Friday, January 30, 2015

Less is More

I've been thinking about what my motto for 2015 should be. A few years back, I decided that I was going to embrace the idea "When in doubt, be bold." It really helped me to gain confidence and try loads of new things that I didn't think I could. But now, I feel like my life needs a new focus.

Moving makes you really evaluate your life. Especially if you are doing a huge move like I did! I realized that I have a lot of stuff. The hubby and I made a real effort to get rid of a lot of stuff before we moved but we still have so much. And I don't really think that I need that much stuff.

As a fashion blogger, especially one who sews, there is this sort of unwritten expectation that you have to provide newer, bigger, more fabulous outfits all the time. So most of us end up with closets and dressers and vanities overflowing with stuff! It can be quite paralyzing to look at these piles of things and try to decide what to wear.

As I was packing (and, later, unpacking), I kept catching myself asking when the last time I wore a garment was-six months, a year, or more?? Obviously, I do have fancy frocks and things like my vow renewal dress that won't get worn very often but much of it was everyday type clothing or hats or gloves or whatever.

I've come to realize that I really enjoy wearing a simple but well put together comfortable outfit. Things that are fussy, require special undergarments or have bold and crazy prints tend not to get worn very often. I wear a very basic makeup look almost everyday and while I like to play with makeup for a night out, I prefer a very natural look. And I don't really like wearing red lipstick.

So where does this leave me? I looked at myself in the mirror and said "Stephanie, you have enough clothes. You even have enough clothes to have a fashion blog and keep your readers from getting bored."

I still love sewing and I will be adding to my wardrobe but I want to do it more strategically. I will not get distracted by quilting cottons and I will make comfortable basics to fill in the gaps in my wardrobe. I want to also do more costuming this year and learn to do blackwork embroidery as a new creative outlet.

I'm going to be evaluating my wardrobe this year and weeding out things that I don't love and things that aren't really practical for Florida weather. I will focus on using things I already have-hats, jewelry, patterns, fabric-instead of buying new. If I do decide to buy new, I want to invest in quality things that will really be used in my wardrobe. And I want to spend more of my free time doing other things I love like reading, biking and going to the beach rather than feeling like I *have* to be sewing all of the time.

So this year my motto is going to be "Less is More". 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Another Easy Style for Bobbed Hair

First youtube tutorial in my new bathroom! Enjoy another simple style I've been sporting a lot lately.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Rustic Romantic

Life continues to be eventful in Florida! I got a teaching job a few weeks ago at the very last minute so I've been quite busy trying to stay ahead of the game with lesson planning and such!

And my husband also got a job but he won't start until February. So yay jobs! But that means we still don't have a regular schedule.

And last week, the wallpaper came off of the kitchen wall. It's not painted yet but there is no more wallpaper in my house! But that is a story for another day.

This outfit, however, is a bridal show ensemble. The show was aimed at rustic romantic style weddings. Rustic isn't really a word I would use to describe anything in my closet so I had a hard time deciding what to wear. Plus it was our first show with a theme!

I finally decided on great floral dress. The print is soft and romantic plus it's super comfortable! Wearing a memorable outfit is a great way to get brides to come over and talk to me in the booth.

And I was having a great hair day! Florida still hasn't decided if it agrees with my hair or not. Plus, all of the wallpaper pulling had me being frumpy around the house a lot this week so no playing with hair.

I wore my Miss L Fire shoes too! They are usually quite comfortable but standing for 5 hours on a hard concrete floor are rough on your feet no matter what shoes you wear. 

Thankfully, we popped over to the park next door to the expo before the show so me feet and hair were still all peppy.

What would you wear to a rustic romantic themed wedding?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Planning for Camping

I've been thinking a lot about what I want to focus on for Historical Sew (Fortnightly) Monthly this year. It doesn't look like I'll be making it to Costume College this year but I am hoping to be more involved in SCA so pre-1600 is where I'll be doing most often. My big project for the year is going to be the Borgia dress. I've got the fabric for it already but I still need to buy trim. That plus feeling a bit nervous about cutting into my silk means I'll probably be pushing that off to later in the year and working on it on and off.

I do really want to try and do all of the challenges this year since there are half as many and I've made at least half in the previous years. So I had to do some brain storming to plan out the year. One thing I think that I want to do is attend an SCA camping event. I'm not huge on camping but I love the idea of an extended SCA event. Plus I love the fact that many of my lower class costumes feel more like clothes than costumes. I'd love to get away with wearing them on a regular basis in real life.

So what do you need to in your kit for camping?

Shifts, shifts, shifts! Preferably one per day but less if there is access to washing facilities. I'm not planning on anything as intense as Pennsic so I think my four shifts are a great start in this direction.

Moving outward, petticoats are next. I only have one but a spare would be nice! I could probably whip one up easily for a challenge.

Kirtles are the main piece of an outfit for 16th century Elizabethan peasant. I have three although one is technically a bodied petticoat so a new kirtle is not a priority althought I really do like them. Depending on the location and time of year, my wool kirtle will not be too useful.

I've got a nice set of accessories-coif, apron, sleeves and pocket. But you can always need extras. For February, I'm planning on a wool apron since wool is great for working near fires. It doesn't burn like linen. Expect loads of these small projects this year. They are easy and budget friendly plus I'll have time to handsew them!

I do have one nice pair of shoes but they are definitely not camping shoes! While I do want to learn how to make shoes one day, I'll probably be buying this year if new shoes are in my future.

