Interview with Elide Endreson of Previously

June 22, 2011

Garters by Previously
I’m not sure how I first stumbled upon Previously, but one thing is for sure—it was love at first sight! Elide Endreson makes the loveliest vintage-inspired garters, using the same construction methods and materials designers did in the 1920s. The results are absolutely breath-taking. These handmade garters have captured my heart and filled my head with a sense of  wonderment. I just had to learn more about Elide and her handmade adventures, and luckily she agreed to answer a few of my questions.

Garters by PreviouslyAs someone who is obsessed with 1920s design and culture, I’m always delighted and excited to find others who feel the same way. What is it about this era that inspires you and speaks to your soul?

I think I’m intrigued by the decade’s examples of expression and experimentation in the arts and elsewhere. For example, you have Dadaism and Surrealism in this era. You also have the writers of the Lost Generation, the Harlem Renaissance, the Ballet Russe, Berlin Caberet and the Bauhaus during this time. This was also the era of the rise of urbanization and women’s suffrage in the United States. I think it’s the first decade that is relatable because it was when modernism really took hold. As fascinating as Victorian culture is, its sensibility and traditions can feel somewhat alien.

You mention on your website that your garters are inspired by George Barbier and Boue Soeurs. Who are some of your other favorite artists and designers from that era?

Right now I’m looking at a lot of designers that used meticulous embellishment in their work, which includes the House of Lanvin and Callot Souers. I’ve also been looking at illustrators that were the peers of George Barbier such as Georges Lepape and Pierre Brissaud. They all did fashion illustrations for the French magazine Gazette du Bon Ton in the 20s and it’s pure eye candy.

Vintage reproduction garters by Previously

I’ve read in other interviews that the research and development stage is always the best part of the process for you because it’s full of discoveries and possibilities. I can totally relate to this in my own work and process. For me, I think researching and finding the perfect materials for a project is tied into the primitive human urge to hunt and gather, and our natural instinct to be curious. What are your thoughts on this?

For me, the research stage is definitely hunting and gathering. I comb through books and articles on techniques and pictures of vintage lingerie, study examples of vintage ribbon work and what women wore in the 20s. This is the stage where I let my interests wander, and use curiosity like a compass. One one hand, you indulge your interests because you end up going down a path, and then there’s an interesting tangent and you end up somewhere you didn’t expect. On the other, it’s hard to be disciplined at this stage and I can end up spending too much time consuming information.  Development is where I try to reign myself in to build a solid foundation. This would include prototyping and figuring out the best and most efficient way to make something.

Garters by Previously

What do you do when you sit down to design something? What are your rituals in your process?

My design process is slightly different for each of the three categories of garters I’m working on, which are: a standard collection (designs that I plan to sell in my shop for some time), a custom garter set made to order, or a one-of-a-kind garter set.

For the current collection of garters, I spent a lot of time looking at and reading about 1920s ribbon work and millinery (hunting and gathering!).  Since I was going for a reproduction look, I wanted the forms and scale of the designs to be in keeping with actual vintage garters. I also wanted something that would still resonate on some level with contemporary sensibilities. I sketched out several ideas and experimented with ribbon to try and get the shapes I wanted. (I think this is usually how it goes for me: form comes first, then color.)

Garters by Previously, ChicagoFor color, I was really inspired by the illustrations of George Barbier as mentioned earlier. Looking at black and white photos, you don’t really get the big picture of how vibrant color was used then. I was really struck by Barbier’s color juxtapositions which I wouldn’t have thought would be popular in the 1920s. In the design process, I prefer to use natural fibers whenever possible and keep in mind the wearability of the item—for example, is the embellishment that I designed going to be secure enough?  Since the garters are worn on your legs, I assume they are going to get brushed by your skirt or dress, or when you cross your legs. It’s because of this that I’m a little afraid to use vintage materials on the garters; they always feel a bit too delicate to me, which is a shame since I have a number of vintage treasures I’d love to use.

For custom orders, the process is more like a collaboration between the customer and I. If it’s someone I know or have met, I try to think about where her aesthetic sense leans and what she wears on a regular basis. I use this as a guide for making design decisions. My goal is always to delight the customer, and I know I’ve done that when there’s a part of me that really wants that custom pair I just made for myself.

The limited edition/one-of-a-kind garters are something I’ve just started. It requires a larger investment in time and materials and is therefore something I wouldn’t allow myself to do until this year. I’m excited to be exploring different materials and more complicated designs.

At the end of each of these design processes, I do have a ritual. I close my eyes for a few seconds, then open them again and look at the garter I have just finished. If it looks like something I would buy—if I love it—then it’s done.

Vintage reproduction garters by Previously

Is there a creative medium or perhaps a vintage method or technique you want to try that you haven’t yet?

