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Preview: The Call of the Jitterbug Doll

The Call of the Jitterbug Doll

Updated: 2017-09-05T06:50:16.597-07:00


Senorita Sundress


Sometime last year I stumbled upon a set of fantastic red wooden sombrero buttons on their original 1940s cards. I snapped them up and immediately began envisioning the perfect dress to show them off in all their novelty glory. I snagged a copy of Hollywood Pattern 1371, a delightful sundress featuring a sweetheart neckline, tie belt, and a bolero jacket, and knew it was just the ticket for the dress I was imagining. As the buttons were trimmed with lemon yellow and lime green yarn hat bands, I settled upon a bright lime linen look fabric. Wanting to add an additional pop of color to the ensemble, I chose a bright tomato red and white polka dot fabric for the jacket. The overall style and color scheme conjured up an image of a costume a Hollywood starlet might have worn when she traveled to South America in her latest film (I could totally see Paulette Goddard in this outfit, for sure.)I asked Debora from The Black Pinafore if she would be willing to sew up this set for me, and she happily obliged. The finished outfit was even more amazing than I pictured it to be; as always, Debora has an impeccable eye for details and fit. I'm very impressed with her tailoring skills; the garments she has sewn for me have all fit so well, right off the hanger! The set been a dream to wear and I'm delighted to finally reveal it to my readers!These photos were taken by the talented Matt Carson; he and I took a trip to the old mining towns of Miami and Globe, where we found two doorways that begged to become picture backdrops. I accessorized with a 1940s painted wooden sombrero necklace and earring set, a Mexican-style carved 'fab-a-lite' bangle by ThePinkBungaloo, and Miss L Fire's Sonny spectator heels.  xoxo,Amanda Lee [...]

A Night in the 40s with The Black Pinafore


 This past Saturday was the annual "A Night in the 40s" dance held at the CAF Museum out at Falcon Field. This USO-styled event is always a grand time, and this year I asked Debora of The Black Pinafore to make my frock for the dance. I always make an appearance as Betty Grable during this event, but like to wear something eye-catching for the rest of the evening. I came across a 1940s French fashion illustration of two stunning dresses, one with a red, white, and blue striped front, and the other with a dramatically low back, and immediately knew that a dress that combined the two designs would be the perfect look. Debora was happy to turn my design dream into reality, and the finished frock certainly did not disappoint! The dress is made primarily from a vibrant royal blue fabric with the feel of a vintage rayon, and accented with red and white stripes. Each stripe ties and forms a peekaboo cutout; these peekaboo cutouts, along with the delightfully bare back, combine to make a dress perfect for a 1940s starlet! As usual, Debora's work is simply amazing. I cannot tell you how impressed I am with the quality of her work; she finishes everything beautifully and does an impressive job of fitting the dress to the wearer's measurements from across the world. The dress needed only a few minor tweaks because of the open back; Chris of Vee Vin Tage took care of these finishing touches. I paired the dress with my beloved white platforms by Johnson's Shoes, a WWII red Lucite heart necklace and matching earrings (the necklace is adorned with a naval insignia), and a carved Lucite bracelet. Doug Monce of Atomic Age Pictures captured these images; as we were walking around, one of the museum staff members asked if we like to take some photos of me standing on the wing of a P-51 Mustang. Would I?  Of course! I will say that standing on the wing in tall platform shoes is a bit challenging, though not nearly as challenging as figuring out how to get down in the same heels! xoxo,Amanda Lee[...]

Conversation Sweetheart


Well, I certainly took a long vacation from my blog!  I am back now though, with an exciting new ensemble to share with you!

Some time ago I talked with Vee Vin Tage about creating a custom 1940s bra and tap pants set, something that has been on my wish list for ages. They had a lovely pattern in their stash that spoke quite loudly to me, and upon seeing it I immediately went out in search of the perfect fabric. The project got placed on the back burner for a time though, as they worked on a few other projects for me. However, I knew I wanted something special for this year's Valentine's Day shoot with Atomic Age Pictures, and was thrilled when Vee Vin Tage was able to whip up this confectionery creation.