Lastly, are layers for warmth. Florida is pretty warm but can get chilly in the evenings and mornings. I do have my English fitted gown, but I think that will be overkill for most of the year. I purchased fabric for a wool jacket to fill in this gap and if that goes well, I may make a linen one too.

And, if camping becomes a reality, I'll have to outfit my husband too!

Have you ever been to a costuming or re-enacting camping event? Any tips?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Channeling Norma Jean

Since Wearing History Clothing's Norma Jean blouse shares a name with 50s screen siren Marylin Monroe I opted to wear it's first day out with a 50s flare.

One of my favorite things to do in Dayton was to go down to the Oregon District- a cobble stone street with cute shops, local eateries and cute old buildings. So I was so happy to know that Melbourne also has a cute Historic district!

So after hitting the local market on Saturday we stopped by for some photos and antique shopping. It was sunny and warm for a change so I could rock the sun glasses.

As soon as I saw the Melody print preview for Wearing History Clothing, I knew I had to have something made from that fabric! So when the Kickstarter came around, I just had to have the Norma Jean blouse!

It's made from Tencel which is a rayon type fabric. It didn't feel quite like I expected but it feels quite comfortable to wear and drapes nicely.

I ordered both the Norma Jean and Ruthie blouses in a Large. The Ruthie blouse fit amazingly! (And I never get ready to wear blouses to fit correctly.) But the Norma Jean blouse was a bit big so I exchanged it for a medium. If you are between sizes, definitely order the smaller size for the Norma Jean. It's meant to be a blousey, comfortable top so there will be plenty of room.

The colors in the print are fabulous! Since I didn't have any skirts that matched the blue perfectly, I wore the top with my black Freddies of Pinewood pedal pushers. Perfect for the sporty 50s look. Plus, the Norma Jean blouse is a great length which stays tucked in! I hate shirts that always come untucked in the back.

We ended up at three different antique places and I got to see lots of pretties. I got quite a few compliments on my blouse too! It's very comfortable for a day of digging for treasures. The blouse is a bit blousey in the back but it gives such a great range of motion. Plus it's fitted enough at the waist so you still look slim and trim.

So far, I'm quite in love with my Norma Jean blouse! It's so cute and I'm going to be on the look out for coordinating pink, blue and green fabric for matching skirts. On the website, it's styled rather 40s but it could really work for a 30s to 50s look depending on how you want to style it.

If you didn't snag a Norma Jean blouse during the Kickstarter, you can still get your own blouse here. Plus, there are a few other pretties made from this fab print on the site!

Monday, January 19, 2015

One Month in Florida

I can't believe we've already been living in Florida for a month! Eeep! With all of the moving craziness, I wasn't very good about capturing events for the blog but I did manage to capture some things on Instagram. So here's life in Florida.

 Good bye Ohio! On the way down, we stopped in Kentucky for a few days to see my family for Christmas.

Once in Florida, we had to buy some new furniture including this lovely dresser! I want to share some more photos of our place but we're still definitely in the tweaking part of setting things up.

It was in the 80s and humid when we arrived in Florida. Unseasonably warm, apparently. I had no qualms about letting my legs get some sun while enjoying my brother- and sister-in-laws pool. They live super close which is awesome!

Working on getting the sewing room set up! It's been amazing to have my own space to sew but I do miss watching tv. I may have to start bringing my laptop in for Netflix.

Cooking! I adore cooking and having a few weeks with no work means more time for cooking! We're really trying to get back eating healthy so we started a bit before January 1 with our food resolutions.

 First sewing project of 2015! Of course, after I started it got chilly again so I stopped. It's almost done so I really need to pull it out and finish it up.

 My Wearing History Clothing Kickstarter blouses arrived! I'm loving them so far! Expect to see more photos of the Norma Jean blouse later this week.

 Birds playing nice! They did not like moving and the resulting chaos. But now that we've got most of the boxes unpacked and things settled they are really enjoying living here.

Two rooms in our home came with old lady wallpaper. I opted to go ahead and tackle the smaller of the two rooms-the guest bathroom (after binge watching HGTV now that we have cable). Bye Bye wallpaper!

And I painted it blue! Not a perfect paint job but I'm pretty proud of it. The kitchen (also wallpaper bearing) is going to wait a while. 

Leah has discovered that people food can be tastey so you never know when she might fly into your food for a bite. Here she is stealing some popcorn!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Pattern Shopping for Winter

I think most vintage gals dislike winter. Pretty summer dresses are our siren song. Ladies of the past lived through winters just like we did so we just have to dig a bit deeper and stay focused to find vintage winter fashion inspiration. As a seamstress, I try to look for patterns with winter and summer views. That way, I have winter friendly options but I also get a pattern for a fun summer frock.

I adore the lines on this dress! Choose a solid color with bold top stitching to emphasize them or pick a fun pattern for a different look.

 High necklines are great for keeping away the winter chill! In a jewel tone with rhinestone buttons at the neckline, view 1 would be divine!

Don't be afraid of mixing and matching the views either! Want long sleeves and and a collar-go for it!

Look for fun details to keep your winter wardrobe fresh and interesting. And a fabulous hat doesn't hurt either!

Coat dresses are a perfect winter accessory. Wear them as a dress or layer over another dress in code mode for those extra chilly days.

All of these patterns were found on pinterest. I have no idea if they are currently for sale anywhere.