There are several, but the one that stands out the most is a Victorian recipe and instructions for making your own stamen for use in various projects (like hairwork or feather flowers). The instructions call for a mixture of rice flour, dye and gum arabic into which you dip the end of silk thread to make the stamen. It’s really not practical to make my own stamen but it’s definitely something I’d like to try.

What are some of your favorite things about living and working in Chicago?

Inspiration is just outside my door! My neighborhood experienced rapid growth in the 1920s and you can see it in the architectural details. The brickwork pattern on a building or the shape of a cut-out on a door will resonate art deco. I also love having access to museums and libraries for research.

What’s next for Previously?

On July 21st I will be joining a roster of awesome local vendors at Indie Wed in Chicago. I also have a collaborative project on deck for this holiday season, a lot of one of a kind pieces in the works and a small limited edition series of garters that will be released soon.

* * *

Find Previously Online: WebBlogEtsy

Vintage-Inspired Valentine’s Day Garlands

January 2, 2011

The holidays are over, we rang in a new year, and now Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. I’ve been a busy bee making Flapper Girl’s 2011 Valentine Collection, and I’m super excited to share it with you!

As always, months of planning, collecting, and designing went into each piece. This collection is a labor of love, which is appropriate since it’s all about celebrating the season of l’amour & romance.

Vintage-Inspired FATE Valentine’s Day Garland

Valentine's Day Banner

Fortune Teller Garland

FATE Valentine GarlandAvailable here in the Flapper Girl Boutique.

Fate brings love and good fortune this Valentine’s Day with this vintage-inspired garland featuring a beautiful gypsy card reader, a sultry queen of diamonds, the face of a handsome suitor, and a vintage valentine depicting a hand of cards where “the jack and queen can be a pair.”

Letter medallions feature black hand-folded crepe fringe and red glitter accents. Playing card valentine features a black ribbon bow and fancy red ribbon tails.

Garland measures approx. 52″ long.

Vintage-Inspired BE MINE Valentine Garland

Retro Romantic Valentine Banner

Old Fashioned Valentine Garland

Pink & Green Romantic Valentine BannerAvailable here in the Flapper Girl Boutique.

This romantic valentine garland features pretty-in-pink flappers, a dapper couple in love, a pair of vintage diamond & emerald rings, taupe hearts decorated with flowers and ribbons, and the loving sentiment of “Be Mine!”

Be Mine medallions feature sage green hand-folded crepe fringe, champagne pink glitter accents and extra long black ribbon tails. Ring medallions feature hand-folded black & ivory crepe fringe accents. Taupe hearts are decorated with tiny flower appliques and sage green bows.

Garland measures approx. 52″ long.

Art Deco LOVE Valentine Garland

Red & Black Flapper LOVE Banner

Flappers in Love Valentine's Day DecorationAvailable here in the Flapper Girl Boutique.

Love is in the air! This vintage-inspired Valentine Garland depicts three dapper jazz-age couples in love. An Art Deco typeface spelling out the word “LOVE” completes the look.

Letter medallions feature hand-folded red crepe paper fringe, black glitter accents and red ribbon tails. Heart components feature gray flocking and hand-folded white paper crepe fringe.

This garland is back by popular demand! It was first introduced last year for the 2010 Valentine Collection. Since it had such a great response last year, I gave it a bit of a revamp and am thrilled to be able to offer it again this year.

Garland measures approx. 40″ long.

Retro Valentine Cupacke Picks

Vintage Inspired Valentine's Day Cupcake PicksAvailable here in the Flapper Girl Boutique.

This season, I’m also offering up these super cute retro Valentine’s Day cupcake picks! Each pick measures 3.75″ tall. Each decoration measures 2″ in diameter (including crepe fringe). All are made from thick, quality card stock. All my cupcake toppers are reinforced with card stock backing, which means no visible sticks from the front or back.

Each set contains *TWO* of each design pictured above.

Crafty Wonderland Day 1

May 2, 2010

I love my new teal tiered display! You can make your own with this tutorial by Elsie of A Beautiful Mess.

Owl Buttons

April 5, 2010

I can’t believe Crafty Wonderland‘s Super Colossal Spring Show is less than a month away! The count down has officially begun, and I’m at that point where I’m writing detailed lists of what I need to accomplish each day.

Retro Owl Buttons

This weekend I made a set of the adorable 1″ buttons you see above, using vintage fabric and turquoise vintage owl beads. These will be included in some of the awesome swag bags given out to the first people through the doors of the Super Colossal Spring Show.

That’s right—Cathy & Torie will be handing out 200 goodie bags each day, for a total of 400 bags given out over the course of the weekend!

Each goodie bag is filled with all sorts of treats and samples made by various crafty people participating in the show, plus other cool stuff donated by the show’s sponsors. If you want the chance to snatch one up for yourself, mark your calendar now for May 1 & 2, and show up before the doors open at 11am.