Here is the finished result--the fabric is a lovely aqua stretch satin, paired with an exquisite black lace (both found at Joann's.) If you are interested in having your own custom set made, don't hesitate to contact the sweet mother and daughter team at Vee Vin Tage!

Amanda Lee

Tempting Topper


I recently collaborated with Naomi of Arthelia's Attic on a sweet crocheted purse and turban set that will be listed shortly in her Etsy shop. Naomi makes top-notch snoods (the very best, in my opinion), but she also does an amazing job with her other creations too!  I had been wanting a red, white, and blue purse for awhile, and when I came across this 1940s pattern, I knew it would be perfect. And although I don't wear hats often, I couldn't resist having the matching turban made!Naomi did a wonderful job, choosing just the right shades of yarn and adding a fun coordinating lining (a splashy patriotic star print.) I found a lot of carved Lucite zipper pulls on eBay, and had her add one to this purse.This shoot was inspired by Hedy Lamarr--the photos were taken by the amazing Doug Monce, who always does an incredible job of capturing that old Hollywood look.xoxo,Amanda Lee  [...]

Pinks and Greens


I have been slowly building a collection of cheesecake military uniforms, and for this year's Rockabilly Rules event, I decided it was high time I joined the Army Air Corps. Vee Vin Tage made my 'pinks and greens' uniform, using chocolate and tan gabardine along with buttons from a WWII uniform and an 8th Air Force patch. After pairing my uniform with a vintage garrison cap and a pair of brown heels, I was ready for duty!These photos were taken by Matt Carson at his studio--I hope you like them!xoxo,Amanda Lee [...]

The Diner Girl


I am very excited to announce that my image is now gracing the side of the 5 & Diner food truck!  The photo was taken by Doug Monce of Atomic Age pictures and the pose/design was inspired by WWII nose art; Vee Vin Tage created the fabulous Diner Girl 'uniform.' Marketing just revealed a sneak preview of the finished artwork, and I couldn't wait to share it here!

Amanda Lee

One Mint Julep


 Given the sweltering heat and humidity that Doug Monce and I endured at our shoot yesterday, I think a mint julep might have been wonderfully refreshing! Luckily, the sweet n' minty 1940s frock that Carla of Jitterbug Dress made for me is a refreshing delight all on its own!I choose an early 40s Hollywood Pattern with a gathered skirt and puffed sleeves (I am always a sucker for those early 40s looks, and just can't get enough), and I think it turned out just swell made up in mint green cotton adorned with a fantastic novelty print of "threaded" ribbons and bows (from Gertie's Fine Fabrics.)Carla is a skilled seamstress with a great eye for details—she made covered buttons for this style, overlocked the seams, and made coordinating shoulder pads, all details that I really love to see in reproduction clothing. The fit was spot on too! As I mentioned in my previous post, Carla recently opened up her online shop, Jitterbug Dress, and she is offering custom recreations from a wide variety of vintage patterns. She has an extensive collection of 1940s-60s styles—everything from dresses to pajamas and even maternity wear—or you can send her a special pattern of your own. Although she is based in Arizona, she is able to sew for customers worldwide—just send her your measurements and the fabric of your choosing. I highly recommend her work (and if you are local, she has top-notch alterations skills too), so if you see something you like on her site or have a certain outfit in mind, please drop her a line and tell her I sent you!xoxo,Amanda Lee   [...]

Sneak Peek of The After Dinner Mint Dress


When Gertie listed this mint green bow print fabric in her shop, I wasted no time snapping a few yards up! I immediately started picturing what project would be best suited for it—perhaps a forties blouse and skirt combo or a shirtwaist dress? I eventually settled on a sweet early 1940s Hollywood Pattern design, and Carla of Jitterbug Dress is whipping up this little number for me. I can't wait to see the finished frock!

