A Vintage Tea Party

"Tea" Vogue, 1936When I was about five or six, I received a miniature blue and white china tea set for Christmas. It came in a large cardboard box with a windowpane lid and each precious piece cradled in a flocked plastic tray.

As I opened the box that day, I felt like such a grown-up. I carefully took out each cup and saucer, and gingerly placed a tiny silver (plastic) spoon on the edge of each set. I poured tea (imaginary, of course) for the invited company – my older cousins, whom I adored – and made small talk while passing around miniature platters of arrowroot cookies.

Tea Table Chat

I was a lady, pouring that imaginary tea. I felt interesting, witty, sophisticated – at least six-teen years old. I was the owner of fine china. I was a grown-up.

After the tea party, I carefully packed each piece back in the plastic tray and closed the windowpane lid. Each time I played with the dishes, I would always place them back ever-so-gently in that box, like a treasure chest. Over the years, it became so worn that I should have just thrown it away, but to me, it was as much a part of the set as the dishes themselves. The ritual of placing each precious piece back in the box completed the entire experience of mature responsibility.

I’m not sure what ever happened to that tea set. It makes me a little sad to think I’ll probably never see it again. But I’ll always have the memories.

Why not get in touch with your inner child by hosting your own tea party?

How to host the perfect vintage tea party:

  1. Send the invitations
  2. Make refreshments
  3. Set the table
  4. Brew the tea

 A “tea,” even though it be formal, is nevertheless friendly and inviting. One does not go in “church” clothes nor with ceremonious manner; but in an informal and every-day spirit, to see one’s friends and be seen by them.”

-Emily Post, “Etiquette”, 1922

1. Send the invitations:

Start your party off on an elegant note. Something simple is best, like correspondence cards with embossed designs or dainty floral graphics.

William Morris Notecard Box - The MetJapanese Chrysanthemum Correspondence Cards

Swirl Border Correspondence Cardscavallini-petite-notes-sweet-treats

Laser-cut Tri-fold Notecards by Vera WangLaser-cut Navy Blue Notecards by Vera Wang

2. Make refreshments:

Tea sandwiches, bite-sized pastries, and small cakes are traditional tea party fare. Choose lighter versions for an informal affair, or go with more decadent ingredients, with a larger selection of savory items, for an afternoon high tea.

Vintage Tea Party CupcakesTea Sandwiches

Sweet:

Savory:

3. Set the table:

It all starts with the china…

1950s Japanese Teacup Set1930s Aynsley Tea Set

Vintage Tin Tea CupsEnglish Bone China Blue and Gold

Add some silver…

1920s Silver and Porcelain Tea SetFinnish Vintage Teaspoon and Pastry Fork Set

And pretty table linens…

Vintage Cloth Napkin Set1950s Hand Embroidered Linens

4. Brew the tea:

Add the finishing touch to your vintage tea party with a silver tea ball…

Stieff Sterling Silver Tea BallGorham Sterling Silver Tea Ball

Here are some tips on brewing the perfect pot of tea from Twinings of London. I expect they’ve learned a thing or two in their 300 years of experience.

Do you also have fond childhood memories of tea parties, or other make believe games?

Color Me Rad | Shop Update

SO many beautiful, colorful new items in the shop this week. I’ll let them speak for themselves. ♥

1960s Red Velvet Evening Gown

1960s Red Velvet Evening Gown

1950s Yellow Skirt Maple Leaf Applique

1950s Yellow Skirt Maple Leaf Applique

1950s Style Sun Dress Large Floral Print

1950s Style Sun Dress Large Floral Print

1940s Dirndl Skirt Blue Cotton Chintz

1940s Dirndl Skirt Blue Cotton Chintz

1950s Girls' Pink Party Dress

1950s Girls’ Pink Party Dress

1960s Top Psychedelic Print Sleeveless Blouse

1960s Top Psychedelic Print Sleeveless Blouse

1960s Party Dress Purple and Green Silk

1960s Party Dress Purple and Green Silk

1960s Top Nylon Knit Nature Scene

1960s Top Nylon Knit Nature Scene

1940s Circle Skirt Black Rayon

1940s Circle Skirt Black Rayon

1930s Evening Cape Velvet & Rayon

1930s Evening Cape Velvet & Rayon

1950s Garter Belt Pink Salmon

1950s Garter Belt Pink Salmon

1950s Longline Bullet Bra

1950s Longline Bullet Bra

1950s Rhona Roy Day Dress

1950s Rhona Roy Day Dress

1980s Farouche Torquoise Belted Dress

1980s Farouche Torquoise Belted Dress

1970s Black Cotton Embroidered Blouse

1970s Black Cotton Embroidered Blouse

1950s Plaid Dress Sailor Collar Bow

1950s Plaid Dress Sailor Collar Bow

1950s Black Jersey Wiggle Dress

1950s Black Jersey Wiggle Dress

1960s Maxi Dress Daisy Applique

1960s Maxi Dress Daisy Applique

Free Vintage Sewing Patterns

Like to sew your own vintage-inspired clothing? Here you’ll find links to download completely free, completely adorable vintage sewing patterns. Updated regularly with new finds!