See you there!

Victorian Grotesque Medical Curiosity Garland

March 26, 2010

This garland is inspired by the mystery and creepiness that surrounds the fascinating Victorian Grotesque: medical curiosities framed with black crepe fringe and orchid lace ribbon, a peek inside an old laboratory, a hand-written hospital I.D. card, a pair of fancy aged skull medallions, and a funeral memento from 1897.

Available in the Flapper Girl Boutique.

Victorian Grotesque Handmade

Teratology Garland

Medical Curiosities

Victorian Medical

New Vintage-Inspired Paper Garland Designs

March 3, 2010

So I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that there is no book post today. The good news is there is actually two bits of good news!

1. I started reading a really radical book this week, and I’m really excited to tell you about it next Wednesday.

2. Instead of a book post, I’m going to share four of my new vintage-inspired paper garland designs! All are currently for sale in the Flapper Girl Boutique.

Art Deco Bibliophile

The excitement of aged paper, tattered library cards, vintage books, and sexy reading flappers!

Book Garland

Retro Book Banner

Vintage Inspired Book Garland

French Perfume Boudoir

French perfumeries framed with pink crepe fringe, Victorian boudoir labels, feminine lace, and risque ladies!

Vintage French Garland

French Perfume Boudoir Garland

Retro French Perfume Banner

Vintage Cameras

Wardette, Starflash, Brownie Hawkeye, a handful of retro lightfilter boxes, and two photos documenting what fun can be had with a camera in tow!

Vintage Camera Garland

Retro Photography Garland

Flapper Girl

Rebellion & adventures, absinthe green fringe, garters, cigarettes & daydreams, a pair of handsome suitors, and plenty of rum!

Retro Flapper Garland

Vintage Inspired Flapper Banner

Flapper Girl Garland

Introducing Flapper Girl’s 2009 Halloween Aprons

August 24, 2009

It’s time! I can’t believe it! I’ve worked so hard on this collection, and I’m so excited to unveil it.

It was really exciting to do research on the origin and golden age of this mystical autumn holiday. I browsed through so many books showcasing hundreds of images of vintage Hallowe’en decor. I learned that once upon a time, costumes were made from crepe paper, and the Dennison Manufacturing Company was once the king of all things Hallowe’en. I fell in love with the stories and photos in Halloween Merrymaking: An Illustrated Celebration Of Fun, Food, And Frolics From Halloweens Past by Diane C. Arkins, who so brilliantly discusses the Golden Age (1890s-1930s) of the holiday. I visited the library and checked out Hallowe’en party books from 1925. Did you know they used to melt lead for a popular party game? It’s true (and oh so dangerous).

Armed with some new info, my love of everything vintage, my affection for Hallowe’en, and my sewing machine, I created a line of holiday aprons that bring together a touch of the old with some new twists. I hope you love this collection as much as I do. Let me know what you think!

If you find an apron (or a few) you can’t live without, you can visit the Flapper Girl boutique and order your favorite one(s) today!

Click on any image below for a detailed view.

Peach Owl

skull apron Bats & Stripes

Green Bats

Orange Apron 2

Black Green Owl

Red with Bats

Pink Spider

Orange Bats


August 4, 2009

Flapper Girl wants to make your Tuesday a litte brighter, so we decided to have a mega blowout sale! Everything in the Flapper Girl Boutique is currently 50% off. Check out these hot deals, but act fast—this sale lasts ONE DAY ONLY. Tomorrow these deals will be gone.

Here are just a few of the deals you’ll find today:


Plenty o’ Panties

July 24, 2009

This week I stocked the Flapper Girl Boutique with a lot of new ruffle-bum knickers, including the “Pirate Booty” panties you see below. I had a lot of fun with the new designs. I used some different lace patterns, fresh colors of jersey (purple, teal, and space-dyed pink to name a few), and even some cute new adornments. By request, I even produced a lot in size 7. So check ’em out.

Pirate Booty Panties

Handmade Baby Gifts

July 8, 2009

Nattie’s teacher from kindergarten is having her first baby this fall, and I wanted to make her a little somethin’-somethin’ since Nattie, Chas, and I still think she’s the raddest teacher ever, and have kept in contact with her. She’s having a boy, so I made a patchwork burp cloth and matching bib using mostly blue fabrics:

baby stuff

The burp cloth has soft, light grey flannel on the back, and the bib is reversible. The other side is made from that light blue gingham you see on the patchwork.

I’ve never sewn any baby projects before yesterday, and I was happy to discover that these projects were super simple! The burp cloth I just whipped up without a pattern, and for the bib, I used the pattern from Amy Karol’s awesome book Bend the Rules Sewing.