Carla is a stellar seamstress who has altered and repaired quite a bit of my vintage wardrobe over the years, and sewn some lovely reproduction outfits for me as well. Here is one of the custom creations she made for me, from a late 1930s pattern:

She is about to open up her new online shop, and I wanted to give her a plug. She's specializing in the styles of the 1940s-70s, and has a selection of patterns from each era listed on her site. To order, you select a pattern (or send her your own pattern) and send her the fabric of your choosing, along with your measurements. I think this is a nifty concept, and Carla will be adding many more patterns to her shop as time goes on.

I'll be posting photos of my new dress just as soon as it's ready. Did I mention that I can't wait to wear it?

Amanda Lee

The Primrose Peasant Dress and Purse


Finally, I have full-length photos of my latest collaboration with the amazing Debora of TheBlackPinafore!This creation is a classic peasant dress, made from a delightful rayon with the most luxurious drape. The cheerful print consists of large white dots accented with sprays of pink and green flowers on a brilliant royal blue background--it's such a happy print!As always, Debora's workmanship is impeccable, and the dress is finished with great care. Made from a 1940s Advance pattern, the style is a simple one that features flutter sleeves and a drawstring neckline and waist. Debora selected a deep wine-red ribbon to complement the colors of the print, and surprised me by having a coordinating purse made by MyRetroCrochet! The cream crocheted bag is lined with leftover fabric and trimmed with blue raffia. It is a beautifully made purse, and although it was designed to match this dress, the neutral outer color means it coordinates with other outfits in my closet. I've gotten quite a bit of use out of it already, and have to say that I really love the idea of having a matching purse. So be sure to ask Debora about having a purse made to match your own custom frocks! These photos were taken by Doug Monce of Atomic Age Pictures at the CAF museum in Mesa.xoxo,Amanda Lee       [...]

Get Noticed in a Novelty Print--Jitterbuggin's Rockaway


When I first saw the Rockaway bathing suit, I was positively delighted with the whimsical lobster print. In fact, I am hard-pressed to think of a more fun novelty print for a swimsuit. So of course, I was beyond thrilled when Kim asked me to model this outfit!As always, Kim's vintage styling is spot on. The Rockaway is a 1940s-style, two-piece bathing suit, with a gathered top that features straps that criss cross and button (with two buttonhole options, so you can adjust the fit). The bottoms are sailor-style, and Kim selected the perfect red buttons for accent. You can mix and match the sizes for the top and bottoms as well, a very smart feature and a definite sign of quality!In regards to sizing, I would recommend going up a size if you have fuller hips and a smaller waist. The cotton fabric doesn't have much give, so you will want to select the size that corresponds to your hip measurement (and possibly take in the waist or move the buttons slightly, as needed.) I modeled the size 30 bottoms, which fit my hips/rear well but were loose in the waist. A size smaller fit my waist perfectly, but were a bit too snug through the hips and rear.As you can see from the "In Style" video, I found Jitterbuggin's Rockaway bathing suit to be a very versatile number! The setting for these photos, taken by Atomic Age Pictures, is Saguaro Lake—its sandy shores being a more "natural" habitat for a bathing suit.I suspect this little number will be flying of the racks, so I'd snap (lobster pun unintended) one up straight away!xoxo,Amanda Lee [...]

Just Right for Every Occasion--The Rockaway Bathing Suit by Jitterbuggin


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Jitterbuggin's Rockaway bathing suit is definitely a must-have for summer--the wonderfully kitschy lobster print, so reminiscent of a 1940s Catalina bathing suit, is a design that can go anywhere!  Here Doug Monce of Atomic Age Pictures and I show you just how perfect for any occasion this bathing suit is!