1950’s Petticoat – Burda Style

1950spetticoat

Couture Inspired 1950s Day Dress – Victoria & Albert Museum

1950s Day Dress

1950s Style Dress – Burda Style

Version_f_r_BurdaStyle_large

Madeline Mini-Bloomers – Colette Patterns

Madeline mini bloomer

1930’s Beach Playsuit – Vintage Chic

1930s Beach Playsuit

1930’s Beach Suit Romper – Vintage Chic

1930s Beach Playsuit Romper

1930’s ‘Trixie’ Romper – Burda Style

Trixie Romper

1930’s Tennis Dress – Sew Something Vintage 

Tennis Frock

Wide Collar 1950s Dress – Burda Style

Versuch_large

1930’s Bias Cut Dress, 1930’s Skirts, 1940’s French Knickers – Vera Venus

lbd33-skirtsvv-fknickers2

1950s Headband – Casey Brown Designs

1950s Headband

1920’s Beaded Bags – Antique Pattern Library

00A19 2618

The Priscilla Smocking Book – Antique Pattern Library

priscilla smocking bookSmocking

Toronto Vintage Clothing Show – September 28th

For all you vintage loving gals and guys in the Toronto area, don’t miss this amazing show, held twice yearly at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Dozens of independent vendors sell everything from costume jewelry to designer originals, including clothing from the Victorian era through the 1990’s. Coming up on Saturday, September 28th!

clothes_rack2_copy

Look at all those beautiful dresses!

480830_184568858366555_1069119458_nCheck out their website for all the details. And be sure to let me know what you find at the show!

Prints Charming | Shop Update

One of my favourite things about summer is the chance to wear bold, colorful prints after a long winter’s jean & sweater binge. I forget during the winter months that prints are such a pick-me-up. Like getting a dose of much-needed vitamin D, putting on a pretty print dress releases Serotonin. It’s a fact.

Here are a few pieces that I’m in love with right now from the shop, which could gracefully transition from summer to fall, and even into the bleak, colour-starved winter.

1960s Maxi Dress Psychedelic Flower Print

1960s Maxi Dress Psychedelic Flower Print

1950s Button Back Wiggle Dress Rust Paisley Print

1950s Button Back Wiggle Dress Rust Paisley Print

Vintage 1960s Dress Psychedelic Print Pink Brown

Vintage 1960s Dress Psychedelic Print Pink Brown

Vintage 60s Shift Dress Birds of Paradise

Vintage 60s Shift Dress Birds of Paradise

1960 Vintage Dress Butterfly Print Twofer Pleated Skirt

1960 Vintage Dress Butterfly Print Twofer Pleated Skirt

Tiki Print 1960s Vintage Maxi Dress

Tiki Print 1960s Vintage Maxi Dress

1960s Dress Trompe L'Oeil Psychedelic Print Purple Green

1960s Dress Trompe L’Oeil Psychedelic Print Purple Green

1960s Housecoat Psychedelic Paisley Multicolor

1960s Housecoat Psychedelic Paisley Multicolor

 

Gold Story | Shop Update

Metallics never go out of style. Gold – worn to accessorize an outfit, or as the main event itself – always resonates with style and distinction. The Egyptians knew it, the Greeks knew it, and we all know those 60s swingers knew it. Certainly gold is eye-catching, but something about its shimmering, light-diffusing nature adds an air of luxe subtlety to an outfit (if worn in the right proportions and styles, of course). Gold can be used to make a statement, or works equally well as a supporting player in an otherwise toned-down look. The possibilities are endless, so go for the gold! (Too much? I just like cheesy puns, OK?)

1960s Gold Lame Cocktail Dress with Gold Braid Trim

1960s Gold Lame Cocktail Dress with Gold Braid Trim

1960s Cocktail Dress Bow Collar Black Gold Net

1960s Cocktail Dress Bow Collar Black Satin Gold Net

Gold Silk 1960s Day Dress Button Detail Pleated Skirt

Gold Silk 1960s Day Dress Button Detail Pleated Skirt

1970s Sheer Chiffon Blouse Gold Collar Pockets Cuffs Buttons

1970s Sheer Chiffon Blouse Gold Collar Pockets Cuffs Buttons

See all these gold treasures now in the shop.

A Smile and a Ribbon

Ribbons and smocking and bows, oh my! Things are looking sweet for spring with these adorable new (old) baby dresses about to hit the shop.

Click Here to listen to the 1956 B-Side “A Smile and a Ribbon” by Patience & Prudence while you browse.

Pink and White Gingham Ruffle Pinafore Dress Baby Girl

1960s Pink and White Gingham Ruffle Pinafore Dress Baby Girl

Baby Blue and Pink Smocked Dress Unique Peter Pan Collar Puffed Sleeves

1950s Baby Blue and Pink Smocked Dress Unique Peter Pan Collar Puffed Sleeves

Two Piece Red Velvet Baby Dress White Lace Floral Embroidery

1960s Two Piece Red Velvet Baby Dress White Lace Floral Embroidery

Mint Green Girls Smocked Dress Long Sleeveless Ribbed Cotton

1980s Mint Green Girls Smocked Dress Long Sleeveless Ribbed Cotton

See all our children’s vintage in the shop.

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