favourite type of accessory?

Gloves! I have tiny hands so vintage gloves fit me beautifully. they also hide the fact that sewing and working in hospitality can leave my nails and skin looking awful! I even wrote a blog post about vintage glove etiquette.

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What made you move away from the steampunk style you used to design? – Fran Henricksen, decorator of people and things

While I still love steampunk style I made a conscious decision not to create steampunk stock anymore for the following reasons:

1. Plagiarism of my designs. People (and a film crew) openly taking photos of my garments at steampunk events and markets while unashamedly telling me they were going to copy them.
2. A decrease in the appreciation and support of quality construction from the steampunk community. There are people in every style circle who would rather buy something cheap than invest in a quality item, but it seemed  to be especially bad in the NZ steampunk community where a “just glue some cogs on it” attitude was becoming prevalent.
3. The ‘anything can be steampunk’ idea. While I encourage creative expression, steampunk style was originally based around an fairly specific imagined literary past, future and set of technological ideas, and as someone who does their research I found the lack of knowledge in members of the community about what steampunk actually is very frustrating.

I still make steampunk designs and automated, realistic props to order, but choose not to create off the rack items anymore.

What is your favorite style of clothing to design?

Evening wear and bridal! I adore the drama and elegance of special event clothing and the sentimental value that becomes attached to it. Helping someone feel incredible for an important occasion gives me a real sense of purpose and happiness.
* I like big dresses and I can not lie* My favourite creation is this black modernised rococo gown for artist Vivien Masters.

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If you read this far, well done, this post was longer than I expected!
If you have any questions about pinup life, vintage fashion, modelling or just about me, feel free to ask me by leaving a comment on Facebook or Instagram x

With Style and Sass,

Velvet DeCollete

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in LIFESTYLE, PINUP, 0 comments
Make Do & Mend | Pinup Style with Vintage Fabric

Make Do & Mend | Pinup Style with Vintage Fabric

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Make Do and Mend.

That’s what my Nana always tells me, usually as she’s unpicking old curtains, making overalls for the grandkids tearing around her garden. Vintage philosophies can be the best inspiration for vintage style, especially as a pinup on a budget!

I’m incredibly lucky to have a network of old ladies – friends of my Nana – who hand me down vintage fabric they no longer use. I design my clothes to make the most of the gifted yardage. This fifties floral two piece was cut around age stains on a length of 1950’s printed fabric.

Photographed on two different days at two locations, this post shows how lighting can change a photo from bright and crisp to soft and dreamy!

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The Outfit

Printed with rustic baskets overflowing with fruit and flowers, this fabric was made for sweet summer style. I chose a wide necked, fitted top ( which I personally find very flattering ) because there wasn’t enough fabric for sleeves! The simple silhouette displays the print nicely, so I made sure the basket motif would match up when the blouse was closed. Press studs and a tie front finish the blouse.

The circle skirt is cut in two panels and hemmed with synthetic horsehair braid for extra volume. A side zip and tap with novelty pink flower button allow for a tidy nipped in waist – my preferred silhouette for almost any occasion!

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The Styling

Matching accessories to a colour in the fabric makes choosing an outfit easy . I love the pink roses in this print, so that means all pink everything!

The sugar pink gloves have the cutest pleated trim, I think they’re from the 1950’s or 1960’s. The pink petticoat, cat eye sunglasses, hair flower and shoes are all modern made but worked so well with the colours and style of the outfit nonetheless!

Due to shooting forties style outfits on the same days, hair and makeup on both days were a mix of 1940’s and 1950’s. The half up – half down hairstyle was more successful, with fuller and better shaped rolls. No matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t recreate them for the updo when we re-shot! I find victory rolls in any style tricky due to my baby-fine, thin hair. There never seems to be enough of it.  ( I’m envious of all you thick haired ladies who can do multiple rolls and poodle ‘dos! )

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Top & Skirt | Velvet DeCollete
Gloves | Tock Tick Vintage
Flower | Coin Save
Shoes | Number One Shoe Warehouse
Petticoat | Online through a Facebook sale page

With Style & Sass,

            Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, PINUP, 0 comments
Secret Garden | A 1950’s Inspired Cocktail Suit

Secret Garden | A 1950’s Inspired Cocktail Suit

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Power dressing is nothing new. From the Phoenician purple robes of the Romans to 80’s power suits, we’ve been using clothes to boost our confidence and social standing for thousands of years. Which got me thinking; what does power dressing look like to a vintage loving gal?

For me the answer was a well cut suit. The suit worn by a film noir vixen perched on a detective’s desk, knowing he’ll do whatever she asks. A suit that says you’re 100% business, and 100% woman. A suit you’d wear to the funeral of your fifth wealthy husband mysteriously dies.

Obviously I needed to make this suit.

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The Suit

Drawing inspiration from 1950’s clothing company Lilli Ann, I sketched a figure enhancing peplum silhouette. The wide neckline, fitted waist and flared hip accentuate my hourglass figure, while the slimline pencil skirt puts a wiggle in my walk – I’m known for walking quite fast and this skirt definitely hobbles my stride a bit!  A textured black fabric with a woven pattern of golden roses balances the hyper feminine cut with dark glamour.

This is my first ladies suit ( I’ve made one trouser suit before ). Delayed for months due to costume commissions I finally finished it in time for the Duke and I’s seven year wedding anniversary. ( We stayed at Hotel Debrett and watched Horror at the Civic Theatre. ) There’s a tiny area of fit I’m not quite happy with in the jacket, but considering I had to fit it on myself I’m very happy with the result!

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The Outfit

Two statement collars are better than one and the PUG Lauren top creates a striking inky black layered neckline.

No well dressed dame would be caught without gloves and hat.  The beaded gloves were a serendipitous find at Tock Tick Vintage long before I started the suit. Their glossy floral beading was too pretty to pass up!  The velvet tilt hat is from the Auckland Textile Fair. A band and bow of woven black straw circle the hat, and I added the veiling for extra sass.

My earrings are green and gold vintage clip ons . The frosted glass matches my eyes (a rarity) , and seems to glow from within . Classic back seam stockings, black leather Alonso Andretti shoes and a gold beaded clutch finished my 50’s power dressing dream.

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We shot these photos in the picturesque Hamilton Gardens while filming my entry video for Miss Pin Up New Zealand 2017. Subscribe to my blog to follow my progress in the competition!

See more outfits from my entry video below!
1940’s summer style

With style & sass

         Velvet x

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, PINUP, 1 comment