Amanda Lee

Polka Dots and Sunbeams


When I saw how much time had passed since my last entry, I was quite surprised! Where does the time go, and how does it fly so fast?

Today I have a bit of a sneak preview of my latest collaboration with The Black Pinafore. I thought you might like a glimpse of the fabulous polka dot and floral fabric that is so perfect for cheerful and sun-drenched weather! These photos were taken by Matt Carson; I'll be posting additional photos from Atomic Age Pictures, along with a full description and review, very soon!

Till then!

Amanda Lee


How to Exercise the Motion Pinup Way


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After far too long a delay, Doug Monce of Atomic Age Pictures and I teamed up for another "Motion Pinup!"

Today's video covers the topic of exercise with a how-to guide about the latest fitness trend.  I hope you enjoy it!

Amanda Lee

Goldenrod Summer Style


The second dress from The Black Pinafore is made out of a lovely goldenrod yellow cotton decorated with soft white and brown blooms. Debora used the same Du Barry pattern as the "Victory" dress, and paired this print with a brown button and matching carved belt buckle. I accessorized with 1940s butterscotch bakelite hoop earrings, a 1940s mah jong bracelet, 1940s brown leather and cream mesh shoes, and the white wrap from Arthelia's Attic.The photos were taken by Doug Monce of Atomic Age Pictures at McCormick-Stillman Park.xoxo,Amanda[...]

Victory Vogue with The Black Pinafore


I recently had the opportunity to work with a new designer whose creations I have admired for ages. The Black Pinafore is an Italian seamstress who makes wonderful custom outfits, and she has a fantastic eye for detail and quality.I chose a 1940s DuBarry pattern for a streamlined dress; the style features a bloused top that closes with a single button, cap sleeves, and a slim-fitting A-line skirt. Debora made up the dress in two different fabrics; the first is a crisp red chambray, and the second, which I'll be featuring next, is made up in lovely gold and white floral print. I was very impressed with her attention to detail--each dress featured shoulder pads covered in matching fabric and a beautifully turned out belt (featuring a vintage belt buckle that coordinated perfectly with the button); she also overlocked the seams, which makes for a very sturdy garment.I went with a victory look for this dress—crocheted hair wrap from Arthelia's Attic, white platform heels by Johnson's Originals, a 'V for Victory' brooch, and red earrings and bracelet. The photos, by Atomic Age Pictures, were taken in a 1928 Pullman car that is famous for its use in presidential travel—every president from Hoover to Eisenhower rode in this car. It's now an exhibit at the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park.xoxo,Amanda Lee[...]

Looking Shipshape with NudeeDudee and Arthelia's Attic


Kim of NudeeDudee sent me another of her charming 1940s sundresses to model, and this one is a summery dream! Crisp seersucker printed with kelly green and white stripes and blue, pink, and white anchors and sailboats--it doesn't get any better than that!As usual, the quality and Kim's attention to detail is impeccable; NudeeDudee creations are simply a delight to wear! This particular print is going fast, but there is a blue and white colorway available, as well as several other prints in her shop.I also had the chance to model the latest design from Arthelia's Attic, a 1940s crocheted hair wrap. This is a must-have item, ladies--just like her snoods, it is the perfect forties accessory!  Just the thing for days when your hair or the weather won't cooperate--or when you simply want to look WWII fabulous! The design is incredibly smart too; rather than tying the ends into a bow, you feed one end through a loop on the side. This makes for a perfect bow every time--just like a snood, wearing this scarf is a snap. It's such an effortlessly glamourous look--check out the photo of Carole Landis, Martha Tilton, and June Bruner looking stylish in wraps on a USO tour in the sweltering Pacific. Photo from The Carole Landis ProjectThese photos are by the amazingly-talented Doug Monce of Atomic Age Pictures--stay tuned for another post featuring another talented designer!xoxo,Amanda Lee[...]

The Ticket to Fashion Paradise


I recently had the opportunity to wear another of NudeeDudee's divine ready-to-wear creations, a 1940s-style sundress, for a photo shoot.Perfect for warm weather, this dress incorporates some very flattering design elements--a bust-enhancing, ruffle-trimmed shirred bust featuring a center halter strap; a fitted waist; and a softly gathered knee-length skirt. It's available in several cotton prints too, from tropical Shaheen, to 40s feedsack florals and stripes--something to suit every fancy. I chose one of the Hawaiian designs, with leafy green and brown flowers winding their way across a buttermilk yellow background. It's the perfect choice for blondes and redheads, I have to say! I paired it with bamboo earrings and bracelets, and a pair of 1940s two-toned shoes in rust leather and cream mesh, to complete the tropical look.Matt Carson took the photos in a very suitable setting, he always does a wonderful job of picking the perfect location and capturing just the right feel!xoxo,Amanda Lee  [...]

Space Age Style


Has it really been almost a month since I last posted? I promise you, dear readers, that I have not abandoned this blog intentionally!  It seems that lately my schedule is jam-packed with things to do, and as I am now the official bass player for the Heymakers, I suspect that I will be staying quite busy.

But anyway, enough of my rambling excuses ;-)

I thought perhaps you might enjoy a few still photos from the Space Rangers scene we shot this past weekend. This time I wore another costume consisting of a fabulously shiny silver catsuit and lipstick red armor. The armor is an original design made by the amazingly talented Roxy Almblade--didn't she do a fantastic job?

Amanda Lee

Wild Blue Yonder


The fabulous Naomi of Arthelia's Attic sent me one of her classic snoods in the newest color available--bright royal blue. As always, her snoods are well made and the perfect finishing touch to a vintage outfit!The first series of photos is by Atomic Age Pictures in classic pinup style. The second set is by Bobbysoxer Photography, and shows how snoods are a must for both glamour and noir ;-)xoxo,Amanda Lee[...]

Hello Valentine!


 Wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day! This year, Doug Monce and I put together an aeronautical-themed shoot, inspired by a WWII pinup I came across some time ago. I'm wearing a pair of 1940s cream rayon shorts with striped insets, 1940s red leather heels, and a retro cropped sweater. I'll be posting the second series of photos from the shoot tomorrow, featuring the newest color snood available at Arthelia's Attic. Do stop by and check 'em out! xoxo,Amanda Lee[...]

Miss February


This month, I am the featured model at World Fashion Media News, an online magazine devoted to fashion and modeling. I was pleased as punch to receive the invitation to be Miss February! I'll be writing articles for upcoming issues of the magazine, so stay tuned!

Amanda Lee

The Hotel Congress Incident


Two weekends ago, I attended Tucson's Dillinger Days with my friends Veronica, Lana, and Doug. The event, known as the "Hotel Congress Incident," is one we like to go to—the Congress is always a treat to see, even if the event festivities drag on a bit. Mostly, we enjoy seeing the turnout of fabulous vintage cars, checking out the other attendees' ensembles, and sneaking in a bit of vintage shopping.This year, I outfitted my two best pals in retro clothing from my wardrobe. I'd just received a package from the fabulous NudeeDudee, and the two tops she sent were perfect for a 30s look! I wore her navy blue and white striped sailor top, paired with a retro red skirt borrowed from Veronica and blue 40s heels. Veronica wore the gingham wrap blouse with a blue skirt from her closet, and a vintage bluebird pin borrowed from me. Lana wore Jitterbuggin's delightful green and white floral feedsack blouse, with tan 50s wool pencil skirt that I thought had a bit of 30s flair to it and red accessories.After lunch at HUB Restaurant and Creamery, we headed over to Razzle Dazzle Vintage. I did my best to restrain myself (by visualizing the immense sale pile occupying my guest bedroom) and came home with lovely 1950s jacket accented with beaded "fireworks" designs, a yellow satin late 1930s blouse, and red 1940s-50s box purse trimmed with white saddle stitching. Not too shabby and still within the allowance I gave myself!After an hour or so at the store, we were all shopped out and headed home. Of course, as Lana and I are big coffee drinkers, we stopped at drive through coffee shop for a caffeinated treat. I went with the cherry cordial frappe, which turned out to be a sweet way to end the afternoon!xoxo, Amanda Lee[...]

Best Beauty Finds of 2012


I thought it would be fun to do a recap of my top five favorite beauty finds of 2012. We all know how much I enjoy trying new products (incidentally, this year I am going to be using up and/or swapping my stash of products in the name of frugality), and so here are the best of the bunch!Bare Escentuals Matte Foundation: I'll admit that mineral foundation has never really interested me—call me a makeup snob, but I never could bring myself to really buy into the mineral craze Well, after trying it out last year,I'm a convert now! I need to do a proper review, but I have found mineral foundation to be an excellent fit for my skin type and coverage needs—and, believe it or not, Bare Escentuals Matte foundation photographs really, really well! It's been my go-to foundation for the past several months, so much so that I've actually tossed a lot of my foundation stash. It may not work for everyone, but it's a definite 'win' for me!Bare Escentuals Ready Eyeshadow Duo in The Nick of Time: I tried out this pressed shadow duo at the same as the BE foundation, and found it to be a real winner too. Both shades have a fabulous buttery texture, last incredibly well, and are non-irritating. The shades really make my green eyes pop—Chance is a creamy pinkish white (similar to MAC Vapour), and Kismet is a rich, plummy brown (similar to MAC Haux.) As a side note, Kismet closely resembles the foundation shade Max Factor created for Lena Horne (named Light Eygptian), which supposedly was used as an eye shadow on Caucasian actresses in the 40s.Kiss Me Blinc Mascara: This is a tubing mascara, which means that it stays on until you are ready to remove it with warm water-no flaking or smearing ever. I have sensitive eyes prone to irritation (which means they water like crazy until the offending product is gone), and being pale, I like to wear brown mascara instead of black. Blinc mascara comes in a great medium brown shade perfect for blondes and redheads (it comes in black as well), and doesn't bother my eyes at all—it's a must-have for anyone with sensitive eyes.VanityMark Brow Pencil in Blondie: As someone with nearly colorless brows, a good brow product is a must-have for me. I prefer pencils to powders, but regardless of product type, I have always had a hard time finding the right shade. Most products marketed for blondes are too dark, too taupe/ash, or too orangey for my coloring, making for a frustrating search. VanityMark Blondie is the perfect neutral beige shade, easy to apply, and long lasting too. So, unless I happen to be lured by the siren call of another magical brow product, I'll be sticking with this! Natural Calm: Now, this isn't technically a beauty product—but it is health-related, and health plays a role in appearance. For years, I have suffered from migraines, and over time, the number of migraines I was getting each month, as well as the length and intensity of the headaches, increased. I've tried several prescription medications, but found the side effects were much worse than the cure, and so I was resigned to suffering through three to five migraines a month. That is, until I read that a magnesium supplement can help reduce or eliminate migraines. I ordered a bottle of Natural Calm, a flavored powder you mix with water, and started taking a dose every day. In the past four months, I've had a total of three migraines—a huge improvement! If any of my readers also suffer from migraines, you may want to check this one ou[...]

Happy New Year!


Wishing everyone a wonderful new year!

I have to say that 2012 was a good year for me, but I have a feeling 2013 will be an even better one. I'm not making any specific resolutions, but I am changing my way of thinking--replacing "I'll try to..." with "I'll do...". I've got a lot of plans in the works, and this year I'm going to stop trying, and do them!

Tomorrow I'll be posting my must-have beauty finds of 2012, so stay tuned!

Amanda Lee

Merry Christmas!


Wishing all my friends and family a very Merry Christmas!
Amanda Lee